This week I got a request I have received a couple of times before, and it never gets any easier. "Will you make a quilt for me??? I will pay you."
This request never fails to make my stomach churn with panic. I'm not mad at the people asking...let's be clear about that. It's nice that someone thinks you do a nice job. I know there are tons of quilters who delight in and even seek out commissions. Why does it make me feel so nervous? I have compiled a list of reasons why I would suck at making quilts for money.
1) It's a sweat shop. I hand stitch my binding. I set my seams. I trim every.single.half-square-triangle. Add up all those time consuming things. Subract your materials. Divide by your commission. Ouch, right??
2) Some people do not care enough. My friend Ryan recently brought a handmade quilt to a church picnic. She bought it at a consignment store for $8. That means the owner parted with it for $5 profit. If I could meet the person who made that quilt, I'd give them a hug for that.
3)Some people care too much If I were a painter, I'd be the person who turned around and walked away (probably cursing in French) when you asked me to paint something to match your couch. I'm not saying I don't care about what you like. I'm saying if your artistic vision is so strong you feel the need to tell me how to do a quilt right down to the pattern and fabric, maybe you should take up quilting. I would be happy to show you how....I mean that!
4)I am completely overwhelmed. I have three kids at home and it's summer. Whoever coined the whole "lazy days of summer" was obviously not a stay at home mom. It was probably a child...or a teacher (like my sister who gets very smug each June). Right now I need to make 2 baby quilts, 2 houndstooth quilts, 2 moda bakeshop quilts (which I always give to my kids), and a Great Pumpkin Halloween quilt (fingers crossed it will be before Halloween!). These are things I have taken on voluntarily mostly for my family. I love doing things for my family. I know those quilts will not end up being priced at $8 in a consignment store.
5)It's ok to be selfish sometimes. I say that to convince myself. I don't actually believe it. This is what I do for fun. This is what I do for me. Some people get a mani pedi. I piece blocks. I don't want it to turn into an obligation. I can get a little fierce guarding my "me thing."
So, guys...have you had any experiences making quilts for people. How did it turn out? If you don't do it, how do you kindly let people know? My inquiring mind is dying to know!