Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A VERY disturbing email -

I received an email last week and have been thinking about it quite a bit since then - and now have come to the conclusion that I want to say something here on my blog about what was said. Knowing this is my blog and these are my thoughts and what I write here in no way reflects anyone but me and my feelings - I am just going to put it out there.......

The gist of the email was regarding exchanges and the whole exchanging community. This stitcher felt that although they "enjoyed exchanges" - in the long run felt they couldn't continue doing them due to their not "getting" in return what they were sending - or it wasn't an even exchange. After questioning exactly what "wasn't even" about the exchanges - it came out that they felt what was received was not of an equal value to what was being sent. I was dumbfounded to say the least. IMHO it is the stitched pieced that is being exchanged and never the extras/goodies!!! We all come from different backgrounds and financial situations and it should never be a contest as to who can send the biggest most expensive stuff - and it is spelled out clearly on every exchange I have ever been a part of that extras are just that - extra after the stitched piece and never a requirement of an exchange! There are even some exchanges that require NO extras just to avoid this situation. Personally I enjoy making a stitched item and including a few goodies as I love giving and always have. I would never expect any exchange to be a competition as that defeats the purpose of stitching exchanges.

When I first got back into cross stitching a few years ago I found this extended blogging community and let me tell you - I was bowled over by the generosity of the stitchers - in the giving of their time and expertise, and their willingness to go the extra mile to help anyone in need it is overwhelming to say the least. Over the past couple of years I have seen it first hand the kindness out there in Angel stitching and filling in when some lame-o person just drops out or fails to come through with a commitment they made - I myself have tried to fill in and make right something gone wrong as have many others. It takes quite a bit of time and effort to coordinate exchanges and the moderators work very hard to make everything run smoothly and fairly. I would want anyone that felt slighted in the exchanges to really look at the reason they are doing the exchanges - it should be for the love of stitching and joy of giving of that talent and NOT for the extras. That's about all I have to say about that!! Off my soap box!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Take care,
edgar

41 comments:

Melissa said...

Edgar, I've just signed up for exchanges this year, have just sent out my first and am waiting to receive mine. What you have described have occurred in my thoughts - but I agree, it's about giving from yourself. You shouldn't measure what you receive by what you gave. If you do, you end up with disappointment.

I can appreciate that folks like yourself do a lot of work setting up and coordinating these exchanges and to me, the guidelines are always clear.

I just edit a whole bunch of stuff I wrote coz I don't want to be on the soapbox. Thanks for doing all the organizing, Edgar! Have a great day!

Carol R said...

I agree with you Edgar! I am happy to participate in exchanges and receive just the stitched item but I, too, am a 'giving' person and I enjoy making up little goody packages. I understand that not everyone can afford to do this and I would hate for someone to feel that it's obligatory to do so and therefore not join in exchanging. I have found the SB community to be kind and generous with their time, their willingness to share their knowledge and their love of stitching.

BTW I gave you a blog award earlier this week and forgot to tell you!

Mary said...

I agree with you completely! It's enjoyable for me to do the stitched piece, but I get so much pleasure from shopping and picking out the extra goodies to send on with it.

heidistitches said...

This is my first year of exchanges and I signed up with the thought in my head, "if I get nothing in return, I still have the knowledge that something I made is out in the world, beyond my little home." It's not about what we get, it's about what we give (this can be applied to almost every situation in our lives!). Keep up your great blog and your wonderful stitching. I still want to see a video of you stitching because you complete projects too dang fast!!!

Cindy F. said...

Edgar, Thank you for being honest. It's really sad that people have the "what's in it for me" mentality. When exchanges get frustrating for me because someone doesn't have the courtesy to let me know they've received my exchange, I remember all the good people in this community. People like you who treat their received exchanges like Van Gogh's. You make my heart smile:) Have a blessed day!

Diane said...

Amen!

Annette said...

I couldn't agree more, Edgar :)

I participate in a limited number of exchanges - partially due to the fact I want to create something special for my exchange partner. Invariably I send off my package and am surprised when I receive something back!

Where permitted, I do send a few odds and ends with the stitched piece, but always try to keep the focus on the exchange item with other bits strictly "supporting cast."

Vonna said...

Sad state of affairs, and I agree whole heartedly...I think the stitched piece is MORE than enough. I thank you for this post and would end it with a big AMEN!

karen said...

I love doing exchanges and giving, the biggest part of it for me. As i love receiving something stitched by a fellow stitcher and that is what i look forward to when i receive an exchange, the extras are nice but never expected. It is sad when it comes to people just expecting more and more rather than the wonderful stitched piece.
AMEN!!

Kielrain said...

I agree with you! The stitching is the thing. The extras are just that... extra. I want to put the focus where it belongs..... on the what is made. I do send a few things when I can... it makes me happy to do so.
And I so thank all of you who set up these exchanges!

