Unravelled: Oh, Mom!
megan • July 18, 2011 • 84 Comments

Modern Quilting: A Discussion With My Mom

by Megan Dougherty


Me: Hey, Mom! Guess what?

My mom: (Gasp!) You’re pregnant!

Me: What? No! Why is that always the first thing out of your mouth when I say, “Guess what?”

My mom: Because you’re 34 and I have no grandchildren. It’s probably all that exercising you do. I don’t think thrust squats and glute lunges are very good for your baby-making parts.

Me: Let’s try again… Guess what I did yesterday?

My mom: Consulted a specialist about your barren uterus?

Me: I’m ignoring you. I joined a guild!

My mom: A guild? You mean a quilt guild? Oh, I hope you didn’t join the Bridgeport Bees, because that Donna Malone once called me a “chattering busybody” and then I had to call her a “hook-nosed old crone” and then she said a lot of other things that I can’t possibly say in front of you, and now I can’t come any closer to her than 50 feet and the meeting room’s not that big.

Me: No, Mom. It’s a new guild called the Modern Quilt Guild.

My mom: “Modern?” What on earth does that mean?

Me: Well, it’s about quilting that has a more contemporary aesthetic and…

My mom: Like all that Ikea furniture you bought?

Me: Well, no, not exactly. It’s for people who are interested in quilting that breaks the rules…

My mom: Oh, well, that’s just another way of saying, “I couldn’t sew a straight line if you paid me, so I’m going to pretend I did it on purpose.” You don’t need a guild for that, honey. In fact, that’s probably something you should do in the privacy of your own home.

Me: No, Mom. See, it’s more that we don’t want to be confined by tradition and…

My mom: None of these women have children, do they?

Me: MOM!

My mom: They’re probably a bunch of lesbians and Democrats, honey. You don’t want to be involved with people like that. They eat groats and think showers give you cancer.

Me: No, look, most of the women I met yesterday are moms and there were even a couple guys…

My mom: Were they the nice kind of quilting boys or the scary kind?

Me: What are you even talking about?

My mom: You should join the Seam Queens instead, dear. We have such nice members and we have so much fun! Just last week we had a scavenger hunt—canes against wheelchairs. And Irene’s always leaving her dentures somewhere and scaring the Depends right off of us…

Me: Well, that’s the thing, Mom. I don’t think I’d really fit in there and I want to meet other quilters who are, you know, more like me.

My mom: Childless lesbian Democrats who can’t sew?

Me: (Sighs.) Yes. Exactly.

My mom: Does Roger know about this?

Me: Yes. He fully supports my lifestyle choice.

My mom: He’ll change his mind if you have scary quilting boys there.

Me: MOM. Look, I can’t explain to you what modern quilting is. But remember when you were in high school and the music you listened to started changing? And your parents didn’t understand it, because it wasn’t what they were used to, but you knew it wasn’t just different, it was yours? It was like it was meant for you. It fit you and your life and they way the world had changed since your parents were teenagers. And now you still love to rock out to Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Haley, but you also love the crooners your parents listened to. You had your own thing, but it was based on what came before, and you embrace them both. It’s like that.

My mom: But you know what I hate? Rap music. Just sounds like a bunch of yelling to me. And June Davies says it was rap music that turned her grandson into a Goth-punk-metalhead and I don’t doubt it.

Me: Mom? Why don’t we make a couple martinis and go watch Murder, She Wrote?

My mom: Now you’re talking my language!


Megan Dougherty is one of the editors of Generation Q Magazine and the quilter behind the always honest, sometimes profane blog, The Bitchy Stitcher. She has been writing quilting humor in print and online for over three years, and has been generally irreverent and irrepressible for even longer than that.


  • Gene Black • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #1

    So what exactly does Mom mean by “scary quilting boys” ? I need to know what category I fall into. Moms can be so funny sometimes. Oh, hey, you are a Mom too, aren’t you?

    • megan • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Gene, I’m pretty sure you’re one of the nice ones, but I have no idea what it means either!

