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I was recently working on a customer quilt and as usual my mind tended to wonder. Thought I'd share the thought process with you!!! It has been paraphrased a bit, but I think you get the general idea!

BTW The quilt images are some of my quilts.

Me 1: This is such a simple thing to do. I feel guilty charging my customer so much. Let's turn on the stitch timer and see how long it really takes me to stitch this quilt and maybe charge her less.

Me 2: Hey, that's not how it works! You've given your customer a quote and you should stick to it!

Me 1: But, it's not going to take me a long time! I can knock this puppy off in a couple of hours. She's a good piecer so I don't have a lot of fixes or fudges to do. I can't justify charging the quote.

Me 2: What about the cost to you?

Me 1: Huh?

Me 2: Yeah. you may want to charge less, but what about the cost to you?

Me 1: What cost? My time in front of the machine? I do want to make a decent hourly wage, but other than that I've worked the thread and needle costs into my quote. She's paying me the going rate for the batting I'm selling her even though I bought at wholesale cost. I'll make a little extra there.

Me 2: And your other costs?

Me 1: What other costs?

Me 2: The cost of your machine...that wasn't free


Me 2: The cost of all the other accessories and equipment that you added to your machines.....that wasn't free.

Me 2: What about all that thread you have in all those 35 thread boxes!!! Yes, you buy it so you have a good selection for your customers, but it cost you to purchase them all.

Me 2: The cost of all the classes you've taken and the added expenses on travel involved...those weren't free!

Me 2: What about your library of books you spent money on?

Me 2: What about the time you spent on the internet researching for new ideas and the time you spent practicing to make that simple design really easy!!!!!

Me 2: Many will call a lot of this professional development.

Me 1: Well........


Me 1: OK, guess I won't charge her less!!!!

A bit facetious I know, but it is an inner conversation that reminds me that even though I can 'knock it off quickly' and it really didn't take such a short time. I often under-value myself. Don't we all?

Yes, I've spent lots of $ (too much to really count) on my hobby/business. I call it a hobby, 'cause I have too much fun, and don't think of it as a job. I currently have 2 longarm quilting machines and frames, a computerized robotics system plus all the extras available to help me with my passion. I also own 5 sewing machines and a serger and most of those puppies weren't cheap either!!!!

When I travel to teach, I always leave money in the store when I pick up a new-to-me-tool, a promising book, some lovely fabric that will make a super class sample, or something that is so great, I can't see myself doing without it!

I've travelled across North America to take classes to learn from some of the best in the industry. Registration for those classes wasn't cheap and the cost of travel and accommodation adds up easily. There is a trade off though, to be able to say that I've taken classes from all these great quilters and educators.

I've registered for countless on-line classes as well as participated in local classes that required much less extra financial outlay. I've learned almost too much to put into my daily practice, but I keep doing it, especially now during Covid-19 limitations.

I spend hours and hours each week (I won't tell you how many a day!) on-line researching for ideas for new quilting designs. I spend hours practicing so make these quilting designs easy so I can stitch them almost without thought! I spend a lot of hours and fabric making new class samples that will show better on-line that in person.

AND ONE MORE THING: being in "lock down" due to Covid-19 has given me a new avenue for teaching. I've been fortunate to continue teaching with Handi Quilter. Rather than travel, I've been able to stay in my studio and teach across the country (US and Canada). I've had a blast meeting people from all over!!!!!

I've been told to record everything and play the recording when teaching a class or offering it on my website as an on-demand quilting class. I've done one (Alpha Banners - Bless This House), but the amount of work to get everything ready, do all the recording (sometimes many times to get it right), editing and publishing was a big expense (time AND money).

I prefer that in-person touch. So pretty much every class I teach, I am loading new fabric, setting up my zoom meetings, preparing notes and distributing them, preparing (cleaning) my studio so students don't see my mess!!!! I get paid to teach, but not paid to prepare and plan. I don't regret any second of my preparation and planning for on-line or in person classes. The bright spot in my classes is when I see that a student "gets it". They have that look about them (harder to see through a computer screen) that something I've shown them or taught them is going to change how they do things!

THE POINT? I need to remember to remind myself that I am worth it! My preparation for classes, my research, the money I've spent on equipment and the valuable things I've learned by taking more and more classes, has made me a better quilter! So, I can confidently say to ME 2 that I will charge that customer what I quoted her. I will value myself for the skills I have and I WILL NOT SELL MYSELF SHORT ANYMORE!!!!! or even think it!

Thanks for reading to the end of this little rant! I enjoy every minute I spend in my studio, even when I loose things because I am so creative!!!!

The quilt below is a recent customer quilt. A non-quilter made the top and gave me a heavy drapery lining to add as a border and to use as the backing and binding. This was a great project to work on. Thanks Marna for allowing me to work on your treasure.


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