Last night, I was showing a few quilts to my physical therapist and a few patients. I got asked the question that I’m usually asked: “How long do these take you to quilt?” I’m always taken aback by this question. For the most part, I don’t keep track of the exact hours. And I also love quilting, so the number of hours is really irrelevant. I gave a ballpark estimate of hours, put away my quilts, and the quilt show was over. But I was left with an odd feeling … how do I answer this question.
For some reason, I bristle when I’m asked about the amount of time I spend on a quilt. I think I feel a judgement — as in, how much time do you waste quilting? Or maybe I just feel like the don’t understand the point of quilting (which, of course, they don’t). I’m so used to the reception of quilters that I don’t know how to respond to non-quilters.
I recently made a baby quilt for someone. He picked up the quilt, looked at the backing side, and said “Wow! This is gorgeous.” Somehow I felt he didn’t get it!
I also homeschool my kids. The homeschool question is: “What about socialization?” This question also amazes me, but I use it as an opportunity for education. I explain that homeschooled kids get plenty of socialization — there are homeschool bowling leagues, art classes, drama clubs, swim lessons … not to mention the unending field trips to museums, parks, radio stations, fire halls, etc. I also point out that public school isn’t necessary very social, as kids are often forbidden to talk during class or lunch. As a result, homeschoolers have more time to develop friendships and relationships. So I’m not offended by the socialization question, even though most homeschoolers call it the “S Question” and are prone to giving sarcastic responses.
I remember the first homeschooler I met. It was at an event for a medical condition. I said, “You must be really patient.” Now I realize that is another common comment that indicates a lack of understanding for homeschooling. When people comment that I must have the patience of a saint (which I certainly don’t), I calmly explain that homeschooling is easier because I am in control of the curriculum and the amount of school work. I’m not trying to force my child to do math worksheets in the evening, when they are frustrated because they have already mastered the concept or are completely unsure how to complete the questions.
So, back to quilting. I wish I had a good answer to the “how long does it take” question. I’m not sure what people are really asking — if they think that it’s a complete waste of time or they are awed that I have the ability to work steadily on my craft. Do I just answer in hours, or do I need to educate them? If so, what do I say?
I have no answers. I’ve been homeschooling for more than seven years, so I’ve had a chance to develop some comebacks. I’m not there yet with quilting. Any suggestions would be welcome.