  • marietta • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #2

    As usual, you had me laughing out loud!! Loved it! Congrats to ya’ll on GenQ and wishing ya’ll luck and many Blessings.

  • Lois Grebowski • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #3

    They’re probably a bunch of lesbians and Democrats, honey. You don’t want to be involved with people like that. They eat groats and think showers give you cancer.

    Bwahahahahahahahaahha! I almost peed my pants on this one!

  • mathea • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #4

    Mums! You gotta love them! 😀 Mine’s for ever going: “Very nice quilt dear, but where are you going to keep it – haven’t you got enough?” My retort: “Yeah, I’m sure that’s what old Mrs. Picasso said to her boy too- Another painting Pablo? Where are you going to hang this one, you’ve made so many already…” LOL

  • Nancy • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #5

    oh Mom… You just don’t understand!!!…. {rolls eyes}

  • Karen • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #6

    Love it! I want to to know more about these “scary quilting boys” as well.

  • Kelly • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #7

    LMAO! Thanks for starting my Monday off with a laugh!

  • Rebecca Merry • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #8

    Sooo true! I’m totally putting my mom’s head on this conversation!

  • Jill Tafoya • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #9

    I love it…

  • Lori • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #10

    Aren’t mom’s great!?

  • Jodi • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #11

    Megan, you are go funny! Love you! My mom always says ” Oh, those fabrics are nice but you aren’t putting them together in a quilt are you????”. She says I get my “crazy” sense of color from my great grandma Hazel and I love it. She does admit she usually likes the quilts once they are together but is never sure when she sees my fabric choices.

  • Jill @ ThatMoxieGirl Designs • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #12

    Sigh….. mothers. I’ve stopped trying to explain ‘weird’ things to her.

  • Sandy Navas • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #13

    Once again Megan shows us just why we love her so much. Unfortunately, the funniest part was being scared out of Depends.

    • megan • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Sandy, you always go right for the good parts, don’t you!

  • Jean • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #14

    Moms…gotta love em!

  • Marcsha • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #15

    Thank you for starting my day out with a laugh.

  • melissa • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #16

    I need a guild like that around here. So far it’s all walkers and canes and I could use a fun lively group 🙂 Thanks for the laugh.

  • Kathy • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #17

    Great way to start my week! Love your humor, Bitchy Stitcher!

  • Dana • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #18

    Megan, you’ve got me dreaming of the scary quilting boys. I picture black leather with patchwork, scissors in pocket and secret meetings in back alleys for discontinued fabric. Please let me know when you find one.

    • megan • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      They’ll steal your heart…while they trash your stash!

    • Kit Lang • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Now, even I want to meet a “scary quilting boy”! 🙂

    • Debi • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      I agree with Dana…bring on the scary quilting boys!!!

  • Lisa Sipes • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #19

    This is why we love her! Megan, not our moms. =]

  • DianeY • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #20

    Love it! Always love politically incorrect humor! So how long have you had this thing about childless lesbian democrats who can’t sew?

  • Jette • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #21

    A big 🙂 from Copenhagen, I want more.

  • Kristy • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #22

    Love the conversation, and I want a scary quilting boy to call my own. Where can I get one?? HAHAHA

  • LizA. • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #23

    LOL! Tell Dave “great idea”. I LOVE reading your humor, wicked good stuff, as usual.

  • Erika Sews • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #24

    Ha! Love it! I just joined the Chicago chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild as a brand new quilter, and I am loving it!

  • Crystal • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #25

    This is way too funny! I can imagine the phone call with my mother in law who was very outspoken. My Mom would have just said just be careful and don’t talk to strange people! (Never strangers just strange people)

  • Alathia • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #26

    I can stop laughing! I’m so glad I didn’t choke on my pizza. Note to self: do not read this blog while eating or drinking.

    • jake • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Ain’t it the truth, Alathia! I of course know better. I’ve only spit wine out once while reading Megan and that was the first time I saw one of her articles. Keep enjoying!

