It never fails. Your guild announces show and tell is about to start. People with something to share anxiously line up. They’re nervous but excited to show us their latest creation.

cutting table up against a wall with a rainbow quilt hanging on it

Show and Tell Usually Goes Something Like This

“This is the quilt I made for my sister-in-law’s new grandbaby,” says the sharer. The crowd gets quiet and begins to nod their approval. Sometimes there are even words of encouragement and applause. Then something happens that makes a little bit of me die inside. “I didn’t really do a good job with the quilting (or any other aspect of the project… take your pick), but I hope she’ll really like it.”

Are you kidding me?! You took the time to meticulously pick out fabric and a design. Then you went through the process of putting it all together, maybe even learning something new along the way that makes you a better quilter. And I’m guessing you are giving it to someone who doesn’t quilt who will only see the beauty and love that went into this special and unique gift.

Why do we do this to ourselves and our art?

If I ever become in charge of hosting show and tell, there will be one rule. When you show a project and give us the background on how it came to be, you must point out one thing you think you did really well.

This is What I Want to Hear Instead

“This is the quilt I made for my best friend who just got married. I love her and her new husband so much and wanted to give them a gift that would endure ad show them how much I appreciate our relationship. This was my first time trying hand appliqué, and I really did a good job. I had no idea I had the talent and patience for this kind of work!”

Maybe it’s too much to ask for such a bold proclamation out offs. Maybe simply not offering a critique at all is a good first step. We should maybe listen to our mothers and realize that if we don’t have anything nice to say, we should just keep quiet applies to ourselves as well.

We are great at what we do with fabric and design, and I would love to see us give ourselves more credit. At the very least, we should not do anything to diminish our own accomplishments.

The thing I love the most about the quilt pictured above is that it contains scraps from all the quilts I made my first 10 years of quilting. I found a way to use beloved fabric without hanging onto clutter.