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Thoughts on quilting IRL

Funny title, I know.  Of course we quilt "in real life" --the internet can do many amazing things, but picking up a needle and thread is not one of them.  What I want to write down are my thoughts on the flip side of this post, or my comforting realization that I am part of the real life quilting community that I've always wanted. 
This year I joined two guilds.  In March, the NYC Metro Modern Quilt Guild (look, we even have a BLOG now!), and in September the Evening Star Quilters here on Long Island.
The October meeting of the NYC Mod guild was really special for me.  I left May's meeting thinking I might not return, that maybe the commute and time spent away from home weren't really worth it.  I wasn't sure if it was the group I wanted to belong to.  Then I talked to Victoria a little more over the summer, and I started reading 15minutesplay.  By the time the October meeting came around, I feel the need to give it another try.  And I'm really really glad I did.  The group seems to have gelled in some way, maybe it was our scrap swap challenge, or the group strip quilt, but all the sudden we didn't feel like a bunch of half-committed unknown quilters sitting in a room, we felt like a group.  It didn't matter that we came from all across the country, lived in the city or suburbs, participated in the online quilt community or not, or that our ages span some 40+ years.  Everyone seems to truly enjoy sharing and talking about their own and everyone else's quilting.  No criticism. No skepticism.  No quilt police.  I came hopeful, and I left with new friends.  And can I just say-- It's so cool to have friends IRL that also participate in the online quilt world!  I hope I'm not proclaiming it prematurely, but I think these are my people.
(Auditioning layouts for the strip quilt.  What you can't see are the other 6-8 people standing around, moving strips and giving imput.  These are quilters who talk and do, no sitting back on the sidelines in this group.  See the final layout here.)
At the ESQ guild meeting this week I ran into Susan, who runs Quilters Express to Japan.  She and I had met a few months ago and were talking about the online quilt world and the Modern Quilt movement.  She mentioned that she had read an article in Quilters Home about the Modern Quilters and I was kind of taken aback when she said, "That's you.  You're leading that movement."  It took me a minute to collect my thoughts and respond.  Surely I am not leading the movement, but I didn't really want to identify as a "follower" either.  I just do what I do, and I'm happy to have found the NYC Mod guild to share it with. But to her, an accomplished quilter and business woman who has been part of the quilting industry since the 80s, but does not follow the online quilt world, I am leading the movement.  I'm the only "modern" quilter she knows.  I am bringing this "modern" style of quilting to the local guild and bridging the gap between the two communities.  Or, at least that's how she sees things, and I guess that's what I would like to try to do.  So I guess I have found my place in the real-life quilting world. 
Next month the ESQ guild is having their annual Quilt show and I have entered 4 quilts: Plain Spoken, Post-partum Anti-depression, My life in T-shirts, and the Spiderweb (if it's done in time).  I have not been a member of this guild for very long and I have never done Show & Tell at a meeting, so I guess the show will be my first real introduction to the guild.  I don't know how my quilts will be received, but I'm curious to find out.  I went to their show last year and I liked a lot of the quilts on display.  I'm hoping to find friends in this guild too.  I guess it is within my power to shape the quilting community I belong to, and the best way to do that is to meet more people and make more quilts.

Comments

  1. I'm so glad you stuck with us... I felt the same way, like "how do we get this group motivated, to stick together, and make friends... "
    "We're all looking for our "community" sometimes we have to work harder at it,than others... The first couple I found it to be all over the place, and this last time, a bunch of people who truly wanted the same things... Me and Amy gave it a place for it to happen, and we need all the others to help continue to make it happen...

    So glad you're in my community!

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  2. I really enjoyed the NYCMM meeting too! I'm looking forward to the next one. I was also just handed a flyer for the Evening Star Quilt Harvest (Nov 6-7, right?) so I will look for your entries there. :-)

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  3. Thanks Christa~ Look for me too, I'll be workign white gloves on Saturday morning..

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  4. It did feel good, right? Glad you came back and glad to be a part of it too.

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  5. I have to work Saturday so can only go Sunday... so unfortunately I'll miss you. Another time perhaps!

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  6. Hmm. A quilt guild. I'm pretty new to quilting but am fairly close to NYC. Maybe I'll give this some more serious thought. It never occured to me before.

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