I've been quilting a long time, but I certainly don't purport myself to be an expert. My seams aren't always perfectly straight, I often look for shortcuts, and I don't have the attention-span to truly perfect any one area of the craft. But I've put out some pretty decent stuff over the years, if I do say so myself.
One thing I've learned is that while you can absolutely quilt alone, as we often do, it's always a better experience to learn from others. To take the best parts of what they teach you, and make it your own. Over the years, and many many classes and sewing/quilting groups later these are the personality types I have learned the most from. You may immediately recognize someone in your crafty circle as this type. Maybe it's you. But over time, as you get better, keep your eyes and mind open for these types. I guarantee you will be a better quilter for it.
1. The Old Pro: this quilter has been around so long she may have seen several resurgences in the craft since the 70s. She makes hand quilting stitches that would put an Amish quilter to shame, can put on a binding with her eyes closed. Her stash is older than you plus 10 years. Don't mess with her honey, just sit back and absorb whatever nuggets of wisdom she's willing to impart because I guarantee she's forgotten more than you'll ever know. Lucky for us, she's one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet, and usually the most willing to teach and share.
2. The Speed Demon: this one churns out projects faster than you can get rung up at your LQS. Saw that cute quilt on Pinterest last week? She's already made it. She loves quick projects, pre-cuts, and any time-saving technique out there. She may not always be concerned with complete accuracy, but she's also not trying to win any contests. She is usually the most charitable type of quilter, simply because she knows she really can whip up a couple baby quilts for your organization this weekend. While she can be a little intimidating with her prolific turn-out, don't pass her by. She is the one to go to for motivation and ideas.
3. The Finisher: this quilter has very few (gasp!) quilt tops or UFOs sitting around. That's because she gets things done. She doesn't like a lot of clutter, and that includes having a bunch of projects sitting and waiting for completion. I must admit this is the quilter I really need to hang around the most, because I'm a notorious UFO stock-piler. And not only does this quilter finish what she starts, she finishes it well. Beautiful bindings, masterful machine quilting. She has a more A-type personality that emphasizes quality over quantity, so while she may not have the most projects out there, you will definitely like what you see.
4. The Color Master: you may never see more than 1 or 2 projects a year come out of this quilter's studio, but whoa baby, they will knock your socks off. Most everyone can learn to put colors together and use the basic principles of color theory well, but some people just have "it." That innate sense of color and value that no book can teach. Check out what they're wearing because you can usually spot one of these types before they even open their mouths.
5. The One with the Largest Stash: she knows all the best places
on and offline to shop. She gets in on the deals before everyone else. She has the newest stuff. She has stuff you haven't seen in years and thought was gone forever. She isn't much concerned with using it, she just knows she has to have it. She's often willing to share some of it, especially if you only need some to finish a project. But try and take it all in an episode of Hoarders, and you'll have to pry it out of her cold, dead hands.
6. The One with the Smallest Stash: she is very selective in what she buys, and often knows exactly what it will be used for. This quilter is often a cross between a Finisher and a Color Master, because she has that "eye" for the right projects at the right time of fabrics on the market to use it in. If she ever does a destash on Instagram or Twitter, be on stand by.
7. The Right Brainer: she has high standards, often a perfectionist, and doesn't apologize for it. She wants to master her skills, and often is already at a level we wish to get to one day. Her work is simply gorgeous, and can usually make a long arm machine look like a third arm. If you ever need some complicated quilt math worked out, she is your go to for sure. But don't be fooled by the straight lines and long division, she will inspire us all to do better, be better, and know we can all do the hard things.
8. The Left Brainer: want to try quilt art or more techniques than just sewing straight seams? Come sit next to one of these types. They are often the most creative, "how the heck did you ever think of that?" types of crafters you'll ever meet. Their stuff turns heads, causes a commotion or uproar in the industry, and inspires us to do more and stretch our imaginations. We may never want to make what she makes or use what she uses, but she is the one who makes us proud to say, "this ain't your granny's quilting!"
9. The Honest Abe: don't ask her opinion if you don't really want it. She will tell you your seams are a little off, which makes the whole quilt look a little "off." She will tell you those 2 colors don't really work well with the others. She will also be the one to stay late and help you make it better.
10. The Kindred Spirit: sometimes you just need to to know someone is on the same page as you. They like similar types of projects, go at about the same pace as you, and you can bounce ideas off each other with ease. She is the one you call to shop hop and walk a show with. Her work is as good as yours in some areas, but you go to her for advice or feedback in others. She provides constructive criticism, but will slap anyone down who comes at your work with anything but kindness. She's got your back.
So, I'm sure by now you can see a little of yourself in most of these "types." And you probably know a few of them as well. I would love to see your comments on the 10 People Every Quilter Needs to Know..add a few of your own! But most importantly: keep learning, keep quilting, and keep having fun.