Why is it so difficult to charge for quilting?



I did a small quilt this week that is for a hospice and was feeling guilty about charging my customer for it. However, I did spend 2 days working on it to give it a variety of textures to make it stable for washing and interesting too. I had to remind myself that that I do a lot of other freebie stuff by helping people out and giving off the cuff lessons. It is so difficult to tell people who ask for help that you will give it but at £10 to £15 per hour of consultation! In fact, I have not managed to do this at all yet… Similarly, I could decide not to charge for Linus quilts BUT I have all this equipment and have to make it earn its keep – so in other words, just because it is someone else’s charity project, does not mean that it has to be mine too. I don’t mean to sound begrudging but my trips and materials are not provided free.

A quilt top came in this week that I did not think would be coming back. It is a long term hand quilted top made from early 1980’s furnishing fabrics. It was originally too small for a double bed so it has now had an extension of curtain samples around the outside. There is a poly-cotton sheet for the back. I know of quilters who refuse such projects but I am not famous enough or rich enough to follow suit. I also think that if someone values their work enough to want it professionally finished then I should be gracious enough to do it without making any rude comments. By the time it has had an all-over shelling it will look quite different, just like some of the unpromising 1930’s tops. I even have to attach binding when it is done. How much do you want to bet that I won’t charge the full amount?!

Mabel and I both had very short haircuts this week. I took Mabel to Mo’s to be clippered as she has started pulling her fur out again so now she looks neat and tidy but with bald patches. (She seems to get itchy when her coat is left too long – it is wiry and curly and looks great so it is a shame to see it go.) Mabel had her hairdo on Mo’s kitchen table but I had mine done at the hairdresser. My hairdresser has cut it very short like Audrey Hepburn to get it all to match up again but I will let it grow some bits a bit more so I don’t look too “blokey.”

I received a fab parcel from Mary Shea in Virginia this week. I was annoyed that I had to pay a customs charge but the contents were fantastic. She has sent me lots of different packs of wadding to try out including bamboo and Dream Puff. There was also a selection of Bottom Line thread which I like to use. I will put together a parcel for her that includes tea, shortbread and other very British things – I just have to collect a few bits and pieces together.

This weekend I have been feeling a bit of an anti-climax regarding my Paducah entry… I have not heard anything which is not a good sign. Successful entrants were to be informed on Friday and last year there was quite a lot of chat on the APQS forum about who had been successful but so far – nothing. I now have to decide whether to enter Botannica Kentuckii for MQS in Kansas instead. It is all fairly expensive but the exposure from magazine appearances is worthwhile. After all, I need to be well known in USA if I am ever going to be booked for a “Quilt Quine Road-Trip”!

Lastly, I’m considering acquiring a hand crank sewing machine to add to my collection. It would be nice to have one in the Yurt and Fergus actually had fun using one that I bought for Barbara’s shop. There is a lovely one on eBay that I’m watching…


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