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Thread: Long Arm Quilter for fun or profit?

  1. #1
    Senior Member lbaillie's Avatar
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    Long Arm Quilter for fun or profit?

    I'm about to finally have my dream come true by purchasing a long arm quilting machine. I'm curious if those that own one, purchased if for fun or profit. If for profit how did you get started and do you have any tips?
    God should have given me grandchildren 1st!!http://signatures.mylivesignature.co...335C69E4FE.png

  2. #2
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    Definitely for fun. I am so blessed to own one that I can use for myself or my family & friends. I don't think I could deal with the challenges of quilting for others. Not my idea of fun.

  3. #3
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    I bought mine to make finishing my own quilts easier. Since then I have quilted occasionally for friends (who insist on paying me). After DH died and I moved, I thought I would buy robotics and start a real business, but I haven't done so, at least not yet.

  4. #4
    Super Member Quiltngolfer's Avatar
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    I just use mine for fun. My daughter and I quilt the quilts we make on it. She does some quilting for others, but I don’t.

  5. #5
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    For profit?
    Some suggestions----first, have you had experience with a LA? If not,lots of practice..
    do you belong to a guild? When you think you are ready for clients, take yours to show and tell...
    print up some business cards and drop off at lqs
    get all your business paperwork decided upon and prices and breakdowns...
    then word of mouth....
    And be prepared to have less time for your own projects......but it can be interesting and rewarding
    many more ideas and suggestions, I'm sure will be posted, but you have to find the path that works for you, ad far as the allotted, your way of getting the best results...etc..... And remember it will always be a learning experience,,at least for me it was.........

  6. #6
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    I intended to quilt for others after I retired, but found it hard to do anything for myself when I did that, with my limited time. I also found it to be more pressure than I expected. So I quit quilting for friends. I haven't been able to quilt for myself, either, yet, but hope to soon. (Too busy as executor after my mom's death, selling her house, etc. Should be able to mostly finish up with that in the next month or so, and get back in my quilting groove.)

  7. #7
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    I also bought it just for fun. I make for family, friends, Project Linus and Quilts of Valor. I'm retired and don't want the pressure of quilting for others. I quilt Quilts of Valor that have been pieced by other people and sometimes, that's a challenge. I'm picky with my pressing, removing those "whiskers" of threads, flat borders, etc. I know people that quilt for money and they seem to do well. Mine is just for fun!

  8. #8
    Senior Member tallchick's Avatar
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    I purchased mine to do my own quilts, it’s a hobby for me. I’m not the type of person who would enjoy doing it for others, as that is far too much pressure to meet someone’s “expectations”; hats off to those that do!
    There are several Facebook groups for longarm quilters and I think you’ll find that most are very very friendly and helpful.
    If you really want to do it as a business, talk to others and be realistic with your expectations. There are those that take to longarming like a duck to water and are amazing at what they do, then there are the rest of us. It takes lots of time, patience and practice to become proficient with your machine. Good luck and keep us updated!
    Lisa

  9. #9
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    I mainly bought mine to finish my own quilts. After sending all my tops out to be quilted I did the math and my machine is paying for itself. I do also quilt for close friends and family and do not do custom work. If they want a panto or free motion edge to edge then I will quilt for them. I do not have a "business" so to speak and by word of mouth I am as busy as I want to be. I recommend MQR forum for a place to answer any questions you might have concerning the business side of long arming. It is also an excellent supportive group for any thing longarm related.
    Last edited by pewa88; 05-09-2018 at 10:23 AM.

  10. #10
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    I purchased mine for fun. When I first started, a local professional quilter contacted me to see if I would be interested in quilting for hire. I went to her house & worked with her for a couple days, which helped me decide. Fast. She spent a lot of time fixing/massaging/reworking customer's quilts. The first quilt she loaded had a really wavy border, which she took off & reapplied. the next quilt we did had seam intersections that were pressed so poorly that the panto she was trying to show me could not be easily done because you kept hitting them. Another the top was OK, but the backing was seamed so unevenly, she wound up re stitching. Well, you get the picture. It might have been just a bad batch, but I declined the work. I now just quilt for me & friends & family. If one of them gives me a top with an issue, I have no problem handing it back & telling them to fix it!
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

  11. #11
    Super Member Doggramma's Avatar
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    My friend bought one to start her business. It took probably 3 years to get a decent customer base. I know she doesn't make "a living" from her longarm though. I got a sitdown machine to finish more quilts. People have asked if I quilt for others, but I'm not interested in it. I think I'd be a nervous wreck over every little area that doesn't look perfect if I was getting paid for it.
    Lori

    *********

  12. #12
    Super Member petthefabric's Avatar
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    i purchased mine with an open mind. My experience is I'm always concerned if people will like it. I like artistic pieces & they're few and far between. I'd rather create tops than quilt. And I'd like that space for something else. Now I do it only for fun and willing to help others quilt their own tops on it. I'm considering a sit down machine.

