After I tired of the quilty calendar, those blocks lived in a box under my bed for many years. I finally donated 11 of them to a thrift store a couple of years ago. I never thought to take pictures of them, so I have nothing to show for them--except for the December block. I still use it as a table mat under a little Christmas tree in my family room.
In 1986, my next door neighbor, who was a crafter, and I decided to try selling our wares at holiday craft shows. I made some wall hangings from blocks sort of like the ones I had made for the calendar. They were small and quick to make, so I could build up an inventory without too much work. I'd like to say this little venture was a rousing success. I did get to know my neighbor well as we sat smiling at prospective customers and engaging them in conversation--or at least trying to make eye contact with them as they passed our table. But trying to sell our little items was excruciating, and our business did not last long. I did sell some of my hangings, but not enough to make it worth sitting at a booth for whole days. My family and friends became recipients of the rest of my inventory, and I kept a few blocks for myself.
I'm glad I tried selling at shows, and I have great admiration for quilters and other crafters/artists who can successfully sell that way. But it just wasn't for me. I had some success selling some quilted ornaments at a consignment craft shop, but I didn't enjoy sitting in a booth all day, and I also realized something else. As I became more interested in quilting, I found that I wanted to do more extensive, detailed projects. And I didn't like the shortcuts I tended to make so that I could price items low enough to sell easily and still make some money. I had started quilting for others and making some commission quilts by then, and that was much more satisfying to me at that time of my life. I had lots of creative freedom and knew that everything I started was already sold. Perhaps, if I had had the array of modern tools and techniques that are available now, I'd have been able to do the kind of work I really wanted to do more economically. Times have changed, and I know that there are also other platforms for sales that can really be satisfying businesses. But I'm beyond that now and just happy to make whatever whenever.
I started regularly documenting my quilts with photography in 1985, so I actually have pictures of some of these quilts. Without further ado, here is my little gallery (pardon the blurriness--most of these are scanned pre-digital photos). I'm showing the backs as well as the fronts as they might show the quilting a little better. Most of the quilts are 16 inches square. Some are an inch or two bigger.
|Country colors! It was the 80's, after all|
|I still have this one (in a closet).|
And one more set:
I still have the log cabin quilt. We put up a storm door over our front door earlier this year, and I just realized that I can now hang quilts with protection from the weather. (I know, I know, the sun will fade them eventually--but I can make more). I don't use really bright red in interior decorating anymore, but my front porch has all those red chairs. So here's how this quilt looks now hanging "outside." I like how it really shows up--even from the curb.
These memory posts get pretty lengthy, but since this is a holiday post, I have to share one more quilt. I finished this Feathered Star quilt for my sister-in-law in 1988. I drafted the pattern myself, and it was a challenge, but I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and I guess my sister-in-law is, too. She emailed me a couple of days ago to let me know that she has just hung it for the 28th season!! It's 33 inches square and hand quilted.
I've quilted tops for others that have a Christmas theme, but I've only made one other for myself. I've shown it before on the blog. You can see it here.
Thanks for sticking with me for my memories of a failed little business venture but an enduring love of quilting. I'm linking up with Jenn from Quarter Inch from the Edge for Throwback Thursday.
Until next time (next year!!)....Happy Holidays! Keep on quilting, and follow your heart...in business or not.