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Thread: Attitudes towards young quilters

  1. #1
    Junior Member MissSongbird's Avatar
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    Attitudes towards young quilters

    I'm 20 years old and I've been quilting for about 5 years now, and as a young quilter I've experienced many different attitudes from other quilters because of my age. It's only within the last year or two that I've actually become involved in the local quilting community.

    A little over a year ago I joined a Thimbleberries quilting group with my aunt in hopes that we would grow a more serious bond over our love of quilting. Long story short, my aunt slowly stopped going with me and my the quilt shop no longer does thimbleberries. Anyway, at the beginning I got a lot of weird looks from the women. I felt sorta un-welcome, but thankfully this was only from a couple of women. Many of these women were happy to talk to me and make me feel welcome. And then once I did show-and-tell for the first time with my black and red log cabin quilt, I truly felt accepted into the group for they now knew I could ACTUALLY QUILT! Some of the women have begun offering my fabric and books and they are always open to helping me with any quilting problem.

    But on the other hand I haven't had great experiences with some other quilters. Almost two years ago I joined a local chapter of Quilts of Valor. Unlike at Thimbleberries, I felt welcome at the very beginning. But slowly after time the ladies talked to me less and less and I could feel those judgmental stares. I've also found that when we have collectedly worked on projects I'm given "busy work" I guess you would call it...nothing that actually helps all that much. Not all of the women are like this, but it seems some are more than not. Now I don't even want to go to meetings. I'd rather sit at home in my own room doing my thing, than being ignored with all those women around me.

    Honestly, I feel sometimes some of older quilters aren't to welcome to young quilters and it pushes some potential quilters away. I'm not like a lot of people for if they tell me I can do something I prove them wrong, but I know a lot of people who would be put off forever because of these attitudes.

    Sorry this is soooo long, but to get to the point, please don't count us youngins. I know we are hard to find, but most of those who do come around love quilting just as much as the next person. And just because we are young doesn't mean we are unskilled or unexperienced.

  2. #2
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I have always had a good experience, ladies are always nice, I even enjoy the funny comments about my age sometimes. Like one day all the ladies were like isn't everyone hot and I was like I'm freezing, and then they were like yeah she's young no hot flashes yet. It is rather odd though when your the only person under 50 in every quilt class, but I just had to get over it. Its just the way things are. One day a lady brought her 13 year old daughter, I was like yeah I'm not the youngest. The sad thing is I look super young so people will probably still think I'm super young when I get there. My first quilt class they thought I was twelve and I was 20. I think it might just be dependent on location. I have found quilters to be some of the nicest people I have ever met
    Brother XL-3500i, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D

  3. #3
    Super Member DebraK's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry you don't feel accepted in that particular set of quilters, but there are so many places on the internet where you would be welcomed with virtual open arms ;-) Join us!
    I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health - Voltaire

  4. #4
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    I'm many years older than 20!! I found quilters in my local guild to be closed to "newcomers" (I was about 55 when I joined the guild) so I quit attending the meetings, and it had nothing to do with age. I am more of a loner and introvert anyway, so I actually do better on my own.
    I would encourage you not to give up, however. Look at Leah Day, her skill, and her age - 27 or maybe 28. She commands great respect for her quilting skills. So even though you feel age is a factor, and it certainly may be with some women, stick with it. Don't become discouraged. You may be the next Leah Day!!

  5. #5
    Super Member JulieR's Avatar
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    Definitely don't give up -- maybe you could start a group of your own!

    As M.Elizabeth said, some people are just obnoxious in general. Maybe some others think you'll get bored and stop soon because when they were you age, they would have. Maybe they just don't think they have anything in common with you. And then we're back to obnoxious.

    Keep looking for the right group, or create one yourself. I bet you aren't the only person in your area to feel this way!

  6. #6
    Power Poster RedGarnet222's Avatar
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    Wow does your story ever sound like mine. I started quilting many years ago and it was very hard to find a group of ladies I enjoyed being with. I continued along on my own and now some 30 years later I still don't belong to a group. Except this one that is. I will say that I know many of the quilter's in the area today. I enjoy the shows and an occational class, but, I guess groups are not my thing.

    Just keep up your sewing and quilting. I know you will enjoy it your whole like though.
    RedGarnet222

    "Take your needle, my child, and work at your pattern ... It will come out a rose by and by. Life is like that ...one stitch at a time, taken patiently."
    *Oliver Wendell Holms

  7. #7
    Senior Member Patti25314's Avatar
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    Keep those who have been friendly and helpful as quilting buddies, but continue to expand outward. I have found that some quilters are the type to only have a few friends at a time, but when you find someone really sociable -- hang onto them. Your LQS might be interested in seeing if you could help them develop a class for young women in your area. Don't give up! No way. Your future quilts need you.

  8. #8
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    I am very sorry that you were treated like that. I LOVE it when I find a young quilter, they always have a different view and get me out of my old girl panties and into something new and exciting. I am thrilled that the younger generation is embracing quilting/sewing and will be there to carry on the tradition. Don;t let a couple of bad eggs ruin your experience. I would go where I felt welcome and after giving a couple of trys if I still got the cold shoulder, I would just go down the road.

  9. #9
    Junior Member tyoung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.Elizabeth View Post
    I'm many years older than 20!! I found quilters in my local guild to be closed to "newcomers" (I was about 55 when I joined the guild) so I quit attending the meetings, and it had nothing to do with age. I am more of a loner and introvert anyway, so I actually do better on my own.
    Totally agree here. In our town we have a guild too, and as a new quilter I was hoping to learn from this group of women. I was close to 40, but my age wasn't the problem. It was because I was new. They were not interested in helping a newbie nor were they accepting of newcomers. I quilt going too, because I didn't feel welcome. I kept searching for help in other ways, and here I am six years later still quilting! Don't give up, there are many online groups (like this one) who are very excepting.

  10. #10
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    I can totally understand what your saying. To those of us who are under 35 the quilting community, as in groups and meetings, are truly unaccepting of us. I found a lot of them are very set in their ways and they feel like us youngeons will bring change and well people don't really like change too much. However, after about a year of being pushed to the side and ignored I decided that I was going to pursue other ventures with my quilting. I did some research and I went to my local YMCA and asked if any of the young girls might be interested in learning how to quilt or how to sew even, thought I'd take it slow and see how it went. Well by golly the first class we had 25 young ladies and a couple young men who ranged in the age of 13 to 18. They all had a great time and we even made quilts to send over to the service men and women. Needless to say this is still going strong and we meet up a couple times a week. I found people who were accepting of me and it truly feels great. So my suggestion to you, is look on Craigslist forums see if there are any younger people in your area who get together to quilt, or even start your own quilting circle. I'd bet you'd be awesome at it.

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