Every year, the publishers of dictionaries nominate new words that have become culturally accepted. Noticeably lacking are the descriptors for quilters. Here are five nominees for “quilter words” that need to be entered in the upcoming editions of the dictionary.
- Proquiltinating– This word is a verb. The active part of the word, proquilt, is the amount of time that a sewer spends on quilting, which is most waking hours. The inactive part of the verb, which is a derivative of procrastinate, is the lack of time expended on laundry, dishes, picking up children from school or vacuuming the dog’s hair from the rug. To be honest, the quilter intends to complete the household tasks, but the sewing machine calls and the result is proquiltinating. Like its cultural companion, procrastination, proquiltinating just makes easy things hard, and hard things harder. It’s a trade-off that serious sewers will make. Such behavior eventually gives them the title of sewcialist, or one who puts off daily work because they would rather be sewing all the time. The motto etched on their machine reads: “Quilting forever- housework whenever.”
- Fabricologist– This word is a noun. The root word is fabric, and the ending on the word implies a person who is an expert. This is the stitcher who has perfected the art of stalking fabrics from multiple sources across state lines. This woman collects vintage cloth, feed sacks, Kate Fassett, and end of roll specials for future use, or in the chance that a one hundred year snow storm traps her in her woman cave. Fabricologists spend years learning the art of fiber accumulation and aspire to the rank of fabric hoarder. Fabric hoarders are curators of extensive textile collections who rank as PFC, professional fabric collectors. All of these quilt shop junkies claim, “I’m helping to support the economy.”
- Two medical terms associated with quilters need to be defined. Quilt Pox is a highly contagious condition usually caught in quilt shops. The main symptom is the inability to stop buying fabric, and the compulsive acquisition of fat quarter bundles. After all, those with Quilt Pox purport, it’s not about being greedy as much as just being materialistic. Those afflicted with Quilt Pox are observed giggling as they check out their merchandise at the cash register. Quilt Pox leads to STABLE syndrome which is the acronym for Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy. Few have recovered from these afflictions, but their legacy of fabric-filled boxes is always passed down to their children.
- Sewciopath– Another noun. A sewciopath is a person with an anti-social sewing disorder. Holed up in her woman cave, the sewciopath enjoys the whirr of the bobbin on her sewing machine more than the chatter of other stitchers. Thinking only of the next project, she seldom experiences guilt about purchasing more fabric, rationalizing that “one never has enough fat quarters or jelly rolls stored up.” The cure for this affliction is joining an organized quilting bee, or attendance in a sewing circle. Creating with other like-minded quilters is healing therapy.
- Quiltaholic, a noun. The word tells the story of the condition. Binge sewing, late nights, remorse, promises to pay attention to the home front. Secretive purchases in brown bags hidden in closets. Blame and shame while brewing another pot of coffee. Loud proclamations of being on the road to recovery, but clandestinely planning the next route to the quilt store. There is no Quilter’s Anonymous because no one wants to stop the behavior. The only 12 Step Program involves being 12 steps from the nearest fabric stash. A long look in the mirror usually brings the quiltaholic around long enough to get a home cooked meal on the table for the family. Anything else is just luck and lots of spousal support.
Quilting usually produces beautiful comforters that give pleasure to family members and the community. It is not a hobby, but a life skill that benefits many. Despite the dangers of aberrant behaviors, most sewers spend their lives in proper balance with those around them. They just take life one stitch at a time.
Quilting in the 1930’s Dust Bowl. Historic fiction with Sunbonnet Sue.
Dust Between the Stitches, by Cleo Lampos. Available on amazon.com!