Thomas Knauer on Modern Quilt Perspectives

on March 24 | in Books, Products, Sewing Trends | by | with 93 Comments

From Kristin: In my previous life, I was an eighth grade US History teacher. During several of our units, we studied quilts and quilting history and examined how the lives of the makers were reflected in their quilts. For example, all it takes is a quick look at the names of some of the blocks from the late 1800s–Rocky Mountain Puzzle, Chisholm Trail, Missouri Star, Road to California–to understand that the pioneer migration had a profound and lasting impact on the craft. The popularity of the quilts wasn’t just an aesthetic trend, but an expression of a shared experience and the significance of place.

In  the introduction to his new book, Modern Quilt Perspectives: 12 Patterns for Meaningful Quilts, Thomas Knauer says, “To Me, quilts are, first of all, cultural experession–small statements about a time, a place, an idea. They speak about oneself and one’s place in the world.”  Through the patterns in the book, Thomas proposes 12 new symbolic quilts that reflect current values and ideas. We asked him to write a little about the symbolic quilts of the past, and how modern quilt designs can represent today’s world. See below for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book!

From Thomas:
I am not a formalist; never have been. I feel lucky that throughout my training as an artist I have had professors who emphasized the formal aspects of art as the means to speak about ideas and issues, and who taught me that shapes, in and of themselves, are essentially arbitrary. Without an underlying reason, no organization of shapes is inherently better than any other; it is all just taste.

In fact that is one of the main things that draws me to quilting. It isn’t the formal vocabulary or even the material process; it is the tradition of using quilts to speak to issues, both large and small. When I look at most of the old, traditional quilts I see them as translations of shared experiences, of nature, of communities, of lives. While each individual incarnation tells a very personal story, the shared forms, the recurring blocks and patterns, speak to common experiences. It is that interconnection of the individual with the communal that I find so compelling about this practice, and that draws me to design and write about quilts.

In fact, that is the whole point of this first book; it is about looking for a symbolic vocabulary that speaks to our day. The most obvious example in the book is my Cinderblocks quilt. While I enjoy log cabin blocks as much as the next quilter, they simply don’t speak to me as anything more than a formal device: I do not and likely will never live in a log cabin. I wanted to design a quilt that spoke to the material reality of our lives, a quilt that would speak of home now as the log cabin did in the 19th century. While log cabin quilts take the basic building process of log cabins and transforms it into a space for color and play, so too does Cinderblocks, allowing endless possible color variations.

Cinderblocks from Modern Quilt Perspectives

That essentially sums up what “meaningful” means in the title. I cannot imagine a quilt not being meaningful, at the very least to the maker. This book is all about making quilts that also function symbolically, on many levels: the aesthetic, the personal, the historical, the societal, and in some cases the political. While much of the quilting world has narrowed in on producing formal patterns, I think we are seeing a profound re-emergence of interest in making quilts that resonate with symbolic meaning.

To be honest though, I do not like the word “meaningful” in my title. I didn’t put it there. I think it runs the risk of implying that other quilts are not, in fact, meaningful. The word is too broad and applies to too much. The intent is obviously to say that these quilts, and the thousands of words of discussion that surround them, are rich with meanings on multiple levels, but I fear that just doesn’t come across in the title. Or maybe I am over-thinking things. The point of this book is to add to what I see as a growing lexicon of contemporary metaphors in practical quilting.

In this I owe Denyse Schmidt an enormous debt of gratitude. I will forever think of her Single Girl Quilt as the exemplar of the modern, symbolic quilt. As a response to the Double Wedding Ring, it is an amazing statement about how gender dynamics are changing within a society that still so often assumes the primary purpose of a woman is to find a spouse (see Marry Smart). In fact, my Palimpsest quilt– a patchwork pride flag brilliantly quilted as though it were a DWR by Lisa Sipes– is as much in dialogue with the Single Girl as it is the Double Wedding Ring.

In many ways the ultimate examples of symbolic quilts are old Amish quilts. Though many regard them as formal exercises and often attribute some resonance with Modernism to them, I cannot see them as anything but deeply symbolic works, ones that speak to religious piety and beliefs lived out profoundly through an austere life. The simplicity was born not of design innovation, but of a commitment to a simple, inconspicuous life. The colors of these quilts were often determined by the community, something that further distanced the works from being about individual expression (this is one of the ways we can pinpoint just where anonymous quilts were made). As formal objects, they are lovely, but as cultural expressions they are extraordinary.

