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Thread: A gentle discussion about $ for long arm quilting

  1. #1

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    Think my subject line covers it all but... I love piecing but I don't have the stamina or determination to learn how to do an overall quilting design with my little sewing machine. So, I send out an occasional quilt top. However, I just contacted someone referred by someone who showed examples of the quilts she had quilted, and admittedly, they were beautifully done. But the cost floored me! What seems to be the going rate for doing a quilt top, say 50" x50" or a single bed size?

    I really want to know so I can just make pieced tops and be happy or learn how to do free motion quilting.


  2. #2

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    Hi Gale in SF, I too like to piece and can't even think of machine quilting a whole quilt on my little sewing machine. How do you find a reputable long arm quilter? After going to all the work of making the top, I would hate to give it to someone and have them ruin it by their long arm quilting skill, no matter what the cost. Maybe this is a whole new subject.

  3. #3
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    Your local quilt store will probaby have the most reliable list of professional quilters.

  4. #4
    lin
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    Hi Gale. I charge according to size, and the amount per square inch is determined by how much quilting they want done on their quilt. If it's going to be an easy all-over design that isn't thread-intensive (such as McTavishing) then I charge 2 cents per square inch, and if there's going to be a heavy amount of quilting, or a lot of changes in the designs calling for a lot of starts and stops then I will go as high as 2.5 cents per square inch. So, for a quilt that is 50"x50" for example with light all over quilting it would come to $50 and if it were to have multiple designs or heavy quilting it would come to $62.50.

    I don't know what the cost was (that was quoted to you) that made you go "EEK" LOL...but the cost per sq. inch that I posted is pretty much the going rate around here. :)

  5. #5
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    I phoned a shop-recommended long arm quilter and asked her about her prices. She said " 2 cents per square inch" so I asked her about a Queen size quilt. She figured it out for me.. $198. plus change....and then included State Sales Tax. She reminded me that she was a professional and would give me a written receipt. Others want cash in hand. No receipt.

    I make quilts to give to charity and to spend roughly $200 to have each quilt done is completely out of my price range.

    I do have access to a long arm quilter who says she is "not the best, but the cheapest." I don't know how she figures her charge but I have usually paid about $40 for a Standard or Queen size and $50 for a King size. There is no "fancy" quilting done. I select a pattern and when she quilts, she starts on one side and goes across to the other side, stops and takes the machine back to the starting point. This is a "plain and simple" method that does the job. However, I would like to take the money I pay her and invest in some equipment and learn to do this myself. I won't be buying a long arm. At age 73 I don't think I would get my money's worth out of it.

    You may recall, I keep asking who has bought frame/machine combos so I can make an informed decison.

    June in Cincinnati

  6. #6
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    June, If you are giving these quilts away why don't you just tie them or bar-tack them. I send my very large quilts out to be quilted and the lady charges .01 cent per square inch. That is a pantograph like some one described. Start at one side of the quilt and go acrosswith the pattern of your choice. She does a fantastic job and I have never paid more than $85. for a king size quilt. However I do not give these quilts away. The ones I give away are lap size and I can quilt them on my own machine. I do not have a "frame" just stictch in the ditch type quilting. Marge

  7. #7
    ccbear66's Avatar
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    I also asked my local quilt shop who they would recommend to do quilting for me and when I called they said .02 cents per inch and you supply the batting and do your own binding.. I did some quick math and it would be almost $200 for a queen size. I can't afford that so I asked around and a lady that I work with told me about an older lady about 40 miles away that does quilting. I called her and she charged only $35 for a queen size. The quilting looks great. She has only a few different designs that she does and she supplies the batting and does the binding. I have had her do 1 queen size, 5 baby quilts ($10 each) and one couch quilt ($15). I asked her why she was so cheap and she said that she just enjoys doing it. She does very beautiful but simple work. I don't know what I will do when she no longer is quilting as I can't afford to pay $200 plus for quilting.

