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JudyL

Finding the Balance

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I've had to re-think my whole strategy following MQS. This is not meant to knock anyone's quilting, style, classes, etc. -- just some personal thoughts about my own path.

While at MQS, I stood and looked at Sharon Schamber's quilt for the longest time. I did the same thing when I saw it in Paducah and I think I could look at it for days! I wondered if I could ever do anything even similar to that. I kept thinking about it after I got home.

I looked at Renae Haddadin's work, I've always admired Sherry R-Harrison's work.

The quilters whose work I admire most have way more natural talent than I have. I can almost draw a straight line without assistance and that's the extent of my creativity.

We all have to find the balance that works for us. For me, I would love to be making gorgeous show quilts, winning ribbons, being invited to teach classes but at this time in my life, I have a son in college with a dad who has obviously forgotten that he has a son. And, even Chad could have worked a little harder to get scholarships and he didn't.

Yes, Chad could get student loans and at some point he may have to. Yes, Vince could easily put Chad through college and he would in a heartbeat but I made a commitment to myself several years ago that my quilting would pay for Chad's college, if at all possible.

Between pattern sales, book royalties (not yet published yet so you know how much the royalties have been so far!), and longarm quilting, I plan to be able to live up to that commitment.

So, the fancy feathers on the show quilts are only a dream for me now. I need to be bringing in income and that means quilting for customers. I'm doing lots of pantos, did four overall meanders day before yesterday . . not much as far as showing pictures of my work but it's what I have to do at this time.

I guess I'm saying all this to say that some of us may never be able or have the need to do show stopper feathers. Some of us may never do more than a great panto. We all have to find our niche and we shouldn't feel bad or inadequate because someone can do better feathers or fancier feathers than we can.

I went through a couple of years of making show quilts and they did win some ribbons but that's not what I'm doing right now.

I could practice making fancy feathers for weeks (more like months!) and for what? If I were making them on a customer's quilt, I don't think I have a single customer who would pay what I would charge.

Never lose sight of the goal of doing award winning quilting, if that's something you'd like to do. Never look at someone else's work and feel inadequate because we're all at different places in our life. Wherever you are in your quilting "career" at this point, do what you have to do and do your best at whatever you're doing.


Judy Laquidara

Brownwood, TX

APQS Millennium

Blog: http://www.patchworktimes.com

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Never look at someone else's work and feel inadequate because we're all at different places in our life. Wherever you are in your quilting "career" at this point, do what you have to do and do your best at whatever you're doing. .

Thank you Judy ...... although I wasn't able to attend MQS I did go to NQA (Columbus). Many quilts I admired and wished. I entered quilting late in life (after retirement) and I doubt there are enough days to come that I'll ever be in the Sherry, Sharon, Judy and etc. expertise. I admire, dream and try to be happy with 'me'.


DixieQ

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Judy,

Bravo for your heartfelt post. I've felt that way for a while too. I'd love to devote every day all day to designing and executing showstoppers(or at least attempt to work to that level somewhat), but I realize that I have 4 kids and just can't do that. What I try to do is do the best job that I can for my customers and really try to be creative with what is given to me. I also try to leave time for my own exploring and have a goal of entering 1 or 2 quilts a year in more local shows. That is more than enough for me right now.

There is a time for everything in our lives. Not everyone is an Olympian, but there are lots of really good athletes that attain fulfillment by keeping on with keeping on. There are lots and lots of people that will never win Best of Show at MQS, Paducah, Houston, etc. but do great work. In fact, there are very few quilters that CAN achieve that level of work, but there are lots of happy quilters at the local shops enjoying block of the month classes and making mystery quilts. There is joy in putting a quilt in a 4H fair and having people admire it.

It's all OK. Those shows will go on with or without us! We all just need to be happy in our space in our own life.

God Bless!

Jill Kerekes

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Judy your work is really nice and I have always enjoyed looking at the stuff you do. I have seen your stuff in books and you have won some nice ribbons yourself!

