Last week I told you about why I sew Bonnie Hunter quilts. I also told you a bit about my sewing adventures and designing quilts. I you missed that post you can find it here. Lots of people commented. I always love reading through the comments. It’s a good way for me to see if what I wanted to say was actually understood. Sometimes as I write I know what I want to say but it doesn’t always come out in an understandable way to my readers. I think I have to delve a little further into the hows and whys of quilt designing and why we’re content to simply stay where we are.
The comment that prompted me to see that I hadn’t written enough of the hows and whys of why I prefer sewing quilts, mostly Bonnie Hunter quilts, over designing our own came from Chris who wrote, “I think you are selling yourself short. Being influenced by one designer does influence your designs and not as appealing to others. Your patterns that you show are very nice, but I really would like to see more of creativity. I know it is in there someplace. Please don’t take offense. I think you have it. Think about it and challenge yourself.”
The truth is this…
At one point Kelli and I thought we might want to enter the quilt world in a big way as designers. That came about the time we were working on our book. That was before either of us had our forever homes…before Kelli knew she was going to be a nurse and before I was called back to childcare. We thought it would be fun. We worked hard…got a few breaks…had a lot of fun. Then we were faced with this…TO REALLY “MAKE IT” IN THE QUILTING WORLD YOU HAVE TO TRAVEL.
oh-oh. Neither one of us like to travel. Occasional travel to see someone or a historic place, fine…work travel. NO WAY!
I am not knocking anyone who likes to travel for business, all I am saying is it is not for me.
I love my Hubby. I want to be with him each and every day for the rest of my life. I don’t like spending time away from him.
I love my kids. I want to be with, near and around them whenever I can.
I love Carver. I want to be in his life now and always.
My life is my family. No ambition, no quilt, no profession, no nothing is worth being away from them for extended periods of time. I LOVE being a house wife. I LOVE being a grandma. I LOVE the day to day mundane with my family. I LOVE all aspects of family including the feather ruffling that happens between the kids from time to time. I don’t want to miss any of this. I’ve made my family my life since the day I met my Hubby….that isn’t changing.
Occasionally Kelli and I play around and design something. Do you want to know why we do? One, it’s kind of fun-it is flattering- and two we do it for mad money. Both Kelli and I are married to farmers. Neither of our families is rolling in extra money. We get along fine, but there isn’t room for luxuries in either of our budgets. When we get a quilt into a magazine we use the money we make for things we couldn’t otherwise afford. We do things like go to a cross stitch shop and buy a cross stitch kit. We go out to eat. We go shopping and we both get a new pair of tennis shoes. We go to a antique shop and each of us get something. It’s our money…our husbands don’t care what we do with it and we don’t need it to make our budgets.
When we design it, we aren’t looking for any sort of fame or recognition, or to have made the best more creative quilt ever. That’s not our goal at all..we want to provide a product that others could enjoy making and we want the mad money.
I feel completely fulfilled in my life. I have no desire to “challenge myself” -to design something to please someone else. Me, I’m happy with what I design. What I do…I do for me. I also do for Kelli. If someone else along the way wants to make the quilt too…GREAT…if not, GREAT.
I really don’t think I am “selling myself short”. I think I am being me. I think I am being smart. I think I am avoiding the treadmill that so many others are on. I know what I want in life and am going after it. Here the things I want out of life.
I want to be a child of God’s.
I want to be a day to day presence in my family’s lives.
I want to part of my extended family’s lives.
I want to be a guiding influence in the lives of my childcare kids and their families.
I want to be a friend to important people in my life.
I want to be part of my community.
I want to be able to keep the standard of living I have…I don’t need more.
I can’t do any of that, in the way that I want, if I am traveling…if I am sitting behind a computer working out complex quilt designs…
I want my quilting to be my HOBBY.
I want my blog to be my HOBBY.
I want to be able to walk away from quilting and blogging as I see fit. The only one I want to be married to is my husband and my family.
Don’t worry..I’m not walking away from blogging at any point soon. I am not walking away from the designing we do. I really enjoy blogging, quilting, and quilt designing in my own way….
My goal is to keep quilting as a hobby, doing it my own way- even if it isn’t traditional…even if it isn’t what others deem correct or creative.
I’m going to share one more thing with you.
Writing the quilt book was, for Kelli and I, not a pleasant experience. We hated the deadlines. We hated the pattern writing. We hated the edits. We hated being forced to sew. It sucked all the fun away. It was not enjoyable. One day after we were done and the manuscript turned in, Kelli and were looking at some pictures. One of the pictures was the picture of us that you see above.
Kelli looked at me. She had big tears in her eyes. She said, “Mom, I hope we can sew like that again someday.” I asked her what she meant and she said, “I want us to sew for fun again.” I looked at Kelli…now big tears were in my eyes too. I said, “Me too!”
I will NEVER forget that. I will never get on that quilt designing treadmill again. Being the mom and grandma…being the wife…being there to let Ruby outside…being there for my child care families…ALL of that is WAY more important than producing quilt designs that meet anyone else’s expectation.