Sweet Times in the Sugar Block Club

Rock Around the Block with Fun Quilt-Alongs

Block of the Month (BOM) Quilt-Alongs are a great way to learn new techniques and they are a lot of fun to be a part of. They can be run by a blogger, a quilt guild, or through a site like Craftsy. My first online quilt-along was with Amy Gibson, a very talented quilter and designer from Colorado. I first discovered Amy Gibson on Craftsy where I took her free BOM Class in 2012. I finished one sampler and have another top done.

After making all of the blocks for the Spring version, I even taught the sampler to my sewing group. I finished a second one and still need to quilt the first Spring top. One great thing about this class is that it is still available and it is still free. Craftsy has continued to offer a free BOM class each year, featuring different teachers – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016. I have access to all of them, but haven’t made the time to take any more of the classes.

Sewing Up Sweetness with the Sugar Block Club

About a year after completing the 2012 Craftsy BOM with Amy, I started following her blog and pretty soon after that she started The Sugar Block Club (SBC). I haven’t actually completed my Sugar Block quilt, but I have about half of the blocks done. To be fair, I did decide to make blocks from two years of SBC (2013 and 2014) and plan to put them together into one quilt.

I love the Simplicity of Amy’s blocks and the fresh spin she puts on traditional patterns. Her instructions are easy to follow and her personality really comes through in her designs and her blog posts about each block. A lot of her tutorials and patterns are free on her blog, Stitchery Dickory Dock.

Sampler Quilts

When I work on a Quilt-Along it is easy to get behind, but if you are able to maintain access to each month’s block after the month is over, then it’s no big deal. BOMs are a great way to try blocks or techniques that you might not normally give a try. In addition, sampler quilts, which a lot of BOMs are,  are some of the most fun to look at and cuddle up with because every block is different and there can be a lot a variety. Successful samplers feature very different blocks that all work together to create a visually stunning whole quilt.

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The Best Online Quilting Resource Available

Craftsy LogoCraftsy is the best online quilting resource in the digital world. Since 2011 Craftsy has been offering online classes in everything from quilting to knitting to cake decorating and more. With over 5 million register users, this online powerhouse of craftiness offers video classes, patterns, tutorials and reference materials. Classes range in price from $20 to $50 and generally include about 10 hours of instruction. There are also quite a few free classes available as well. Let’s take a look at some of the free quilting classes and references.

Quilting Tips and Tricks

Click on the images to read more and to download the free pdfs for each of these resources.

Save Those Scraps Photo and DescriptionQuilt Cleaning and Care Photo and DescriptionPre Cuts Photo and DescriptionQuilter Hacks Photo and DescriptionFree Motion Quilting Photo and DescriptionFinish Quilts Photo and Description

Craftsy Blog and Articles

The Craftsy Blog and additional collection of articles provide access to even more amazing tutorials and resources. Click on the images to see what’s new on the blog and to peruse the extensive collection of articles.

Craftsy Blog Photo and DescriptionCaftsy Articles Photo and Description

Free Craftsy Quilting Classes

Craftsy is currently offering 11 quilting classes for free. Enjoy the high quality production and expert instruction in these wonderful classes. Click on the image to see more information about each class that is offered.

Free Classes Photos and Descriptions

I hope you have enjoyed this preview/review of some of the things that Craftsy has to offer. Take a look at their full range of classes and make a list of everything you want to learn. Get started now – it could take a lifetime…

I am not affiliated with Craftsy in any way, I just love their platform and wanted to share it with you.

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So Much Quilty Stuff to Read — So Little Time

I currently have three quilty books on my wish list. For Keeps and The Quilt Block Cookbook by Amy Gibson and Wanderlust Quilts by Mandy Leins. If I started looking around I could easily add a dozen more to the list. I LOVE to read quilty books. They have beautiful pictures of beautiful quilts, they are inspiring, they are often funny or enlightening, and they get me excited to sew.

Quilt BooksSo today I decided to share some of my favorite quilty books. Keep in mind, I have not made most of the projects, but I do read these books like they are novels, from cover to cover, and I go to them when I am looking for inspiration or just something pretty to drool over.

