September 2023 Meeting Recap: Sujata Shah

October 10, 2023

On a gray humid September morning, 18 members of the guild gathered in Evanston’s Unitarian Church to make Sujata Shah’s Crossroads pattern from Cultural Fusion Quilts. The lessons that were imparted included practicing acceptance, embracing imperfection, and that no two quilts made from this pattern are going to look the same.

Sujata graciously led us through a workshop where the hand of the maker determines the ultimate product. Then showed us an addicting method of putting 3 fabrics into one block, turning us loose on our own piles of fabric.

Sunday, September 17th, she shared with the guild her Stories in Stitches lecture, which began with accepting imperfection. In India, perfection is not as important. “There’s so much more I want to do in life than make a perfect quilt,” she said.  Her quilts change depending on what’s in her mind at the time. You can see from what she shared that this is true.

Her journey with a needle started in 1991 with a quilt she made as a new mother during her first year in the States, for her own mother. That quilt is worlds away from what she sews today… from Kawandi to Fula (flower) corners to a quilt that depicts her house renovation. She said to us, “If you consciously make the decision to remember something and hand stitch while thinking of it, I guarantee you’ll remember that.” She reminded us that getting emotionally involved with your quilts is not a bad thing — and to accept them as they are. 

We can all use a reminder now again that perfection doesn’t have to be the end goal and that something beautiful, mindful and thoughtful can form from disparate elements. As we gather to make our shirt quilts in October at member’s sew-ins and retreat in November maybe we can bring a few of these teachings with us.

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Photo: Triangles quilt by Erika Mulvenna