To touch or not to touch…. That is the question! Well, the easy one is at the quilt show and the answer is NOOOO, don’t touch or else. Or else what, you ask. If you are lucky, you will only get the evil eye from the nice white-gloved lady watching over the quilts. If luck fails you, the piece of soul the quiltmaker left behind in her/his quilt will reach out and smack you. Or so I have heard; I’ve never actually attempted it. Oh, maybe that’s a myth made up by quilt guild presidents, but are you willing to chance it?
How about at someone’s house? That depends. How well do you know the person? Did they make the quilt themselves? If so, they probably understand the need to touch, to feel the ridges and bumps, the seams and intersections, to follow the quilting stitches as they wander the quilt. If their great-great grandmother made it 100 years ago, probably resist. Certainly say something though, or said relative might be offended. If they bought it from a big box store, who cares to touch it anyway?
I have read all kinds of articles and heard many opinions over the years on how to store your quilts. Mostly, make sure to store them in a smoke-free, pet-free, dust-free, child-free, bacteria-free, low oxygen, no plastic , low light environment. I’m thinking the space station would work. Just be sure to point a camera so you can periodically see them, when the rotation of the earth allows. I suppose if you follow these rules, you really shouldn’t touch them either. Your hands have oils and stuff on them after all. I’m not sure how you are going to explain this to the kid you made the quilt for. Maybe tell them it is an equilt and is only for make believe.
I know, I know, you’re going to say it depends on the quilt. We make some of them for use and expect them to get banged up and dirty. We hope they last for years but understand if they don’t. Now that sounds like you have favorites. Are the favorites the ones you handle and love to death or the masterpieces you hang carefully or store at the space station? Hmmm.. How do you decide which is which? If you ever give a masterpiece to someone, are they expected to treat it like one or they allowed to decide to use it? I hope you thought of all of these things? I have and this is what I decided.
First, I make baby quilts to be spit on, to be fondled, to be washed, to end up in bits and pieces as needed. The only way I can do this is erase the quilt from my memory once I present it. I love it when a niece or nephew shows me a 5” square of bleached something or another and say, “See what’s left of the quilt you made me, Aunt T?” I give everyone else a quilt and let them decide what to do. If they mention it in the future, I say,”Duh, duh, duh…” in my head so I don’t hear anything sad. Aw, who am I kidding, I just want the quilts I hand out to be loved and, if that happens, I don’t worry about the rest.
The quilts I have at home are used, hung, loved by the family who comes over and most certainly cat tested on a regular basis. They are washed, they get that wonderful softness and crinkled up look over time. Some qults are folded in closets to be brought out on a rainy day and always, they are touched.
See you at the meeting.