Saturday, February 6, 2010

What is an Occasional Quilter?

Welcome to my quilting blog, The Occasional Quilter. What is an occasional quilter, you ask? An occasional quilter is the quilter who tends to quilt more in her imagination than in real life. She mentally plans designs, cuts out patterns, and arranges quilt blocks, but rarely ever gets around to actually doing any of those things. Why? There could be a number of reasons, depending on personal circumstances. A college student doesn't own a sewing machine but plans to . . . someday. A young mother sets up her cutting board, readies her sewing machine and starts to work, only to be drawn away within five minutes by her hungry infant. A working professional plans to quilt on holidays and vacations, but never gets her day-to-day chores caught up in time to allow room for quilting.

You get the picture. What you might not realize is the amount of time and money the occasional quilter spends on her art. A casual trip through the local department store's craft section leads to the purchase of gorgeous fat quarters, fluffy batting, and any number of handy gadgets that make the quilter's job easier. All these items go into the ubiquitous Rubber Maid container stored in the occasional quilter's spare room closet or under her bed. The occasional quilter's book case bows under the weight of hundreds of quilting books: art books displaying quilt patterns over the centuries, The Idiot's Guide to Quilting, block patterns, quilting patterns, fabric color guides, quilting histories, lap quilts, crazy quilts, sampler quilts, and for fiction lovers: the complete Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini. The occasional quilter's inbox is crowded with messages from, advertisements from quilt shops all over the country, and the latest patterns from the quilt block of the month club. These emails are read and sorted, with the most inspiring ones going into the Quilt Project folder of her messaging software.

Project that are eventually completed tend to be years in the making. Each block is tenderly examined, displayed to friends and relatives, and sometimes even photographed for posterity. Finished products receive even more attention and scrutiny before being surrendered to their new owners in the form of gifts or being displayed on the quilter's wall or bed.

This blog is my attempt to digitize my own experience as an occasional quilter, and to encourage other occasional quilters to keep dreaming and planning. Hopefully, it will also spur me on with my own quilting, if for no other reason than so I'll have something to post. Feel free to comment, post your own experiences and photographs, or just chat about the things that keep you from quilting.

The picture below is the sampler quilt top I have been working on for the past eight or nine years. Seriously. I haven't even finished piecing the blocks, but they are waiting for me in hatboxes underneath my dusty sewing machine. I did manage to finish a full size quilt and a wall hanging (from a kit) in the years spanning the time I started this top and now, but somehow I never got around to completing this one. Won't my husband be surprised when he gets his first anniversary gift on our tenth (or twentieth) wedding anniversary!

Yours in stitches,