Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Accept it and move on with a smile

I am deeply in the midst of "Peacock", and hankering to work on every other project I have underway, but 24 hours in a day is only twenty-four hours....and sometimes you just have to sleep (and look for work, and feed animals and children and... Well, you know how it is).  But, I also waste spend time looking online at the quilting of others - for inspiration, for the fun of it, for the sheer pleasure it brings me.

I was reading through some comments in a favorite Fb group, when I ran across an answer I gave to another member's question.  I thought it was topical and to the point, especially given how much handwork I am up to these days with the crazy quilt project.

So, here is the question posed and my answer to it.  I hope I don't need to clarify my position (but you know I most likely will 'enhance' some of it just to make the point a little clearer):
"Hi all. I have a somewhat silly question, but I'm asking it seriously. When you are describing a quilt you made to a non- or machine-only quilter - how do you explain it's all hand down without coming across as a pompous snob or a luddite or just annoying? When I've entered quilts in shows I've always struggle with that part. Thanks!!!"
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  • Bethany Waldon Does it matter? 
    If you aren't answering with acrimony - but you are proud and positive - and if someone interprets your answer as pompous or snobby there isn't a thing you can do about that. That's a sad thing for them.

    I suppose [we] feel defensive in telling someone (a non-quiltermaker) how we do what we do because they automatically envision a machine that does it all, and [we] simply slap on the binding and a label and say "hand made." In my case, when I crazy quilt, it is ALL by hand, and I feel a little put off by those who ask "what sort of machine do you own? I'd like to get one." And put off even more so when they watch me laying stitches onto the work, and still feel compelled to ask that question, "Is it ALL by hand?"

    As a machine quilter (AND a hand quilter), I am not offended or put off when someone tells me they pieced and quilted their entire quilt by hand. If I asked the question then I sincerely want to know, and I am doubly impressed by the patience of those who still make a quilt entirely by hand - as my great grandmother did. I am not one of those purists, but I am not ashamed by that, nor am I put off or defensive or snooty when answering the question of a hand quilter regarding my FMQ work. I AM PROUD of my skill sets with my needle and thread, and my domestic machine work.

    I am glad there are those absolute handmade hand quilting purists - and it's a gift to have them still do it for those of us not so inclined (for piecing AND quilting by hand) to look to and admire. [edited and redacted from this point]

I suppose the best way to hear the words of someone asking 'what sort of machine do [I] use' to create my Crazy Quilt embroidery stitches is to receive it as the highest form of compliment.  To interpret it instantaneously into the thought that 'such loveliness and (perceived) perfection is not possible by human hands, and that only a machine is capable of manufacturing the stitches' laying on the material in my lap - even though I am stitching it right there in front of them.

OK, from now on I will!
I will totally interpret that question as a compliment...
and I won't feel the least bit braggadocios for saying I made it,
...and then issue a completely thunderous "thank you" at their awe and praise.

I'm going to heed my own advice.

Phwew.  I wanted to vent a little...and so I have.  Now [deep, cleansing breath] I am heading back to my quilting - I've got some 'awe' to create.

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