Women Only?

I belong to several Facebook quilting groups.  The groups are wonderful, a sort of modern quilting bee or guild meeting with no time constraints.   Any time day or night there are avid quilters sharing what they are working on, beginning quilters asking for help, advanced quilters sharing tips.  It really is wonderful!

But there is one thing that really bothers me, (and since you are reading my blog and know I am a man I know you aren’t one of the offenders) Gender Bias.

I can’t tell you how many Facebook posts I read in these groups that start with “Ladies I have a question…”   or “Good morning Ladies I want share…”   How hard is it to say “I have a question”  or “good morning I want to share” rather than making it gender based by inserting Ladies?

Sometimes if I respond to one of the posts I will preface it by saying “I’m not a lady but….”

I have been called “girlfriend” more than once on Facebook by a person who assumed I was a woman.

One person posted on Facebook recently that she saw a man come into the quilt store and buy a sewing machine.   He just went in and bought one without even asking questions…She “knew” it was for his wife,  she could not even imagine what other reason a man would have to buy a sewing machine and thought it was terrible that he didn’t give it more thought or let his wife pick it out for herself.  Never a though that he might have bought it for himself.

I have made a lot of quilts, I write for Quilters Digest, I have been featured in Quilters Newsletter, have had 6 quilts in AQS shows, won the best hand workmanship award…I really do know stuff and I love to share it but I prefer not being called a lady or dismissed as a fool.

There are many men who quilt but we often get treated as second class quilters.     Today I went to the fabric store (large national chain) to pick up some thread and a piece of backing fabric.    The aisles are very narrow with no room to pass. A “lady” wanted to get past me so I backed up out of the way down another aisle and as she stormed by I heard her muttering under her breath “what is he even doing here?”     I have had clerks at fabric stores ask what my wife is making, or did my wife tell me what to buy.   Today the lady at the cutting counter was wonderful, pleasant and efficient, but often I feel like they are begrudgingly waiting on me when there are so many more deserving people in line.  It is the demeanor and tone of voice as well as the words.   Comments like “are you sure you know what you are doing?” or “you realize this fabric is for quilting don”t you?” are common, accompanied by eye rolls and head wags and facial expressions that speak volumes.

I try to do most of my buying on-line, my computer doesn’t give me attitude and condescension but I shouldn’t feel less than welcome in any retail store.

I realize that women have had the same experience in male dominated venues.   A friend of mine was once told by a car salesperson to come back with her husband before he would sell her a truck. (she went to another dealer and bought a new truck that night which I thought was great) It is not right to have a bias for what either gender has knowledge, skill or interest in.

So why write all this when I know that you aren’t guilty of it and it is just a minority?  I just needed to get it off my chest.   Thanks for listening 🙂 and thanks for inviting this man into your quilt world.

Now back to Quilts

I finished the center applique on this

DSCN5433

I bought backing fabric for this

DSCN5407

Started a plan for this fabric

DSCN5343

worked on this

DSCN5353

and this

DSCN5382

Something more uplifting next time

Happy Quilting

Tim

268 thoughts on “Women Only?

  1. Dirinda says:

    Tim, there are people like that everywhere! Ignorance is the only thing I can come up with. I am on the Missouri Star Forum and we have several men quilters! Just ignore them…..you are one of the most incredible quilters I’ve seen!

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks….I do try to ignore but not always easy

      • Kathy says:

        Tim, if you have a great quilt shop close by, I am sure they have seen a lot of your magnificent work. Quilters know talent and appreciate it and I am guessing that when you walk in it will be “Hey, Tim. How are you? What exquisite thing are you working on now?” If I was in there, I would head over to see what you are doing too.
        Big box stores, well, they will always be…big box stores. Lol! You have an amazing talent! Love your blog.

      • timquilts says:

        very true….shopping at the big store sure reminds me why I prefer my local quilt store…..they are great at Country Stitches

  2. Susan Pavliska says:

    I feel I should apologize.
    That Good morning a ladies line could have easily fallen out of my lips….
    My personal thought is that men in the quilting world are extremely talented and skilled.
    But old habits due hard for some of us.
    I feel very fortunate to count you among my quilting friends and mentors.
    Xox, susan

  3. Marcia Ahlbrand says:

    I love you Tim and LOVE how you think & do!

  4. Susan Green says:

    Tim, I’m so sorry you have to put up with people’s ignorance. You are an amazing artist and an asset to all the groups you belong to and the art of quilting. The quality and volume of your work is amazing and an inspiration to us all! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  5. maureen TEager says:

    it goes the other way as well. I was getting quotes for some work on our yard and the landscaper asked me if he should come back to talk to my husband about it. Needless to say he didnt get the work.

  6. Cathie King says:

    Well said Tim I think we all have to be reminded from time to time to respect everyone. Life is too short to be cruel. Happy quilting

  7. Carolyn says:

    Hi Tim,

    I sincerely hope you feel better. Here in Australia we have many male quilters as well as knitters and crocheters…painters…on and on. Handmade & craft skilled! I also have quite a number of males who follow us through our FB website and shop. I don’t for a minute assume why they buy what they buy and why……..because

    ASSUMING can make an ASS out of U and ME. Was taught that from a former employer many years ago.

    Keep it up….I personally enjoy any males in this industry and hope for many more because I believe the male gender has a great deal to offer from their perspective!! It’s amazing.

    Carrie

  8. jdonovan62 says:

    Tim – I am feeling a little guilty also, as I have started out posts or comments as Good morning ladies!! Just a habit though, but glad you brought it to our attention, and I will now think it through more carefully!! You are an awesome quilter as are all the other male quilters that I have met. Keep quilting and keep writing your blog!!!

  9. Renie Levecchia says:

    Hi everyone. Oh, if the offenders only knew!!! I’m glad to listen to you sound off any day, Tim. One of my very best friends is a male quilter and he won’t join a guild because of the rampant gender bias. I’m so glad that you expressed yourself on this subject. Hugs for Teddy.

  10. Pam P says:

    Ditto, Tim! I don’t have the time for attitudes like that. It seems like the snide and snippy comments are everywhere and about anything! I’ve also heard comments about the “right kind” of sewing machine, needles, fabric, batting that I’m “supposed to be using” or “. . . serious quilters use . . . ” blah, blah, blah! I do what I want 🙂 I’m glad that you have lots of quilting friends/groups that support you – and you know that your blog readers care!

  11. Margaret says:

    I am inspired by your work on a daily basis. You might like the fact that the first quilter I met was a man. During World War II, one of my older brothers was at home sick with rheumatic fever. This was before penicillin and he was ill for a year. Our mother taught him to knit socks for the soldiers to keep him busy because he was bedridden. For the rest of his life, whenever he felt stressed, he would go buy yarn and make a pair of socks. He used to encounter the same gender bias you talk about. Our mother also taught me how to knit, paint a room, re-wire an electric outlet, refinish furniture and, of course, sew. Our father was the outside guy – taught us rose gardening and vegetable growing. He taught me to never allow anyone to make me feel hindered by my gender. Our parents were truly ahead of their times – they married in 1929. There are dopes everywhere, Tim. You are not one of them.

  12. Debbie says:

    I wish there were more men quilters. I belonged to a quilt guild that had 2 men and it was great. I think people write that without even thinking…I work at an agency and I get letters starting with Dear Sir…..in this day and age…really? I love watching your creations….I love that quilt above with the big bold patterns…can’t wait to see it completed. Thanks for sharing all you do…..

  13. jbacon2013 says:

    I know some fantastic male quilters and would include you on my list, but ignorance and gender bias are everywhere, I am reminded of it every time I visit the car mechanic!

  14. Cheryl says:

    I admire your beautiful work and am so glad you share so freely with other quilters. I would love it if my husband shared my passion for quilting. He is a mechanical engineer with numerous patents to his credit and I know he would be a fantastic quilter. Rock on, Tim!

  15. Cheryl says:

    Totally agree. Totally understand. Good for you for speaking up for yourself and for everyone who has suffered any sort of bias. Quilt on! Cheryl

  16. Norma Bourgeois says:

    Tim I worked in a male dominated field for over 29 years, one of the first females to work there. I experienced lots of intolerance as well. All I was trying to do was support my three children because their father would not. I developed a tough skin but made many good friends as well. Unfortunately prejudice is found everywhere. Our guild has a very special man who is very artistic and teaches us plenty. Sorry you must deal with people’s ignorance.

