When I began my quilting journey, I was a “dyed-in-the-wool” traditionalist. I grew up in an era where my mother and aunts traded the paper wrappings from Mountain Mist batting, of which I still have many. Inside each was a pattern for a different quilt! My first quilting lessons were learning how to make traditional blocks, and I loved them.
After a week-long class at QSDS with the incredible David Walker, things changed. David taught me how to sit quietly in my studio, looking intently at my work and letting it speak to me. My work began to come from my heart. It was OK to let the work stay on the design wall for days or weeks until I intuitively knew what it needed. My quilts began to tell a story, to become intensely personal. My quilts became my voice.
I was reminded of my early days a couple of weeks ago when a customer in my booth (40th Anniversary Charlotte Quilt Show) said she was in search of Civil War reproductions. Initially, I thought she meant military, as I once vended near a fellow who specialized in only military items. But when she began leafing through my fabrics, it hit me. Of course she was looking for Civil War reproduction fabrics! Is it no longer available?
When it was all the rage I bought fat-quarters of a dozen or so designs. I made one star block and then sent the remainder to my baby sister in California. She had a project underway and needed a bigger fabric selection.
I knew I would not be using the fabrics, as my “style” had evolved to abstract and intuitive. I still dearly love traditional patterns, and have a small treasured collection of pieces created by relatives. But this Civil War fabric star is probably the last thing I’ll create from a traditional pattern. Strange that I haven’t been able to part with it. Maybe I love tradition more than I realized.