Quitting Quilting

Okay… I’m not really going to stop quilting, but GloryQuilts – as a business – is undergoing some serious restructuring. I made the decisions a few months ago, but the new year is a good time to announce the changes. I’m changing my business model, which will hopefully change my attitude, because I have started to loathe the very sight of my sewing machine. I’m burned out.

I have loved making quilts for nearly thirty years – until recently.  Lately, most of my quilting has been commissioned and special order projects. Deadlines led to pressure, sucking the joy from what used to be happy creative work. Creating a career from your passion sounds like a good idea, but what was the passion: the creativity or the process?  (That was a rhetorical question.)  Paint-by-number sewing and quilting have taken up all of my time, leaving me with no energy or enthusiasm for the kind of work I used to enjoy.  I had looked forward to having granddaughters to dress in poufs and frills, but instead I bought their Christmas dresses at Kohls on my way to pick up more thread from WalMart. The last two grandsons still haven’t received baby quilts. One of them is already reading. I haven’t had time for those “unprofitable” projects, when there were so many paying projects waiting to be finished.

I never made a conscious decision to turn GloryQuilts into a quilt factory. I just gradually drifted into that situation, mostly for financial reasons. Creating a special order quilt always  seemed like a good idea at the time, when someone was writing me a check, flattering me with their confidence in my skills. By the time I finished, though, it was seldom truly profitable.

When I started selling quilts online, my descriptions explained that I was selling class samples and pattern prototypes.  Those sold well, and I started thinking of it as a job. Eventually, I was making quilts and quilted items to sell, designed specifically for financial gain, using fabrics and patterns that were trendy. My items looked pretty much the same as everyone else’s.

There is nothing wrong with that, if a person wants to run that kind of business, but it isn’t right for me.  I want to keep the joy of teaching quiltmaking, drafting patterns and creating original quilts. Of course, I’d be happy to make money from it, too, but the business has to come from the passion and not squash it.  I am going to continue selling class samples, pattern prototypes, and original, creative quilts and quilted items. I am not going to worry about whether or not the fabrics are fashionable. After all, those will look dated in a few years, and I want my quilts to last much longer. 😉

If a friend asks me to mend a pair of jeans, I want to be able to bless her by doing it gladly instead of saying I don’t have time – or bursting into tears.  I’m not a quilt snob. I do mend and sew crafty things and I don’t regard my creations as sacred works of art. I don’t think all vintage quilts need to be preserved in their original states, wrapped in acid-free paper and packed away from the light.  I think it’s okay to have Aunt Nelly’s hand-pieced quilt top machine quilted if the alternative is to leave it in a box for another 50 years.

I want my sewing room to be my happy place. I also want to spend more time writing. I haven’t been able to do much of that while I have been so over-committed with commissioned projects, and it’s important to me – another form of creative work I am increasingly passionate about.

So now, if you see a new GloryQuilts item for sale, you will know that it was stitched with happiness as well as skill, and it’s a truly unique creation.  I’m excited about the change.

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I have a naked wall!

At Christmas, my husband made a fireplace for me.  In addition to giving me another opportunity for decorating (and hanging the stockings I may eventually finish), I now a big space over a fireplace mantel, perfect for displaying seasonal quilts. I’ve always rotated seasonal quilts throughout the house, but with this new wall, I need to make some more!

I want an Americana quilt that uses softer, more rustic reds, whites/beiges, and blues.  Not primaries, not cutesy, not primitive.  I will probably piece it instead of doing as much applique as I did for the last two quilts.

I made this one for Christmas. I used a sort of vintage/folksy/rustic/elegant theme for Christmas last year, but I wanted a quilt that would be versatile enough to accommodate different styles of Christmas decor.

Christmas Quilt over the fireplace 2014 http://www.gloryquilts.com

I left the Christmas quilt up until I finished the Valentines Day quilt. This quilt was a little more challenging because I knew it would probably stay up longer – I didn’t want it to be too specifically Valentine-y.  But here it is, after Memorial Day, after Flag Day, and getting close to Independence Day! So I took it down today, and that wall looks embarrassed without any clothes quilts on. If I wait much longer, I could just segue into autumn, right?

Valentines Day quilt over the fireplace mantel 2015 http://www.gloryquilts.com

Do you have seasonal quilts? How often do you change them? Where do you display them?

Sad Quilt

I made this 25″ X 25″ quilt about twelve years ago and used it as a table topper in our bedroom for about three years. It wasn’t a table that was used for anything; nothing was spilled on it. When we moved, I did not have a use for a quilt of this color and size, so I put it the linen closet. It was not sealed away in plastic or stored where it might get dirty. I am not careless of my quilts. The batting is white cotton. It doesn’t have seeds. When I washed it several times, to FINALLY get rid of the bleeding from that red fabric, it was rinsed thoroughly and dried flat.

And yet, it’s stained. The yellow is obvious. After raising three sons, I have an arsenal of stain-removal techniques, and none of them worked. I used oxi-clean. Borax. Fels Naptha. Handmade soap. Everything. The last couple times, I went ahead and dried it in the dryer. I give up.

So now, I have to decide:

1. Should I cut it up and try to do something with the salvageable pieces? It’s not very big, and the elements are not close together, so I am not sure what I could do with it.

Or

2. Should I try to tea-dye it? Redwork embroidery is generally only used on white fabrics, but the splotchy-ness of that style might partially camouflage the stains.

Or

3. Should I toss it out and stop wasting my time? I could let it go and move on.

What do you think? I’m not going to use it as it is now, and there’s no point in putting it back into storage. I have nothing left to lose, right?

pinsheelsredwork4

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Christmas Shopping

I was chatting with my friend Beth from One of His Branches , and we were wondering if many people are doing their Christmas shopping yet. I like doing my shopping early, but there are always some gifts that don’t get purchased until the last minute – usually because I can’t decide what to buy. Like so many people, I do a lot of my shopping online.

I have one daughter-in-law who is very artsy, and I can find pretty things for her on etsy. The grandchildren’s presents come mostly from Amazon. I usually make things for the other women on my list. Everyone loves handmade gifts!

It’s always nice if people have collections or hobbies – that makes them easy to shop for! My brother-in-law is a John Deere farmer. We used to buy him John Deere stuff, when we were still exchanging gifts for the guys. One year we gave him a light-up John Deere Christmas Tree Topper.  Now I exchange gifts with my sisters and the guys get together for a male bonding day at the shooting range. They are a lot more enthusiastic about Christmas gifts than they used to be.

We have two rules for Christmas gifts:

1. No gift cards, unless it is for something very specific. Last year we gave my oldest son and his wife a gift card for a bed and breakfast. They love to get away for short trips.

2. Wrapped presents instead of gift bags. There is something special about opening boxed gifts instead of pulling them out of a gift bag. Yes, I know it’s not as environmentally-friendly, but it’s Christmas. 😉

Do you shop early for Christmas?