Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Some Thoughts that Have Been Swirling Around for Awhile...

So I originally had an entirely different post to share with you all - one involving a new quilt and everything! - but that will have to wait until my next post because I want to share something else with y'all right now. There have been a few things within the quilting/sewing/crafting/blogging world over the past few months that I've been thinking about but wasn't sharing because I didn't want to be too controversial or stray away from the normal format of this here little blog. But a recent post from Rachel has changed that for the moment so I'm opening up a little. I only just heard about Rachel's post today and the controversy that erupted in (and because of some of) the comments left because I haven't been keeping up on my blogs as much lately (more on that in a bit); in a nutshell (in case you want to stay with me for a bit before heading on over to Rachel's to read), Rachel outlined a few confessions about some fabric lines she didn't like, mentioned that she wasn't so keen on Denyse Schmidt's Single Girl pattern, and was generally just being open and truthful about a few things. She also invited others to leave their own "confessions" in the comments and I guess that is where things started to get a bit nasty - I totally love the idea of people leaving confessions there but some people (in my humble opinion) went a bit far and didn't seem to realize that there really are people behind those lines/patterns/blogs.

In this vein I have a couple of things I want to say, "confessions" of my own if you will, if y'all will bear with me. But, just so that this post is not completely devoid of pictures (and maybe to perk up your interest a bit for my new quilt), here's a little sneaky peeky of the quilt for my next post!

Okay, so here goes...

I absolutely despise it when people say "not your grandma's such and such" in the crafting world; I think this is one of the most disrespectful things that you can say when it comes to creativity and craft and frankly it's a whole lotta bull too! There are a couple of businesses that use it in a tongue-in-cheek way but I still think it's pretty rude and ridiculous. My Grandma was the one who taught me to use a sewing machine in the first place, and although the clothes and things that she made may not be my style (although they have also been back in style at different points over the years) I would never put down her talent, hard work, creativity, or love of creating things with such a demeaning and snippity remark. Every creative idea that is going around today has been build upon the things that our grandmothers, and their grandmothers before them, have made and, in many cases, the skills that we have learned from them (or other "older" people in our lives). You may use different fabrics, use different (shall we say more risque?) motifs, be subversive, or just wonk things up in funky, fun ways but that does not mean that you invented "X" craft, nor does it give you the right to be snobby, persnickety, or sometimes just downright mean-spirited in regards to their handwork.

In the same vein, this whole "modern vs. traditional" quilting thing has really raised my hackles. I'm sorry but I didn't realize that we as quilters had sanctioned a group of people to be the quilt police! As president of a modern quilt guild I have a lot to say on this subject (but I will spare you all of the my thoughts and the curse words that go along with them here) and the fact of the matter is that there are members of my guild who make things that might not be considered "modern" by other members of the community, or use fabrics that are "old lady" (again, I hate that one too), or batiks, or whatever but heck(!) I'm not going to tell them that they're not modern enough for us and kick them out of the guild! If they think what they are doing is modern than they can go right ahead and keep on doing it and I will cheer for them and admire their amazing work along with everyone else. I really don't get the whole modern vs. traditional thing, same as with the above ranting about putting down the grandmas, it's all built on the same foundation and we can all learn so much from each other. Personally I have had some bad experiences with some of the more traditional quilters who thought that I didn't belong in the quilt world (I talked a bit about this in this post), but I'm not about to start bad mouthing their talent and achievements.

And dang if this whole "modern vs. traditional" thing hasn't sparked even more issues related to the "dumbing down" of quilting. Many of you have probably heard all about this already, and just so that you all know I have actually spoken with the lady who wrote the original post and I don't think she meant to hurt anyone's feelings nor do I think that a lot of the negative stuff that has been said about her is true - from my point of view the title was VERY unfortunate, but I think that some of what she said really did have merit and much of it was blown out of proportion by others *ahem*. I do however find that some of the comments made in regards to this topic were unjust and again just mean. Yes, some patterns that you can buy are fairly simple but if someone wants to sell them and someone else is willing to buy them then more power to them. Some people don't have the time or the desire to figure out the math or requirements themselves, others are beginners and feel more comfortable using a pattern that is written for them in easy to follow steps, some see a quilt and want to make it exactly the same with the same fabric, and even more just want to quilt and not worry about anything else. Are these reasons wrong? Heck no! Are the people who buy simple patterns less of a quilter? Again, I say heck no! I don't think this is dumbing down quilting at all, and I don't think the people who like simple, geometric patterns (which as you've noticed I prefer myself) should not be considered less than.

