My Creative Journey: Why I Quit Designing Fabric

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Last Fall, I made the decision to quit designing fabric. My contract was up, and I decided not to pursue a renewal. It was one of the hardest things I've had to do.

I'm not much for quitting. Admitting that I was done, and didn't want to do it anymore, felt like failing. But the truth is, I didn't love it. Working with Pat Bravo, the owner of Art Gallery Fabrics, she has so much passion for what she does. She talked about it all the time when we were discussing a new collection, or working on prints. Over time, I realized that I just didn't share that same passion.


In the beginning of my short career as a fabric designer in the quilting industry, I was caught up in the excitement of it all. It was a thrill to see my name on a selvage. It was a thrill to exhibit at Quilt Market and make connections in the industry through my fabrics. It was (and still is) a thrill to see people sew things with my fabrics.

On the flip side, it was all kinds of stressful and confidence crushing. The weeks leading up to Quilt Market were spent in a flurry of sewing up as many samples as I could. There was constant pressure to produce beautiful, unique projects that would impress both shops and consumers alike. All with a limited amount of fabric in a short period of time. I was stuck in a constant loop of feeling creatively drained and exhausted.


From a business perspective, it was all-consuming. Collections roll out in such quick succession these days. At any one time I was designing a collection, sewing with another collection for Quilt Market, and promoting a different collection. It took up almost all of my time, leaving little time for me to work on other aspects of my business. There are many designers in the industry that work in this way and do it very well. I truly admire the work and energy that it takes to do it.


I am a pretty sensitive person, and it was hard not to take the success of a fabric collection personally. For me, I was putting myself out there in a way that wasn't like publishing patterns or writing my book. It was so much more personal, sharing my art in this format. I had a hard time dealing with it. I felt like it's success (or failure) was on public display, for everyone to see.

More importantly, I realized that I can't do it all. I realized that I was miserable trying to do it all. I felt like I wasn't doing anything well, because I was being stretched in too many different directions. I dreamed of simplifying my business, but it was hard to rationalize when everyone around me was constantly doing more, more, more. It never felt like I was doing enough, like I was enough. And that's a horrible feeling.


Fast forward to mid-2014. I took time off from designing fabric to write my book. Personally, I knew that I couldn't do both at the same time. After the final book edits were in, and I had launched and promoted Curiosities, I took time to really think about the future. I thought about what I like to work on most, what is profitable for my business, and how everything I do is connected. Turns out, my favorite part of my job is the problem solving of figuring out how to make a pattern work. I love laying out patterns for print, and designing the illustrations. I'm a nerd for charts and pattern math, and I love the challenge of writing good quality instructions.

When I stepped back and took some time to think about what really makes me happy and what I love about my work, I realized that designing fabric wasn’t something I should continue. I will always be grateful to Art Gallery Fabrics and Pat Bravo for giving me the opportunity to design fabrics and for teaching me so much about the fabric industry. I learned a lot from this experience.


I've now been removed from fabric design for a little over six months. I'll admit, it hasn't been a particularly easy transition. My identity over the last few years has been centered around being a fabric designer. I am now trying to redefine that identity and make peace with walking away. In the last few weeks, I've finally started to feel a sense of relief that it's over. I'm inspired to sew, and I just want to start all the new projects! I'm feeling very "carpe diem" about it, using precious fabrics that I've hoarded over the years, and making things I've always wanted to make. I'm taking this year to rediscover and grow my creative voice, and to simply play. To make for the sake of making, and no other reason. I would love to release a couple of patterns, but I'm not putting any pressure on myself to do so.


I decided to write this post for the sake of transparency. I hope that admitting in public that I made this decision will give me some closure. I felt a bit of this when I talked briefly about it in The Crafty Planner Podcast last month. I was nervous to talk about it, but in the end it felt good to open up.

Thank you for listening and following along on my journey.

123 comments :

  1. You just have to do what is right for you. Sounds like you are. So good for you!

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  2. Congratulations. It must have been a hard decision, but kudos to you for realizing that fabric designing wasn't making you as happy as the other aspects and then being brave enough to make a change. Good luck.

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  3. Thanks for writing about this, Jeni. It makes perfect sense. And it's interesting to hear more about what the process has been like for you. I've loved your fabrics, but also love your blog and patterns!

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  4. I am interested in all aspects of fabric and loved reading about the thought process behind your decision. Thank you for your honesty. I look forward to seeing how your creativity flourishes with your new decision!

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  5. Life is too short to waste precious time doing something that doesn't make you happy or negatively affects your health. Be proud of what you've accomplished and blaze some new trails! We support you!

