Gloomy feelings are prevalent in the quilting community recently at the announcements of the closures of several quilt-related magazines and businesses, or parts of businesses. I was recently talking with a close friend of mine about this. These things have a way of being self-fulfilling prophesies by making people hesitate to dive in and do things because they think the industry is closing and they don’t want to invest their time and money in a failing pursuit if supplies, or when fellow quilters might not be around. Linda Thielfoldt captured it well in her blog post in which she ends up by calling on us to mentor a child.
Sew let us think about this a bit and brush the dust off of our dreams for making that piece of funky or pretty art for your wall, a well-tailored jacket, a set of decorative pillows to spruce up your living space, a really nice outfit to wear to special occasions, some new pot holders, or how about that costume for your favorite fun festival or party. Sewing and quilting can be calming and also a fun adventure.
I’ve actually seen recent comments from quilters or sewists criticizing other sewists for the way they shop or buy a class, or blaming problems on the “aging” quilters, who, they assume, don’t buy anything anymore (WRONG!!!); or on young sewists and quilters who have very little time and not so much money so they pull learning and patterns from where they can. Such comments are not helpful.
I call upon these naysayers and those who are worried to welcome all manner of quilting and sewing into our folds…the costume maker, the art quilter, the modern quilter, the traditional quilter, the tailored clothes maker, the hat maker, the bag maker, the doll maker, the sewist who makes items for charity, the ten minutes-at-a-time stitcher, the incredibly talented hand stitcher, and those who do all of these things just because they can.
Sewing and quilting is an adventure, an occupation that takes our minds off of the difficulties of life, the politics, the horrible things happening in the world, and gives us the opportunity to think about how to construct that tote bag, or make that art quilt, or tailor that jacket to wear to work. In the end, moreover, we often end up with something truly wonderful.
I do also hope we can stop categorizing the sewists of this world into preconceived ideas in a way that may limit opportunities. The younger quilter is not always interested in modern quilting. The older quilter is not always interested in traditional quilting. The middle-aged quilter is often ignored in discussions of this type. The art quilter is often as committed to excellence in their craft as the traditional quilter. Some people have jobs or other responsibilities that don’t allow them time to take half a day to shop or go to that show. Sew, wonderfully, they download classes (some of which are wonderful and thereby they support that teacher), they order on the Internet (maybe even from their local fabric store)…but they order and they take classes, they buy that fabric and thread and machines. This activity will keep the industry alive even if it doesn’t help our neighborhood fabric store with the owners who have been in business for decades and are ready to retire to do their own sewing.
I hope we will continue to support each other and encourage the “ancient quilter” making something spectacularly different, the middle-aged man sewing a vintage costume, the college student making something for their dorm room, or the twelve year old boy quilting. Let’s keep this industry alive with enthusiasm even as it changes to encompass the new methods of communication and shopping!
Sew happy everyone! I loved Linda Thielfoldt’s blog about mentoring new young sewers. This is important. Might I suggest, also, that it does not just have to be a young person (though, again, this is important)…an older person with a little more time and money on their hands might also want to get in on the fun and then pass it on to their young person.