Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm realizing why I like quilting best...

I used to sew for a shop in town, I made dolls and models for the patterns and fabric that she sold. It was fun at first but it became a monster job, one where I would start sewing at 6 AM, take a 30 minute break for lunch, sew until 4, start dinner, do YESTERDAY'S dishes, feed us, and then sit on the sofa and turn and stuff doll body parts until bedtime. Actually, my husband would do the turning and then throw body parts at me to be stuffed. lol Then, I would spend the next day assembling the dolls and dressing them and kitting them out in all their stuff. I would probably make between 10 and 20 dolls a week, and those dolls got more and more complicated and eventually, even the dolls had dolls.

Living 25 miles from the nearest craft shop meant that I also spent a lot of time either searching for or making all the little doo-dads that went with them. I was making angels, snowmen, scarecrows, crows, turkeys, Santas, reindeer, witches, bunnies- the whole gamut. I wish I had taken more photos of the things I had made, but I didn't think to.

As an example, I made many of these big Liberty dolls from this pattern- in fact, I accidentally plugged my bathtub drain because I was soaking sisal in the tub to relax it so I could make her extremely awkward hair. WHAT A MESSY PAIN! And dangerous, too, I had hot glue burns all over me, ever drip hot glue on your thigh? lol Anyway, I quit that job after about 7 years, working 6 days a week at home to keep up with the demand and the other day I worked at the shop. Finally I couldn't take it anymore, the fun was gone, so I quit. After I quit, the demand for dolls fell off anyway, so I guess my timing was pretty good.

So my sewing tapered WAY off, I don't think I used my machine much at all for a couple of years after that, until I got over it, I was really burned out. Then I started making things and selling them in my Etsy shop and I rediscovered my love for sewing.

I buy a fair amount of fabric from the new Bernina shop nearby and teach an occasional class there, usually for a bag or something like that. Somehow, and I don't know how this happened, I got roped into making some pincushions that look like cake. I now remember why I quit that other job!!!!!

What a pain in the butt! A lot of little pieces and I actually had to write notes to myself so I wouldn't get them all scrambled up. Interfacing, Timtex, ground walnut shells, stuffing, hot glue (because I cheated and didn't want to handsew those roses down) ricrac, changing thread colors 20 times, OMG! These aren't very good photos, because I don't really care about these things, but they took way too much time to make and I griped and grumbled thru every stinkin' minute of them. They turned out pretty cute, though, especially compared to the one I saw that someone else had made and was collapsing! I have to say, my fingers don't seem to be as nimble as they used to be and I found myself fumbling around a bit which I don't rememberbeing a problem in the past. Old age? Gosh, I hope not!

These are patterns by Cindy Taylor Oates and are very well written.

On a better, less whiny note, I did manage to make up 4 pair of no-no bands for a friend to send to a group called Operation Smile, where they use these to help during the healing process after children undergo surgery for cleft palates. Tongue depressors go into those slots and they make soft casts to keep the kids from touching their new face.

I can honestly say that this was probably the first time I've bought kid fabric to use for an actual kid! :) Usually I make myself something out of it.

I hope you all have a great day and only have to make the things that YOU want to, today!


Needled Mom said...

I can imagine how burned out you got. I really dislike it when my passion slips into a "work" situation.

Your little pincushions are so "sweet", but they must be a lot of work too. Sigh!!!

Great idea for the little restraints.

carol said...

Boy oh boy, I can relate! It's amazing what we do for $$, isn't it? I never made those cutie cake pincushions, but I did buy two slices at one of my favorite quilt shops to the tune of $14.95 a slice! Not cheap! But, much cheaper than me getting all frustrated and buying all the supplies myself. LOL It's time to sew for fun now, Sooz. You deserve it!

Rachel Locke said...

Those pincushions where sooo cute!! You have amazing talent.
I enjoy quilting more as well.

Krista said...

I love those pincushions! I wouldn't have the patience to make them either though.

Lynz said...

Dude, I used to teach a scrapbooking class to help out a friend. Maybe twice a month? I was kinda glad when the shop eventually closed - there is a reason my hobbies are hobbies and not my job!! So, I feel your pain. Although it has to be said, those are ROCKIN' pin cushions. Seriously good. But they look finicky and time consuming. Neither of which I especially love doing.

Good going on the no-no bands, too. Mine are cut out but not sewn yet. Soon, I tell myself, soon!!

Sandra said...

Been there, done that with making items to sell. For me, it isn't worth the effort. Much more fun to make gifts instead. All I can say about those pincushions is...sweet!

Susan R said...

I think you've paid your dues Susan. I can relate to the burn out as well. I remember a year or so ago, as I labored over (yet another) annual budget I took a deep breath and as I lay my pencil down on the desk I said, "I'm done." At that moment in time I knew without a doubt I was "over it". I then put my master plan of retiring early into motion and I was able to retire July 1, 2009 (after 2 wonderful careers totaling 36 years). It has been heaven ever since. And yes, I quilt what I want when I want. Just because I love it. Life is good. My spirit soars and never forget how blessed I am.

You deserve to do what you want to do just because you want too!



Laura said...

Those pin cushions are amazing!! But, it's no fun at all when our hobby becomes work. That sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? LOL