Quilts Made Modern

by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr

Weeks and Bill are a husband and wife team and they have been making “modern” quilts since long before it was cool. These two designers/quilters are true artists and have received commissions from museums and have been featured in the New York Times, O, and TIME Magazine, among others. They have written several books and are down to earth, uber-talented and passionate about quilting.

What I love about this book, other than the beautiful quilts, is that nearly 50 pages are dedicated to design principles and then they spend the last 30 pages covering quilt construction. While a lot of this is stuff I already know, it is great to have as a reference right alongside the 10 patterns they feature in this book.

Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee

by Alissa Haight Carlton and Kristen Lejnieks

I was attracted to this book because of the title. I am a member of an online modern bee myself, so when I saw this book, I was very curious. This book explores the journey of 12 quilters who each month work on a quilt designed or conceived of by one of the members. The quilts are all very modern and very different and the voice of each quilter is distinct and beautiful. What I loved about this book, even more than the quilts, was the story it told. The sisterhood that is shared by these women, many of whom have never met in person. I could really relate to this experience because I have had a similar on with my bee. I also appreciated that they spent a few pages discussing how to set up and organize your own bee and they also devoted one chapter to tips and techniques for everything from selecting fabric to binding.

Dare to Be Square Quilting

by Boo Davis

I don’t really know what to say about Boo Davis and her book other than “WOW.” It is page after page of awesome. From her whimsical owl to her punk rock skull, she takes quilting by the horns and doesn’t let go. Her designs may not always fit the current definition of modern, but there is nothing traditional about them either. Her patterns are simple and easy to follow and yet yield very complex looking designs. She also includes some quilt basics at the beginning and tons of gorgeous photos of the projects.

Quilting Modern

by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen

Jacquie is considered one of the leaders of the modern quilting movement and this book is a great exploration of what has made her so popular. The projects are interesting and different and some I love more than others, but what I do love about the book is the way she writes about improvisation. It is inspiring and empowering. Paired with stunning detail shots of the quilts, this book is a must have for anyone interested in the modern aesthetic, whether they are brave enough to dive into it or not.

Denyse Schmidt Quilts

by Denyse Schmidt

I have written about this book before, but no accounting of my favorite quilty books would be complete without further mention of this book. It is the book that started it all for me. I had just begun quilting when I happened upon this book at a bookstore, not a quilt shop. It was like a breath of fresh air after everything I had been seeing at my local quilt shops. Denyse’s designs are so simple and unassuming and yet simply stunning. I want to be just like her someday!

That’s it for my current favorite quilty books. But I will leave you with two other titles that are not exclusively quilty but would still be awesome for anyone who sews: Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol and Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule.

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Avoid New Quilter Blues: Don’t make these mistakes

I recently met a gal who is a very beginner quilter. She found a quilt she liked on Pinterest and is trying to teach herself how to quilt. I applaud her for that and what she has done so far on her quilt is great. She went to a quilt shop and started with high quality fabric – bonus points right there! Then she made a few mistakes – mistakes she could have avoided if she had taken a class or found a quilter who could help her get started in person.

Mistake 1: Assuming that everyone who works at JoAnn’s knows what they are talking about.

She went to JoAnn’s and told them she was making a quilt and asked what she needed for batting. Batting (or wadding in Australia and the UK) is the middle layer of the quilt. It provides the warmth for the quilt and can determine the finished feel of the quilt. This is what they told her she needed:Polyfill Batting

This is not even close to what she needs. This batting is for stuffing pillows or stuffed animals. There are lots of quilt batting options out there, but this doesn’t even make the list. I frequently shop at JoAnn’s for a variety of things, but I do not depend on the people working there to be knowledgeable about every product they carry. It’s not their job. I don’t blame the worker at JoAnn’s who recommended this product. They honestly didn’t know what this new quilter needed. But that’s what they should have said or asked someone else for help. My advice – if you need something at JoAnn’s you might be better off asking another customer.

Now for what she really needed:Warm and Natural Quilt Batting

See any differences?