  17. Teri powers says:

    Tim, I love your quilts and know a few male quilters personally. Even have one who joins us on our quilt retreats. I have learned to never assume!

  18. Rhonda says:

    Tim, I can’t believe people would treat you like that. You have every right to complain. Thanks for letting me peek into your world. I admire your work. I would love to attend one of your quilt talks. I’ll bring my husband, he quilts too.

  19. ginaquilts says:

    You bring up a good point and it is a reminder to all of us not to judge too quickly! Keep quilting and sharing, Tim. You are an inspiration to me!

  20. Nancy says:

    I should read the rest of the comments before I make one myself. You would think in this day and time with all the social media, etc out that women would know better! How ignorant. I’ve been quilting for a long time when names like Joe Cunningham, designer Jeff Gutcheon, John Flynn, etc were out there before computers, and now, Kaffe Fasset, Ricky Tims and yes, Tim Latimer and many more quilting men are ‘in the news’. So SEW on Tim and Teddy and try to ignore the BIAS.

  21. Bennie Smith says:

    Sorry that is happening to you. I have learned so much from following your blog. Thank you

  22. cynthia says:

    It really is demeaning to be treated unequally which is why I have been a feminist all my life. People misunderstand feminism–I see is simply as a human rights issue. Everyone deserves equal treatment and respect. Strict gender roles are a disservice to both genders. Anyone who is discriminated against or restricted from what they want to be is not really free.

  23. Louise Jackson says:

    I’m glad you wrote this. Everyone should be treated the same no matter what gender you are. A lot of men are better quilters than women. I’m a woman and I myself just love to see your work and other men’s work. I had a friend ! He passed away a long time ago but he did some of the most beautiful needle work . His wife loved it.
    I have been quilting 31 years but I still love to look at all the other beautiful work and hand stitching.
    Keep up the good work , I enjoy your blog and looking at your work.

    Thanks for being you….
    Louise J.

  24. Linda Perry says:

    I believe almost everyone is discriminated against at some time but for some it’s a constant and we do need to be educated against it .I will never forget the day I was having a sale and nearly everyone-men and women- would ask my teenage son about items and ignor me. I was fuming and I can’t imagine how I would feel if I was treated unfairly every day of my life. Know that so many of us enjoy your work and keep on quilting!!

  25. Babara says:

    I am sorry you’ve had to suffer the insults of ignorant people. Here’s a big shout out and heartfelt THANK YOU for all the ideas and inspiration you have given me over the years. You rock!

  26. Chris says:

    Sorry for your retail experience Tim – I wish I could say I was surprised but we still live in a sexist society , for the most part. Glad you could vent among friends! You are a master quilter, and I respect your work so much! Keep up the good work!

  27. Cathi says:

    Gender bias stinks — no matter what. The quilting world is enriched by having you in it. One can’t help but feel maybe a tiny bit sorry for those totally out of touch women in the quilt shops – do they not realize the great quilts that are being made by the men among us? They really do not know what they’re missing!

  28. Ann says:

    SO sorry this happens and I echo the others comments when they say “in this day and age, nobody should be making comments like that.” Or thinking like that.

    But my brother says it best: “it’s hard to fix stupid”!

    This is a wake up call for all of us, I suppose. You’ve done a good thing today by posting about this topic. Your blog is wonderful and enriches a lot of lives. Thanks.
    Give the quilt inspector a pat for me!

  29. Jose says:

    Come to San Diego! I’m a male quilter too, but every single time I’ve gone to either the big chain store here in Sunny S.D., or my favorite quilt shop, the question is, “What are you making with that?” And when someone asks, “Oh, so YOU quilt?” and I answer yes, the response from that person has always been positive and supportive. Now, I have traveled for work, and I have had your similar experience where I can feel the non-acceptance of being a man in a “woman’s” store. I understand the frustration, TIm. I just chalk it up to ignorance and small-mindedness. Sorry, that’s all I can classify it as. But know that I think there are far more people who don’t care if you are a boy or a girl, just one super talented quilting being. I think all the positive posts here will testify to that! Keep on doing what you do, and so will I! Hahaha.

  30. Julie Porter says:

    Unfortunately there are all sorts of prejudices n this world. I was learning how to knit. My husband watched my slow and feeble efforts for weeks. I got to the end of the scarf and couldn’t remember how to cast off. I told my husband I would go to my neighbours for her to show me how. He picked up my knitting and speedily cast off without a word. I had been married to him for 10 years. He is a hard living oil rig engineer. I had no idea he could knit. My mother said most men of her fathers generation could knit and sew. (In Australia anyway) He was a farmer in a remote area and these were life skills. ‘Shop on’ Tim and don’t thank us for ‘accepting’ you. I look forward to your blogs.

  31. Helenanne Judisch says:

    I’m so glad I found your blog and that you graciously share your quilting knowledge, inspiration and progress with us all. I made a new quilting friend a few months ago and one of the first things he told me was “It’s so hard to be a man in this profession.” You are not alone in experiencing gender bias in the quilt/fabric world.
    Those who pass judgment or make snide remarks without basis are the ones who are missing out. You are a gifted artisan with an astounding level of skill and accomplishment.

  32. Deb says:

    Tim, I’m reading all these comments, I must say you are getting a lot of support! 🙂 I enjoy seeing your work, it often shows the male side of a quilters eye. I’m thankful for that when making a quilt for the masculine gender!!

  33. Judy Dietrich says:

    I am so glad you are able to get that off your chest😊!! Most of us quilters are used to being around other female quilters, so I think a lot of it is just from what you are used to. I taught sewing in home economics class at the high school level. I was student teaching, so a little stressed—but I had a male student in my class. He had long hair and an attitude. I grew up with 2 brothers, so I kind of understood him. He chose to sew on the brand new machine that had arrived & the cooperative teacher had not studied. She allowed me to let him use it. He made a down jacket with no sleeves. He taught all of us the art of that machine & wore that jacket daily. He was Fascinated with the machine–he out did the girls in the class & I never had any problem with him. I now realize it was sheer luck that it all fell in place!! I think the most important part of anything we do is be creative & enjoy it. There are also lots of junior quilters that are not “Ladies” yet either & that bothers them. I have run into many different quilters in my life & I try to interact with the person and not their gender/body type/skin color or intelligence!! There are lots of nice quilters out there, but evidently not where you are shopping!! I find most of the people on quilt shops are not trained too well and have bad hours!! They also dismiss large “Ladies” over the well styled customer, who will probably not be back real soon!! I try to be nice as honey to people & they may someday get it!! Killing it with kindness is always fun. They want you to feel bad, but they end up looking dumb themselves!! I don’t get any shopper that parks in the middle of the aisle & then glares at you when you come in their territory. You are a great teacher/fantastic quilter/loving pet owner/creative with flowers & teaching arrangements/and you share your knowledge. These people must be blind!!

  34. Patty Gal says:

    Hi Tim. You hit on the point that is REALLY important. You have hundreds or thousands of friends on FB that love what you are doing. To heck with the rest! You have inspired me in so many ways. Because of you I have at least four more quilts in my future quilts queue. I’m not going to live long enough. You came to the right place to rant! We understand. Big hug to Teddy.

  35. You are right, many people just assume that only women quilt…and I had to laugh about the friend buying the car. Same thing happened to me. They told me I should go home and discuss it with my husband! Absolute worst thing they could have said to me. I went elsewhere!

  36. linda schiffer says:

    Having been a quilter for a looong time, I’m very familiar with the issue of gender bias among quilt makers … and saddened that it hasn’t gotten any better over the years. Well, maybe there is some hope – the young quilters I know (under 50:) are more open-minded, usually.

    I owned a brick-and-mortar quilt shop for 15 years and had a number of male customers over time … sorting the guys buying for their wives from the quilt making ones was pretty easy … and did NOT require any overt sexism. A simple, ‘how can I help you?’ is sufficient. I would not spend my money in a shop with gender-biased dismissive behaviour!

    I have seen the same kind of gender bias in other places – scrapbooking, stamping, gaming (some pro-male, some pro-female). Silly!

