Monday, January 10, 2011



“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”           -Marianne Williamson

Hello Everyone! 

This is my first post on  Special thanks go to commentor sewjournal whose comment on my recent post on suggested that I start a Fraidy Cat Quilter Virtual Group.  (see for the original post)

I actually had to look up what a "virtual group" is!  I decided that I wanted to start off small and use a blog format with an open thread and see how that works.  It will also give me an opportunity to answer questions and publish inspirational quotes, articles, and links.  Hopefully together we can get each other motivated and encourage everyone to "not let the turkeys get you down." 

Quilting is one of those crafts where everyone's an expert, (or thinks they are!).  It involves a complex set of skills and steps and can seem overly complicated and difficult if it's approached in the wrong way.  Everyone approaches it with a different set of skills.  It's much easier to drop into scrapbooking, for instance, as the expectations are different.  As long as your pictures stick to the page, you're fine.  In quilting you need to be able to make a good fabric selection, pattern choice, cut accurately and on grain, sew straight even seams, press well, (and know how to press when), match points, maintain the proper 90 degree angles on blocks and the overall quilt, piece backings, baste layers, quilt by hand or machine, and apply binding while mitering corners.

Whew!  I don't know about you but I'm tired just explaining it!

Now imagine what happens when you're trying to learn all of these things?  Wouldn't it be overwhelming?  Besides the fact that many quilter's belong to guilds or groups and get "advice" from everyone they know who's even seen a quilt.  It can be disheartening and intimidating.  It doesn't need to be.

I'm hoping that Fraidy Cat Quilters will be a place people can come to ask questions, talk through problems, and address their own issues of "success" without rancor, with humor, and a touch of humility from us veterans.  Everyone needs encouragement and deserves to be treated with respect. 

I look forward to getting to know all of you and encourage you to post just to let me know you're there!  I used to think it was whiny when bloggers kept asking for comments but I've come to realize that it makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something.  I don't mind being "a voice crying in the wilderness" but it would be a lot easier with a little company.

Below is our first "open thread," let's get the ball rolling by coming up with some great topics to discuss in future threads.

If you'd rather contact me directly you can do so at

I'm looking forward to hearing from you!

Feel the fear, but do it anyway!



Nana B said...

Good for you Susan. This is a wonderful step to becoming the bad cat on the block. I thought I would start because on my sewing day Sunday I was rather hurt by a friends comment. I am trying to make a quilt with a seahorse theme. It is now going to be a wall hanging with the baby's name and dob put on. When I showed it to my sewing buddy I got the look, down turned mouth and the wellllll the colors are nice. Now I am afraid to finish it and give the new parents.

And then I read a quote on a blog and I paraphrase: make what you like. So simple and yet so hard to do. I like this wall hanging and by golly I AM going to finish it and not let it become a PhD, UFO or animal placemat! Although I may be still afraid to give it away. So I continue my battle.

Staci said...

Fear is a defining emotion for me, I am painfully shy and I wilt under criticism quite readily. An example, my best friend and I were fabric shopping, and I found some fabric I was so in love with; Metro Blue from Marcus Bros (I THINK. . .) I had one of the worst cases of fabric greed going that I have ever had. When I showed her the fabric and said, "What do you think?" (she didn't know I was desperate for it) she proceeded to give me several minutes of how ugly and awful it was. I was so crushed, and I didn't buy any of the fabric. Several months later, that same friend was so excited about a quilt she had made, and how much she loved the fabric line. Guess what it was made from?? Yep, that fabric I had wanted so badly and never bought. I swore to myself I will never do that again. I am going to make quilts from fabric I LOVE and forget other people's opinions.
This came home to me again recently when I bought a stack of purple Tufted Tweets fabric for a new quilt. Purple is a hard color for me to work with, so I challenged myself to make a purple quilt this year. It was a total impulse purchase, and not something I would normally have come home with, but, I love those little chairs! I posted my fabrics on my blog and I actually had a couple comments and emails from blog readers telling me how awful it is and how I have no taste! I was stunned. It is the first time I've had mean comments on my blog. So, I reminded myself of the Metro Blue incident, told myself to grow a spine and move on! People don't like my fabric choices or my quilts, they don't have to read my blog!