Palimpsest (Pride Flag)

And that is really the point of my book. It is an exploration of the role of quilts today, not just as a hobby or a personal practice, but as a profoundly relevant response to the world we live in. For much of the last few decades the social and political responses in quilting have been the purview of art quilting, but at this moment I see the questions of what we make, and why we choose to live with the things we do, becoming increasingly significant. More and more people are looking for something beyond beautiful, for things with meaning. And I hope that this book, its discussions and examples, can help provide a little of that and perhaps inspire endless new quilts.

What about you? How is your quilting imbued with meaning? Is there symbolism in what you create? Do your quilts reflect your world and an experience you share with others? Tell us what you think in the comments for a chance to win a copy of the book! 


Learn more about Modern Quilt Perspectives: 12 Patterns for Meaningful Quilts through the many stops on the blog tour!:

March 14: Thomas Knauer
March 15: Lisa Sipes
March 16: Robert Kaufman
March 17: Victoria Findlay Wolfe
March 18: Katy Jones
March 19: Bill Volkening
March 20: Kelly Biscopink
March 21: Audrie Bidwell
March 22: Mary Rachel Kolb
March 23: Rachael Gander
March 25: Cloth Paper Scissors
March 26: Cheryl Arkinson
March 27: Quilting Daily
March 28: Fat Quarterly
March 29: Pellon/Erin Sampson
March 30: Sew Modern
March 31: Rachel May
April 1: Quilty
April 2: Amy Smart
April 3: Quilter’s Connection
April 4: Teresa Coates
April 5: Generation Q
April 6: Cloth Paper Scissors
April 7: Sara Lawson
April 8: Kim Niedzwiecki
April 9: Rashida Coleman Hale
April 10: Thomas Knauer

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93 Responses to Thomas Knauer on Modern Quilt Perspectives

  1. Stefanie says:

    My quilts embody my grandmother. My grandmother was a ba amazing, kind and giving person… And she loved quilting. When she passed last summer I inherited her sewing machine and many of her fabrics from her stash. As I sew each stitch and make my quilt creations, it makes me feel close to her and her memory! I cherish my sewing time, just as much as I cherish snuggling with the quilts she made me! I’d love to win this book to gain new perspective!! :) Thanks for the chance!

  2. Jane S says:

    Naw, all the quilts I make are just because I like the pattern and fabrics! I don’t think I’d know how to put any deeper meaning into my work, not any that would mean something to anyone but me, that is. Mostly though it’s the colors, shapes, etc. that make quilting work for me.

  3. sandy says:

    As someone who studied art and art history, I have never put two and two together as Thomas has. It makes perfectly good sense, but the information alone would be boring without having the opportunity to see the magnificent quilts made and quilted. Stunning and magnificent and I would love to win the book.

  4. Kelly Wilson says:

    I am so new that I have yet to create one with deep meaning. I am inspired by the bold colors, use of negative space and non-traditional blocks used in the modern quilt movement. So fun!

  5. Maryjo says:

    Such a great post here and so much to think about.

    I have to think about symbolism and meaning LOL because I don’t like an overall design, even if it is “traditional”, to be visually static. My eye HAS to move around!

  6. Mary P says:

    I honestly haven’t thought a lot about the meaning in my quilts. This post and I think the book would make me think a bit more about my process.

  7. Teddi says:

    I am draw to contrasting colors and strong positive negative shapes

  8. Lisa E says:

    I have made a few quilts with “meaning” but they were very basic. Right now my main goal is to make something that the recipient will love, whether it be the colors or patterns or both. Right now my kids are pretty easy to please!

  9. Debra Kay Neiman says:

    As a new quilter, I have been focusing on the basics…I love the feel of modern quilts and the freedom for art expression.

  10. Mara says:

    I like colors and have made only a small amount of quilts, maybe in the future they will tell stories right now I am just glad if everything lines up.

  11. Maxine R. says:

    I seem to be drawn more to color of fabric than I do to a deeper meaning of a pattern or quilt. Nevertheless, I’d love to read this book.