    I guess my approach is (now-a-days, in my more ‘assertive’ mature years:) to gently, with a smile, correct the person speaking. Can’t expect any consciousness raising if they are never brought to task.

    🙂 Linda

  37. suzette shoulders says:

    Tim, I belong to Northwest Quilters in Portland, and have for about 35 years, and we have gone from having one man as a member to having about 10 or 12. It really IS a woman’s world, the quilt world, but the quilts made by EACH quilter, male or female , are unique to him or her, so what’s the diff? I think there is too much categorizing of people into little cubbyholes in our society, and not encouragement for all of us to have skills doing many things! If you come to Bend, Oregon, you will find three great quilt shops that won’t look askance at your buying quilt fabric! : ) hugs, Suzette in Oregon, where it is grey and rainy today, perfect sewing weather!

  38. beadingnurse says:

    I am sorry that this happens to you Tim. I worked in a female dominated profession as a registered nurse and I strive to use gender neutral language as I see my male co-workers disrespected daily. Physicians and even other nurses refer to the nurses as “girls” even when there are men standing there. It is infuriating to observe and I call the medical professionals on their language. Some patients also have their biases that all nurses are and should be female and I correct them more gently. ;).

    One thing to consider doing even though it requires work on your part is to write a quick note to the owner or manger of any place that treats you disrespectfully and let them know you will take your business elsewhere AND you will publish the names of the offending businesses on your national blog. Then do it. Take care and know the people that really count (us) respect you enormously.

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks…..I spent some time in the hospital last year and I must say that I was happy to see the increasing number of men who have taken up nursing . thanks for keeping those Drs on notice for language!
      Happy quilting

  39. Ann says:

    Thanks for posting…it was painful to read, There is no excuse for ignorance and rudeness. There is bias everywhere…gender, age, race…. it’s all hurtful. Your work is wonderful and I can’t wait to see your quilt in Lancaster. Try to keep a happy heart!

  40. Nancy says:

    I made a comment earlier but I would like to pass something on from an experience I had this summer helping kids, 8 and older, work on a repro quilt on a big old frame. They were all passing thru the building I was volunteering in and we welcomed them to sit and quilt at the frame to get a taste of how it was done in the past (and still is by many). Generally speaking, I found the boys eager to try and actually concentrated more than the girls. One boy said he had already finished his first quilt in school and his neighbor (a man) long armed it for him. He sat down to quilt for awhile and was very fussy about making sure his stitches were small. Many girls seemed more interested in checking text messages every five minutes. 🙂

  41. Louise says:

    My uncle has made a couple of quilts and is fantastic at cross stitch. His son (my cousin) crochets and can make about anything with fabric. I am used to men sewing and quilting, but I had never really thought about it from your point of view. I am glad you wrote this post!

  42. dixie says:

    Good for you for starting this discussion – I admire your work so much, and think the world is such a better place with we quilters in it! Bravo to you!!!

  43. Jan cotton....kiwi jan says:

    Tim you are such a inspiration…I read all your posts and reply as and when, to me you are Tim the most inspiring quilter I can think of….thanks for all your sharing ..

  44. Mary Ann says:

    Mr Tim: Know what you mean. My husband won viewers choice at the Orlando show a couple of years ago. Know that upset some people!!! And my secret sister at guild this year is a man. You aren’t alone but most of us are accepting. Wouldn’t want to show against you or my husband.
    Mary Ann

  45. Eileen Mele says:

    Welcome to this loosely organized endeavor we call the quilt world. You enhance it very nicely. Thank you very much. Unfortunately it has attracted the nerds who have no manners! Just a very few, though. Little grannies at the Bee has been replaced by those who are trying to make a name for themselves. So it takes all levels of awareness, and just remember the positive experiences. They all should be lucky to cross paths with you! You know that, and keep smiling!! Hahahaha😊

  46. Martha Caterino says:

    Have to give a shout out to my favorite local quilt shop….Everlasting Stitches in Holt.

  47. I spent the past 20 years as a woman in a male dominated organization & understand the condescension & disrespect you experience. The first 15 minutes of organization or project meetings would be spent Monday morning quarterbacking or swapping military stories & if I tried to keep the meeting on track, I was the bitch. Sorry you’re experiencing this, Tim, your work is terrific!

  48. Sarah says:

    Tim, you ended your post by thanking us for letting us into our quilting world — well, it’s I who would like to thank you for letting me into your quiting world! I do not blog, and have only been quilting for 2 years, but your blog is one that teaches and inspires me. Thank you.

  49. Sandy says:

    Gosh, if only they knew the impact you’re making on the quiltmaking world. I resent it when people are dismissed for no reason whatsoever.

    I taught my son how to sew his scout badges on the sewing machine when he was younger. He has inherited his grandmother’s sewing machine and uses it. His better half was never taught to sew. She’s happy he can hem the curtains. By the way, his name is Tim also!

  50. Glennis Salls says:

    Tim, I am glad I was here to listen. I understand and have experienced some part of what you talk about. When I was brand new quilter and on my first shopping trip I was made to feel quite foolish because I was worried about the mess I was making of my block. When I was taking my car into be repaired I treated like a fool because I hadn’t cared for my car correctly (not true). Now I am a senior and often given No credit for brains and feel very foolish when I let them treat me that way. So tim I do understand and good for you for standing up and voicing your opion. We will all learn!

  51. Catherine Silling says:

    Some of the most fabulous quilts I have seen were at the Rocky Mtn. Quilt Museum in Golden, Colo.- at their every other year quilt shows with all quilts by men. I think YOU and many more men are very talented quilters. I respect you for following along with doing what you love to do, and your talents! You are far ahead of me in the quilting world as far as skill, and I am glad I ran across your blog via one of the posts you put on one of the facebook groups I belong to! thanks for always sharing valuable info –oh, and your cute dog always makes me smile. love his looks! Our very small (<50 members thus far) Modern Quilt Guild in our city of Albuquerque, NM has recently had our new (permanent) logo designed by a very talented man. He lives in Santa Fe and brings his beloved neice to the store where I hang out for lessons in sewing. Great quilter and designer! Try not to let those ignorant people hurt you! They need a lesson in reality.

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks 🙂 I love the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum……I have had a quilt in the last 2 quilts by men exhibits. Hope to get one in the next one too. wish we had a Modern quilt quilt in my area 😦
      thanks again

  52. Richard says:

    Hi Tim, I read this post with a smile on my face. If you think that bias is bad now you should have been around in the 60’s when I started sewing or the 70’s when I started quilting. It is the price we pay for being male in a sphere that is dominated by women And as you say the situation is similar for women in male dominated realms. I’m so happy that I found your blog. Your work is beautiful and I’m sure that you have much to teach us.
    If you are not familiar with “QuiltGuys”, it is an on line group that now numbers about 300 male quilters, mostly from the U.S. and Canada, but we have a few Aussies and Europeans too. Check it out. Richard

  53. sandy king says:

    I would like to apologize for all the narrow minded women out there. I think we need more men quilting! They bring a lot of fresh ideas and a lot less baggage!

  54. Dianna G says:

    Tim I’m an aerospace engineer. Poopy people happen! Love ur work…and I’m from Michigan! We have a lot opinion common….just remember….any day above ground, is a good day. Even if you’re not doing computational fluid dynamics!
    Dianna G

  55. DAVID LAMB says:

    Tim, Thanks for the point of view from our corner. Have felt with some of the responses mentioned. My favorite was when one quilt Shop worker insisted THREE times my wife had just been in the store. At that point I let her know how impossible that was!!!!! thanks for sharing and happy quilting, David

    David Lamb

    >

  56. Been there, done that, and now I tend to ignore it. Sometimes, if the person is asking a question for which I have a response, I’ll ask if it is OK for guys to answer, or mention there are also “gentlemen” as well as “ladies” in the audience. Also, whenever I’m writing about historic quilts made by unknown makers, I avoid assigning gender and refer to “the maker” as “the maker” rather than him” of “her”. In written material, I feel more strongly about it. It’s one thing to make an off-handed comment in a forum, a whole other thing todo it in a space that is supposed to represent research.

