Cuttin’ It Up – Quilt Shows

Yep, we quilt, we gather with friends to quilt, embroidery, and work on fiber projects. But why do we go to Quilt Shows?  To get inspired, learn new techniques, meet old friends and make new friends, maybe win prizes and purchase cool new things at show sale prices, a great one stop shopping opportunity.  Quilt Shows bring together communities, especially smaller communities like we have here in Grant County Oregon.  There is such an amazing talent in rural areas that most people just don’t get a chance to see and at a local quilt show we get to see these beautiful works of art and most of the time meet the person who created it.

When I see quilts at shows I get inspired especially by quilts that I connect with. You see quilts and designs move me, they speak to me in ways that is hard to express.  They make me want to run home and start a new project…never mind I have three projects in the works and another one on the longarm getting finished but I just don’t want to lose the inspiration, the creativity rambling in my head. Trust me – you don’t want to be inside my heard, I drive my husband crazy.

At Quilt shows there are classes, workshops and/or demonstrations that will give you plenty of possibilities to learn, you can take the time to learn a new technique, a new skill or try new products that you can only see online. You are in the company of some accomplished quilters that share many of their experiences and trials. Teaching is a passion and I truly believe this should be passed down to our next generations; just another reason to take your family.

I put a lot time in my quilts, well most of them, some are a snap to do and I just want to get through them so I can start another more interesting one.

This year Harney County is featuring not only their quilts but booths so you can purchases beautiful fabrics and products at amazing prices from Burns, Mount Vernon, Prairie City and more!

But above all this I truly enjoy talking with other likeminded quilters – artists – to see folks I haven’t seen in a while catch up on them and their families. I love my community!  October 15th-16th is the annual ‘Best of the Old West’ Harvest Festival & Quilt Show at the Fairgrounds, an event for the whole family.

Cuttin’ It Up – Teaching Children

Why learn to sew and quilt? Why teach your children?

Learning how to sew is a valuable skill and there are plenty of reasons why you and every child should learn how to sew. Let me enlighten you.

  1. Sewing helps in developing Hand-Eye Coordination: From cutting to threading a needle and operating a sewing machine these simple exercises aid dramatically in this development.
  2. Mathematical and Geometry skills: Math and measuring is an integral part of sewing, especially quilting. Practical application of math and geometry is in all parts of sewing and quilting. This is such a solid way to teach these skills and a child particularly will love to use and show these skills they learn.
  3. Planning and Preparation Skills: Sewing and quilting require advanced planning and preparation, kids will use their problem-solving skills to prepare their sewing and quilting projects. They have to plan their pattern, figure out how much and what materials they will need to complete their project. This is something I focus on with my second year students and is a skill that will take them through all aspects of their lives and careers, even the corporate world.
  4. Creativity and Accomplishment: When a child completes a sewing or quilting project, they will have a physical reminder of their accomplishment. They can show their work by using it in a very practical way either for themselves, to help others as a donation or as a gift.
  5. Mending their clothes: When a child learns to replace a button, mend their clothes, patch a hole or fix a hem they have a skill set that will follow them into adulthood and provide a solid independence and confidence that too many people today seem to lack.
  6. Sewing provide defined stages in their life: From sewing doll clothes to their own clothes, as a child, allows them to express their individuality. Each sewing machine marks a mile stone in our lives and helps us to strengthen our coping mechanism in today’s crazy world. Imagine what this does for a child?
  7. Sewing can save you money: Oh yes it can! Have you ever gone into a store and looked at a garment that was just too expensive for what you are looking at?  Well enter sewing – go home and make it!  Only you get to choose exactly the color and cloth you like and make it really fit just you.

Before you verbally eviscerate me for such a strong opinion, let me explain. Sewing has so many layers. Sewing by hand, home decor sewing, sewing for children/grandchildren, fashion/garment sewing, quilting (ohhh – especially quilting!), crafts, and a lot of other sewing areas I can’t even begin to recount. Saying that, sewing is a useful skill that is worth learning.

When it comes to sewing tasks like winding a bobbin or threading a machine it can bring a person to a screeching halt, just too much for them to master. The thought of inserting a zipper or a buttonhole can cause overwhelming trouble with breathing! Enter teaching, especially as a child, learning through a teacher can be invaluable. This takes much of the stress away since you are relying on someone else’s experience, past mistakes and patience to guild you through this new world.  Part of why I feel so strongly in teaching children is due to their ability to not limit themselves.  I don’t hear ‘I can’t do that’ with young students, they haven’t yet learned that they ‘can’t do something’ and plow right through a project. Sewing does something else most don’t consider; it can reduce your environmental impact; no sweatshops, no cheap – fall apart cloths that you replace every few month and fill up our landfills with so many synthetic materials which take around a thousand year to fully decompose.  Even producing cotton takes a tremendous amount of water, water that many 2nd and 3rd world countries do not have in abundance.  One bolt of material can produce up to 25 garment, depending on what is being made. By sewing your own clothes, you’re reducing your impact on the environment and creating something that will last for years – I could go on but you get the picture.

Sewing also connects us to history, to our parents, our grandparents.  It is a bit of nostalgia, love and memories.  Those who sew have a wonderful tale about who and how they were taught, most involve a loved one. A button box, an embroidery hoop, a thimble – these are some of my most treasured possessions – this gives me a connection to the past and slows down my mind allowing me to escape from the busy-ness of modern life.  With each stitch, each garment, each quilt block I am sewing in my love, and my prayers for those who are so very dear to me.