  8. #8
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    ccbear, you are very fortunate to have this lady near-by. Perhaps we should ask for permission to list her on our web site. Quilters would want to mail their quilts to her. Sometimes there are not enough inexpensive quilters for those of us who cannot afford $200 for each quilt. At the same time I understand the price charged by quality quilters, but not everyone can afford to pay to have it done. We try to find an alternative especially when we feel we cannot handle the task at home with a small sewing machine. I think there are a few of us looking for options.

    I have a friend in Northern MO who does only hand quilting. People mail them to her from all across the country. She must be good because she has done this for many years (40 at least) and keeps busy most of the time.

    June in Cincinnati

  9. #9
    ccbear66's Avatar
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    I have asked her about mail order and she said that she used to accept mail order but it was a hassle having to find boxes and get out to the post office. She said she is plenty busy just doing those around her and that way she doesn't have to worry about getting out and all. I am very fortunate to have found her and I tell her so everytime I take a quilt to her.

  10. #10
    Super Member 2 Doods's Avatar
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    June-
    I just started quilting and found sending them out to be quilted was out of my budget. My solution was to purchace a Grace Frame. It holds the quilt back, top and batting on rails with no basting. You put your own sewing machine on it to quilt. I found it on Craig's list. The lady selling it was unable to use it due to health reasons. She also purchaed an industrial type machine for it but was not selling it so I use my Bernina 830 and have not had any trouble with vibration or anything. With the price of sending them out I figured I would only have to do 4-5 quilts and I will be money ahead. There are other companys that make a similar frame. Not a long arm but it does the job and it is FUN!

    Here is a pic of my very first one!
    My second is on the picture page and has the Clifford fabric.
    Getting ready to do # 3 and it will be my largest yet.

    Best of luck to you whatever you decide. May we all live by John Wesley's Rules for Living: "Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, At all the times you can, As long as ever you can."
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  11. #11
    Senior Member MAXIES2's Avatar
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    What lovely colours, its a very striking quilt.
    I am amazed that people send there finished pieces to be quilted by someone else, I find that part to be most relaxing. I live in England and patchwork and quilting is not as popular and I would be surprised if there were many people who sent their quilts away to be finished, but what a lovely way to make a living. I only do it by hand so it would take forever to become rich doing it for other people.

  12. #12

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    Where is here? And your quote is about $20 less. I do appreciate your responding and giving me a current price (tho your price is the same as I paid 3 or 4 years ago when I visited Denver and had a quilt top done for a niece). Reasonable.

    Gale

  13. #13
    Super Member sewmuch's Avatar
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    ccbear, you are sooo lucky, wish I was closer. Have never heard of anyone doing quilting that reasonable. No one around here puts on the
    binding, but I like that part too.
    I have someone recommended by a local shop that is good and reasonable. The latest ones I had done were $27.00 each, 46x36. :wink:

  14. #14

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    Sew Much,

    Is your quilter in the East Bay?

    Gale

  15. #15
    Super Member ceannastahr's Avatar
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    This combo goes for about $950 at sewvactdirect.com Its the Grace Sturdy Lite frame and Juki TL98QE machine (it has a 9" throat) it also comes with a speed control and CAD. The quilt I'm doing now is the second I have done on this comb It will do up to a queen size
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  16. #16

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    Ceann... lucky you! May you be blessed with many quilt tops that bring you joy and pride.

    Gale

  17. #17
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    There is a woman locally who quilts inexpensively and provides the batting, but I don't like her batting - it's way too puffy for me. So I just gave her the batting for mine. I tried to be tactful about it...

    anyhow, just make sure you get references and see her work if possible.


  18. #18

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    That is for the machine AND the frame right? If so that's not a bad price. and to make it King all you'd have to do is add wide borders. Quilting on any machine wouldn' be too difficult if just doing the borders. I may plan to go with something like that. The cheapest long arm I've found was a BAILEY. For about $3,500. Any one familiar with that brand?

  19. #19
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    I was wondering how much area does the Grace Frame require?

