NGAQB Goes Highbrow

I had a rather interesting email land in my inbox this week. If y’all don’t know, I am crazy for education, and all things collegiate. My university days in Philadelphia and Sydney were some of the best years of my life: all night study sessions, coming out, dirty poetry, the quadrangle dorms, beers in the photography darkroom, fraternity parties-lordy, and the full cap and gown experience. Gawd, I love a good gown! So when Glitterati member, Nova, asked for an update about the No Girls Allowed Quilt Bee to support her own educational experience, I felt like doing tequila body shots on Valentine’s Day all over again! (That night was one slippery nipple!) Read on for her question, and my response.
On 2 Nov 2017, at 3:47 am, Nova <e-mail address removed> wrote:
From: Nova <e-mail address removed>
Subject: question: no girls allowed quilt bee

Message Body:
Hi Molli!  

I know this is sort of a blast from the past topic-wise, I am a quilter/crafter/artist that has followed your blog and I am also a grad student. I wrote a paper about the NGAQB a while ago and my professor asked me a really great question, and though it was rhetorical, I’d like to know the answer!  Does the original NGAQB keep in touch? Do you guys still communicate with each other using your closed Facebook site? Do you still talk about quilts or maybe things NOT related to quilting?  That was more than one question (I added on to his original question). But, I am curious.  I am also presenting a paper on the topic and tangentially writing my dissertation on whether friendships/communities can be established and maintained virtually. I would like to think that they can as I have experienced this, but I’d like to know I am not alone–it’d be particularly edifying to know that it’s a “phenomenon” that men can experience. If it’s not your experience, that’s fine, but I am really curious to know what happened because I really enjoyed reading your group’s posts “back in the day.” My group was posting on flickr at the time and the discussion was more closed–I didn’t find the conversations as enjoyable or helpful (with regard to skill)–but the bees I was in were more product-functional than about community-building–and the members were pretty up-front about this.

I know you are busy, and this will likely get buried in your inbox, but if you have the time and feel like responding, I would be really appreciative to know your answers to my questions and your thoughts! You’d be helping out a fellow quilter, and desperate grad student (pick whichever one appeals to your better nature!).

Also, I really like your blog–I am not just saying that because I am hoping to get something from you.  I really appreciated your “We are Sew Worth It” series of posts. Thanks for informing and entertaining with your social media presence!

And also, thanks for considering my request for information!  Have a fantastic, or sparkly (?) day!


This e-mail was sent from a contact form on Molli Sparkles (

Hey Nova!

Wow, such great questions, and I’m honoured that you are discussing our quilt bee in such a highbrow setting! Over the years I have been in several bees, of mixed gender, and two rounds of the NGAQB (men-identifying only bee). I must say that the NGAQB operated in most ways that the other bees did so. Discussion often meandered away from quilting (sometimes heatedly!), people were late with blocks, people backed out then came back, we made congratulatory surprise quilts for members, we consoled those who lost loved ones, new friendships were formed, while others strengthened (in and outside the bee).

The Facebook group itself is rather quiet these days, as the bee has slowed down in production. I think is just the natural product cycle of the idea; nothing lasts forever. I live in Sydney, Australia, so I’m quite removed from the other members geographically, but on a recent trip to NYC I met up with one of the other members for some good quality wine time. We talked about the quilt industry of course, and then moved on to a thousand and one other things. The bee had provided the bridge for us to expand our relationship into real life (IRL). I’m sure similar experiences have been shared by other members.

I’d also highlight that I started another Facebook group called Men Who Quilt. This group membership is bound by purely self-identifying as a man, and an interest in quilting. There are currently 1,235 members. In many ways this group has replicated the experience of the NGAQB, but on a larger scale. I know from this group there have been IRL events arranged, tips/tricks shared, other bees organised, other Facebook groups splintered, and numerous relationships fostered. I consider my responsibility to this group to be pretty low-key: keep it focused on the subject matter, and keep dickheads out. So far, so good!

This all reminds me that I need to get my NGAQB2 quilt out of the WIP pile and get it finished. It’s going to be magical!

Thanks for your questions, and I hope I have offered some insight to help you on your own journey!


2 Responses

  1. Trude Jackson says:

    Now you’ve sparked my interest! Where did you go to school? Our daughter graduated from U Penn so you’ve made me curious!

  2. This is so interesting, and what a tribute to you and the group. Just think, you will be in a University dissertation, in writing, and maybe have more followers in the mainly for men quilting world.

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