Since I started quilting, many people I know have heard about my new hobby, marveled at what I’ve made, and then promptly shaken their heads and said, “I could never do that.” I always respond with, “Sure you could!” but I never think for a second that my comeback holds any sway. They’ve already made up their minds about what their futures hold, and it’s certainly not quilting.
And that’s fine. I don’t have any dreams of being a welder or a carpenter or a weaver, so I don’t expect everyone to be drawn to quilting just because I’m passionate about it. But when I hear people dismiss the possibility of even being capable of executing a quilt, I feel like they’re killing their futures without giving them a chance.
Let’s be honest: For many people who make things (or decide not to), it’s not a life-altering decision. They do it because it seems fun or they have time to kill or they need to make X for Y. But for many, many others—certainly all of those whose blogs I follow and whose Instagram accounts I stalk and whose Podcasts lull me from creative place to creative place—it is life changing. It could be monetary or motivational or aspirational or another creative outlet. For me, it’s changed the way I live my life. I’ve made changes to how I schedule my day; now, I get up earlier (because I like to sew in natural light)—a big change for me, a natural night owl. I’ve learned how to balance my passions so that I can both grow the new one (making) and foster the old one (writing). And on an even more personal level, it’s taught me how to challenge myself continually and to forgive myself for perceived failures or flaws.
For what I know quilting has given me, I long for others to know what it—or similar crafts or challenges that feel huge and unwieldy—could do for them. When they immediately lock those doors in their brains, they slam shut the possibilities of more. And that, to me, is a shame.
As I continue to craft and grow as a part of the making and quilting communities, I have a feeling that response is going to grow louder. I’m looking for a better way to counter it—if you have any ideas, drop me a comment!