Hey, I'm no hater, but when a Facebook friend recently flashed his quilt online and asked what we thought of it, I said out loud, "wow!" It never occurred to me to put my unfinished quilt top on FB to be appreciated. It looked pretty good, too as you can see here, points and all. Calvin--that's what I'm calling him--called his quilt top a "face." Never heard that one before. And it occurred to me that men quilters had to be different than women quilters, just as men are naturally different than women. Knowing how negative some of my quilting peers feel about the boom of interest from the male species in this female dominated industry, I decided it might be fun to explore that idea further. I fished through several online sites.
First, The Man Quilter, a blogger, who innocently titled one of his posts "The International Quilt Festival of Ireland." Nothing could have prepared me for the first opening line in which he mentioned "irritable bowel syndrome." He was referring to his stress level when quilting for a show. Just that phrase alone nearly made it impossible for me to read on. Still, I hoped for the sake of the post's less graphic title, that he might not continue in such an indigestible vein. He moved on--thankfully-- to a delightful mention of creating 11 (yes, eleven, he said) borders on a friends quilt block; he followed up with some great tips, too. Then just as I was growing comfortable, he told us blog readers how quilter Claudia Clark Myers can "kick a--" with her long arm, George Quilting system.
Now I don't know how many of you consider yourself kicking anything as you quilt, but that comes from being a member of the gentler sex. Surely, there is no Emily Post, or Dear Abby for quilting language. But several paragraphs later, I had to wonder if there should be.
Having studied enough of Man Quilter, I checked out Manquilters, almost a direct play on words from the previously mentioned site. It had, however, a very different vibe. This one was much more metro sexual with videos extolling the--almost--latest euro fashions (a 2011 vid) as well as a slide show of men's quilts from the site's 150+ members. I admired the "badge" and links to 17 blogs as well as other videos. Some of these have nothing to do with quilting, but did encompass custom suiting, the making of luxury handbags by men for women, a denim symposium, dance techniques, and even a chat forum. If you know a man quilter, this is a must-see web address. It's like Irish Spring: A manly fragrance...but I liked it, too! Even if your man's into leather and bikes, let him know know: "There's a quilt YouTube for you, hon." Take it from Tim the Harley Quilter who gives men 10 good reasons to start quilting. My fav: "If you end up on the couch, at least you'll have a quilt."
Next I took a glimpse of Adam Chenevert's Real Men Quilt. Adam is the quintessential quilt blogger. Straightaway a post on a wholecloth design and execution DVD and a link to his Etsy page. Finally, I checked into That Man Quilts?, a mixture of single parenting, gardening, cooking advice and good old traditional quilt values. "Quiltfool" had 259 followers until I joined, mostly women. Apparently the only problem with most men's quilting sites, is that some are just for men. But don't let that stop you from reading them. It's only natural they want to be a bit clannish, at first. Eventually, they'll let us back into our own club. :-)
So all in all Ladies, if you think having men involved in our art form will in some way taint it or somehow dissolve the sisterhood, I can safely say, I believe we have nothing to fear from these gents. Through history women have learned, if anything, men are domestic pioneers; ambassadors (however coarse), who will only make our art form more interesting as well provide another venue through which both sexes can gain mutual respect and appreciation. I say we encourage them. Let's grab a six pack and embrace them....so long as they are wearing deodorant.