Giving up a hobby – a story of politics and guilds

In 2010, there was confusion in the Utah Quilting guild. The regional rep could no longer hold the monthly meeting and complete her other duties. She was told she could not turn the meeting over to someone else, a new chapter had to be formed in order to continue the meeting. I volunteered to be on the rules committee and a month later found myself President of the new chapter at the same time I started a new job. Being president started out fun and turned into a nightmare!!

I had a great committee who put together some wonderful programs but about 2 months into things I had someone claiming to be president from another chapter telling me to let the meeting die, letting me know they would be actively fighting against having members join us, and they wanted the meeting space when we failed. Frankly, I didn’t care if anyone joined as long as we had people coming to hear the speakers. I seriously doubt if the woman who called me was really the chapter president since it seems out of character from what I’ve heard about her from her chapter members. Some people who called me complained that dues were too steep. So at every meeting I explained that the dues were in the bylaws but we weren’t collecting any and then people complained that all I ever did was talk about the money we weren’t getting.

We did have really good speakers scheduled who wanted to be paid so we cancelled them. I must have been a miserable president because at the time I stepped down, we had gone from 50 people to 15 attending the meetings and the voice messages I got accused me of being a horrible person and even worse – a sloppy quilter. The only person who said thank you for my work on keeping the meetings going was the person taking over running the meetings.

Just so you know, during all this, I quit quilting. I mean it made me sick to my stomach to look at my fabric stash and I could not bring myself to touch a sewing machine. Then this year, after getting the opportunity to spend the summer with my kids, I got an invitation to a baby shower so I pulled out fabric and made a quick baby quilt – only to have the MIL of the mommy-to-be say “Oh, but I made you a better one, See!” Just what I wanted to hear, got to love family. So I put the sewing machine away and thought about selling my fabric on eBay.

Then last week I decided I needed to get out of the house more and do something other than job hunt and my boy decided that he really missed volunteering at the local heritage park so we contacted the volunteer coordinator and headed up there last weekend. Well, dressing the part of living in 1856 includes carrying my basket (where fabric is used to hide things like car keys, wallet, cell phone and Diet Coke which are out of time period). My basket still had the tin templates for a scrap quilt which I started last season. For a weekend when the park expected lots of people, my house was pretty dead. My son had a great time since the shop he apprenticed to was busy. So with hours to go and the house cleaned and the yard cared for, I dug into my basket to see what I had with me. It’s a Wandering Foot hand-pieced block I started last season using clothes I was giving to charity for the fabric (so a free quilt).

There was something peaceful about taking a rocker outside and hand piecing a block. Maybe it was being dressed as a pioneer but I didn’t think of all the pain and hurt associated with quilting over the last year and a half. I didn’t think about my failure as a leader or all the mistakes I made and the people I thought were friends who aren’t speaking to me anymore. I just thought about making sure the piece cut on the bias stayed the shape it should. I didn’t worry about not having a job. I was concerned about how small my stitches were. I’m still concerned about whether I should cut out and redo some of the stitches since the center of the block doesn’t look right to me. I’ve avoided quilting because of the pain the memories caused – there was something Saturday which didn’t hurt and provided the solace I needed to recharge my soul. Maybe, after the Carousel horses are done, I could work on hand piecing scrap quilts, after all, I have a room full of fabric to be used.

Otherwise, I’ll be giving up quilting with 25 projects started and 20 kitted and enough fabric to last a lifetime.

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3 Comments

  1. This is an interesting post. I’m sorry for the painful events of the quilting guild. I know first hand how the politics of a group that is supposed to be fun can drive one away and I’m sorry you experienced that. But I’m also interested in your decision to give up quilting. I wonder how many of us have thought about abandoning hobbies, but keep going since we have so much invested in stash. I have to admit that lately I have been thinking that I don’t like crossstitch as much as I used to, but with over 30 projects started and many, many more kitted, it’s hard to give it up.

    Reply
    • There comes a time when the pain of looking at the project exceeds the pain of having them unfinished. When it hurts more to have them in the house, then it’s time to sell them or give them to homes who will love them. Until then, if you have the storage space let them languish, you may fall back in love with them in the future.

      Reply
  2. Teresa

     /  August 13, 2011

    I stopped doing cross stitch almost totally for almost 10 years after a similar painful episode with a guild!

    I’m back to it now, finally, and able to really enjoy it like I used to. A couple wonderful online groups got me re-inspired and it is wonderful! I even re- joined EGA- but only through Cyberstitchers where I can get the magazine and know I am supporting the continuance of EGA but without all the BS and drama!

    Reply

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