Mistake 2: Not considering the long-term.Cotton Batting vs. Polyester Batting

In the first quilt class I ever took I was told that the best, longest-lasting quilts are made from all the same material. So if you are using 100% cotton fabric for your top, use 100% cotton for your thread and for your batting (or at the very least another non-synthetic material like silk, wool or bamboo.) Mixing natural fibers with synthetic fibers can cause all kinds of problems down the road. And your quilt will only last as long as the least durable product it is made from. An illustration of this is shrinkage. Say you make your top out of 100% cotton fabric, you use a polyester thread and an 80/20 poly/cotton blend for your batting. All three of these materials are going to shrink at different levels, which is bad. After a washing or two your quilt will become misshapen and it will wear out unevenly. I know some people who swear by polyester threads, but I just don’t use them. The idea of using all the same material to build a quilt makes too much sense to me. If you want more information about batting check out Amy Smart’s post on the subject.

Mistake #3: Using old thread.Vintage Thread

For this particular quilt, my new quilty friend has fabric in all the colors of the rainbow and in multiple shades of each color. It is going to be very striking. To match all of her colorful fabric, she is going to use the same colors of thread. Which means she will end up needing about 20 different colors of thread. That will get spendy. So she found a box of old thread that was her grandmother’s and was so excited because it contained all the colors she needs and it’s “vintage” so it must be high quality. Wrong. It may have been high quality 40 years ago, but now it is dusty, brittle and will weaken the quilt in the long run. Don’t use old thread! Take grandma’s beautiful collection and come up with a great display for it, but don’t put it in your quilt.

Rainbow Circle Quilt

This quilt is similar to the one she is attempting.

After spending about an hour with this gal, we came up with a plan on how best to finish her quilt and I left her with some other bits of advice:

Change your needle every 6 to 8 hours of quilting.
A lot of new quilters (and even those who have been sewing their whole lives) aren’t aware of this, but it can make a big difference in the performance of your machine and will reduce frustration levels. Don’t wait until a needle breaks to change it!

Have your machine professionally serviced every 1 to 2 years.
People who are new to sewing think they don’t need to take it in if they aren’t using it much. Not true. Even if your machine is just sitting it should be looked at regularly by a professional. This will prolong its life and leave you with a better working machine when you do get around to sewing.

Clean under your needle plate regularly.
Fabric and thread produce lint. Using high quality fabric and thread can reduce the amount of lint that is produced, but not eliminate it entirely. Lint build-up under your needle plate can really affect machine performance.

These are all things that I learned in my first beginner quilting class. So that leads me to my number one bit of advice: take a beginning quilting class if you think you might want to get into quilting. You will learn so much that will alleviate headaches down the road and will be an investment in your future as a quilter. If you can’t take one in person, check out Craftsy for online classes.

Five Quilty Things I Can’t Live Without

My Favorite Quilty Things

To write a post about all of my favorite quilty things would take more time than I ever have, so I am going to stick with one favorite in each category. Keep in mind I probably have several I could list for most of the categories, but that would just get ridiculous.

Favorite Pattern: Chain Reaction

This pattern comes from the book “Dare to Be Square” by Boo Davis and I have made this quilt at least 10 times. It is simple, but very versatile. I have used complex prints, which work so well for the centers and all solids. I have adjusted the size depending on who will receive the quilt and even made a square version and a place mat version. This is my “go to” pattern when I need a quick gift for someone. The rest of the patterns in the book are wonderful, too, including a punk rock skull and an awesome robot.Boo Davis Chain Reaction Quilt Pattern

Favorite Fabric Designer: Denyse Schmidt

This is a hard one because there are so many amazing designers out there. However, Denyse Schmidt has been an enduring favorite of mine since I first started quilting. Her fabric designs have a retro, funky vibe and the colors she uses are some of my favorites, very earthy and natural. And bonus: she has a line available at JoAnn’s, where finding quality designer fabrics is very rare.Denyse Schmidt Fabric

My quilty friends know I love her, too, and for a swap last year, one of them got her autograph for me at a class and made me this. I love it!Denyse Schmidt Autograph

