Sunday, September 20, 2009

Challenge of Quilting for Customers

Sometimes customer quilts can present a real challenge. For me the issue usually isn't with how to quilt it but how to quilt it that is affordable. I tend not to turn away any quilts (with the exception of T-shirt quilts). Accepting a quilt that is not necessarily what I like to work on or has some problems, etc. is something I do. My goal is to serve my customers and hopefully stretch my abilities. I know of other machine quilters who are very picky about what they take from quilters. That's okay if that is how you want to run your business. I could worry more about what is out there with my name on it as the quilter but that's not what my business is all about. I want to encourage people in their quilting and make their work look enhanced by the quilting. The first time quilter is always a joy to quilt for, even if some of their blocks go the wrong way or their borders were put on with waves in them.
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.

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