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How far we’ve come…

Hello all, Mary Ellen again.

At last month’s guild meeting I picked up one of the freebie magazines that are always donated. It’s a copy of an early Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine from Feb. of 1982. Two things of note: There were profuse congratulations and excitement over the first Jinny Beyer line of fabric to be produced by V.I.P. fabrics. In the photo accompanying the article Jinny is wearing one of those quilted vests that all quilters wore back in the day. Hers features Mariner’s Compass quarters on the front. Remember those vests, girls? Come on now, fess up. You know you had one, if you’ve been at this long enough.

Secondly a four page article raved about a new technique taking quilting by storm. Let me quote the introduction to you and see if you can guess what technique they are lauding. Remember now, February of 1982.

” … is an intriguing study in contrasts and contradictions. It is old but new–traditional but contemporary. It is simple but complex, easy but hard, quick but time-consuming. It is structured and planned, but also free nd creative. With this technique one can make either abstract or representational designs. No contradictions here though: it has tremendously exciting possibilities for patchwork design, is fun to do, and is the “hottest” technique being used for quilts today.”

Got your guess ready? The title of the article this quote introduced is “Strip Piecing”. Not once in this article is a rotary cutter mentioned. In fact in the quilt pattern which accompanies the article, all the hand drawn illustrations (no computer used here!) of the procedure show scissors cutting all the 2″ strips. Wow! By the way how many strips were to be cut–with scissors–for this quilt? You got it, a total of 42 strips. Here’s a quote from the directions: “Measure and mark 2″ strips across the width of the fabric. Cut strips on the markings through all layers at once. Very sharp scissors, like Ginghers, should cut through eight layers at once, but you may find it easier to stack the fabrics in …” Can you imagine? I’m surprised that some of us stuck with this hobby. Maybe because we didn’t know how much easier it could be once we purchased the new-fangled tool called the rotary cutter!

Here’s a challenge–make your next project without a rotary cutter! Anybody up for it? Not me that’s for sure!


  1. Jo Ann Castiglia says:

    I took my 1st quilt class in Feb 1982 in Minneapolis. My 1st quilt was a blue and white log cabin, with strips marked in pencil, and cut with scissors!!!!

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