The work of a best of Show in Paducah, Houston or MQS is something to behold. I have never seen any of them in person but just the photo is enough to take your breath away. To be albe to execute such workmanship takes not only amazing skill but also much time.

Like you I find that I just do not have the luxery to be cranking out qiults for shows although it is my dream to be albe to do so someday. For now I will have to content myself with just honing my skills on other peoples quilts. I too am finding that they are standing in line to have me practice over the top stuff on thier quilts and want cheap prices. I am finding really fast that it is the allover designs where I am making the money. My custom prices keep going up and I too am going to remain firm on those from now on. It is really dishearting to spend all that time and effort and get far less pay than on a quilt where I did a mender and got a king sized quilt done in one day!

I figure I can still do my quilts on the side but they will take lots of time and I thank God that someone thought of zippered leaders to take them off and on the machine between customer quilts. That said the last quilt I quilted for myself was in January!

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Judy, I think you nailed it on the head when you basically said you have to be flexible and prioritize the important (e.g. family) things going on in life and to be willing to make adjustments along the way toward long term goals of attaining your ultimate dreams in the quilting world. Keeping the happy family (Judy, Chad & Dad) is always first. Keeping Judy's heart happy is most important of all and your heart is about Chad & Dad. :) But that doesn't mean that one day when the time is right, you can readjust and go a different way with your quilting. Just follow what speaks in Judy's heart.

We're all human and I'm sure that the many, many famous names like Sharon Schamber, Diane Gaudynski, Sherry Rogers & Renae Haddadin all have their own struggles and things they need to keep in balance in their lives. What I am most grateful for people like these (and you, too) is that you all are willing to help all of us quilters and you all take us under your wings, help to inspire and give us more dreams to strive to be our best. That is what I love most about quilters and quilting professionals. You all share so willingly. How wonderful and fortunate we all are for these gifts and opportunities from you! :)

Frankly, I don't think that being "first, top, #1, or the best of the best" of anything should be the goal, but I do think that continuing and striving to be the best you can personally be is always a a terrific goal (no matter what that goal may be: Mom, Wife, Quilter, Whatever...(fill in the blank here).

I also agree with what Jill said about putting all of this in perspective. Step back from the "biggie shows and biggie famous names and winners" and think about the bigger, wider world of quilting. There are gazillions of us quilters out there who are all making some GORGEOUS quilts, having fun, sharing, living ... the quilt shop classes, groups, 4H, local fairs. The bigger whole quilting world is where it's all really happening (grass roots), and not just at the biggie shows. I've seen some breathtaking showstopper quilts at some of these smaller local shows. It's all about each individual quilter and their love for the art/craft. Sometimes when I look at these amazing and lovely works of art in the "not-so-big shows" I think about all the heart and soul and time and dedication that went into it and I appreciate that jewel of a quilt so much. That quilt was created so beautifully because it was the best it could be by the person who created it, not because it is first place, top, #1, or the best of the best. Right?

Right now, for me personally, I have a full time job outside the house. Quilting right now in my life is for my own personal growth and enjoyment in its artform. Some day (in about 10 years or so, when I'm 55ish) when I can retire from my FT job, my goal is to do quilting full time for $$ and also to continue improving my skills. Who knows what level of quilting and where I'll be in 10 years? I don't know, but it's very exciting!! :)

Any day, I'd rather always be striving for the best I can be in my heart and in my own little world! I am so glad I have all of you quilters to continue helping me and inspiring me. Thank you for that!


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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Judy; I am so glad you are back to posting again, because I really missed reading these insightful, heartfelt posts of yours :)

You are already an inspiration to many of us (I know you are very humble and are thinking, "me? I am not that great, or I am not in the same calibur as the other award winners of the quilt world"

Well let me tell you, your feathers are just as spectacular as Sherrys and the others. You say you don't have natural talent but I am here to say that you do (believe in yourself).

Right now you are putting your son's education first and are taking in th"bread & butter" quilts. This may not be as exciting as doing the award winning quilts but you are paying your sons way through college and some day I am sure he will appreciate all of the work you did for him.

There will plenty of time after he graduates to explore the teaching, the heirloom award winning quilting you long for.

