Saturday, April 10, 2010

Similar experiences to a recent post

Recently Windosm Windings of a Wayward Quilter talked of assumptions by others that she didn't have much quilting experience.

This brought me out of a 2 week quiet spell to talk on this subject.

I get this all the time. In March, I attended our guilds quilting retreat. I enjoy going: fellowship, learning techinques, sharing of ideas, making new friends, built in quilt show and getting away from the reality of my life. Who wouldn't love it? I only get to go about every 12-18 months. I really enjoy it when it does happen.

This retreat we had some new faces to me. A quilt shop owner and one of her customers. Our retreat is small and inexpensive. The owner brought half of her store (to sell) and hogged much of the space. This did rub me the wrong way so I do admit a slight bias from the beginning. As I was working on the sample for an upcoming class, I had to work out some glitches (whether mine or printed is still up for discussion) from a book, before I could teach the class. I often talk to myself (comes from working alone on 3rd shift). While discussing a problem with myself, this LQS owner decided that I needed her help because I am young (the youngest attendee at retreat) and inexperienced. Mind you I am into my 4th decade on earth. (I still look young for my age--however about 2 years ago I decided to go gray--I have earned every last gray hair I have.) I did not need help, just time to make the "right" decision. This irked me.
One other woman wanted to copy my book. I said sure you can look at the book but that I would really appreciate if you like the pattern to support me by taking the class. She offered to "proof" the pattern once I get it written. That way she could have a copy and I will have it proofed. What nerve!
Later, the LQS owner was concerned how the quilter I was going to pay was going to quilt around all those 3D mariners compass'. One of the retreat organizers (that has known me for at least 5 yrs.) stepped up and stated "JAQ will have no problem with the quilting, she always does a great job." HA! I just kept my mouth shut.
By the end of Saturday, the LQS was over asking me about fabric designers, design layouts, and weave. (What do I know about that!) I fudged a good answer and used common sense. Boy that makes you feel good.

I do see this in many parts of my life though. At work, I am still one of the youngest on my shift. There are now 3 younger, but only in the last 2 years. My husband is also the youngest at his level. Our friends have younger kids, but our coworkers have older kids. Some coworkers are old enough to be our parents.

I believe this is why I have the knowledge that I do. I go out and strive to gain more knowledge, any way I can. If someone gives me a hard time, I just say I have been quilting for more than 15 years, or that I joined the guild while I was still pregnant with my 11 yr old. When needing help, I try to ask specific questions, this helps curb the "our you lost oh young one".

I hope to get some pics of my current projects in the next couple days. Lola (15 yrs.) is taking drivers ed. She finishes on Wednesday!


  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences. AS frustrating as it is to be undersetimated by others, isn't it satisfying to prove them wrong?

    I'm looking forward to seeing what you've been working on. Also, good luck with the young drivers in the family (another 5 years and I'll be biting my fingernails about that!)

  2. Quietly proving you know what you are doing is the best way to handle people who underestimate you. I am finally at a point that I enjoy people thinking I am younger than I really am, I will turn 60 this year and it is fun having people think I am younger. So, enjoy it when it happens to you, too. And don't worry about the people who don't give you enough credit, I have a feeling they often eat lots of crow!

    The woman who wanted to copy your book so she could have a free pattern had a lot of nerve. I do like a free pattern once in a while, but I also feel people work hard to create a pattern and teach a class so they have a right to be compensated for their time and talent. You did the right thing asking her to support you by signing up for your class.

  3. It strikes me as funny that there are now three in our little group with the same issues of being treated poorly by older quilters making assumptions. (I once had a boss that liked to say that if you "assume" it makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me"...pardon the language.) Enjoy sitting back and quietly letting them SEE you know what you're doing. I think it makes for a better show. And keep smiling because you (and we) know you're a fantastic quilter.

  4. Well said, Katie! I wanted to give the same division of the word "assume"; it is oh so true!

    Ann was correct earlier too! Quilting has no age requirement! Even large quilt shows have sections for children's accomplishments, which proves there is no minimum age. But don't you young ones be too rough on us old people; as long as our eyes and fingers hold out, we will still be quilting, and learning, too! *grin*
    Age is not the crux of this discussion; it is really about manners, being polite, and offering encouragement, regardless of the age of the participants in the discussion. I'm so glad all of us in this APQ group are so very accepting, and encouragers of each other! Let's keep that going! ---"Love"

  5. How annoying!! I am by no means an experienced quilter, but certainly have caught the quilting "bug". I'm 28 yrs old and often people think I should have no clue!! ~Christine

  6. I was in a block of the month a few years ago and one of the group was in middle school. She was every bit as good as the rest of the group and had no trouble keeping up.
    I do think it is a matter of respect. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and it usually isn't about age. Some young quilters have been sewing for years and some older quilters just started. (So much for assuming).
    I agree with Love, the APQ group is very encouraging and supportive and it doesn't matter to us how old someone is or how long someone has been quilting.

  7. I guess we have all been on the wrong end of assumptions sometimes. I'm glad everyone came through in the end to recognize how tallented you are and how beautiful your work is. I really like your idea about asking specific questions. I will have to try that out.

  8. I'm afraid that in all facets of life there are plenty of know-it-alls desperate to share their wisdom whether you asked for it or not. Chalk it up to experience. Use them as a benchmark for your own approach to these things. Remember there are plenty of folk too frightened to ask for help for fear of being thought inadequate. I think we are most fortunate to have such a supportive group who encourage each other without being judgemental. Ann :-)

  9. I ran into the same problem when I first got into quilting. Not tooting my own horn, but I was good from the get-go. And that led to the "older" quilters (anybody is older when you are 19...LOL) always looking down on me in one way or another. It was hard to go to a guild meeting and not be bent for being patronized. Yeah, I had alot to learn, but I was also winning blue ribbons and getting published a year into my craft.
    After a while of dealing with this, I just dropped out of the scene. Kept quilting, but no shows, no publications, no guilds.
    Once I hit thirty I figured I had "matured" enough to get back out there and not have my ability guaged on my age.
    I understand people wanting to help, but I also think that treating "younger" crafters like they couldn't know what they are doing doesn't really provide a positive atmosphere for continued interest in the craft.
    Now I can tell people that I have been sewing for 30 years and quilting for 18 with confidence, and they just blink....and still ask how old I am;) I just smile and tell them that that is a question you never ask a woman.
    Happy Quilting!!