#NGAQB – With All Seriousness

This is Molli B. Sparkles being serious for one hot minute.
So many incredible things have happened since the announcement of the No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee (#NGAQB). First off, I paper pieced for the first time. That alone is a goal I have wanted to achieve for months, so I thank Sandy Greenberg for that one. 
Secondly, I received the following comment from Amanda Wright on the original post:

Way to go boys! My son (almost 11) is interested in learning to quilt and has sewn just a few things with me. I was telling him there were a lot of men who quilt too. I told him about this and he’s wanting to follow along and make himself a quilt with you all.

It immediately touched my heart. To be honest, I had a tearful moment because I remembered being that age and sewing with Grandma Sparkles. I shared that comment with the other guys in the #NGAQB, and we all agreed it was too special not to acknowledge. I reached out to Amanda for some more details about her son, and her address, and a bunch of us from around the globe are packaging up fabric and notions and sending him some quilting love. (You should start seeing those soon, Amanda, but Australia is a long way away!)
I have also heard anecdotes from other #NGAQB members about other boys that have seen our story and are following along with us, or have since requested trips to fabric stores. I won’t recount the personal details of those stories here, as they are not mine to tell, but I’m sure you will see them pop up on the blogs of other members.
I tell you all this, not because I need a pat on the back, but because what we are doing is coming from a positive and sincere place. The name No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee, is not one of misogyny, sexism, exclusivity, or conceit. It is derivative of childhood forts, and hand drawn signs, demanding that those smelly girls stay out. It purposefully does not direct its fanciful ire at women, as I certainly see how that could have had sexist undertones. 
I take full credit for the name. So if anyone has a problem, please direct your concerns towards me, not at my bee mates. At this stage, I will dutifully listen, but my opinion on how the name reflects on me, my guy friends, or any gender, is unlikely to change. I will respect your opinion, and since it is just that, an opinion, we are each entitled to one. No convincing in either direction is required.
If after all this, an eleven year old boy in Kentucky finds joy, hope, solace, and normalcy in a group of adult guys quilting their hearts out, then this small misinterpretation by some is entirely worth it.
Now, let’s sew on.

54 Responses

  1. Liz says:

    Perfectly said. I would be delighted if the wee man wants to sew or craft or anything else when he gets big enough. Boys can do anything (just like girls!)

  2. I love it when my 4yo son wants to play fabric with me, or visit my fabric store with me, or even just count the numbers on my cutting mat! There is not nearly enough of quilting men in this world, and I hope that this bee will help "raise your profile" for the world to see that it is cool for males to sew and quilt too! Sew on, men-folk!!

  3. Amanda says:

    This has made my heart do a massive awwwwwwww.
    Quilty guys need their own space too and if it shows kids out there that men can quilt amazing things, that can't be a bad thing.

  4. Fran says:

    I do hope you haven't had any trouble from people over the name and what you are doing? It seems like a really fun and positive thing to do.

  5. Most of the quilting fraternity would be fully supporting all that you do. It's ok to let the boys know they can sew too. I am so hoping that we get lots more men quilting – hope I get to see the day when we have as many guys as there are women in our quilt groups. Hallelujah! xx

  6. JB says:

    Bravo! Is he going to make blocks with you guys? Also, I have urge to build a sofa fort now, not sure work would approve though!

  7. Paula says:

    How wonderful that your group is now inspiring what will hopefully be the start of a new generation of quilters. I think that every child who expresses an interest in sewing or quilting should be encouraged to do so be they a boy or a girl. I have two sons and the eldest of whom is now five. He has been sewing/quilting for the past year because he really wanted to sew with me. He started with my old Singer sewing machine because although it had a motor it could also be hand cranked and that was a good way for him to start. Late last year he decided he needed to make a quilt for another of his teddies but as I didn't have space to bring out the old Singer at the time I decided to just let him at it with my Brother. We put the foot pedal on one of his little chairs, put the machine at it slowest setting, and off he went. I will encourage this pastime now and will continue to do so as he grows if he is interested in following it because he is every bit as entitled to sew and quilt as much as I am. And if he wants to learn to cross stitch and knit and crochet with me I'll be teaching him those things too.

