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Thread: Hand quilting

  1. #1

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    I am a hand quilter and hand appliquer. I have made full size quilts for friends and family and charged them nothing. However, I now have acquaintenances asking me to make them quilts. Does anyone have any advice on how much to charge. I know some people charge by the yards of thread they use and some people charge by the square foot of quilting. My problem is that this makes the quilts very expensive and I don't think people will pay that much. HELP! I want to be paid adequately, but I want my quilts to sell, also.

  2. #2

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    Hello there, I wanted to respond to your notice on the quilters board.. I also am a 'hand quilter' but unlike you, I just can't bear to part with my quilts.. unless I give them away. I just feel that the time one has to spend making a hand made, quilt.. is so much time, that even if you think of charging $1.00 an hour you would come out on the short end. So.. well since I am not selling any, as so many people want, but don't want to pay the cost, I just tell everyone.. that I don't sell quilts.. But, If it comes to a gift, they know it is special. Keep up the good work...
    I find that when I sit and do the top stitching, and such, that my index finger of the left hand gets to be like leather. I find that a traditional thimble I can't actually tell when my needle hits it.. to give me a small stitch. BUT.. the other day, I got one of the tourniquets from the lab.. (when I had blood work done).. took some of the tourni. and made a stretchie type thimble to go over my index finger.. Hey it works great....
    Happy stitching.....
    Sharon
    [email protected]

  3. #3
    Leslee's Avatar
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    Do they have to have full-sized quilts? What if you limited your for-sale quilts to a certain size...say, 45 x 45 or smaller. The fabric, thread and batting wouldn't be a great expense. A small quilt would really showcase your hand quilting and applique skills, and anybody that appreciates your quilts and wants to own one should love one of any size!

  4. #4

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    Thank you. That is wonderful advice. I will definitely try that.

  5. #5

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    Hello, pamluvs2quilt:
    I read your question and answers about selling, etc. I am a beginner quilter, and have made about 4 or 5 quilts. I do plan to give one away for Christmas (even with all the mistakes)...my sister will love it nevertheless.
    I have a question: when doing hand quilting, do you always use a hoop or do you ever just have the quilt sandwich in your hand and do the quilting? I watch Simply Quilts, and Alex was demonstrating using the hoop, but it seems a little aquard for a lefty...any suggestions?

    Tx, Sibble

  6. #6
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    Sibble, I am also a lefty and not sure if that the reason I found a hoop too hard to use, but I agree. I finally took a class from a world renown quilter and guess what? She doesn't use a hoop. Somehow, that made all the difference for me. Like giving me permission to hold a quilt and experiment. For me the control is better and therefore, my stitches got smaller and more uniform. One recomendation, practice before each new project. Start with a pillow top. But always do a practice piece before beginning, as it will remind your body of the rythm needed. There truly are no right or wrong methods to quilt. You decide what works for you. Don't be intimidated by the belief of someone else. Quilting is supossed to be fun! Enjoy the process as much as the finished product.

  7. #7
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    I've never tried it without a hoop or frame of some kind to keep things tight, I would be afraid of pulling my stitches too tight and causing puckers, or bunching. I know for a fact that I can't embroidery without a hoop!

  8. #8

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    Hi Pam,

    All I can tell you is that the Amish in Pennsyvania (sorry if I spelled it incorrectly) spend a winter on one quilt, all done by hand, the local asking price for a queen sized quilt is about $600 dollars. I just read that in this months National Geographic. She said in the article that she gets frustrated if someone complains that this was the cost of their entire bed because they have very little knowledge of all the work that went into it. Anyone who goes to the trouble of hand quilting really deserves to charge that kind of price in my opinion.

    However, I'm in the place your speaking of as well... the last gal (who was close but not exactly family) I asked her to buy all the supplies and gave her an idea of what to buy. It did not bother me much to do it this way because I was going to be quilting this winter anyway - and at least it saved me the cost of the supplies and saved me a bit of space in my closet.... dunno if that makes sense.

    anyway, my two cents for what they are worth...

    Lori

  9. #9

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    Great point. Thanks for replying.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by pamluvs2quilt
    I know some people charge by the yards of thread they use and some people charge by the square foot of quilting. My problem is that this makes the quilts very expensive and I don't think people will pay that much. HELP! I want to be paid adequately, but I want my quilts to sell, also.
    Hi Pamluvs2quilt,

    Leslee's advice to make smaller quilts so there won't be such a large time and materials investment makes perfect sense.

    At the same time, I'm wondering what your price would be if you used the square foot method? Not trying to be nosy about it, but I'm thinking: while you wouldn't make a whole stack of large quilts to find they're more expensive than folks are willing to pay, maybe it would be worth making just one large piece, and pricing it by the sq ft, to see what happens?

    Just a thought!
    Crystal

  11. #11

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    Thanks. That is great advice! I might just try that.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by pamluvs2quilt
    Thanks. That is great advice! I might just try that.
    Wow. Wouldn't it be the best kind of surprise to put a price on it that really reflects the time you spent, and someone bought it!? :shock:


  13. #13
    Senior Member QuiltinLee's Avatar
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    IMHO, you get what you pay for!! If acquaintances are asking you to make quilts for them, they must like your work! The $600 estimate from the Pennsylvania Dutch is a low estimate. I've seen the queens go from about $600 - $1200. My neighbor had one made (wedding ring) and paid over $1,000.

