A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
I didn’t quite finish the quilt I’ve had on the machine for two days. My SIL came over yesterday and needed help with her quilts which meant I had to stop my own work. I’m down to the very last couple of rows. I should be able to finish it this morning and post pictures tomorrow.
Hmmm… I guess I should say its official now. I had some phone calls yesterday to be put onto my waiting list. I told them I would not be putting any more names on it for awhile. I’ll only finish up the one’s already on the list and take a few months off. I guess that would be the equivalent of giving the boss my resignation. I don’t feel scared at all about giving up the main source of my income. I simply feel relieved!
I was asked what I plan to do when I no longer have long waiting lists of topper names. Oh my goodness, there are so many possibilities. I’ll list a few quilty things:
A – More charity quilts
B – Clothing memory quilts
C – T-shirt quilts
D – Write a quilt book
E – Create some art quilts
F – Teach those who buy a quilting machine what to do with it
G – Design quilts
H – Teach piecing classes at the LQSs
I – Enter a quilt contest or two
J – Work on a business plan to move
K – Show more ways to stay organized with quilting
That’s just the quilty type things I can do. There are many possibilities for non-quilt activities too. Like see the kids and grandkids. Have lunches with nice ladies. Visit art galleries. See, there are lots of things I can do.
I had been feeling kind of down the last few days. I got an email from a lady on the West Coast that really made me feel good. She pointed out that my blog posts are making a difference. That’s what I had hoped when I started it. I was beginning to doubt my blog posts were helping anyone. Time doesn’t allow me to answer bunches of emails but a nice one received like that now and then really helps me even if I can’t answer it right away.
My SIL asked me why I felt I should quit for awhile. Besides not having a life there are the hurtful comments made by toppers about machine quilters that are like a stab to my heart. What?!? No, no, the comments are not intentionally said to be hurtful but none the less they hurt. I read and hear comments like this: “I’m tired of waiting months for my machine quilter to finish my tops.” “I only had 3 tops so why should I have to wait 9 months or a year to get them back?” “She or he charges too much and takes too long.”
When I hear or read these comments I want to cry or scream or say here let me teach you how and you can do your own. All I can really say to these toppers is — if a machine quilter has possession of your tops for many months you are working the system wrong!
So why are these comments hurtful? Because I know how much of a life machine quilters give up just to stay ahead of the long waiting lists. It happens gradually, over time, as a machine quilter gains confidence to create better quilting. As he or she gets better and word spreads more people want to get their tops done by them.
A topper only knows about their own number of tops and not about the 30 or 40 other people who have called with 3 or 4 tops finished too. Do the math, if there are say – 20 people with 2 tops each calling one machine quilter. That’s 40 tops on a waiting list. Now say that those tops are all double bed size or larger and are to get custom quilting that takes on average 2 days each. That means – 20 customers; times 2 tops each; is 40 tops; times 2 days each — Oh my! 80 days of quilt work. Does the machine quilter work 80 straight days to get them done? What about illness, or family emergency, or a machine breakdown, or delay in getting supplies, or another 20 people calling with 2 tops each? These things also figure into how fast a machine quilter gets your tops finished. Come on toppers, have a heart, think about what you are asking of your machine quilter.
Time again for me to stop rambling and get into the studio. 45 quilts and counting down.