  12. Sarah says:

    It’s hard to put into words just how brilliant Thomas’s book is. I hope people will reflect on it for years to come, and that will continue to give credence to the notion that quilting is so much more than a “hobby”; it is a craft, an art, a dialogue, and a window into something more.

  13. Karen says:

    My quilts usually tell a story and I always hide a kitty in them.

  14. CLaudia says:

    Most of the quilt I’ve made have been for others that I love. My two favorite quilts are ones that I just let happen. In other words I didn’t have a pattern picked out or fabric. I just went through my stash to find some fabrics that I liked and that went together well. They are very simple quilts but they are the ones I have had the most fun making. Also, because I didn’t have a defined pattern in mind they were the most challenging.. I had to really think about what I wanted to do with these fabrics and try a few ideas before I made a decision on the pattern. I would really love to Explorer this book

  15. I’d really love to read this. Great article which has given me plenty to think about, thanks guys, thanks Thomas.

  16. Jackie says:

    In my early quilting days I would carefully chose the names of the quilt blocks and translate those into colors that reminded me of the family member or friend I was creating for. Sometimes the fabric and colors take over and let me know what should happen next and when the quilt is done. I enjoy the newer relaxed form of quilting that lets me in break the “rules” that I learned so many years ago as a beginning quilter. I love the look on someone’s face when they look at something that I’ve made for them that says “I get it. You made this for me.”

  17. Melissa says:

    I am very new to quilting and am therefore overwhelmed by the learning of the craft. I hope to be able to focus on design and meaning when I am more comfortable with construction. Thank you for the review of this marvelous book.

  18. Marie says:

    I make quilts because I love the color and pattern. Some quilts seem to fit the people who receive them. My quilts are not modern vs traditional. My wall hangings are more of a celebration of family and seasons/holidays. Your stories behind your quilts will be interesting to read. Thanks!

  19. Would love to have this book…as for symbolism in my quilts…not so much, I quilt for my joy in the moment and to gift that joy to others. I am as happy to teach someone to quilt as to give them a quilt.

  20. JOsée says:

    I think the colors I use reflect who I am.

  21. Liz Rehrauer says:

    I just want all the people I make quilts for know that thay are all made with love

  22. Liz Rehrauer says:

    I haven’t thought about stories associated with my quilts. I just want the people I make them for that they are made with love.

  23. Carole Ann says:

    Thanks for sharing this – it really makes me think about my work as a modern quilter as more than just crafting. I think that I, too, aim to make quilts that mean something in the context of modern life, especially for women. As I build my skills, I’m able to do this more and more successfully.

  24. Siobhan says:

    I *want* to create quilts with more meaning behind them. Or, to tell my story–I think that is more important to me than having a meaning. Ultimately, they are to be loved and used by those I love, but I want them to convey the love and hopes I have, that are woven into each stitch. I feel I can convey this more easily in stitching–I used to do a lot of counted thread embroidery–but am at a loss as to how to do this with quilts. I have been following the blog tour and was drawn to the Cinderblock quilt just for its beauty. Now that I’ve read what Thomas wrote about it, I feel like there is a big, ‘Oooooooh, NOW I get it!’ bubble above my head.

  25. Tabitha K. says:

    I’m new but quilting means so many things to me. It is definitely a piece of art, whether I think I messed it up or not. I always find something I love in each one. It also expresses how I’m feeling and who may end up with it. It is great therapy and very fulfilling. Thanks for the giveaway!

  26. Michelle says:

    I would love to win this book. I have not made that many quilts yet but I’ve loved every second of the process I’ve move through in my quilting journey. And lately, I’ve been asking myself what I want a quilt to say, or what story to tell. Some of my slowness to produce has been because I’ve wanted to better understand what it means for me. It sounds like this book is perfect for where I want to go.

  27. Marcie says:

    An interesting point of view. I have not thought about quilts that way. Would love to read more.

  28. DIane says:

    The meaning behind the few quilts I’ve made is that I’m grateful for the person I’m making it for and willing to put in time and effort to express that gratitude.

  29. Allison C says:

    Some have meanings and some don’t. Just depends on my mood.

  30. PT in SC says:

    I’m the sentimental quilter, my best work has been on quilts in which I am making for or in memory of someone special.

  31. Amy C says:

    Hmmm – I guess my quiltssometimes reflect my mood at the time or sometimes they are just a creative way to express a thought, an idea – a challenge….