  • Marsha • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #27

    Love it

  • KimsCraftyApple • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #28

    LOVE IT! lol!

  • Krista - Poppyprint • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #29

    OMG that is hysterical. And frighteningly, a totally believable phone call. Make a baby quilt, that should keep mom happy for a little while (a wonky, log cabin variation in two colours with a splash of tangerine thrown in should do the trick).

  • Tsigeyusv • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #30

    My mom just doesn’t get it, either. I have given up trying to explain some things, as it’s just not worth it. Thankfully, I can get her to drink a cosmo and all is good with the world!

  • Sarah Craig • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #31

    I love it, Megan!! I laughed out loud and finally just started reading it to my husband, who also got a huge kick out of it. (I’m pretty sure that if he went for quilting, he’d be a scary quilting guy – you know, that bad boy type that we like to fall for!!) But I couldn’t find the link anywhere….. something is missing!!

    • megan • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Sarah, I was SPECIFICALLY told such things were not allowed here! That’s what the blog is for 😉

  • Bonnie B • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #32

    Scary, this mom you write about. I’m in that age range and don’t know anyone quite like that, or, am I kidding myself? Hmmmm. My daughters might say otherwise. As ancient as I am, I’m liking the new bright contemporary designs… and now beginning to even like the soft pastel-y reproduction fabrics. Still can’t hack the 60s, 70s stuff. Which I see cropping up in the new designs… art deco, disco ball type stuff. Interesting to see the pendulum swing back and forth.

  • Vicky • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #33

    Love it, brillant writing and it reflects mums the world over 🙂

  • Dianne • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #34

    This is too funny Megan!!! PYPF!!

  • Lauren • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #35

    I laughed so hard when I read this. I think I have had the exact conversation with not only my mother, but several ladies at my local quilt shop. I was recently asked how I got “mixed up with” the modern guild. Glad I am not the only one!

  • mjb • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #36


  • NanciT • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #37

    Love your work – always leaves me anxious for your next !!!

  • Susan • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #38

    So funny! I’m going to look for a scary quilting guy at the Long Beach Quilt Festival next week. 🙂

  • Beth • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #39

    Obviously I’m not the target audience because I didn’t find this article funny in any way. Why can’t we just agree to disagree? Why can’t we enjoy our point of view without having to demean those who work differently? I love the clean look of many so called modern quilts, but I hate to break it to you guys, I was making those 40 years ago. I’m thrilled with anything that will get the next generation sewing, but come on guys, get over yourselves.

    • megan • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      I’m sorry you didn’t care for it, though I must say it was not meant to demean those who work differently. It was meant to point out how hard it can be for those who identify with the modern movement to explain what it is, and part of that difficulty is that much of what seems to define it is not that different from things that have been done before. The mom is just meant to be a funny character. The daughter is the one who has trouble defining “modern” until she somes up with a way to say that for her, modern is something that springs from the past, that builds on it, while still acknowledging and respecting it. And I think that’s a pretty respectful and inclusive way to look at it. What we want to do here at GenQ is keep the conversation about “what is modern” open and flowing, while still, hopefully, laughing at ourselves while we do it.

      • Beth • 10 years ago
        COMMENT #

        I think I understand, portraying the mother as a closed minded bigot was an endearment. We’re not all white knuckled blue haired hand slappers, you know. I just chafe against anything that pits one group against another. It feels a little like the means girls of middle school. I think we can find more in common if we talk to one another with honest respect.

        • Leigh • 10 years ago
          COMMENT #

          I’m with Beth and Bonnie B as well. It seemed pretty mean spirited and derogatory. I’m not sure how portraying anyone older than 25 as a depends-wearing geriatric incompetent keeps “the conversation about “what is modern” open and flowing”.

