Thank you Denise! I’m so excited to have a different audience today! I have been quilting as a hobby since I was 23. I started longarm quilting in 2010 and have since made it a business instead of a hobby for the last 6 months. This has really caused me to take a good, hard look at quilting in general. I find that even at 32 years old I am still one of the ‘younger’ quilters most places I go. Where are the other 20-somethings?!? Where has the ‘art’ of just having a hobby in general gone? (There is a whole post on my blog dedicated to this.)
Recently, someone asked me why do you seem concerned with just the girls? Not to be mean to my loving counterpart, but men don’t seem to have any issue with having a hobby. They have cars to fix up, wooden things to build, pictures to take, stuff to weld, etc. You can sign up for a men’s league sport just about anywhere you go. Women tend to shy away from hobbies these days. Just because you create something from nothing does not make you a home-body, old fashioned, country, retro, etc. It means you have creativity inside you that you expressed in some medium! My medium is fabric! I gravitate towards quilting, but I love making bags, curtains, and all kinds of other things. My creativity also comes in a hurry too…. So no hand sewing for me!
So how do we get younger people to quilt? I say exposure is the biggest thing. Next time you go to a show, take your daughter, granddaughter, neighbor’s daughter, anyone! Then let’s get them introduced to the basics. I love Modern Quilting. I think that is really going to pull in a younger, urban crowd to this industry. Embrace it! Embrace the different styles and techniques they can bring to the table. The fabric is already out there. Have you noticed the colors and patterns are brighter lately!?! There are four quilt shops near my house. With the variety that has been added they could each carry 20 lines of fabric and never sell the same bolt.
Personally I am a traditional quilter who hates to follow patterns. Don’t worry…. That makes no sense to me either! I am just beginning to really embrace the modern quilt movement too. It doesn’t mean I’ve stopped making the quilts I’ve always known and loved. I recently made my first art style ‘landscape’ quilt. Very cool challenge!
There’s another post on my blog about the right way and wrong way of doing things. Let’s make sure we don’t shut out the next generation by making rules for what should be an enjoyable hobby. Nobody wants rules on their off day!
My other non-favorite classification is ‘fabric snob’. Meaning you only purchase the highest quality quilt shop fabrics. While I fully support local quilt shops and just drool over their fabric, it doesn’t mean it’s the only option. I’d rather see someone make a quilt with $2 a yard fabric from a chain store, than to not make a quilt at all.
My next challenge is to get into Career Day at the local high schools next year! It might not be someone’s next career, but their life and career may be more enjoyable if they have a hobby like quilting.
Allison, thank you so much for sharing your perspective on changing the mindsets of young women and others as it relates to quilting, and hobbies in general. Also thank you for suggesting that we encourage young girls by exposing them to this art form. As simple as it sounds, it doesn't happen often enough! I am delighted you came by and am excited to see new and exciting things by way of your blog. I hope you will come again soon, because as a young female entrepreneur, I believe you are inspiring those who read this today and those who will read this for days to come. At the very least, we can hope that you are adding a little more push to the momentum.
Friends, followers, and first-time readers, thank you for stopping by. Before I leave, however, I would like to share one more thing: Another way to encourage quilting (or any creative hobby) for young women is to direct them to Allison's blog at http://fabulousaveragegirl.blogspot.com and others like her. Search and you shall find!