Make This! A love of quilts, if not of quilting
by Deirdre Long
dlong@annistonstar.com
Apr 21, 2013 | 2257 views |  0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Quilts from Gee’s Bend quilters are displayed at Walnut Gallery in Gadsden. The quilters are also having a meet and greet and quilting workshop at the gallery beginning Friday. Photo: Special to The Star
Quilts from Gee’s Bend quilters are displayed at Walnut Gallery in Gadsden. The quilters are also having a meet and greet and quilting workshop at the gallery beginning Friday. Photo: Special to The Star
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I so badly want to be a quilter. I’ve done all sorts of reading — I own three quilting books, two filled with “easy” patterns and one A-Z guide to the craft. I have a bag of scraps, many of them already cut into strips, circles and triangles, just waiting to be patched together. I’ve researched the best way to quilt on my machine, because things can get quite bulky, I know.

I dream of the quilts I’ll make — they’re not even anything that fancy, just some patchwork squares for my kids’ beds.

But I’ve never made a quilt. I started one, once, with the intention of giving it to my mother for Christmas. Then her birthday in February. Then Mother’s Day.

The pattern came with the AccuQuilt Go! that I bought, and was a pretty basic combination of 2-inch triangles and 2- and 4-inch squares. I was several hours into sewing (the cutting really was the easiest part, thanks to that cool device) before I noticed that I was running out of pieces and my quilt was only about 2 feet wide. I took a closer look at the pattern, and it turns out that it was for a wall hanging, not a quilt.

That drained my motivation enough that I never finished. It sat unfinished, for several years, in my UFO pile and was finally donated to the thrift store in a bout of purging last fall. The AccuQuilt was sold to a quilter I met in a sewing group, and I hope she’s getting a lot more use out of it than I did.

Instead, I just enjoy the beauty of other quilters’ work. Many of the members of said sewing group are quilters and they show off their beautiful quilts in all the many stages of quilting. Hours and hours go into these pieces, which are designed to be as artistic as they are functional.

If you too are a patron of the art of quilting, be sure to check out the new exhibit, Art and Soul: 50 Years of Gee’s Bend Quilting, at the Walnut Gallery in Gadsden. The quilts of Gee’s Bend are world-renowned for designs with irregular shapes and bright colors, similar to folk art. The exhibit opens Friday at 6 p.m. with the Walnut Gala, an annual fundraiser for the gallery. Six members of the Gee’s Bend collective will be in attendance for a meet-and-greet and a traditional Southern singing. The quilts on display are available to purchase, with some quilts available via silent auction. Southern-style cuisine will also be served. Tickets for the event are $25.

The exhibit will be open through June 15, and can be seen on Fridays from 3-5 p.m., or by appointment. To schedule a visit or purchase tickets to the Gala, visit walnutgallery.org.

The Gee’s Bend quilters will also hold a two-day workshop and demonstration on April 27 and 28. Admission for the workshop is $40 and covers both days, though only 10 slots are available. Registration for the event may be done online at the gallery’s website.

Now that I’ve come to terms with not being a quilter, I can finally clear out the last of my quilting paraphernalia — the books. So I’m giving away copies of three quilting books: “Quilting for People Who Still Don’t Have Time to Quilt” by Marti Mitchell, “Simple Style: Easy Weekend Quilts” by Sara Diepersloot and “The Quilting Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem You’ll Ever Face; Answers to Every Question You’ll Ever Ask” by Barbara Weiland Talbert.

Just go to www.annistonstar.com and comment on this story with the title of the book you’d like. Winners will be randomly selected May 1.
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Make This! A love of quilts, if not of quilting by Deirdre Long
dlong@annistonstar.com

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