  32. Taryn in Wis. says:

    What an interesting concept. I am an aspiring quilter and understanding the meaning to the patterns makes them even more attractive to me.

  33. Judy says:

    I have not made that many quilts yet and have not thought about there being any meaning to them other than carrying on a tradition that has been around for many years.

  34. Willa says:

    I am not sure that we always know the meaning of our work. Working as a painter and quilter and seamstress, there is always meaning in the work. Whether utilitarian or decorative. I have old quilts of my grandmother’s. No beauty. Strictly for day to day use. But there is (and was) meaning in her work. Concern for her children. Use up what is at hand.

    She has been dead for about 35 years. And was 96 when she died. Her world was so different from our own.

  35. Sarahliz says:

    I’m really fascinated by the line that is sometimes drawn between “art” and “craft”. I love how quilting in particular opens a space to really blur that line. This book looks like a great exploration of those sorts of ideas. Thanks for featuring it.

  36. april says:

    None of my projects have meaning. I’m not an artist. Most of it I just wing. Improvise. Maybe one day I’ll become proficient enough to try to create something that represents an idea but that won’t be anytime soon. I’m still learning.

  37. Jacklynn Grimm says:

    There is no deep meaning to the things I make, other than it’s my creative outlet. Thanks for the chance to win this awesome quilt!

  38. Audrey says:

    My quilts always have meaning, whether an expression of love, a bit of symbolism through the pattern, or expression using color to connect with the recipient (even me!) This book looks so interesting, can’t wait to pick up a copy!

  39. Jane B says:

    Sometimes the meaning is the pattern or fabric choices or the intention I have when I make the quilt. The longer I have been a quilter, the more meaning I find in what I do and make.

  40. Jowyn Jenson says:

    I haven’t really put any great symbolism in quilt. Execpt for a wall hanging I made for my mum that had a lot of love symbolism. I really like the pride flag quilt.

  41. Jessie Hansen says:

    I don’t design my own quilts, and I’ve only recently finished quilting one for the first time, but I do put a lot of love into them. I dream of hand quilting all of the tops I have made so far but we’ll see how that goes. I need to go bind that one quilt now, get it done before the 31st so I can enter into this months ALYoF party. I made it for an ALSA fund raiser. It will be late for this year’s but it will totally be there for next year’s, and hopefully raise a lot of money!

  42. Flicsha says:

    I seem to go with the Seasons . As I get close to Spring or the other seasons I go with colors and prints to fit the time of year.
    I find myself going to lighter brighter fabrics and designs as Spring moves in.

  43. I certainly have meaning behind the designs I create myself, but I suppose even patterns I use otherwise, by being of now and using fabrics of now, will at least be imbued with the time and place of this resurgence in quilting. Certainly someone will look back in a hundred years and easily be able to place the work since there is such a distinct movement underway at present.

  44. Cynthia H. says:

    Very interesting ideas behind the quilts. Thanks for sharing the perspectives. I would say my thoughts behind my quilts don’t extend this far. For me, it’s more about sharing a part of my love for the receiver and the prayers that have been prayed over them while making the quilt. I try to chose a color way that works in their life or that they would enjoy. The pattern is my expression of where I am in that moment (as an artist, I guess).

  45. My quilts are definitely evolving. When I make them I think of what it will be used for or who I will give it to as a gift. I think my quilting reflects the current state I am in – when I was new I wasn’t scared to try anything, not that I am now scared, but I look back and see all the mistakes I made.

  46. wendy says:

    hopefully one day my quilts will be full of meaning. at the moment I’m a novice quilter who’s learning the rules in order to be able to break them. The only meaning my quilts currently have is the love I put into them.

  47. Karen A says:

    I don’t plan or design quilts with a specific meaning in mind other than love and comfort. Most of my quilts are gifts and they are made with the recipients in mind and how I feel about them.

  48. QuiltSue says:

    To me, quilting is a means of being creative, something I’ve always wanted to be, but never found the right outlet.

  49. Cindy says:

    I try to think about the person I am giving the quilt to but it has to be something I like to mark the process enjoyable.

  50. Carol says:

    I make quilts because they represent my creativity. They don’t always have some symbolic meaning to anyone except me, but that’s okay. I’ll leave the deeply meaningful quilts to others and make the quilts I love for those I love.