Okay, so those were the big three! I get ranty when I'm all tizzied and hopped up on coffee, don't I?! Here are a few smaller ones:

I have not been keeping up with my blog reading as much lately. I have been super-busy with finishing my Masters, working, and getting some designing in (guys, I have so much I want to share with you but am not allowed - and gosh some of it I can't even share for another year, eeeep!) and really, I kinda feel terrible about it. I feel really bad when I do eventually see a post where someone made something that was truly amazing but it's weeks later and I never commented (especially when it's my friends that do the excellent making). I not only feel like a bad friend, but I also feel like I'm not supporting my community and those who have supported me.

I share many things about my personal life on this here blog (many have mentioned to me that liked following along with me as I went through graduate school and rooted for me the whole way), but I don't always mention the really bad things. On occasion I mention something that's not so bright and sunny, but I don't want my blog to be a space of negativity (although I think some of you may be shaking your heads at me now after my giant rant above) and I don't want people to think I'm being fake because of this. Sure, life is not all sunshine and rainbows and my life is far from perfect (and I never try to make you guys think that it is - you know unreasonable expectations and all that) but I want you guys to come here and like being here with me.

I take pride in the work that I do and the things that I create for others and it really does hurt when they don't seem to appreciate them. I have decided that from now on unless people have shown genuine gratitude and/or interest in the things that I have made them, than I am just not doing it anymore. This may seem selfish to some but we all know that crafting is time consuming and not cheap, so if someone would be happier with a store bought gift than so be it.

I am a comment-whore (that is probably the first time in Miss Print history that the "w" word has shown up here...sorry folks, I guess I just went a bit beyond my usual G-rating)... I really do love it when I get comments from you, really really LOVE it! I obviously don't make things to get comments from you guys, but man does it ever feel good when someone tells me that they love something I made. And no, this is not me asking you guys to comment more, I'm just laying it all out there.

Seriously, this post just got super-long and I feel bad for making y'all read it so I'll just end it there. I know that some of you might not have agreed with some (or all) of the things that I have said and that I'm probably going to get some flack over this, but I don't mind that at all. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me since I finally got up the courage to share some of my thoughts with you guys.


  1. Great post Kaye! It's such a bummer how much other quilters come down on each other! It's so discouraging! If only we could all just get along!

    Just wanted to say that I'm so glad to count you among my friends! You're an amazing person and I'm always excited to see what you're up to next! :)

  2. I love a good rant!!!!
    Feels better hey
    now for the nerves of what will everyone else think.
    I think your post was thoughtful and sits very well with me :)
    I really like the thought that quilters are artist and just like you might like some artist and not others quilts/fabrics are the same. A 2 year old's scribble is sometime the best art in the whole world so a beginners or simple quilt can be too. Even with that said I still love Monet!

  3. Quilters should just let quilters be! Anything homemade with love and then given in love, kept in love, sold in love, whatever, is beautiful. We all don't like the same clothes, shoes, or purses, why do we have to like the same material and patterns?
    Sew with your heart!!! :)

  4. Lovely post and very well put! (& can I also say the pillow you made me eons ago - it's still treasured. It now lives with my niece because her mummy loved it so much and it fitted perfectly in her fairytale themed bedroom)

  5. Good for you, I am sure everything you wrote about is something that every quilter thought about at some time. I admire you for saying what is on your mind.

  6. I am leaving you a comment to let you know:

    This is my first visit to your blog (jumpped over from Heathers)

    I scanned through your rant but did actually slow down to read some parts :-)

    I like what you have to say and admire your courage for sharing your thoughts openly!

    And... I will be back to check out your work so I can leave some nice comments for ya!~ ;-)

  7. I'll tell you what. This ol' bat is tickled pink that you are a quilter! Keep 'em coming, girlie! :)

  8. I really appreciated your post. I've been feeling some of these things lately, and I'm glad that I'm not the only one out there. :-) I'm looking forward to hearing about your secret designing projects in the future!!

  9. Hmmm. I've never used the term, "not your grandmother's", but I'm pretty sure that some who have used it didn't mean to be mean-spirited, just trying to say that it's not old and/or traditional, it's new and modern, which are all very stereotypical terms which I tend to stay away from. During my approximate year of blogging/quilting (you were one of the first blogs that I started to follow - and I love it!) I can honestly say that there's NO blog that I dislike - I like all the varied creativity, both new and old, modern and traditional, and see so much variety and inspiration it's overwhelming sometimes. Lest I ramble, thanks for being honest and laying it out there!