  57. Mrs. Plum says:

    Tim, I think you really struck a nerve with your post. Unfortunately, you were a victim of people who haven’t thought about what happens when you take the word “assume” apart. There are a lot of those kinds of people in the world, of both genders. I work for an optometrist, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if there was “someone” who could fix a pair of glasses–when it was pretty clear I was the only one on the premises.

    I love your posts, Tim, and admire your creativity.

    • timquilts says:

      wow….I guess it is in every field….that is sad….but I do have a pair of glasses that I am sure you could adjust properly….the last time I took them in the man couldn’t get it right

  58. Rose in VT says:

    Tim: As I was reading your post, I got to thinking of how things have changed since I first started going to quilt shows. Almost 30 years ago, all the restrooms were converted to ‘women.’ 20 years ago, there were often men standing in the line that had the paper sign saying ‘women’ taped over the ‘men’ sign, along with the women. I realized that for the last 10 years, there often as many men as women at shows, and nobody changes the restroom signs any more.
    But not all quilting women attend quilt shows, so they may not realize how much things have changed. That is their loss, in more ways than one.
    I appreciate your post on this…and great progress on your quilts!

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Rose
      I haven’t been at it as long as you so I haven’t seen the restroom issue but thanks for sharing it…. looks like there is improvement for sure , I can use the restroom at quilt shows 🙂 baby steps I guess

  59. Clara says:

    Oh Tim, what can I say? I know too well the feeling of people being gender biased…I recognized this when I was in high school, (mind you I graduated in 1969), I had decided to take a semester of ‘salesmanship’, I just knew if I could learn the knack of selling myself anything else I wanted to sell would be a breeze! Well, need I say it was the worse experience I had ever had due to the fact I was the only female in the classroom and the teacher wanted to share some ‘manly’ words with the guys and treated me terribly because he couldn’t with me in the class. I finished the class but I believe out of spite I received a “C”, I was an A B student in every other subject.
    Anyway, needless to say, I totally understand when someone is put down, so to speak when it comes to males and sewing. I always try to strike up a conversation to put men at ease…some are offended, maybe on the defense and others are somewhat acceptable.
    Thank you for being a great friend and personally I try not to see gender, race or color. We are all equal, even if some don’t believe in God, I still respect them because they are a human being! We must take life with a grain of salt! 🙂

  60. jrp53 says:

    Tim, AlI I can say is that in addition to being a generous soul and a fabulous quilter, you must also be a professional juggler keeping up with all the different projects you do. I’m sure I could never successfully keep as many in the air as you, and certainly not with such beauty!

  61. Christine Cole says:

    Tim, I enjoy seeing your work. Thanks for sharing all of your talents with us. Too bad some are so ignorant, (and surprisingly territorial about the fabric store), they have no idea what they are missing out on! By the way, that trapunto work took my breath away,I can’t wait to see that finished!

  62. Matthew says:

    If I had a dime . . . Wow, this touched a nerve. I’ve had this experience many times. The worst is if you are in a class (and paid money) you are socially excluded or made to feel unwelcome if you are the only man perhaps because some think it changes the social interaction. If I’m not assumed to be buying for a wife, it is assumed that the only other plausible alternative is that I’m gay. I actually am gay, and open about it and sometimes my partner and I buy fabric together but I am sometimes bothered by the assumption. I mean there must be straight men who quilt, right? There is also a fair amount of homophobia in the quilt world. Perhaps that is a different blog post for another day and it may be that many of the people in quilting come from rural or otherwise conservative backgrounds. But I sometimes wonder if it’s related to this blog post or sexism in terms of sex and gender roles – that men should only be involved in sports or hunting or whatever. But I think the gender bias is related to homophobia on some level.

  63. Ginney Camden says:

    I really enjoyed this post Tim. I promise if I pass you in a fabric store I won’t mutter! I think it’s wonderful that anyone enjoys quilting!

  64. audrey says:

    And quilting is definitely gender dominated by the women. I bet you gain a little satisfaction in knowing that you have much more skill, experience and knowledge than most of the women that are so condescending.:) I get what you mean as my sister buys a brand new truck every so many years and can’t hardly get a salesMan to treat her seriously. She’ll actually go somewhere else and pay more if they start treating her like an silly, idiot woman. I have wondered though, why the male only quilt shows? Doesn’t that just perpetuate the idea that men need a special category?

    • timquilts says:

      good question and I have to seriously think about that…..I have had a quilt in 2 of those shows and since I wrote this post a few hours ago I am thinking that It does perpetuate the idea…..I am going to have to think on that before the next one

  65. janet says:

    Hi Tim –

    As for the Facebook groups, when they start with “ladies,” you could post a question, like “Is this group restricted to females only? Did I miss that when I joined?” Sometimes subtle works. If not, as least you’ve reminded all of us to be more aware, so thanks for your vent.

    For retail, as several have pointed out – welcome to our world, women dealing with auto sales/repairs/parts department, the hardware store, construction/home maintenance, etc etc.

    The women (and man) who work in the fabric department of our local big box stores work hard, long hours on their feet in a job that requires a lot of patience. I think they are just trying to make conversation – usually it’s “what are you going to make with this?” Hundreds of times a day — Trying to enhance your shopping experience; it’s probably in the employee manual. Some just aren’t as skilled at conversation as others. For the ones who would be intentionally snarky, it’s just ignorance. In their world, ignorance is bliss. Maybe you should carry photos of your quilts – with ribbons. Turn it into an educational opportunity for them. Or show them photos of Teddy on your quilts and melt their hearts.

    When you solve this problem, can you try to do something about restaurant servers who address a table of sixty-something women as “you guys”.

  66. Lindsay Pavel says:

    Please feel invited to talk about this kind of issue. I appreciate hearing your perspective. It is important to get our experiences out in the open. Whatever we can do to combat prejudgement is good. Thank you.

  67. Jane says:

    I know why you feel this way. I am completely guilty of opening facebook posts with “hi ladies” or closing them with “thanks ladies.” I do this because, even though there are men in the groups, they can be get quite cliquey, and the people who I chat with and who respond to me are always women.

    There are men only groups, but I don’t by any stretch of the imagination think you should be compelled to join these.

    I will definitely be more inclusive in future posts, although I still know that there are, in some groups, the same six ladies who respond to my posts, and it’s always and only them.

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks
      most of the men just pass up the posts that say “ladies” and it is sad because it removes their perspective or experience from the conversation so i am going to try to ignore that and share my thoughts and perspective regardless

      • Jane says:

        I really hope you do. I only started addressing my posts to the ladies after months of being in these groups and paying attention to who responded to me. I think it’s a shame when people jump in to a new group and start chatting that way. I think it depends on what their experiences are. Based on my visitors to my quilt store, I would assume it was very women only. It’s only through reading other people’s blogs that I first discovered there were quite a lot of men involved. They clearly just don’t shop in Cambridge, MA.

      • timquilts says:

        I would shop there if I were closer….some day I would love to visit your shop

      • Jane says:

        It’s not My shop. It’s just one of those places where the owners have built a wonderful community and we all feel such a part of it. Seriously though, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man shopping there. There was one in a class, but it was a learn to quilt he’d taken his kids to.

      • timquilts says:

        I am not sure if I myself have ever seen another man in my LQS, I know several who shop there but clearly not at the same time as me

      • Jane says:

        I’m sure that’s probably true of a lot of stores.

        I’d really love to get more men involved in quilting, and encourage those who are already creating to share more, and interact a lot in various forums.

        For me, coming from Australia, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were a women only type of craft. This goes back to high school. I went to an all girls school, where everyone was obligated to take two years of sewing. Nothing about quilting, but at least by that time you have your basic knowledge of fabrics and sewing machines. I spent a year at a co-ed school, and they didn’t own any sewing machines at all. It was a school that could well have afforded them if they’d wanted, but it was boys only up until grade ten, and even in the higher grades, there were two boys for every girl. The school just didn’t see a need. And unfortunately, even in a very gay friends city, at that point in time there was very much a conception that boys who were interested in sewing must be homosexuals. They were quite mercilessly teased, and never would have elected to take a class in it for that reason.

