I Just Can’t…

I’ve been blogging since 2009. I think June of 2009. WOW. Almost 15 years. I never imagined doing this- let alone doing it for 15 years. For the most part…I love it. I have met so many wonderful people along the way. I’ve made great connections and we’ve done some pretty amazing things together. I truly never imagined getting the group of quilters together and tackling all of the charity quilts along the way. When I think about it, I am mind-blown.

The blog has progressed through time…I’ve progressed through time. My kids have grown. I’ve changed jobs. All of this has changed my availability and actions.

I went from having and flexible computer job in the beginning to full-time in-home childcare and now I work outside the home at the vet clinic. I’ve gone from having kids still living at home to an empty nester to a widow and grandma.

I am up each day I work (4 days a week) at 5:30 am. I leave for work at 6:15 am. I’m not home again until 5:30 pm. Once I’m home I’m with the dogs, making supper, doing general house stuff, writing two blog posts, and finally cross-stitching for a bit before bed. On days I don’t work, I’m hustling doing stuff errands, the laundry, recycling, buying groceries, writing more blog posts, and the like. I try to squeeze in some family time too. I try really hard to get that all done as quickly as I can so I can have some me time. But even my me time has to stop and I have to take pictures so I have something to blog about once it’s time for me to do that.

I love it all… I want to do it. But…there is something I just can’t do anymore. I can’t answer emails like this one. Before you read it, please know I am sure the writer has no clue how much time and effort would go into answering it. I’m sure doesn’t realize it. I’m sure she doesn’t know that I too struggle with math. I’m sure she doesn’t know the circumstances of how the quilt came about. I’m sure she doesn’t realize I’ve made many quilts since I was part of making this quilt.

Here’s the email…

Hi Jo,
I am a quilter who works with patchwork a lot and I am presently using up a large collection of Christmas scraps. I also have saved pages and pictures of quilts over the years of quilts I might like to make someday.  Your Square Dance quilt in quiltmaker magazine #156 fits in with my 2 1/2 inch collection of holiday scraps and I have started putting it together but without all the construction info., i am missing that assembly page.  Could you help me out a bit? I could figure a way to add those background white pieces but you probably had a better system than I would arrive at. Because my squares are larger than the ones you used, i am making 5 pieced squares (?) With the white and adding borders.

I have not found this pattern anywhere so you are my last hope, would you be kind enough to tell me the way you put the pieces together when you had the multi-colored squares assembled? Any help would be appreciated

The quilt she is referring to is this quilt…To be quite frank, I didn’t even know what quilt it was until I did a search on the blog. Back when Kelli and I were designing and publishing quilts together, we had a working name of a quilt. The publishing company came up with the final publication name. I think we originally called this one The Confetti Quilt. We never saw the name and never knew the name until we saw it in the magazine just as any reader might learn it. Thus, long term, Kelli and I don’t recognize the name Square Dance as our quilt…we would recognize the name The Confetti Quilt.

Another issue I would often draft something, hand it over to her and she would do all of the math to figure out how to make it. I didn’t do the math. I did the design, occasionally some of the sewing, the longarming, and binding. I also handled all of the communication with the publishers. Kelli did the math, a chunk of the sewing, and the pattern writing.

This quilt was published in 2014. That means we likely made it in 2013 as that is the turnaround time for magazines. Between now and then, I have made over 100 quilts. I think I can easily say I’ve made close if not over 200 quilts since then. I don’t remember a thing.

Another thing…we didn’t write the pattern. Quiltmaker did. We only sold the design and photography rights. We had nothing to do with how the pattern was written. They may have constructed it completely differently than we did. For example, every half-square triangle Kelli and I make is with an Easy Angle ruler. If you read a pattern from a magazine of a quilt that Kelli and I designed, they never write the directions using an Easy Angle Ruler. They always wrote directions however they wanted.

The biggest problem of all…the person doesn’t even want to make it the way we made it. She has different plans for measurements.

I have zero time in my life to

a) look up the quilt to see what quilt she is referring to
b) find the quilt in my stacks if I even still own the quilt then reacquaint myself with the quilt
c) dig around to see if I have a copy of the quilt magazine
d) take time to read and understand the magazine directions
e) take the magazine directions and compare them to the ways she wants the quilt to be adjusted
f) do all the math for her
g) sit down and write it all down in an email to her and try to explain it in words without any pictures how to do it
h) deal with more emails back and forth to answer questions

Nope. I can’t do that.

In all seriousness…that would take me an entire afternoon or longer…and that doesn’t include the back-and-forth email questions that are likely to continue.

