Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Social Graces which Social Media Lacks

Where to begin.  Good question.  This past week seems like such a confusing mess still.  Apparently I offended a few people with my MQX post to the point of no return.  After several days of ignoring it, I took the post down Friday.  It goes against my grain to do this, but I have no earthly desire to make people I consider friends so obviously irate.  It's still "around" out there in the cache.  On a larger note why do some people allow themselves to get so involved into other people's business?   I want to scream to just go live your own life and stop slamming mine on social media to make yourself feel better.

To answer your question (and that is the rhetorical "you" that instigated this mess)...Why do people enter 3 quilts in quilt shows?  Does this really need answering?  Why do some people go to work and teach? Or be a nurse or a secretary? or go wherever you go during the day?  Good grief it ought to be an obvious answer, but somehow I am forever dragged into the muddy pit over the choice of doing so.  Plain and simple, it is a job.  Yup, a J-O-B, job.  Yes, I make quilts because I love the process of doing so.  But at the end of the day, I have 3 kids that need to eat, need clothes, need a house paid for each month.  I don't have a company-paid 401K anymore; I have to save for retirement.  See where this is going - It's a job.    Some people enter one or two, or yes, even three quilts at shows because they love to show their devotion to their craft.  And yes, I do it for that reason too.  But at the end of the day, any quilting time I spend not quilting for clients, I choose to spend working on other income-producing quilting endeavors.  

When this question was posed, I suspect it was just to be snotty, or as a disconnected segue for the main gripe.  My post apparently offended someone beyond the point of no return.   Let me get this off my chest now.  If you come to my blog and do not like or agree with my remarks, you do have a choice.  Nobody is forced at knife-point to read this blog, or to agree with everything said.   If you feel I have offended you, please do the grown up thing and just email me politely.  I am not difficult - I will very likely alter what is offending you.  My goal is to educate not alienate, honestly.  Rest assured, that being offensive is the farthest thing from my mind.   Going  to social media, however,  and slam-basting me there for something I wrote here is immature.  What is wrong with people that they cannot just speak to one another like civil adults anymore?  Facebook has become people's "bash your reputation with a stick" media.  Shame on you.  I am sorry if my words of 5 days ago offended someone, but seriously, it was not written as  a personal attack on anybody, not was it conceived as some way to make myself seem better, as you noted.

I did give a commentary on the last post of some of the quilts.  Never once did I EVER say that one of them was not worthy of what they earned, or that one was ugly, or whatever you think you may have read.  I know the makers and certainly respect them for their style, their skills and their quilts.   I respect how the three judges of the show chose to place the quilts, right down to their choices of selecting other quilts above my own.  I know this process well enough by now, and if there is ever a judge (or judges) that I trust, it is the ones MQX uses.  If you dislike that I disagree with the category in which the BOS was entered - so what.  Let's face it, that quilt is not a Daily Bed quilt.  It is higher end -- more detailed, more intricate, just plain more.  And it's creative and interesting and unique, as I said, and was slammed for.   I made remarks about the difficulty of quilting on heavily printed fabrics, how they are lovely in a quilt design, but challenging to quilt on.  The quilt shown has fantastic quilting, and I just longed to see it more.  Another quilt was stitched all in metallic thread -- it seemed like an unlikely choice to me, but (as is the case at most shows) the education was to show that it can be used effectively, even on a traditional quilt.  This is not derogatory, as I suspect it is being perceived.  Brown and other dark colors are very hard to quilt on and just as hard to have your quilting show.   When you quilt as beautifully as Jan, you want the quilting to show.  She has mastered use of metallic thread.  In my naive bliss, I rarely use metallic.

The beef was over the few comments made about the peacock whole cloth quilt.  It's a friend of the person who made this who went off the deep end with me.   Hell, it's made by a person I would have called a friend until this fiasco blew to Pluto and back.  Like the other quilts I showed, this one is amazingly beautiful too, AS I ALSO STATED.  Did I note that I hated that scalloped, beady one-of-a-kind edging?  NO.  Did I comment that the quilting was messy? NO.   No derogatory comments were intentionally made.  What the frig is so offensive here?  I made a note of the busily printed backing, which a white-glover showed to others as I happened to be passing by.  Something in me was just dying to see detailed stitching as she pulled back a corner.   I was surprised by the print. Just surprised.  Though my large quilt has a print, this is not my norm.   I simply commented about this one.  A comment.  Not a poke.  A comment.  For what it is worth, I enjoy and respect this particular quilter and her beautiful art quilts. She has a lovely, and creative viewpoint.

I want to go read a blog and not just see pictures.  I want it to give information and opinions about choices that were made.  It should be educational.  So many quilters out there have absolutely no idea about thread and batting and backing.  I get many comments from readers about the educational content of this blog; I don't intend to go back to anything else.   To interpret the last post as "Bitter quilter has nothing better to do that slam-baste the competition" is ludicrous.