          I don’t know anyone in my various sewing groups that is like what you describe. There’s people younger than me who like pastels and prints in their quilts and ladies older than me who go in for a really modern aesthetic in both their clothing and their art and who have a huge amount of talent. Perhaps an actual discussion of “modern” and how that affects fiber art and the quilting world might be more on topic?

          Or just go with the boys and drinking discussion. You got some good interest with that part.

          • Sarah Craig • 10 years ago
            COMMENT #

            Beth, Bonnie B and Leigh, please remember this is a humor column – you know, humor? The stuff that makes you laugh? Megan doesn’t have a mean bone in her body (ok, well, maybe, but she doesn’t use it to write mean stuff!) and she’s funny – so take a deep breath, don’t take yourselves so seriously, and crack a smile once in a while!!! Everything doesn’t have to be end-of-the-world serious!!!

  • Tammy Brassard • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #40

    Another great ariticle, Megan! My Mother couldn’t sew a stitch, she always wanted the quilt I was working on at any given time. I’ve never wanted to be part of a guild and they say that’s one of the warning signs that you have a problem-yes, I quilt alone.

  • Lori • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #41

    Love it! Wish I had a quild like that close by. Love your writing – always leaves me laughing!!

  • joeypack • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #42

    OMG Megan! lol I immediately thought of myself when you spoke about the nice guy quilters… lol too funny.. you almost made me pee when you spoke about the lesbian democrat quilters lol

  • Lisa Fulmer • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #43

    give me your childless lesbian democrats or give me death! 😀

  • Jane • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #44

    Hey, what’s wrong with Murder She Wrote?

    • jake • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Not a darned thing, Jane! In fact, it was that show which united our mother-daughter duo at the end of this poignant debate. Just proves we can all find common ground, even our fictional family members here.

  • Scott • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #45

    we still love Murder She Wrote at our house…….although we often wonder why everywhere Mrs. Fletcher goes…..there’s a dead body….hmmmm….does make one wonder, doesn’t it??

  • Christen • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #46

    This is really great! My mom is also in a quilt guild – but she happens to be one of the youngest members! Our tastes could not be more different in fabric and pattern choices. My city just started a modern quilt guild and I can’t wait to get involved with others who like something different 🙂

  • Scarlett Burroughs • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #47

    I’ve not laughed this hard in a long time. Loved it Megan. I linked to your column here, http://quilting.craftgossip.com/?p=10120.
    Happy, thank you, more please!

    Scarlett Burroughs
    Quilting Editor, Craft Gossip

    • megan • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Thank you so much, Scarlett! There’s definitely more in the works!

  • Bambi Pro • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #48

    This is hilarious. Haven’t laughed this hard in a while. Thank you for sharing.

  • Marla • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #49

    I think the generation gap is a little more than 1/4 inch! Too funny.

  • Jen Eskidge • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #50


  • Brandy • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #51

    Funny as always! Your blog, and now your column, are on my must-read list. Keep up your great sense of humor, and don’t worry about those who take things too seriously. A person not willing to be a little flexible really shouldn’t read a humor column! Just imagine how scandalized they would be if they clocked some of those fun links on your blog!

  • Lisa K • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #52

    Good one, Megan. Good one.

  • Nan • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #53

    Oh, I love the conversation. It is something my MIL would say.

  • Brenda S • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #54

    Hilarious! Glad you’ve found another forum for me to enjoy!

  • Barb L • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #55

    I think we need to work on a 2012 “Scary Quilt Boy” calendar?
    (great article!)

  • jen b-k • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #56

    LOVE it! I’m not a modern quilter, but I’m one of those childless sorts who votes democrat and probably would eat groats too!

  • kelley • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #57

    Maybe I got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning but I found this rather offensive! Though ther are funny points it perpetuates the very stereotype that makes it so hard for modern quilters to feel accepted. I really hope this conversation was made up and not real. 🙁

    • jake • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Hi Kelly: It’s totally fictional and was meant to exaggerate those stereotypes that sometimes drive us nuts, but also force us to crystallize the way we want to see our quilt worlds. No offense was meant. If you’ll note there was common ground met at the end of this conversation. 🙂

  • Lisa • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #58

    I thought I had commented here before, but can’t seem to find it… Oh, well…

    LOVED this! So true! Many mothers and daughters have difficulty relating to each other over things like this. This is a fun illustration of that common mis-match of interests and tastes.

