____ is better in community.
Life. Dinner. Quilting. Everything is better in the company of friends. This is known, but it doesn’t always come easy. I’ve found community of all sorts particularly elusive here in the suburbs. But a vibrant quilting community? Mythical.
For over a decade after leaving my hometown, in which everyone I knew quilted, I practiced alone. But in retrospect I chalk up that solitude as one of the factors that led to the loss of my quilting mojo. Don’t go alone, friends.
I used to think that joining a guild was something reserved for those better than me. Admittedly, that’s no only undefinable, but it’s just not true. I don’t know why I had this idea about guilds. An early assumption it’s time to put to rest, for sure.
But since I’ve come back, quilting 2.0, I have made the most amazing discovery. Quilters have converged on social media! It’s fabulous! Apparently while I was busy having babies, Flickr and Instagram birthed vibrant yet virtual quilting communities and I am having the most amazing time, being inspired and exchanging feedback and advice with quilters from all over the world.
Do you swap? Yes! I knew it. I’m the last quilter on earth to discover swaps.
On the off chance that you’ve never participated in a swap via social media, please consider this your cordial invitation to join. I participate on Instagram, but they’re to be found on the other social media platforms as well. How fun is it to receive a set of guidelines from someone else, being forced to work with colors and concepts I wouldn’t normally choose, to make a gift for another maker, and to then receive a gift that’s lovingly made for me….super fun.
I’ve completed two swaps so far, not my usual style for sure, but I’ve learned something from each piece. And I’ve certainly gained a new kind of confidence as I’ve sent my works off to strangers and anxiously waited for public feedback. But it’s so great. Quilters are gracious, grateful, encouraging, and kind. So, I’m preparing to send off a third this week and I’m brewing seven more with deadlines this spring. Seven. Somebody stop me.
Here’s where it gets even more fun. Via my community on Instagram, I was tipped off to a list of local guilds, and I’ve since found a place in a vibrant, in-real-life community of quilters. It’s a quirky yet sweet quilt-loving group of nearly 300 women who are my people. In a way I don’t fit in, I’m younger than most and my style isn’t quite as traditional as most, but sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your quilt’s name.
Find a community. Quilters are nothing if not hospitable and eager to include and embrace more quilters. Sign up, join the conversation, show your work and be a part of something.