        There definitely needs to be a shift in the perception of gender and gender roles. The same thing happened to the boys who took cooking and hospitality electives. And none of it makes sense to me, because the world of professional cooking is highly male dominated, and you have a slew of companies crying out that they can’t replace their mens’ tailors who are close to retiring. Perhaps women don’t want to make mens’ suits, or perhaps they make customers uncomfortable, or maybe they don’t have the same skill level, because a male tailor is likely to focus almost primarily (at least in my experience) on suit alteration and construction, whereas women who are raised to make skirts and dresses might be a bit more diversified and do several things very well, but have less of a specialized skill. I haven’t quite worked that one out yet.

        My husband and I have decided that if we have boys, he’ll teach them sports, and I’ll teach them to sew. I can only hope they’ll want to continue to sew, even if they feel as though it’s something they have to do in secret while they’re in their awkward years. But hopefully the world will have moved on by that time.

      • timquilts says:

        I hope so,,,and it sounds like a good plan….sports and sewing…sounds well rounded to me

      • Jane says:

        Now to convince the school systems to do the same.

  68. Hi Tim- you say here that you hung in the last 2 RMQM shows- I bailed- I hung in all but one of the previous ones.

    http://scythiatextile.com/UK/Fibremen_2011-2014.html#38

    Here’s the link to last year’s Fibremen 4- so Audrey- if you want to read a succinct opinion about why someone might host a men’s show- Ludmila Egorova nails it.

  69. Laura in IA says:

    I was glad to read your post because I am sure I have been guilty of some biases as hard as I try not to be. We are all of the human race and a little kindness goes a long way. Thanks for the reminder.

  70. katechiconi says:

    Yup, same bias, different subject! I do try not to assume that men standing in my local quilt shop are simply waiting for a female. Many of them are, of course, and you can tell by the blank expression and sometimes the tapping foot. My husband’s actually getting pretty good at knowing his way around the quilting section, and it makes me laugh to see this tall, broad truck driver standing there with bolts of fabric, batting, rotary cutter blades and reels of thread in his arms. He does get quit a lot of double-takes. Funny thing is, I’m the one who knows what she’s doing in the hardware store, talking to the plumber, the builder, the electrician, etc, and it’s always amusing to have my husband tell these people to reply to the person who asked the question instead of telling him, as he’s not interested! I’m constantly infuriated by the ‘ladies toolkits’ you see in the hardware store. Invariably pink, everything too small and of very inferior quality. Why does it have to be pink!!?? Grrr. Stick with it, Tim. Some people are just too stupid to breed, so I suppose there’s hope that someday the world will be filled with more intelligent, tolerant, kind and generous-spirited people.

  71. Mary says:

    Wow! I read your posts on my iPad and it didn’t accept the signage so I was shocked when I came over to make a comment. I don’t usually read the comments made by others, I just leave my comment, and go on. Today I read some. Wow! and I didn’t read all of them.

    I know I must have been one of those women who rolled her eyes or made a comment to myself but loud enough to be heard by you or another man at least once in my quilting life and maybe more than once. I hope I wouldn’t do it now as seeing men quilt, buy fabric, etc. is no different than a woman buying tools in a hardware store. So I apologize to you for the body language or voiced comments I made over the years.

    I wish I could quilt like you do or have an eye for putting fabrics together in a new way, or be as efficient as you with all of your quilting projects. My hope is you’ll continue to do what you do for many, many years. I want to learn from you and other quilters, both male and female.

    That being said, when I first began reading your post I thought you were going to talk about the “men only” quilting groups, etc. and suggest we stop being divisive. Maybe there are “women only” groups on Facebook, etc. – if so I haven’t seen them as I don’t do Facebook. I have found or been alerted to a quilter’s work by reading about them in a blog or seeing their blog listed. My curiosity leads me to check them out and I cringe when I see divisiveness. Considering what you wrote about the treatment you have received as a male quilter, I now understand why some men may feel a need for this labeling but I do hope that eventually we’ll be able to just look at someone as a quilter or a potential quilter.

    Thank you for writing about a topic which has been so thought provoking for me and others. Hi to Teddy, too.

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Mary, It is an involved topic, and the men only quilt groups I think have been formed because of the feelings of exclusion or being in a separate class, I do hope that some day there are no such feelings and quilters can all be seen as just quilters, Being categorized as a quilter now makes people immediately think woman, men are always categorized as male quilters similar to men who are nurses, people always refer to them as “male nurse” rather than nurse
      Teddy says HI

  72. Megan says:

    Tim – I think you’re just on the receiving end of what most people’s experience is: ie. that virtually no men sew or make quilts. The numbers are growing but tiny. In the meantime, most people involved in the industry will assume that their audience is female. I’m pretty sure that the vast majority don’t intend to exclude you or denigrate your skills.
    As you noted in your post, most of your female readers would be able to relate as we have lived in a male-dominated world for so long. It almost seems odd to have you comment on your experience as it is so common in the other direction.
    Don’t take it personally. See these comments as an opportunity to share the love – respond to the sales assistant with an upbeat, positive comment that lets her know that these days, more men are sewing, choosing fabric, buying sewing machines etc for their own use.

    Good luck.

    Megan
    Sydney, Australia

    • timquilts says:

      The numbers are growing and much larger than people recognize. I do feel that it is much worse for all the women in all the many areas in life where they face discrimination. so many more than me. I Hope for better for everyone
      Happy Quilting

  73. Carol Adams says:

    There are no excuses for gender biased rudeness of staff or other customers when we shop. The ‘good morning Ladies’ syndrome is out there and thank you for reminding me to challenge it when I see it. Thank you for inviting us into yours and Teddy’s quilting world.

  74. Another area is embroidery. They seem to have forgotten that embroiderers in the middle ages were all men, and women did not even belong to an embroiderers guild.
    It is amazing that any handcraft should be matronised! I am not on Facebook, but it would really annoy me too. Thank you for writing this!

  75. David says:

    Oddly enough, it has never really bothered me in 30+ years of quilting. I far more dislike when at a large gathering of quilters (ex. Guild meetings, lectures, classes, etc) when someone says ‘Ok ladies and David’ or similar. I take no offense at being included in a generic Ladies call-out.

    • timquilts says:

      LOL….I can see how ladies and David would be a problem…so far that has not happened to me…..I guess I should look at the generic ladies call out as just that generic. Thanks

  76. debmarchant1 says:

    Hi Tim
    Well, I for one am so glad you do have a passion for quilts. I started to see your stuff through a fb friend’s posts and liked what I saw so much I looked you up and subscribed to your page. I love your work, as I do that of Ricky Timms and lots of other guys whose work has impressed me over the years. I like your variety of style, your skill with the needle (amazing) and your blogs (really engaging). I’m glad you ranted, it means you’re not afraid to own your blog and write what’s on your mind rather than what you think your readers would like to hear. Your passion is inspiring and I only wish I could see more of what you do and have the time myself to sew as much as you sew. Those who throw blithe comments are simply short sighted and are missing a treasure by not engaging in happy chat about what you’re going to be doing with yournew purchases. Their loss, not yours.
    Looking forward to tomorrow’s snippet (totally didn’t mean that pun!) :0)
    Deb (UK)

  77. helen says:

    Good morning, Tim! It is very reassuring how many people feel concerned about your post today. I have not yet read them all but be sure I will. Some surely express better than I what I feel but nevertheless I want to say :
    Thank YOU for inviting me/us into YOUR quilt world!!
    And thank YOU for all your kind replies and everything, experiences, advices, tips and help you are sharing so GENEROUSLY!
    To read your posts is like coming to see a friend, sit down, have a cup of coffee together. And I am always learning something from you.
    I apologize for all these stupid comments you had to hear even if this won’t help to erase them from your memory.
    Unfortunately there will always be people of this sort in every domain. Let’s just have the strength and patience to shake their comments down from the shoulders and not giving them the power to touch their target in any way.
    Sending you all my best wishes!

  78. Shirley W. Chiles says:

    I am sorry you have run into some small minded people. Those assumptions we all make about a person at first glance is something we humans have to work on. Quilting has changed a lot and has become form of art. When I go to a quilt show there are quilts that I would not be comfortable snuggling under but they are the quilters uniqueness. Bottom line is if I found Van Gohn in the batiks isle I would think “Cool”. I am new too your blog and enjoy it very much. Thank you for having me.

