No Apologies, Please!

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Twice this week, while fabric shopping, I have overheard quilters chatting and talking behind someone’s back. Comments were exchanged about the quality of the work someone had shared with them, negative comments. Unnecessary comments. In one case the comments started as soon as the subject left the room!

Perhaps it is a fear of this type of criticism that makes people say “Well I am not as experienced as you” or “It isn’t very good” before showing something to another quilter. Perhaps it is something deeper.

Is there something in our culture that has taught us not to share unless the item is perfect? In the world of quilters and crafters, have we become critics instead of cheerleaders, forcing others to not share, or apologize for their offerings? Or are we afraid of not measuring up?

I am declaring a war on these apologies! How can any creative endeavor that you enjoy doing ever be inadequate? I want to be a positive supporter of all people pursuing what they love creating. Please join me, quit apologizing for your efforts, be a positive supporter of others. Stop your friends from starting statements with apologetic terms. Instead, please try to encourage, to applaud, and to reinforce confidence in others, and myself.

Of course, we all want to improve, to do our best. But we are learning. I have learned that I am a very imperfect quiltmaker, as well as an imperfect human being. I will never be perfect. And I am quite content with this. I know my mitered corners are askew, my triangles are cut off, and my stitching is uneven. Do not get me wrong, I care, I want to improve. But I will learn to accept my mistakes and either try to fix them, or simply move on and live with them.

The next time you share with someone, please make a point to not apologize. No need to explain, just offer to share the creative process that you are enjoying. It is yours. No one is judging you. Ok, no one should be judging you. If by some chance they do, feel free to simply say “I am happy to be having fun as I learn how to do this.”

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About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
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19 Responses to No Apologies, Please!

  1. J. Johnson says:

    Oh dear, I am guilty of both apologizing and criticizing. You are right, it is so easy to pass judgement. I accept your challenge. I will try to cheer instead of put down. I will try not to put myself down too!

  2. AliExi says:

    Love Vonnegut. What a powerful quote.

  3. tjquilter031 says:

    LOVE this post! I realized yesterday that my machine quilting isn’t as well done as others I have seen, but then again I reminded myself that I’m not going for any awards either. A quilt is 3 layers put together. Everyone does it different. I do try to not judge others – human flaw that we do perhaps, but one we can all improve on.
    I have 2 quilts I am entering into the County Fair – I don’t expect awards, but I do hope that someone will find some inspiration in making one for themselves.
    I look forward to your posts. They are so much fun to read!
    Hugs, Trish

  4. What a great post. A friend at my quilt guild talks about the quilt nazis who criticize other people and their work. I prefer your way of looking at things. I love to see anything someone has made.

  5. Melinda says:

    Great post! I am very much a quilting newbie, and always “apologize” when I show more experienced quilters my work thus far. I will try and remember your post from now on! Luckily, I am part of a wonderful class of ladies of all ages who always encourage me.

  6. Elaine Adair says:

    Well said – you know, it’s that “journey” we are all traveling. Hope that “Journey” does not include belittleing others.

  7. Martin says:

    Well there you go. A thoughtful piece, thanks. I have said it again, but think that your blog is great fun, be it witty posts or serious ones.

  8. Dana says:

    Wow, what a great post. I almost didn’t take up quilting after attending a local quilt show, some of the women who belonged were vicious. Lately I feel like our world is running on judgement, and I refuse to take part. I prefer the “Polyanna approach” find something nice. Fear has held me back a few times, but mostly I just close my eyes and leap, it seems to work. I like your war and I’m in. I AM A QUILTER.

  9. nanayane says:

    totally agree…we’re all different in our abilities as well as what we want to create…I’m just happy to meet some one who likes to quilt no matter if they are way more fabulous thn me or just learning…after all life is one big learning curve…jump on and enjoy the ride!
    ~Elaine

  10. Penny says:

    We’re all learning ….every day in so many ways. ‘Perfection is not meant for this world’. I believe the Amish put an imperfection into their quilts so as to not be prideful (maybe I have the prideful part wrong…but to show that they are human and not perfect) ‘If you can’t say something nice….’ You GO, girl!!!

  11. Sandra Davidson says:

    I agree with the above comments and I know for a long time I didn’t show anything I made to other quilters because it wasn’t perfect. Not anymore we all do our best therefore we should admire everyone’s best and admire them for their confidence to show their work. All quilts are a work of art.

  12. Sarah C. says:

    To “stop apologizing”, I would also add, stop enabling criticizers! Don’t join in the criticism, shut it down or walk away! I work with a group of ladies who are learning to quilt and I find that you can work around any sewing irregularities, but if you criticize, you won’t have any to work around because you will be sewing alone! Each of these ladies is becoming better every day at their quilting – but they would quit if they were subjected to some of the vicious criticism I’ve heard passed around at times. Thanks for a thought-provoking post!

  13. Kris says:

    Thank you for a very important concept!!! I have only been quilting a few years but I always want my points to be perfect (even though they aren’t always) and my corners to match perfectly (although they don’t either)!! I am going to keep your post in the forefront of my thinking and just enjoy the journey!!! Thanks!!!

  14. carla louise says:

    I am impressed with your ability to communicate these sentiments so well. Thank you for that! We need to celebrate our accomplishments and not put them down so much! I know my work is not perfect, but it makes me happy to create just the same. Thank you for reminding me that my creation is beautiful despite its lack of perfection!

  15. Marge says:

    GREAT post! Thanks!

  16. Leila says:

    Hear, hear!
    I’m off to making more puckers and odd shaped mittered corners, and there’s usually an inch where seams are perfectly aligned and corners are squared. I can do both and be quite happy.

  17. sandra says:

    I agree with you! After all, quilting is about having fun!

  18. Peggi says:

    Thank you. It’s difficult to enjoy what one is doing when one is constantly afraid her work doesn’t measure up. I will try to remember your words, and to enjoy more.

  19. SheilaC says:

    Hear, hear!!! Great post! 🙂

    SheilaC

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