Most quilters I know do not want to spend hundreds of dollars having their quilt done. To do a quilt like Leah's Spring that took me about 20 hours would be hundreds of dollars. So the issue is how to make a quilt look beautiful if the customer doesn't want to break the bank to pay for it. I will illustrate with two recent quilts brought to me by two different customers.
They are both beautiful quilts and the piecing is done well. This first one is a quilt I've done at least twice before. I wanted to make it look somewhat heavily quilted but not so much that the price escalated into that hundreds of dollars range. To do this I needed to keep it somewhat simple in the designs, try not to do any marking and very little ruler/template work. A quilt like this will not be stitched in the ditch (that adds a tremendous amount of time to it but is pretty necessary for show quilts). I did use a circle ruler for the borders and a straight edge ruler for the center sashing strips. Everything else was free handed. It turned out really nice and didn't get too expensive (under $175.00).
The next quilt was a larger quilt but the customer again did not necessarily want a quilting design in every area of the quilt. For this quilt I chose to quilt it with one color of thread, and go into the different areas with different designs but usually not stopping and starting at each place. It was a challenge to not spend too much time in each area. I wanted to emphasize the houses and add lines that would be more house-like. So that is where I put the extra time into the quilt, adding siding lines, roof lines and window and door designs. The overall effect brings out certain areas of the quilt but is still basically an overall design. The time it took to do this quilt was under 5 hours and the cost for the quilting will be about $150.00.
I hope this information and photos encourages other machine quilters with ideas of how to make your quilting work in your business for different customers.