As I said, I am sure this lady had zero idea how much work she was asking me to do. I’m sure if she knew, she wouldn’t have asked.

So…If anyone wants to make a quilt that Kelli and I designed, I can’t answer questions like these.

If you want to adjust a quilt… then you adjust it. If you want to change a quilt…then you change it.

I don’t want to seem rude but my days are so filled already. I don’t have anything I want to give up in my day in order to redesign a quilt for someone else.

I am not mad about this…I’m not angry. I just want to be upfront so you all know what is happening behind the scenes here on the blog.

I would like everyone to try to solve their problems before they contact me if possible. I just can’t answer questions like these for everyone…and trust me, I get emails like these often.

If it were me and I had the problem this lady is having I would google “Quiltmaker Magazine #156” and find the back issue. I would purchase the back issue. I would make the adjustments myself…I would make a test block and if I couldn’t do that, I would pick a different quilt to make.

HERE is the link to the back issue for anyone who is interested. HERE is a link to the blog post when I talked about the quilt.

80% of the questions that people ask me can easily be googled and figured out themselves.

Please google your way to your own answer if at all possible. I just can’t answer them any more.

Again…I’m not mad and I do not at all mean to hurt this person’s feelings or shame them. I am simply at my limit and I don’t know how to eloquently say I can’t be google for people who have google-able questions. Also…there is a search bar on the blog…that is really useful for answering questions as well. Thank you so much for understanding.

42 thoughts on “I Just Can’t…”

  1. Yikes! It’s too bad that you actually had to write this. It’s obvious from your blog that you are busy almost ALL the time, with your projects, job, family, health management and dogs. Thank you for taking some time to share all that with the world.

    I wonder why there are so many that don’t take the initiative to do their own research, and assume someone will drop everything and do it for them. I see it on other blogs as well. And it’s not like these people are totally computer illerate – they can read blogs and send email, after all.

    1. Replying to Su and Jo, I apologize that I have not read all the comments, but I seriously think some people just always want someone else to do the work for them. I have been in a quilt shop and some customer cornered a clerk about a whole drawn out description and how much yardage…..Yaaa Yaaa. Figure it out yourself! Those clerks are there to sell fabric not design and figure out your pattern you drew up. Some people are just plain needy!
      You are right on Jo! Hang in there, I love the rescue dogs you posted yesterday !

      1. Good for you~ I love your blog, I love your ideas. I will ALWAYS try to figure out a pattern by the picture…if I can do it for crochet doilies and cross stitch, I can do it for quilting. I just have to stop overtightening my needle screws so my machines don’t end up in the hospital, lol. And yes, I do purchase patterns (way too many for me to complete, but I have ideas!!…and probably the fabric for them). Keep posting, but your ME time is important too…I have learned that this past year…Thank you for all you do!!!!

    2. The quilting world is not the only place this happens. I belong to an RV Quilters blog and I can’t tell you how many times someone will want others to map their trips for them. They want you to tell them about what National Parks were the best to see and what they can do in the area. I am thinking “why don’t they do their own research like some of us?” What do we do about this? There are people like this in our daily lives; we either let them down gently, maybe provide some information or tell them to Google it.

  2. Jo,
    You do plenty. Just writing a response to that email took a lot of effort. To the lady…use your fabric and find another pattern with complete instructions. There are thousands to choose from! If you have the necessary skills to change up the construction, then do so. But asking, however kindly, is not something that Jo has time to do. Hopefully you have read everything that Jo is currently dealing with in her life.

    As an aside, I have read your blog for years and am wishing you well in your health journey.

  3. Wow! I would never have the nerve to ask a quilt designer to remake a pattern to accommodate my fabric requirements. It just seems to be another example of entitlement that is so pervasive in our society today. It is too bad that you had to spelled out, so clearly, why you wouldn’t be able to do this. Stick to your guns and let people do their own math!

    1. Ana Marie Sweet

      I think every craft blogger has this issue. Your answer is kind and educational for every one of your readers. Bonnie Hunter is probably nodding and saying yep, just what I get in emails.

      Stay warm and safe in this cold weather.

  4. Sadly there are too many people in the world who expect someone else to figure it all out for them. Excellent post Jo. You share a wealth of information here, no need to do more.

  5. Carolyn Sullivan

    I can’t believe you responded as much as you have. Even me a 72 yr old quilter knows how to google to get the pattern

    1. its nice to know that im not the only one who looks at a pattern and thinks, “how can i make this work for me”. curiosity, learning from mistakes, and problem solving are what keep me returning to quilting… and no, im not the creative sort in the least !!

