Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Aischa's Got Me Thinking

Friends, your fellow reader Aischa is a thinker. And she's got me to thinking. And I'll bet she'll get you to thinking, too.

Aisha writes:

Dear Nancy, usually I am a lurker and enjoy reading about what you are working on and LOVE your quilts!! I rarely comment on blogs...but today I feel I have to say something and please do not feel offended, just a short remark, delete the comment if you feel it is inappropriate.

I think I know of whoms blog you are talking but please Nancy, dont you realize that some people have worked really, really hard to achieve the place where they are? I am only 30, starting a family and working hard. When I retire I also want some things to enjoy. Some travel, others build their dream house. The economy is bad, yes, but those people have probably worked hard and saved every penny for centuries??

Also, do you realize that out of your last 4 blog posts you yourself wrote about buying fabric? I am living in Europe and I can only dream about 9$/yard of fabric. Here we pay 16 to 18 EURO for one yard!!!!! You can probably imagine how much fabric an average quilter in Europe can afford? And the 100$ for the pattern....maybe you forgot to add that this is not a simple patchwork pattern with 2 pages, but probably a BOM with a LOT of instructions???
Again, please, delete the comment if you feel my reaction is inappropriate...Aischa

Wow, Aischa. I'd be so wrong to suggest your reaction is inappropriate. Even if I totally disagreed with everything you say. Which I don't. Your reaction is coming from your feelings, and feelings just are. There's no inappropriate. At least IMNSHO.

I've been thinking and stewing since I read your comment. I think you are covering quite a bit of territory in one comment. So let me see if I can break down some areas for response. And also to see what kind of response all of this generates from other commenters.

First, you write about people who have worked and saved for a long time, "Some travel, others build their dream house." I'm really glad that you pointed that out, Aischa. It helped me see how judgmental I'd been about the bazillion-cabinet lady. It reminded me that my husband and I took a little trip this spring and I blogged about it when we returned. I wanted to share my experience with the people who read my blog, and I wanted it as a record for myself. Your observation reminds me that the b-c lady may well have been doing the same thing. I wasn't bragging or showing off when I told about my trip, and you've helped me to see that Mrs. Cabinets probably really wasn't either. She just wanted to share her happiness about her new home with her readers. So thanks for your help with that. I still don't want to look at any more of her cabinets; I much preferred her quilts. But I'm feeling much more kindly disposed towards her.

Second, I do realize that in two of my four most recent blog posts I mentioned buying fabric. I'm a little unclear about why you find that objectionable or inconsistent. I think most quilters like to share pictures of new fabric that they've purchased. I don't buy a lot of fabric, and most of that shown in those two posts was bought on sale, much of it for as little as $2.29 per yard, which made me very happy. I did know, that fabric in Europe is considerably more expensive than fabric in the States, so $9 does not sound like a lot to you. But it does to me. Relativity.

Last, about that pattern. You're right. I didn't say that the $100 pattern is a BOM with a lot of detailed instructions. It is a gorgeous and imaginative BOM with really terrific creative designs, and I don't know how detailed the instructions are. It makes a gorgeous little quilt, a real conversation starter. And the designer certainly has the right to charge whatever she feels is appropriate compensation for her considerable talent. But I don't have enough money to justify purchasing this pattern. And I don't think many people do.

So, friend, that is some of the thinking that you've generated for me. I wonder what others are thinking.

And I hope you'll continue to visit. And to comment more often.


Luckybear said...

Nancy, This is why I enjoy stopping by your blog. Although as a fellow quilter I enjoy your lovely quilts, it your conversations and musing that keep me coming back. Posting Aischa's thoughtful comments for the rest of us to ponder over along with your responses helps me look at the world in a different light.

An occasional commenter,
Kari - blogging in Dallas :)

*karendianne. said...

I just want you to know I was here and took the time to read your post. I have nothing to offer to the conversation that's sparkly or spicy.

wd vfy: unwhis. I'm not touching that dangit!

Barb said...

Hi Nancy, I find the variety in your blog to be thought provoking and interesting! Fabrics, quilting and everyday life...all contribute to my liking of your blog. Thank you for todays' entry, and giving us more food for thought! In conversation with a friend of a friend...she is paying $18.00 a yd for fabrics and thinks our $9.00 fabric is a good buy. I am with you on shopping for the best price...BIH here I come ;>)!!

floribunda... aka Julie said...

