Monday, January 4, 2021

"Let's Make a Quilt!"


During this past holiday, I spent a lot of my free time marveling at the resilience of quilters.  By resilience, I mean the psychological definition:  the ability to adapt well in times of adversity, trauma, tragedy, or any type of significant stress.  

Although many quilters did mention that the year was very traumatic, they ended 2020 focused on the positive:

"These were my favorite quilts I made!"

"I used us XXX amount of my fabric stash in 2020!"

"I finished a number of quilts this past year!"

No sooner had the year ended when the blogs and social media sites began to fill with other optimistic topics:

"I've already started my new quilt for 2021!"

"I've joined such and such challenge for the new year!"

"I'm already working on my new quilt for ...."

It's true, hobbies are a great source of comfort, especially in tumultuous times.  But for those of you who read my blog and don't quilt, let me tell you:  you are missing all the fun.

Whenever I sew or engage with quilters online or via text, I feel like I've entered a new realm.  It's not unlike reading a book.  Suddenly my attention from the anxieties of the world disappear and I'm transported to a happier place.

I'm proud to belong to a community of folks who support each other and each other's work.  We are not people who wring our hands and lament when the world has problems.  We do something.  

The majority of us are not curing cancer or first responders.  We make hugs comprised of fabric.  Giving a textile hug may not stop the pandemic or change the political climate but giving love in any form is a good enough reason to do anything.

We adress the problems and joys of our world with four simple words:  "Let's Make a Quilt."

The notion is as old as quilting itself:

From a children's story published in 1885 called Ruth's Secret.

 "Let's Make a Quilt" was a favored advertising slogan before and during the depression.  Quiltmaking became even more popular when it was supported by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1934:

The idea of doing something was key during the New Deal.  It wasn't merely important for people to perceive their politicians as doing something, it was important for citizens to be working as well...not merely for financial reasons but for morale.  

Rolling one's sleeves up is the best medicine for adversity.  I've never met a quilter who succumbed to helpless and hopeless feelings while working.  Our rallying cry is simple:

(1935 ad)
Sometimes we pursuit noble causes and when our community is in trouble, we pull out our rotary cutters and thread our needles.  Some of what we sew is in a different form than quilts--like the mask making that we all did at the beginning of the pandemic.  

We've also kept the textile industry in this country alive for decades.

Want to provide comfort to the infirmed, children, seniors, or hospice patients?

We quilt things that make us happy and because of things we wish we could change.  Each quilt is like a different chapter of our development, not only as makers but as human beings.  We don't even need big problems in order to quilt.  Sometimes we just react to environmental factors.  These are the kinds of posts  I noticed this weekend:

"Oh goodie!  It's snowing (or raining)!  Time to quilt!"

Or in the case of one quilter:

"It's sleeting, I have to sew now in case we lose power!"

1933 ad

Even when we are annoyed, our quilting comforts us.  Mad at your boss, husband, politicians?

Most quilters know this not-so-old adage:

I've been in email conversations through the weekend with some of you.  Many of us have made so many quilts that our family has had enough.  I learned from my friend Jeanette a clever tactic: always keep some lap quilts on hand.  When one of my kids' eloped, she immediately sent a lap quilt as a gift.  She had a stockpile for unexpected gift giving. 

I loved this idea and adopted it.  When I hear that someone's friend has cancer, I give them a lap quilt for the patient.  The chemo rooms are cold and the quilts come in handy.  I've given quilts to shut-in seniors, new neighbors, and anyone who may need some support.  Giving quilts as unexpected gifts to uknown people may be my favorite quilts to present.  The world needs more love and quilts are the perfect symbol of comfort.

I finished my sewing themed wall hanging yesterday.  I can't get good photos right now because it is so cloudy.  It didn't occur to me until last when I finished the binding that this quilt had a name.  It will be called "Let's Make a Quilt!"

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. I love all the snippets you found that say Let's Make A Quilt. LMAQ! = a great initialism for 2021, exclamation point included.

  2. I agree, let's make a quilt! Even the act of putting pieces of fabric through my machine is calming and helps get the cares of the day out of my head. I hope to give away more of mine this year, too!