Tuesday, September 14, 2010


As customers roam through the store we can’t help but overhear snippets of conversation. Sometimes we pick up names of destinations. Other times we listen in on where lunch will be served. But last week we heard something we hadn’t heard before. This time we were treated to a lesson in quality.

“I just don’t know why someone would work so hard on a quilt top, and then put something cheap on the back!” a voice declared.

A long-arm quilter, in town to find a wide backing to finish a project for a friend, shared a bit of her wisdom as she shopped. Having stitched on the work of many other hands, she’d discovered an area that could be improved.

“Your quilt is only as good as the chintziest fabric in it,” she stated.
Her comment brought back memories of a quilt I stitched many years ago. It was a fun project made of simple piecing that produced a complicated result. The colors I’d selected included deep purples, amazing turquoises, and an accent of pure white. That winter we were holed up for several days due to a record-breaking blizzard, so my masterpiece was completed in record time.

Our son loved the quilt as much as I did, and soon he’d adopted it as his own. It traveled with him to college and back, and kept him warm on multiple ski trips. The quilt covered his bed in one state, and then made the move with him when a job opportunity brought him to another. And although I’d enjoyed our son’s visits many times, it was over a decade before I saw the quilt again.

Despite the constant use, the purples were as deep and rich as ever. The turquoises still shone like a winter sky, but the white? What white? The white had dissolved--completely disappeared--causing the batting to hang raggedly where the white used to be.

I must admit, when I created this quilt I had no idea the brutal (but loving) beating it would take. My cloth selections were based on the design effect I wished to create. Had I thought more carefully about the quality of the weave, I might have included a different white. As it is, the beauty of the original quilt is only preserved through photographs.

Quality. As you select patterns and fabrics, think about where your finished project is destined. Will it hang on a wall or a display rack to be touched with eyes only? Or will it be rough-housed and toted from hither to yon? Is your goal to produce something of elegance? Or are you working under the premise of constant use that endures?

This past summer our travels took us to Nantucket Island where tidy rows of houses and shops kept our eyes and feet busy for hours. As we strolled around a corner I was shocked to see a quilt stretched on a clothesline along the outside of a building.

“That’s an antique store!” I sputtered. “They should know better!”
And apparently they did. The quilt was serving an important function. It was an attention getter. Its simple design of squares and flying geese brought attention to the store—and perhaps shoppers through the door!

Quality? Perhaps not what the maker had intended, but a joyful quality all the same.
Whether you are busily creating something that will be passed down to generations to come, or stitching a cover that is sure to take a beating, come visit us. We have lots of quality items ready to be used in your next project. Check out these great brown & pink prints that just arrived:

Share your dreams. Share your inspiration. Share the quality that comes with simpler times.

Sue & the gang at Homestead Hearth

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