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  6. I have ways wondered how designers manage to stay creative and fresh when they are churning out two collections a year, plus Christmas or Halloween prints. That pace can't possibly be sustainable, or particularly enjoyable! Good for you for knowing that pace wasn't for you! I hope you settle into a rhythm that is right for you!

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  7. Life is too short not to spend it doing something that makes us happy. Good Luck to you this year as you rediscover your inner creative voice.

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  8. Thanks for the post -- it's a privilege to take a peek into your personal artistic and professional journey. And I'm sure that, for some readers, it's a wake-up call to the challenging realities of designing fabric.

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  9. I hope you find joy in your new shift in your crafty journey.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this! The behind the scenes prep and constant motion seems like it would be very stressful and would cause you to burn out quite quickly if it isn't your passion. This is a great post for all of us pattern designers who deign to see our names printed on selvage -- and I think I am going to stick with pattern designing. :)

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    1. I don't mean to discourage, this was only my experience. You never know what opportunities are out there! :)

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  11. Thank you for sharing. I too went through a hard decision a few years ago - and totally know the feeling of loosing your own identity. It was hard, but oh the joy afterwards. So don't be hard on yourself - this has shown strength. Enjoy this new chapter!!

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  12. Thank you for your honesty. You are an inspiration to so many wonderful makers. I look forward too many more fun patterns and ideas!

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  13. You are so talented and I will miss your fabrics. I am so glad that I purchased some of each of your collections. I am also so excited to follow along and see what else you do in the future. Thank you for the inspiration!

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  14. I have learned to use that special fabric and not hoard it- you need to do the same thing with your time. Life is too short not to make the most of every minute. Congratulations on making the choice that is right for you- be happy!

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  15. Thanks for a wonderfully insightful and well-written post, Jeni! Kudos for making the decision. I'm not involved in fabric design in any way, but I understand the expectation of doing it all, and the guilt of walking away (or just wanting to walk away, even). But I'm so glad you're on the other side of that now. Best of luck and enjoy your newfound freedom!

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    1. Agreed, the wanting to walk away is just as guilt-inducing!

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  16. Kudos to you for taking such a bold step to be happier in your work. When we start out it feels like we must try everything. As we mature, we learn more about ourselves, which would be much harder without trying everything, and start to find the sweet spots where our skills, talents and who we are come together. If we're lucky. Sounds like you're already on your way. The only way to truly fail is to not try.

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  17. Thank you for sharing. The transparency and vulnerability showcased in this post is encouraging. I can only imagine that the fuel behind such a thoughtful sharing of a very personal choice, will also help fuel the future of your creative journey. :)

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  18. Good on you for being brave enough to make a change and to even realise you were doing something you didn't want to. Some people go their whole working life without reaching that clarity. I loved your fabric designs - Nordika was one of the very first bundles of fabric that I bought (and I still have most of it hoarded away) when I started sewing but I love your blog. It was one of the very first ones I discovered and that first year I was sewing I made both my daughters a quilt for Christmas using your patterns. I guess the point I'm making is I love your style and blog and will keep reading as long as you are blogging x

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  19. Thanks for sharing Jeni. I certainly sounds like you made a good decision for you and I hope this year is refreshing and renewing...

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  20. I took courage for you to write about this, but it sounds like you absolutely made the right decision and will be happier for it. Have fun digging into your treasured stash and being able to enjoy it. Your fabric designs will be timeless in every quilt or project where they appear.

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  21. Proud of you for figuring out what your passions are and having the courage to quit! xo

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  22. Thanks so much for sharing! You are so smart and brave to follow your own path and not the "more, more, more" that we so often feel we should be doing. You're an inspiration!

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  23. I think you did the right thing for you. It is inspiring to know you are staying true to your creative voice you will be happier in the long run! I'm proud of you for choosing your own path. You go girl! I may be in touch, if you're willing, for some pattern writing advice.

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  24. Good for you Jeni, it makes sense to spend your time doing the things you love (if you are able to) and to leave the other things behind. It would be boring if we all enjoyed doing the same things, everyone has their own loves and talents, the trick is finding out what they are. You're so lucky you have!

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  25. Life is a journey. You take many paths and you realize that some are not for you and that is totally fine. Now you know and can move on. There is no shame in that. You only live once, you should enjoy it. Hugs Jeni. Keep following your bliss!

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  26. The only person who needs to approve is YOU and while it sounds like it was a difficult decision it was the best one for you right now. Who knows what the future holds, you may decide one day that you do want to design fabric again. I loved your collections but I love your patterns just as much :-) Thanks for sharing your process! Hope you continue to feel better and better!

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    1. Agreed, you never know what the future could hold!

