The Quilt Scout
by Mary Fons
Quilts On Phones
It always happens the same way.
At a meet-and-greet where there’s enough time to chat, or at the first lull in a class, a quilter will approach me with a shy smile and a phone in her hand. It’s not a picture with me she’s after — not at this moment, anyway. No, what she wants to do is show me a picture of a quilt she’s made. All of her quilt pictures are on her phone, after all, so would it be okay to show me one or two?
Sometimes the quilt on the phone is a work in progress, like this one of mine. Not pictured: A design wall. Image: Mary Fons
I tell her, emphatically, that it is absolutely okay. “I love quilts on phones,” I say. And so I do.
It’s easy to forget that as little as ten years ago, this wasn’t really a thing. The iPhone was unveiled in 2007, and even though it was instantly popular and showed itself to be immediately transformative for global culture, it took a few years before basically everyone and their grandmother — and you know I meant that literally — owned one of their own.
According to an article published in 2015 in The Economist, 80% of the adult population will carry a smart phone by 2020. For quilters, this means that roughly 8 out of 10 of us can keep a record of our quiltmaking history in our pocket. Considering how heavy quilts can be, we really owe Steve Jobs a debt of gratitude.
Bonus points for any phone picture with the
quiltmaker present, as in this one with my
mom, Marianne Fons, in 2014.Not all quilters take pictures of their quilts when they finish them, but I encourage every quilter to
do so. The more I dive into quilt history books
(a favorite pastime), the more I see the value in
the documentation of our quilting practice. If a signature or a label on a quilt is pay dirt for a
quilt historian, actual documentation about her inspiration or construction is a gold mine. In years past, this might come in the form of a letter or a diary entry.
In today’s world, we document digitally: We take pictures of our quilts on our phones and
frequently share them on social media, which usually means we post a comment or two along with the image. We’ll share the name of the quilt,
at least, but probably the name of the pattern,
the designer, the fabrics we used, maybe even
the number of pieces in the quilt, if it’s particularly impressive. (That’s not bragging, by
the way. That’s quilt pride, and you earned it.)
It’s so easy to keep a record of what we make these days, and I think it’s pretty much
an all-around win-win. I will issue one caveat, however: While I do love to see quilts on phones, it is probably best to limit your digital show-and-tell to maybe four or five of your proudest accomplishments.
It’s not that I don’t want to see them all; it’s that there are several quilters behind you, excited to open up their own image galleries and beam with pride in the palm of their hand.
Point taken away if the quiltmaker is present in the photo but not able to be seen, as in this picture of me holding up a kaleidoscope quilt in 2016.
Image: Claus Langbehn.