LOL, Textile Trends That I Can Do Without

Updated: May 2, 2021

Quilters can have opinions about things and a sense of humor. I posted the above online yesterday and people were either giving it a standing ovation or getting upset that I dare say anything not positive about anything. From the comments I gathered my sensibilities about these did not translate well through text, but I stand by what I said. In fact, let me double down and explain further in reverse order.

3. There is a big difference between a memory quilt and having a t-shirt quilt made just because you have a garbage bag full of shirts you don't wear. I worked in education for a long time. I'm all too aware that schools are eager to give out (but usually sell) spirit shirts every time somebody sneezes. With every small town having an abundance of screen printers, it's a quick way for schools to make money while selling their own version of fast fashion. It has gotten to the point that people are like, "If they didn't have a t-shirt, did it really happen?" I understand that some of these commemorate memorable events, but if it's not a shirt you will wear regularly, should you buy it? Obviously a lot of people accumulate a lot of shirts for a lot of different reasons, but the fact that schools/sororities/fraternities/clubs use the t-shirt industry to hustle money out of students doesn't sit right with me. Don't even get me started on the selling of expensive class rings to high school seniors.

As a quilter I appreciate the fact that t-shirt quilts are a gateway drug into the craft. Raise your hand if a t-shirt quilt or the desire to make one was what brought you to quilting? I see you and that's awesome. Here's the thing though. Most t-shirt quilts are pretty ugly and if someone wasn't wearing those shirts regularly to begin with, are they going to use a quilt with those same shirts? Yet there is this whole section of the industry, quilters who solely create t-shirt quilts on commission, because people don't know what to do with all those damn shirts. Good for them. It's not my thing to commemorate excessive clothing purchases. Now I know we can't go back in time and not buy them, but I promise you I've seen my share of t-shirt quilts that would have been better off as rags to wash the car.

Well what's the difference between a t-shirt quilt and a memory quilt? That's a question you might ask if you're still reading. Well, a memory quilt is full of memories. Sometimes created to remember someone who has passed on, but also sometimes to remember a certain time period or place. Up-cycled from clothing that someone actually wore, not a t-shirt that was printed and worn for one three hour event, banished to the back of the closet after that. Just because we have a memory of something, is it worth memorializing? I think that is a big question I weigh every time I see a t-shirt quilt. I'f you've made one, you understand the amount of time and labor that goes into one, and that doubles if you're attempting to make one that has any sort of aesthetic appeal. So, this quilter believes that just because you have a ton of t-shirts, that doesn't mean you need to have a t-shirt quilt.

2. I love slow fashion, being frugal, up cycling, make do and mend. All that is wonderful. Shashiko stitching is beautiful. However, my instagram feed filling up with crotch shots of high contrast embroidery is neither wonderful or beautiful. It feels weirdly invasive. You've hung onto the same pair of pants for three decades and just can't let them go? Please don't turn them into clown car versions of the pants they once were. I'm talking about people embroidering airfield runway lights that point to their privates and layers upon layers of patches that just can't be comfortable.

Know what would be a better idea? Using those loved pants to make a pattern and sew another pair with the same fit. Cutting them up and up-cycling them into other useful, less crotch centric stuff. Perhaps using them to craft a useful bag or embroidering some of the fabric then hanging it on your wall. Let me be clear that I'm not against mending and patching pants, but I am grossed out by people who are insistent on visibly mending the intimate areas of their pants with attention grabbing colors and big hard to ignore stitches.

1. I said it and a whole host of Momma Bears reeled with outrage. I'm not sorry. The aesthetic from Stephen King's film The Mist is not a good look for a nursery. I follow baby trends on Pinterest to stay in touch, now that I'm a little older and all I'm seeing is bland and boring. Manilla file folders and cigarette ash grey are not baby colors. I'll post some pictures of what I've seen so you can understand what I'm talking about. Grey ball pits and grey rainbows? It's gone from boring and dull to downright depressing.

Let me tell you, the majority of quilters I know hate it. Yes, we can make modern, minimalist and low volume quilts. No we don't think they are cute for babies. Quilters like color. We take classes on and read books about color theory. I get it, this trend was created by people who are having babies now. People who grew up in nurseries and playrooms that were kaleidoscopes of primary colors and clowns. This trend is clearly a direct response to that, but it's gone too far. A room can be a calm happy place and have some color. A baby quilt can be cute without looking like it's in a black and white noir story.

Some have said this minimalist color scheme is the new unisex look, to prevent the all blue or princess pink explosions that happen when relatives find out the gender. You know what? Theres a ton of other colors out there. You know what else? Stop doing gender reveals and you won't have to worry about people buying your baby so much pink or blue stuff. I mean, we can get to know the baby without raising them in a prison cell of a nursery.

This stance brought out a few good questions on social media. One, who is the nursery for? Is it a safe calm space for overworked exhausted parents or is it a room for the baby? It's for the baby ya'll. Come on now. The parents have the whole house. If every other room is too colorful or distracting for the parents to relax, then whose fault is that? The nursery will quickly be a bedroom for a toddler and should be a cheerful colorful place for them. The other question was about gifting of quilts. Should a quilter make something they want to gift and enjoyed making or should they spend their time, money and talents creating an easily forgettable bland blanket because the parents want that? I'll let you discuss that amongst yourselves.

In conclusion, yes I have opinions on things. No we may not always agree on them, but I'm okay with that. Thank you for letting me vent without taking personal offense to my observations. You can see some of the pinterest pics below to get a better understanding about the extreme use of grey here.

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