  51. Ashley says:

    Log cabin blocks have always been my favorite block to make but I see it in a new way! I do want to learn blocks that speak to me in a less nostalgic, more current way.

  52. Kristine says:

    Some do have deep meaning, others are just pretty. I enjoy making both.

  53. Beth T. says:

    First, thank you for sharing so much of Thomas’s introduction with us. While he is uncomfortable with the word “meaningful”, his thoughts carry so much depth and meaning to a subject that lately is often all about “quick and easy”.

    The quilts I create are meaningful to me. Sometimes it is the occasion that prompted them that brings the meaning. Other times I choose a pattern that is a metaphor and with it comes a deeper meaning than is apparent to a casual viewer. That’s fine with me. And sometimes it is the act of creation that makes a quilt meaningful. The little art quilt I just completed has great meaning to me because I am so satisfied with the process and the fact that I finished what I dreamed up.

  54. Lindsay H says:

    So far I’ve only made one quilt, for my son, and it featured a simple 9 patch design with bright primary colors and a favorite storybook character. I think that speaks about what I think the purpose of early childhood is-a simple, bright time for cheerful learning and playing.

  55. Zena says:

    All the quilts I’ve made have been gifts for people I love, so I’ve tried to create something I think they’ll like. Beyond that there is no deeper meaning; love is enough, I think.

  56. kimberlier says:

    I’m a new quilter & I am really looking forward to reading this book and learning more. The majority of the quilts that i have made have been symbolic to me. I enjoy improv’ing and using the quilt to document a moment in my life whether it be a celebration or a challenge.

  57. Honora says:

    I usually started with a color palate that transforms itself intom where ever my heart and head it at the time.

  58. Kathie L says:

    the quilts I make for family members have meaning since I try to match the colors and design to my sense of the person.

  59. Delaine says:

    I love to make soft and cozy flannel rag quilts for my family and friends. The meaning in them is that whenever they cover up with them or cuddle under them, I am there giving them a hug. Thanks!

  60. Katelyn says:

    My quilts reflect me in that they are made of textiles that I love. THey also reflect my growth as a quilter. But I have yet to create something that truly reflect my world. I am so excited to read this book and learn more about how Thomas expresses himself and hopefully learn from him!
    Thanks for the chance to win.
    – Katelyn @ Sing While Crafting

  61. Linda L. says:

    I haven’t been quilting for very long and what I make is usually for a gift. I do think about the person who will be getting the quilt when I’m deciding on the pattern and style as well as picking out the fabrics. I have made a couple of things that were connected to shared experiences as well as a small quilt that was all fabric connected to the recipient.
    I wonder if quilt-making is different for people who are making a quilt that will be sent out into the cosmos to someone they don’t know as compared to people like me that are making it specifically for the end user.

  62. Mary says:

    They all symbolize something, but design comes before symbolism

  63. Agnes says:

    Similar to Tamie, sometimes my quilts have a deeper symbolic meaning which reflects my current state of mind or environment but other times, I just like to try different patterns/blocks or just play with my stash. That is the fun in quilting!

  64. Laura B says:

    My quilts are usually designed as gifts, so they have meaning attached to the occasion or person they’re for.

  65. Katie says:

    Oh, this book sounds amazing. I don’t quilt, but I love looking at traditional quilts and learning about their meaning. My aesthetic leans modern, but there is just so much depth to traditional quilts.

  66. CraftALife says:

    I have made quilts that are direct copies of a pattern, quilts that are modifications of the original pattern, and, more and more, quilts that are unique expressions. It is my voice, and I hope that through these quilts, my voice can live on long after I am gone. All of these things together are the definition of quilting for me.

  67. Margaret says:

    My quilts only have meaning to me, I suppose. I just make sh*t. But if someone wants to read something into what i make, then that’s OK with me.

  68. cynthia says:

    I want to thank the talented designers like Thomas and many others whose patterns I often use–I admire their vision and achievement, and I am grateful that they make their designs available to someone like me who thinks of herself as a craftsman and creator not a designer. My approach to a quilt is somewhat spontaneous and intuitive and generally I like to incorporate as many fabrics as possible. The meaning usually reveals itself in the making–or maybe the making itself is the meaning.

  69. Nancy Ferree says:

    I like the quality of “hunting and gathering” in making a quilt–hunting through old clothes, thrift stores, scrap bins, and bargain tables, finding fabrics of just the right combinations.

