1. Come check out hundreds of awesome coop pages (and a few that need suggestions) in our 2018 Coop Rating Project!

Grrr, Wanting Something for Nothing & No Appreciation for Fine Hand Quilting....A Rare Speckledhen

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by speckledhen, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I was commissioned to make a bed runner for my neighbor, really a runner to protect her mother's cedar chest that graces the foot of her king size bed and to complement her current comforter, which is an abstract wash of seafoam to sagey greens mixed with rosy to almost coral pinks. I told her I'd probably have to order about $25 worth of fabric, though I'd most likely not use every little bit of it in her project, and that I would charge her $90, including the fabric, for a machine pieced and entirely hand quilted runner, truthfully, less than I would charge someone who was not a friend/neighbor. I didn't even charge her for the batting, which I had on hand here.

    The final result was 30" x 80", as wide as a regular bed quilt. It is made with first quality 100% cotton quilt fabrics from Thousands of Bolts, who sells excellent fabrics at wonderful prices, often less than even Walmart's lesser quality stuff. I bought fabrics for her runner at one of their great sales, most of it less than $5 per yard, and if you know good quilt fabric, a real steal.

    My neighbor works at a senior center. Apparently, she told them what I was doing for her, and without even seeing it, without knowing the size or the quality, without knowing of my skill at hand quilting (I pride myself at being very good at what I do, with 30 years experience), they started spouting off:

    1)You're paying way too much for that.
    2) She could get much cheaper fabric somewhere else.

    I was insulted and angry. If one more person denigrates my pricing for custom hand quilted work one more time, I swear, I'm going to tell them Wally World is their friend and to go waste their money there. Would they work for less than 50 cents an hour? Of course not, but they expect me to do so and throw in the fabric for free. And if I have the fabric in my stash already, it's still not free--if I use it in their project, I cannot use it in something else and will have to replace it.

    I could have found cheaper fabrics?? Where?? Not likely! The worst quality cottons at Walmart are $4 per yard, you know, the ones you can see through? Their usual prices are $5-7 per yard now and they are starting to get somewhat better quality cottons at some locations, thankfully. The cheap cottons are never a good choice in a quilt and you pay the price in other ways, even if you can save on the fabric. It doesn't quilt well nor wear/wash well.

    Here is the runner in question. That outer border fabric is such wonderful heavy cotton, it feels like flannel. I got 2 yards of it for just $4.95 each, half the cost at any quilt shop in the U.S. She wanted paisleys, not much floral, a challenge with these colors, but I searched and found quite a few paisleys, including that large border fabric, in addition to flourishes, florentines, botanicals, etc. If it was going to be a bed quilt, I would have done some extra quilting in the outer border, but it will live on her cedar chest.

    By the way, I told my neighbor that if she didn't like it, she didn't have to buy it and I meant it. She said she likes it and I hope she's being sincere.

    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013

  2. shell3

    shell3 Songster

    May 14, 2012
    Hertfordshire England
    i think your right it looks very good quality and having something handmade and materials hand chosen is really special. i dont know anyone that could make something like that. shes lucky to have a neighbour who can! if she dosnt buy it she must be daft! i hope she does
  3. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    It is worth far more foe the quality, craftsmanship and option of choosing your color palette. Ignore the negativity.
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    I felt it was really catty for them to say that to her, making her feel bad and/or stupid to pay that price for a custom quilted piece when they hadn't even seen it or the quality. Seemed quite rude to me.

    ETA: Good grief. My neighbor just called. I had said if someone knew some secret place to get top quality quilt fabric for less than TOB sales, I'd love to hear about it. She asked the woman who said I could find cheaper fabric where she was talking about. Well, she gave her the name of some individual woman in North Carolina. Say what? Now, how am I supposed to know about some secret fabric coven in NC, lol? And I still doubt she has the quality fabrics I've been using for less than what I've been paying. STILL, that is not even the point! I didn't even charge the neighbor for all the fabric I bought or used or for the batting. I charged her for a commissioned, custom hand quilted bed runner and all that entails-hunting down the right fabrics, the time, the quality threads used, the experience of the quilter, the hours of labor, etc. And, if I had not bought one fabric specifically for this project, I'd still have to consider materials in what I charged her because when they are used up, I no longer have them to use for something else.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  5. Ellie

    Ellie Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Redding, Ca.
    Tell her you have another buyer who wants it and will pay a hundred dollars. Me.
    1 person likes this.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thank you, Ellie. I know you mean it, too. The neighbor paid me for the bed runner-actually, her visiting adult son bought it for her and his wife wants me to do one the same size in different colors for her cedar chest, but I hesitate to do anything on commission anymore. I'd rather make something, then offer it up for sale. He took photos of all the blue fabrics I had and some examples and will get back with me, but I won't do it for less. If they want it for less, they can go elsewhere.
  7. blondiebee181

    blondiebee181 Songster

    Mar 21, 2012
    Boise, ID
    Speckledhen, you are absolutely right! Those people don't have the right to criticize your work! And besides you put a lot of work and thought into it, and that counts for alot! My aunt is a WONDERFUL quilter and she made me a quilt for graduation and it was super special. it was a gift, but still when you take your time to do something that is priceless right there.

  8. shell3

    shell3 Songster

    May 14, 2012
    Hertfordshire England
    oh my goodness its a one off! you and only you know its worth as you are the one who put in the work , skills and time. i understand you being offended and if youd done it for me id be saying wow its amazing thank you so much.how unique to own something like that made just for me! people dont appreciate quality somtimes. if i ordered the same online to be made to my pallet id pay much more! im glad her son saw this. if i were you id do one for the wife, shes seen her mils one and obviously agrees its easily worth the money x
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Thanks for the support, all. I recently did break my "no quilts for family" rule (which of course, makes me sound like an ogre for having such a rule, but there's a reason behind it, trust me) and made a quilt for my grown niece in South Carolina. It was two years in the making, having to put it off, then get back to it a few times. When I presented it to her, she was in tears. She now says it's one of her most prized possessions. I'd rather give a quilt to someone I know will appreciate it than hire out to make one, though I do need the money, and get complaints about what I'm charging. Life's too short and my fingers won't hold out that much longer anyway. I quilt through carpal tunnel/tingling and numb fingers. In fact, just typing this post has my fingers tingling already this morning, first thing I've done today.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  10. ramirezframing

    ramirezframing Crowing

    Mar 2, 2011
    Knee Deep
    ooh wow! very nice! My great great aunt Norma hand quilted quilts. My mom had one that I drooled over for years, and after a visit to my grandma in CA the other summer, I now have the last one that my aunt made. Grandma handed it over in a plastic zipped bag and I took it out to look at it once and than put it back so it doesn't get messed up. I applaud you for your time and patience as I know I can't do it. Have you done a horse or chicken one?

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by