Monday, November 29, 2010

I Quit!

Today I made a decision, and it feels good. It is something that I won't be able to accomplish for a few years. But.. I decided that I am going to quit making quilts!

Here is what I mean by that. For over ten years now I have been making loads of quilts. Most of them I give away. Most are for kids at two or three places that are my pet projects. I don't plan to quit making those 100%, but I'm going to cut way back and will stop trying to warm every kid on the globe.

In recent years I have tried really hard to start doing more of my own machine quilting. Sometimes it goes well, and I like it. Most of the time it goes badly, and it makes me grumpy. I just can't do it very well, and I hate the whole hassle!

From now on I will NOT, unless absolutely necessary, do my own quilting on the larger size quilts. It is way too stressful. And really, I don't even enjoy making the large tops very much. It is way more fun to make blocks (small, and varied) and small tops (done quickly).

I think that I won't really "quit" -- but when I can, I am going to start focusing on small projects that I do only when I want to. And I am going to stop being a full time quilter.

Before I can do that, here is what needs to happen. I have several quilts that I have either promised or that I want to finish. I can't officially quit until those are done. Let's see what that means:
1) a big one I am working on today to give to a program that I signed up for.. and the due date is looming (it's the picture, above)
2) a wedding quilt that I promised but haven't started
3) a couple of queen-size quilts I want to make for hubby and me
4) I have been trying to make quilts for every family member and everyone in a certain group of friends. Of those I still have about 6 left.

Just doing the above list, along with small things that satisfy my need to just create something, will keep me busy for a couple years at least. After that, I quit, sort of.

I have been feeling burned out for a while, and this decision feels really good. I will continue to do very small things such as make blocks for Tammy (if she keeps the Sunshine Lotto going). But I will no longer be churning out quilts like there is no tomorrow. It's too much and has stopped being fun!

Whew! It feels so good to have decided this. I can hardly wait to finish my "obligations" (self-imposed) and to get rid of most of my quilt mess and just pull it out once in a while. It'll be fun again at that point.


Linda at Roscoe's Ma said...

I too feel the need to gift all my family with a quilt. It can become overwhelming, huh? I too struggle with making big quilts, but I still want two big quilts of my own. It'll all get sorted out. Do what you love and love what you do...I forget who said that. Anyway, more power to you!

Julie Sharer said...

Wowzer! That's a HUGE decision, but sounds like a good one. If your hobby becomes overwhelming, then it doesn't seem like a "hobby" anymore, but more like a J.O.B. (and you certainly don't want one of THOSE!) Congrats on your decision...I'm certain you will find other fulfilling missions in your life, Carol!

Unknown said...

I can't say that this is surprising...but I am surprised that your put it in writing. You do nice work and it would seem a shame to lose the beauty!

Kim West said...

You know - I think pressure to "GIVE" for a quilter is Huge. Every time I show a quilt at my bee, it is "who is that for?" - can't they all be mine? They usually are. I still feel a little guilty when I say the quilt is for me. You have inspired a post!

quiltmom anna said...

I think that you have made a brave decision Carole- I sometimes think I would like to make smaller quilts.
However, like you I have a list of quilts in my head for some important people.
Perhaps by making smaller projects you will find that quilting feeds your creative soul.
You do beautiful work- finding a way to express that is the key.
Thanks for sharing.

Pattilou said...

Paring down "to dos" in one's head is no different than cleaning a closet! It gets the cobwebs out!!! Trusting in oneself is the best way. I finished up some big quilts this year and I didn't really enjoy the big ones as much as the smaller quilts. I spent alot sending quilts out and that's really going to slow down this year too. If I can't quilt them myself then they are too big... That said, I still have a big for commission quilt to do and in two years or so one for another granddaughter if she wants it--if not I won't feel bad. I've been playing with scraps and just fiddling this last couple of weeks and I like it! Hope you like your new parameters too. Sunshine blocks also give me a chance to use up or try something new. (I've sensed that something was up with you--so welcome back happy Carol!)

Quiltdivajulie said...

The joy for me is the process of creation (design, colors, construction) - NOT the quilting. I am fortunate/blessed/lucky/etc. to have a good friend who is a great quilter. I firmly believe in QWO (quilting without obligation) and continue to work on my own tendency to create goals and deadlines ... I hope your decision brings you the freedom to enjoy the process instead of worrying about the outcome!

Lunachance said...

Congratulations on such a big decision. I completely agree with the "quilting by check" (paying for bed sized quilts to be quilted) theory. You should do what brings you happiness. If it is not fun, you have empowered yourself to say no. That is a big step and you should be proud.

Redmond, WA

BrendaLou said...

I don't quilt any of my own quilts any more...tablerunners are about all. I like the process of design, playing with fabric, cutting it up, sewing it back together. I was happiest when I WAS a full-time piecer/appiliquer. Then I opened a Quilt Shop and 85% of the sewing I do is for business purposes. I'm happiest doing that 15%! But I doubt I'll ever make decisions to Quilt or Not! I don't want to be a slave to anything...I want to quilt when I want to quilt. And I do love making Sunshine Quilts for Children and I'll probably do that till I die (and I suspect you will too) but you'll channel some of your energies in ways you can't even begin to imagine! Your heart is sooo big and your creativity will find new outlets....but I suspect you'll be "quilting" for many more years to come! Hugs..and enjoy retirement my friend.

Janet said...

Carol I find that reading your post is refreshing. I have not quilted for about 2 years now since starting school and I have actually felt somewhat guilty over the fact that I am not missing it. I was starting to think I must be really fickle when I so much enjoyed doing it for the several years that I did. It is nice to know that I am not the only one that feels this way.

Sweet P said...

I made the same decision last year. Most of my decision revolved around the time it takes to make large quilts. I've been lots of tote bags, needle cases and small projects and enjoy my sewing time a lot more. Good luck with your "quitting".