I know I have come under scrutiny of being overly opinionated now and then.  I caught hell from several people after Houston.  I'd like to say I am sorry for sharing too much of what I was carrying around.  I had a personal moment at that show, and I let it show too vividly.

I am fine with quilters not agreeing with everything that another might have to say.  The time has come, though, for people to get out from behind this semi-anonymous social-media persona they have and deal with things first hand.  The cowardly bashing of something you may have misinterpreted has to end.  If something seems offensive, just say so, directly TO ME.  If you wouldn't say what you post on facebook to you neighbor, face-to-face, why would you say it there? We are all guilty of having days when the shit's just hit the fan and we snap and write something that we shouldn't, but this is too far.  If you think something is inappropriate, ask me about it, and  Grow Up.

Rant over.


29 comments:

Sewing Junkie said...

I feel your frustration. I am not a well know quilter it is a hobby to me unlike yourself, but I have had a well known quilter criticize me on a comment I made on a Facebook group page. Funny the same word exactly came out of her mouth a few days earlier. Instead of contacting me privately she did it on Facebook. As you said some days we have a bad day and out comes a tone we wouldn't think was offensive. Also the written word is interpreted different than what we intend also. I had read you post that you deleted and didn't think it was offensive. It was constructive criticism which I feel is a learning thing. Your skills far out way the negativity of others. Sometimes I feel they are jealous and because they can't do as you do. Chin up don't let the negativity take up any more time. Go sew. Chris

Vicki W said...

Well I'm happy I missed the social media outrage. While I participate in social media I do it lightly and have blocked so many people that I don't get a lot in my feed. I read your MQX post and don't see what the outrage is over. Were there a couple of sentences that could have been taken in different ways? Yes. But I've been readinyyyou long enough to know they were just comments and not complaints. Unfortunately we live in a time when we encourage people to be offended. It's like there's an indignation sweepstakes to be won every day. It's an easy way to become a "celebrity" for a few days.
I'm sorry you had to deal with it. I so appreciate the generous amount of information that you share on you blog and I learn and am inspired from yo every day.

KathyinMN said...

Wow, just wow. I'm sorry your post was the cause of such nasty comments. I think commentators blather on as a blog commentator in a way they wouldn't do in person.

What I would like to say is that I very much appreciate reading your show posts. Your level of quilting makes you one of the 'big boys' and I appreciate your perspective on not only your quilts, but others too. Because of the level you make quilts at, I find what you say helps me learn, if that makes sense? Do I always agree? No, but my unexperienced eye sees things much differently-one of the reasons I love to follow your blog.

Don't let the grumpsters let you down.

Heather said...

I recently discovered your blog and appreciate your candid insights into these shows. I can see photos of the pretty mqx quilts anywhere, but your insights into the thread, categories, fabric use, etc showed an eye for design that is much more sophisticated than mine, and I really appreciated the chance to learn from it. I'm sorry someone was upset, but I hope you don't stop posting your fascinating insights at each of the shows your visit!

Janice said...

I didn't find that post in the slightest bit offensive. As an aspiring show quilter, I did find it educational. I like to see what you think is unique or different in winning quilts, and I partially read your blog to learn about show quilting. I support you wholeheartedly and appreciate the time you took for the detailed MQX post.

jednoiglec said...

I didn't read anything earlier about this whole "mess" (only your description in this post), but I think that you should fight for your rights or (what's better) just ignore the people who are still behaving like kids in kindergarden. I know it's sometimes hard to ignore whole situation, but it's the most "healthy" solution (you won't ever win with stupid people - they will bit you their experience in being stupid:).

Susan Lawson said...

It's YOUR blog! Write what you want!

Unknown said...

Dear Margaret. I also feel your frustration. I am not at the level you are, but at a higher level than many in our local guild. Boy do I hear about it when I also enter 3 quilts in a show, or just the local county fair. I also happen to be a quick quilter/piecer and, boy oh boy do I hear about that too. I would NEVER mention to another quilter for being a slow quilter, why is it ok to slam me for being a quick quilter. With my job as a seamstress (I make draperies and window treatments), those ladies want their new goodies NOW! So I am just faster, and I am pretty sure its not a crime. While there are many that encourage me, there are those that just plain have to bitch. I guess they are members of the Quilt Police, hehe, and are bound and determined to DO THEIR JOB. Hang in there, I need to get thicker skin.love the blog.
Sharon in Colorado

Sewing Up A Storm said...

I recently discovered your blog and love the things you post and write. Your work is very beautiful and I hear you about it being a job, and you do it very well. It truly is a shame that we live in an age were people have to behave like the "mean girls" on social media. If they do not like something written on a blog then at least have the decorum to e-mail the blogger privately. Do not let these people and their negativity destroy the joy you have of sharing your beautiful work.