    I had the pleasure of spending a week with my mom last week, and we went shopping together. The clothes my mom loved were the ones I hated, and vice versa. She said, “I can buy clothes for your sister, but not for you.” She and her mom and sisters used to quilt back during the Depression and WWII, but their quilts did not have the same “flavor” that my more modern ones do.

    Mind you, I will treasure these beautiful, vintage, handmade quilts when they are handed down to me some day, but I love the ease of machine quilting and the bright, modern fabrics in my projects.

    And for the record, whenever I call home, and my dad picks up the phone, and I say, “Guess what?”, *he’s* the one who asks if I’m pregnant! (I’m 51, so the answer to that had better be “No!”) 🙂

  • mojo • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #59

    Hahaha! I have conversations like that, only I’m the mom in them! I wish I owned the patent on eye-rolling. My kids would make me rich.

    • jake • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Hey Mojo! Are you the same Mojo who had that wonderful doll in our QH challenge last year? (Jake)

  • Kit Lang • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #60

    As both a lesbian and a democrat, I want you tknow that I don’t eat groats, and I shower extremely frequently. (I’m a bit OCD about it, actually.) 😉 And to throw another spanner in the works, I also have four children! Lesbian Democrats for the win! *heh*

    I’m also a contemporary quilter who recognized a long time ago that we all build on each other and nothing’s actually
    “new” (I’ll have to tell you how “invented” pinwheels sometime) and my mother (if you paint her in broad strokes) sounds suspiciously like this fictional one. Have you met? 😉

  • Kit Lang • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #61

    P.S. I now have a strange and rather prurient interest in “scary quilter boys”.

    How to explain THAT one to my beloved spouse?

  • Rebecca Merry • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #62

    LOVE the article! A humor article that pokes fun at all of us reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously. And makes me laugh hysterically! Thanks!

  • rose • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #63

    this was great fun to read.. and recognize the characters! thank you Megan for the laughs… and the music analogy was perfection

  • Robyn Brown • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #64

    I am not a modern quilter at all and do prefer the more traditional patterns. However, I TOTALLY get that people like that and that we need all kinds to make the world go round. That said. I still loved this. It was soooo funny. Even though I’m not a modern quilter I’ll be back for more. I hope you childless lesbian democrats don’t mind if I hang out here with you. You’re actually quite fun.

    • jake • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      Robyn, we don’t care what kind of quilts you make! You are always welcome to hang. We’re as much about having fun as anything. Welcome to the party!

  • Lori • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #65

    Howlly Cows! LMAO at your post. Ironically, I was just invited to join a quilt guild a few days ago and was instantly horrified with exactly the images of the kinds of quilters you *spoof* here. For a few minutes I actually examined myself and my newbie quilting to see if something was wrong with me or my aesthetic. (There isn’t.) While I am a Democrat and childfree, I am not a lesbian. (Once explained to a woman, who inquired on my preferences, that I was a dick chick not a lick chick. She replied that was a shame, as she thought I would make a good lesbian. I was complimented.) As far as those who have the time to complain about your post, I say “Get over yourself and get a life.” Don’t like it, move on. And arguing over what constitutes ‘Modern’? Sheesh! Keep up the posts. Enjoyed it greatly. P.S. What the hell is a groat?

    • Lori • 10 years ago
      COMMENT #

      I did forget to mention that when I called my mother to tell her I had gotten married, her reply was “Why? Are you pregnant?” Perhaps that explains one of many reasons she wasn’t there.

  • Emi • 10 years ago
    COMMENT #66

    We must be related. Maybe your mother and my mother are sisters. My mother’s secret nickname is “The Diva.” Thanks for the great laugh!

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