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  27. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your creative journey. Sometimes it is so challenging to distinguish between what we think we should want and what we actually want. It is wonderful to hear about how you went about making this distinction. Very inspiring!

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  28. Good for you, Jeni! I'm so proud of you for going against the flow and doing what you see is best for you. Usually the right thing is hard to do. I appreciate your transparency and am grateful that you shared this post with all of us. Sending hugs! xoxox

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  29. I admire you & the choices you have made. Thank you for sharing with us. Love your blog and wish I was more like you.

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  30. Thank you for sharing this post. It's really interesting to see the thought process that goes on behind the scenes. I'm glad that you were honest with yourself and brave enough to take the steps you need to take to find a fulling life. I'm really excited to see how your career and blog progress as you work through these issues.

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  31. Thank you for sharing this excellent post. You're so young and have accomplished a great deal in the industry already and in record time! Enjoy your year of discovery!

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  32. You are a smart lady for taking the time to figure out what you truly love doing and going after it! You are very inspiring to me!

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  33. thanks for sharing! I can see how that could be really stressful and draining. People have different personalities and some thrive on pressure/deadlines and some do not (I don't!!!). You make lovely things and I am sure you will find much to offer now that you have made this difficult but important decision! Blessings and all the best to you!

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  34. It takes courage to make a change - good for you! You've given me to some things to think about for myself.

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  35. Thank ou so much for sharing this post.

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  36. I was so afraid this post would be coming. I'm happy you chose what's best for you. Life is too unknown, and sometimes short, to be anything but happy. I will admit, I will really, really miss your fabrics. Best wishes!

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  37. Your post means a great deal to me personally. Thank you so much for sharing. Figuring out what is really important to you and then acting on that knowledge..... Thank you!

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  38. Thank you for your honest post. I think you are amazing at all the things you have put your mind to! But I have also learned that sometimes it is not good to persevere in activities that I don't enjoy. Life is short and we should concentrate on things we like doing. I'm looking forward to seeing what new beautiful things you will be making :)

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  39. I've been following your blog for a couple of years now, and I love your work and your design sense. Your fabric lines are gorgeous, but I can only imagine how much stress goes into making them. Keep doing what makes you happy; we'll be here, cheering you along! Thanks for all of the inspiration!

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  40. Great post, Jeni. I had been wondering why you hadn't had any new collections lately. And I see myself in your words; I relate. From this consumer's perspective, I think the fabric industry moves too fast. Collection after collection burst forth on ever-quickening timetables. None of us can purchase everything we love, let alone have time to sew with it. Truly, I am 2 years behind in using some of my favorites! So in the end, we purchase only so much; I am forced to leave too many lovelies behind. If collections were released only once per year (on a rotating basis of course), I believe they would do better. But I'm only one person. I'd love to know how other sexists feel about it. So, good for you! You are wise to "stop and smell the roses". Hugs.....

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    1. Don't you hate autocorrect that turns 'sewists' into sexists? I have turned away from the chase after the newest collection. I often buy my fabric on sale - so it's just the designers from one season ago. Unless there is something that I absolutely fall in love with - I buy fabric according to the color I want for my next project - not who designed it. Of course the fabric companies need to constantly innovate and come out with new lines. But as a consumer - I don't feel the need to buy them.

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    2. It's either that or it changes 'sew' to 'see'! ;)

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  41. Wisdom is following your heart. I was just going thru my stash last weekend and came across your Nordic line. It's one of the first full lines I purchased when I returned to quilting... I still Love it! I think it's fantastic that you gave it a try and learned that portion of the industry, that experience will help mold your future. Don't think of it as quitting, think of it as a wonderful learning experience!

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  42. I applaud you for making the decision to do what is right for you in regards to your business. Bravo!

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  43. I now realize that I bought some of your fabric. I think you said it very well, producing a fabric line is all consuming and it is a lot of very hard work. The rewards in money are small, so if you don't love it - don't do it. So happy for you that you have found what you love doing. Keep it up, there is still plenty of fabric around, even if your name isn't on the selvedge.

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  44. Is this why you are back to sewing with non-AG fabrics? For a while there it appeared to be all AG all the time. (It was weird for those of us who really enjoyed your earliest work where you used everything.)

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    1. It was a condition of our working together, and a sacrifice I made in order to explore the opportunity.

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  45. Thank you for your brave post. Your honesty about your feelings around designing fabric is really appreciated and I think it's wonderful that you gave yourself permission to not do something you don't love and instead pursue your true passion. That's a hard thing to do when we're expected to always do the thing that we "think" defines success. Good for you!!!

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    1. Agreed, it's about figuring out what success means for each of us individually.

