Thursday, January 3, 2013

More Dresden Progress and Regarding Young(er) Quilters

Before I get to sewing I just thought I'd bring up an interesting subject that came up yesterday on one of my quilting forums.  A young quilter, about 20, was venting a bit about the treatment she'd received at a couple of her quilting groups by ladies three times her age.  I really related to her because I began quilting at about 23...and not everyone in the quilting community was warm and welcoming. 

I found my place online where you can easily overlook a rude or inconsiderate comment (if you so choose) but offline it can be really hard to remain calm and kind in the face of someone who is downright mean.  I admit, more than once I've lost my cool - and looking back I regret it.  Most ladies upon meeting me assume I'm just beginning my quilting journey because of my age and that's ok - you don't know what you don't know and how could they know where I am in my quilting life without knowing me.  I could write a small book about the off color things that have been said or insinuated over the years.  One woman I remember during a sewing session proceeded to take a rotary cutter right out of my hand and show me "the correct way to cut".  Another quilter whom I had highly respected at the time basically ripped apart my work (with words) pointing out each flaw and after looking over my quilt threw it back at me and it was clear at that moment I was no longer worthy of her attention or friendship.  At a recent trip to the fabric store with a friend the lady at the counter completely impeded herself into our conversation and pushed me out, as if to prove she knew more than I ever would, insulted the advice I gave...and when I attempted to overlook her rude comments and I agreed with some of her tips she told me, "isn't that what I just said?"  Grr.  (Sticks tongue out at snotty fabric cutting lady...)

I don't know it all nor do I claim to.  Anyone who proclaims to know it all about quilting or puts other people down for their place in their quilting journey just really makes me sad.  I think we all have experienced it.  I don't know how much has to do with age or how much just has to do with arrogance or the so called pecking order women impose on each other.  But I implore those of you who are seasoned quilters...keep your head about you when in the presence of your newbie friends.  You never know, someday they might teach you a thing or two...and nothing turns a new and insecure quilter OFF like insulting their work, their fabric choices, or treating them as if their work is insignificant because it doesn't measure up to your standards.  Remember, there was a time once that each and every one of us had to ask, "what is a fat quarter?"  ;)

That being said, the majority of the women (and men!) I have met through quilting have been wonderful and eager to share their work with someone excited to see it.  I can be overly enthusiastic at times but sometimes I see that enthusiasm help others to get excited about what they are creating too.  I love that during difficult times quilters band together and do what they know and love to bring comfort to others.  I love being a part of this amazing quilting community - on and off of the internet!

Moving on to other ramblings...

Oh my.  Last evening was one of those that I wanted to pull my hair out, scream, cry, yell, and stomp all at the same time.  My precious little munchkins are my world, and no amount of quilting could bring me the joy that they do...or probably the frustration either.  It was just one of those evenings the Husband and I both were exhausted, our annual spring leak began by the bay windows so I spent every hour of the day changing towels attempting to preserve the dark wood molding that I love.  The girls are still adjusting to going back to school as I let them pretty much run rampant over Christmas break - and I'm attempting to whittle bedtime back down to a reasonable hour instead of letting them stay up all night...of course that is resulting in lovely temper tantrums of epic proportions.  The littlest girl's night time routine is all sorts of backwards after a bout with the flu...she just never got back on schedule.  So by midnight all the children were finally sleeping...and I stayed up for an additional hour or two just to enjoy the silence.  I have no idea how I managed to squeeze any sewing in...although if you saw my laundry heap right now you might have a sneaking suspicion that I sacrificed a few chores to preserve my sanity...

Plugging right along with McKenzie's quilt.  I had cut a bunch of stripey petals but they just were too light...I picked a creamy neutral background for these with fun flowers on them and the stripes just seemed to get lost against it.  So I went back and cut 100 more petals in  purples and greens to finish out my flowers.  I used the thread shown below - I'm trying to use up my Essential thread stash, and it's going to take a while because I probably have 35 spools of it.  This is a dark honey that seemed to blend in with most of the fabrics.  I might have been better off with a medium plum as there is so much purple in this it would have hidden any pulled stitches better but I didn't have it on hand.

I used a small stitch to see if it hides the thread better...a tip I read online somewhere.  Seems to work well as this is a very chunky thread and a lot of my fabrics are pretty thin.  These fabrics are pretty much all from Walmart - I bought one of those Creative Cuts fat quarter bundles and a charm pack of bright colors.  The purple fabric with the circles on it was's much better quality ($8 a yard - OUCH!) but I don't think that will matter - I just loved it and want to use it somehow in the backing.

Do you see the seams?  Me neither!  I don't know how this will look when quilted but for now I'm happy.  This is going to be a bang around quilt so it doesn't really matter, but I am trying to instill good habits for the quilts that DO matter.

The template I used for these Dresden's is the 4" spoke/petal whatever you like to call it from Eleanor Burn's Egg Money Quilts book.  I just wanted something quick and ready to go so I didn't have to do any figuring in EQ6.  These will make 12" blocks...if I ever get time to complete them.  The roofing guy is coming to de-ice the gutter in a few hours and give us an estimate on the roof (eeep!  First comes roof - then comes the long arm!) and my house is a DISASTER.  A friend is also stopping by to pick up the hoard of clothes I've been keeping in the kids rooms to free up some space for the Christmas clothes they received.  So sewing may or may not happen until later.


Colleen said...

Ahhhh... good topic Valerie! I felt the same way!! My friend and I started quilting around age 30, and that was pretty young in my neck of the woods. We went to guild meetings and were so excited about the whole experience... shopped, learned, and got involved in a smaller stitching group. Then one day, I heard the women complaining about my friend never making a purchase at their shop, snide comments about it. If that was it, maybe I could have let it go, but there were so many digs, and the women at the guild were so unwelcoming and catty.... it was like a high school click that we just were not able to break into because of our age and less experience. Totally turned off, I stopped quilting for a couple of years, only to pick it up again on my own and stick with it. Then I discovered the internet and a blog, and was so excited at this form of connecting with others. So happy I did!

Gale, Ky quilter said...

When I was in my twenties & home with both children I asked my mother to teach me to quilt. She had quilted as long as I could remember. With little ones running around I thought it would be nice to do something that was orderly & relaxing. My mother proceeded to tell me that
"quilting is for old women" & "you're too young to quilt". Hurt my feelings so bad. When devastation of an autoimmune disease hit me at 38, I taught myself & I haven't looked back since. Love, love, love it.

Fran said...

I am horrified to hear of the reception you received in a guild. Please don't judge all guilds by this one. The truth of the matter is our guild is dying for lack of younger talent. Jokingly I add, that we need your muscle -- the quilt shows are getting harder and harder to hang as we all age. I can identify with you as I have sewed since the age of eleven and in my early twenties knew a lot about what I was doing. My biggest challenge was carving out the time to sew - between the kids and a full-time job. I have to confess that sometimes I just locked myself in the bedroom and told the kids to find whatever they could to eat. They all survived -lol.

Michele said...

Thankfully I haven't heard anything that bad from older quilters and thankfully there are so many young people into this or just getting into this that helps offset any off comments. There are a few though, including a shop owner that I know, that really make it not so nice for the rest of us. I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

I sure hope I am not one of the ones you quoted in your description of how people have treated you... if so, I apologize! Holly D