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A gentle discussion about $ for long arm quilting

A gentle discussion about $ for long arm quilting

Old 10-27-2007, 06:26 PM
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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.

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Old 10-27-2007, 07:33 PM
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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.
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Old 10-27-2007, 08:25 PM
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Your local quilt store will probaby have the most reliable list of professional quilters.
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Old 10-27-2007, 08:28 PM
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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. :)
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Old 10-28-2007, 03:56 AM
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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
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Old 10-28-2007, 04:19 AM
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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
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Old 10-28-2007, 05:54 AM
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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.
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:19 AM
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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
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Old 10-28-2007, 06:44 AM
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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.
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Old 10-28-2007, 09:37 AM
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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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