Favorite Solids: Kona Cotton

Kona Cotton solids have been my favorite for years. I love the feel of them and the selection of color shades is unmatched. Nearly every quilt I make that has solids in it, is made with Kona. With over 300 different colors, they have just about anything you could ever need. They do tend to fray a little more than I like, but everything else about them is wonderful, including the fact that JoAnn’s carries them. Aren’t they just beautiful?Kona Solids

Favorite Rulers: Creative Grids

The days of cutting fabric with scissors are long gone. No quilter can live without a rotary cutter, cutting mat and acrylic rulers. My favorite rulers are Creative Grids. I find them to be accurate, durable and easy to read. I have tried several other brands, but they have a lot of distracting information or colors on them, are hard to read, or the acrylic is not as thick. I also love the subtle grippiness Creative Grids rulers have on the back, which helps with slipping and sliding – very important when you are cutting with a very, very sharp blade.Creative Grids Ruler

Favorite Rotary Cutter: Olfa

I have tried Fiskars and a couple of other brands, but Olfa cutters fit more comfortably in my hand, have the most sensible locking system and have the best weight to them. The first cutter I ever used was an Olfa and I liked it very much, even though I sliced off the side of my finger with it. Twice. It’s a love hate relationship with the blades – you love them to be super sharp so you can be more efficient with your cutting, but you hate how sharp they are when you slice off the side of your finger. Twice. I have since purchased two or three more in a variety of sizes. They are the only cutters I will ever buy and when I am in a situation where I have to use a different brand, I just grit my teeth and look forward to getting back to my Olfa. Olfa Rotary Cutters


Overcoming Quilt Completion Disorder (QCD)

Hi. My name is Amanda and I have QCD. Wow. That was really hard to say. It’s something I’ve suspected about myself for a long time, but have not been able to admit. Okay, so honestly, I didn’t even know it had a name until I read Faith’s recent post at Fresh Lemons Quilts. I don’t know if Faith coined the term herself or if it’s been around a while, but either way, I’ve got it. Bad.

To try and work through my disorder I’ve come up with a few ways to move past QCD and become a chronic finisher of UFOs (unfinished objects.)

What is QCD?

QCD is Quilt Completion Disorder and occurs when a quilter starts a project and doesn’t finish it. I know of no quilters who are immune to this disorder, but some suffer more than others. The stages of incompletion can vary from tops done, but need to be quilted to a kit or pile of fabric with a vision, but not yet started and everything in between. These unfinished projects can pile up leaving a quilter feeling overwhelmed and beyond help. Once overwhelmed, a quilter suffering from extreme QCD all but abandons the unfinished projects and continues to start new projects, thus perpetuating the problem. Husbands become annoyed and often the only projects that ever get finished are ones promised to other people, leaving piles of projects with no way out of the mess.

I can no longer deny the extent to which I suffer. I currently have over 20 UFOs in my sewing room at all stages listed above. Every time I walk into my sewing room I am confronted with the extent of my problem, but rather than face it, I look through my books and day dream of the next project to start.

Here is my Five Step Plan for Defeating QCD:

Step 1: Admit you have a problem

Check. I have a problem. I think it stems from the fact that choosing fabric and planning a project are my two favorite parts of quilting. I enjoy the sewing, no doubt about it, but there is a high-like feeling whenever I start a project—a real giddiness takes over and I think constantly about it, dream about it, talk about it and obsess over it. These are my latest daydream projects:

Step 2: Honestly assess the situation

Look at all of your projects. Put away any that you hate, that you do not foresee ever finishing. They are bogging you down and adding to the stress of QCD. Put them where you cannot see them or better yet give them away. Guilds will take anything to use for charity quilts. With what’s left, put them into categories—make a list of the quilts and categorize them by stage of completion:

  • Completed tops (3)
  • Completed blocks (4)
  • Nearly completed blocks (4)
  • Barely started blocks (3)
  • Cut blocks (3)
  • Kits or planned quits (5)
  • Projects to abandon (3)

The numbers in parentheses are what I currently have in each category. Yep, that’s 22 projects I want to finish. It’s a problem. Here’s the scope of the problem:

Step 3: Make a plan

Just like paying off debt by starting with the loan you are closest to paying off—start with the quilt that you are closest to completing. Once you get a finish or two under your belt, the next ones will become easier. Another plan could be to start small. This is what is working for me right now: every time I go to my studio to sew, I have to spend half an hour working on a UFO before I can work on my project of choice. These are three “closest to finished projects” I have right now:

Step 4: Make a completion goal

This can be for the week or the month or the year. It just has to be realistic. I repeatedly make unrealistic completion goals. Last year my goal was to finish all of my UFOs in 2015. Didn’t happen—not even close and the failure led to more paralysis.

