Drive-By Quiltings
October 31, 2011 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Quilt + Overpass + Cowboy-hatted photographer speeding by = Drive-By Quiltings
posted by ocherdraco (27 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is like planking for grandmas.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 3:46 PM on October 31, 2011 [16 favorites]

I am beginning to hate the internet.
posted by Decimask at 3:52 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Not sure if I'm relieved or disappointed that this is not little old ladies causing horrible traffic accidents by dropping quilts from overpasses.
posted by elizardbits at 3:56 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

I am beginning to hate love the internet even more.

I love seeing things online where people get excited enough to take a step beyond sharing their creativity online to sharing it face to face. This is a kind of bridge between those two worlds. (Also, all those giddily grinning people holding up quilts on overpasses just plain make me happy.)
posted by ocherdraco at 3:56 PM on October 31, 2011 [8 favorites]

This must be viral marketing for David Lynch's next movie.
posted by mannequito at 4:00 PM on October 31, 2011

I miss my grandma.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 4:45 PM on October 31, 2011

dissapointed elizardbits.

I am disappoint.
posted by The Whelk at 4:48 PM on October 31, 2011

Hey people, wish your Halloween grandmas were less quilty and more homicidal? Then knock on my door and reach into my mystery pumpkin for some Nanagedoon.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:12 PM on October 31, 2011

posted by emhutchinson at 5:14 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]

And since I don't want that to be my only contribution to the thread, here is the quilt I brought back from India for my Grandmom who I miss very much this year.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:23 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Did you miss the memo? Quilting has undergone a huge revival. Wherever they drive, those people should find someone proud enough of her needlework to flaunt it from an over pass.
posted by Cranberry at 5:26 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm glad these women are excited about quilts. I'm not glad they are expressing that excitement by dangling things above traffic moving at highway speeds.
posted by DU at 6:03 PM on October 31, 2011

No, emhutchinson, this is MetaQuilter.
posted by ocherdraco at 6:22 PM on October 31, 2011

My mom is a quilter. (That's how she identifies herself -- as a "quilter.") She goes to a weekly quilting group where she sews with a group of women who range from their late 20s to their late 80s. They sew children's and baby quilts for a children's cancer center and take them up there on a monthly basis. They have potlucks and share casserole recipes, and they have a couple of quilting retreats a year.

My mom has never really been involved with a group like this before, ever, in my life. It's so great for her. She's almost 70 and she's made amazing friends because of her quilting. She's older than most of them and they see her as this awesome mother figure, but she's also younger than quite a few and she takes them to doctor's appointments. This is also the first group of people that she's ever felt comfortable telling that her daughter is gay. That information was always meted out to select, seemingly understanding friends on a case-by-case basis, but her quilting group (which meets in a small town church in Texas -- they were deemed safe.)

It may seem like a solipsistic, middle-class white person's (or woman's) hobby, or an old person's hobby, or whatever, but quilting has a social, collegial element that goes way back. (Quilting bee, anyone?) For a lot of people, the social element is the most important aspect of the whole thing. Quilting is my mom's Metafilter.

You can hate on it. You can look down on it. Whatever. But I know some quilters, and I know their audience, and I think they probably get a big kick out of this that is much greater and much more important than any snooty derision that anyone here can feel.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:46 PM on October 31, 2011 [16 favorites]

This is AWESOME. I love the internet!!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:20 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Then, you guessed it - a State Trooper drove up to check out the situation. I think I rambled on quite a bit about quilting and "drive-bys" and pictures and explained I'd only be there 20 minutes... He seemed relieved that I wasn't going to jump, and said (the understatement of the year) "Don't drop it."
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:22 PM on October 31, 2011

Awww, I love it too! And Ricky Tims seems pretty awesome himself. Some amazing quilts on his site...
posted by web-goddess at 7:30 PM on October 31, 2011

Also, this seems like one of the best ways ever to deal with boredom during (many) long road trips. Instead of twiddling the radio, you're coordinating to make people appear before you along your route. Fun game.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:36 PM on October 31, 2011

My mother quilts. I have a quilt she made for me, and it's green and purple and warm and awesome, and it's the best winter thing ever. She enters quilting competitions, and all that sort of thing.

When I was much younger, she met with a quilting group weekly or biweekly, but at the time she was in her thirties or forties, and the other women were all much older than her, and she eventually stopped going because she felt out of place.

