This weekend I went to the International Quilt Festival. My grandmother and great-grandmother both quilted. My sister and I have both quilted. My mother did not quilt but she did collect fabric. When I spent most of my time wandering through the vendor area, then, I came by the impulse honestly.
The selections ranged from African-themed batik to antique kimonos. There was hand-dyed silk and hand-made buttons. There were rich brocades and trim in riotous color. There was nubby hand-woven woolens and fabric so sheer it could only exist for the pleasure of looking at it.
There was a large doll exhibit, a daily journal quilt exhibit. Quilts that used machine stitching to create portraits, quilts that borrowed elements from the Amish quilting tradition.
There were quilt artists who consciously gave themselves assignments: a series of tiny quilts, each in a particular color. There were quilt artists who sewed out of personal tragedy.
When I tore myself away, I carried home a bag of patterns, some hand-dyed felt, and a small sense of what might be possible for me.