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  46. Jeni, Thank you for sharing.. your words resonate deeply with me as an author, pattern designer & longarm quilter who truly understands how confidence shaking it can be just to scroll through social media and see other people's creativity ooze through my computer screen and feel like my work isn't enough... Enjoy your time and allow your passion to find you... Nanc

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  47. think the world of you and so proud of you for making a difficult decision. I appreciate your willingness to share this with all of us! I will always treasure the meet-ups with you and chatting!

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  48. I appreciate the views you expressed in this post. I don't often comment (I had a very bad experience one time with a famous blogger who did not like my comment) so I have been reluctant to make comments but I have often wondered why the designers are asked to create and produce as you described, always on deadlines. The "pre-Market" angst every Fall and Spring seems so stressful and debilitating. Why do you think the fabric industry does this to it's designers? And, what can be done to make it a little more reasonable for people to continue to work as a designer but not be under such unrealistic pressure? I am only a consumer, not connected to the business in any way but I wonder if there is an industry-wide discussion of these issues? Or is it only about the bottom line and this type of marketing is what works? Are the consumers in any way contributing to the craziness of it? Inquiring minds want to know! You were right to listen to your inner voice although I will miss your fabrics! Thank you for your blog and IG.
    Beth F.

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    1. I'm not sure what the answer is! For me, it was not a sustainable way of working. Ellen Luckett Baker started a great conversation about this last week on her Facebook page, it's an interesting discussion! Here is her page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Long-Thread/119372601486203

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  49. Self evaluation is good and you'll be changing who you are to one extent or another throughout your personal life and your career. I'm glad you are choosing to find contentment in the things you truly enjoy about your career. Thank you for sharing your creativity. I enjoy your blog!

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  50. Jeni,

    Thank you for sharing, and I’m glad that you were able to figure out that it just wasn’t working for you anymore. Some things are meant for us at certain times in our lives, and not so much at other times. Your fabrics are gorgeous, and it sounds like you learned a lot from your time as a designer, so I would count that as a total success! It’s just hard to let go of things sometimes, because we love part of them, or we know others love them, or we feel like we should love them more than we actually do.

    I think you and I started sewing around the same time (although you are younger than me!) and your blog was the first I followed. I don’t have a ton of time to devote to sewing, although I love it immensely, because I also work full-time, cook, hike, bike, pet my dogs, play with my nieces, etc. But your blog and patterns continue to inspire me. My most recent quilt was inspired by an old tutorial on your blog. You are talented and genuine, and it shows.

    As a casual consumer, I wish the fabric industry didn’t move so fast, either. It is fun to see pretty designs, but I just can’t keep up with everything. There are so many things I want to make, so many pretty fabrics I want to buy, but I just don’t have time to sew that much, and by the time I do, it seems like we are on to the next thing, or the next-next-next thing. I have tried to tell myself to just slow down a little and try to enjoy things more, and stop the glorification of “busy.”

    HUGS to you!!

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  51. Congratulations. Life is for living not enduring. What a courageous person you are to make that decision. Good Luck.

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  52. Good for you, for being true to yourself. I wish you all the best!

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  53. Thanks for sharing this post, Jeni. I commend you for staying true to what you really want - it's a skill not a lot of folks have. It's so easy to get swept up into what everyone else is doing and that often leads to forgetting what your soul truly needs. Enjoy your year of reflection - don't forget to spend time recognizing your many accomplishments.

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  54. Funny, when I was reading your new book the other night I was wondering how you did it all. It is amazing how much more energy we have when we are doing what we love. But still, we need to remember to love "ourselves" first. Good for you Jeni, good things are coming from that creative part of you because you have chosen it to be so.

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  55. All the happy claps for you, Jenni! You have a very good head on those shoulders. You figured out early what others learn late- and that is to follow your instincts that guide you in what is best for you. And being a fabric designer will always be a 'part' of the 'whole' you. All these ventures we accomplish become the facets of a beautiful, purposeful life. I love my Jenni Baker fabrics, and I'm still hoarding a few for just the right project. When I do use them, I will think of the creative, brave, and intuitive lady who designed them. All the best to you! You're beautiful.

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    1. That's really kind of you to say, thank you!