  10. Thanks for sharing so openly, Kaye! I had a lot of the same thoughts and posted about it on my blog, but didn't do it as well as you did. It seems that the facelessness of social media has removed those filters our mom built in to us - you know, if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all? It always surprises me how unkind some people can be when they don't have to face the person they're talking to or about. That being said, I love your blog, and feel like I know you a little from reading it. I've made lots of great friends over the past year of blogging that I wouldn't trade for the world - and we all love quilting because it makes us happy. That's the best reason to quilt!!!

  11. Don't feel bad at all for the long post! Lots of us are getting worked up in so many ways by so much being said. We are all entitled to our opinions.

    And every blog is a personal space. So, yes, share the rants! You know I do. Good for you for speaking out for yourself and your opinions.

    I've always appreciated your support on my own little space, happy to share the love back.

  12. I agree with every word you have written, especailly with the 'not your granmother's...' comments. She taught me to sew and we have very similar tastes. If she was alive I'd imagine she would be crafting exactly like me.

  13. Love this post and so agree with everything you've said. I feel a bit baffled about all the angst going on at the moment - there must be a whole lot of blogs out there I don't even know about because I honestly haven't read anything nasty - only those folk who are throwing their hands up in despair and asking why!

  14. I'm avoiding going to read the original post - which I have heard about now for days, because I have way too much to do ;)

    However, I agree with you - I get the "it's not your grandma's or it's not your mom's" and I always think "you obviously have never meant my Mom or Grammy."

    And sometimes simple is better :)

    Can't wait to see what you have in store!

    (And we are all comment whores).

  15. Your post is the most positive one I've read so far on this oh so hot topic at the moment. I think its great to be able to be honest and open as long as you don't hurt people at the same time or put them down because your taste is different from theirs. There's been a few honest and open comments and posts on blogs that I've read in the last 24 hours that have made me feel uncomfortable because of the nastiness behind the thoughts. So thank you for taking the time to write something positive with regards to this ;)

  16. Well said......thank God for those wonderful grandmothers and mothers who taught us!! Or at least open the idea door!

  17. This is quilting people-- quilting! Let's have fun:) Well put Kaye!

  18. An open and balanced post I think. Rachel opened up quite a can of worms with her post. I read through the first 200 comments, making notes about what I wanted to add or second, but I left actually commenting till the next day (ran out of time!) and after sleeping on it, I decided not to contribute anything at all. I agree that some of it was getting kind of nasty. I think it is easy to get carried away when you are reading what other people have said already, a bit of a mob mentality. I have been quite oblivious to some stuff you have mentioned and I think it is good to stay that way. I have always considered quilters to be amongst the kindest and most generous of people and I don't want to have that image tarnished. Being too honest can be dangerous! But your post was just right.

  19. Oh man! I typed a REALLY long comment to this and it got lost in cyberspace! Ugh!!! If for some reason it does show up, and I am just not seeing it, feel free to delete either this comment or my first one, so you only have one of my long, boring comments on here, hehehehe.

    I completely agree with you on how grandmothers should be respected, and it's awesome how they've passed on their craft to future generations. But I don't think that the phrase "not your grandma's _____" is necessarily a bad or demeaning thing. I read it as a quick phrase saying that something is a new idea that wasn't explored back in previous generations.

    For example, when I was little, I would watch my Grandma knit all these lovely things, so gorgeous, and I was mesmerized. But today I see all these other new ideas that I never saw my Grandma knit. So when I hear the phrase "not your Grandma's knitting", I don't see it as saying her work is to be looked down on, or not up-to-par, I just simply see it as meaning that this is a new take on knitting that previous generations never toyed with.

    But I totally agree with you that the crafts that older generations passed on to us are special, and completely still relevant today. I hear ya!

  20. I was so happy to read what you wrote about the "not your grandmother's...." sentiment. While I am sure that people who use that phrase love and respect their grandmothers, there is a dismissive quality to that phrase that has always hurt me (I am not a grandmother, btw!). (I also don't understand how that sentiment can co-exist with the glorification of all things vintage, but that is a side issue.) Truly, we are all following a general fashion in our taste for current fabrics, colours, prints. Our children and grandchildren are likely to shelve our beautiful quilts because they are "so 2010". I also find all the current angst to be reminiscent of the worst parts of high school, and I have steadfastly avoided blogging about it or leaving a comment about it because I want to deny it oxygen in the part of the universe that I can control. However I had to comment here because of your spirited defense of previous generations - you are my quilty hero!

