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Professional quilters: How do you find balance?

Professional quilters: How do you find balance?

Old 10-02-2013, 01:17 PM
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Default Professional quilters: How do you find balance?

For those of you who sew professionally, how long did it take you to find balance in your sewing life? I can figure out how to put work away normally, but this is stumping me. I feel like when I sit down at my machine, I should be working on a work project instead of doing my recreational family quilting. So right now, to get away from the "work sewing", I just have to get away from my machine entirely. But that leaves all of my other projects in the lurch. HELP!
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:43 PM
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I would do what every other person working full time does: 8 am to 5 pm, it's all business, evenings & weekends are your own!

This is why I have a long arm, but don't want to quilt for hire. I have already turned one hobby into a semi business and not only is there a balancing act, but it takes some of the fun out of it!
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Old 10-02-2013, 10:10 PM
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Before I started professional work with my hobbie, I decided I didn't want to go back to full time employment. I'll do it 1 day/wk or 8 hrs/wk. So that's all the work I accept. Now, I've discovered, I really like teaching quilting classes. This is more play than work. So I do that 1-2 days/wk (this includes the prep time).

I chose to limit my work time to remain retired. And to keep my hobbie, a hobbie----fun, not work. When it's not fun anymore, I can go back to my FT job at $45/hr + benefits--it wasn't fun either, but at least I got good compensation.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:46 AM
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I have regular 'work' hours during the week- sometimes until noon on Saturday if I have a deadline- or project I need to get done- outside of my regular 'work hours' I have my time to work on what ever I want. if you are going to treat your 'hobby' as a business you need to write up a 'business plan' including budget, operating hours, policies, prices...once you have it figured out in black & white it is easier to manage your time (and money)
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Old 10-03-2013, 04:54 AM
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We have an area longarm group that meets once a month and yesterday we discussed this exact subject. Suggestions included limiting the number of quilts you will accept per month, adding your own quilts to the longarm list (for example, after quilting 3 customer quilts, quilt 1 for yourself). For piecing time, I quit longarming everyday at 3:00 and sew for myself until 5:00 and it's time to start dinner. Limit the number of days per week you will work on customer's quilts. Don't accept custom jobs (this might be hard but they do take a lot more time.) Don't let the longarming overwhelm you as you will end up not taking any customers (this happened to two of our group). Hope this helps.
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Old 10-03-2013, 01:20 PM
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No way!!! I am keeping quilt making strictly for my own quilts. I already have a full time job. Quilting is all for me, I give most of my quilts away, I choose pattern, colors and who gets them.
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Old 10-03-2013, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Jingle View Post
No way!!! I am keeping quilt making strictly for my own quilts. I already have a full time job.
Lol the OP did address this to "professional quilters".

I have a friend who quilts professionally and she does what others have already stated - she has set work hours for her professional quilts. Evenings and weekends are her time to work on whatever she wants.

I think the trickier thing is to not get burned out by quilting.

Last edited by Peckish; 10-03-2013 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 10-04-2013, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ckcowl View Post
if you are going to treat your 'hobby' as a business you need to write up a 'business plan' including budget, operating hours, policies, prices...once you have it figured out in black & white it is easier to manage your time (and money)
I forgot about this. The book The Ultimate Guide to Longarm Quilting by Linda Taylor has an excercise for making a business plan. I did this back before I started. And I had talked to LAQs who were getting burn out. They realized their hobbie was no longer the pleasure it had been before they went professional. They were cutting back before they gave up entirely. So I decided to start very slow. I've done very little advertising. Due to my own quilts, I have a reputation locally, so people find me. I have enough business. I wouldn't mind doing a little more, so I've put flyers at a store where I teach classes. It grows slowly so as I encounter new issues, I can take the time to figure it out.

On QB I've seen prices for LAQ that seem very low to me. And there are quilters locally who do the same thing. They're always busy. They must love doing LAQ. I figured, I'm not working for minimum wage. I guestimate (that's estimate with experience) how long it takes to quilt a twin size, x price/hr + overhead, then turn into cents/sq in. I'm sure my price eliminates many people, but that's OK with me.

I rent out my machine for $50/day with my constant presence. This includes enough instruction and practice to do a decent job and time to finish the quilt. I also help them load their quilt. This is the bargain I offer. I'd rather see someone enjoy their own quilt, all the way to finished.
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