By Alison Dea Bolt
Long ago, our foremothers bonded by swapping stories with friends as they sat around a quilt frame each weekend. Today, packed calendars and the frantic pace of modern life often push quilters to seek information and companionship on the fly. Instead of forging friendships slowly, face-to-face, we’re doing it rapidly and electronically—face-to-Facebook!
I wasn’t an instant convert; I’m rarely the first to embrace new technology. For example, years ago I swore, “I’m not buying a cell phone; that will force me to plan better.” Translation: I have no clue how to program the thing and what’s ‘texting’ anyway?” Daily-changing computer applications only magnify my technophobia — a common problem among ex-Howdy Doody fans! Facebook-savvy friends assured me, “It’s intuitive.” (Someone told me that about water skiing, too, and I still managed to get my neck caught in a tow rope.) They said if Facebook were a country, it’d be the 4th largest in the world! I still didn’t buy it, but that changed when I learned my adult children were on Facebook. Both had pages where I could check out their friends and see what they were doing and saying—without ever asking a question. Maternal instincts never die, so, just like Alice, my curiosity pulled me right through my computer screen into a Wonderland of information, conversation, and inspiration.
Once I mastered the basics and set up my page, I quickly added new “friends” to my list and reconnected with old ones: a college boyfriend who, 40 years later, still signs his notes “the King”; a student I taught French to in 1971; high school friends who crack me up and make
decades disappear, and a slew of enthusiastic quiltmakers, fiber arts innovators, and vendors. Commentary and live chat streamed fast and furious but I kept up,
finally forgiving my mother for forcing me to take typing in summer school. I searched on words like “fabric” and “quilt,” and up popped hundreds of
resources: blogs, shops, shows, magazines, gadgets, quilt fiction, and more—all on special “fan” pages I could join to get expert opinions and ideas. I joined special-interest quilt “groups,” lost myself in scads of beautiful quilt photos, and talked to other quilters about common interests—like shopping at Keepsake! On the interactive KQ page I read lots of customer testimonials from around the world and found ready solutions to diverse problems, as well as event and sale info, charitable giving ideas, and, better still, kindred spirits eager to bolster my buying habits. Facebook social connections interweave and grow endlessly, and the network offerings are fascinating and addictive. I can even plant a fanciful farm field in quilt patterns!
Newly confident, I considered joining the Twitter world too, but I’m not sure I could condense all my thoughts into 140-character “tweets.” I’m a quilter; I prefer detail and embellishment. They enrich my conversations, just like they enrich my quilts. We quilters are some of the most gregarious beings on the planet; we should all be naturals at changing cyberspace to “fiberspace” by filling it with tips, design ideas, stunning photos, and our collective wit and wisdom. The only thing to be afraid of is getting so engrossed in talking to quilters about quilting that we actually have no time to do it!
Chat with Alison, a regular columnist for Quilters Newsletter, on her Facebook page, “Right Off the Bolt.”
Alison Bolt lives in Littleton, New Hampshire, and is a regular columnist for Quilters Newsletter magazine.
Check out Keepsake Quilting's Facebook page and connect with other quilters like yourself!