As I finish up this edition of Friends@Festival, I’m also mentally preparing for an interview I’m to do in the coming days with a radio station out of San Francisco. The subject matter to be discussed: technology in quilting, and how it’s helped to facilitate a growth in the art form and quilting community.
The word “technology” can take on many shapes and meanings depending upon the context in which it’s discussed. That makes the task of preparing to speak about “technology in quilting”—in a way that demonstrates at least a reasonable (and, hopefully, intelligent) grasp of the subject matter—a fairly difficult one.
Do I discuss the technological advancements of quilting machinery and tools? Do I discuss the digitization of patterns and, in many cases, fabric designs? Do I talk about the ways in which online commerce has impacted—for better or worse—the quilting industry?
Although, I’m not sure what exact questions I’ll be fielding, I’ve decided that the focus of my thoughts on the matter should be social media and the online quilting community, and the many ways in which they’ve changed quilting. And that’s a topic I should certainly know something about, given my role as New Media Coordinator for our company (a fancy way of saying I handle our online and social media).
I’ll be the first to admit that there are days when I’m so burnt out on social media, the very sight of that darned blue Facebook logo makes me wish I didn’t even own a computer…or an iPad…or an iPhone. And I truly believe in such a thing as Social Media Fatigue.
In fact, I recently ended a much-needed several-months-long personal social media hiatus, and was surprised at how much better and more productive I felt without spending hours a week scrolling hundreds of Facebook posts, Instagram pics, and tweets (except, of course, for the Quilt Festival and Quilt Market pages…that’s my job!).
Although, the hiatus may be over, I still very much limit how much time I’m willing to spend on social media, because, well, I don’t want to miss out on life in order to get a good Instagram picture of it.
But in the last week, I was also reminded that this thing that can be such a time waster can also be a means for connection—real social connection—the way it was originally intended. And even better, a means of support.
You see, without mentioning specifics, there are two lovely women with amazing hearts and wonderful spirits who I’ve only had the joy of getting to know as a result of my work in the quilting industry. And both of those women have recently experienced truly harrowing, life-altering medical situations.
Social media, despite its flaws, has allowed their hundreds of friends—both real-life and “online”—to not only follow their stories and progress, but to lend their love and support. Sure, it’s no replacement for stopping by their house with flowers or a home-cooked meal, but for those who aren’t physically able to be there, it’s a way to reach out and say, “I’m thinking about you today.”
And it further facilitates one of the things I’ve most come to love about the quilting community in my time at this job—the sense of support and community and genuine friendship among quilters. Whether they live a few blocks apart or across the country from one another, the ability to connect online provides quilters a way to get acquainted, support one another, and share ideas.
In just about every possible way, it’s changed the world of quilting.
Plus, cherry on the top—it’s also introduced quilting to thousands, if not millions, of new quilters. And that’s something we can all get excited about.
On the subject of new quilters, this edition includes a piece from the talented and hilarious Mary Fons outlining her thoughts on “modesty” among advanced quilters, and how those “advanced” skills can be put to good use in helping a beginning quilter learn the craft.
We’re thrilled to have Mary on board as writer of the bimonthly “The Quilt Scout” column, available on our website at Quilts.com. Seriously, if you don’t know Mary’s work and personality, do yourself the favor of reading “The Quilt Scout.” It will have you in hysterics (note, I resisted the urge to say “in stitches” there).
We’ve also included a piece on an exhibit debuting at this year’s Quilt Festival in Houston, “National Parks: Celebrating 100 Years.” The exhibit was inspired by the centennial of the National Park Service and—you guessed it—the beauty of the national parks!
You could say the quilts—and the parks that inspired them—are Instagram-worthy…
We hope to see you (and your camera!) in Houston, October 29-November 1!