Michigan Guest Bloggers: Carol Drudy

Michigan is divided into two parts: the lower peninsula and the upper peninsula. If you’re from Michigan, you know that we call people from the U.P. “Youppers.” We sometimes refer to people in the lower peninsula “Trolls,” because they live “under the bridge.” That is, the Mackinac Bridge. Our next Michigan quilt blogger comes from the Grand Rapids area towards the west side of the lower peninsula. Welcome Caroll Drudy!



When Caron asked me to become a guest blogger, I was flattered and thrilled. What a wonderful place to write about the things that excite me! I’m hoping this post will excite you too and encourage you to become a joyful quilter.

What are your quilting fears? When I first started quilting, color was my greatest fear. Consequently, I stuck to using only 30s fabrics. They all went together. No agonizing over did this go with that. I stuck my toe out of the box (so to speak) when I participated in a Sampler Class at the Attic Window Quilt Shop.

The fabrics we received each month were bold and bright. That didn’t scare me. After all, I wasn’t choosing the fabrics. At the end of the year when I finished making this colorful quilt, I was hooked. Working with color gave me joy.

Can you find the mystery? Recently when Deb Karasik of Quilt Maven talked before the West Michigan Quilt Guild, she said that she started quilting during a time of stress. I think all quilters turn to this when the outside world starts to close in. The mindless piecing process can be soothing. There are stressful days when I need this kind of piecing. I call it Zen quilting or zoning out. However, most of us quilters also put aside those pieces in order to start a new project. Mary Lou Weidman says that there are so many UFOs because quilters lose the mystery in their quilts. I know this is true for me. I want to be thrilled, excited, and mystified making my quilt from beginning to end. Combining UFOs can give you that sense of mystery. I had several orphan blocks made out of 30s fabrics on my design wall. I didn’t know what else to do with them. You know the theory, out of sight out of mind. One day when working on another quilt with bright colored fabrics, I placed a large block on the design wall, and went to get coffee. When I came back into my sewing room I looked at the design wall, and it hit me: those blocks all look nice together. Thus, another mystery was born and I created a quilt using the 30’s blocks and the block with bright fabrics. My heart sang with joy.

Do you have the courage to create? Mary Anne Radmacher said, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.” Courage allows you to move forward. Why beat yourself up because you don’t like a technique. You can find another one that suits you better. For instance, I’ve noticed a lot of people use foundation when string piecing. I didn’t know you should do that and never have. My method has allowed me to take little pieces of discarded fabric and “make fabric.” Knowing I’ve been frugal gives me such joy. Just because others do it one way, does not mean your way is not correct. Another example, my method of appliqué here is slightly different from most quilters. It works for me and that’s what counts.

Do you give yourself permission to play? Angela Monet said, “Those who danced were thought insane by those who could not hear the music.” I often wonder if my children think I am insane. They cannot hear the music that I hear when I’m creating a quilt. Do you hear the music when you quilt? You do not have to be an artist to step out of your box and do something that is different, that is joyful. Someone once told me that Art quilts were just a bunch of embellishments tossed on a background and called art. I understand that no one likes everything called art, but so what. Do you like everything everyone does? Of course not. So take the plunge. Give yourself permission to play. One day I was watching Quilting Arts on TV and saw a demo that I thought I’d try. I rather liked what I did, but didn’t know what to do with it from there. I figured, what the heck just go for it. So I fused on a fish (which is against my nature because I don’t like raw edges) and am now attaching beads and other embellishments. So what if no one likes it. I’ve had fun, and given myself permission to play.

In the book, Rose of Sharon by the American Quilter’s Society, Jane Wells of Fort Wayne Indiana says, “Quilting is a gift I give myself.” Give yourself a gift today. Become a joyful quilter.

Thank you Caron for letting me share my thoughts on your blog. It’s been a delight!