Na Na said...

There are some people who "thrive on negative" so they constantly post hurtful comments to feed their addiction.

Freedom of speech is our right so do not let them gain control over you by deleting a post. Reporters are a prime example of someone under constant criticizing. We don't always agree with what they say yet we keep listening anyway.

If someone claims to be a friend they will know your intent and whats in your heart. Anyone else is not really a friend and what they say doesn't matter.

Its your blog, write it the way you want. Don't like, don't read.

Anita aka Na Na

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Margaret. I'm sorry I missed your earlier post before you took it down! I follow your blog because I love seeing your work, but I also really appreciate the perspective you share as a truly professional quilter. Not just professional meaning "high quality standards," but literally professional as in quilting primarily to generate income versus quilting as a hobby and gee, wouldn't it be nice to win a ribbon someday. I've been looking into all different kinds of quilting related business options lately from authoring craft books, pattern design, magazine submissions, etc. and it's discouraging to see that most of these endeavors pay so little that few are able to sustain themselves on their quilting business alone. So when I read your blog about how you quilt professionally for others and also create your own quilts for competition, I think it's really cool that you've figured out how to make a quilting business work for you with two income streams that support and reinforce one another so well. Obviously the sheer volume of quilts you've worked on over the years has really honed your talents and abilities, and the awards your personal quilts have won not only help to keep your business model profitable but also reinforce your reputation as a highly skilled long arm quilter.

The really ugly truth is that, even in 2015, women are still more likely to tear each other down rather than build each other up. If you were a male quilter, everyone would be admiring your business acumen instead of grumbling that it isn't fair for you to enter multiple quilts into a show or whatever they were whining about.

Marj said...

I enjoy your blog. You enable me to see the Quilting world from a perspective that I appreciate. Keep on doing what you are passionate about.

Amy @ Amy's FMQ Adventures said...

Wowza! I had no idea. I read the post, and while you do have strong opinions, I respect them. I also enjoy learning from them. I thought you were being very respectful of the work you discussed without being too general and generically nice. I mean, who wants to hear a bunch of "Here's a pretty quilt"? Duh. We can all see that.

Marlene said...

I just don't understand why people have to be so nasty, and especially when hiding behind social media. If you don't like what someone writes on their blog then click the close button and move on. I am sorry you have experienced this nastiness.
I am another quilter who enjoys the educational side of your blog as well as the magnificent quilts you create so please keep going.

Sharyn Mallow Woerz said...

This is my first visit to your blog, via Amy's. I can feel your pain and anger :) I wrote this post back in February http://quirkeries.blogspot.com/2015/02/civility.html
along the same lines. A dear long time friend erased me from her life because of it.

I just don't get all those placards, doesn't anyone think for themselves anymore?
all the best, Sharyn

Michiko said...

I found you in the AQS magazine last year. My first thought was how such a beautiful woman made these wonderful quilts! (This does not imply other quilters including me are not beautiful.) Since then I enjoy reading your blog very much.
I have been quilting for two years. As a beginner, your blog is truly my motivation and inspiration. I can learn a lot from your blog.
Thank you.

Judy Welch said...

I suspected that you had taken it down because someone complained. I read your blog, a) because you are very talented and have great ideas for quilting, b) to marvel at the quilt designs you come up with and c) because you share your struggles and opinions about what works and what doesn't.

Please don't stop doing this because of a few inconsiderate individuals who probably do not have and never will have your talent.

I will never be a super star, but I enjoy reading about the journeys of others.

Judy

Linda said...

I feel there has been a loss of civility with the invention of social media. People seem to get emboldened behind their keyboards to hurl the most awful and hateful words. It's reminiscent of playground bullies. Just look at any political discussion. Or any discussion involving gun control.

Busy Quilting said...

Are the joys of being a quilter. The "Tall Poppy Syndrome" strikes again. I too have suffered from the backlash of others jealousy through Social Media, I was fortunate that I didn't read it. Had plenty of others pass it on that I had been slammed. How would the "slammer" feel if their jealousy meant that no one entered quilts in shows anymore. Its been six months time I got in and pieced some quilts ready for my next show entries. Margaret keep up your blog entries, they are informative, and I look forward to "your comeback" to the writer.

lvkwilt said...

I missed the "offensive" post myself, but I can tell you that social media has emboldened people to say things that they would NEVER say to someone's face. I do not do Facebook except with my kids/grandkids but I wish people would think before they post nasty things. I think you have every right to your opinion and, in following you, have found your blog to be professionally done and very informative--and your quilts are flat out amazing. Please don't let one person change the way you blog. There are many of us out her who are silent but appreciative!!

Jan Hutchison said...

