I am sharing this because there have been things written lately regarding the threatened (perceived??) future of the art of quilting. With the closing of an established NYC quilt shop and the sudden demise of AQS’s publishing arm (“Quilter’s Newsletter” magazine, among many other book publications), alarms are going off all over ‘quilt-dom’ as to what is its future and what part can we play in preventing its (near) extinction???!!!!! Is this an over-reaction??? Perhaps a ‘correction’ for a creative art that has gone corporate? Please, don’t get me wrong……I have great sympathy for those caught in this ‘adjustment’, whose livelihoods are threatened or have evaporated taking with it hopes, dreams and much $$ investment. But, just maybe, its a wake-up call to take a step back and really take a hard look at what it is that we’re passionate about. Creative artistry, in its various expressions, has been within our souls since the beginning of time and will continue to be expressed in the future. Many of us have a “stash” that will never end in our lifetime!!!! Is mentoring a young one in the sewing/quilting art something that is possible??? Yes! It will help (since such classes have been removed from our schools). It is a topic each of us may need to rethink. Are we on a quilting treadmill to produce or is it an expression of who we are?? Are we creating a beautiful art piece that will be our legacy??? Only you are able to give an answer to that. All I’m asking is that you take a moment to ask yourself the question…….and ponder………………….


Mom and her quilt

This is my Mom.  Dad is nearby, as always, watching over her.

Mom's Cross-stitch

This is a quilt that took her two years of living life abroad in Lima, Peru to make, putting in one cross-stitch after another.  She sat in an upstairs window seat in our home there, overlooking a quiet suburban street — quiet, except for the time that someone missed a stop sign, careened into our yard, the car turning upside as it landed near our front window.  My dad said he thought the maid had thrown the vacuum cleaner down the stairs again.  Luckily the Clinica was a block away, so it turned out all right.


My mother didn’t really speak Spanish, although she tried her best to communicate with the household help she was expected to keep: a maid for the household, a maid for the laundry, a man to wash the cars, and a gardener.  She took Spanish…

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About treadlemusic

A quilter who rides motorcycle, living on a small hobby farm in southeastern Minnesota. Grandmother and Great Grandmother.
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16 Responses to Legacy

  1. LB says:

    Thoughtful and thought provoking post, Doreen.
    A couple weeks ago, I had my mother send photos of a Cathedral Window quilt she made 20 years ago or so. It is definitely one of many of her legacys. I also have many of my grandmothers embroidered items, and knitting as well. Such gifts!
    By the way, I thought of you yesterday as I worked on a quilt with a bunch of friends (we are gifting a friend with a quilt for her 60th). Anyway, I was assigned the cutting and ironing, not the quilting. I was just happy to be a part of it all.

    • treadlemusic says:

      Yay!!!! Cutting & ironing is good!!! I LUV the Cathedral Window pattern and it’s one of those that I probably never do….really! The vintage pieces that we all have are a challenge to share with the next generation with the value we wrap them with. That’s why I’ve shifted to, and become obsessed by, quilting these pieces. It updates them and brings them into “today” and the reception thus far has been very positive!!!!! Wonderful!!!!!

  2. Mrs. Magpie (Sheila) says:

    While I haven’t been blogging for a bit due to lots of reasons, I checked in this morning and thoroughly enjoyed reading about your mother and her beautiful quilt. How blessed you are that she gifted you with it!

    While I don’t quilt, I do adore them. Something tells me that quilters will continue to quilt as long as fabric and thread exist. I hate to hear of businesses closing, but that seems to be the way of it with a lot of businesses these days, quilt shops being one of a bigger sea. It also is true of volunteer organizations and many areas of life. People are just so busy being busy, and the Internet has altered life in untold ways, good and bad.

    My niece has a piece of needlepoint my mother worked on when my father had doctors’ visits. It helped keep Mama focused, and she worked on it off and on for several years until he died. it is a treasure, indeed.

    These types of heirlooms are so special, and it is up to us to translate to a younger generation how important hand-made is. But some of them are getting the message. Makers spaces seem to be the up and coming thing, and surely quilts will be appreciated as the works of art they are. I also think when the design trends shift back (and they will) lots of things I miss seeing in home decor will return, including quilts and needlepoint and chintz and…

    Thanks for sharing. I turned off the comments on my blog for the time being. I’m just not able to blog right now. Plan to return, though!

    Thanks for sharing!


    Sheila (Mrs. Magpie)

  3. KerryCan says:

    I agree with the others–I think quilting will always appeal to lots of us, for lots of reasons. I don’t pay much attention to the big picture of quilting but it seems it has gotten very corporate, with lots of kits and fancy rulers and expensive equipment. I know a lot of folks who crank out tons of quilts and that makes them happy. But I’d just as soon see (and make) more of the legacy quilts, like the one Elizabeth E’s mom made.

  4. No alarms going off here. Most of the shops that have closed in close proximity to me are those who are retiring and the youth of today does not have the skill set or patience to take over a business like that. Let’s face it, the baby boomers have grown their empires and they are tired and want time for themselves. I have heard a lot of gruff about a couple internet companies taking a huge piece of the pie with their clever merchandising and marketing. I think eventually it will slump because what goes up must also come down eventually.

  5. kathyreeves says:

    While the modern media and digital age has certainly enhanced our ability to spread the quilting message, and certainly has helped it mature as an art form, that’s not why I started to quilt. It came from a love of textiles and a wish to create some just as my grandmothers and great grandmothers did. Their quilts were made to give old clothes another lease on life as something useful. That is what called me to the legacy of my grandmothers, and it will continue to do so, whether I have access to the latest and greatest quilting toys and newest fabrics, (which are really cool!) or simply a pile of old clothes and single needle and thread.

  6. Patricia Dauphinee says:

    Well put Doreen. Quilting is not going anywhere, look back in time and this does happen, weeds out the weak and keeps the strong. There have been all kinds of crafts from the beginning of time, things come and things go. That’s the way life it. Beautiful article, enjoyed the read.

    • treadlemusic says:

      Thanks so much and you are spot on. And it really MUST be so, if one thinks about it…..as you said, it serves to bring out the best and redefine the art. As with all arts and crafts, there are many legitimate levels of involvement…..this is not to demean that “lesser” level……but, rather, to raise up those who choose the higher skill level to perfect and to dig deep into themselves to bring out the best!!!!!

  7. I think you have said it perfectly. I don’t think the art of quilting will ever die, as you said the creative gene is in all of us. I think our world has become the instant gratification group of people, They don’t want to work for the end product. It is an “I want it and want it now.”

    I have broken down the whole process and I find enjoyment searching for that one fabric that will speak to me. It may be the thrift store, yard sales, neighborhood store, or quilt store, to finding the right design and then seeing it all come together.

    With everyone going “paperless” there will be less magazines printed, but to the true quilter, or artist, we will always find what we love.

    We are here to stay. Sorry, I was going to keep this short.

    • treadlemusic says:

      That is wonderfully stated!!!! I couldn’t agree more!!! It is “change” that we’re talking about……adjustment(?)……not a ‘negative’ unless we label it so (depending on our personal reality impact). Thank you so much for your observations/thoughts!!!! Hugs…….

  8. Elizabeth E. says:

    I, too, have been thinking about all the “shrinking” going on in our industry, and I do feel sad, but yours is the best response I have read yet to this spate of bad news. Thank you for including Mom’s quilt in your juxtaposition. Maybe subconsciously I was pushing back against the frenetic pace we’ve all been keeping, allowing the contraction, yet emphasizing that we still have much to work with and to be grateful for in our quilty world. Thanks for a great write-up.

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