And Nana B, you make that seahorse quilt, and you give it to those new parents with your head held high!

Susan Gannon O'Connell said...

Nana B. I'm with Staci that you have to finish that quilt. Odds are the parents will love it and it may very well be the "blankie" that baby will lug around for years. Don't let other people's comments get you down. She was probably just jealous of you and/or threatened. I'd suspect she's one of these people who always has to be the center of attention. They're usually the most insecure and the worst critics!

Staci, you remind me so much of myself. I am also a basically shy, quiet person who was terrified of expressing an opinion about anything for years. I also had "odd" taste in fabric. Actually, you don't have "odd" taste for "ugly" fabric, you are just more ahead of the game. I know your taste is excellent because I love the Tufted Tweets fabric, and purple is so "in" now, (in case you didn't know!). This is what I had to say about the line last summer:

So, disregard those folks who don't like your fabric choices, I happen to love both Metro Blue and Tufted Tweets, and I have excellent taste in fabric, if I do say so myself!

Laura VanVleet said...

What a great idea for an inspirational blog, Susan! I'm following!!

Staci said...

Susan, I looked at your link to your Tweets post, and spent some time wandering around your older posts where you talked about ordering and receiving your fq, and about the free pattern for the Tweets. I hated that pattern as well! What the heck where they thinking?? I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with mine, but it won't be that!! Anyway, do you have a link to the quilt you made with the Tweets?

Susan Gannon O'Connell said...

Yes, if you can link into my brain! Unfortunately, that fabric is still on the shelf and hasn't been touched. If you continue to read my blog you'll realize that I've been struggling with getting motivated about quilting. I find myself with great ideas, but really need some elves to work them up! It's actually one of the reasons I started this blog. I'm going through a bit of an "artist's block" so I was looking for some motivation. Looks like you've motivated me!! I need to get those tweets out and get them to sing!

Tizzie said...

Quilting used to my refuge. I love fabric. I considered myself good at it. I made friends participating in different groups.

I have never been a confident quilter in any aspects of the craft even now after years of work. I'm self-taught. I figured out how to cut and sew accurately through trial and error. I stopped losing my points in seams, learned the best technique for me to piece HST's, figured out how not to have wonky borders, have become able to look at a quilt and see its parts, etc. I still routinely question my fabric and color choices, avoid hand applique like its the plague, and would never consider designing anything from scratch or entering a contest.

I've become more of a 'Fraidy Cat Quilter recently, though. I've had a ton of issues finishing anything. I had a huge falling out with a group a year ago and have struggled ever since.

I've always been generous with compliments and very careful even with criticism even if I considered it to be constructive or a teaching point. I've always made it a habit to refrain from commenting on things even when expected to or prodded because I've known people don't "really" want to know my opinion or to learn a different way.

I feel like the quilting world and its minions get upset with me and because I'm able to piece accurately, buy good fabrics, splurge on patterns.... I only believe that quilts should be well constructed (no holes, loose stitching, etc) and be able to stand some test of time. Color choices, wonky blocks, different piecing techniques, "modern" quilting are to each her own.

I want to stop being a 'Fraidy Cat. I want to enjoy quilting again. I'd like to make some friends. Quilting needs to be my refuge again.

Susan Gannon O'Connell said...

Hi Tizzie,

I'm so glad you came by and commented.

Quilting should be a refuge, and I'm sure it will be your's again.

What I'm thinking is that maybe what we all need to do more often is look at our quilting as something we do for ourselves, not to please others, or fit in, or be part of a group. We do it because we love it, because we have to do it to be happy. What other people say means nothing. There are many quilters out there who are warm and helpful and encouraging, and there are others who are just plain nasty people who've picked quilting as a another place they can be nasty.

I'm unlike a lot of other quilters I know. I don't belong to a guild, and I always go to shows alone. I know there are great guilds out there, but my experience has been that it's more about being a social club, with all the requisite cliques.

I go to shows alone because I like having the freedom to explore at my pace, not someone else's.

There's a place for everyone is quilting, some of us blaze a trail and others of us just squeeze in. It doesn't really matter as long as we're enjoying the ride.

I believe quilting can be your refuge again, if we can help, let us.

Anonymous said...

Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

Anonymous said...

Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.