The memberships for Canberra Quilters run on a calendar year, so now is the time to renew. And I just cannot decide whether to renew my membership for 2014 or not. I don't get much out of it ... but then I don't put much in either.
I first joined in 2008 or 2009 and then I could only get to the monthly evening meeting - which isn't a heap of fun. No sewing, just rows of seats in a hall, with guild business, show and tell, and sometimes a speaker. It was often interesting but very hard to get to meet anyone or have any kind of conversation. There is a supper afterwards but I am quite shy with people I don't know (and I usually go to bed at 9.30! I can stay awake past then if I have to but it tends to be a bit foggy).
When my youngest started school in 2010 I had a weekday free and went to the Wednesday morning meetings. This was much better - sitting at tables and sewing and chatting. The trouble was I could only make about half of the meetings (work, travel, sick kids) and most of the women there have known each other for many years. Everyone was friendly and polite but I never felt particularly at ease. It wasn't any better in 2011 when I was sick, and 2012 I basically gave up.
In 2013 I started going to the Modern Quilt sub group, which is a smaller group and more closely aligned to the kind of quilts that I do. I enjoyed that for a couple of times but then there was all that fuss about the exhibition quilt ... a few don't talk to me any more.
There are some things that I have really enjoyed - I like being part of the exhibition and helping with the pinning and the white gloves. I loved doing the Quilts For Others at the exhibition. I would be keen to do more of it but unfortunately they have their regular working bees on Tuesdays when I work, and Saturdays when the kids play sport.
And underpinning all of this is the feeling that no-one really quilts like I do - not the actual quilts themselves which are common enough - but the attitude. I put quantity before quality and randomness before precision. Near enough is always good enough. I can't see the point of following patterns. I don't understand why anyone would ever want to reproduce someone else's quilt, or why you would get your quilts professionally quilted. It seems to defeat the purpose. Basically I don't care about the end result, which makes for some odd conversations with people who do.
So, what to do? Keep going, enjoy the bits I enjoy and not worry that the rest of it is all vaguely disappointing? Or just give it a rest and come back when I don't have two small children and a job and I can get to know people and enjoy it more?