  13. #13
    Senior Member cindi's Avatar
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    For fun. I don’t want to turn my favorite hobby into a job I’ll dread having to do!

  14. #14
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    One of my doctor's nurses makes quilt tops. When I donated some quilts for patients to use while taking chemo. She saw my quilting and really wanted me to quilt her tops. I had to tell her I would not quilt them. The quilts I donated never made it to any patients. The nurses and office workers kept them. Now I only donate to kids in foster care.
    I don't need any aggravation. I only use a DSM.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  15. #15
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    Yes, for fun. It would not be any fun if it was for work - that would be too much pressure for deadlines and perfection. I do my own quilts and charity quilts and am quite happy with that.
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  16. #16
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    Nurses and office personnel keeping the quilts you made for the patients would tick me off big time!
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  17. #17
    Senior Member lyric girl's Avatar
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    I have had mine for a year next month. They cost way too much money to simply quilt for myself. I started my business on January 1 and haven't done many customer quilts yet; however, I also quilt for Quilts of Valour.

  18. #18
    Super Member AliKat's Avatar
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    At this point in time I still quilt for myself, a friend or two, and lots of charity quilts.
    When/if I do for profit I would need a business license and to make sure the income wouldn't be so much that it hurts me financially. Though this is a possibility in the future though.
    Have fun quilting! If it isn't fun, you will miss a lot.
    ali

  19. #19
    Senior Member Kwiltr's Avatar
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    My longarm is for my hobby/entertainment. I love machine quilting and enjoy the challenge. I don't want the pressure of suiting someone else and working on someone else's quilts. It's pressure enough to make them and give them away either to charity or family on my own terms! I admire those people who are comfortable working on other peoples quilts. It would be great to get all that extra practice though!!

  20. #20
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cindi View Post
    For fun. I don’t want to turn my favorite hobby into a job I’ll dread having to do!
    My thoughts exactly! I have been waiting almost two years to purchase my own LA (had to build a room over the garage first) and now that we have sold one of our retail businesses, I’m looking forward to spending more time quilting for myself. I’m hoping I can make up my mind this Fall as to which machine.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  21. #21
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    I always caution people to think carefully about turning a hobby into a business. I did that with another hobby and it took all the fun out of the hobby. It was years before I started to enjoy that hobby again. I started to do the same with quilting and quickly stopped. The pressure of having to meet another persons timeframe just did not work for me.

  22. #22
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    My best friend and I bought a longarm together as we both had piles of finished tops. We just quilt for ourselves, QOV, and our two guild’s Community Projects. We do invite quilting friends in for afternoons of quilting “fun” but have not graduated to seriously quilting for others. Some of the donated quilt tops that we’ve quilted have really been “doozies” and real learning experiences. We have quilted over 300 quilts in a year and a half and have had so much fun without the pressure of producing “masterpieces” for others. We are very blessed to be able to just enjoy our quilting time and not have to make a living from it. We are no threat to our local longarmers in the business as we quilt things that they don’t have time to do.
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  23. #23
    Senior Member Pagzz's Avatar
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    I really wanted a longarm and thought I would quilt for others after I retired. I found quilting for others stressful. My first customer spent 1.5 hours explaining what she wanted, and it just made me nervous. I do free motion not pantos so that contributed to feeling like it was all on my shoulders. I decided to just do my own quilting.
    Peggy

    "Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are."
    -Chinese proverb
    http://peggybsquilting.blogspot.com/

  24. #24
    Super Member Wanabee Quiltin's Avatar
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    I bought mine for myself. I actually enjoy using it except...the tension is a big headache. I will never do quilting for anyone, I love to piece quilts instead.

  25. #25
    Super Member luvstoquilt301's Avatar
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    I bought a a used one on Craigslist that does not even have a stitch regulator. I quilt mainly for charity. I hated basting the sandwich.

    I have done a few for close friends for $ who are happy with what I can do. I do not want to quilt for $ as it will turn my fun into a business.

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