This weekend, my non-quilting job took me to the town over from my parent’s home. I spent the evening with them and of course conversation with my mother turned to quilting.

She had stopped at one of my favorite quilt shops a couple days earlier and couldn’t wait to show me what she bought. First, two jelly rolls. They were both cute; not something I would have purchased for myself, but cute. She also bought yardage.

Before I describe the yardage, let me pause here and tell you how my mother organizes her fabric. First, she and I are those rare breeds who actually try to only buy fabric for which we have a plan. I know, don’t stop reading because you officially hate me now…cut me some slack. My mom takes that to a whole other level though. When she purchases fabric, she immediately brings it home and washes it. She presses it and then places it neatly folded into a large plastic bag with the corresponding pattern. When she is ready to start the project, she can grab and sew. I know, don’t hate her either.

Okay, so back to the fabric she purchased. She already had it in its washed and bagged form. The first bag of fabric, I liked. Again, I probably wouldn’t have purchased it, but I could see her sewing it. The last bag was a different story. I really did not like it, nor could I fake it.

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The conversation of “justification for why she liked it” that proceeded after that got me thinking about what we like and why we like it.  It also got me thinking about how we “instinctively evaluate” the work of others. When we attend quilt shows, we say things like, “I don’t like that. Ooo, I love that. Look at that design. I love those colors.” It is human nature to “judge” or evaluate based on our own likes and dislikes. We are “attracted” to what we are “attracted” to; it is that simple.

What’s the first thing you see when you look at someone else’s quilt?

I tried to answer that question for myself. I think first, I see design, then color, then workmanship.

 I can't always find similarity to my quilts...and sometimes I don't like my own finished product...what does that say about me...where was my joy?

While I find myself more active in the Modern Quilt movement, I also have great respect and love for traditional quilts and art quilts. I find that I don’t fit completely or nicely in any box. I often feel like the odd ball out.

Recently, during a Skillshare class with Bonnie Christine, she shared a quote with us. “There is room for you.” Her reference was to room in the market for new surface pattern designs, but I think it applies to this concept of what we like as well.

There’s room for brown, and grunge, and dots, and batiks, and wild prints, and small prints, and solids, and rainbows. There’s room, because we are all very different. So, how do we appreciate and evaluate and discuss together when we ARE so different? Does that require us to rank our “first things we see” differently? I think it does, and I feel like that lesson has been carried home for me by the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild. So many of the ladies and gents in this awesome quilty family are new or newer to quilting. Over the last couple of years, I have watched as we have all advanced and picked up new techniques. We have all spread our wings to take on new challenges, and the joy it brings as those finished projects are shared, well that joy is life giving. You can feel the positive energy.

So, at the local quilt show last weekend held by the Quilters of South Carolina, I tried to look at the quilts with THAT concept as my guide. “Can I see the joy that came from completing this project?” Can I see the work, the learning, the picking, the stitching, the color thought, the skill building and the love that went into this quilt? In that respect, it makes them all winners. It makes them all amazing. It makes them all worthy of WOW! There’s room for all quilts. There’s room for all fabrics. There’s room for all of us in this world of creating. We all have something to share and we all have something to learn. That means, that it is okay for my mom to say, “I just like it…”

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