Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gee, I hit a nerve, didn't I?

Remember this post? I'm doing the Bonnie Hunter Christmas Lights mystery quilt in Quiltmaker magazine. I had commented that after completing the blocks I couldn't see how they went together, and was resigned to waiting for the last installment, hoping that the designer came up with something fab that I couldn't think of.

Well, this morning in the Yahoo group dedicated to the mystery someone posted that Quiltmaker magazine had published a picture of the completed quilt. I scurried over to the website and there before me was the first arrangement I had tried in EQ. The one that had elicited the reaction "That's it? Really?"

I posted on the Yahoo group that I was less than enthralled with this design but would probably finish it anyway since it's this far done. Now, I knew my opinion would be in the minority (I even started my post with - "Well, I'm about to say something that will get a lot of Bonnie fans riled up." I had no idea that someone would rip into me within twelve minutes and call my comment mean spirited, no less (translation: I don't worship at their designer's feet!).

I'm amused more than anything about this whole episode. These women in the group are almost fanatical about the designer, although I bet most have never even met her. You should hear the excitement in their comments about the honor of putting her up for the night at their house - for free, probably. They are enthusiastic and protective about their favorite designer in a way that I just don't get. The lady is in business to publish quilt patterns. I'm sure she was paid by Quiltmaker for the pattern, and it does double duty as an advertisement for her other books. I'm figuring that she's run into people that didn't like one of her quilts before and I doubt it crushed her.

I "got it" from the first that this group was basically made up of cheerleaders for this designer, and never saw much in the way of balanced comments about the designs. However, I didn't figure anyone would be, well, so "mean spirited" about me expressing my opinion (right back at ya!). Here's my comment about the design. I would like others' unbiased opinions about whether I was mean about my comments, as the group member's reply accused me, because that wasn't my intent. I was expressing my opinion, as I thought was my right in the group, but maybe I'm harsher than I think and need to be more mannerly. I would like to include the whole response, but I don't have her permission. I am going to quote a few snippets, though, for illustration.

Here's what I said:

Well, I'm about to say something that will get a lot of Bonnie fans riled up. After I put the blocks together a few months ago, I drew them in EQ and started arranging them. The first thing I did of course was put them in an alternating on point setting since we were instructed to cut setting triangles. I added the borders as per the cutting instructions and my drawing looked just like the photo on the Quiltmaker website. I sat back and said "Is that it? Really?"

You see, it just didn't do anything for me. Disappointed, since I had loved her other mysteries and considered her Double Delight one of the prettiest quilts I had made (and its' recipient did too!), I started fiddling with the blocks and making other layouts. None of them worked very well. I arranged them every way you could possible put that number of blocks. Nothing "clicked". I resigned to put them away and see what Ms. Hunter did with the quilt. Surely there would be a surprise that tied the design together.

Well, in a word, nope. When I read this post I rushed over to Quiltmaker and there it was - my original EQ arrangement. It still doesn't do a thing for me.

In my opinion the blocks don't go together well. I was, well, "delighted" to see how the Double Delight blocks meshed and carried the design across the quilt top, linking the two blocks together. I just don't think these blocks relate as well and this one isn't as successful. I'll finish it, of course, because I have put this much work into the blocks. But I have to admit I'm disappointed. Bonnie has published many pretty patterns. This for me just wasn't one.

Part of the response:

"Couldn't you have just said it's not your favorite and leave it at that? Or how about not say anything at all, at least if you are so propelled to share your negative views wait until Bonnie got to read favorable reviews first. "

And:

"Not everyone loves everything someone does, but we don't need our nose rubbed in it with a long description of why!!!! "

Four exclamation points. Mercy. And:

"What a bummer. What a negative. Why you felt the need to write this critique right off the bat is beyond me. Aside from your DD comments, the whole Christmas lights dialogue is mean spirited, and yes you have ruffled my feathers. You have a right to express how you feel, but this was mean - period."

Oops. I guess I don't have a right to express how I feel. If it doesn't agree with how you feel.

I was clear in my post that I didn't think the blocks related well and the design didn't do a lot for me - in my opinion. I also said that I loved the designer's other work and she has done a lot of pretty quilts. This didn't spell "mean spirited" to me. This is more like "one gal's viewpoint".

Maybe I'm not quilt group material. I'm not ready to "lemming up" with the flock.

Addendum: More responses have been aded at the Yahoo group and evidently, I'm a terrible person. Ha ha. In the meantime, please keep adding comments to my posts, positive or negative. I'm a big girl. I can take it.

14 comments:

mageez said...

Sorry you took such a beating from the group. I'm a lurker on it and am going to have to go read the email storm you started. i've made several quilts from her web site and even purchased her book which was a dissappointment. My quilts only use 'new' fabrics, not thread bare used shirts. (but this is the first time i've said that out loud.) So be warned - there really are 'quilt police' out there. (g)
maggie

The Calico Quilter said...

Mageez, it's not much of a storm, just a little dust-up and I'm not in the least insulted - I think it's really funny, actually. I was a bit shocked how fanatically protective that one commenter was. Kind of wondered if Ms. Hunter has a sister....