I read your comments about my quilting and took it as your opinion, it never occurred to me that I should be offended by it. I seldom post on Facebook and keep my blog pretty bland because I am a private person but also to avoid the kind of mess you describe. Your willingness to post your opinions may cause controversy, but it makes your blog that much more interesting! Hope to see you in Paducah.

Mechelle said...

I really enjoyed your commentary about the quilts, it was like 2 friends talking and sharing opinions about quilts at a big Nat'l show - honest straight forward! Ignore the fan-girls and haters, they won't change......

Cathy Jackson said...

I agree with you. What a shame people seem to be so nasty & uncaring anymore. I feel strongly that people have the right to their opinions & have the right to express them (we are still a free country, right). Like you, I made a very benign comment, not criticism on FB recently & the lash that came back was almost frightening. I am so sorry yoU had to endure this. Like you said, people need to grow up!

Becky (My Fabric Obsession) said...

Sorry I missed your post, I was looking forward to seeing how you fared at MQX. I loved thepost where you went through the process of creating A show quilt. You always teach me something new here. And i totally agree, I love posts that are more than just pretty pictures but have content. Though I will admit I rarely write them because I'm too scared of conflict. This example is exactly it. What a shame that people hide in anonymity on the Internet and ruin it for all.

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

Margaret, I didn't see what was offensive about your post that you had to take down. I took the comments about the peacocks as that you thought they were beautiful and that it would have been nice to see them with more contrast, etc. That seemed to me to be both a compliment as well as your opinion. Nothing to be offended about. And why in the world would someone be upset about the number of quilts that you enter into shows?!!! Show quilting is another way that you earn money. Keep it up!

greenjay said...

Margaret I read the original post and found nothing controversial about it. I have admired you since the first time I saw any of your work, and I hope you don't let this slow you down. Every guild, sewing circle and pumpkin patch has the backbiting you experienced. Take it as a compliment that you have become so important to us all that your opinions matter.

Valerie the Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

I read the MQX post and I remember the two comments that you elude to. I think I was probably paying closer attention than many because I had two client quilts in that show and my personal goals are constantly to improve - so I was quite interested in your thoughts on the show. Knowing how small the competitive quilting community is - and that these comments have a high chance of being read by the person they are about, I am very cautious speaking my mind as to not offend or hurt feelings...and reading your blog for some time now I imagine that wasn't your ultimate intention. I also realize that being on the receiving end of such comments can sting, even if that wasn't what you meant for them to do. I suspect there is much that might be lost in text versus having a face to face conversation with someone. I cannot say that I don't shake in my boots when I know one of my quilts will be at the same venue as yours - or more still - as YOU! We have come to know you as someone who is quite forward about your thoughts and feelings on competition quilting. It's something I do very much enjoy about your blog. I sort of view your thoughts as I would a judge's comments. You come from a place of knowledge so I have a great respect for what you say, even though I may not agree all of the time. Isn't that the nature of all human interaction though? I do think it's valuable to have your perspective...as well as that of many other very talented quilters out there. It's obvious to all of us that you have some expertise on what you speak about! So in that regard, I do listen and pay attention. But just as I would a judge...I think we all have to remember that it's opinion. They are yours and you have the right to them - you also have the right to share them here or on Facebook or anywhere you see fit. I can read them - or not. I cannot control what you say or about whom, myself included, but I can control how I let those words effect me. I enjoy your work and your take on competitive quilting as a way of making a living. I realize this is your goal and I think to the non-competitive quilter it can be difficult to understand your motivation (hence, the questioning why you might enter 3 quilts into one show). I can't say it's the motivation of all of us - but it is yours and is shared by many others. I don't think that's wrong - it's just, what it is, and if you want to compete on a high level it is something to be aware of. Quilting gives me a sense of purpose and value - and something to strive for as I am a stay at home mom with little physical "reward" for my hard work. Climbing a progressive ladder and growing in my skill gives me that tangible reward that I really needed, it's allowed me an income, and a great feeling of self worth that makes life so much more fulfilling for me. So while I'm very interested in competition quilting and just recently delving into that world - I think for me it's more for self gratification than anything. I would say it is wise when sharing to consider and be sensitive the the feelings of those you speak about - that doesn't mean that you can't share your thoughts, but definitely know that they may not always be welcomed. I am truly sorry to hear that a rift in a good friendship may have resulted and I hope that it can be resolved. I think you are both immensely talented artists and offer a real gift to the world in your own unique ways.

Celine Spader said...

I missed the bomb, and I hear your frustration in this post. When did it become a crime to have an opinion??? Well in general...people should not be so quick to take offense and everything so personally. I love to see your quilts and quilting. Hugs

Celine

RainbowSpinner said...

I have just found your blog and I am amazed at your work and sharing generosity. Your quilting talent is extraordinary in my opinion. I am reading back through your posts and plan on doing until I have read them all. Thank you for sharing xox