  8. DeborahGun says:

    my boys really enjoy sewing and creating their own things. Definitely to be encouraged 🙂

  9. Fun Police at work again?

  10. Am L says:

    I think it's great. Anyone who is ready misogyny into it needs to pull their panties out and move on!

  11. pandchintz says:

    Well said – go guys!

  12. Megan says:

    I can only applaud anyone who wants to do their bit to help ensure people have the choice to be who/how they want to be. I love the name of your group, it made me laugh out loud 🙂

  13. Sooli says:

    That's fantastic that you guys are inspiring the younger generation to quilt. Go guys!
    Nobody's making people read the No Girls Allowed blogposts so if they don't agree with it, pass it over and move on.

  14. charlotte says:

    Well said. You go guys.

  15. Curly boy says:

    Bless! Thanks for the encouragement everyone!

  16. Well said. How amazing is it that you guys are inspiring other guys to sew. I love it.

  17. pennydog says:

    This is awesome 😀

  18. Erica Toole says:

    I think you guys are some pretty fantastic role models. Putting that box together just proves how thoughtful and selfless you all are. I think all children should be encouraged to express their creativity, and I'm happy that you guys are such a positive outlet. It's also very empowering to see so much talent behind a craft, that by some narrow minded people, could be seen as gender specific. Love it! Keep up the great work.

  19. I love this. And I think it's awesome that you guys are sending Amanda's son some quilty swag!

  20. I am looking forward to following your NGAQB, so go for it! I love knowing about all quilters and their creativity and craft!

  21. Why are my eyes watering? Sew Sweet.

  22. wobblybobbin says:

    I love it!! I didn't want to join with you cootie ridden boys anyway 😉 maybe someone will start up a "NGAQB jr." For all these quilty boys **hint hint**

  23. Lee says:

    You go, boys! : )

  24. Esther F. says:

    Ohhh, the fun you will have!!!
    Esther
    esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo com
    ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

  25. Sarah says:

    Oh dear, some people seem to set out to be offended! I'm not sure how anyone who has read blog posts about NGAQB or seen it on Instagram could think it was misogyny – but that is probably the thing, they haven't read it, just seen the name.

    As the mother of a 6yr old son and a 4yr old daughter I think what you are doing is great! Everyone assumes I'll teach my daughter to sew but hardly anyone seems to think I should teach my son, even though he is really interested. I look at sewing as a life skill, like cooking, basic household maintenance etc and I'll make sure both my kids can do all those things regardless of gender.

    Looking forward to seeing what you guys create

  26. Books_Bound says:

    This is wonderful! Props to Amanda and you guys for helping a young male quilter!

    You might be interested in taking a quick look at this exhibit. It's currently showing at the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, Nebraska (it's a part of the University of Nebraska) and features the work of Ernest Haight, an engineer who quilted from 1934-1986. I saw the exhibit this summer, and his quilts were just gorgeous, geometric masterpieces. A number of them can be viewed here: http://www.quiltstudy.org/exhibitions/online_exhibitions/eh/eh_intro.html ("Beginnings" "Innovations" and "Legacy" tabs all have different featured quilts.) He was intrigued by the mathematical part of quilting, which certainly isn't appealing to me, but hey, to each her or HIS own!

  27. BethM says:

    Love what you're doing!

  28. Katy Cameron says:

    Oh good grief some people have far too much time on their hands to get offended at every little thing!

    Anyway, this is a lovely idea, and exclusively quilt on ;o)

  29. Jenny says:

    Agreed. Says the mother of three boys.

  30. Gina says:

    Love the name. It's fun. Keep on sewing Boys.

  31. Dawn says:

    THE legend leading the way …… again. Go You!!

  32. Yolanda says:

    I'm excited to see what you guys come up with! Keep up the good work!