Interesting stuff, Nancy. I also find it hard to read blogs that are full of "conspicuous consumption" even though I might engage in it myself periodically -- I guess I've just always been a bit private about how I spend my money! And, thanks for being open-minded enough to respond thoughtfully to the comments you receive.

Feedsack Fantasy said...

On the money, honey! TTFN ~ Marydon

GARI said...

The funny thing is that while I was watching "That's Clever" on HGTV today, I was thinking that one has to have money to be either an artist or a crafter (tools, materials, space, etc.). And, I also was thinking that although I would love to have what some other's have, I am so much better off than so many others. So what more can I do than enjoy what I have and get creative ideas from others?

Linda said...

I found your response to Aischa to be thought provoking. Too often I've seen bloggers become outraged when someone offers a criticism. You have respectfully considered Aischa's comments and have re-evaluated yourself. That's how people grow! Thank you Nancy and Aischa for giving all of us something to think about.

PS (PSanafter-thought) said...

All good comments and discussion. Well, I'm not reading any blogs that are showing off houses, but I know that story. I have one (sort of) friend, a quilter, who always has to have the newest sewing machine, so she has several, and she must trade in one for whatever is newest. She worked, until recently, and her husband probably was well paid. He just retired. She owns just about anything and everything having to do with quilting. And often, she doesn't seem all that happy. And she sews her items as if she is a charter member of the quilt police. So basically, she has a machine that costs $1-zillion and does copy work.

Another friend also has new machines, long arm machine, a new studio, etc. etc. and every accessory to go along with all that stuff. She is show-offy too, but she seems really happy and she does a ton of stuff for other people, always helping, always being in charge of events in a good way. She worked hard to buy what she now has.

I guess how I react to that stuff depends on how much the person seems to be balanced in their life. And who are the target readers of the blog? Maybe family members are asking to see these pictures.

And, yes, sometimes we see the speck in the other's eye, not the log in our own eye. That is the human condition. What do I do that rubs someone else the wrong way? But I DO keep my areas of conspicuous consumption to myself.

quiltmom said...

I think one of the things that I like best about your blog is that you share your thoughts and experiences in life. Some are happy and, others less so, but your blog reflects your personal beliefs, ideas, experiences and convictions.
Fabric costs do vary around the globe. Like everything, people make choices how to spend their money- we all have different finiancial demands at different points in our lives. We all want to be able to create quilts for the most reasonable prices possible. I usually buy all my fabrics on sale. Occasionally I buy fabrics on line. Overtime, I have been able to build up a stash of fabrics that I am using to make quilts. One of the reasons I wanted to make quilts, was because I could not afford to buy a hand made quilt from someone else. I thought it would be less expensive to make them myself. While that is still true if you want to have something different, or if you want to have a quilt made with better quality fabrics- there are other quilts available commercially that cost less than what I would pay for the batting of my quilts.
I think Aischa's thoughtful comments are well worth pondering. Thanks for sharing both of your thoughts.
I know how fortunate I am to be able to quilt. I also know that while I do not have an elaborate lifestyle, I am lucky to have as much as I do. It is good for me to appreciate those things.

anne bebbington said...

I always have a wry smile when I come across a blogger getting incensed about someone's comment if it differs from their own viewpoint - thankfully, because of the sacrifices made by so many in two world wars, we live in a free world with the right of free speech. So many around the globe are so less fortunate than ourselves in this matter. People shouldn't invite comments if they're not prepared to listen to another's point of view. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. You responded to Aischa's comment with good grace - but then Nancy from you I'm not at all surprised - that's one of the reasons I check out your blog each morning

Kim said...

Interesting subject! I don't mind seeing what other people buy--their money, they can spend it as they want. I WOULD, though, get awfully bored looking at kitchen cabinets or whatever for any length of time. But a blog is an online journal, so if talking about kitchen cabinets is what that person wants to journal about, that's her choice, right? Like you, though, I'd likely stop "visiting."

What DOES tend to annoy me these days, though, is stuff like labor unions picketing (and this is from someone who has almost always been behind unions!) or state workers in a tizzy because of two-day-a-month furloughs. My husband lost his job as have many other people I know--and they'd be much happier and better off if they'd only had to take two days off without pay each month or forego a raise! So for me, that's what hits home in this economy.

