Saturday, August 12, 2017

Creativity: Remembering my "WHY" as I read: Our Family Quilt

Our Family Quilt
The Fabric of Life
Rhonda Cratty

Summary: Join and experience creativity and nostalgia through Grace, a master quilter, -as she shares her creative gifts with her young granddaughter, Audrey. Together their lives unfold around their family quilt.  The love between grandmother and granddaughter keep a family’s generations turning despite minor setbacks, disappointments and celebrations of life. As friends and family of this charming mountain town in Colorado come together for life’s moments. Creating an inspirational, heartwarming story to share with those you love.

Our Family Quilt immerses readers in:
  • Family Life
  • Contemporary Women
  • Quilting ideas
  • Creativity for everyday living
  • The secret world of Grandmothers and Granddaughters and the people they love…
 I was flattered and happy when author Rhonda Cratty, sent me a copy of her book, The Family Quilt for me to read and offer as a give-away here on my blog. I'm enjoying this book in-between quilting my "monster" ragged roses/nine patch quilt. (Which your guys, is almost done!!!) After a few e-mail correspondences between us, it was fun to get to know Rhonda and learn about her path to quilting and how much we have in common. She lives in beautiful Colorado and like me, enjoys walking, hiking, and cross country skiing. And like many of us quilters, when she is not writing, she enjoys traveling, quilting, crocheting, cooking, reading and painting.

Remember our WHY!

As I read, though I don't have family nearby, or any granddaughters, I love the idea how quilting connects people. Like you and I. And lately, it's so wierd, but I have been asked why I quilt. What do I do with all my quilts. Why don't I just sell them. I even been kinda laughed at for having a dozen (okay more) quilts just piled around my house and that even the dogs have a quilt! They gasp...while I'm internally thinking: "Of course they do! LOL!"  

I hate when I don't have a quick answer....I always find myself contemplating others views and comments rather than having a quick response. Hmmm....more often than not, I do ask myself those very questions. Am I evolving into a lonely, old quilt lady? Why do I do what I do? 

While reading Rhonda's book I'm intriqued how writing Our Family Quilt began as a book idea but then moved her into research of quilting as an art form in America. The characters in this book evolved through quilting classes, quilting shows, museums, shops, the Columbine Quilt Guild, inspiring speakers, and encouraging quilters. Each experience inspired the Rhonda to add a different dimension to both her quilting and writing.
Like Rhonda and I'm sure many of you, I find the quilting process moves me forward and inspires my NEED to be creative. It adds that different dimension to my life that I like. I value the quiet time it provides me to recharge. It's a way I take care of myself....a healthy outlet during times I may feel lonely or sad from life's challenges.   But it also allows outlet to my creativity. I love that I can create original gifts for others. I can give to charities. It allows me to continuously grow and learn. Example, while quilting the "monster" I have gained a new confidence in my quilting and with that, took a pile of business cards to my favorite quilt shop for distribution. Out of the blue...while rhythmically quilting those 99 blocks, a brand new idea has been formulating in my mind. Each day I have found myself enthusiastically capturing those ideas in my sketchbook for later reference. I'm learning that confidence comes from doing something you thought you couldn't do. Inspiration comes from sources we don't predict. That's why I quilt. As Rhonda's book so wonderfully interweaves throughout her story it's the value of living a creative life quilting allows. 

How about you? Why do you quilt? Please do comment and share and perhaps an inspiring email conversation will evolve? Annndddd....if you can't wait for my September give-away of Rhonda's The Family Quilt book and want to get a copy of it now, she forwarded this info. for to me to share:
·         ASIN: B01N8WSCV7
·         ISBN-10: 1537796852
·         ISBN-13: 978-1537796857

           Keep an eye out as I continue my series of  "Creativity" posts.
                       Coming up soon: Being Prepared followed by Making Time . 

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  1. Lovely review and perspective. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I mostly quilt just for the creative outlet--not to mention the friends I've made through quilting, and of course the shopping! I get asked a lot what I do with all my quilts--that's kind of embarrassing! I've just pulled a pile of them to donate because things are out of control--lol!

  3. What a good post. Of late, I've had other quilters send newsletters or posts telling why they quilt or about re-examining their creative purpose.
    I quilt for the creativity. I want to share that creativity with others, including children. I like connecting with others of all ages through quilting. Quilting is challenging because I keep stretching my boundaries, always trying new techniques and styles, through classes, books, magazines, videos, and internet sharing by others. Quilting relaxes me, even as it challenges. My husband knows when I haven't seen for a few days and encourages me to go sew.
    I was drawn to Quilting as a college student over 40 years ago. I put it on hold for a while as I worked and mothered. I am so very happy I've come back to it.

