Are We All Burning Ourselves Out? And if so, for what?

I have been feeling like a hamster on a wheel lately and getting myself exhausted. I lifted my head up and looked around and I see that I am not the only one.

Jenny of In Color Order posted this post on why she decided to stop designing fabric. Camille Roskelley of Thimble Blossoms posted this post on Instagram saying she is feeling so tired.

I have been feeling let down because everyday I get an email update from Craftsy on my “pattern sales” from my Craftsy Shop and everyday it’s only my free ones. Then I read this post from Lee at Freshly Pieced. It really resonated with me when she wrote “At some point, in some way, the people creating this content need to be paid for their efforts. Anything less is not sustainable. Free patterns are great, and they may sometimes serve a purpose for both the designer and the customer. But not every pattern can or should be free.”  Then Lee’s post led me to this post and again I was amazed to see that I am not the only one thinking this thought: “We have all gotten spoiled by the amount of free on the internet and I worry about how much longer our community of independent designer’s can sustain that.”

I hope I can take part in May is for Makers but if I can’t, due to lack of funds, I’ll have to buy patterns later. I know times are tough. Believe me I know because there are no jobs to be had in the town I live in and if my husband didn’t have his job we would be moving away. Three children from my daughter’s grade 2 class have moved away because their parents can’t find work here. Today I had $67 to spend on groceries and the struggle is real. I am not writing this to guilt you into buying one of my patterns… I am just saying that it’s not all smooth sailing here.

So, even though I have felt like giving up lately I am going to keep trying and keep going. There’s nothing else for me to do and nothing else I would rather be doing.

I think for most of this month though I’m going to set my pattern sample sewing aside, since I’ve been knocking myself out to publish them, and I’m going to focus on my family and on sewing for my family. Luckily, I am not a big name [yet! 😉 ] like the ladies above and I can take a step back if I want to. I can imagine the stress of sewing for quilt market but I’ve never done it.

Please take part in “May is for Makers” if you can.

May Is For Makers |


  1. Anita, I appreciate your honest post. I'm sorry that you are struggling a bit. It might be just the right time to step back and catch your breath. Hopefully that will energize you to get back into it. I am supporting the May is for Makers movement. I love our quilty community!

  2. Thank you so much Bernie. Thanks for reading it. There are a few other bloggers that I know of who haven't posted publicly who are feeling the same way as I am too and I know they have asked themselves if they want to keep going also. It would be a shame to lose them from our community so I hope the May is for Makers movement can help to change things for the better for everyone.

  3. This week, I spent 10 hours quilting the center of a quilt that I'm giving to my nephew, and I thought to myself the people who have asked me to do quilts for them, would have a fit if I charged them $100 to do this section of work for them! People want everything to be free or at a cut rate. So, now, I have to make a price per inch that includes set up bc people don't want to pay for that, despite the fact that it's the most essential and hardest part of longarm quilting. Sigh.

  4. So frustrating! Do you know any long arm quilters online (who aren't in competition with you locally) that you could approach to ask them about how they work their fees? Then you would have an idea if you are pricing what you're worth while still being competitive? I think it's unfair to expect a low rate on long arm quilting when so many long arm quilters have set themselves up as a business to help pay off their machine (which, if any non quilters are reading, is the cost of a quality vehicle.

  5. I can't imagine trying to make a living out of your passion this way. I have gotten so frustrated over the years, when people see me doing needlework, knitting, quilting, sewing and think I should just 'whip something out' for them for $1.99. I finally got so I would tell them what I need as far as fabric and they would go price that and would stop in their tracks. So now I create for myself and my family and friends and don't even think about doing any commission work. People don't want to pay the price.

  6. I'd widen this discussion to say that in general people expect everything for free online. That's why newspapers are dying too. People want the content, but don't want to pay for it. They're oblivious to the work that goes into creating it.

  7. I hear you Judy. This is so true of many craft mediums. That's why I moved away from sewing quilts to writing patterns. But I'm even find that to be a hard go most of the time. There are some good days where people buy patterns though. Thanks for your comments! People definitely need to have more than one income stream to make it work.

  8. I feel everything you are saying. The struggle, feeling burned out. There was a point when I was trying to stay up with everything and everyone. In the end, it just made me crazy. I can't design based on the newest and greatest…I can't compete. Stepping back and doing what makes me happy is all I want to do. If others like it…win for me. The internet has been a wealth of information as a quilter, free is good, but I totally get wanting to get off the hamster wheel!

  9. Thank you so much for this kind comment Jayne. It is a relief to know that I am not alone and that was one of the reasons why I wanted to write this post so that others would know they are not alone either.

  10. Please don't take this as a criticism, it is definitely not meant as such! My opinion is that besides the issue of free patterns there are so many patterns available to buy now, and there really has to be something unique about a pattern for me to fork out money for it. I often look through craftsy for interesting patterns for my next project, and when doing that all you see is the top half of the first picture, which in most of your patterns is a pattern of an antique sewing machine with none of the project actually visible. With no idea of what the pattern is for I would not take the time to open up that page and have a look – sorry!! Have a look at your page from the point of view of a customer, and then look at someone else's page such as lovefrombeth (don't want to put a link in here but you can search for it) and see the difference. Some times it just comes down to marketing rather than the actual product.

  11. The people in this industry are in it for the love of fabric and sewing, not to make the big bucks because we all know that's not going to happen. Even writing a book doesn't pay out for two years after all the work and it doesn't cover minimum wage for the time spent doing it. I think when too much is taken on that love is lost and that's not right. I had the same problem with my jewellery and chocolate business and I closed both of those to quilt because I knew I'd never be able to make money doing it. Quilting has lasted a lot longer than either of those two hobby businesses as a result.

  12. Hi Kerry,
    You are quite right that people are not in it to make the big bucks and I certainly concur that no one is getting rich doing this. I think the focus has become too much on getting as much as you can for free though and I don't think that is sustainable and that was the sentiment from the other bloggers that I quoted.

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