  21. I totally agree! I appreciate your rant and thank you for sharing it! I have always felt that way about the "not your grandmother's..." comments but haven't ever said anything. Also to each their you said I may not LOVE everything everybody does but I respect and admire the hardwork and time that they put into it!Also with the so-called "dumbing down" of quilting issue- Not all of us have the local classes that are convienient or even possible for us to go to and those simple patterns are how we teach ourselves and practice. And people should be happy that more people are wanting to quilt and get into the field and be welcoming and encourage their motivation to teach themselves not put them down for not having someone else to teach them. Now that I did a mini rant, lol...I totally love your blog and hearing your perspective and seeing your projects! Thaks for sharing!

  22. I've never really thought that much about the phrase 'not your grandmother's...", but I am SO much more likely to keep reading if someone posted, "now this is a quilt my grandmother made..." - I'm much more inspired and likely to take something from a post showing some intricate vintage quilt than yet another modern quilt.

    I know a lot of bloggers are having confessionals thanks to some recent posts, and it's fascinating reading them all!

  23. Nothing wrong with a good rant now and again. Personally, I think this whole quilting thing has been blow way out of proportion. Quilting is quilting. You do what you want to do. If it's modern, great. If it's traditional, great. We're all in it for the pleasure of being creative and having a good time. There shouldn't be any pressure from other quilters to do something that you may not want to do just to "challenge" yourself. I love a scrappy 9-patch block. Whether I use modern fabrics or traditional fabrics that's my choice. And if I make 10 9-patch quilts in a row, so what!

  24. Who doesn't love receiving comments?! You're right on Kaye. It does just go to show you, though, that speaking your mind tends to open cans of worms that are hard to herd. I know Rachel didn't foresee all that negativity and I, too, didn't see the dumbing down post explode like it did (I for one, appreciate accurate piecing and don't see anything wrong with trying to sew blocks together well!). I sincerely wish there wasn't this division of two quilting camps that appear to be growing farther apart than closer together. I'm getting tired of doing the splits.

  25. Well said, but it doesn't and won't change the world. There are people who have the need to feel superior, no matter what part of life it involves, black/white, irish/english, christian/muslim, straight/gay and on and on and on -- We hope that people can accept equality and encourage others to strive for their best.

  26. Well put Kaye! I don't know why we all can't just get along and enjoy the joy we all get out of our craft! Thanks for putting into words what a lot of us have been feeling!
    Hugs to you!

  27. I am honored that you found the discussion worth passing along. It seems more difficult than ever (to me) to be real without being rude, but it's something I think is quite valuable to real community. I hope in the end this discussion is somehow valuable to our community.



  28. Your post is wonderful, Kaye! I did read and comment on Rachel's post. It was really interesting where people went with their confessions. It was through those comments that I heard about the "dumbing down" post. I had to look it up, because I missed the whole controversy. I seriously had no idea that was going around. When I read it, it made me feel as though I need to be extra careful about what future quilts I post. But, after thinking about it, I thought why? It won't stop me, I just hope it doesn't stop someone else. There's room for everyone and every style and every fabric and every level! {and I'm a craft book and pattern w.... {floozy?} and I love it!} Kaye, you were one of the first quilters I followed and you know I think you're just awesome! :)

  29. I agree with you, Kaye! If people have negative things to say about a certain blog, why do they visit it? If they don't like a pattern, think it is too basic, they don't have to buy it!

    I have a confession to make. I will often see a post that I want to comment on, but it already has so many comments I don't bother. I should still show my appreciation. And I also get down about not getting "enough" comments on my own blog -- but Monica at Happy Zombie had a post this week that made me rethink that!

  30. I think that was a very good post. I agree about the 'not your granny's...' that kinda rankles me too.

  31. Hooray, someone who's level-headed! (I think I've posted on that before.)

    I was a bit taken aback by everyone who piled on the original dumbing-down poster... she didn't say it was dumb not to make fancy traditional quilts; she criticized SMS and other places for calling relatively basic traditional quilt concepts such as pinwheels "advanced," which will scare off novice quilters and keep them from trying new things. ("Dumbing down" being used, as it often is, to refer to trying to keep everything at a low level, saying nobody's capable of reading Moby Dick so we have to do it in the comic book form, etc.) She said a lot of things I disagree with, but ... seriously ... so many people saying "I'm never going to read what she wrote, because I know it's all about how modern quilts are dumb." Reading comprehension is a basic skill, people :)

    I like the traditional styles myself; I'm comfortable with ritual and I LOVE math; but that doesn't keep me from subscribing to modern-quilter blogs.

    Plus, seriously? Today's grandmothers were more likely than not young mothers during the early hippy period. (Dude, Brett Favre is a grandfather.) "Your grandmother's stuff" doesn't refer to depression- or WWII-era goods anymore... it's now psychedelic. "your grandmother's" might now mean "forward-looking, transgressive, using non-traditional color choices and designs, etc." :)