Why Do You Quilt? Because I Have To Quilt

Why do you quilt?  That question was recently asked of me.  There's someone in one of my quilting groups who is doing their college thesis on quilting.  She had a survey so she could collect her data.  The very last question was, "Why do you quilt?"  I didn't want to overwhelm her so I kept it short.  I wanted to share my story of why I quilt, though.  It's not a simple answer, it's more than just in my DNA.  There's so much more.  It was something I didn't want to do but something my soul cried out to do.

why do i quilt


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As long time readers know I'm a multi-generational quilter.  Both grandmother's quilted, my mom quilted, my aunt and uncle quilted.  I suspect both great-grandmother's quilted as well.  I know one sewed because I have her sewing machine.  So quilting has always been around me.  I even made a quilt when I was a kid.  Then my worse nightmare happened.  My mother died of breast cancer.  I was 14 and I swore I would never make another quilt.



I swore up and down I wouldn't quilt.  My Grandma Green would just shake her head.  She knew, some day, I would make another one, I would probably make many more.  She said I would never be happy until I made one.  See the one thing I didn't stop doing was watching quilting shows.  Every Saturday I would still turn on our local PBS and watch whatever quilting shows they aired.  I denied it was because I was interested, insisting it was strictly because there was nothing else on.  It didn't matter that we had 100 chanels nothing else was on that I wanted to watch.

When I got married grandma encouraged me to make a quilt.  I started a log cabin quilt.  I never finished it.  I know now why I didn't finish that quilt.  I wasn't making my quilt.  I was still making my mom's quilt.  It was so 1990s that it wasn't funny.  I hated it and I didn't finish it.  I'm not sorry about it either.  If I hadn't started that one, reminding me that I could do it, I wouldn't be writing this today.

I finished my first quilt since my mom died after taking a Craftsy class.  It was a pixelated photo quilt.  It was so unlike anything my mom would have made.  It also proved my grandma right.  Something deep inside of me woke up.  My soul was soothed.  I felt a connection to my mom and both grandmas like I had never felt before.  I was hooked, I'd found my own quilting voice.  I had an outlet.

So why do I quilt?  I quilt to honor my past.  The women and men in my family that I watched create who never pushed but always encouraged me to do the same.  I quilt to soothe my soul.  I quilt to inspire others so that the art of quilting never dies.  I quilt because I now know that I can make those traditional patterns in my style. I quilt because if I didn't I would be miserable deep inside.

Tell me why you quilt below.  We all have a story.

why i quilt


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About Melissa Shields

Mel is a 30 something year old quilter, attempting to balance her old school roots with today's trends. When not sewing or shopping for a new sewing machine Mel enjoys reading, reality TV, and Nascar.

2 comments:

  1. WOW! My story seems insignificant to yours. It is a family tradition here too. Grandma, mom, aunts and now my cousins and I share this common bond. Quilting strikes a creative cord in me and provides a great hobby.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I actually don't quilt but, I'm really interesting in learning how.

    ReplyDelete