  4. What a thoughtful and lovely post, Val! I've also been asked recently why I don't just sell my quilts. Some folks are baffled by the thought of giving them away.

    I agree with you that quilts are about connection. When I'm making a gift, I spend a lot of quiet, contemplative sewing time just thinking about that person. For charity quilts, I try to think a lot of healing thoughts while I sew because I know the quilt will be going to someone in need. Especially for the children's quilts, I think about loving adults from my own childhood, and how they comforted me. So I'm touching on memories of beloved aunts, uncles and grandparents who are long gone and yet still find themselves in my work.

    All that peaceful connection goes on during sewing time. The creative phase for me is many happy hours just thinking about, reading about, looking at, and petting beautiful fabric! I love this happy, bright world where my mind can visit anytime to think about quilts. I often fall asleep with fabric swirling through my head.

    And of course, connecting with other bloggers online feeds both of these parts of my life. Reading about others' design process sparks new ideas for me. Seeing finished quilts is almost as satisfying as if they were my own. And learning about the hopes, dreams, loves, joys and sorrows of my fellow quilters brings me back to a place of deep peace. I know I'm not alone in this odd little obsession, cutting up perfectly good fabric just to sew it back together again because our shared goals are beauty, love and comfort.

  5. The one thing that many quilters don't acknowledge is that quilting can be a form of escapism. A time to reflect, to put boredom at bay, to hide away from troubling News of the Day, or personal woes, or just a time to carve a niche for yourself in the busy life of a family so you don't lose 'yourself' amid family demands. It's creative, and challenging, and stimulates the brain by learning new skills. Trying to sum up why a person quilts is definitely not an easy task!

  6. I read this book and thought it wasn't good at all. She sent me a copy to review as well, but I said I couldn't recommend it. Here's my Goodreads review.

    This novel has such a charming idea, but unfortunately suffers in the writing. A grandmother, Grace, teaches her granddaughter, Audrey, how to quilt over a difficult summer. The granddaughter makes a log cabin pattern quilt for her new home. A few years later, she puts an applique on the quilt to commemorate getting her driver's license and gives it back to her grandmother. The family quilt is passed again on special life events, through the next generations, and each time something is added to the quilt. The problem is this first time author apparently did not have an editor to help her, and thus her characters are flat, and there is a severe lack of imagery. In one scene, the characters attend a quilt show. No imagery of the show is given. They stop at a vendor booth with "all the kits you can imagine". But as a reader, I want to know what the author imagines. The characters come upon a lake with people fishing. OK, is the lake water green or blue? Are the people standing on a sandy beach, a rocky shoal, or a weathered pier? Is the lake small, surrounded by evergreens, or large enough to reach to the horizon? I had so many questions with every chapter and scene that went unanswered. No imagery of the characters are given either, the readers doesn't know if Grace is more like Betty White or Tyler Perry's Medea. The dialog is stilted and contrived with too many platitudes, without a natural flow. The voice of the 12-year-old Audrey sounds like a 30-year-old. Combine this with choppy writing, made worse by blank lines between one- or two-sentence paragraphs and every line of dialog, and it is a chore to slog through to the end. This had such great potential, but suffers from glossing over the details, something a good editor could have helped flesh out. I'm sure her family and friends giving her five stars were trying to be supportive, but they would have served this author better by telling her the truth before she spent the money to self publish.

  7. I love what I tend to call "memory quilts". After Mom and I went on a trip to Ireland together I made a photo quilt of our travels and still am happy to take it out and remember our trip.

    I love your raw-edged flowers with the 9-patches--I think it's just lovely.
    hugs, julierose

  8. I quilt because I love the creativity, inspiration, joy, color, friends, imagination and comfort I derive from the craft 💕😍👌 and quilting has a fantastic history of bringing women together, it's just fabulous.

  9. Great question and I've had the same stumbling reaction too. Noone ever asks an artist why they draw. I think its just playing and exploring draws me to it. exercising that creative need to test or figure out an idea that's bouncing around your head the brilliant sense of accomplishment when you get it out there, makes me feel good.

  10. A very thoughtful blog post. Isn't it amazing how a book can take your thoughts in one direction or another. I quilt much for the same reasons you do. It's an outlet for creativity. It's a great way to find and keep my sanity. When she was little DT always wanted me to enter my quilts in shows and such. I always told her the quilts were for me and I didn't really need to show them. I still feel that way. But I've really enjoyed making special quilts for others. It's such a nice feeling to see someone's face light up when they open a quilt just for them.

  11. Your writing makes me want to quilt and it makes me want to write. What an inspiration you are. I quilt for people I love, I quilt to inspire my writing, and I quilt for my creative soul. Best always, Rhonda


I have to admit, your comments make me smile! Thanks for sharing and for letting me know you stopped by. I Hope your day is awesome!


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