Pretensions: A Quilter’s Haiku

In my world, quilting is a humble art. Originally, it was an article made for the home, something to cover a bed, warm the body, filler for a blanket chest or linen closet. Today quilting has blossomed into an art form. Fiber artists have taken the basic utility item and turned it into a fabulous creation of the imagination. But whether you make traditional quilts or art quilts, it’s a pastime that can overtake every moment in life, awake and asleep. Here’s the admission – I quilt.

Fabrics fragmented then sewn together
united with thread in a pattern imagined
warm the body and soul.

Quilting: A Cog In The Economic Machine

Once upon a time, home sewing was an economical way to put clothes on your back or decorate your home. Have you checked out the prices of fabrics lately? Granted, the so-called quilt quality fabrics are very nice, but hasn’t anyone besides me noticed that the price per yard has gone through the roof? I’ve seen some really beautiful fabric this year… at $11 a yard.

So you want to make a quilt big enough to sleep under.  8-10 yards to make the top, the back and the binding for a quilt, (oh come on, you can do the math here).  Crazy!

I am a ruler addict. I’ve got big ones, little ones, square rulers, rectangular rulers. Rulers to cut diamonds. Rulers to cut hexagons. Rulers rule.

Earlier this year I read an interesting book on quilting, Making History: Quilts & Fabric From 1890-1970 by Barbara Brackman. I highly recommend the book, an informative and entertaining read, a nice little overview of fabrics used in American quilts.

Have you seen How To Make An American Quilt? It has a stellar cast, Ann Bancroft, Alfre Woodard, Jean Simmons, Maya Angelou and Ellen Burnstyn for starters. Add Winona Ryder and Dermot Mulroney to the mix and what’s not to love? Beautiful cinematography. Warning: watching this movie while you piece will guarantee you a soggy block, so keep a box of tissues handy – a definite weeper.

Speaking of movies and quilts, have you ever noticed how many quilts are staged in movie sets? For me, quilts convey a sense of home, of comfort, and describe a basic sense of levelheadedness in a character. Look for them and you can spot quilts everywhere, in movies about urban dwellers (You’ve Got Mail), westerns (The Angel and the Badman), and period fantasy pieces (Nanny McPhee).


I wonder if Kevin Bacon has ever co-starred with a quilt and where exactly, would that lead me today?

4 thoughts on “Pretensions: A Quilter’s Haiku

  1. akagracie

    As you are aware, I am definitely humbled by quilting. I know that’s not what you were talking about, but there’s something so satisfying – so comforting – about lying under a handmade quilt. And as for making a quilt for someone: oh, the joy of planning and sewing while thinking about the pleasure the recipient will (one hopes) derive from the finished object!
    When you mentioned You’ve Got Mail, I immediately thought of When Harry Met Sally, and the quilt on her bed. Then I wondered if quilts are a theme in Nora Ephron movies; I’m fairly sure there’s one in Sleepless in Seattle and one in Heartburn, but will re-watch both to confirm.
    I looked up Barbara Brackman’s book on Amazon and noticed it’s also available for Kindle. Would you recommend the Kindle version?
    What about six degrees of Kevin Bacon & quilts in movies? (perhaps that’s too easy; there may well be a quilt in Singles)


    1. jotokla Post author

      BB’s book in Kindle format – that’s exactly the version I have. Here’s the deal, most of the photography was fine. But captions? Forget about it. Every time I wanted to read a caption I had to change the font size and even the largest available wasn’t very satisfactory. In this particular case I’d recommend a hard copy of the book.

      Six degrees from Kevin with quilts – why not!


  2. Donnell

    I have seen How to Make an American Quilt and loved it.

    Have you ever watched the series Bones? I knew it was a show for me when one of the main characters sat on a bed that was covered in a quilt. He rubbed his hand across it and said “nice quilt” before moving on to the rest of the scene.

    There was probably a quilt in Footloose.


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