An Interview with Megan Dougherty

headshot_fabricsDoing a blog interview is a bit like making a quilt: we have fabric, pattern , machine, batting, backing and voila something happens and the whole thing goes terribly pear shaped. Well it didn’t here. Megan answered all the questions correctly, a little too perfectly if you ask me. She’s passed the quilterly test and I’ve admitted her as a full-fledged member of the quilt police. She knows the tell-tale nod and the perfect facial expression for each found flaw and the not so veiled look of relief when the perfect quilts are found. And her street cred – is well – impeccable, simply impeccable. I could go on and on gushing about the coup of adding Megan, aka, the Bitchy Stitcher to the ranks of the Quilt Police but this risks blowing her cover.

Megan recently published “Quilting Isn’t Funny a collection of thread humor by The Bitchy Stitcher”.  We know Megan, the bitchy stitcher, from Quilters Home and most recently Generation Q Magazine. Her language is a bit salty – mine can be too, her humor a bit sarcastic – sarcasm rules! and her love – genuine.  Ah yes, she’s genuine. Through her blog Megan has shared the challenges of her life and her quilting, which are challenging to the core because in truth we all want to be real, we want to share our struggles in life and in quilting. *Shocking*, imagine a high pitched, sing-songy, off-key voice.

cover_screenIn “Quilting Isn’t Funny” she re-presents some of her best stories from her blog, the magazines and writes a few new ones for us. Rumor has it Megan found the manual for the Quilt Police in a never to be revealed location. (I wondered how she answered all of the questions correctly SMH.)

Teri:  how did you get started quilting?
Megan: I started quilting in 2008. My original intention had been to start sewing clothes, not realizing how difficult it would be to get started on my own, and I ended up trying quilting because it seemed easier. My mom has been a quilter since the early eighties and my sister is a quilter as well, so I figured I’d have them to fall back on if blogs and YouTube videos didn’t help. After my first four-patch, i was hooked.

Teri: What are you stitching on?
Megan: I have a Brother PC-420. It’s a good machine, but as I’m learning more I’m realizing its limitations and I’m currently considering getting something else.

Teri: What is your Favorite Thread? Isacord works well for me in my machine.

Teri: Favorite color schemes?
Megan: Purple and green, royal purple with light blue, and purple and orange. I have thing for purple, obviously.

momsquiltTeri: Writing a book and compiling your quilting stories must have presented some challenges.  How did you work through those challenges?  Where did you find the greatest support?
Megan: Since the book is mostly a compilation of previously published work, most of the writing had already been done. I wrote two new pieces, but I was lucky and both of those came pretty easily. The greater challenge was in creating the layout for the book, and most specifically the cover. My initial cover concept was a quilted background with the title on a quilt label, but the limits of my photography skills prevented me from getting the shot just right. I decided to pull out a concept I had drawn as a possible new logo for the blog, and improved upon that to make a cover. There are a lot of details in the design and layout of a book, and handling all of those details myself was definitely a challenge, but one I wanted to take on. I also decided to write a small intro to each piece, giving a little insight into how I came up with the idea or what impact it had when it was originally printed, and that turned out to be harder than I thought it was going to be.

photo_1
Megan, Melissa, Scott & Jake at Quilt Market 2012

My greatest support has been from my husband and from my editors and colleagues at GenQ, Jake Finch and Melissa Thompson Maher. When I had the final copy of the book in my hand, I showed it to my husband and I said, “I did that. I did that all myself – do you know what that means to me?” And his response was, “Do you know what that means to me?” He supports everything I do, but more than that, he’s proud of what I do. It’s an awesome thing to be married to a guy to wants to show off your work to his friends and co-workers and family.

And Jake and Melissa have been my biggest enablers—er, supporters—from the beginning when I started writing for them at Quilter’s Home. And when I decided I wanted to leave my position as creative director at GenQ in order to be able to pursue projects like this one, they gave me their blessing and have still supported everything I do with no resentments. I love them beyond words.

Teri: What, in your view, is your greatest achievement in the quilting world?  The one event you might be most proud?
Megan: That’s a toughie, but I’m going to go with having designed the look and feel of Generation Q magazine. That was a huge undertaking, and I honestly didn’t think I could do it, but I did. Being a part of the creation of a truly independent quilting magazine was huge.

Teri: Favorite feature in GenQ 
Megan: All the copy in the Gimme section (that’s the “products we love” pages) is written by me as well as the copy for each list of 25 cool things, so I definitely like those. But beyond that, I’d have to say I really like the piece that appears at the end of each issue called “My First.” It’s where famous quilters talk about and show the first quilt they ever made. We all had to start somewhere, and I think it’s neat to see where people who may seem a little bit god-like in the quilting world started out. Naturally, the uglier the quilt, the happier it makes me, but so far everybody started out pretty well.

IMG_0558Teri: What has been the best and worst things about blogging in the quilting world?
Megan: Beyond the opportunities it has given me, the best thing about blogging has been the friendships I have made. I have people in my life now who would never have appeared there were it not for my blog. I have met some of the coolest people, and not famous quilters or designers, just people who have read my blog and reached out and become very dear to me. But then, I also have to say that as a humor writer, the emails I get from people saying, “I was having a really hard day/week/year and reading your blog made it better” – there’s nothing in the world like that. One woman wrote to me a long time ago, and she said that she had been suffering from post-partum depression. And I’ve been there, so I could totally relate. And she said that my blog was the only thing that made her laugh when nothing else could. That right there is what makes it all worth while. *interviewers note: this caught my breath, we often don’t know if our blogs make any difference*

Teri: The worst?
Megan: There are people out there who really dislike my humor, and others who really dislike the language I use on my blog. There are probably a number of doors that are closed to me because of that, but I try to tell myself I don’t really want to go through those doors anyway. People like my blog because the feel like they’re reading a real person, not someone who is prettying everything up in order to read like, well, like a quilt magazine. It hurts when people see that as offensive, but I just remember those emails and it’s all okay.