Step 5: Don’t start any new projects until you reach a completion goal

This is so much harder to do than it sounds. I make this resolution every year. This year it lasted exactly two weeks. On a trip to Hawaii I went to my favorite local shop and walked out with enough fabric to start at least 7 new quilts.

Fabric Finds

Fabric for new projects I bought just weeks after resolving not to buy more fabric.

This is the hardest step and why making your first completion goal a realistic one is so important.

I cannot guarantee that these steps will work for you, but I think they could mean the path to resolving my own QCD. I’ll let you know how it goes. Or I’ll go start a new project—kidding. Kind of, not really.

Super-sized is overrated

Make Mine a MINI

A mini-quilt that is.

WIn a mini quilt.

Super [Quilty] Mom is now on Facebook!

I have made some really, really big quilts. Like king-sized. They are a beast to piece and definitely to quilt. I can easily spend a year working on a king-sized quilt (not to mention, spend hundreds of dollars on fabric and supplies). In addition, they are usually pretty basic designs, because just their size alone is so demanding. Which is why sometimes I like to work smaller. Much smaller. Like mini-size. A mini can be a wall hanging, a table runner, a set of placemats, a hot pad, a mug rug or even a coaster. A mug rug, by-the way, is a little piece for setting your mug on – bigger than a coaster, but generally smaller than a hot pad.

I have made many minis and I have received many minis as gifts and in swaps. There are many things to love about making minis. You can try something out on a small scale to see if you like it before committing to a huge quilt; you can showcase an awesome bit of fabric that you don’t have enough of for a bigger project; and you can practice a new technique. If you find a design you love, it is easy to make several assembly-line style for gifts. Last but not least, minis make great gifts and are an inexpensive way to gift something quilty. I have worked in mini for all of these reasons.

Audition a Design

Flying Geese MiniThis mug rug is made of super tiny flying geese. Originally I had in mind to make a throw-sized flying geese quilt. Before I purchased all the fabric and spent too much time designing the layout for the quilt, I decided to see how much work my vision would really be. I had made quite a few flying geese units in the past, but never more than four or eight units in a block. What I had in mind would have included hundreds of units. So I grabbed some scarps and went to work on some mini-geese for a mug rug. I used a no-waste method, which is supposed to be fast, but I still found it to be fairly tedious. Once I got this put together I was convinced that doing a large quilt exclusively from flying geese would mean the end of my sanity.

Showcase that Gorgeous Fabric

Applique Monogram Mini-quiltThis mini is a great example of using the medium to showcase a stellar piece of fabric. The red fabric in the “W” is one of my all-time favorites. I just love everything about it. Unfortunately, at the time, I only had one fat quarter (18” x 21”) of it and wasn’t prepared to buy more. I needed to find a wedding gift for my neighbor’s daughter and decided to use this piece. The funny thing about this story is that the daughter is a Wadsworth and she was marrying another Wadsworth – no relation. So she was going to be able to keep her maiden name while still taking her husband’s name. I thought it was so sweet that I chose to do a mini “W” for them. By using just this one beautiful fabric against a contrasting-color background, the fabric is the star in this piece.

I liked the way it turned out so very much that a few months later I made another one for my in-laws with the blue colorway from the same line of fabric.

Try Something New

Here are three examples of new techniques that I was just learning. Making them into minis was the perfect way to practice.

First time working with Dresden Plates:

Modern Dresden Plate Mini-quilt

First time working with curves:

Mini-quilt made with curved piecing.