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  56. While I love your fabric, I so understand where you are coming from. I am proud you made the decision best for you. I have never designed fabric, but I love fabric, sewing, notions & everything involved in the process. I started sewing at 38 after becoming ill from an autoimmune disease & I was on so much prednisone, I had to do something relaxing to counter affect these awful drugs. I had never quilted but my mom did & I knew I could. I fell in LOVE! I did EVERYTHING by hand. I had only a small supply of fabric....money was tight but I was so happy. Fast forward a few years & I discovered quilting blogs. Oh my word, heaven! I wanted to sew everything! I had never seen so many ideas & fabrics & notions! I got hooked on thinking I had to have it all & do it all. I bought, bought, bought. I went back to work part time honestly in order to fund my addiction. I didn't sew by hand.....too many quilts...too slow going by hand. It became stressful. I was no longer having fun. It is so easy to get caught up in the frenzy. Eight months ago my health took a quick downward spiral. Couldn't work. Couldn't sew & I have an entire room devoted to fabric, machines, notions & books every where! I had a chance to get off the crazy train. While recuperating I have found the love of hand piecing again. No more new fabric. I am using stash I have had for years...beauties I didn't want to cut ibto...and loving every minute again. My hat is off to you! Enjoy sewing........that's why we started it. It shouldn't be a chore. :-)

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    1. It can be easy to get caught up in things! I just finished a round of prednisone, it is the absolute worst! Sending happy, healthy vibes your way!

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    2. Thank you so much! I have been on steroids 17 years & the side effects are causing so many debilitating problems now. Without them though I would have not lived this long so I really shouldn't complain. I find sewing peaceful again & for that I am thankful. Thank you for your honesty in regards to trying to do it all. Like a cat trying to catch it's tail it can become a viscous cycle. I can't imagine the stress you were under but so happy you are enjoying the process again. :-)

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  57. Good for you for being true to yourself! I look forward to seeing what you do next and wish you the best.

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  58. Accepting your own truth initially is possibly the hardest. You don't owe anything to anyone else by way of justification, however it is refreshing to read your post. I love honesty and you have embraced it so well. We should live and create according to our personal ethos not someone else's expectations that kills us trying to achieve it. Please enjoy where your path takes you. You are an absolute delight.

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  59. Jeni, thank you for sharing your story and your honesty! I am hoping this will allow for a little more vintage shopping! I enjoy seeing your finds.

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  60. Never say never Jeni. I am old enough now to can say that. I quit quilting about 8 years ago and now a renewed passion is starting again along with designing fabric and illustration. I did cross stitch, sewing and knitting and design them too in those past 20 years long of crafting. Unsure about my possibility and scared about who i am always run away from success and the craft i was successful in the moment i was having it so changed for another path everytime loosing my audience and start over and over again. I am doing it for the last time actually, just because i embraced the thing i am an artist and i do what i love accepting my being condition and accepting the fact i haven't to say forget me for what i am. So... Thake your time and be the artist you are! I follow your blog since you started and i care about your thoughts. Xoxo, giusy

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  61. Thank you so much for writing this post. I admire your honesty and integrity of admitting what you enjoy doing and what you don't want to spend time doing. As a total amateur, I think I(we) think a quilter has made it to the top when they have their own favric line. Perhaps that is someone's goal but maybe not or maybe, like you, they tried it and enjoyed it but realized it's what you want to spend time on. I can apply what you've written to my life and what I want to do and spend time on. I can remember to let go of the things which may be perfect for another person but not for me. I can be me and I'm enough. Thank you, many times over.

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  62. Jenni have just read your latest post,quitefilled me up, well done you for following your heart/feelings,not always easy when it's your profession is involved,enjoy doing what you love ,personally love all you do,but that feeling when you made that decision was wonderful I bet ,been there done it ...v healthy!!!

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  63. I admire your strength. It's so easy to say "just one more" but then there's always something else. Do what you love, what you're passionate about, and everything else will fall in place. Looking forward to seeing your talent shine in your next ventures! Best of luck!

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  64. Jeni, someone told me guilt is for when a person has done something wrong. It is easy for everyone else to try to tell someone what to do, especially when they recognize talent! But, you know best for you. It's inspiring to see your work and to see the comments with so much support from the quilting community! Thank you for what you do, in any capacity. It teaches us all so much!

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  65. I am very proud of you for making that difficult decision. I am about to retire from a profitable career to pursue more sewing and teaching a bit. I watch others in my business who have a passion for what we do but I never completely felt that same passion. Time to move on. Looking forward to your new patterns!

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  66. Later when you look back, you will not regret being true to yourself. Be very proud of the accomplishments you have already made at your young age, though!
    Thank you for the glimpse into life as a fabric designer. I always feel overwhelmed seeing the frantic pace that designers maintain, especially just before Quilt Markets. I wish they would all slow down a bit. We consumers can't keep up anyway and don't have enough time, money or energy to make all of the lovely things that are presented. From your end, that might translate into disinterest or rejection, but that's just not accurate at all.
    Keep on doing what you do, and you are sure to succeed.