About 90% of my business is pantos, doesn't leave me with much time to PPP my skills in custom but I am trying to get some practice custom work in when I can. In the mean time I am just grateful and amazed that people want me to do their quilting for them.

Joann

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Judy,

Great thoughts. Although I would put you in the greats category, I think that you are correct. I enjoyed seeing ALL the quilts at MQS. I still don't ever seeing myself having a winning show quilt. But all my customer quilts are winners (because they love them) but my quilts are far from perfect because I know I won't complain. I'm just blessed to be able to do what I do and to be able to create what I create and to not be bound by the less than perfect.

I have been having fun with a huge king size thimbleberries quilt this week (I'll never get it done). I've tried new things and taken the time to evalute where I am and I what I do and I know that just doing that makes me a better quilter.

So I urge every one to learn all you can, apply all you can and embrace your style as a quilter. Remember, ultimately our worst critic will be an archeologist 1000s of years from now. Let's let them know we were happy quilters!

Donna


Donna W Smith

Quilted For You

My Webshots Site: http://community.webshots.com/user/quiltedforyou

My Web Site:

http://www.quiltedforyoucolorado.com

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Wonderful topic, Judy!

Like dixieqwv, I started this whole quilting process late in life. It has become my passion, obsession.....yeah, all that. I know(and cringe) that I will never be one of the great ones, but ya know, sometimes when I look at one of my quilts or a picture of one, I think, "Wow, I really did that! Not bad for an old gal":P:P And at least I am trying. Sometimes we go through life never using the talents that God gave us. I've always felt that if I could do something, that anybody could do the same thing. I'm now realizing that's not so. It's the whole lack of confidence thing with me.....I was never pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough...the whole self-doubting thing. I'm really trying to get over that.

Judy, you were one of my first inspirations here. You do beautiful work. So talented. My goal was to be like you.

Most of my customers don't want to pay for the fancy quilting. They'd love to have it done...but the $$ stands in the way. So, I too, just do a basic meander or a panto for them. (But I'd really rather do the fancy stuff!)

Anyway, Judy, you will always be one of the "BIG" name quilters in my book. You have inspired so many of us, so keep up the good work.


Phyllis Guthrie

Jennie Matilda and Me Longarm Quilting

Millenium(non-computerized...power-driven by me)

Clearmont, Missouri

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My customers are "basic-get-it-quilted" customers. They don't want to pay for fancy quilting, since 100% of them do this for pleasure and not for show. I'm fortunate to have customers say "do whatever" and they know that I will keep their budget to heart. HOWEVER, with the customers that give me the freedom to come up with anything, I do take the opportunity to "stretch" and try something new. So the last quilt (house blocks alternating with old-maid's puzzle blocks was one I got to play on) was "custom" but priced at the dense panto price. My customer (over 70) was thrilled to death (she didn't think anything would save the quilt from the dog-bed). Dhe saw the twirly girly feathers in the blocks and the detail on the houses, and said "well, the dog's not getting THIS one!!!"

I showed her the custom price, and the "discount" for giving me the opportunity to enhance the quilt. I love the fact that taking some extra time (when I have it), really does make a difference in my customer's day.

Now I know we cannot do this all the time, but I have been so fortunate to have this lady bringing me at least 8 quilts (very large) a year. She really got me through Christmas last year when she brought 5, and her daughter brought 4 (November 1).


Can you quilt it out?

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Guest Linda S

Great post Judy. I love making show quilts, but I'm not nearly as talented as a lot of the people you mention (including you), yet people seem to want custom from me all the time. I'm actually an excellent panto quilter, and that is what I would prefer to do for my customers. I'd like to save the custom for me!

Linda

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Those show quilts are so beautiful they bring tears to my eyes. I seriously doubt I have one in me to create.

I work full time right now at a demanding and stressful job. I love my job and the company I work for but it doesn't mean it isn't stressful. I am gone 12 to 13 hours a day when you add in commuting time. By the time I get home.... I am pooped.