First time working with paper piecing:

Paper pieced mini-quilt

 Assembly Line Sewing

I have this thing about Christmas gifts being homemade. Every year I tell myself no, I cannot do it. I don’t have time, it’s too much work. And then, invariably, three weeks before Christmas I decide I must make some of the gifts. Minis are the perfect solution to my crazy. And by doing small projects assembly-line style, I can get them done quickly.

Giving Gifts Makes Me Happy

As I said above, I love to sew for gifts. Here are two of my favorite minis I have made for gifts.

Getting is Just as Nice as Giving

I have been the lucky recipient of many minis over the years. Here are a few of my favorites.

I hope these minis inspire you to make something small and sweet. If you need further motivation, check out this book from Abbey Lane Quilts. I just won a copy at Winter Quiltfest and I can’t wait to do some more mini-magic with these patterns. Mini Mania Quilt Book


3 Ways to Make Quilty Friends in the “Real World”

Last week I talked about how the internet has fueled a quilting resurgence over the last several years. I actively participate in the online quilting community and have made several “virtual” quilting friends, learned a lot from online quilting classes, and participated in several swaps and bees. But what about making real life quilting friends – friends you can sew with, shop hop with, go to retreats with, trade patterns with, and raid their stash in an emergency?

Here are three tips for making quilty friends:

Join a Guild

A quilt guild is a group of local quilters who meet regularly to learn new techniques, share their projects with each other and socialize. A lot of guilds include a charitable component where they donate time and resources to making quilts for charities in their communities. They also often host retreats and quilt shows. Frequently, guilds bring in guest speakers to teach members new things or to share a trunk show (their collection of quits and the stories behind them.) Most guilds also host swaps or bees throughout the year as well as open-sew days.

Preston Trunk Show

Piece N Quilt Trunk Show at a Guild Meeting in Preston, ID.

Joining a guild is a great way to meet the local quilters in your area. If you are in a bigger city you may be able to choose from several guilds to find one that best matches your quilting preferences. In my town we have a hand piecing/quilting guild and a traditional guild. I do not enjoy handwork, so my local traditional guild was the best match for me. Recently, modern guilds have been popping up throughout the country and the world and are affiliated with The Modern Quilt Guild. If you are lucky enough to have one of these in your area, check it out. Or start your own.

 Hang out at your Local Quilt Shop (LQS)

This may sound funny, but really it’s a great way to meet other quilters. Ask other quilters in the shop for advice on fabric selection; bring in a small finished quilt to show off the fabric you purchased in the shop; attend any open sew days the shop hosts. This can be intimidating at first, but really once you become a regular and the shop staff and other regulars see you there frequently, you will begin to feel like part of the crowd. Another thing LQSs frequently provide are classes. Classes are a fun way to meet other quilters and to learn new things at the same time. I took my first quilt class in 2003 and I have taken many, many classes since then.

Sages Creek Interior

Sages Creek Quilt Company. Photo from peasinapod.

Unfortunately, my town only has one LQS – Sages Creek Quilt Company. It is a small shop and the inventory doesn’t seem to rotate much. It also has a distinctly traditional vibe, which is fine, I just sometimes wish there was a little more to variety to choose from. This does not stop me from dropping by the shop regularly and it’s always nice to walk in and see familiar faces and talk about everyone’s latest projects.

Turn existing friends into quilters

Turn them to the dark side! I have been relatively successful with this approach and it is by far the best route to go. When I first moved to my town, I made several friends, but none of them were quilters. So I offered to teach a quilting class to anyone who was interested. We are now starting our fourth year and we have so much fun together. Some of the ladies had been sewing for years and some were just beginners. None of them had quilted before, but I was able to “hook” several of them. Now I have a group of about 10 friends who join me once a month to work on a project together. Our first year we did a sampler, second year was a couple of smaller projects (table runners and stockings), last year was a mystery quilt, and this year we are doing word quilts.

Sewing Party

Sewing with friends at my house – crazy, but fun.

This approach required a commitment on my part, but it has paid off big time. In fact, I was able to get three of these new quilters to join me at Winter Quiltfest this year and it was so fun to go with friends instead of by myself. They all now consider themselves quilters and it makes me so proud! One benefit of this approach is that you get to share one more part of your life with friends you already know and like.

