Wednesday, September 15, 2010

oh those custom orders

Recently I have been working on an order for a wonderful person whom I've never met. She saw one of my quilts--loved it--and feels it would be just perfect over her sofa. She even sent me a picture of the room and all of the other rooms in her house that relate to this quilt. To make the pressure on me even greater, she is a first grade teacher. Needless to say I want to make her a quilt that is just perfect for her space--first grade teachers do deserve a LOT of respect.

The quilt itself is to be based on red sky. A lovely quilt I made a year or two ago.

Great quilt. Only the quilt needs to be almost square to fit the space. And of course the colors need to be a bit different. The room is burgundy and a French blue--lots of oriental carpets. The sofa itself has a bit of green in it. I hang red sky up where I can look at it as I make this piece.

There is so much I have forgotten about it. How did I create the interest in the maroons in this piece--it is not one solid color but many. Look how loose and effortless the teals appear. Great balance in the quilt also. Just a hint of horizon to anchor the quilt. Well I must start sewing and see what happens.

I create the blocks and I worry. This quilt looks nothing like red sky.  Too harsh. The horizon is too emphasized. Is the red too intense? Have I totally lost the art of making this piece?

 I pin up the yellow sun just peaking above the horizon. This is more like it. What a difference two small pieces of fabric can make. What a relief that is.

Should I use this yellow instead. Hard to tell from the picture--one is slightly darker. Maybe I need to play with it some more. But moving in the right direction. And that bit of red sky like fabric at the top is making the quilt more interesting.

What a subtle difference it makes. I think I like the contrast in the first set better. Do you agree?
Is the blue too bright. Should I add a hint more teal? I pin up a slightly subdued fabric. Hmm.

 Amazing how it changes the effect. I must think some more. This quilt is showing promise. I do like it and will be proud to put my name on it. Not sure if it is right for the school teacher. Must sew it together. Tomorrow I will have a fresh look. I know I can sell it. Maybe I should remake the custom piece and just sell this quilt. Again I know I can look at it tomorrow.  I will sew it together and then look at it. Oh the pressure of a custom piece.  The responsibility. So much harder than just making a piece to sell. But I think I am figuring out the subtleties of this piece. The next one--if there is a next one--will be easier. Or maybe I can just remake the bottom row. Maybe that is the question.

Am I the only one who feels such weight? How do you cope? Are custom orders harder or is it just me?


  1. I dislike trying to get into some one else's head so much that I don't do custom orders. I wish you would take the suggestion of the red quilt, stretch out and please yourself. The customer will surely be pleased with any of your wonderful work, and more than likely delighted to get a completely new and original piece created just for her.

  2. Well, I'm totally sure the customer will love your work. While I was thinking about this, I couldn't get the idea of Northern Lights out of my mind--inky skies, spectacular traces of colors, and more earth tones (or snowy) on the bottom. I may have to start saving for my own custom quilt!!!!

  3. Custom orders are absolutely AWFUL. I don't do them anymore except for well established buyers that I feel like I owe because of their ongoing support. Nothing hangs over my head like an outstanding order!

    But the quilt looks beautiful. It was fun to share the angst of the journey with you from a distance.

  4. Thanks Yasmin and Susan--Sometimes I learn from custom orders sometimes they are a "learning experience. Normally it is a positive process. After all someone has liked my work enough to want/trust me to make a piece for them.

  5. I am working on a custom order right now. It is a wedding ring quilt. The customer picked the fabrics out and I just find it difficult to want to get it started. One of my favorite parts of creating the quilt is the fabric selection. Going to leave myself more room to select the fabrics the next time.