Anita's quilts and quilting

A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.

It’s only 15 minutes…

Sometimes it’s the little things that eat away at the limited space in my time box. Yesterday this happened….


I evidently didn’t put the bobbin on correctly so it wound half a bobbin normally then started winding behind it. This took me a good 15 minutes to unwind and check to be sure there weren’t any tiny little pieces of thread to cause problems later. Grrr! Very irritating to loose 15 minutes!

There are going to be those who wonder why a 15 minute problem bothers me so much? These things only happen now and then right? It’s no different than taking 15 minutes to run put a load of laundry in the washer or make a bed or dust a floor right? It’s only 15 minutes for heavens sake.

I think of it a bit differently. To me it only takes 4 of these little mishaps (or breaks) to use up a whole hour from my time. My machine time is my salary. If I’m trying to earn money for 8 hours a day, one hour gone means I’m actually earning for only 7 hours.

No big deal you say? Hmm… think about that a minute. I’ll pick a number easy to use for math. Let’s say I’m earning $12 dollars an hour working at my machine. Loosing 15 minutes is like loosing $3. Loosing a whole hour is like loosing $12. I don’t know about your budget…. in mine the $12 goes a long way. I can’t afford to just loose it. It could buy me a yard of fabric or a whole week of groceries.

Ok, say I stop to do a few little things during the work day. Maybe check the email 4 times, put in a load of laundry, make a bed, sweep a floor, and wash dishes. Ok, 15 minutes each. That’s 2 hours out of my work day. My 8 hour work day is now down to 6. Two hours lost has now cost me $24.

Ok now say…. I quilt a whole line of a panto design wrong. It takes me two hours to pick it out so I can do it over. Gee…. my 8 hour earning day is now down to 4. I’ve lost $48 already. Gosh, this is getting expensive!

During this time, I get 4 phone calls. Two 15 minute calls from customers to set up appointments to drop off tops and one 30 minute call from a friend who just wants to chat a few minutes. Another hour gone.

Speaking of phone calls…. The phone calls from the customers are actually investments. I invest $3 of time to earn much more. For my $3 investment I may earn $100. That’s a really good rate of return on my investment. However, the call from the friend doesn’t gain me anything. Phone calls from friends just to chat should be done in the evening after the work day is finished.

Another example…. say I have a top on the machine but just can’t think of what to quilt on it. I stand there thinking for 15 minutes and then testing the design on wax paper for another 15 minutes. Half an hour is lost before I ever start earning anything.

You see now why these little 15 minute thread mishaps bother me? And why it is that when I enter my studio each morning I’m headed for work. The housework and computer time and phone calls to friends wait until I am finished for the day.

I thought I would show you this sign I have on my wall by my machine. Each time I walk to the freehand side this sign is what I see first.


If it is too dark for your computer to read it….. it says….

Anita…. Remember your schedule. If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how will you ever find time to pick it out and do it over? Remember your machine time is your salary, if you are standing and thinking about what to do to a quilt you are not earning any money.

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This entry was posted on January 17, 2008 by in Quilting - business or hobby?.

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