Kathy A. said...

Well said Edgar!!!!!! I agree wholeheartedly.

Jennifer/OH said...

Thanks for your honest "soapbox moment", Edgar. I totally agree. Like you, I consider myself a "giver". I love to send extras, presents, cards, anything, regardless of whether it's an exchange or special occasion or just an ordinary day. I send a lot to my friend in Russia and I get NOTHING in return. But that's OK. I know she simply can not afford to send me things. The joy of her friendship is plenty for me and it gives ME joy to send her things I know she can not find or afford in Russia.
Don't get me wrong...I love the extras, PIFS and RAKs, What makes them so special and enjoyable is by NOT expecting them.

Becky K in OK said...

Edgar, Amen, Amen. When I participate in an exchange I so look forward to seeing the reaction of my exchange partner to what I stitch. It's always the stitched piece. Thank you for sharing with us.

Wendy said...

Devil's Advocate here...

I do agree with everything that you've said. I do. Completely. And I guess only you can gauge from the actual comments in the email from where this person was coming with their comments, but... I think it's probably not as much a desire for equality as much as a desire to be appreciated that is affecting that person. I don't know if I'm alone (or joining a party of two, actually) in having had occasions where I've repetitively gifted someone with things that I've specially picked out for them.. only to continuously get nothing in return, or things that show very little thought. I'm a giver by nature and will put myself in debt to gift, but sometimes you just get to a point where you'd like someone to make the effort. And it's easier to back away at that point because it's so very difficult to not be the giver that you are, you know? There's no gifting halfway.

I might be overthinking it, and I can definitely agree with "it's the giving, not the receiving", but ...

Ja'niece said...

Although I’ve never participate in an exchange. You’ve expressed my thoughts exactly. Kudos to you Edgar!!

Missy Ann said...

'Tis better to give than receive.

But everyone should remember to treat others as they would want to be treated.

Kristen said...

Well said, Edgar!

Lucy said...

Very well said!

Maren said...

Wow, you're right. That is a disturbing email. I have yet to find an exchange group that isn't already full, but I agree with your sentiment. These exchanges should be about the love of stitching, creating and giving. Not about what you may or may not receive.

Susie Q said...

I'll be really honest, I hesitate to join exchanges/swaps. We are so limited financially right now (like so many others) that I hate for someone to get one from me and be disappointed...especially since I love to give, but I just can't right now (sigh).

2009 WILL be our year though. In the meantime, anyone need any custom cabinetwork, I am married to an amazing cabinetmaker who has a couple of openings for spring/summer.....;D

Karrie said...

The only exchanges I've joined are those that don't allow extras for exactly the points that you've made. Most cross stitch materials are two to three times more expensive where I live than in the US and many are not obtainable here at all, I would have to order them from the US probably to end up sending them back there! To my mind that's just crazy!

I'd love to be able to send those little extras but to feel "obligated" to send $XX worth with every exchange would take the fun right out of it. Instead I get to focus on my stitching and do my best to create something lovely for my partner.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Edgar, lots of people feel the same :)

DaisyGirl said...

Well said Edgar! It's always nice to get a few little goodies, but the main idea is the stitched piece! I personally like shopping for a few special little goodies. I hope that this person realizes that exchanging is from the heart, not the pocketbook!
Donna

Margaret said...

Bravo! I just participated in my first exchange. I was very nervous as I'm not a fantastic stitcher, and, well, as far as finishing goes... It was fun adding a few little fun things, but I would never assume I was entitled to anything other that what we all signed up for! I'm ready for more!

Robin said...

Edgar, you are SO correct!!! I have only recently gotten back into stitching and am very limited when it comes to exchanges if there's "extras" allowed just because I don't have an LNS close by. I enjoy stitching for myself and for others; I hope those who sign up will realize this and thank you for your thoughts!

Marjean said...

Well said my friend, well said

Alison said...

Edgar, I'm so sorry you had to get that email. I'm with you...I love making up my exchange parcels. I also understand where Wendy is coming from. I don't think that extras need to be expensive...it's the little things that count. If someone doesn't agree, then they don't have to participate. That's called freedom of choice!

Frankly, I get more upset when people don't acknowledge receipt or post a pic of something they've received.

Yuko said...

I agree with you, Edgar.
I can't say what I want to say properly with this my poor English ability, though, the exchange is for stitched piece, goodis is just extra!
Of course I would be happy if I could receive beautiful goodies, but everyone has not the same background, like finacial etc...
We are exchanging not goodies!

Marian said...

Bravo! You don't need people like this participating in exchanges. Besides, I think I read somewhere that "it's better to give than receive". Guess that person never stepped outside his/her world long enough to understand that.

Bette said...

