Why I Don’t Do Commissions and Some Other Stuff

Occasionally someone will ask to pay me to make them a quilt, or will ask for a specific treatment or fabric combo on a bag. After having made a few commissioned pieces in my life, I decided a couple years ago that I wouldn’t do any more commissions.

Why do I dislike commissions? I’ve given this some thought and here’s my reasons. When I make things or develop ideas for a project, I work in a really freeform way. I don’t like to have rules that I have to stick to. I don’t like to lose my ability to change course mid stream. I don’t like to be forced into someone else’s vision of what a project should be. I don’t like to lose those moments of excitement when I come up with something wonderful that strays from the buyer’s vision.

Commissions cause me stress. They force me to go in a direction that I don’t necessarily want to go. They make me feel constrained. The are, frankly, not fun.

I made hand-thrown pottery for a few years in my earlier life and I remember talking to a production potter who said they would never make a dinnerware set on commission, for basically the same reasons that I listed. Plus, they said that people who want you to make something have a very definite picture in their minds of what the end product will look like. And what you produce will often not match the picture in their head.

So I’m happy to sell things I make, but I want to make things that I want to make in the way that I want to make them. And if someone wants to buy it, that’s cool. But I don’t want to allow sales to drive what I make because then the fun is gone.

I’m curious how other people feel about commissions.

And speaking of making things… I’ve been thinking for a few days that I want to make a bag. It’s been a couple months since I cranked one out and I need a break from making bucket hats. So I started thinking of what scraps I had in my huge pile and I remembered some dark KFC fabrics that were left over from this incredibly chaotic quilt. I even made a couple of earlier Frankenbags from these scraps.

So after our wonderful walk this evening I dug into my scraps and found the packet of these dark fabrics and pulled out the smaller pieces and started sewing some crumb blocks. Here’s a photo of all that chain piecing as I’m shoving these small pieces through my machine and then pressing them.

Here’s the resulting crumb blocks that I made. And that’s all the productivity I could muster tonight!

I’ll start putting some bag panels together using these tomorrow night.

Someone asked if I would do a tutorial on how I make my crumb blocks. Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in.

I’m happy to report that the roofers finished here yesterday! That was a stressful few days with all that noise and a very sad Rico. I’m glad it’s all done. The roof looks good and they did a good job. So now I don’t have to worry about it for a long, long time! Now if they’d just come and pick up the porta potty…

We had some really hot days last week and it got up to 100 on Sunday. Yesterday was hot, but just in the mid 90s. Today it was perfect! I had my sliding glass door open all morning and into the early afternoon. I don’t think it got much above 70 degrees today. It was so welcome after the scorching temps the last few days. Bender and Rico napped happily in the cool temps outside all day and never made a peep while I worked.

Last fall my neighbor sold her house and moved and she gave me a whole bunch of pots from her patio. It’s been really fun to watch things grow and bloom in those spots this spring. And look at this wonderful surprise that’s in full bloom now!

And look at this incredible rose that we saw on our walk this afternoon! It’s really spectacular!

And the honeysuckle on my patio is in full bloom and the aroma this evening was something really special.

And look at today’s strawberry harvest!

That’s the biggest strawberry harvest I’ve ever had. I ate them as my mid afternoon snack and they were so good! My strawberries are ever-bearing so I should keep seeing more and more throughout the summer. Yum!

I’m taking Thursday off work. I have a personal day that I have to take by June 30 or I’ll lose it. The most exciting thing I have planned is collecting a feces sample from Bender and delivering it to the vet for his annual exam.

I know you’re thinking my life is almost too glamorous!

93 Replies to “Why I Don’t Do Commissions and Some Other Stuff”

  1. I’d love to see a tutorial on your crumb piecing. I think your color combinations on your Franken bags are beautiful. I hope to make one someday soon. Thanks for all your inspiration .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your life is Glamorous. Don’t change a thing just stay on that path to happiness and creativity. Those walks and roses, oh My. Just beautiful. Those blocks you are kicking out like making a pie, look beautiful. Can’t wait to see the creations with that. We all need that day off, even if it includes a chore, it’s fun just having that time to yourself. I’m glad for the hats, I’m loving everyone whose gotten on board and it’s healthy. That sun can really do damage, so thank you for your inspiration.. enjoy this beautiful day.. from Sunny Hot Arizona
    Suzanne 🌷

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel the same way about commissions. I will do some but usually I will only make stuff I already make but they can pick the fabrics (not quilts though). I love crumb quilting it is so relaxing. The roses are amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post and all your reasons. Commissions really make me fall out of love with sewing for months at a time. Thank u for voicing exactly what I was feeling without really knowing how to say it out loud. Yay for creativity!!

    Liked by 1 person

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