Free Patterns — June Block

Who Is A Quilter? And Why?

A 150 years ago, the typical quilter was female, married with children, and did not work outside her home, unless you count growing the family's food, washing clothes in a boiling kettle in a yard, keeping the "facilities" usable and removing the natural wrapping from all the meat. The majority of the quilts made by these women were created to keep the family warm during very cold nights, however, she was also making an attempt to add some beauty to her usually dreary life. Materials for these quilts came, for the most part, from cast-off clothing with an occasional larger piece purchased expressly for that purpose. The backing for these quilts was often the fabric bags saved from her flour, sugar, and other staple supplies.

As our nation grew and our lives changed, so did the quilter. Just a few years ago, the image conjured up by most was of an older, grandmotherly type woman, sitting alone in her rocking chair quietly stitching together scraps of fabric to make simple quilts for the grandchildren's cribs.

Today's quilter is a far cry from these descriptions. To meet the modern quilter is to know several local physicians, a couple of lawyers and a college professor. You would become acquainted with the retired Navy Commander who came to our town with his active-duty Navy wife. The retired government worker who enjoys a quilting rivalry with his wife would also be on the list. There would be numerous other professional women from bank vice-presidents, real-estate specialists, teachers, nurses and dental hygienists to computer programmers and engineers. You would meet the Hallmark employee who bet his wife he too could quilt, and did. The list would include Girl Scouts doing service projects and second-graders learning about geometric shapes. It would acquaint you with high school freshmen interpreting their book reports in quilt blocks and prison inmates learning a peaceful skill that will, hopefully, provide some purpose in their lives. You would get to know countless other women and men who simply quilt for the sheer joy of creating pieces of art using fabric as a palate.

Why are all these people quilting? You would have as many answers to that question as people polled. Most quilters have tried many other expressions of art, such as painting, calligraphy, sewing and embroidery, but each would tell you that quilting satisfies some deep peaceful need. Ann Morrow Lindbergh stated in her book, "Gift From The Sea", that most women live in a state of "Zerrissenheit" or "torn to pieces-hood". In our fast-paced society, quilting provides a tranquil place away from this. It creates an inner calm that does not seem to come from most other activities.

This does not mean that most modern quilters are quiet quilters. Far from it. Nationally speaking, today's quilter has an average of 13.9 projects going at any given time, and there are more than $2 billion spent annually on quilts and quilt-related products in this country alone.

Yes, the quilter may well be a grandmother in her rocker, but move over granny, you are no longer alone. When we have achieved your tranquility, we too may live to a ripe old age to enjoy our quilting.

June Pattern

For One Block:
Cut: (4) 2 1/2" Dark Squares
(4) 2 1/2" Light Squares
(2) 4 1/2" Medium Squares

June pattern
click for printable pattern

Using a 1/4" seam allowance, sew squares together as in the diagram to make an 8 1/2 inch block (including seam allowance). Make as many blocks as necessary to create a quilt the size you desire.

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