The Quilt Scout
by Mary Fons
The Trunk Show To End All Trunk Shows - Part two
The only thing left to do, I think, is to give some advice.
Perhaps you are suspicious of advice when it’s unsolicited. You should be. But this is a special circumstance. For one thing, this is my last column. That makes it sort of dramatic. What “last words” will the Scout want to share before she shuts off the lights and locks up? This could be juicy.
The other reason I feel okay doling out specific, unsolicited advice is because I did it last month in Toronto during my last/best trunk show and it went okay. In fact, I’ve decided I really like doling out specific, unsolicited advice! (Maybe it’s good this is my last column.)
Here is the advice I’d like to share with you, quilters. This comes after five years of writing the Scout, 11 years of quiltmaking, a decade in the industry, and a whole lot of life spent around quilts.
Use the fabric you’re “saving.”
If you’ve saved a favorite fabric for more than two years (or 5-6 projects), you need to get it out of your stash and cut it up for your next quilt. Fabulous fabric languishing in your stash, folded up in the dark most of the time, this fabric does not have a life. In a quilt, it has a life. If you love a fabric so much that you want to keep it “forever,” put it in a quilt. Today.
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever make a quilter feel bad about her quilt.
Not a single Quilt Scout reader needs to be told this, of course. But if you see injustice out there at a show or at a guild meeting or a sew night, if you see judgement or shade being thrown, you must stop it in its tracks. A quilt can be so ugly it hurts your eyes, but your duty to your fellow quilter is to squeeze her around the shoulders and say, “Isn’t it wonderful we have quilting in our lives?” Or squeeze her and say, “I love quilts, don’t you?” Wear a “Free Hugs” button on your vest, not a Quilt Police badge. It matters more than you think it does.
Wear a safety glove when using the rotary cutter.
At least half the time. But definitely when you’re watching something good on Netflix, or when there’s a glass of wine happening in the studio. If it’s wine and Netflix, wear gloves on both hands.
Make the quilts you want to make.
You don’t have to make conventionally accepted quilts that line up nice and neat. You don’t have to bind them well. You never have to try hand quilting if you don’t want to. You can stop working on a quilt if you truly hate it. You can appliqué words on your quilt. You can print words on your quilt. You can make a quilt with all the colors or just two colors. You really can. And you don’t always need a pattern. Maybe you know more than you think you do. Maybe you’ve got a quilt inside you that just hasn’t had permission to come out, yet. Well, I hereby give you permission to make what is likely to end up being the best quilt you’ve ever made.
That’s it. That’s my advice. As I write these last words, I’m crying. I’m so grateful for all the advice you’ve given me over these years. (That’s how I know all this stuff, anyway.)
Thank you, Quilts, Inc. Thank you, readers, for following along.
Keep quilting — and never stop scouting.