One year ago I changed my whole quilting and working life. Last June, I gave myself one year to try a new arrangement and then re-evaluate. This post is part of my evaluation. Please ignore it if you don't want to read my naval-gazing. (I get the irony. A blog is pretty much all about naval-gazing.) Before last June, I was spending most of my time machine quilting for other people. Don't get me wrong, I love doing that. I love talking to my clients. I love seeing all of the different kinds of quilts that come in. But it was taking up too much of my quilting, and personal life. To make time for me to do my own work and to strike a balance I decided to take the summer of 2011 off and just be a mom. I also cut way back on the number of quilts I quilt for clients during the school year. I am now quilting about 1/3 - 1/2 of the number of quilts I was doing a year ago.
Financially this was a bit of a hit, but it was a great move for my mental health. I have been able to spend evenings and weekends with my family without stressing about the work that needed to be done. It has also been a good move for my personal quilting life. My productivity level increased greatly, and I think my quilts have changed and grown in a way I did not see coming.
I plan to take most of this summer off again, and just be "mom". In the fall I will continue to quilt for other people on the same schedule I did the past school year.
Part of my "year in review" is to list some quilting accomplishments.
In the past 12 months, besides machine quilting for clients:
- my quilts have been in approximately 9 national quilt shows
- they won 4 awards in those shows
- a quilt was used as the "signature quilt" for a quilt show - I now have a bag and a t-shirt with my quilt on it
- I judged a fabric design competition
- several pieces sold
- I wrote a pattern for a quilting magazine (magazine and pattern to be revealed when I have a publication date!)
- I was asked to do some other writing (again, I'll fill you in later)
- a gallery show was secured for 2013 (date TBA)
- "O Happy Day" will be Ms. July in a 2013 calendar. Want to pre-order a copy?
- I made and donated approximately 10 quilts to organizations I care about
- I quilted approximately 10 other quilts that someone else pieced, and were donated to other organizations I care about
- my "sew-mates" and I have firmly established a weekly sewing/critique/therapy session (this probably was as much of a help to my sanity as anything!)
I am now in the process of making a list of goals for the next year. Maybe I will accomplish them, maybe not. But it can't hurt - right?