A Lot of Thoughts About Quilting

This post does what it says on the tin: a lot of thoughts, about quilting. I recently read a post by a blogger that really had me feeling a lot of feelings; and I decided to comment as such. I won't link to the blog post in question or anything, but I will post my comment here because a lot of the topics that I talk about are things that I'd like to see talked about more in the quilty space of the internet. Women's history and quilting are very intertwined, and both are things I'm very passionate about, so I do apologize if I come off as brash throughout this! Like I said, I'm just feeling a lot of things. I really want to talk about these things more, so if you agree or disagree and would like to pursue a discussion, please do! The original post was in reference to crafters charging too little for what they create (another subject I'm very passionate about!).

"There are a lot of gender issues at play here, and as a male voice in a predominantly female world, I don't know that it's fair that you say these things with an air of confidence, as if we are in your position.

A lot of quilters who sell their quilts do it to support their family, as an additional income; they're not looking to build a standalone business and can't afford sit on a high horse of advanced art education because what they created was "three dimensional art" (there are so many reasons that statement is completely false but I can't even go into that here); they need a seller so they can help out their family. Or maybe they're doing a commission, but it's for a friend, and they want to charge a price their friend can afford, and so they'll recoup some of their cash, but it's not important to them to keep all of it. Or maybe people say things like "to all of the scrap-vomit, (and let's just be perfectly honest, fugly) versions of the Trip Around the World quilts that hit the Interwebs last year. Whoa! [...] I'm just saying, some of them kind of hurt my eyes"; and then some quilters out there feel that what they're creating is no longer worth your $30/hour idealistic fee.

Or, like someone correctly comments below: you can label yourself an artist. A woman doing the same job, I will tell you 90%+ part of the time, will be called a seamstress no matter how she chooses to label herself. I feel so uncomfortable with you making a massive profit off of a lifetime of work done by these seamstresses. Why do you look down on that word as a label? You say that sewing is a skill, but then look down on someone saying "just" sewing. Yes, you are just sewing. You are solely doing the action of sewing. That commenter wasn't saying that the act of sewing wasn't skillful (as a person who sews themselves, why would they?) but rather than you are only utilizing a single skill when you are sitting a sewing machine, and sewing a seam. Yes, in that instance, you are "just" sewing. You're not an artist when you're at your machine, you're a seamstress. Deal with it.

And, to keep going on your profiting off of the years of woman's work, I find it so insulting your comments on the "scrap vomit" trip alongs (and, honestly, I'd feel this way regardless of whether or not I just started one that is quickly becoming my favorite thing I've ever created); because if you appreciated anything about the tradition of quilting and the seamstresses that handed this tradition down and made it into the trade that you are able to enjoy today, you would be able to at least appreciate a scrap quilt for what it is, if not what it looks like. Traditional quilts were so scrappy because of the amount of money fabric cost - they'd use clothing scraps, or save up for fabric and use it as sparingly as possible because it was precious. Vintage quilts that you see using only one or two colors are first off, more rare the older they are, and secondly, a sign that it was a prized possession. Being able to buy and use that much fabric for a single item was a luxury! By saying that only perfectly coordinated quilts suit your delicate sensibility, you're basically eschewing the traditions of quilting, and flaunting your privilege like that is really embarrassing. I feel such a connection and passion for this topic because I was unemployed when I started quilting, and couldn't afford more than a few scraps at a time. When I started, I wasn't sure on the aesthetic of scrappyness, I wasn't into it, but when I learned about the origins of quilting and realizing that I was in the position that my own ancestors were in a few hundred years ago, I learned how important it is to keep traditions like that alive.

Thanks, Scrapbeelicious members! You're the best! ♥
And, I mean, not only just talking about how insensitive to scrappy quilting that remark was, but how insulting to the people making these quilts. I've always felt that this community is so supportive, and I saw someone whose blog I follow mention that when they first started, they thought that everything was sugar-coated, that they didn't know why people didn't point out when there were flaws in what someone made. Here's the answer: who cares. You didn't make it, and if you did, would you want to read someone out there off-handedly call it "fugly"? Really? I mean, insulting in such a childish way, too.

I'm also saddened to see that you didn't make this quilt for someone purely out of financial reasons. Quilting to me, as I have seen it over the internet, and the way that I'm experiencing it, is such a giving and generous craft. I want to make things for people. I love it, even at a financial burden. Even if I didn't "make" as much as I thought I should. It's worth it to share, to love, to give."

I'd also like to add here that I definitely think women as a whole undervalue their work and sell it for far too little for what it's worth; but my point was that there was a tone of judgement coming from this blogger towards people who sold their work for less, and I felt that when that judgement is coming from a someone (in this case, a guy) who has so many different societal expectations and reasons why they might price things a certain way than a woman would (and of course, women making up the majority of this online space), it becomes somewhat obnoxious and I feel it oversteps a few boundaries. They were also drawing a lot of false comparisons for wage calculations, but that wasn't really relevant to discuss here. Overall, we should all strive to charge what we feel we are worth, and to further strive to increase our self-worth; in the meantime, why judge each other for the personal choices we make?

How do you feel about these topics? Are these things that you'd like to see talked about more? I'd love to see more blogs out there bringing up how important women's history is to modern day crafting; for instance how much ownership women were/are expected to give up over their pieces of art (historical tapestries, embroideries for example, not to mention how quilts went unlabeled for too long!) vs how well recognized and celebrated male artists were. There's a woman in my quilt guild who always talks up labeling quilts, and how important it is to document them as valuable art - I love hearing how passionate she is about it! It's so important not to let your voice get lost in the crowd.

Anyway, like I said, I'd love to hear any response you have! Thank you for putting up with a slightly off-topic post with only one blurry instagram picture, haha!


I was a little bit...no, I was very disappointed to wake up this morning to find that my comment was published on the author's blog with my full name and blog link attached, along with a lot of arguments, instead of thoughtful discussion. It is the opposite of the reaction I was hoping for, in seeking a meaningful (if heated!) dialogue. There are a lot of other issues that I feel have come up since, but I'm still trying to process things and make sure that I'm not too reactionary. I might update this later with some New Thoughts About Quilting, I guess is the point here, ha.