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… forum and function

suze | Posted in Gather For A Chat on

I’m a professional jeweler (for my sins) but have been sewing since I was a little girl; my mother had to buy me a real sewing machine when I was 12 because I was so fed up with trying to make garments on my toy one!

I belong to a number of forums related to my work and the thing I’ve noticed here, which I find really delightful, is the complete lack of back biting, sniping comments I see on other boards.  It has made me wonder what qualities, if any, are acquired or enhanced by being a needlewoman (or man)?  I’d be interested to hear your views on this one….


  1. Tish | | #1

    Dear Suze,

    I'm sitting here biting my tongue wondering if I should reply that we don't get pricks because we use thimbles, but that would be too horrible and anyway, I just did it in claiming that I wouldn't do it. 

    Taunton hosts several fora, of which this one has the gentlest character.  Some of us are pricklier on the others, but some of us (you know who you are) are just dears all the time.  I think the real answer to your question is that we like it this way here. 

    I think that one of the builders or woodworkers came from Knots or Breaktime once and asked why we didn't "liven things up" and was politely told that he could go back where he came from and we'd go there for that kind of entertainment.

  2. rjf | | #2

    What a great question!  Is enthusiasm a quality?  How about inventiveness? Is patience a virtue?  Generosity comes to mind.  And competition is only with oneself.  Personally, I am so grateful there are so many women (and men) willing to share their thoughts and knowledge that I wouldn't want to do anything to destroy that good feeling amongst us.   But which came first, practicising needlework or having those qualities?   I don't know.   rjf

  3. stitchmd | | #3

    I doubt anything about textiles or needlework makes a personality type, maybe certain personalities are attracted to those pursuits. What seems more likely is that this forum is billed as a mutual support and assistance place. I've also noticed that internet sites and groups tend to develop personalities, different ones dedicated to the same topic will have different styles of interaction and different moods. This then gets continued as people join up those groups that match their temperaments.

    The fact that you are a professional jeweler may steer you towards groups of other professionals, who are competitive on the subject. This is more of a hobbyist board. If this group of temperaments feels comfortable to you stick around, glad to know you.


  4. carolfresia | | #4

    As a Threads editor, I've attended a number of consumer shows and expos geared toward sewers, and have met lots and lots of people, some readers of our magazine, others not. It's amazing how enthusiastic and pleasant they've all been (or let's say, about 99% of them!)--excited to talk about what they like about the magazine, offer suggestions for new features, and to talk about their favorite kinds of sewing. There's very little sense of competition or entitlement; instead, most of the hobbyist sewers seem to understand the value of sharing their expertise, encouragement, and enthusiasm. It's truly a pleasure to meet people like this.

    By the way, Threads will have a booth at the Puyallup expo starting next Thursday (Feb. 27th), and I'll be there, along with Judy Neukam and David Coffin. If anyone's going there, please stop by and say hello (and get a free magazine and tote bag).


    1. User avater
      suze | | #5

      Thanks for your thoughts on the subject, it's given me plenty of food for thought... For what it's worth I think that sewing instills patience and flexibility, both necessary qualities in dealing with other people. I can't say for sure, but it's my experience that most creative people tend to be generous in sharing information about their passion (for which I am eternally grateful!).

      Which brings me to the next question: Should more crafts such as sewing be taught to children both inside and outside the classroom?

      1. SewingSue | | #6

        I think PASDEMON had a valid point about being mostly hobbyists. From personal experience I have been as bold to disagree with a couple of the "professionals" on the board and they apparently got their feathers ruffled and acted very "unprofessionaly". I may not be a professional but with nearly 40 years of experience I have come to realize the "professionals" don't have all the answers. If it works for me it works. If when I post an opposing view it is not accepted as it is intended an alternative approach, I don't repost. Not to say by any means that I have all the answers I don't. There are very few hard and fast rules in sewing if any. I pick and choose between the various options to develop my own personal style that works for me. Some of my approaches are 180 degrees out from what the experts say but they work, for me.