  79. Bernadette says:

    I’ve shared this on my Facebook page…I hope you don’t mind. I live in the Great White North…lol…Ontario, Canada. I used to see a whole lot of acceptance here. I still do, for the most part. I see a slide backwards, just a titch, but, I’m happy to see you post this. I too see gender bias in the few of the groups. (in one sewing machine group, the men tend to talk down to the women, or address them in sexist terms. Often they’re wrong, but, because machines have gears, I guess it’s felt that it’s their area of expertise) I’m always disturbed when I see a post start with “Ladies…” Considering I’m in awe of your talent, and subscribe to your page because of it, I wouldn’t take it to heart. You rock! Of course, it’s probably because you have Teddy as a muse. I must give credit where credit is due!

  80. Lauren Applebee says:

    Tim, I’m always surprised by people being insensitive and biased towards other’s individuality. Stereotypes I’ve never understood especially when it comes to creativity and art. I know both men and women that love cooking, baking, painting, photography, music, sculpting, wood working, basket weaving, knitting, crocheting, rug hooking….the list goes on an on including quilting. “It is a narrow mind which cannot look at a subject from various points of view” -George Eliot
    I am looking forward to seeing what you have planned for those gorgeous fabrics. Are they quilters linens?
    Cheers!

    • timquilts says:

      Love the George Eliot quote thanks!
      the fabrics are a line called color weave, the woven pattern is actually printed on the cotton fabric….sort of the look of linen with the ease of cotton

  81. Carolyn in Maine says:

    I am so very sorry to read about the ignorance you have experienced in the quilt/fabric shop world. I have read tons of quilt magazines and see more and more articles about male quilters, and not just nowadays. Here is an article about Ernest B Haight and his many quilts. He was encouraged to quilt by his father, also a quilter! http://www.quiltindex.org/essay.php?kid=3-98-4
    I enjoy QUILTS, no matter who makes them!
    Perhaps you should send in a complaint to the fabric shop, and point out that they need to train their employees in better customer service, without gender prejudice. If they think they’ll lose business to the internet due to the ignorance of their staff, they will hopefully train them better.
    I appreciate the time you take to share your quilt pictures and techniques with us. You and Teddy keep up the good work!

  82. Your rant is welcome. I could tell you a lot about how I was treated as an investment manager in a male-dominated company, including many years (my whole career) of being paid less than men and being offered fewer opportunities than everyone else (men) around me. Hmm… less pay, fewer opportunities, leading to bigger pay disparity… Well, it sucks to be dissed, whether it’s in the fabric store or in your lifetime earnings.

  83. Neame says:

    Good post, and you certainly have a right to call it out and to call out those who demean and hurt even if unintentional (though many slights are far from unintentional). Bias exists everywhere. Hopefully your actions will open some minds. As many of your commentators have said, we’ve all been there, we all have the tee shirt.

    Some bias morphs into stigma and that is really dangerous. So much in our world is ‘unspeakable’. We must all fight the good fight and your contribution is worthy. Thanks.

  84. bjlpyle says:

    I just wanted to point out that some “women’s” crafts were invented by men and used for them in their job. Knitting and crochet were used by men to make their fishing nets and warm sweaters for them to wear while fishing in the cold weather. My brother repaired parachutes, using a sewing machine to do that job, when he was in the Air Force. I applaud you for the beautiful work you do!

  85. Donna K says:

    Wow. I have read all the comments. I wasn’t going to comment but I will if only in support for you and your work. I really can’t say anything more than what has been said already.
    Thank you again for taking the time to share your works with all of us. We appreciate your work. I’ve even seen your work in the Grand Rapids show last August and quilters, the work is even better looking in person.

    And of course we all love the quilt inspector. No need to comment Tim.

  86. Here, here…..those same people are part of the quilt police we don’t need either!! Kill ’em with kindness, you’re the most prolific, amazing quilter I know but haven’t met 😉

  87. I had to chuckle over your “little” rant as most of us women are put down by men. I can remember when DH and I went to a quilt show and the ladies took him off to show him a “Bra” quilt. We still chuckle about it. Like all the other comments your blog is a must for all the great tutorials and information you pass along. I will no longer baste my quilts with threads…Just posted some of my snowman hand quilted on my blog. Could luck on your Reindeer entry in the AQS show.

  88. Michèle ANDRES says:

    Bonjour “Monsieur” Tim,
    aujourd’hui j’ai laissé mes quilts et j’ai été avec mon mari voir une exposition de trains électriques. J’adore les modèles réduits et j’aime accompagner mon mari aux salons train, bateaux, avions et maisons de poupées. Ces messieurs me regarde toujours d’un air condescendant jusqu’au moment ou je parle leur langue: HO, N ou Z, Jouef, Markling, et Rivarossi…..
    Chacun peut avoir des préjugés.
    C’est la vie…..J’ai découvert votre travail récemment et j’adore. C’est pourquoi je vous dis” Bravo monsieur Tim, pardon, bravo Tim et merci”
    Michèle A

  89. bermudagirl says:

    Yes it must be a challenge being a man in a predominantly women’s world. Sorry you’ve had such a hard time Tim, especially when you have made such a difference rescuing all those quilts and making your own amazing quilts. Funny post though, sorry, maybe you didn’t intend for it to be funny.

  90. Marilyn Longden says:

    Hi Tim – rant away! My DH got hooked on sewing many, many moons ago. When we decided to make our son’s Hallowe’en costume (DH suggestion) off we went to the fabric store. I could sew so he had me coach him. He carried on with the sewing (I did not) and when our 3 girls went into figure skating he made their outfits/costumes. He was the one who dragged me off to my first Creative Festival. We left with a brand new Pfaff with all the latest bells and whistles. When we got home he cleared off the kitchen table, set up the Pfaff and learned all the new techniques! He had to show me how to use it anytime I wanted to make or repair something. Our son is now 44 and we have to grand-daughters. Unfortunately my DH passed away two years ago but I know he would be joining in on my adventures of learning how to quilt especially since I purchased a Pfaff embroidery machine!

    Keep up the marvellous work that you do and hello to Teddy!

  91. Barbara says:

    Tim, I used to drive a Line bus, (10 years ago), to the local Mall, and I remember, more then once, being told, by a man, you’re a pretty good driver, for a woman, as they got off the bus. Of course, I resisted the urge to push them down the stairs. I’m sorry that you’re getting that attitude, too; I’m so glad that you are a quilter!

  92. Chris says:

    I sold fabric for 18 years to the public and gender bias is and was prevalent. Also we so soon forget the tailors of this world who embroidered, knitted and also quilted were important in their own right. They were sought after in major towns. Quilters are no different. A friend of my family when I was young made his daughter’s wedding dresses. He drove a road grader for his profession. Many can be cold towards others that they feel are not as talented as they are. I do buy online just to stay away from that type of judgmental views. I don’t belong to a guild because there are those few who know it all and others are beneath them. I feel you opinions and talent promote the craft and in my estimation you maybe one of the few men that aren’t afraid to be involved. My step-father made 20 quilts in about 10 years before he passed. He designed his own patterns also. Keep up the good work.

  93. Miriam says:

    Hi Tim, Thanks for all you do for quilters. I enjoy your blog and all your quilts. It has inspired me to try hand quilting. As a single women when I want to buy a car, appliance or go to a hardware store, many times I get the same attitude like I don’t know what I’m doing. There are a some that get it but they are few and far between. Thanks for sharing.

  94. MaryJo says:

    Tim, I’ve taught quilting for 20 years. ave was one of my most memorable students. He was not afraid to try new ideas and his quilting was bold. Even better, he planned to teach his two grandsons to quilt! Keep up the great work.

  95. Isabella says:

    Well said,’ goodonya mate’👍

  96. Pamela says:

    Your Welcome, Tim!

  97. Stefanie says:

    I know a lot of women also experience snotty comments/attitudes in shops and hence shop online. I know as a younger quilter I’ve often encountered snide age related comments, so I sympathize greatly.
    I had to take a machine back in for an adjustment that the repair guy (who sews) missed. The comment to me from the cashier was, “That’s a lot of machine, you should take the class, blah blah,” even though I was in there for their mistake. The attitude it was said with, geeze. I have a very extensive background with machines. I am a lot of sewer, and regardless, don’t have time for or need of the class.