      1. Your learning from mistakes hint is key. We all have different machines, thread, to starch or not to starch, to wash or prewash, quality of cotton fabric, and ruler issues. As we each approach every quilt differently it is very difficult to tailor a pattern to so many diverse preferences. I hope this lady can go to a local quilt shop or her guild for answers that fit her needs.

  6. It is not just quilting or blogs where people don’t think it thru…it isn’t even now and not in the past. Years ago when I work retail we had every kind of question you could imagine…including “this says it is 50% off, how much is this?” yes, really…it is a wonder more people don’t buy part of the Brooklyn bridge! lol It is easier to ask then to do…

  7. You are kind 110% to do more than say “no”. Taking the time to explain the why, the how, to educate on searches, to educate on using your blog to it’s fullest. Kindness above and beyond.

    I had someone online ask me for the pattern for a 4patch with sashing. I really was beyond amazed this was needed by a seasoned quilter. Some people can only follow directions.

    Again, kindness above and beyond Jo.

    Cheers to a fabulous Tuesday :-)

    1. I find your comment interesting, some people can only follow patterns/instructions. I’m the opposite, I fly by the seat of my pants. I save pictures of quilts, if I can see the “block” I can usually figure out the pattern. My construction technique may be different but it gets the job done.

      1. I’m the same. If the photo is clear enough it’s pretty easy to work out a way of doing the block and therefore the quilt. I’ve even written out my own instructions. It’s all part of the creative process. I enjoy it. Be blessed, Jo.

  8. I wish I could stand up for myself in this manner. You stated the issue and were pleasant but firm in your stance. I tend to try to over-please everyone and get myself in a bind. One of my former managers told me I get backed into corners and come out swinging. At my age, I don’t know if I can change, but I’m going to try. Thanks for the great example.

  9. Oh, dang. I’m glad that wasn’t me writing that email. Lol. I do see your point tho. I’m pretty sure I have that copy of Quiltmaker if the anonymous email writer wants to contact me with their email.

  10. You were very kind and gracious to explain at length why that was such an unreasonable request. I would have just responded politely but succinctly “I’m sorry, but I no longer have access to that information.”
    For a minute there, at the start of your post, I was afraid you were explaining why you weren’t going to be blogging anymore. Whew! What a relief that’s not what it was. Thanks for all you do and for sharing your life with us readers.

  11. I’m totally agreeing with you!

    If back issues are not available from Quiltmaker, troll the big on-line auction/sale site for it. That’s where I scored a complete set of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine and completed my collection of 2 other magazines from before I subscribed. It took a while, but it can be done.

  12. Jo, you are absolutely correct. And you shouldn’t feel bad about it.

    I am on several Facebook groups and it amazes me how many people ask for things that they could easily find if they either went to the main page, the featured posts or the page owner’s website.

    It seems that there are too many people that don’t take the time to do things for themselves. In fact there is one page that has provided a free pattern each year that becomes a paid pattern at the end of the year. The designer has gotten so many nasty emails about why the pattern is still not free that this is the last year they are doing it.

    I don’t know why some people feel so entitled.

  13. I went to Dollar General today and found that little frame for the cross stitch along. I like doing the little ones that don’t take forever. I ordered it the pattern today. To say I am excited about such a small thing is an understatement.

  14. Love the link you sent. I love the quilt. Easy to get it this way. I laughed at the young girl beside you in the magazine. That must have been Kelly?

  15. Kudos to you, Jo, for kind and information-filled response. I’m not sure I would have been so kind. I typically direct people to the resources they need, but I’ve been slowly learning “no” is a complete response, especially if I am dealing with people over the phone, text or email. My new (in-person only) phrase is “let’s google that” and show them how to do their own research with keywords, etc.

  16. Whew, at first I thought you going to tell us all you were going to quit blogging. I would so miss hearing about all the wonderful things you do but I
    I would of understood. You just do you….
    You are in my thoughts as you continue dealing with your health.

  17. Hi Jo,
    Most of us are not mathematicians but some people might need to go back to math class. I appreciate the time you do spend blogging for all of our benefit, and you were right in your response. I am amazed at the simple projects I see posted on Facebook and there is always someone who asks, “Is there a pattern for this?” I think that some people just don’t think; it’s sad because the brain matter they are not using will certainly turn to mush!

  18. I agree with you, Jo. But, I do think the person asking that question had no idea what you would need to do to help her. I believe she has seen how good you are at so many things and thought her question would be easy peasy. I had no idea that the magazine people were the ones writing the patterns and not the designers – until you told us way back when. I’m amazed you are able to crank out two daily blogs and do all that you do.