Giant Dahlia class at Winter Quiltfest

Giant Dahlia class at Winter Quiltfest 2016. Left to right: Shirley, Pam, me.

All three of these approaches have worked for me, but they do require putting yourself out there to some extent. If you’ve found a great way to connect with “real” quilting friends, let me know in the comments. Next week I’ll share some of my favorite mini-quilts that make great gifts.

Quilting is Not Just For Grandma

Girl quilting with grandma

From the blog Quilted/Quartier

Quilting is still a thing. Really it is.

Did your grandma or great aunt quilt? Do you remember playing under the big frame set up in the living room while they sat around it gossiping and quilting by hand? No? Me neither. My grandma worked at a department store and didn’t have time for that kind of thing. But that’s what a lot of people think of when they think of quilting. And yes, there are a lot of grandmas who quilt. But they are not the only ones. Recent years have seen a resurgence of quilting as a fresh, modern hobby for all ages.

Bad Ass Quilters Society LogoFrom the Bad Ass Quilter’s Society to the Modern Quilt Guild, quilting is not just for grandma anymore. Yes, grandmas are welcome in the above mentioned “places” so don’t get your panties in a bunch. It’s just that the world of quilting has opened its arms to quilters who may not fit the stereotype.

Why a quilting resurgence now?

Okay, so before I go on, check the tagline on the top of this blog. See it up there? Just under Super [Quilty] Mom? Where it says “Rants?” Yeah, that right there is my disclaimer – I will rant. I don’t have time to find you the stats, this is my opinion. But I have been quilting for a while now and I think I have a fairly good pulse on the industry.

So why now? Or more specifically why have the last few years seen an uptick in quilting? I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and say it’s the world wide web. With the likes of Facebook quilting groups, blogs, Flickr, Pinterest, etc. it is easier than ever to connect with quilters all over the world. It’s easier for designers (fabric and pattern) to build their brands and find an audience. And with big (okay monstrous) events like QuiltCon West and QuiltCon East, and smaller ones like SewTopia and even quilt cruises, quilters are able to gather in person and meet all of their virtual quilting friends and their favorite “sewlebrities.”

In addition, Craftsy and similar sites offer high quality online sewing and quilting classes. There is also a plethora of free and affordable tutorials available on hundreds of blogs, such as Stitchery Dickory Dock (just to name one off the top of my head – her Sugar Block Club is AWESOME!) and an abundance of online fabric shops that carry fantastic lines of fabric. Put all of these together and you have a perfect storm for a quilting resurgence. I for one am thrilled, albeit occasionally overwhelmed, by everything that is out there. It’s encouraging to see that the craft I love so much isn’t dying.

Everything old is new again.

From the blog rightsidestogether

Honestly, I was worried there for a while when I would go to my guild meetings, or to quilt shows and I was literally the only person under the age of 60. I was worried about our future, worried that in 10 or 20 years our quilty world would fade away. Luckily, now – nearly 15 years after I started quilting – I’m not so worried about the industry in general. But I still have some concerns.

What about quilting in the “Real World”?

I still think I might be the only quilter under 40 (okay, under 41) in my town. And that’s okay, really. This isn’t an ageism thing. I love older quilters. I learn from them all at time, they run the full spectrum from uber-traditional to modern with a capital “M.” I love to get their opinions at my LQS (that’s Local Quilt Shop), sit next to them in classes, and visit with them in the hall of quilts at the county fair. I don’t see myself as apart from them, so don’t freak out if you happen to be an older quilter. I was just genuinely worried about the future of quilting there for a while, because even quilters don’t live forever.

So while I’m no longer worried about the future of quilting in general because it is making a roaring comeback, I do wonder about how to fuel that comeback in my own little corner of the real world. How do I reach the next generation or even my own generation? Because, while I love my online quilting community and I love my older quilting friends in town, sometimes it would be nice to sew with actual people in a similar place in life.

For now, I’m going to leave you hanging – like Clark Kent dashing off to turn into the Man of Steel – and my Super [Quilty] Mom-self will be back with a future post that addresses the few things I have done in this regard. In the meantime, if you’ve got any bright ideas, drop me a comment.