Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Late Night Rant on Quilts and other Homemade Items

I make things. In fact, I LOVE to make things. I sew, I quilt, I bake, I crochet, and just recently taught myself the basics of knitting. And in making things, I love to make things for other people.

Only often, I'm getting to where I don't...

Let me explain.

First off, I HATE it when people assume that because I can sew, I will happily drop everyting I have in my busy life to become their own personal seamstress. I actually have gotten to the point that I'm hesitant to reveal my talent to too many people because I am often bombarded with people who want me to hem their pants, their dresses, or make them a dress because it would just be so much cheaper than the store, plus they are just so hard to fit! And it's not like it would inconvenience me in the least because THEY'LL PAY ME!!!

(Can you picture the look on my face right now?)

First off, the cost of materials to make a dress are usually more than any dress you can buy at, say, Kohl's, especially if they're having a good sale. And as for the fitting thing, hun, if you're hard to fit at Kohl's, chances are I'm not going to even want to touch the idea of sewing anything for you. I don't do pattern alterations for people. I HATE it, and quite frankly am not experienced enough to even try it. Doing it for myself and risking what may come of it is one thing. Trying it on other people's buck is another matter alltogeter.

And then of course, there's the whole TIME thing. Where on my person is a sign that says I have so much time on my hands, that I have nothing to do to possibly occupy myself for a few days? Um, what part of I have three kids and barely have enough time to sew for them, do you not understand???

Oh, and quite frankly, you can't pay me enough anyway, because I really just DON'T want to.

As to homemade gifts, let me give you another example. It was the second quilt I ever made. First, ever that I painstakingly HAND quilted. And it looked VERY nice, if I do say so myself, a lovely patchwork quilted throw, one I would be proud to display in my own home. The fabric was NOT cheap, name brand designer fabric that was NOT on sale. And it took me a LONG time to do this thing by hand. I was soooo proud of it, so excited to hear the response of the recipient as they opened their gift...only, when it came, I actually wondered that they might be disappointed, that she'd much rather have had a very impersonal gift certificate to Books-a-Million, and while it is (sort of) displayed in a non-prominant room in her home, I would wager a guess that it has not been used, snuggled, or even washed, for that matter, not once.

So...I ask myself... WHY did I make that again? Oh, I don't expect every gift I give to be put in a glass case and oohed and ahhed over. Uh, no. I'm not insane, but I really thought this would be the perfect gift, one this person (who loves to read) would love to snuggle up under on a cold winter night and enjoy a hot chocolate and a good book. Conssequently, I think she has since received a Snuggi and uses it quite frequently.

I might be sick.

And this is not the first time a homemade item was met with less than enthusiasm.

So, I've begun to pick and choose who receives my painstakingly made items. My mother ranks as the top receiver, the woman who taught me to sew and who truly does appreciate my efforts (and not just because I'm her daughter and she has to. LOL) I also have a couple friends who also appreciate the effort.

But I have more to say on the matter...on selling items.

I have made things to sell, quilts, toys, etc, and I've come to learn something about myself.

I am a very selfish sewer...or perhaps greedy is a better word, for I seem to develop a relationship with each item that I make, particularly with blankets and quilts, things that take up a lot of my time, where the fabric or yarn runs back and forth in my hand over and over for a time, and I acutally begin to develop a sort of relationship with the item... For example, every quilt I make, I tend to remember what was going on in my life at the time, or what I was doing while I worked on it. I have one quilt in particular that reminds me of watching a series called Out of the Wild with my husband, for I would sit in the floor and quilt away every time it came on. Same with the show Bones. I have another quilt I made that reminds me of my Irish heritage, a simple patchwork throw that is made up of orange and bright green plaid squares I purchased at a display in the fabric store around St. Patrick's Day. I also have a baby quilt I made that I could not bring myself to sell, so in love with the bright fabrics, and it now hangs proudly on my sewing room wall, mine forever more. :)

And I work on one now, nearly finished, that has been a pain and a half and a thorn in my side, the first LARGE quilt I've made on a sewing machine, and quite frankly, I did not have the room for all the close, intricate sewing I had to do, and thought I would lose my mind before I finally finished cramming that thing in the machine, twisting it this way and that, and knocking all sorts of things off of my sewing room counter into the floor as I did so. Now, I'm binding it, and I have what may actually be a permanent hole in my finger from pushing the needle in and out...Yeah, I should probably go in search of my thimble, hmm? But the quilt??? I am totally, madly in love with this thing and wouldn't sell it for anything, even if I thought I could get a couple hundred for it. It's MINE. Deal with it. :)

That said, I haven't made anything to sew (or give) in quite a while, unless, of course, you count my children, though I really consider sewing for my family the same as for myself, as I get as much joy from sewing my kids things as I do for myself.

And no, I have no idea what I'm gonna' do when I wind up with 30 throws for myself, but I think I will be quite content happily displaying them on a rack in my living room. :)