Is Quilting too old-fashioned? - Quilting Inspiration #7
Is Quilting too old-fashioned? - Quilting Inspiration #3
24 november 2021 
10 min. read

Is Quilting too old-fashioned? - Quilting Inspiration #3


My mission is to make  quilting cool again. 


Quilting has a positive impact on health and well-being. 

Good health and well-being is vital for young people to build a sustainable future for themselves and others. Good Health and Well-being is also part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in goal #3. 

In this blog, I give a quick overview on the potential benefits of quilting to empower young people. I'll also discuss some (mis-)conceptions of quilting that might keep young people from taking it up. 

I discuss the same in my weekly quilt vlog. Live on Instagram every Wednesday 10.00 CET. 


1. Introduction: Is Quilting a granny hobby?

A few days ago, there was an interesting discussion in one of my Facebook groups. Somebody shared an article about the 'revival of knitting as granny hobby during the pandemic'.

Young lady knitting

Because of the pandemic, people have started crafting again. In general, crafting has seen a revival, with more and more famous people taking it up in public as well.

 This has done a lot to make crafting cool again. Before that, young people had distractions with going out, seeing friends and school and all that. 

The question is: when the world opens up again, will young people continue to craft?

Personally, I hope so. As a 'young people who quilts', I can tell you it has helped me a lot to deal with the stress of studying, finding work, breakups and all that jazz. 

Hand quilting kitenge fabric  with pink and blue

1.1: Is Quilting ready for a revival too?

Quilting has not had many famous people yet to make it cool. Sure, there are some but overall, quilting is behind in the revival. Is that because quilting is less suitable for young people?

No.

I've been quilting since I'm 18 and have never seen quilting as too old-fashioned to be of interest though. To me, it's more a perception and communication issue. 

I've been quilting since I'm 18 and have never seen quilting as too old-fashioned to be of interest. To me, it's a perception and communication issue.

2. Who says quilting is for old people anyway?

There are several wrong perceptions on quilting.

2.1: Quilting is only done by old people

The main body of the traditional quilting communities and organizations are older people. This might keep young people from engaging in those bodies, and therefore from becoming visible as active quilters. This might create the impression that young people don't quilt because they are not active in the places most people look for quilters. 

For example, Instagram has a very lively young quilting community.

Rianne with her  crazy quilt Picknick quilt sitting dow with flowers and graffiti in the background

2.2: Quilting is not that popular

There is a difference in how people talk and think about quilting between those who know the industry well and those who don't. 

People who don't know quilting call it a granny hobby and old-fashioned.  That is because we judge what we don't know. 

For example, when I tell people I started a quilting business, they wonder how am I ever going to make money out of it because THEY Don't know quilting. But quilting is  a billion-dollar industry! Also, they think I started a quilting business because that's the only thing I know, and not because I KNOW there is a place in the future for quilting because of its qualities. 

People who don't know quilting call it a granny hobby and old-fashioned.  That is because we judge what we don't know. 

2.3: Quilting is not relevant for a sustainable future

Quilting has both beneficial effects for mental health and sustainability. 

It's beneficial for mental health because it gives a form of relaxation, creative expression, and satisfaction by making colourful quilts with your own hands, in the design YOU love. 

It's beneficial for sustainability because it extends the life-time of textiles. 

Both benefits have been part of quilting from the start. However, these days quilting has been taking over by the consumerist mindset just as most other industries and activities. 

By re-focus on recycling and upcycling and on the creative process of quilting we bring quilting back to its old glory AND make it valuable for young people. 

Quilter Rianne sitting croslegged with a colourful crazy quilt as backdrop and a quilted laptop sleeve on her lapQuilt and Quilted Laptop sleeve made from upcycled clothes

3. How does quilting help young people

Quilting 30-minutes a day brings an anchor of peace, calm, joy, and refection in your day. Especially young people live in a busy world with constant stimulus from social media and such.  Taking a break from that and focus on creating something beautiful with your hands gives a break from that. 

Because of the slow process of quilting, your thoughts calm down too. This helps to get clarity about what you want to achieve in life and the things that are important to you. 

Finishing a quilt gives the confidence to pursue those things. 

Quilting 30-minutes a day brings an anchor of peace, calm, joy, and refection in your day

Here is a summary of other benefits of quilting

  • Meditation & Mindfulness exercise
  • Creative expression
  • Grounding in times of stress
  • Tool for good decision-making
  • Recycle old clothes and such into value
  • Increased confidence by making things yourself
  • Anchor of calm to make other health practises (therapy, rest, diary etc) more effective.
  • Antidote to screen time

4. Conclusion: Let us all quilt for a happy life

Quilting calms down and is very good for well-being. Especially, young people live under constant stress, exemplified by the rising numbers of burn-outs and mental health problems. Quilting 30-minutes a day creates an anchor of calm to better deal with the other stressors in young people's lives.

This article is a short overview of the issues I think are at play that prevent young people from quilting. I am doing research on the future of quilting in terms of engaging young people and the impact of quilting on wellbeing. Do you want to stay up to date on the research or participate? Email me at rianne@kickassquilts.org and subscribe to the newsletter. Also join the live discussion on Instagram every Wednesday 10.00 CET. 


Let's have a discussion:

  • What would be the benefits of young people crafting?
  • How can we make sure they start or keep crafting? 
  • How do we blend the traditional quilting industry with those young people?

Leave a comment with your views

About the author
Quilting has made me a stronger, more developed, and joyful person, and I've seen the same in many other people. Creativity is key to finding joy in life. There are many ways of being creative, I am your teacher in the quilting fabrication department.
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Do you want to upcycle clothes into quilts too?

The 'Quilting Out of Your Home'  e-book teaches you how to create beautiful quilts with stuff you already own!


For example, turn the old shirts of your husband into a quilted laptop sleeve. Or turn the outgrown clothes of your children into a quilt for their bed.

If you enrol for the newsletter, you get the e-book as a gift. And I promise you I won't send spam, only the occasional tips and inspiration to recycle old fabrics into new items.

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