    And so you know, I think some ladies are just jealous of super talented guy quilters like yourself. I know the guild in my home town had a man quilter win a lot of first prizes, and the hens were all in a cluck about it.

    Will everyone just grow up from high school please!

    Quilt on.

  98. Alex says:

    Tim, I read your blog because of the skill and talent you demonstrate. I enjoy your posts and perspective. (Teddy is a pretty good draw card too). Your gender doesn’t factor into the equation.

    We are all subject to other people’s judgements, biases, narrow mindedness and assumptions whether they are overt or covert. Oh the stories I could tell you 🙂

    Please remember that there is a large community of quilters that support your endeavors and are cheering you on.

    Cuddles and ear scrinching to the lad (Teddy – of course).

  99. Maureen Reiter says:

    I feel your pain. I went to a TV repair shop once and they actually asked me if I plugged it in upside down. Some people are just arrogant in their assumptions. I am among those who love to see your work. In a million years I would not be as good as you are!

  100. TheQuiltMeister says:

    I’vehadgreat times at bees, but the experiences online can be challenging. There can certainly be double standards! Do people want my money, or what? Rise above it! Andrew 👍👌

  101. Eunice Anne Fowler says:

    Well said, Tim, well said. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and concerns with me. I’d like you to know that over the past two years you have taught me more than I could have imagined! Not to mention all the time I spend marveling over not only your stunning work but how much you accomplish and how willing you are to teach. Everytime I go to your site, I’m once again a child visiting the candy store and I never want to leave!

  102. Kristen says:

    Tim, I’m sorry you’ve had to experience the drippings of small minds over the years — the effect can be cumulative, Quiltese water torture, I’m not surprised that you just welled over. No one should be treated with less than respect and dignity — not to mention when you are the customer and the customer is by definition always right.

    Yes, gender stereotypes are alive and well, even if it is getting better. I agree with the commenter who mentioned the generational aspect; there will be some (not all) of the older generation of quilters who may not be so open to diversity of age, gender, etc. Sometimes a person of one gender with expertise in the traditional areas of the other is still considered a threat to the social order, whether when buying a truck, tools at the hardware store, or quilting supplies at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

    I could go on (and on), but you now have proof, if you didn’t before, of your quilt people and culture, the respect in which you are held and devotion and quilting you inspire.

    Otherwise, I’m going to rustle up some true believers to do a remake of that old Intel ad: the door to the fabric store opens. You see the foot step into the store. A cashier looks up and gasps. Camera pans to two customers looking at the notions — they turn their heads and freeze in awe. Switch to salesperson outside on a cigarette break pressing his face against the window for a better look. The woman at the fabric table stops dead, scissors in hand, and asks, “Is that Tim Latimer?!” Cut to tag line: “Quilting. Our rock stars are not like your rock stars.”

  103. Becky in VA says:

    So sorry these things have happened to you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful quilting through your blog – I enjoy being your cyber friend.

  104. Hi Tim, I’m so sorry that you have to suffer this bias. I can only hope that some of “those” people read your post and are mortified into behaving better. As you know, I love your work!!

  105. Sue Ryan says:

    Thanks for spealing to this, Tim. The only way to bring change is by having open and honest dialogue. You are raising consciousness!

  106. Kimberly P. says:

    Hello Tim,
    Glad you were able to get that off your chest. I can relate to what you said because I’m a woman who owns and operates my own gutter business along with my husband. I wear a tool belt and work boots, I carry ladders, swing a hammer and use a drill. I work in all kinds of crazy weather … etc. etc. etc. Most of our clients are men and they can’t fathom that the lady who takes their call (me) is also the person who will give them a estimate and do their gutter work. Once they see the whole picture I usually have their respect but until then they always say things like “Have one of your guys give me a estimate” or “When the guys do the gutters” “Tell the guys…” etc. It can be amusing and/or frustrating but I find peace in knowing that I know different and that’s all that really matters. Most of those guys can’t do what I do or else they probably wouldn’t be calling in the first place so I hope you remind yourself that most of those people acting that way probably can’t do half of what you do and that’s all that really matters. Kudo’s to you Tim for all you do and thank you for sharing your journey with all of us.

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks! and I know I couldn’t do what you do 🙂 I don’t much like ladders

      • Kimberly P. says:

        You’re welcome. Btw, you’re not alone… most people don’t like climbing ladders.
        We have a joke… Falling doesn’t hurt, it’s when you hit the ground that hurts. Lol!
        But seriously, we’re very careful. 🙂
        It was nice chatting with you Tim. Know that you (and Teddy) have a friend who’s always willing to listen to whatever is on your mind. 🙂

  107. Oh, sweet Tim, thanks for sharing your heart with us. This is always a safe place to spill your frustrations without fear of judgement. I’m so sorry you had to endure such condescending comments. It’s not fair to treat you that way and they should keep their nasty comments to themselves. I was telling my friend about your exquisite snowflake quilt with the jingle bells on it and I mentioned that you happened to be a man because I thought it was so cool that a man was into a hobby that was typically thought of as a female hobby… and my friend responded, “Wooow…. he must be gay.” I personally took offense. I have no idea if you’re gay or not, but just because a man quilts doesn’t make him gay! UGH. If it makes you feel better, lots of soldiers quilted during the Civil War to relieve stress. I don’t have any stories about gender bias but I have been shown patronizing superiority in other situations that made me feel bad about myself because I didn’t know something someone else knew. Sometimes you just gotta….

    Shake shake shake shake baby shake it off! Shaaaa Shake it off!

  108. Patty Martin says:

    Join the crowd, Tim. I am an anomaly also. I only have one hand and am quite a good quilter, sewer, beader, crafter. You wouldn’t believe all of the weird comments I’ve gotten and the way people have treated me over the years. I worked in a quilt shop for quite a few years. A lady came in one day & asked how I sew and quilt. She said she was slowly losing the use of her less dominant hand and was afraid she wouldn’t be able to sew after a while. I told her to consider herself lucky that she was slowly losing the use of her hand so that she could slowly learn to do things in a new way. Then I went on to explain how I manage to do some things. She walked out of there mad as hell. I didn’t realize that I was supposed to feel sorry for her, pity her, and tell her she would not be able to sew at some point in time. I’ve also had a couple strange customers in the shop that appeared to not like me cutting their fabric because I only had one hand. One time I took a bead embroidery class, which I had already been doing a bit of. The teacher’s method of teaching was to walk around the classroom & take turns showing each student how to do different stitches. Every time she would come to me, she would just skip by me. It was the strangest thing. When I would ask questions, I would just get the briefest answers without her actually showing me anything. When I got home, I decided to email the owner of the shop to let her know how I had been treated. Let’s just say that the owner of the shop was not from this country, is known for not having any customer service skills, saw nothing wrong with the way I was treated, and pretty much told me that if I don’t like it, don’t bother coming in her shop any more. This is a shop in Sacramento, CA. It’s quite a nice shop actually & the owner has published several books on beading. I get really tired of people’s ignorance also. I try to tell myself that it’s just their ignorance, but it gets really old when you run into so many ignorant people. Why can’t we all just be treated the same? Those that know me always forget that I only have one hand. From time to time one of my friends will ask me, “Can I give you a hand?” I’ll say, “Ya, as a matter of fact, I could use another one.” That always gets a big laugh. You have to be a long time friend of mine to understand the humor in that. It really is difficult to remember that I only do have one hand because I do most things that most of my friends would never attempt to do.

    One more thing, there is a one guy in the quilt guild that I’ve been in for years, one guy out of about 250 members. He loves it. He gets more attention than any other member. He has a wife, but she’s not interested in quilting at all. We all love him because he lends a unique perspective to quilting & will help with the chores in the guild that no one else wants to do.

