Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caron, ever the stateswoman

I am a member of your hand quilting group, thank you.
: )

You graciously admitted me when the numbers were in the mid- to upper-hundreds!  Before Janet became your assisting admin, even.  But thanks all the same for the invitation to join.  I will remain in the group, if it's alright to do so, even though I do the bulk of my quilting on my lovely old Bernina 1530 (despite my love - and practice - of crazy quilting BY HAND, and my new-found enjoyment of making quilts via the hand applique, needle-turned route).

My ultimate spew a couple of weeks ago (resulting in "Dumbfounded"), was out of complete frustration with a relatively small - but v e r y vocal - faction of the membership in the Celebrate Hand Quilting group.  It doesn't merit re-hashing, for now you have been made aware of the misdeeds, if not privy to the actual four (or five) nasty threads I read, politely countered, and finally teared up over.  It's not worth the anger I felt, nor the abuse (as a pretty darned fine FMQ-er) some staunch hand quilters seem to feel needs vocalizing at every turn.  I am certain there are far more vitriolic timeline 'conversations' I have never seen...and that's fine.

I love to see the craftsmanship applied to the quilts visible at your Fb page, and I admire the skills so many hand quilters possess.  Not to mention the hours upon hours of dedication given over to perfecting a uniform stitch.  The gumption to continue stitching through pain and blisters and all.  My great grandmother quilted by hand.  In her late eighties she finally gave way to piecing using a machine - she figured if her worsening arthritis was going to steal some of the time in which she could be making a quilt, she may as well do the most visible portion by hand for as long as she could.  It broke her heart, but she was quilting up to the end of her life, at 97 years old.  Bless her.

Any more, when threads turn anti-FMQ, I ignore them by simply removing myself for a few days.  It's sad, though, that people gifted with a needle - such a seemingly passive and lovely art - can be so negative and hateful towards other 'artists'.  Some of us take great pains to practice and acquire a skill set equal to the task of quilting with our domestic machines so that it is as attractive to the eye as it is to the body.  Some of my works are stitched with a purpose to overindulge...but those quilts are to hang on walls and tell a story.  The stitching is integral to the quilt.  However, I have also cuddled up under each one of my more heavily machine-quilted wonders just to hear it speak to me in my dreams.  They are just as cozy and pliable as any quilt my great gran ever hand quilted.  Gram would have approved wholeheartedly, because I was making a quilt!

What's not necessary are all of the derogatory comments.  If a hand quilter doesn't FMQ, that's fine, but why dip into the well of ranting and insults?  Not all FMQ work is "stiff," "soulless," "ugly," "unusable as a blanket," "overdone," "sub-standard," "low quality," and on and on.  

Can't those quilters agree to disagree and simply move on?  Can't we all just quilt together?

P.S. Before I move on, I really must thank you, Caron, for caring enough to ask.  Also, for your apology on behalf of those rather rabid hand quilters.  I thank you for being you and for sharing your time and knowledge and for being an effective emissary for the love of a beautiful art.


Caron at Michigan Quilts said...

Bethany, I just happened upon your blog post about the CHQ Facebook group. There are two main ways to quilt a quilt top: by hand and by machine. Both are perfectly acceptable. I have done both. I have been a hand quilter since 1978, and have dabbled in machine quilting on a mid-arm Pfaff on a frame (which is now for sale because I stink at it). As you know, freedom of speech is available to everyone in the United States, and I allow people who post on CHQ to do the same as long as they are polite, kind, and cause no harm. But when people start becoming angry, mean, pointing fingers and causing hurt, I pull the plug on them. Sometimes I miss posts... I DO have a full-time job, so I'm not able to be in front of the computer on Facebook all day long. If I miss something, there are many quilters who will send me a private message or will text my cell phone to let me know. With that being said, even though I stink at machine quilting (actually, I stink at everything machine-related!), I greatly admire anyone who does beautiful machine quilting. On my Pinterest page I have a category for beautiful machine quilting. It is an amazing talent, and should be recognized. Please continue to be a regular visitor to CHQ on Facebook. You are an important part of the group!