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  67. I love everything you do. I have all of your books. Your blog was one of the first ones I found and read completely from the beginning.
    You are an angel, Jeni. You are so generous and inspiring.
    I am olden (61) and I can tell you that life without changes, big and small, is just a safe secure happy life, but when you get older, change will be a big slap in the face HAHAHA okay, that was supposed to be funny.
    I love your fabric. You have so many opportunities in front of you. Run for them, and grab them
    Try to do every thing you love and want.
    No regrets, right?
    ❤Love always♥️

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  68. I appreciate your post so much! I'm sure your decision was difficult but well thought out. And the courage to speak about it here is good for you and all of us as well who may be on the same path. Sometimes they way we think something will be and the way it actually is are very different. It's a sad thing to lose joy in doing what you love. I'm glad you're doing things your way!

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  69. Thank you for sharing, Jenni. I have to say that I think you made the right decision. First of all, you have not just the right but the obligation to yourself to say, "enough is enough for me." We do live in a culture that seems to say "more is more" in everything, but there is always a price to pay for that, everything from overstuffed landfills to personal burnout. But I also have to say, that while I love your fabric, your passion for pattern-development and writing so clearly show through. The first pattern of yours I fell in love with is your lined gift bags. Just little things, I know, but as a beginning sewist I was looking for a gift bag pattern and found yours. The bags were adorable and more detailed than any others I found, the photos gorgeous and the pattern itself was not only so clear but included all those different sizes. It was head and shoulders above the rest. And then, let's talk about your book. Your book is one of the best quilting books out there, I my opinion. So many books are just collections of projects to copy. Or it's about 1 technique. Or a collection of other quilter's work to be inspirational. These all have their place. But your book is perfect for the quilter who has the basics, has copied some other quilter's patterns, but is now ready to branch out and make their own designs. Sure, the projects are there. But what I found so helpful is the chapter on techniques, with its charts and its directions on making any size HSQ (things you can find scattered around the web but so great to have all in one place) and all the things that encourage and aid someone to make a new design...the discussion of changing scale, the tips on variations and the block party. Overall I think it is a singular contribution, solid on the technical and very powerful on the inspirational side. In other words, your skill and passion for pattern development and writing are crystal clear and it makes total sense to me that this is the path you feel called to follow. Good luck on your future endeavors! I will continue to follow your blog and am looking forward to new patterns and new books.

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  70. What a brave heart you have. Way to speak your truth and honor your vision.

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  71. Thanks for sharing, Jeni. I find the pace with which new fabric lines are released to be extremely overwhelming. I am a consumer. I cannot even fathom how paralyzing it would be for a fabric designer--the unrelenting demands. So sorry, but yet again, so happy you've been released from that and have found your happy place. I so enjoyed listening to your podcast with Abby when it came out. Hugs.

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  72. Shelly GillilandMay 5, 2016 at 8:56 AM

    I very much appreciate your honesty and transparency in sharing this huge personal and business decision with your readers!! I have often wondered about the process of fabric design, as well as pattern and/or book publishing, and how taxing it must be - even when you love what you're doing! Kudos to you for evaluating what is right FOR YOU and doing just that.

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  73. Kudos to you for doing your own thing and what makes sense for you instead of going with the flow of everyone else!! I'm certain the decision was not easy and I am certain that your creativity will flourish with this new found freedom :) Best of luck!
    Amanda

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  74. so happy you shared this post and I'm so glad that you are doing what you want to do ! your dreamin' vintage range is and will always be one of my all time favourites so I'm sad that there won't more of your awesome fabrics but I love your designs and patterns and your blog too so will still be following along and look forward to seeing your fabulous makes !

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  75. Congratulations for choosing your own path, deciding what is right for YOU and getting off of the treadmill when it didn't feel good anymore!! I love your fabric...and your blog. Best of luck in all you do!

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  76. Wow! Although I've never been in your shoes, just by reading your post I can understand where you're coming from. It sounds like you were in a race and it took all the joy out of creating. There is a quote but I can't remember who said it: "Comparison is the thief of joy." -- that sounds like what you were experiencing.

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  77. In 2008, I was searching for a job that would allow me to be more creative than being a public librarian was allowing. I thought I would be a writer. I did get a contract for a five book nonfiction series, and later a contract for a sixth book, and all of them were published in 2012. And I thought I was well on my way to being a writer.
    But I hated it! I am not made for sitting and staring at a computer screen and waiting for words to appear. It took a lot of soul searching and tears and stress, but by 2014, I had decided that it was okay to give up on that dream.
    By then I had discovered (or rediscovered) quilting and sewing and that now gives me the outlet I need. Someday I might like to make a business out of sewing, but I don't know what aspect of it -- designing, selling handmade items, selling supplies, etc. And now I know not to rush things, to let my feelings guide me.
    I know how hard the decision to give up fabric design was for you. I wish you all the best, though, as you move forward in this new direction!

