Yes, I just wrote that. I sure did.
If you’re a quilter with a “Y” chromosome, many people drop everything and think you are god’s gift to quilting. Actually, it is almost entirely the WOMEN who do this since most men tend to avoid male quilters like the plague unless they are directly related to them or the quilter owes them money.
I used to see a similar phenomenon back in the day when I was a checker at a local grocery store. A women comes in to buy ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner, loaded down with three toddlers, a baby in arms and a bun in the oven and no one thinks anything of it (not even that she sure has a whole lot of kids).
In waltzes a man picking up cigarettes and beer. He has with him a five year old sporting a Mohawk, a pierced eyebrow, a tattoo of a dragon and green, glittery fingernail polish. You’d think he is the world’s greatest dad by virtue of not having a woman with him to take care of the child while he shops. If the female shoppers and checkers find out that he actually had custody of the little tyke (and the ladies will swarm on him and ask), they want him to father their next child and/or be his s*x slave. Even the grandmas. Hell, especially the grandmas.
“It’s just so hard for a man to raise a child, alone,” female (never male) shoppers would whisper to me, gazing admiringly after the man she just allowed to cut ahead of her in line.
What I would be thinking (but wouldn’t say) is that the father probably has two sisters, his mother, both his grandmothers and various girlfriends begging to help and more than willing to make sure he had hot meals, clean clothes and “a break” from time to time because, "It is just so hard to be a single dad."
Mothers? More like:
“She is so lazy! Did you know she feeds them Happy Meals twice a week?”
“Why should I babysit her kids just so she can go out and have fun? She has to grow up, sometime.”
“What kind of mother doesn’t pre-sort her laundry? Her kids look like she has been washing their clothes in red dye.”
Yes, yes, I know I am advancing a stereotype. And things have gotten better. But it wasn’t too far off when my kids were little. And just to set the record straight, I adore men. My husband is male. He is so male he even thinks WOMEN quilters are weird.
Men are certainly in the minority when it comes to quilting so they stand out. But I don't think it is just a question of noticing or encouraging the ones who are different. If it was, I could walk into an auto parts store and be mobbed. But no. If I walk in to an auto parts store I am generally ignored. I mean, I usually can’t even get someone to help me find something. None of that rushing me at the door and fawning over me when they discover I am there for a muffler. And they didn’t even do this when I was young and skinny. And it isn't as if they ignore everyone. Men huddle together, clerk and customer, talking about oil and lug wrenches.
I honestly think it has less to do with that the male quilter is different than the majority of quilters. I think it has more to do with the fact that the majority of quilters are women and that is something some women seem to like to do. I don’t get it, frankly. I simply don’t understand, and may never understand, why so many women dote on male quilters.
So often, if a woman makes a gorgeous quilt, the quilt is the story. But if a MAN makes a gorgeous quilt, he isn’t “just” a quilter, he is an "artiste." And the story isn’t about the quilt; it is about the person who quilted it. So a female quilter may be “just such a nice, down to earth person and she just makes such pretty quilts.” But a male quilter, if he made the exact same quilt, is “Utterly BRILLIANT!! BRILLIANT, I tell you!”
Get his autograph. Write him a check. Put photos of his quilts and his “studio” (not a lowly sewing room) in the glossy pages of a magazine. Invite him to speak at your guild. Blah, blah, blah. If I have read an article about male quilters once, I've read such articles fifty times. Ho hum. Men have been "tailors" forever. They upholster things. We get all excited about men who quilt, usually, because they take the lowly quilt and repackage it as art.
As if women aren't doing the same thing...
I don’t think women are better quilters than men. I don’t think men are better quilters than women. But I DO think some women treat male quilters as if they are extra special and more talented. And that sells magazines and workshops.
Rant over. Hope I didn't offend too many folks for, at the end of the day, something that isn't all that important. Oh, and just to clarify before we move on... Mark Lipinski... Quilters know who he is. Some people love him, some can't stand him. As for me, I think he is a hoot and he is packaging something no one else is, or no one else is doing as well. So I don't mean him when I am ranting about male quilters. Just so we're clear.
But now, let's discuss something that IS important.
I hate binding. I have mentioned this. So on a regular basis, I get to the last lap of the quilt race and slow to a crawl. I even did this with Jezebel’s Quilt, the one I made while I was actively grieving our loss.
In the back of my mind, I thought that Jezebel’s Quilt might be good enough to put in a show. So because of that, I wanted to hand bind it. The individual blocks turned out really well.
This is not a show quilt.
Why isn’t it a show quilt? Two reason, mainly. First, the quilting is not what it ought to be. I was just learning to use the longarm and I ended up with some dots on the back that don’t look good. A lot of dots.
Finally, go back and butcher the mitered corners. It is not pretty but, done carefully, it is “good enough.”
Yikes, that looks bad.
So I finally finished up Jezebel’s Quilt, today, and feel really good about it. While I was out taking pictures of it in the sunlight, I also took a few of the trees in the yard, just to be able to remember our first spring back home.
Even the Henbit looks nice.
And here are the girls:
Evelyn's version of a coonskin cap. It reminds me of the recently departed Fess Parker.
Penny, Evelyn and Pearl