Thursday, April 30, 2009

To Quilt (for hire) Or Not To Quilt...

First thing this morning, I read the Yarn Harlot's blog. Talk about a "fav." I love to read her writing. She's in love with yarn, in the same way that I'm captivated by fabric. She gravitates towards knitting needles, I love my Bernina. We're polar opposites, yet we've got much in common. Today's post laments her lack of knitting time, and I could SO relate.

Just yesterday I was at lunch with a friend. She wanted to know if I am really and truly going to stop quilting for hire. She's one of my loyal clients, and is very good at making me feel guilt about even wanting to stop. I would be letting her down. I would be letting more than her down. "You can't quit!"

Can't I?

I look at my disaster of a sewing room, which used to bustle with creativity. At this point it's a dumping ground and stagnant when it comes to actual production. I have the tools, I have the fabric, I have everything I need to create wondrous wonders, but there is one thing missing. I have no time.

My days have been filled with quilt show, interspersed with a bit of quilting for others.

When was the last time I finished a show quilt? It was April, 2008, and that's a LONG time ago.

Sure, I finished my 2008 Hoffman Challenge in July 2008, and when it comes back I'll send it on a bit of a circuit, but really...when is the last time I finished a very GOOD quilt? It's been a year. It's been more than a year.

That year has not been wasted. It's been spent quilting for others and working on the show. Both are good ways to spend my time. Service to the community is important, whether paid or volunteer. But sometimes it's important for me to work on something just for me.

Or maybe it doesn't have to be just for me. Maybe it can be for a family member. I notice that the two steps that I actually completed this year were for Allison & Jeff and Andrew. Neither quilt is finished, but each is one step closer. My March and April steps fell into the category of "filler," and neither was completed. It wasn't like I was doing any other quilting in their place. There was simply no quilting time available.

Obviously this is a problem. The question is, what am I going to do about it?

I've decided to maintain my business license for now, but I'm not going to advertise at all. Maybe, if the right person asks me to quilt the right project, I will accept it, but they can't be in a hurry to have it quilted. I have a few true goals of my own - goals are good! - and I'd really like to see them reached this year.

I want to finish my Flower Fades faith quilt. It's partially hand-quilted. I need to finish the quilting, add the ruching and bind it. It's probably 20-30 hours from completion. If I put my mind to it? I could finish it in a week.

I want to finish my quilt from the Ruth McDowell class I took in 2007. It's a good quilt, all it needs is quilting. And maybe a little bit of beading. Or not. And binding. I couldn't guess the number of hours that will take, but I think I could finish it in two months' time.

And so, I'm going to take the next two months to focus on my own work. If I'm being selfish, I apologize. But it's been too long. There's been too much on my plate and not enough of it has been personal.

I'll continue with my Step Program, (last night I finished the sheepies, wanna see?), and I'm still thinking of attempting a Hoffman Challenge. Yesterday I found two fabrics that work with the Challenge fabric, after wading through 75% of my stash...The fabric continues to be a groaner.

So that's where I stand today. I'll keep my license, but I don't want to quilt for anyone else until I've finished at least one show quilt. Or maybe both. We'll see. In the meantime? I'm on sabbatical. I'll let you know when I'm ready to get back to business.


pb said...

You take time off because the "wonders" that you create are so inspiring and a joy to behold. I love the sheepies. It seems so strange not to have the monster lone star sitting staring at me. So this month (May) I plan to finish and deliver the geisha woman, put the circles in the circle quilt. That is all I am going to commit to out loud. Have a great day.

quiltedtime said...

That the thing about quilting--it's sooooo time-consuming. I had to make the decision about whether I was going to focus on creating show quilts or quilts that were simpler and more suitable for submitting to magazines. The show quilts won out. Even then, I remember just a couple weeks ago when I was driving home from BOTV with a backseat full of quilts.....My first thought was, "I am so happy about how that show went." My very next thought was, "Oh my gosh, I've got to get busy and finish something for NEXT year!"

Which leads us to May's 12 step goal: I will finish appliquing HALF of the vines on my rabbit quilt. Stems only, not leaves or fruit :-).