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  78. I just loved Nordika so much and unfortunately never acquired any. I wish they would do another run of it. Your designs will be missed but no one should stress over something they don't love! Happy trails!

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  79. Jeni, I am so impressed by the hard work you have done to take a deep dive into your life and do what you need to do to be true to yourself. It's rare that a blogger will share beyond the shiny surface of life and making. Thank you for stepping into such a vulnerable place. You've provided a breathing space for your readers to do some looking inward, too.

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  80. I totally get it. :) I can identify with so much of what you said. There is a reason you are one of my very best friends.

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  81. You are very young to have become so smart :). Look forward to more patterns!

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  82. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on making the decision to retire from fabric designing. It's always a hard thing to walk away from something that feels like it "should" be something you want but really isn't. I admire you for your bravery and I can't wait to see what you create next! Good luck!

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  83. Very understandable! Good for you...and all these comments are an amazing show of love and support!

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  84. I totally understand what you mean about loving the problem-solving aspect of creating and writing a pattern. I'm the same way. Perhaps your initial enjoyment in designing fabric was learning how to do it and the problem-solving that goes with it.

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  85. I applaud you for your honesty and wish you all the best in your future endeavors!

    It's unfortunate that the fabric industry has created an environment that pushes one collection after the other, and in a way, dictates that we make a quilt using every piece from a single collection.

    Creativity is a wonderful thing, but it works on its own schedule!

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  86. Good for you for figuring out what it is that is best for you and going for it. I think, we as women, sometimes have too high of expectations for ourselves.

    It was a great experience for you! Now you can keep little pieces of those fabrics and tell your kids "I made that." Be proud of what you did and proud of where you are taking yourself.

    I keep considering designing fabric as I have all these ideas in my head, but I'm not so sure I would enjoy it if I did it. Not to mention I would have to quit my job that I love (Environmental Health Sanitarian - nothing to do with quilting). I also wouldn't want to have to produce fabric lines in fast succession. I would want to take my time and do it in my spare time and that is not how it works.

    Either way, congrats to you and I love your patterns!

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  87. I believe you made the right choice for yourself. Be happy and enjoy what you are doing and you will live longer.

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  88. Thank you for sharing, I really admire you, you will have continued success and be happy!

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  89. This had to be a hard post to write, but also liberating. Great job deciding what you are passionate about and moving forward with that.

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  90. Thank you so much for sharing this. I know it isn't easy to step back and do what feels like less, but life is for us to enjoy as much as we can. Sounds like you are doing that now. Bravo!! That said, I will cherish the Jeni Baker fabric I have, but I will use it and share it with others as quilts. Best wishes to you Jeni. Can't wait to see what you create!

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  91. Jeni - receiving JOY from what you are doing is so important. I applaud you for listening to your gut and making that tough decision. I know it can't be easy - I still have regrets/second thoughts about stopping work on book #2 even though I KNOW it was the right call. I don't like to quit either! Just wanted you to know that I admire your transparency and am happy to hear that you are having fun playing and making.

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  92. Good for you for your decisions! Life is not a dress rehearsal, and too short to get stuck doing things that do not bring you joy. And given the health issue you are dealing with, all the more reason to cut to the chase and pursue your real interests.
    PS--My son has been doing a week of prednisone every month for the last 2.5 years. Arg! it is the worst!

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  93. Thanks for writing this open and honest post. It probably took quite some courage - to decide but also to write and talk about it.

    For me your 7th paragraph is the most inspiring. It's not just the industry that "makes us" do more and more - or lets us think that only more and more is good enough... I thinks that’s a constant companion at the moment: How much do you do? Work (fulltime)? How many hobbies do you manage to fit into your free time? How many friends can you realistically care about? And you can always step deeper into those sections: In one hobby – how much do you get done? Do you sew as much as other people? Do you write as many blog posts? Why do we always have to compare and do “more & more”? Wouldn’t it be better to ask about your state of mind? If you are happy with it?

    So congratulations: You thought about what makes you happy and I wish you all the best!

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  94. Congratulations on making such a hard decision. Sometimes listening to our true selves gets harder to hear the busier we are.

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  95. On the outside looking in, I have missed you and your quilt patterns, your ideas, and your outlook as you have been working so hard on the other side of the business. It does seem like the whole fabric/quilt market cycle is a nightmare that has ramped up as more people became interested in creating quilts. But we really can only buy so much fabric (at least most of us). I love your creativity regardless of how you choose to express it, in each different season, and can't wait to see what is up next for you.