  33. I work in a Patchwork shop a few days a week. We opened almost 3 years ago and today was an awesome day! We have had lots of supportive husbands come in over the years and plenty of toe tappers who constantly give there wives or partners 'That Look'. Today though I had a man come in and not just a man, but a 'Mans man!!'. A big burley bloke who was quietly proud about being a quilter. He came in with his heavily pregnant wife and and we chatted for over an hour about the quilt he was making for his son! I nearly cried I was so happy!!! Hugs Paula xxx

  34. Erica says:

    Word. Rock on, Molli & Co.

  35. I have loved this since the first IG picture I saw of Paul Hallinger's NGAQB quilt pieces on his design wall. My only thought was, "That's so awesome, I hope they at least share the pictures!!" You've all done even better… writing posts and sharing it with the quilting world. It's amazing to see a group of people bond in such a way, and give encouragement to a younger generation that might not be encouraged to learn this craft. Bravo, men! Well done!

  36. Rebecca Bird says:

    Rock on Sparkly Boy you are truly lovely…..but I won't tell anyone in case it softens your edge 😉

  37. Well said. I think what the guys of NGAQB are doing is awesome. I am glad that you are posting and showing pictures as you go along! Thank you!

  38. Paul Burega says:

    I need to dig out the photos I have with my cub scout group. We guys made 2 quilts for veterans that we presented to the local veterans group. We treated quilting as an art form, like a collage. Men have always been "tailors", and the Kings and Lords only had males making their clothes. We need to remove the many stereotypes that people have and let everyone express their inner self without fear that someone will attack them.

  39. Hannlib says:

    I can't quite actually believe this even needed saying. Some people must lack any sense of humour. Sew on!

  40. Mike Pearson says:

    Thanks for the inspiration 🙂 It does help with making me feel "normal" and I'm a grown man who quilts 🙂

  41. Shannon says:

    I think it is beyond awesome that you guys are doing this! BRAVO!

  42. Reb Thack says:

    So happy you are organizing this! My 6 year old son is fortunate to know a man who quilts, but he's a lucky one. Keep spreading the creativity, guys! You rock! Hopefully when my little is 11 he'll be begging me to take him to our LQS. (Oh, how I hope!)

  43. Emma says:

    My son had been wanting to make a quilt 'like mummy' for ages, and when he turned 5 we started his first. At 8, he's now making his sixth quilt. He loves fabric shopping and on one occasion came up with a quilt to make on the spot in order to convince me to buy specific fabrics (as if I needed reason!). In contrast, my 6yo daughter was keen to start at the same age, but is yet to finish her first. I simply provide the tools, supplies, help and encouragement whenever either is motivated.

  44. CitricSugar says:

    Thank you so much, gents, for coming out of the woodwork! I, myself, have oft wondered where all the quilt dudes are – and though I've found a few in my travels into quilt shops, personal circles, and online meanderings, it was always something that I missed…. I appreciate the different perspectives and aesthetics, and the testosterone – sparkly or non! 🙂 I wish you much success with your celebration of the man-quilter and look forward to seeing what you all come up with. Yay for boys!! 🙂

  45. Sfredette says:

    There are women only networking groups in engineering (i've been invited to some) – why not men only sewing groups? It looks like you guys are gonna have fun, and that's what quilting's all about, right? 😀

  46. Farm Quilter says:

    My bee group in Florida (I live in Washington state and only get to visit occasionally) is all women, or was, until the grandson of one of the ladies decided at the age of 9 that it was time for him to make his first quilt. He did such a great job that he helped us make 9 quilts for the guys who were deployed in Afghanistan with my daughter. It was a joy to put his name on the labels of all the quilts!! Then he had to go back home to Perth, Australia. Hope he is still sewing!! On another topic, I took my first paper piecing class today, learning to make a New York Beauty! I haven't finished the first arc yet – 19 pieces – but I'm loving it! I am now following you so I can't wait to see your paper piecing project!!

  47. kaesey says:

    I went to a women's college. I see no difference here, except that you're having a more fun.

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