I’ve now been to both Quilt Market and QuiltCon, two conventions on either side of the industry. If Market is more about doing business and making sales, QuiltCon is about building relationships: meeting virtual friends and Instagram followers in real life, sitting down with industry reps to chat and problem-solve, strengthening ties between guild members. Old friends take silly pictures like no time has passed. Two local guild officers walk into last Thursday’s Moda Party; they end up several hours later in a gift shop on Sixth Street in a cowboy hat and a Davy Crockett coonskin cap, thereby cementing a moment neither of them will be able to live down. (Not that I would know.)
When I went on the hunt for a quilt to feature for the RST Quilt-along, I had a pretty clear vision. It had to have a modern aesthetic. It had to be from an independent, rising designer. It had to be new enough that there weren’t 40 other QALs to compete with. Rachel van Tilborg’s Friendship Bracelet quilt was all those things, but it was perfect for another reason: its theme expressed my goal for this website so perfectly.
For so many of us, sewing has become much more than stitching together fabric — it’s about stitching together lifelong friendships. We should be approaching sewing, in my mind, as opportunity for social engagement and social support, not as a space for hero-worship, hierarchy, or competition. There’s enough of the bad stuff all around already. That’s what I try to do here: provide insight into the industry and into designers’ creative processes. Support independent creators and shops. Share what I know. A rising tide raises all ships, and I trust that this website works because we are committed to supporting those around us. A friendship bracelet is the perfect representation of this commitment. (more…)