    • timquilts says:

      thanks for sharing that….most people would fall into the self pity mode and not push ahead and do what they love. you have overcome that mental limitation as well as the physical. Too bad all people don’t get treated as equals by everyone 😦
      Happy quilting

  109. Sandy D says:

    Tim, so sorry for all of this stuff.  The treatment you recieved shows insensitivity and is crass behavior and it is good to have the reminder not to start a messages with “Ladies.” I try to be sensitive but must say I have used “ladies” where I should not have done so, but I will now stop.   So thank you.  But unfortunately, bad and rude behavior is just that.  Often when faced with folks who make snide or cutting comments or the dreaded know it alls,  I remind myself of two things:  1) I am very happy I do not live with that person. 2) a Benjamin Franklin quote ” any fool can condemn, criticize and complain – and most fools do.” I also try to find the humor in the interaction and sometimes when you step back it is pretty funny.

    I enjoy your blog.. Thank you for your sharing

  110. I read your blog because it is inspirational to see that I am not the only male quilter in the world. There are groups on Facebook?

  111. lilquilter says:

    Dear Tim,
    I have read every comment so far and I must say, you’ve certainly struck a nerve! What a great discussion. All the comments have hit the nail on the head. The only thing I’d like to add is, with regard to the men-only shows, I like the idea because it brings to light the number of extremely talented and skilled men who make quilts and fiber art and reminds people that the ability to make art and craft is not limited to a particular gender but can be accomplished successfully by anyone who puts his/her mind to it.
    Keep up the good work! I do hope our paths cross at the Lancaster show because I would so love to meet you in person. I feel as if I know you and Teddy personally already.
    Cheers,
    Lil from Wilmington, Delaware

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Lil, good points for the men only quilt shows, I do think they bring attention to the fact that there are men who quilt. it would be different if it were a judged show with prize money and excluded women…..
      I will let you know if I can make it to Lancaster

  112. Samantha Glorioso says:

    I agree with everything everyone has said so far on this. The only thing I have to add is that I find it is also a factor of customer service. I worked in a quilt shop for several years. We greeted everyone who walked thru the door with a warm welcoming hello and you could get fired for being rude to a customer. I was always overjoyed to see the men (we had about a dozen regulars) who would frequent the shop. I have found that when I visit other shops, being warmly greeted is not only often not done, but I have been to a few shops where I was ignored completely, and sometimes felt like I was intruding on someone’s private space. Rude people are everywhere (witness expanding examples of road rage these days). I wish we could all treat each other with more kindness and compassion. Thank you for venting. Love to Teddy.

  113. Sherry says:

    I’m sorry there are rude people out there, but thanks for writing this! If not it wouldn’t have been shared on FB and I wouldn’t have found out about you and had the chance to see your work. It’s very inspiring!

  114. Sandi says:

    Love the rant Tim….but love the talent “this man” (you) has! I don’t think it’s just you…I have been treated the same way…like I really don’t know what I’m doing maybe? And believe it or not my projects get quite a lot of attention. I think “customer service” is on the down hill slide everywhere! Keep up the wonderful work!

  115. Joy says:

    I usually don’t leave comments, but I do have to say I feel your pain. When I went to buy my first car I was with my dad–just needed a ride–and had my four year old son with me. The salesman had the nerve to suggest I might want to consult with my dad! I was very angry. I had done my research and told him, no I was buying this car. On top of that I am only paying Blue Book value (knowing it had sat on the lot for over a month) and I was ready to walking out. He even pulled the–I have a family to feed–to which I said I am a single parent with a 4 year old. I think your work is wonderful and those ladies are missing out on your talent. We have a man in our guild and I love seeing what he comes up with and is perspective on things. Diversity is delightful. I hope he never feels we don’t appreciate him as a fellow quilter.

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Joy, I can just see the car salesman …I wonder if they are taught the family to feed story? I should make time to join one of the local quilt guilds. Happy quilting

  116. Andrea says:

    Just coming out of lurkdom to say I’m sorry you are having to deal with that sort of B.S. I get the same sort of treatment at car dealers and hardware stores. I hate being patronized like a child or having hostility directed at me because they feel I don’t belong there. I admit I’m surprised when I see a man shopping alone in a fabric store just because it’s so unusual, but rather than feel like my turf’s been invaded I’m happy that another human “gets it”. It actually makes me smile – another person who understands the need to pet the fabric!

    The work you do is beautiful, and I’m glad you’re not letting the morons keep you from it!

  117. Nina Schwerdtfeger says:

    Hey Tim……….totally understand!! I value your skill/talent. Personally, I worked in a non-traditional career among the male gender and had plenty of what you’re speaking ‘the bias’! That was during the 70’s and you would think folks would get it, but they still stereotype. Will tell you two years after I retired, asked a question of myself ‘What was I thinking?’ For me it was the kind of money men made versus the money women made giving my family the ability to live a very comfortable life. Because of the experience, sometimes I feel like a he-she because I know where both genders are coming from and understand.

    Love to the max information you give on your skill. Am amazed how much you get done! You have inspired me to try hand quilting. And yes I have an desire to finish those quilts from others that didn’t….’they call to me’. Keep up the good work and am so proud of your accomplishments. Would so enjoy if my grandsons would participate in this venue. I’ve even bought them featherweights…..we’ll see.

    • timquilts says:

      Sorry that you had to deal with if for years 😦 no one should have to …..but I mush say that is so cool that you bought featherweights for the grandsons! I think a big part of men not wanting to sew is that they are afraid they wont be good at it……if they have a machine and someone to show them how I bet they will enjoy it

  118. Helen says:

    Hi Tim, yes, it is very annoying sometimes. I think people forget that tailors come in all genders. One of my good friends is a physicist who took over his wife’s sewing machine when she clearly wasn’t interested (a gift from her mother when expecting their first). He’s good at it, because he has an eye for detail

    • timquilts says:

      I agree, it really isn’t about gender but the personal skill set of the individual. I bet he is very good. I really need to work at detail myself, I tend to be better at big picture thinking

  119. Penny J from SC says:

    Tim – I am always amazed that you are able to get so much done so quickly and everything is always amazing. I sure do wish that I was able to do a quarter as much. We have a couple of men in our guild and I wish there were more. It’s always nice to see. Keep at it and don’t let anybody deny you the ability to use the talents that God obviously given you!

  120. Carin says:

    I know what you mean. My husband also quilt and in the beginning people looked strange at him when he joined me to the quilt shops. Now they all now him and ask often what he is making 😉

  121. jean says:

    Husband promised that when he retired he would begin making quilts. I’m his teacher, as well as some on line videos, and he is doing great! Yesterday he went into the local quilt store to add to his stash, and she (who has met me and heard this story) asked for me. I was at home baking batches of bread. He and I have different taste in our current fabric choices, and I have a lot in storage that I can donate to him. But it is 2 hours away. Thank you for being a quilter and for blogging. One of the best hand applique and hand quilters in my last guild was a retired gentleman, who learned at his grandmother’s knee. You are NOT alone.

  122. snausages22 says:

    Hi there Tim,
    I enjoy reading your blog, as well as several other male quilter’s blogs. You guys know your business and I am happy to call a few of them friends. I feel for you and the discrimination you face. I, too face discrimination, to the point that I no longer frequent local shops and do 95% of my quilting-related shopping online. You see, I am fat and I also have many tattoos going up and down my arms. Yes, I admit it and I do know it, but you’d think that people would know that I am aware of my physicality. Yet, I get disgusted stares, and not-so-silent snide comments all the time. Even when I go to a LQS, I get ‘the look’… you know what I mean. I am not a bad person, and my weight and tattoos are a part of me.
    Just saying…
    Jacqueline in Pitt Meadows

  123. Dan Tabor says:

    Hello Tim! Thank you so much for writing this article – as a fellow male quilter, I thought I was the only one who had to endure these things! I too do most of my buying online – as I feel very uncomfortable going into most fabric stores or quilt shops! So much so, that when I do, I bring a female friend to act as my “smokescreen” – she gets all the attention and that allows me to look for the fabric I need without too many sideways suspicious glances!
    I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog and especially love the photos of Teddie! Keep up the great work, Tim!
    Dan from Vermont

    • timquilts says:

      Thanks Dan…and Teddy says HI. I hope you don’t let the turkeys get you down. We might have to endure more bias but it proves that we really enjoy the process ….and we really do know what we are doing ! happy quilting

  124. Cindy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful ideas for sewing and quilting. I learn so much from you. Now I enjoy and look forward to quilting when I use your ideas and techniques. My father enjoyed the pictures that I shared with him.

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