Gayla May said...

I am also a member of the group and i appreciate your blog post.
Unfortunately,I've come to realize that Facebook is a place where people express their feelings harshly,not sure why. Even in a quilting group (my husband laughs at me every time I tell him that there was a small controversy in the group...the idea of quilters fussing is funny to him i guess).
I hope that anyone who reads your post will be reminded that there is always a person behind every Facebook post. A person who loves hand quilting (otherwise they wouldn't be in the group), maybe not a person who can or who chooses to hand quilt all the time, but a person who probably enjoys quilting very much and has their own view point. I sincerely hope you will continue to contribute to the group,share your quilts and ,when necessary, gently point out to others that we are all part of the quilting community and should be respectful to others.
Like you said,it is a very small minority that feel the need to put down machine quilting,and while they are certainly free to have their opinions I hope this will remind them that there are many types of quilters in our group and we want everyone to feel welcome.
Thank u so much!!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Bethany. I love what you wrote and also the two comments before mine. I am also a member of the CHQ group on FB. I ignore the snarky comments and, fortunately, they are few. Like Caron, I suck at MQing! I also have a Bernina 1530. It is my NEW machine, as I also have a 910. I've been thinking of a new model that has a larger bed to help with my shoulder issues, but they are $$$. Thank you for your well-written words.

Annie Morgan

Missouristar said...

I am so sorry this has happened. I am a part of the group too. I am a dedicated hand quilter, in part because I also stink at machine quilting, but also because I am very good at hand quilting. I enjoy the process better than sitting at the machine although I love to machine piece. I do prefer the look and feel of a hand quilted quilt. However, I am absolutely gobsmacked by the beautiful machine quilting that I see. I appreciate the skill that goes into it and my Pinterest page is filled with examples. There is room for both in the world of quilting and I hope you will remain in the group and just ignore any critics, knowing that they are in the minority. I remember early in my quilting career I showed a small baby quilt to the local quilting "expert." It was machine pieced but impeccably hand quilted. She looked it over, sniffed, and said, "But you know it's not really a quilt because it's machine pieced." There always have been and always will be ignorant people. I feel sorry for them because they must be really insecure to feel the need to lash out.

Beth said...

Oh my stars -

Thank you ALL for your kind comments. Even to the lovely quilter whose comment 'evaporated' when I clicked "publish". I believe the name was "Nana"...but I am so sorry, I can't remember the other portion. I am doubly sorry that the comment is not here any longer. It was as thoughtful and welcomed as could be, and if you find it roaming outside your front door, please send it my way again....I promise to take extra special care and feeding of it.

I do realize not all hand quilters poo-poo FMQ in the same way I trust hand quilters (should) know that all machine quilters do NOT look down on hand needlers. It is a true gift to have what it takes to put so much time into quilting - no matter the size of the quilt.

Thank you for looking in on the blog entry, and my thanks to Caron for letting my words be 'heard' by the hand quilting community.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the upcoming holiday season(s) to my quilting compatriots around the world.

Your friend under the needle,


Annemart Berendse said...

Hi Bethany, people are people, and although we hope that we as hand quilters (which includes you!) are the better part of mankind that do not have the ignorant people in our group, unfortunately we do. And we try to deal with them asap.
Please be welcome in the CHQ group!

Annemart Berendse said...

Dear Bethany, feel welcome (yup, CHQ member too)! Unfortunately being able to hand quilt does not necessarily cut out the ignorance a few have shown. Although we would like to believe so... You are welcome! And not because "some of my best friends are even machine quilters". Because I welcome you, contributing to hand quilting, in your way, just like I do in my way.
Hope we can make the world a bit brighter! And yes, I'd machine quilting to ;-)