Why Does My Longarmer Charge ‘So Much’? by Andi Crafts

I have been reworking my quilting prices lately, because it’s tax season. I need to make a profit so the IRS will not audit me and force me to become a hobby, where I cannot make a living. Turns out, I’m not making a living anyway. Lately, I’ve been figuring out how much I make hourly and it’s not much. I have been doing a lot of Heirloom Quilting for an average of $3.50 per hour. Granted, I am a slow quilter… well, I think I am a slow quilter. I’m pretty picky about what goes into a quilt and will pick out something that bothers me. I take it slow and careful a lot of times to get as close to the perfection as I can that I’d like to end up with. I really am trying to perfect my skills and also become faster in the process. My waiting list is too long for my liking. I really want to get those quilts back to the customers as quickly as I can. But, I do a lot of Custom and Heirloom quilting. Edge to Edge doesn’t take nearly as long. I think people don’t realize that I love doing that just as much as I love doing Custom and beyond.

I have also been seriously thinking of retiring the quilting business and have been applying for “regular” jobs, so that I can make at least minimum wage. Some of the “skill-less” jobs I’ve applied for pay almost $20 per hour. This blog post, written by my FaceBook friend, Andi Rudebusch, is a good explanation of why we charge more than our customers think they should pay.  Click on the link below to see what she has to say.

Why Does My Longarmer Charge So Much?

One of the responses to Andi’s post was telling how much she paid her hairdresser… but he’s “worth it.”  Think about it.  How much do we pay our hairdressers?  If I go to the cheapest place, I pay $15 for about 30 minutes of their time.  That’s the equivalent of $30 per hour.  Could I cut my hair myself?  Yes.  Do I want to?  No.

I really do love my job, and I hate to do this, but I will be raising my prices beginning June 15th.  Until then, if the quilting cost is less than minimum wage for however long it takes me to get a quilt quilted, I will be charging at least minimum wage (half of that goes to withholding taxes, electricity and other overhead costs).  If I don’t get a “real” job before then, I need to be able to pay my bills.  In September, I sent my quilting machine in for service and, between shipping and the cost for it to be serviced, etc., it cost nearly $2,000.  Yes, you read that right.  I don’t want any of you to go into shock when I quote you a price, so I am forewarning you now.  I love you all to death and hope you will stick with me, but I do understand if you need to move on.  Thank you for sticking with me this long.


If you are in the Kansas City area next weekend and are interested in taking classes to learn Longarm strategies, learn how to maintain a featherweight sewing machine, or how to start a quilting business, check out the Longarm-a-Palooza at Quilted Memeories. I’ll be teaching the business class. Here’s a link for the classes: Longarm-a-Palooza


Blue and Green for Nancy

Nancy loves blue and those colors next to it on the color chart (i.e., purple and green).  This is her latest quilt.   Can you believe she does a lot of her own designing when it comes to her quilts?  Well, actually, she tells her husband what she envisions and he draws it up for her on EQ (Electric Quilter).


The question was how to quilt this.  I try to give her a different quilting design to look at with each quilt that I do for her.  The white blocks between the whirly bird blocks needed a special design.  I’ve never done these kinds of flowers on her quilts (I don’t think I have…), so that is what I started with.


I added flowers to the blue blocks in the center of the whirly bird blocks, too.


And, how do you finish out those colorful strips?


I had no idea of what to do with the border, but when I looked at those X’s at the end of the colorful strips, I thought I should incorporate those somehow.


I hope this gives you some ideas of how to finish your next quilt!



/fəˈnētō/Adjective; meaning “Finished.”
I am finally done with the quilt.  Frida, my longarm quilting machine, is taking a much needed rest before I can go back and check the timing on her; a task I never look forward to doing.  You need a micro-magnifying glass to do it, and I can’t see squat anyhow.  So… I am working on Home Improvement projects this week and will get around to “massaging” Frida and giving her a check-up when I am done with the other things I’ve been neglecting around my house. 
In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures of the customer quilt I just finished. 
WJ 3 008
A close-up of the lanterns…
WJ 3 011
And, the various handicapped and overweight insects…
WJ 3 007 WJ 3 006 WJ 3 005 WJ 3 002 WJ 3 003  WJ 3 001
Of course, all I could think to put on the leaves were inchworms, so I snuck a couple of animals peeking over the leaves.
WJ 3 004