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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Sunday, May 27, 2007

A good deed day

Yesterday I finished the quilt that was on the machine.

The other side.

Then I finished this one for my grandson that has the nicknames of the kids in his karate group. He did the letters. I enlarged the letters so I could make the quilt. UPS is scheduled to pick it up on Tuesday. I wish I could deliver it in person so I could see his face.

I also worked more on this quilt. It started as a leader and ender project. I think it may become a quilt to enter into the fair and then given to charity. It will be a full size quilt. After the fair I will probably save it until I see a family on TV that will need it.

Today I’m going to the home of a lady who has a brand new Hinterberg table for her household machine. I’m going to show her how to load a quilt on the frame. I never charge for these visits because it is just fun to do. Working on the household machines and the Hinterberg table is kind of like playing in a dollhouse. So much smaller than the Gammill.

This trip away from home will feel so good! If I were still in a panic about staying ahead of customer tops to be finished I would have to work extra, extra hard to make up for the day away from my machine. Since I'm no longer in a panic mode the day will be an enjoyable time away from work.
We will be stopping at the fabric store on the way back home if we have time. I have to get more fabrics so I can start on a king size custom quilt that is due to be completely finished by June 15th. I am supposed to have the top finished by June 5th to see if they approve the construction. I always give the customer one last look before it goes onto the machine. It is their last chance to make changes before it is completed. If I don’t make it to the fabric store today then my daughter and I will go tomorrow.

I need to start working on a quilt to be given to Art for the Animals. This event is the first week of August I believe. I try to create a small wall hanging each year to give anonymously. It is a good way to use up some of my stash fabrics. Hmmm…. I’m gonna get off the computer because I just thought of a design. I want to see if I can sketch it out before I leave.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I didn’t quite finish the quilt I’ve had on the machine for two days. My SIL came over yesterday and needed help with her quilts which meant I had to stop my own work. I’m down to the very last couple of rows. I should be able to finish it this morning and post pictures tomorrow.

Hmmm… I guess I should say its official now. I had some phone calls yesterday to be put onto my waiting list. I told them I would not be putting any more names on it for awhile. I’ll only finish up the one’s already on the list and take a few months off. I guess that would be the equivalent of giving the boss my resignation. I don’t feel scared at all about giving up the main source of my income. I simply feel relieved!

I was asked what I plan to do when I no longer have long waiting lists of topper names. Oh my goodness, there are so many possibilities. I’ll list a few quilty things:

A – More charity quilts
B – Clothing memory quilts
C – T-shirt quilts
D – Write a quilt book
E – Create some art quilts
F – Teach those who buy a quilting machine what to do with it
G – Design quilts
H – Teach piecing classes at the LQSs
I – Enter a quilt contest or two
J – Work on a business plan to move
K – Show more ways to stay organized with quilting

That’s just the quilty type things I can do. There are many possibilities for non-quilt activities too. Like see the kids and grandkids. Have lunches with nice ladies. Visit art galleries. See, there are lots of things I can do.

I had been feeling kind of down the last few days. I got an email from a lady on the West Coast that really made me feel good. She pointed out that my blog posts are making a difference. That’s what I had hoped when I started it. I was beginning to doubt my blog posts were helping anyone. Time doesn’t allow me to answer bunches of emails but a nice one received like that now and then really helps me even if I can’t answer it right away.

My SIL asked me why I felt I should quit for awhile. Besides not having a life there are the hurtful comments made by toppers about machine quilters that are like a stab to my heart. What?!? No, no, the comments are not intentionally said to be hurtful but none the less they hurt. I read and hear comments like this: “I’m tired of waiting months for my machine quilter to finish my tops.” “I only had 3 tops so why should I have to wait 9 months or a year to get them back?” “She or he charges too much and takes too long.”

When I hear or read these comments I want to cry or scream or say here let me teach you how and you can do your own. All I can really say to these toppers is -- if a machine quilter has possession of your tops for many months you are working the system wrong!

So why are these comments hurtful? Because I know how much of a life machine quilters give up just to stay ahead of the long waiting lists. It happens gradually, over time, as a machine quilter gains confidence to create better quilting. As he or she gets better and word spreads more people want to get their tops done by them.

A topper only knows about their own number of tops and not about the 30 or 40 other people who have called with 3 or 4 tops finished too. Do the math, if there are say – 20 people with 2 tops each calling one machine quilter. That’s 40 tops on a waiting list. Now say that those tops are all double bed size or larger and are to get custom quilting that takes on average 2 days each. That means – 20 customers; times 2 tops each; is 40 tops; times 2 days each --- Oh my! 80 days of quilt work. Does the machine quilter work 80 straight days to get them done? What about illness, or family emergency, or a machine breakdown, or delay in getting supplies, or another 20 people calling with 2 tops each? These things also figure into how fast a machine quilter gets your tops finished. Come on toppers, have a heart, think about what you are asking of your machine quilter.

Time again for me to stop rambling and get into the studio. 45 quilts and counting down.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I quit!

Guess what? Oh well, you’ll never guess so I’ll just tell you. I woke up this morning and told my boss “I QUIT!” Of course, being my own boss, I was really talking to myself.

Have you ever had a job so stressful that each morning you dreaded going to work? Then after you had taken about all the stress you could handle you walk in one day and say you quit? I did once and quitting felt soooo good.

Ok, so I realize I can’t really quit but I sure wish I could. Instead I’m drastically cutting back on the work I accept - again. My family is much more important than quilt deadlines! I have a grandson who is about 2 or 2 ½ years old and I’ve never seen him in person. I’m feeling so ashamed of myself for that.