  70. Nancy Ferree says:

    I like the practical function of a quilt. My favorite quilts are ones made from scraps of fabrics, repurposed fabrics, and fabrics from thrift stores and sale bins. I value quilts that are made by groups, and quilt plans that have discussed among friends.

  71. HeatherK says:

    I think its important to not only know the history but actively add my own voice to the narrative. I love how books like this can get you thinking and working from a whole new perspective.

  72. Cindy Pilkington says:

    I’ve only made a small number of quilts, but I try to have a story to go with each one, whether it’s about the fabric, the design or the quilting pattern. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  73. Jenn says:

    Some quilts I make, do have a meaning, others I make because I like the pattern or want to experiment and/or try a new technique.

  74. Just as Tamie said. Sometimes there is a deeper meaning and other times it’s because I really like the fabric. It depends on the project.

  75. Lisa Marie says:

    I don’t often stop to think about deeper meanings to my quilts. I would love to read Thomas’ perspective on this. But my quilts definitely are an expression of my likes, my attitude (usually cheerful!), and my appreciation of beautiful things. And definitely of my excitement to make quilts! When they are gifts (often) I hope they express my love of the person I’m creating them for, as I try to make them something that the recipient will really love.

  76. Some of my quilts have whimsical, personal meaning. Others just are. While I enjoyed reading Thomas’ thoughts on his quilts and seeing bed quilts–not just art quilts–with social meaning, I rarely work that way.

  77. Mary says:

    My quilts are usually based on using beautiful fabric to make special gifts for people I love or to donate for causes I believe in. So they have meaning to me. I hope the quilts have meaning to the people who receive them. So far, they seem very pleased.

  78. Susan says:

    My quilts are made for the recipient so they may have meaning such as a special fabric or design. Some don’t.

  79. carriem says:

    I guess the meaning I see in my quilts is mostly tied up with how I feel about those I created them for.

  80. Jackie says:

    Interesting question. Sometimes the fabric itself moves me and almost makes the quilt itself. I’m uncertain as to what governs this phenomenon. I’m not sure if the quilt is trying to get out of the fabric or if it is coming out of me and what I am unconsciously thinking. I’m going to have to learn to play closer attention. Other times I have a set goal in mine and try to stick to that plan as closely as possible.

  81. Marilyn says:

    I am not a quilter but am waiting for the right moment to dive right in. I find that color in quilts speaks to me more than the pattern does.

  82. Gill says:

    Usually no great meaning/symbolism – I just like the pattern/fabric!

  83. Flora says:

    Though my quilts are largely geometric, I too include personal significance in my work. I am very interested in reading this book.

  84. Maggie Magee says:

    When I make a quilt, it is for a purpose. Most of my quilts are made to be used. Symbols and meanings are sometimes in the original plan, but more often than not, they become starting points for more dialog that I have with myself in the process. If a symbol wasn’t included at the beginning, it usually manifests itself along the way.

  85. Jill says:

    When I think about my quilts, they have been made for a celebration. Birth of a baby or Christmas. I have several in the planning stages that will be just for fun because I love material.

  86. Linda says:

    Hello, yes my quilts show my traditional values of home and family!
    Thanks for sharing!

  87. Jo says:

    I have made a few quilts with deep meaning to the person they were for but nothing on the level of the quilts in this book.

  88. Amy Verne says:

    The meaning in my quilts is pretty simple. I love you so I put work into this quilt for you.

  89. Margie says:

    I never thought of my quilts as having meaning, more as having a mood or feeling. Sometimes bright and airy, or serious and focused. It really depends on the recipient.

  90. Karen B says:

    Thank you for sharing. My quilts (as a new quilter, there aren’t many so far) have all been about learning and applying new skills, which could be interpreted to mean that I love learning (which I do). I have many thoughts and plans for meaningful quilts, but those are the ones I am nervous to start – nervous that I cannot express the meaning with my limited skills. Hopefully my future quilts will be what I hope they will be. In the meantime, I am learning how to make them what I want them to be.

  91. Nique Et says:

    OMG, now I want to learn how to quilt even more

  92. Tamie says:

    Sometimes my quilts have a deeper meaning and sometimes I just like the fabric or the pattern and just go for it. Both are valid in my book.

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