Suzan said...

Hi Nancy,
I read blogs that I enjoy. I may not agree with everyone politically, spiritually or economically but I never leave negative comments. Not because I am "nice" (because I really am not) but because if I read something that doesn't appeal to me on some level I just move on to the next one. If I read a blog regularly that starts making me twitch, I simply don't read them any longer.
I read your blog because I enjoy it. I enjoy the way you share bits and pieces of your life, your quilts, your spirituality and your political beliefs.
I imagine people read my blog because they like it. I yammer on about fabric shopping (especially great buys!), quilts, bags and whatever else crosses my mind. If my employment issues or my shopping habits offend anyone, I would hope they just stop reading.

Leslie said...

Once in awhile it's good to remember "It's all going to burn in the end anyway." :D

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

This was a fascinating and thought-provoking post. I was completely put off thinking about the $100 pattern myself, but I can now look at this a little clearer through a new lens. No one is making any of us purchase a $100 pattern, but it's out there and that's the price should we want it, plain and simple. I know of a pattern that was $72 ten years ago and that's probably in line with prices today factoring in inflation, etc.; so it's not all that shocking, I guess. Thanks for your humble honesty in posting Aischa's note and offering us all some valuable perspective .

Lisa D. said...

I appreciate reading both perspectives and enjoy the things you share on your blog, Nancy. I subscribe to a lot of quilt blogs and I tend to unsub from them when they start going off the track more and more. Just to let you know - I will not be unsubscribing from yours!

Judi said...

My goodness, this will be two comments in one week!

I have followed your links to some other quilting blogs and been delighted by the discovery. I never visited the lady with the new kitchen so can't really comment on her cabinets. However, I do know that when I had a new kitchen installed last year, it took over every waking thought - and at the end I was so thrilled with it that no-one was allowed to visit without taking a look at the finished result! I don't think any of my friends was offended - this was the first (and probably only) time for me to have a new kitchen!

I enjoyed reading your posts about your trip and certainly didn't feel offended at you spending your own money. If we all stop telling anyone when we spend money (bought fabric, had dinner, went on a journey, took a class) we are going to half our conversations....hmmmm

Perhaps it's a matter of degree - it's sounded to me that you were just fed up with the lady going on and on about her cabinets.


Tanya said...

Very interesting discussion you have got going here! I guess I'm at the non-extravagant end of purchasing patterns and fabrics. But whichever way, I can think of a lot more money consuming hobbies than quilting. I can spend months working on a project and probably get a lot more enjoyment for my money even with pricey fabrics than if I were, let's say, a shopaholic.
As for what we choose to write on our blogs... well, if someone gets tired of reading what is written they can stop visiting and vice versa.
Nice to meet your snapping turtle. I remember your other guests!

Susan said...

Nancy, I'm late to this discussion, but both your original post and Aischa's response have had me thinking for the past few days.

The economic situation has us all wondering if we will have enough. That leads to the question of how much is enough. Last year I didn't think too much before I made a small discretionary purchase (a book, fabric) but now I evaluate each purchase--could I borrow it from the library; could I use something from my stash. I think about how much I already own and often now, the item in question doesn't leave the store. My husband and I are fortunate to be in secure jobs with good incomes, but I still think before I buy these days. I think many of us have similar thoughts going on in our heads and when we see someone making a large purchase, we tend to think "How could you? Aren't you worried about the economy/your retirement/college?" Maybe last year you wouldn't have had the same reaction.

And here's another thought--was it that you felt the cabinets were conspicuous consumption or were you just tired of hearing about them? I have a similar situation at work with a colleague whose son had the same disability as mine. I don't mind sharing information now and then, but I really don't want to hear every day what happened in her son's classroom. She is a lovely person and we share many other things (including being Lutheran in southeastern PA), so I try to focus on the original reason for our friendship. Maybe you'll give the b-c lady another chance and take another look to see if she's gone back to posting about her quilts.

Aischa said...

Dear Nancy,

Only today I had time to go through my Bloglines unread items and find your post with my name in the title!!! UAAA!! :)
But I did not need to worry, you responded gracefully and made me feel very welcome! In my day to day life I just also need to remind me about "perspective"...and it can change...from day to day....

So, thanks for "featuring" me ;) and I am really sending you all my best wishes!!! Aischa :)