        Also, I think most of us are here because we want to share with others who feel towards their work the same as they do about ours. And we don't want this to be a mean place. No fun in that. We want everyone who comes here to leave feeling better.

        I think all young folks should have the opportunity to learn "creative skills" be that sewing, painting, woodwork, music. The list is endless. I think it instills a sense of pride in one's accomplishments and an acceptance of others skills. When one uses their time and spirit to create something more, I think it developes a sense of spirit within.

        1. sewphaedra | | #7

          I only know about myself and that is sewing taught me PATIENCE and perserverence. I'm a terribly impatient person, but I would be even worse if I had never learned to sew.

        2. rjf | | #10

          ".....as it is intended as an alternative approach...."

          Your message made it very clear to me what this site does and why it seems to work so well.  Anyone who has worked at any kind of craft knows there's more than one way to go about doing whatever you're doing......even the professional.  I feel a little sorry for them because they need to streamline their methods and, at the same time, not sacrifice quality in order to be profitable.  We "amateurs" have the luxury to satisfy only ourselves. 

          Most of the time when I offer a suggestion, I'm more interested in having the readers understand and consider the idea than that they adopt it.  It's the "I know what you mean!" reaction I'm looking for and this forum is very generous with its response.   rjf

          1. SewingSue | | #11

            Yes, you understand what I am saying. As a hobbyist, I am only able to invest so much into equipment, supplies and tools. Cost not being the only consideration since you then have to have sufficient space to set up and then store these things. I remember watching a film on the production of a ready to wear blouse in home ec many years ago. Virtually every seam had its own unique piece of equipment for sewing it. As a home sewer, I would be hard pressed to justify this. So one works at adapting their sewing skills to achieve the same finish with one machine. Actually two machines now; sewing machine and serger. Sergers were not available when I started sewing.

            I think we do best when we accept all opinions and then blend them into a workable solution. Most of the time this forum does that. Also, it is a great place to communicate with folks who share a common interest.

            I like the format of this forum. It is very easy to identify which topics are of interest and follow the responses. Some forums are not organized and the posts are listed chronologically by date and time. It is very tedious to try to follow these posts since there are so many conversations going on at one time. This is a great little forum. Sue

          2. rjf | | #13

            I haven't seen too many other forums but the ones that I did see, I didn't like for the reason that you mention, the lack of organization.  This forum does mostly make sense, although lately "more socks" has become "more weaving".  But if a new message is posted after you read the latest, that discussion disappears, I've noticed, and since I don't always remember the name of the discussion, that means it's lost forever.  (Not quite, but almost)  Really a small complaint, I hope.     rjf

          3. SewingSue | | #14

            Have you tried marking it as high interest. Then you can sort by posts that are of high interest to you. I sometimes do this with posts that I find interesting but for whatever reason don't feel like responding to at the moment. Either I am just doing a quick read and don't have the time to invest in responding or I want to ponder the topic a little before jumping in.

            I recently purchased Pattern Master Boutique software and love it. They have a forum for users but so much like the format of this forum better. That forum is chronologically oriented and it is not friendly trying to find posts of interest. You can't mark posts indicating your interest level. I really like that feature. I have only had the software two weeks so haven't used the other forum much but have seen a few posts that I said, "I'd like to know that too." But the posts get buried and it's hard to find them again. This is a great little forum and hopefully they won't make too many changes. Love it as it is. Sue

          4. rjf | | #15

            Well!  I just tried selecting by "high interest" and got all my favorites.  Thank you for the hint.  And it's very fast to change that setting if I just want"unreads".     rjf

          5. SewingSue | | #16

            Very welcome. It's great that we can help each other. Sue

          6. nurdot | | #18

            Thanks for the "high interests" hint. However, I have marked a couple that way, but when I entered "high interest" into the search I didn't see anything familiar. Am I doing something incorrectly and/or is there a time frame involved? I'm not on the computer every day, and don't go to threads that often.

            thanks, Dotty

          7. rjf | | #19

            I think there are 2 places to mark the discussion.  At the end of the discussion, where you can move to older messages or newer messages of that discussion, there is a rating scale.  I think we check "High" there and then later when we come back, we use the box "Show discussions......" on the left to select "Of high interest".  I hope this makes sense.   rjf

            Edited 4/12/2003 7:40:17 AM ET by rjf

          8. JeanetteR | | #20

            Dear RJF and Dotty,

            I found that the 'high interest' thingo works well to call up discussions of interest, but I was also able to find a thread which I'd started in March just by typing a key word, like 'damask'. 

