Thursday, September 24, 2020

Sewing Together: Blooming with Friends

Mary Cassatt,  Young Mother Sewing
 Cassatt had a long friendship with Edgar Degas.

 I enjoy reading about artists and it always interests me to learn about the friendships between artists.  Picasso and Manet, van Gogh and Gauguin, the list of artistic friendships goes on and on.  I've always gravitated to creative friends--artists, writers, etc.  Their perspective even--and maybe especially--when it is slanted has enriched my view of the world.

It's the same for quilters.  We thrive when around other sewists--even if our contact is virtual.  What would we do during these days of the pandemic without pinterest, quilting tutorials, websites and blogs?

I'm very protective of my research--it's my intellectual property and I often guard it by copyrighting my work.  Quilts are another matter.  I'm very much flattered when something I've sewn has inspired another quilter to do something similar.  Sometimes it is as simple as the fabric choices.  A few months ago I made a quilt and a wall hanging for my niece:

My friend Sam who is a member of my guild and participates on this blog, loved the concept and later texted me photos of fabric she was inspired to buy and use.  In this case, imitation is the highest form of flattery and I was enthused that she found inspiration in something I made, even if it was just the fabric choice!
Sewing together is synonymous with growth.  We learn new techniques, easier ways to do things, and new ways to integrate color and pattern in our work.  We form friendships--in person or virtually--that become valuable assets. 

Diann recently posted adorable blocks called "Preeti's Petit Sisters" and I'm enamoured with these blocks.  She found them on Preeti's blog and you can see them on her blog --along with a link to Preeti's tutorial-- Little Penguin Quilts, here.

Sometimes our quilting friends take us out of our ruts--LOL--even the ruts we aren't aware of ourselves.  A few years ago, I was building a program that celebrated the designer Ruby Short McKim.  The program was called "Designs STILL Worth Doing:  A Celebration of Ruby Short McKim."  I went shopping with my friend and fellow guild member Kim.  I needed to buy fabric for projects that would illustrate McKim's versatility.

I gravitate towards pinks and blues but Kim put a halt to this.   She told me--in the nicest way--that I needed to step out of my rather conservative pallet and began pulling fabrics that I would NEVER have chosen.  It was a game changer for me and it forced me to look at the sum of my work in a different way.  Here's one example:

The quilt is electric and utilized orange--a color I don't normally appreciate and batiks which I had never purchased or worked with before.

Meeting our sewing friends--no matter how you choose to meet--keeps us sewing.  Our guild does a virtual show and tell right now; on my other blog, 3 Poodles and a Nana, I participate in To-Do-Tuesdays, and write along with my other blogger buddies, a list of sewing goals I hope to accomplish.

Throughout my life, I've sewn with other women, starting with my Nana Betty, my friend Linda, a group of women in the late 1980s and early 1990s; the women I worked with at the college; and now via my guild and the internet.  All of my sewing companions have enhanced my work and all have increased my commitment to spreading love through my sewing.
Many of you do that as well.  Libby wrote this week that she has been spending the pandemic making baby quilts for "Jack's Baskets" a group that celebrates Down Syndrome babies and also for the local pregnancy center.

During these troubled days, sewing together also helps us cope. During the Depression, Franklin's philosophy was (in sum): do something.  Working and sewing helps us endure.  Sewing allows us to contribute to each other and our communities.  We sew.  We share.  We gift love in the form of a fabric hug.  We bloom.

Tomorrow is "Flower Friday" and if you want to share a photo of flowers, be they real,  textile or illustrated, email me at

Have a safe and happy day!

1 comment:

  1. International Sisters are on my want-to-make list, too. Quilting friendships are special -- only other quilters truly understand our passion. A non-quilting friend would say, "That's a bright quilt!" A quilting friend would say, "Wow! The chartreuse sashing really sets off the orange-on-blue Hosanna blocks. The contrast reminds me of Amish quilts. Did you paper piece them?" The Mary Cassatt painting reminds me of the book Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper ( which I now would like to reread!