Joan said...

First, you stated your opinion eloquently and concisely. No mean spirited intention there! It's easy to see, by the reply "You should have let Bonnie read the good reviews first.." that it's a Bonnie Protection Society. However, if Bonnie is a serious designer (which she is), I would think she'd appreciate constructive criticism. She's not Michael Jackson. She doesn't need to be surrounded by "Yes Men" who are not able to ever provide constructive criticism. What designer doesn't want to know that she could have done better?! I think the group misrepresents the person that Bonnie is. Who knows? Maybe Bonnie wasn't happen with the end result either but had a deadline to meet! (Now I have to go see the pattern!)

Linda_J said...

You probably DID hit a nerve if you said anything other than "I love it!" about the design. I see nothing offensive in the comments you made but then I don't, for my own reasons, worship at the designer's feet. The majority of the group apparently does and quite vehemently.

You have me curious about what this thing must look like as I thought the same thing about those two blocks when you showed them a few months back---the blocks did not appear to "play nice" together in a side by side set. I guess designers don't always hit a home run with everyone.

The thing is you don't know what it looks like going in with a mystery quilt, do you? If it didn't trip your trigger now, you probably would have passed on it and used those lovely fabrics on something else that did.

paula, the quilter said...

Ooo...you naughty girl, you. Glad you were wearing your fire retardant underwear when you got flamed. I am not a follower of any one designer mainly because I can't seem to follow a pattern -- I keep doing that "what if I do this instead of that?". *grin* It seems that those other gals need to get a bit thicker skin

Elaine Adair said...

LOL -- OMGosh - hope you never posted your home addy! 8-))) Every once in a while a storm brews on the mail lists about one thing or another - I find it quite amusing - she storm part! Yes, some of Bonnie's followers OWN her, sorta of.

Guess who is going to drive through a blizzard (possibly) and over 3 hours to visit Bonnie in January?) Moi! 8-))))

Suzan said...

Bonnie is a generous designer and I love her wonderful free patterns. Having said that, I also do not worship at the feet of any designer. This sort of reminds me of the large group of rabid Mark Lipinski fans. You either agree with the pack or you will be flamed. Pretty silly stuff.

momtofatdogs said...

Oh geesh! Doesn't seem like everyone was acting like grownups does it? Maybe I'm on your side of the fence - maybe I'm not - but my Double Delight has spent (since the inception) all it's time in a box - because I just DON'T LIKE IT. While I am entralled by Bonnie's scrapiness - not EVERYTHING that is done on her site is original - just done different. Good thing we're not in Russia (or the former Soviet Union) you'd have likely been locked up - watch it - socialism is up ahead - we'd better run - because us NON-CONFORMISTS will be shunned. I voice my opinions too - and I am not always rec'vd well either. you know what I have to say about that???? Can you guess??? Tough poo-poo. Only not so nicely!

Sam

The Calico Cat said...

Wow... I think what you said was appropriate & rather nicely put.

I am not a mystery gal so I was never going to follow this one - or the others.

Then again, I am also not a follower of any pattern designer - I follow patterns, but I jump from designer to designer.

I almost got her book because I like the idea of not needing "X" yards of something, but I have enough books... (That is my story today - I may still buy her book for the no yardage ideas.)

The Calico Cat said...

I just went to the Quiltmaker to verify my suspicions - I am not a mystery gal, nor am I a big fan of her designs. Sorry. I'm not sure what it is - but I regularly have that feeling...

Greenmare said...

man they trampled you! I'll bring you some tea and sympathy because I think you were being honest and you certainly do have a right to your opinion. it's funny how a bunch of women can become a pack like that. I think you were right to state your point, and I think you did it very well and not mean spirited at all.

Tanya said...

Hmm. Since I haven't seen the quilt I guess I don't know what my opinion would be. I guess we have the right to like or not like something. And isn't the group there for sharing and expressing? There is something to say for "if you can't say anything nice then don't say it." but tit for tat. Nobody seems to remember that saying when they are attacking you!

Linda said...

Bonnie is a generous designer, I love her free patterns. I have followed Bonnie Hunter for years and love her website. I have done 3 of her mysteries and also have her book. I have made several of her free patterns and use her scrap user system...With that said, I don't like everything she does. I don't like everything any other designer does either. With the groups we follow or are members of, I think we have the right to voice our opinion, good or bad and we should not be labeled as mean spirited. I read your comments and do not think they were mean spirited. I think they were your opinion...We all have different tastes and that's what makes the world go round... I hope you do make a quilt out of the blocks you already have done as you have put alot of work into them. If you don't like the finished product, you can always give it up for one of your charities. Hugs, Linda

P.S. Thanks for the comments on my tatting. I always appreciate your feedback.

Reenie said...

Oh....it was YOU that caused the ruckus??? lol Well, this certainly wasn't my favorite designs of hers, but I am liking how mine came out. I am about ready to leave the list. I get so tired of folks getting all worked up. Keep your chin up and know that a lot of folks agreed with you!