Although summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, the current weather strongly suggests it’s already arrived. While much of May seemed to be chilly, drizzly, and gray (the outdoor graduation ceremony at my school was absolutely miserable!), we’re now in the midst of a string of 90+ degree days as I write this, and I’m remembering just how much I dislike the heat.
Quilting does not, at first glance, appear to be an ideal hot-weather activity – after all, bed quilts and lap quilts are largely intended to keep people warm, and during the final stages of construction they tend to end up draped over the person working on them (at least they do in my case – maybe I just need to find a better system…), which is not always fun when the temperatures are soaring. Of course, the invention of air conditioning has helped a bit – but it seems counterintuitive to crank up the A/C just so I can stay comfortable while I hand-quilt something layered with wool batting. Besides, for some people living where power cuts are being planned when the fire risk grows too high, that’s not always going to be an option. Plus, during the summer there are lots of other things that demand our attention. Plenty of quilters I know are also gardeners – I guess the creative spirit and a love of color cross over into non-fiber-art activities, too! Summer also tends to be filled with family events, travel, etc., all of which conspire to pull us away from our sewing spaces.
Still, I would argue that there are ways for quilters to cope, even on the hottest days. Summer is a good time to work on summer-weight quilts – we need pretty beds even when the weather is hot, and summer-weight quilts, with either light flannel batting or no batting at all, are just as much a part of quilting history and tradition as are their heavier-weight cousins. Working on smaller pieces is another way to avoid being smothered by heavy batting in hot weather – don’t forget, we have a boutique coming up in a few months, and the more items we have to sell then, the better! Community Outreach quilts also tend to be smaller than full-size, and can be finished without risk of heat stroke – and if you look at the numbers of Outreach quilts we’re distributing each month, you can see that we’ll need lots more of those as well. (And this seems like a good place for a shout-out to Marilyn Brisendine, who organizes our Outreach project, and to all of you who donate the quilts to keep it going!) And on those days when it’s absolutely too hot even to THINK about sitting down at the sewing machine, maybe you can still find a patch of shade to sit in with a glass of iced tea and those quilting magazines and books that you haven’t quite gotten around to reading, and re-charge your reserves of inspiration and ideas.
However you keep in touch with your quilting over the summer, I hope you manage to stay cool! See you at the meeting,