A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
This is today’s finished quilt. I’ll only show one half as both sides are alike. It’s very large.
The last minute calls for doing Christmas quilts has begun. For many years; I’ve felt guilty all during the Christmas season. I’m only one person and can only work 16 hours per day before exhaustion takes over. Yes, I really do work 16 hour days, 6 days a week during the Christmas rush. Starting late August I switch to the longer hours and work like that until two weeks before Christmas. I don’t have family obligations like others do.
I really hate saying no but my rush schedule has been booked for weeks already. If a really good customer calls for a last minute quilt it makes me feel just awful to say no. What else can I do but be honest and tell them I can’t possibly squeeze another one into the schedule? Even when they say it’s just a tiny one. What the person doesn’t realize is I have several ‘try to work in‘ quilts already along with a full waiting list.
I try to explain this to the people calling at the last minute. Yet; they have a way of making me feel like I’m betraying a friend. I hear things like;
*Awww… I can’t go to another quilter; I don’t want anyone to quilt it but you because I just love your work. (haven’t heard from this person since last Christmas, not even to just say hello)
*its for a cancer patient (a former customer) who is not doing very well; can you do it right away (will my stress help them feel better; if it will, yes I will do it)
*Remember on the trip to Paducah you said I could use your machine to quilt one of my own for myself; this one is too big to quilt on my domestic machine; can I come next week. (the trip was in early April and she has never been a customer)
*its only 36 X 36 and wouldn’t take you long to do because you are so fast (haven’t heard from this person since ?) (even small quilts take time to attach to the machine and think of a design)
*my publisher has a deadline; only you have the ability to help me finish in time; you will be given recognition in the book. (many books may give the name of the quilter but they do not give contact information) (she has been doing this book for months already, why hasn’t she called to schedule the quilt)
*our charity has chosen you to be the featured artist to do a quilt for us to auction in January, there will be lots of publicity for you (charities don’t understand art quilts can’t be done in 24 hours or during a Christmas rush)
*if you do this ‘one’ for me I will be sure to pass out your business cards at the guild meeting; you should get lots of customers from that (so why haven’t my cards been passed out already)
Yes, yes, I know, I sound like I’m whining. I am. It’s the stress of long hours trying to stay ahead of the waiting list during the long Christmas rush. Now that I’ve got this off my chest, I’ll go get started on today’s quilting.