Teri: Oh my goodness, that’s just the best Megan.  Laughter is the best medicine!
Megan: Damn right. When my brother was dying, my sister and I went to see him in hospice and the three of us laughed like idiots for the two days I was there. My sister-in-law called later to tell me he was giddy from the visit and happier than she had seen him in months. I believe laughter is essential to life, and I used to think that being a humorist wasn’t a very lofty goal. I thought I should be more serious and write big novels with important themes. But now I believe that making people laugh is a pretty damn good way to live and work.

Teri:  So, you are a real person with real feelings! What are some of the ways that you cope with the emails and/or comments on your blog?
Megan: Well, sometimes I post about it on Facebook and let you talk me down! Generally, if the comments are just nasty, I won’t approve them and if they come in an email I don’t respond. People who get mean when they don’t like something aren’t going to be convinced that they are wrong, so engaging them is pointless. They often try to get a rise out of me by continuing to try and comment or email. One woman called me a coward for not approving her comments. But in her comment she had the nerve to tell me I should be thankful someone I love was not in a cancer ward (the point being, I think, that she thought I was complaining too much), and this was when someone I loved dearly was in hospice care. People who get really nasty usually haven’t read closely, haven’t read deeply, and don’t intend to. Even the most eloquent response from me – or a barrage of support from other readers in their own comments – won’t change that. And I remember that I have been blogging this way for five years, and my audience continues to grow. A few people who feel the need to shake their finger at me won’t change the way I do things either. I don’t feel a need to offer content that makes everybody happy – I prefer to write the way I like and let my readers stay or go as they like. For every nasty email or comment I get 20 that say, “Never change!”

Teri: I do have to wonder how ever did you find the manual for the Quilt Police?  Have you ever considered starting a counter movement?
Megan: As a journalist, I cannot reveal my sources, even when they are completely made up. And I believe every movement should have a counter movement, just to keep things in balance. But now you’ve given me an idea for a training manual for the members of the Rebellion.

Teri: When the training manual for the Rebellion is out I’d love to interview you again.  Would you be up for it?
Megan: It’s a deal!

So peeps, I love ya lots.  I love that you’re here and reading my blog on a regular basis.  And I very carefully considered a give away.  Really I did. I want to give away a copy of Megans book. However, I think that supporting Megan and her generous heart is so important. In an effort to raise awareness and money for brain cancer (see the notes above about Megans brother who passed away this year) she created a calendar.  To help launch a new magazine she learned how to do so many things. So. No give away here. Please dear friends go buy Megans book.  She chose to self-publish meaning she’s taking ALL the risk. Click HERE to purchase her book.

*NOTE – when I added the links they show up in blue like good links should do. When in preview mode they show up in a weird color.  The links do work.

Dec. 2 – Maddie Kertay  – Bad Ass Quilter’s Society
Dec. 3 – Sam Hunter – Hunter’s Design Studio
Dec. 4 – Carla Crim – Scientific Seamstress
Dec. 5 – Scarlett Burroughs – Craft Gossip
Dec. 6 – Jill Dorsey – That Moxie Girl

Dec. 9 – Victoria Findlay Wolfe – Bumble Beans Inc  
Dec. 10 – Lynn Harris – Little Red Hen
Dec. 11 – Teresa Coates – Crinkle Dreams
Dec. 12 – Joshua Helms – Molli Sparkles
Dec 13 – Liz Kettle – Stitch Journeys
Dec. 14 – Leah Day – The Free Motion Quilting Project

Dec 16 – Lisa Sipes – That Crazy Quilty Girl
Dec. 17 – Charlotte Newland – Displacement Activity
Dec. 18 – Teri Lucas – TerifiCreations
Dec. 19 – Cheryl Sloboda – Muppin.com
Dec. 20 – Kelly Biscopink – Stitchy Quilt Stuff

Jan. 6 – Generation Q
Jan. 8 – Rose Hughes – Rose Hughes – Quilt Artist
Jan. 9 – Janice Ryan – Better Off Thread
Jan. 10 – Flaun Cline – I Plead Quilty

Jan. 13 – Heather Jones – Olive and Ollie
Jan. 14 –  Without A Stitch On
Jan. 15 – Laura Lochore – Quokka Quilts
Jan. 16 – Elaine Wong Hasselhun – Dashasel Sews
Jan. 17 – Kim Lapacek – Persimon Dreams

 

2 thoughts on “An Interview with Megan Dougherty

  1. Teri, thanks for the interview with Megan! I love her blog and her tell-it-like-it-is attitude! I’m glad her interview has introduced me to your blog 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  2. Great interview! I’ve lost track here lately with all the chaos of life… When I check my email and see ‘The Bitchy Stitcher’ I smile and light a cig and have my few minutes of me time. I’m gonna see if my jacked up obamacare will cover you as my therapist! LOL

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