  14. #14
    Steve's Avatar
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    The queen size Iím working on for my Brotherís family is an Ďeasyí crosshatch pattern, but still it is time consuming when done by hand. Leslee has encouraged me to go ahead and give the machine quilting a try though my family has seen the hand stitching and expect it now. Mom said that the kids (niece and nephews) wouldnít appreciate it as much till theyíre older, and told me not to spend a lot of time quilting. In my mind though that is a cop out since yes, they will get older and hopefully still have the quilt. What would they think of me then when looking at something less than what Iíve done for others?

    The original plan (donít you just love how they change daily?) was to do them according to size so that my skills would improve as I worked to larger projects. In making the Double Irish top for my brother my thoughts turned to diving right in and having no fear. Now well, Iím not so sure.

    My mantra: One stitch at a time.

    I donít think Iíd ever be able to offer my DNA (hand stitching) for any price. Itís a heck of a lot of work no matter how you slice it. If anyone grumbles over an extra zero in the checkbook, I say let them deal with it; thatís simply their price for admission.

    Value your work or no one else will!

  15. #15
    Norah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve

    Value your work or no one else will!
    Amen to that. I quilt heirloom tops for my friends and I charge $200 or so for a queen size. They buy the materials. That is fair to me and them. They think it is a lot, but worth it to have Grandma's quilt finally done.

  16. #16
    lisae's Avatar
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    You should be paid adequately if you are hand quilting a quilt for someone. What is your time worth?

    The people I know who hand quilt for money charge by the job. They figure out how many hours it will take and base their charge on that.


    It is expensive to have a quilt hand quilted.

  17. #17
    lisae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sibble

    I have a question: when doing hand quilting, do you always use a hoop or do you ever just have the quilt sandwich in your hand and do the quilting? I watch Simply Quilts, and Alex was demonstrating using the hoop, but it seems a little aquard for a lefty...any suggestions?
    I've never used a hoop or frame. I baste the quilt sandwich very well, then quilt in my lap. Very easy and portable!

  18. #18
    Barb V's Avatar
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    I agree with you Lisae. I never use a hoop. I have tried at times but found it a chore. I just put in a lot of basting and quilt with out a frame, either sitting with it on my lap or at the table. Both work well for me over the years.

  19. #19
    Super Member Lucky Patsy's's Avatar
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    "What would they think of me then when looking at something less than what Iíve done for others?"
    I don't think machine quilting represents something less. It is just done in a different technique. Different projects lend themselves to different techniques, and as the creator you get to chose what suits you and the project. I have been given both handquilted and machine quilted
    gifts and treasure both them and their makers!

  20. #20
    Steve's Avatar
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    That's a bargain! I just insured a runner to the folks for several hundred. I figured if the post office looses it they're going to pay big time.

  21. #21

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    I'm lefy handed and have never had a problem using a hoop unless a right handed person is sitting next to me, but I have that problem at the dinner table to. LOL. I think quilting without a hoop gives your quilting a different look then it does if you use a hoop.

  22. #22
    Steve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky Patsy's "Mom"
    "What would they think of me then when looking at something less than what Iíve done for others?"
    I don't think machine quilting represents something less. It is just done in a different technique. Different projects lend themselves to different techniques, and as the creator you get to chose what suits you and the project. I have been given both handquilted and machine quilted
    gifts and treasure both them and their makers!
    I don't really think most folks even know the difference, and think that was what Mom was saying about doing for the kids. It's that you make it that really counts.

    I do want to learn to machine quilt very soon, simply because there are so many cool things to do. Honest, I've nothing against machine quilting. It's like my wanting to do a quilt pieced completely by hand sometime too, just for the experience. Gotta try it all!

  23. #23
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    My thought about price- if you price it too low you devalue all quilts. They are time consuming & it is insulting for people to expect you to work for nothing, would they be willing to do their job for $1.00 an hour? I don't think so.
    Just my opinion.


  24. #24
    Steve's Avatar
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    Exactly joannl, I mean really, this isn't Walmart we're talkin'.!

  25. #25
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joannl
    My thought about price- if you price it too low you devalue all quilts. They are time consuming & it is insulting for people to expect you to work for nothing, would they be willing to do their job for $1.00 an hour? I don't think so.
    Just my opinion.
    I have to agree completely! Hand quilting is a dying art and as such, your time and effort put into it should reflect that. If you want to make a point about how much time it takes, simply keep track while you hand quilt. I bought a great little timer from Walmart and I have used it to track both the time it takes to piece a quilt and the time it takes to hand quilt it. When you tell someone it can take 200-1000 hours to make a quilt from start to finish, it really starts to drive home to them the amount of work that goes into a quilt, which can make it more valuable in their eyes. (We already know how valuable it is!)

    As for hand quilting vs machine quilting, each has their own merits and I don't view either as better than the other. It is simply a different method of reaching the same goal. If a quilt is going to get a lot of use I usually will machine quilt it. I have some quilts I am saving to hand quilt and other quilts that I am comfortable finishing by machine. If I had a long arm I would probably use that more than anything else. JM2C.
    ~Tiffany

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