Moderating my Craftsy class has been so great! It's more than a class, it's a community. I love how people are sharing pictures of what they are up to, and encouraging each other. I also have the opportunity to answer questions, which I love! A question that comes up often is, "What is your stitch length?" or "What is you stitch regulator set at?" One time, when I replied with my normal answer, "I don't have a stitch regulator" One person asked back...."But, don't you care about your stitch length?". I sat back and thought for a moment...."Nope," I decided, "I don't care"
Let me be clear, I don’t want stitches that are going to fall out or stitches that are so uneven that it’s distracting, but honestly I don’t care if they are all the same length or not.
I feel that I was kind of fortunate to learn how to machine quilt the way I did, in a bubble. I didn’t know about blogs, or go to any classes. I just learned in my basement at my own pace (which, by the way, takes a lot longer!!). I would spend time quilting, and then go show it my Grandpa. He would, of course, praise everything I did (regardless of how horrendous it looked). I did know enough to know that if you were quilting a show quilt, then you needed it to be “perfect” and since I wasn’t entering shows, I was fine just having fun.
By the time, I discovered blogland and the awesomeness of show quilts, I was confident enough in my “thing” that I (mostly) didn’t try to compare myself to others. My quilting niche, in my opinion, is quilting for fun and enjoying the challenge, but not getting caught up in the “show quilting” mentality.
I just want to be clear, I love show quilts. I admire that many, many hours of work and dedication that goes into each and every masterpiece. I am also very glad that people do it, because I enjoy benefiting from being able to witness it.
During the taping of The Quilt Show, I had the opportunity to hang out with Sue McCarty. She is an award-winning show quilter, and her quilts have won 1st place and best of show, multiple times. She had brought along her newest show quilt, and it was spectacular. I mean…..blow-your-mind spectacular. There was so many beautiful, intricate details that you could look at it for days and still not see everything it had to offer.
But, here’s the kicker, it took her 850 hours to complete. 850 hours!!!! Amazing! I don’t think that I could spend 80 hours on a quilt…let alone 850 hours. I admire the persistence she has to fulfill such an amazing vision. (I think about a quilt like that in my house, with my kids, and am instantly scared!)
As we were on the set, I stared at that quilt. I looked down at my quilts and quilting, and wished that I didn’t have to go on after her. I even felt it necessary to explain to Alex Anderson that I want to make quilting fun and accessible to everyone. Just in case she was wondering how I had even made it on to the show in the first place. Insecurity is not a lovely feeling…..
Jacquie and I discussed this later, and she reminded me what was most important….don’t you just love friends who know the right things to say?? I still don’t care about stitch length and I still believe that my “quilting thing” is having fun and enjoying the process. That’s not to say that I won’t enter a quilt show ever….I probably will. But I will always remember that it isn’t my thing!
You know, I tell you all of this for two reasons. First, be true to yourself and what you do. That is much easier said than done, isn’t it. Secondly, it’s important to know that everyone has self-doubt at one time or another, especially in the a creative industry like this. Use that doubt to clarify what you are doing and why you are doing it!