A professional longarm machine quilter for hire and some of the work I've done.
The t-shirt quilt is on the machine and getting close to being finished. I hadn’t planned on working on the machine but I just had to know how this design would look on the quilt. I hope to finish it today, then do the piecing of the other quilt.
I got the nicest email with pictures this morning. My friend Marilyn has a new grandson. He’s so adorable! I couldn’t stop looking at the pictures. I know the pride she’s feeling right now. There’s nothing in the world like grandma pride. Every grandmother can understand how we feel.
I didn’t know Marilyn was getting a new grandbaby and I was surprised by the news. Which only added to my feelings of guilt for not keeping in touch with her more often. Maybe she told me and I just forgot?
I’ve neglected my kids and my friends so much this year. I’ve had so much illness and setbacks on my waiting list this year that I’ve had to turn down invitations right and left. I do feel guilty about it. Especially with my kids. I really want to do things with my kids or visit with friends; but at the same time I must get the bills paid.
I know how many quilts I must do each month to pay my bills. I do schedule days off that are supposed to be used for visiting the kids or friends. Each day that I’m ill and don’t work means I must either work on an off day or something won’t get paid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not deeply in debt. I don’t have any credit cards. I’m talking about normal living expenses like utilities, medicines, groceries, mortgage payment, saving for house repair work, and things like that.
If I schedule 8 days a month (weekends) for off days and suddenly I’m off my feet for surgery and recovery for 21 days, that still leaves me with 13 days of lost work. The choice then becomes….. do I still take days off for visiting (and not have enough to pay my bills) or do I try to make up the loss by working instead? If I do decide to take a day off after all….. which would I do without…. the utilities, the medicines, the groceries, the mortgage payment?
Machine quilting is not like an outside job where the boss gives you paid sick days. In this business there are no paid sick days or vacation days. A day away from the quilting machine is a day of lost wages.
Someone once told me “Why don’t you give up your hobby and get a real job?” Excuse me! This IS my real job. No one (except someone in the business) sees it as anything more than a money making hobby. For toppers quilting is a hobby. For machine quilters it’s a business and an income. I may moan and groan about constant stress, continual deadlines, quilts with issues, and isolation…… but, I can’t imagine myself with any other kind of job.
This job also has plenty of rewards too….. the surprised look on a beginner topper’s face when she sees the quilt issues have disappeared…. to hear from a customer that a deadline quilt won a ribbon…. to see the happiness on a customer’s face when a top is suddenly a quilt…. to cry with a customer when they see a passed away relative’s clothes changed to something they can wrap up in and remember…. yes, quilting has plenty of rewards too. The rewards make me forget all about the things I moan and groan and complain about.
I’m off to the studio…. another reward is waiting for me to make happen. The t-shirts of the current quilt are the only remaining clothing of a grandmother who has passed away before her first grandchild is born. The baby is due in about 3 weeks but I was told it may be sooner. The quilt will be for the grandchild and mommie to cuddle while mommie tells the baby all about grandma.
Can you understand why I do love my job?