Saturday, 28 September 2013

In the ditch (quilting)

is there anything that gets on your nerves purely as a matter of semantics?

I dislike referring to quilting along the seams as 'stitching in the ditch' I prefer 'sewing in the furrow' if euphemism is a must.  Now why am I so inclined, after all if you check for a definition of a ditch it gives furrow as an alternate.

I have been thinking it over, well there is the expression lying drunk in a ditch, the inference that a ditch is found at the side of a road and is full of dirty water.  So for me ditch is something that denotes a less than desirable thing.  A Furrow on the other hand makes me think of neat straight lines ploughed ready for new growth.  It is suggestive of progress and precision. 

Now that might sound a reasonable position from which to form my dislike of the term however more thought and a measure of honesty have brought me to the conclusion that there is a little more to it than that.

At a visit to a local museum some years ago there was a quilt display.  The quilts on display were a combination of patchwork and whole cloth.  Two women were quilting (on those newer z style standing frames) and were answering questions about the craft.  They were both whole cloth quilting and in the Durham quilting style.  The were obviously in both their tone and phrasing, disdainful of quilting 'in the ditch' and I think that the sneer in the way they said that phrase has stayed with me.

Now mostly I do use the seam line as a guide when quilting, occasionally in sympathy with the pattern I do something different.  Those ladies opinion did not change how I do my quilting, it just makes me dislike one of the ways commonly used to describe it.  Odd how our mind works.   

I have recently joined some quilting groups on Facebook and this term is used on a regular basis with no derision attached, yet each time I read it I think no, not ditch, furrow!  I wonder if repeated exposure to non-derogatory usage will fade away my dislike of the term, like fabric left in the sun or is the dye of that one disdainful encounter permanent?
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