            Does the thumbs up symbol only appear on topics I've marked as such when I log in? I put a thumbs up on the 'Story Time' discussion, but does this appear now for everyone?

            Thanks, Jeanette

          9. SewingSue | | #21

            No, when you put a thumbs up on something it only shows that way for you. The posts appear as neutral to others unless they have marked them differently or responded to it. Responding will change the interest to high unless you indicate otherwise. When I click on my high interest it goes back quite a ways and brings up posts. Hope that helps. Sue

          10. nurdot | | #17

            I agree. I posted a question or reply the other day, but don't remember the title, so now I can't find that discussion. Maybe there are too many or not enough catagories? These discussions are great, but too hard to find sometimes.


          11. betsy | | #12

            I am in the midst of a two week project, shibori dyeing with three classes of junior high art students This is an artist in residence program by a parent association like PTO, and embraced by the art teachers wholeheartedly. It has been a blast! This experience relates to the preceding Gathering comments in many ways. Arts advocacy: part of the "pay back" for my doing projects like these is the opportunity to see the impact arts progam can have on students. Those who may not excel in academics or athletics can shine, be recognized, and be strengthened by success in/love of any arts experience, at any age. I was also struck by comments made by several students through the week as we pole-wrapped fabrics in prep. for dyeing and made paper beads to use as box top pulls/knobs on the origami boxes they'll make with one of their dyed pieces. (OK, so we had extra time at the end of one lesson). One student zoomed through the pole wrapping because " I do this with my grand mother all the time!" Another student said that her grandmother "taught us to make paper beads to keep all the cousins busy". This bring me back to the personality of the Gathering Forum, and I think it's the generous and sharing nature of fiber people. They have worked something out, and are happy to share experience, enthusiasm, and encouragement. What reader doesn't appreciate that?

            Sorry so long winded here, I lost my Gatherings connection for a while, and missed it.

            As far as sharing experience, can anyone shed light on hand stitching through various  fusing products? I'll be working with 4th grade classes, and they will be making quilt squares to represent themes related to Ohio's history, so it will be pretty pictorial. I'm considering prefusing stuff to various colorful pieces they'll cut to make their pictures. Am I allowed to mention product names here? The repositionable fusible I triedwas almost impossible to handstitch through. I welcome any suggestions. Thanks!  Betsy  Please excuse typos; when I tried to insert letters, the next letters were eaten up. I give up!

      2. thirdnorn | | #8


         As someone who studied Music Education/ Arts advocacy, I can give a wholehearted YES to that one.

        Research has proven that all forms of the arts improve students' spacial, math and interpersonal skills.

        But, unfortunately, since here in the States, everybody wants "something for nothing".                                                                                                            

        ....And since the folks who don't want to pay taxes have more money to pay for lobbyists than children and teachers do, we get hardly enough money to keep our schools open, much less give all the kids access to proper arts education.

        We need more sewers in Congress!

        1. momcat50 | | #9

          I feel that this forum gains its pleasant personality from two directions:

          Patience, love of learning and admiration of a job done well dwell in the hearts of fiber and sewing people.


          Personal empowerment can be manifested either through "service to others" or "control of others". Fiber and sewing artists fall more often into the first category.

      3. Evie | | #22

        My answer is definitely, because of the fact that if a child

        is introduced to such endeavors, who knows, they may want

        to pursue them with greater interest and even become

        proficient at the hobby they have adopted.  Think of all the

        time away from TV that would be spent at something they


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