I am also dealing with aging parents and my father is terminal with lung cancer at 85. Never smoked a day in his life rather it was his exposure to asbestos at work that caused the cancer. I'm not an only child but might as well be as my sister is 200 miles away and my brother can't take care of himself.

Add in the fact that I am a new Long Arm quilter and I am lucky if I get and find time to quilt, two quilts a month. My weekends disappear in errands and obligations.

But you know? That's okay. I enjoy it and don't want it to turn into another full time job right now. My hope and desire is that it will be something I can do when I eventually retire and keep myself busy at something I enjoy and earn something extra to add to my retirement income.

Sure wish I had more time to play with the beast though! Ah, some day.


Gail

APQS Millennium

http://community.webshots.com/user/QuiltFaerie

"If you can't be a good example, you'll just have to be a horrible warning -- Catherine Aird"

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Thank you so much for that post. I put a quilt in the MQS show. My first show quilt ever. I wasn't feeling very good about myself because it wasn't even close to what I thought should be in a show. But, I too have three children and can't practice nearly as much as I should, and most of the time I am very content doing pantos. Someday I would like to be better at freehand. It's just about practice. I have to constantly remind myself that I have been at this for less than a year, ( I got my Liberty last July) and that I may never be considered a true quilt artist, and that's okay. I make quilts because I love to do it, and I love quilting on them with my Liberty. I am getting customers, slowly, (and slow is good with three kids) and I am content! If I can, I will make another quilt for next years show, which I plan to attend. Thanks Judy for that post. It's great advice coming from you!!!

Barb:)


Barb Johnson

Quilted Covers

APQS Liberty

http://community.webshots.com/user/quiltedcovers

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Barb;

What is the name of the quilt pattern that you used for the quilt you have in your webshots "My Quilts" album the one that looks like a trellis or lattice design done in yellow, white and blue daisy fabric?

I really like that pattern...it's different. :)

Thanks

Joann

PS... all of your quilts look wonderful.

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That's it! Thanks Judy :)

I started smocking when I had my 1st daughter (16 years ago), I just love those pretty little dresses with french laces on little girls. I even made my son little smocked outfits as well until he got too old for them.

I also have a pleater, geometric and picture smocking plates and lots of back issues of Sew Beautiful, Creative needle and (my favorite) Australian Smocking & Embroidery magazines. I can't bear to part with any of these even though I haven't used them for over 7 years now. I figure when I have grandchildren some day I will make some new outfits for them.

Joann

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It was wonderful to hear all the heart felt things that you ladies have had to say. My own situation is that 2 years ago when I started this I was working in a fabric store and decided to give this long arm quilting business a try. Needless to say my DH was not on board at the time. Well my health had a different path in live for me and due to the treatment and hospital time, I had to give up my regular job.

After some major soul searching, being "happy" on medication helped lol this is where things are at now.......................

I have had to make the business work for me becasue I financed my machine and have expenses. It is difficult to find an employer who is understanding enough about my health to allow me some time off if I have a relapse although my current treatments allow me to function at home focussed on my business, without the stress of worrying about a health issue at work. My husband has become my biggest support and has readily joined me in my business. I pursued the dealership and am doing quite a few quilting trade shows, locally of course, as well as judging local quilt shows and teaching quilt class both in my home and traveling to small communities to teach quilting as well.

So basically I've made my business fit me. My passion is to become the best at machine quilting that I can be but to supplement the business with other things that complement what I already do and still allow me to grow and learn new techniques or let the creativity flow.

My greatest inspiration is Sharron Schamber and all the other amazing quilters out there and I feel that at 35 I have plenty of time to develop but one thing I do know for sure is that no matter what, even with a little luck if opportunity comes your way you have to be ready for it and follow your gut. Your gut instinct will never steer you wrong.

I am blessed with a husband who as you've seen is my biggest support in sickness and in health.

Wishing us all good luck in our ventures.

Tina


Tina Caderma

The Quilt Lady

Authorized APQS Sales

Regina SK Canada

email: the.quiltlady@gmail.com or arnisador@gmail.com

webpage http://www.quiltlady.ca/

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