Knowing the time and energy I put into my exchange pieces, I appreciate the stitched piece more than the extras. That block of chocolate, while delicious, will go in a matter of minutes. The threads will join others in the stash, the origin of which will be forgotten with time. But the stitched item. At Christmas time I have a special tree full of hand made ornaments from exchanges.On this tree I have two hardanger ornaments, that every year, I think of the beautiful lady who, in the last days of her life, made them for me. I have a basket full of hand made 'smalls', again from exchanges. These are more valuable to me than the other items.

Thank you to Edgar and all others who take the time to organise these exchanges, because you help create these wonderful experiences.

Yoyo said...

Something nobody has mentioned yet about the "equality" of an exchange....

I recently received an exchange piece that many people would have been sadly disappointed with. The piece was done by a (dare I say it) beginner. It was also her first ornament. Now I have to say the ornament was not the "best" ornament I have ever seen. However, it was stitched with love and done to best of her ability. I do not feel that I "received less" than what I gave. This ornament will go on my exchange tree along with all the professionally beautiful ones I have received from experienced stitchers and I will love it as much as any one of the others.

Am I supposed to feel 'cheated' because I didn't receive a perfect ornament? Should I hide this one in a drawer and call it a 'bad exchange'? No, I'm sorry, I don't exchange for the "quality and quantity". I exchange for friendship and community. I am happy to have provided this beginner a smile and the encouragement to continue learning the craft.

When the day arrives that a less than perfect stitched piece, or the amount of extra goodies can make an exchange disappointing, I will stop exchanging.

mainely stitching said...

Tho' I don't often comment, this post hits home. I used to be involved in a lot of exchanges but I kept running into situations where the amount of "extras" I received was just ... insane. I was deeply uncomfortable with the one-upmanship that seemed to be developing in the various exchange groups and eventually stepped out of exchanges entirely. I now belong to a very few groups in which extras are not allowed and I'm much more comfortable. I love putting together little packets of carefully-selected goodies for other stitchers and friends, but I'm not going to cut into my family's grocery budget to do so - that simply isn't what it's supposed to be about. Anyway, reading over the comments you've received, I can see that I'm not the only one who's felt this way and I'm really relieved to see that the majority of stitchers are in accord - it's about the stitching and not about one-upping someone else's extras.

Creative Chaos said...

Amen Edgar !!!
My partner and i are both disabled to work and if i look at all those goodies that are coming with the exchanges ... all i can think is ... OMG, how they can affort that ??
Here in the Netherlands life is extremely expensive at this moment , 1 skein of DMC is US $ 1.70 , so imagine the price from the overdied silks......
Actually what i wanted to say is that those kind of emails are the reason i never participated in exchanges ...
Patti xx

Evelyn said...

Edgar,
Well said - I could not agree more. I read your blog faithfully and love it but have never commented before. I'm unlurking to thank you for this commentary.
Evelyn in Maine

Starry-eyed stitcher said...

This is a difficult one I think. I am a fairly new blogger and have not participated in any exchanges yet.
Why?
Because although I feel that my stitching would be appreciated by the lovely people in the stitching community, I am not really au fait with the kind of goodies that might be considerd 'acceptable' and would not like to be considered gauche by sending the wrong stuff. The cost and availability is a consideration also. It's a shame if lots of others are put off like me.

Mel said...

I completely agree with you Edgar! When I began exchanging, I had loads of fun putting together little goodie packages to go along with the exchanges but it really starts to eat into the budget! Now I only partiticpate in exchanges to allow NO or one extra per exchange. The stitching is the true gift! It should never be about extras or who can send the most!

Simone said...

Hear, hear!

I totally agree with you, Edgar. I'm always feeling very spoiled with the extra goodies I receive. But most of it end up with the rest of my stash. The stitched items however, are displayed in my stitching room and I'll treasure them and proudly show them to anyone who's interested.
Sorry, that some people can't see the value of the stitched piece...

Joke said...

Edgar, I totally agree, it's the fun of stitching that counts, and the fun of giving in case you will and can afford that financially.

Cenoura said...

Unfortunately we have some similar situations, here in Portugal.
I'm with you. The important is the stitched piece and not the gifts!
I'm now part of an international group (Tiny Treasures Exchange) and one of the rules is to send only 1 piece and useful for stitch work.
And... It's better to give than receive... but that's my opinion...;)

Milly~ said...

Nicely said Edgar. It's about sharing and the love our hobby.

Quirky said...

Unfortunately there will always be people like that....but the good thing is MOST people are not!

Denise said...

I've just entered this blogging community and purposely focus on the stitched piece, WHEN I participate in an exchange. Sometimes it is financial, but often it is time. Some of us are single, some of us are not, some of use are retired, some of use work at least one job, some of us have children, some of us do not...everyone comes from a different place. And sometimes it is about boundaries...especially if someone has tried to confront codependency issues...okay, enough from me.