Friday, January 8, 2010
All Kitted Out
I received the Winter 2010 Connecting Threads catalog in the mail yesterday. Browsing through the catalog and promising myself that I'm 'just looking', I'm struck by how popular complete quilt kits seem to be. When, and if, I buy a quilt kit that includes both pattern and the matching fabrics to complete the top, it's solely because I can't get those fabrics any other way. To me, understanding the mind of the quilter who enjoys putting together quilt kits is comparable to understanding the mind of the male species.
Don't misunderstand me - I love kit quilts. Just look at the two gorgeous kit quilts shown above (the left one is from Connecting Threads, the one on the right from EverythingQuilts.com) . My mom sent my sister a quilt for Christmas - one that was made by my great aunt Ida Belle Combs - and it is a rather well known iris applique pattern that was sold in kits during the 30s and 40s. I've put together lots of Block of the Month kits while I was teaching quilting, but somehow those blocks never actually made it into a quilt - no surprise there.
So what do I personally have against kitted quilts? I think it goes back a knee jerk, rebellious reaction to years of being a 'good girl' and doing what I was told, seeking everyone's approval. I'm not exactly tearing it up out here with my head-banging, hard-rockin' ways, but I certainly do resist being told what to do, and that includes in my quilting.
For example, for a Christmas gift exchange with my mini-group friends, I decided to use Martha Stewart's pattern for 'homegrown' tomato pincushions. I glanced through the pattern instructions, then ignored them and went my own way. I ignored the fact that you needed to cut the fabric on the bias, that you first needed to sew a tube before hand-stitching the bottom closed, and ignored the suggestion to use cotton batting. Luckily I had only cut out 1 of the 12 I had planned to make.
Back to the beginning - re-cut the fabric (on the bias), stitch one side only, turn, baste, stuff and close. The 'test' model I ended up keeping. I had stuffed it full of polyester fleece scraps and it's so hard you can barely poke a pin in it. Who knew polyester fleece was such tough stuff?
So my hard-headed mulishness got me one rock hard pincushion as a souvenir. Then my quick learning resulted in eleven lovely cushy 'homegrown' tomatoes to share with my friends. Would I ever make a kit quilt by following the instructions to the letter? Well, it's not likely. Would I appreciate it if someone made me a quilt from a kit? Oh, you betcha.