December 15, 2012 - 12:11 am

Is My Face Still Red?

I will never forget the first time I spoke in front of a room full of people. I was presenting a schoolhouse session at International Quilt Market on the first book I had written, Star Quilts II. I was nervous, so nervous that my stomach was tied up in knots.

I had practiced and practiced what I was going to say and I thought I had everything memorized. But as I stood there in front of that whole room, all those words I had committed to memory suddenly flew out of my brain.

The doors to the room had barely closed when I started talking. And when I began, I talked fast. It was like speed talking. I could have won an Olympic medal had there been an event in that category.  That was the day I discovered I could cover a 20-minute rehearsed talk in about 5 minutes flat. One poor woman who was running a little late missed the whole thing.  While she was disappointed, I was just relieved it was over!

I learned to slow things down and relax. I recall asking another author if she was nervous about doing her schoolhouse and she said, “No, I’m just talking to a bunch of quilters.”

That was an epiphany for me. Think of it, just talking to a bunch of quilters. With quilts as a common ground, I found there was nothing to be afraid of even if I went brain dead and couldn’t come up with the right phrase or the name of a pattern that had been right on the tip of my tongue. Quilters are good about things like that as well as being forgiving about little mistakes.

But Monday was a new experience. I was scheduled to appear on Pat Sloan’s radio show that she hosts for American Patchwork and Quilting. The nerves came back and I began to have visions of not being able to grasp the word I was looking for or stuttering and stammering and sounding like a nitwit in general.

But Pat is good! She made the whole interview relatively easy and within a few moments the nerves had vanished and I was back in my comfort zone, talking to a bunch of quilters.

When the interview was over and the pod cast had been uploaded to American Patchwork and Quilting’s web site,, I went back and listened to make sure I hadn’t sounded like a nitwit.

And there it was, at the very end, when I discovered I had made a blunder that I considered truly cringe-worthy.

I was talking about redrafting the old Kansas City Star patterns for our online subscription service, My Star Collection. I explained how they were updated and had rotary cutting instructions where possible and that we included the templates whether one needed them or not. And then I said, “And a subscription can be purchased for $20 per year and you will get a pattern delivered to your in-box once a year.” I meant to say, “Once a week.” “A new pattern once a week!” Sheesh!

And you can listen to that here, I figure I gave my friends another story to tell when they are sitting around at retreat. I can hear it now, “Remember that time Edie told people . . .”

Filed under Edie McGinnis

One Response to “Is My Face Still Red?”

  1. Hi Edie,
    Don’t be nervous! One of my favorite speakers at a quilt show class was a woman who’s talk was anything but perfect and is the most memorable and makes me smile every time I think about it. She had notes on an envelope that she occasionally referred to and at one point she had a puzzled look on her face as she tried to decipher her notes and then said “Oh, that is to remind me to pay the oil bill.” We got such a laugh out of that!

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