Later in the day my daughter called to check on me. Usually her first question to me is “what are you doing” to which I always reply “oh the same old thing, working on a quilt”. This time when she asked I replied “oh nothing, just sitting”. She says “oh, so you’re pinning pieces.” I say no, just sitting and doing nothing. What?!? My mother is just sitting and doing nothing? I’ve never seen you just sit and I’m almost 26 years old. (I know how old you are baby girl because I was there when you were born.) She says, you must be doing something; cutting, reading, typing, pinning or something? Nope, I’m just sitting.

Honestly, I wasn’t doing anything but sitting. I wanted to see what it felt like to do absolutely nothing but relax. No tv, no books on cd, no work in my hands, nothing but sitting. It didn’t last long though. I’m too hyper to just sit for very long. I did start cutting the pieces for one of my grandson’s quilt. He designed it and I promised to make it for him.

I really do think it is time for me to take a few months off from doing topper quilts and concentrate on just doing quilts from scratch. If I just do scratch quilts for non-sewers I will still have enough to live on and have plenty of time for what matters most to me – my family.

I have to be careful about announcing that I quit though. The last time I decided to quit I wound up with a new Gammill and a promise not to quit for 5 years. Hmmm…. Has it been 5 years yet? This may put a glitch in my plans. I’ll have to look through my papers.

Ok, this is short for today. I have a top on the machine that I started quilting yesterday. I’m at 46 more to do and counting down. This is sort of like counting the days left until vacation. I really do plan to take a few weeks off to work on a special project.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I need time off

I’ll start off by showing the quilts I finished the last couple of days. I pieced this one. The owner picked it up today and he was pleased with it. He believes his wife will be very happy with his gift for her.

I like the colors.

Then I quilted this one for a topper customer. It is her first quilt. She did a wonderful job on it. Everything was nice and square and all pressed extremely well. She had a very good teacher too. It was her sister. Her sister is an excellent topper.

Not a cut off point to be found.

I had lunch with the three nice ladies again yesterday. Nice ladies are the nicknames I gave to Marilyn, Joan, and Emma. I kind of took over the conversations and talked about my dreams for the future; but, I really needed some feedback from them. I received much, much more from the luncheon than was apparent. They probably don’t even realize just how much they helped.

I know the nice ladies are reading my blog - thank you so much!

To my internet friends - let me tell you what I got from yesterday’s lunch. After lunch we came back to my place so I could brag a little about my works in progress and my organizing. I showed the nice ladies some of the quilts I’m working on and samples of my machine quilting. It was sooo much fun. I was sorry to see them leave.

Much of our conversations were about my desire to move away from a really bad neighborhood and open a quilt studio/gallery to sell my work. A big part of the success for a business venture is the person’s willingness to take a risk. Yes, I am very ready to take the risk. Talking to the nice ladies got me really pumped up and ready to do it all right now! I have no doubts about my ability. I truly believe I have it in me to be successful. I believed the only thing holding me back was knowledge about how to move.

Later in the evening I was talking with my daughter about the nice ladies lunch and our time here in my studio. Also about the conversations we had on how I could possibly move to Paducah to the Lower Town Art District to become a textile artist. My daughter already knows how much I want to start making quilts to sell. Then my daughter asked me some questions that really have me wondering.

She asked me “But Mom if you believe you can sell your quilts, why do you have to move to Paducah to prove it? Why don’t you make and sell a few first? You could use your proven sales as a reference when you ask for grant money to move.”

She had a very good point. Did I say my daughter is my very best critic? Having grown up watching me work all these years she can tell at a glance whether my work is right or not. I told her how I had a fear of no income while I got established in another city.

What my daughter said was “If you were to move to Paducah you would be starting off cold without any customers or income, so why can’t you do that here first? And in Paducah you would be neighbors with known artists where you would be competing for the tourists dollars. Just stop stressing out over long waiting lists of toppers, tell them you are taking some time off, and go for it” Wow, did she have another good point or what?

Then she said “Mom Louisville must have some type of artist relocation program too. Surely all those artists who have moved to the east end didn’t just get together one day and say let’s all move to that area? There has to be a reason so many moved to that area so why not find out about it?”

My daughter also pointed out that I live on probably only 20% of my income as it is. I give the rest of it away to whichever child or grandchild needs financial help. We lived on very, very little money when she was growing up and we all survived. So why don’t I just stop working so hard at supporting everyone else and go for the dream? Those who spend my money all the time should understand and start standing on their own two feet, right? That is including her.

Well it’s time for me to get off the computer and get into the studio. I have a lot of thinking and planning to do so maybe I will put a mindless quilt on the machine. Mindless quilts are the ones I can do Circle Lord quilting on. I don’t have to think about the quilting, just push the machine to follow the groves.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Friday again?

I finished these two quilts yesterday.

Very pretty pastels on this one.

Then I loaded the star quilt I finished a few days ago onto the machine for today. I did a few sketches of the design I plan to quilt on it then turned off the machine to clean house a little while. I have to clean when I can find a few minutes away from the customer quilts.

I also worked on a couple of quilt tops of my own for a few minutes. One is a top designed by my grandson when he was here a few weeks ago. I have a bunch of little raw edge letters to cut out before I can put it all together.

Then I sewed a few more strings onto dryer sheets for the blocks of charity quilts. Sewing a whole stack of strings only take about 15 minutes. 15 minutes at a time along with the leaders and enders soon finds me with a finished top or two. Don’t know what leaders and enders are? You can find out more about it here: http://quiltville.com/leadersenders.shtml

You might also want to look at this page of Bonnie’s site:

This is why I have all those bins of scraps under my quilting machine. She got me hooked on saving and using scraps for charity quilts.

Ok, enough computer time this morning. I’m going to start early on the machine. Maybe I will find a few more minutes this evening to work on something of my own again.