Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Quiltfolk Solution (for Creative Inertia)

Yesterday, I (Teri) wrote about my "creative inertia"—my lack of energy to stitch new works. (I'm blaming our move.) However, I alluded to the solution to my "problem," if it really is one. When life finally settled enough so that I could sit down in my garden and enjoy my new issue of Quiltfolk, I found myself itching to get stitching.  

I never know when I'll get my proverbial whack on the head, providing that burst of energy to get moving. (Pun intended—relocation is not what I am referencing here!) My surge of creative energy has been jolted by the inspiring stories in Issue 02 of Quiltfolk, a Keepsake Quarterly magazine. If you have missed this publication, find one and read it. Soon. You won't be sorry!

One of my goals in life is to visit all 50 states. Ideally, that would mean placing my feet on the land. But in the last few months, I feel as though I have been to both Oregon and Iowa, neither of which I've actually visited. Issue 01 took me to Oregon, (see the post Quiltfolk,) and the current issue's destination is Iowa. I feel that I have gotten to know a number of people who live in the communities: quilt folk, like me. 

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I once read a book set in the Amana Colonies, of which I knew nothing but what I learned as I read the story. The first stop in the Iowa issue is Amana, where I was fascinated to learn more. Being in the midst of a great deal of life change, I could well identify with the changes that this community has experienced, and I garnered some insight for my move to a new home. Jon Childers, the Executive Director of the Amana Heritage Museum, stated that Amana continues to have a strong sense of community and a devout faith in God, but that they have "moved ahead without the thought of what we we leaving behind. ...the idea of Amana is changing. Through it all, though, there is this unbroken thread that goes through time." (p. 25) Change is inevitable in life, but Amana has embraced it; I think that their common thread is strong enough to serve me during our time of change, as well.

Sue Kluber is my kind of quilter: she "spins a yarn out of every quilt she creates." (p. 42-3)

The next visit was in Winterset, in Madison County, Iowa—birthplace of John Wayne, and home of the Bridges of Madison County, Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine, and the Iowa Quilt Museum. Here, we meet Marianne Fons, a giant in the quilt world, who tells us of her new career ventures. Editor Michael McCormick observes that "Marianne is a walking example of what can be done right now, in the present, when we are able to discipline our minds to take one challenge, or one opportunity, at a time," and he challenges us to consider adopting her mindset for ourselves. (p. 59) Again, inspiration for Kara and me as we learn how to become a "global entity."

Marianne with her daughters

In Cedar Rapids, we learn about Nolting Longarms manufactured just outside the city, and we meet a mother-daughter partnership, owners of a quilt shop and fabric design studio. Their business is unique and fascinating; it includes a "make-it-yourself" showroom, where creativity is encouraged and explored. Stephanie Brandenburg, the daughter of the duo, shared some insight that really resonated with me; she stated: "As an artist, you worry 'Am I good enough? ...' Eventually, I just learned to trust my gut. ... You can listen to all the experts, but you have to trust yourself." Wise words, indeed. It made me wonder if my creative inertia isn't sometimes caused by doubt in myself; I forget to "trust my gut."

This is a mere taste of the goodness of this issue. I don't want to give it all away! I just love reading the stories of these quilters and their work. I read Issue 01 sitting by my Christmas tree and Issue 02 sitting in my garden. When the next publication is released, I'll be in my new home, happily stitching in my new "writing and stitching chair"!

So, after reading all of these stories about quilts and quilters, I can't wait to get back to my stitching. Kara and I are heading off on one last road trip before she departs for Germany. As you read this, we will be in Virginia, visiting the Virginia Quilt Museum and as many quilt shops and antique stores as we can find. (And maybe a winery...) 

And we will stitch. 

To subscribe to Quiltfolk, go to and use coupon code SHOP1051 to receive $10 off the subscription price.


  1. I loved the Amana story, I haven't finished the magazine and intend to today - best quilt magazine on the market!

  2. It is indeed a great magazine. I hope it helps you get your mojo back soon!