  20. #20
    tj
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    hi susan
    yes I'm familiar with the bailey brand. i have a bailey 15 pro it gives me 15" of sewing space from needle to the back of the machine it runs quite and vary smooth, it has a speed control, i have it on a hinterburg frame i love how easy it is to do really big quilts in a shorter time. here check out this site this is where i got my machine from and have been vary happy with it. hope this helps.
    http://www.baileyssewingcenter.com/homequilter.html


    :D tj

  21. #21
    stitchesbymindy's Avatar
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    I am a longarm quilter in WI and am very happy to share my pricing with the group. My work can be viewed at my webshots at the folowing link http:\\community.webshots.com/user/stitchesbymindy
    When I read back through my own reply it sounds a bit short. Believe me, that is not my intent.

    All of my pricing is based on the square inch, the denser the design, the higher the price. I belong to 2 different longarm quilting groups and my pricing is AVERAGE for the area. I am consistently booked 2-3 months in advance. The square inch pricing is for the quilting only, batting, attaching and/or finishing the binding, making the backing, etc, is all extra. Basically, this is my full time job and I charge for my time and to cover my expenses (I must maintain a current list of assets for insurance purposes and it is currently over $75,000 including my machines and all of the many pantos I have to choose from). Working for other people is not my hobby. Making my own quilts is my hobby.

    My overall pantogram pricing is divided in to 4 price ranges, .012, .015, .018, and .02. I assure you that if a customer chooses a design that is in the .02 price range, I will be sewing more on her quilt than she did.

    Custom work starts at .03 cents per square inch and goes up from there. Yes, this is costly to the owner but that is what they choose. Every area of the quilt is discussed and designs are custom made to fit her quilt. I do not make the choice of what to do on a quilt. A quilt that I have custom quilted is show worthy. I always ask the customer what the intended purpose of the quilt is and this helps to guide them to the level of quilting . If you don't intend to show your quilt, and cost is a factor, then don't choose custom quilting.

    I also ask my customers if they want the quilting to show or the piecing. I have over 150 customers and assure you that the answer is all over the board and changes with every quilt. If you want the piecing to show and the quilting to be simply a method of holding the layers together, then don't choose custom, or an expensive, dense panto for that matter.

    I have hundreds of stitched out samples for my customers to view and choose from. I have customers from different states, some mail their quilts and some vacation in my area and bring them to me when they are here. I stock many types of batting which again, I review with the customer so that the correct batting is chosen for the intended purpose of the quilt. I carry over 200 different threads and special order when necessary, again, to meet the customers needs. I attend seminars on batting, thread, quilting and whatever else I can find to keep my knowledge level up so that I feel confident advising my customers.

    I am amazed at how so many women are concerned about the cost of their hobby when if they sat back and figured what their husbands pay to support their hobbies they would probably be shocked. My husband pays over $120 per year on all of his hunting and fishing licenses. Add to that the cost of gas every time he goes fishing, new lures and expensive poles every year, all of the doe pee (yuck) he buys for hunting, special soaps, camoflauged clothes and the list goes on. Yes, we have fresh meats in our freezer but I'll bet it is over $20 a pound. That's the price of his hobby.

    I'm done now, I hope I have not offended anyone with my to the point pricing.
    Mindy

  22. #22
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    no, Mindy, you are absolutely right. What you do is a service that is worth a lot of money. We women tend to underrate our worth. Personally, I think $200 for a queen size quilt is a reasonable rate. You have a LOT of time and overhead into that price.

  23. #23
    lin
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    Thank you Mindy. I appreciate the honest assessment of how you go about the business of machine quilting. Your post didn't sound short to me. :)


  24. #24

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    I agree we have to defend the value of our time, expertise, and of course our investments. I know myself I'm in no position to pay $200.00 for a custom quilt job. But I certainly would not hesitate to ask that price if I were spending my time on someone else's work. :) Let's not forget how expensive those machines are! But, I personally think finishing the entire job my self is a major part of the overall piece, and under most circumstances, would not dream of having someone else do it for me. :lol:

  25. #25
    stitchesbymindy's Avatar
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    I know many women who do all their own quilting, either on the sewing machine or by hand. Even before I had my longarm I never did my own quilting. I either didn't finish them or sent them out, and I too looked for an inexpensive way to finish them. Now that I have tons of quilts finished in all different ways, I can really see the difference and I know usually when I start a quilt whether I will finish it fast and easy, show worthy or somewhere in between.
    Mindy

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