Lucky Stars

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.

Nancy’s quilt

This is a different style quilt than what Nancy usually does.  She wasn’t sure she liked it, but I am proud of her for stepping outside of her box.  She does that expand her horizons and to learn new things.  And, I think she did an excellent job of pulling all the colors together on this one.  Don’t you?

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It looks kind of like a disappearing 9-patch to me.  What do you think?

This quilt was an easy one to quilt an allover edge-to-edge design on it, which is also easy on the quilt maker’s budget.  The question was what to stitch into it.  Just about anything would go with this, but what would Nancy like?  She lets me choose, and I worry about what to pick for her, so I settled on flowers and leaves.  Everyone has had such a bad winter in the USA this year, except for us, but I still figured the promise of spring would be okay for this quilt.

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I snuck a butterfly into the quilt in the first picture, but I wish I had done a better job on it.  To me it looks like a bow.  Nancy is trying to use up her fabric (another reason for this quilt) as well as her batting, and I’d say she did a good job of it with this quilt.  Wouldn’t you?

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Cynthia’s QOV quilt

I have 2 other posts started, but I have not had time to work on them, and I really want to show you some of my customer’s quilts.  They are doing such a phenomenal job on their quilts.  So, let’s start with Cynthia’s quilt.   Here is the whole quilt.  Just half square triangles sewn together, but what a great pattern she made with them! IMG_2320

Cynthia wanted an allover design quilted into the body of the quilt with a separate border, which was perfect for this quilt, because the border is a fairly solid color and quilting wouldn’t show too much in the body of this quilt.  This is semi-custom quilting, and it is a great, reasonably priced option for many quilts.  Here are some close-ups of the allover, edge-to-edge quilting done in the body of the quilt. I quilted loops, swirls and stars into this section.

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Edge-to-edge designs make it easy for me to slip a surprise into the quilt, since about 98% of the quilting I do is freehand.  I quilted the recipients name into the middle of the quilt and I added Cynthia’s name in the lower right corner.

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As for the borders, Cynthia wanted feathers in them.  Feathers are done free-hand, so they take less time to quilt than anything with ruler work, such as piano keys… well, for me at least.

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I really like her quilt, and I hope the receiver likes it, too!

Playing Catch Up

First off, let me show you the quilting that didn’t show up on Jackie’s Quilt post.

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Stitching this Pantograph was so easy peasy I felt guilty charging Jackie for the quilting.

After I finished her quilt, I caught up on this charity quilt that I haven’t been able to get to in a couple of months.  simply quilts 001 simply quilts 002At this point, I just wanted to finish it, so I opted for a quick edge 2 edge design and then failed at attempted to add a matching border.   It turned out okay.  Not happy with the border, but it’s done.  Our guild has a charity sewing day every February.  Kits are made up for us to piece together and then to quilt.  I was hoping for a bigger quilt, but this is what I was given, and it’s just as well since it’s taken me this long to finish it.

What I am currently working on is the following quilt.  My new favorite kind of fabric is solid colored fabric.  I love the colors in this quilt and how they pop against each other.

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Jackie says her daughter, Kat, can outquilt her any day.  I don’t know about that, but I do love this quilt Kat put together.  She just wanted circles quilted all over it to break up the squares, so here is what I’ve done so far.

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The thread is a light orange – I think this was a good choice on the customer’s part.  As for the circles… my circles aren’t perfect – they are done freehand.  I like the circles against the squares, another good choice on the customer’s part. I’m always impressed with my customers’ choices.  I learn a lot from their tastes and their styles.  I’ll post more pictures when I am done.