Friday, April 3, 2009

Differences and Similarities

I've been thinking a lot about how we "do" quilting in the U.S. and how it happens in the Netherlands (of course!) We have the same machines, many of the same tools - although they pay an exceedingly high mark-up on American and Japanese tools-of-the-trade and they pay $11-12 dollars (and up) for American quilt magazines. The fabrics I could find ran from $9+ per meter (39") up to specialized German (Westfallenstoffe) fabrics that were up to $25 per meter. Yikes! I'm not sure I'd be a quilter at those prices.

These photos were taken at Quilter's Palet in the Hague. Notice that there is a teapot on the table (blue pot) along with the brown tea box.

Each time you arrive at the quilt shop, you are invited to have a cup of coffee or a cup of tea. It just always happens. [I'm told the same thing happens if you go to the bank or to buy a car - have a cup of tea/coffee.] Caroline said that it seemed strange when she was here, at my quilt guild, that we did not have a coffee/tea pot nor did we offer that to our members. We would consider it reasonable for someone to bring their own cup of something, but a group pot is not a matter of course.

Another thing to notice on the table is the silver-colored pot (with the hole in the top). That is for each person to put in their scraps, threads, assorted detritus. Each time we gathered for a quilting/sewing/applique get-together, there would always be some sort of pot/basket/container on the table to collect people's trimmings. Interesting. Again, we are used to each person doing their own thing with their 'stuff', but over there it is assumed that the hostess will provide a central container. It will all get thrown away in the end, but still. . . . . . . there is a different 'group' mentality, I think.

I'm not convinced that one system is better than another, but interesting to notice those little, subtle differences. I am sure that I will recommend that my next Dutch visitors simply plan to bring an empty suitcase so they can load up on things that are more affordable and likewise, I will do as I did this time, and take a suitcase with things for them.

Last week-end was the first RV event for this season. We had gone to a site near Mt. St. Helens. On Saturday I thought we might wash down the hill, it rained so hard, but Sunday morning dawned bright and clear - albeit near freezing. We also noticed quite a bit of new snow on the surrounding hills. Here we are today, April 3 and woke up to snow on the grass this morning. Honest to Pete (or Harry or George or whomever) it's time for this to be over. My daffodils want sunshine, as do the other spring wonders in the garden.

Been working on a 'garden' wall hanging. Will try for photos and post those soon.
Let's hear it for spring! and soon!


Ballardquilter said...

Thanks for the cultural comparisons.

Anonymous said...

It's fun all these differences and similarities. think the most suprisingly for me was: no coffee or tea at a quiltbee. I don't think you can organise in the Netherlands a quiltbee without coffee or tea. groetjes Caroline

Joke said...

Nice to read how you see the differences, and bring them to our attention. And you had some snow, but also an incredible blue sky!

CarterQuilter said...

Hi Marne,

Thanks for sharing such interesting cultural insights!

Travelling and quilting is a fun combination!

Looks like you are doing an excellent job enjoying your retirement.

Cindy in Seattle

limpingalong said...

When I hear how expensive things are in other countries it makes me want to ship things to them. However, the postage would result in the prices being right up there with their prices so it isn't feasible.

I'm not a coffee drinker but several in our quilting group do like a cup so they go to the church office (we meet in a church) and share their coffee.
I usually have a cup of iced tea with me -- something with a lid.
I am fearful of spilling on my project.

We don't have a "pot" for the scraps, but the room we meet in has a couple of large trash cans and the trash goes in there so we can leave the room clean.

It is interesting to note the differences -- thank you for sharing!