I totally sent her this.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:56 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wow. Mudpuppie, my mother is younger but has had a similar connection in her quilting guild- in fact, it's with a heavy heart that she's passing the reins after serving as president of an active quilting guild for two years. She's stepping back to spend more time quilting and participating than planning... And I now see your quote and realize that quilting is absolutely my mom's metafilter. Through quilting, she practices both a craft (often with purpose- they donate multiples of quilts or toddler clothing to foster homes) and an art (obviously) and participates in a wonderful, social, inclusive group. Quilters are awesome. Seeing this post is just further proof of that.

I think this is probably cribbed from some cheesy movie line, but it's amazing to see all the tiny, disconnected, different pieces of a quilt come together into one unified, practical, beautiful tangible item. Yeah, quilting is great. :)
posted by samthemander at 11:38 PM on October 31, 2011 [4 favorites]

I've pieced one quilt and have another one in the midst of being cut out. Quilting is pretty awesome, an endlessly creative process which can be varied limitlessly and that results in a utilitarian product. Very DIY- and recycling-friendly, too. And like mudpuppie says, it spawns and cultivates social networks. What could be more hip?
posted by Miko at 9:55 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

My aunt's quilting bee found that they were having trouble wrangling queen and king sized quilts as they got older, so they got the retiree engineer husbands in on the project. One built an expanding quilting frame that would let them work from the center out and expand as they added blocks to the quilt top, which helped a lot. The other designed a scroll-saw type free arm quilting machine that was so over-engineered it could quilt through leather and batting and let them make, well basically, feather beds out of their quilt tops. This let them dominate the State Fair competitions for years,

Yeah, it's a lifestyle.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 11:03 AM on November 1, 2011 [4 favorites]

Secretly, I really want to move to Pennsylvania and join a quilting bee and work out what fat quarters are actually for. I can't knit well enough for knitting groups (I'd always feel like the remedial student) and cross-stitching/embroidery 'bees' don't seem to exist. I have never made a quilt in my life but as a child I always wanted a hexagon-patchwork quilt made from everyone's old frocks and treasured linens. I'm tempted to make something more simple as a way of using up fabric too small and too nice to be useful, but I have no idea how to turn it into an actual quilt, if you see what I mean.

Although how do people quilt together? Is it by hand? Or are they much more skilled at using machines than I am and can actually conduct conversations in between having to rethread the needle again?
posted by mippy at 11:18 AM on November 1, 2011

Although how do people quilt together? Is it by hand? Or are they much more skilled at using machines than I am and can actually conduct conversations in between having to rethread the needle again?

Mostly what happens - at least in my admittedly limited experience - is that you piece quilts on your own at home (usually with a machine, it's far faster), and only when you have assembled a full quilt top which you're ready to actually quilt (as in the verb quilt) do you call people together for a quilting bee. Then you set up your quilt top with the batting in between and the backing underneath on a sort of roller/stretcher frame that lets a lot of people hand-quilt the quilt at once. The purpose of the quilting is to stitch the backing and batting to the top, and of course it's usually done in a decorative way, so the quilting stitches form their own pattern which can follow, or differ from, the pieced pattern.

The "piecing" and the "quilting" are the two major phases of making a finished quilt, and the piecing takes longer and is usually done solo, while the quilting is social, because it would take you freaking forever to do it on your own. You can do it on your own, though. I actually quilted my own by using a large embroidery hoop. It works all right but the pattern has to be simple and you have to be really careful about maintaining the tension. It's much more fun to do in a frame with other people, and goes a lot faster.
posted by Miko at 12:01 PM on November 1, 2011

There's probably a quilting/stitching group already somewhere near you, too - you don't have to move to PA!
posted by Miko at 12:02 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

This is much, much more acceptable to me than the 4000 memes-for-memes'-sake that have spawned since I began typing this sentence. Planking, Steve Buscemi's eyes, and Ninja Turtle noses make me do something between throwing up a little in my mouth and weeping a little in my sleep-- but this is just frickin' cool.
posted by herbplarfegan at 12:06 PM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

My aunt's secret to success for finding quilting groups was to check the bulletin boards at the laundromat. Quilts are usually too bulky to wash at home...
posted by halfbuckaroo at 5:19 PM on November 3, 2011

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