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  96. I've followed long before you were designing fabric. I've always thought of you as a quilter/sewist who designed fabric, not the other way around. I'm glad you're doing what makes you happy!

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  97. Dreaming Vintage is one of my favorite fabric collections EVER. I have a whole quilt (in progress) out of it (the only quilt I've made for myself and not someone else). I just adore it and can't wait until it's finally on our bed for good.

    I say that not questioning your decision at all but just to let you know that I appreciate you designing that collection. Thanks for putting it out there and I look forward to seeing what you do next. And hugs to George of course. :-)

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  98. Jeni-
    You are amazing. I had a horrible secret that I held for years. My perpetrator controlled me from afar. He knew every button to push. I danced with trying to find my voice years ago and still the controllers and old tapes in my head were there. I lived with the misery. Now, over 50 years, later I am finding my voice; finding others in similar situations; finding new friends; and yes, still missing the lost relationships. I am getting healthier and am still in mixed emotions as you are. I miss the old and new doors are opening. I'm meeting people (not famous), yet ones I never thought I'd find. I have a bigger support team in my life than ever. My first husband walked out after 23 1/2 years of marriage. I literally almost died from the feelings of failure. My second husband died 7 months after I divorced him because I couldn't take care of two (both he and I were disabled). He was a great support and I still hear his encouragement. He, too, had never had the support for very deep, past hurts. I applaud you for knowing what you love; what at which you excel; and embracing that. Now that my truth is being told, I'm finding it's true: The truth will set you free. Thank you for your honesty. I pray that you will be happier and have a great following. I enjoy nothing more than a well written pattern. I was a math major and I often can read a pattern and find a math mistake without even making a block, let alone the quilt. May you be richly blessed in all to which you put your hand.

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  99. Thank you so much for a honest look at what it takes to do what we all "think" is the most awesome job. I can't tell you how much food for thought you gave me. I always enjoy your blog and all your great insight. Continue to follow the whisper in your heart and you will have a full life.

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  100. Wow. Thanks for this post. I've been thinking a lot lately about the industry in general. Many of the quilters that I had friended or followed/inspired by when I first started have become industry professionals. I certainly am happy that they have made a career in a profession they love, but i also am not as eager to read their latest (promotional) post or inspired by them anymore. Im sure the grueling schedule and pace of the industry plays a huge role in that!

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  101. Hi Jeni! I'm happy you were brave enough to make the difficult decision. So often we just continue working, being grazy busy and can't stop/give up. I love your fabrics, quilts and patterns! Take your time and continue with what you like most. Have a wonderful summer! x Teje

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  102. I missed this post when it first went up -- had to chime in with the chorus of support and encouragement. This reminds me of something I heard in a sermon awhile back. Don't remember the particulars of how it tied into the gospel that day, but the pastor mentioned a study about what we need for happiness and fulfilment, and how things like being your own boss, setting your own schedule, etc. are at odds with the most financially lucrative careers -- UNLESS -- UNLESS -- you are a highly specialized expert in your field. And attaining that highly specialized expert status takes THOUSANDS of hours, and you can only do it if it is truly your passion and you love what you are doing so much that you get absorbed in the process and enter a state of "flow" where you are so wrapped up in what you are doing that you lose track of time. And so the authors of the study were recommending to young people that they forget about which careers pay the top salaries, and instead, if they wanted to have happy, fulfilling lives, they should think about where there passion lies, what they are doing when they experience that "flow," and follow that passion -- and the money will take care of itself. Isn't that wild? But that's what I thought of as I read this post. You have learned so much from your foray into fabric design, but your heart is telling you that your passion lies elsewhere. This is not a FAILURE, Jeni, this is you listening to the voice of truth inside of you that is pointing you in the direction of your true SUCCESS. Hugs to you, and thank you for sharing.

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  103. Sweet Jeni - you will probably never see this reply - I just now saw your post. I am an old lady who can only look back so I have so enjoyed watching you begin your journey and love how you share it with us. It is the journey that I would have loved, the journey I fantasized about, dreamed about but never acted on. The freedom to do so was never there - or so I thought. Perhaps it was the initiative, courage and drive was never harnessed to do what you have done. You are so young and focused - able to cut through all the cr-- to kernel of truth that is right for you and magically the world, too. It makes me soooooo happy to share your journey - knowing it can be done so perfectly and with such grace. Of course I have to admit I am more than just a little bit envious!
    Your fabrics are astonishingly fresh, in design and color - they are just...HAPPY! I think maybe you didn't want to lose all that happy.
    Love and hugs and THANKS!
    Ellie
    elliefpw@sbcglobal.net

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