  19. Jo, you handled that so diplomatically. I have never thought about all the behind the scenes that would go into a response to a question like this. I’m like Leenie and Kathy; if I can isolate a block. I can usually math it out. If not, I track down the pattern and buy it.

  20. Good for you, Jo. Good for you. People seem to be so very entitled, even older adults, it is baffling to me. I search out and if I can’t find what I need I will ask a Designer where they found it or how did they learn the technique used in a pattern. I would never think to ask a Designer to redesign their design for me! I am perfectly capable at modifications on my own thank you very much. As always you answer with great grace, Jo. Praying for your health.

  21. I’m happy to hear you will continue to blog on a regular basis. I was a bit frightened when I saw the title of this post. Please know that most of us are truly appreciative of all you share with us, be that recipes, your beautiful quilts, sewing/quilting tips, gardening, cross-stitch…the list goes on and on. We love seeing the relationship you have with your kids and grandkids (and puppies). Certainly the person asking for help did to realize the current season of your life – busy woman with little time to spare! On-the-Go Jo!

  22. Hi Jo,
    What does this woman expect you to do. Piece this quilt, provide the batting and backing and then quilt it for her so she can add her name to it and claim it as hers. Cheeky and bloody rude. Love the way you gave it to her in words of one syllable
    Go girl.
    Regards Elissa and God bless
    All the way from Australis

  23. Jo… you weren’t rude – you were honest and direct and probably said it a lot nicer than what might have first come into my head had i been faced with the same situation. LOL! Bravo, well done without any impatience or ill intentions!

    And my guess is that you are correct. The lady who emailed you probably had no idea that what she was asking was unreasonable.

    I wish i could say that this is an uncommon situation, but it isnt. I worked in a quilt shop once upon a time and also taught classes. Some people would monopolize our time with their own concerns for hours – even interrupting us repeatedly while helping other customers! Once when i taught a class i actually had a student who came to class totally unprepared (as in not knowing how to use her machine or have fabric precut) and expected that a two hour class with other students who were prepared should be held up just for her!

    That kinda stuff is frustrating for everyone, but at some point i just had to come to the conclusion that maybe some people just didnt know any better? I dont think they purposed to cause such chaos and consternation – they were just used to being in their own bubble and thinking they were the center of their own universe as well as everyone elses!

    I also worked in a business in a small town for many years… here’s one for you – can you believe that people would call and ask for a phone number cuz they couldn’t find their phone book??? No – we weren’t the phone company or even a bank! So trying to be a nice person cuz some were elderly people, i would get out MY PHONE BOOK and look it up for them! I even had one person call back and cuss me out for giving her a wrong number when it turned out she just dialed it wrong! And when she realized it no apology! Ya can’t make this stuff up! LOL!

    Anyway, i applaud you for the way you handled the email situation. But i applaud you even more for drawing the line and standing up for yourself! That’s a hard thing to do sometimes under the circumstances, believe me i know! I just wish you didn’t HAVE TO. But thats kinda the place where we are these days isn’t it???

    Once again, you have set the bar on being a WONDERFUL LADY, Jo!

    April in Iowa

  24. Not again Jo! Seems very recent that you explained this exact same request to someone else. How can people call themselves “quilters” if they don’t try to work it out? Size may be different, may even look different, but figuring it out one’s self is SO satisfying and great for self esteem.
    Thank you so much for all you show us.
    Cheers, Dot.

  25. JO, 78 yrs, & counting (79, July), haha. I don’t know
    To use a computer, don’t have 1, BUT I do know how to draft a pattern from a picture!!! These are just “whiner’s”, too self involved to do the work themselves!!! Great decision on your part. DO WHAT YOU LOVE, ENJOY, ELIMINATING ANYTHING NOT IN THOSE CATEGORIES!!!!! Have a warm & face health issues as you have so far. You are a strong woman.

  26. I am with you. I don’t understand why people can not do their own searches. For some, they have to read what you wrote. enjoy what you are able to do for us and enjoy your activities.

  27. This always reminds me of why I rarely post quilt or other craft photos on Facebook. Even if I do a good explanation and links with the photo, there will ALWAYS be several comments asking questions, of what? where? how? etc. I don’t want to be rude and not answer BUT so many times it takes a hour to explain, find the links, etc. So many times when I am reading comments on someone else’s post – invariably someone asks where to get the pattern…when the OP included it in the description! And in the time it took to write to ask one of the questions, they could have typed it into google and found the answer themselves! Boundaries!

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