The Lily Pad: The Journal of White Lotus Quilting

12-step support groups… sort of :)

Posted in Arts n Crafts by whitelotusquilting on November 20, 2006

Leadership Challenge Course

Ever hear of this scenario?

Hell is where everyone is hungry.   They’re seated at a long banquet table, full of delicious food, but the only tools they’re given to eat with are five-foot long chop sticks.

Now.  Imagine this.  Heaven is the *same place*, except that everyone feeds each other.

The art of cooperation in a nutshell.

Above is a picture from a girls leadership camp my daughter and her friend attended this summer.  On the challenge course, set in the towering Olympic rain forest, their group of middle school-age young women learned the power of cooperation, and the strength they can draw from each other as a result.  The organizers hope the cooperative skills they learned will be the foundation of a life-long habit.

Many of the fiber artists I know have an instinctive grasp of the art of cooperation.  They know the strength and inspiration they can gain from regularly meeting in groups.   There are guild meetings for quilters, stitching sessions for embroiderers, and tutorials for knitters and crocheters.  Some of the spouses I’ve met attached to fiber obsessed individuals are bemused but mystified by this necessity to gather ourselves in groups to share our obsessions whilst committing acts of fiber art.

My friend Leslie offers this explanation: fiber groups are like 12-step support groups, with this one important difference: “they’re not focused on recovery.”

That’s right.  We get together to share our compulsions, to encourage each other, to inspire and support each other in our creative outlets.  But we don’t discourage the obsession with fiber of all sorts in any way.  We might even expand the passion to include a new medium to express yourself in.

So if you haven’t found a group yet, why not make one?  Try collecting your favorite creative friends together for a meal, or just for coffee or tea and biscuits.  Share your creative outlet with a friend and you may find you’ve lifted their spirits — and yours — in ways you couldn’t anticipate.

It must be something viral

Posted in Arts n Crafts,Quilts,Sheltie staff by whitelotusquilting on November 6, 2006
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Tidepool quilt 2

I’ve been a voracious (okay compulsive) knitter for a dozen years now, and have taught hundreds of people how to knit.  So it may not be obvious why I’m quilting so much at the moment.  But there is a direct connection.  Sort of.

One of my knitting students, Leslie, happily took her skills to her quilting group in Seattle and slowly but surely turned the group into a knitting group with her passion for the craft.  I was a regular member when I traveled into the city several times a week.  They call themselves ‘Fiber Fiends.’  Of course.  I’ve also been a member of a group called ‘Fiber Fairies,’ and I suppose ‘Fiber Fanatics’ would describe the group I’m currently in.

Yes.  The key word is FIBER.

It could easily be suggested that the Fiber Fiends turned me into a quilter — just by association.  Leslie pursed her lips when glancing at the Tidepool quilt on my bed.  “It must be something viral,” she said with a sly grin.  She was of course relieved that I wouldn’t be pursuing quilting with the same compulsiveness that I have approached all the other fiber arts with.  Ha ha.

If it’s fiber, it’s in our house.  Thread, yarn, fabric, raw wool and alpaca for spinning, batting, felt, and so forth, with of course the enticing embellishments like beads, sequins, buttons, angelina (fusible iridescent fiber, yum!) and of course glitter.

Ooooh, shiny.