Batting Surprise

I posted to my personal blog about a quilt that I had taken apart and re-quilted for a church nursery. (You can view the post by Clicking Here)

I included photos of the process of re-quilting this baby quilt and I also posted photos of what the batting looked like when I took apart the quilt.

This baby quilt was well used and well loved in the church nursery and after each use it was washed and dried. In other words, it was “rode hard and put away wet!” Before I took the quilt apart, the batting felt pretty good and I felt almost a little bit guilty about taking the quilt apart. But when I did, I was very surprised at what I found.

Here are the results (click on any photo for a larger view)

W-BB-2

The quilt back is still (barely) attached to the batting. The quilt was “birthed” and tied. (Refer to the original blog post for the details on this)

I took the batting off the quilt back and put it on some cardboard so you can see it better.

W-BB-3

I can’t remember if the quilt was tied where the batting is or it was the other way around.

Why am I showing this to you? As a professional machine quilter, YOU can make the recommendations to your customers as to what batting can / should be used in their quilt.

Because this quilt was made by the “church ladies” I am sure they were not worried about the longevity of the batting they used. I am certain they looked at the price of the batting only and the batting may have been donated. (No, I don’t know what brand of batting was used, but it looked like a bonded polyester.)

To many people, batting is batting and it isn’t that important! But WE know that is not true and these photos show the results.

When I re-did the quilt I used Soft & Bright (S&B) polyester batting from The Warm Company. Soft & Bright is “built” the same way as Warm & Natural, with a layer of scrim between the fibers – cotton or polyester – to help the batting keep it’s shape and not pull apart. I have been using S&B for YEARS in my own quilts, customer quilts and quilts for my own family and Grand Kids. Yes, this is a shameless plug and no, I’m not affiliated with Warm Company, except as a happy customer of their products.

YOU, as the professional, need to find the battings that work well for you and your customers. Then you need to recommend them to your customers and maybe, at times, insist that your batting is used in their quilts.

Let’s assume you allow your customers bring their own batting for you to use and a customer brings some “nasty” batting. (You can describe “nasty” any way you desire.) You know that this nasty batting will give you problems when quilting AND it is not going to look good in the quilt.

Will you use the nasty batting or recommend / insist on using batting YOU endorse and have in stock?

Personally, I won’t use the nasty batting. And yes, many times, I have refused to use a customer’s batting! I do explain WHY I won’t use it and most customers understand and will use my batting.

If a customer absolutely insists on using that batting, and their minds can’t be changed, I would probably refuse the job. (Yes, you CAN refuse to quilt someone’s quilt.)

There are some professional quilters will not allow their customers to bring their own batting – they MUST use the batting the professional provides. And that’s OK too. That professional probably learned the hard way about bad battings!

It is OK to be fussy about batting. It is OK to refuse to quilt a quilt using nasty batting. It is OK to recommend a different batting that YOU approve and / or endorse.

Last but not least, here is a photo of the completed, newly re-quilted quilt with new batting, new borders and binding!

Click on the photo for a larger view.

W-BB-4A

Quilting details – the blocks are about 3 inches square. I stitched free hand wavy lines about 1/4 inch from each seam and then one wavy line down the middle of the blocks, using varigated thread. I did turn the quilt to the vertical lines.

PS – If you would like copies of the nasty batting photos to show your customers, send me an email at longarmu@aol.com requesting them.

 

 

Advertisements

Situation Update

I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to the last post about a situation that a quilter was in. To view the original post Click Here

I have talked to the quilter a few times and I recently received an email from her. She has given me permission to post her email on this blog.

I hope you take the time to read her email – it raises more than a few questions for us, as professional machine quilters, to ponder.

Here is her email –

Cindy its taken me awhile to get back to you because I’ve had a lot of thinking to do about my future. Making a decision that will affect the rest of my life is not something to do quickly. Let me give you a bit more history before telling my plans.

I used to get most of my customers from three different quilt shops close to my house and by word of mouth. I never had any difficulty getting customers. There were only a handful of professional machine quilters in this whole area when I started. I was the only one on this side of the county. I thought of all my customers as friends and everyone loved to come to my house for some quilt talk or help with troublesome patterns. I had a steady stream of friends.

The years go by and life changes. The three quilt shops close so no more customers from them. The remaining quilt shop is on the other side of the county. Customers get older and stop making quilts. Cheaper quilting machines come on the market making it easier for customers to quilt their own tops. Classes are taught for how to quilt with a domestic machine and classes are taught for how to make an entire quilt with an embroidery machine. That means fewer customers to go around at the same time as more people decide to become professional quilters for hire.

The neighborhood where I live goes downhill and the crime goes up. People start moving away leaving mostly boarded up houses and high crime. If I am afraid to live in my own home how can I expect customers to feel comfortable visiting? I got tired of my car being stolen so often and so did the insurance company. I gave my car to someone who really needed it and started using public transportation. We don’t have Uber here. It costs twelve dollars just to get into a taxi here.

Over the years quilting machines get cheaper and easier to own. With cheaper machines comes newbies willing to work very cheaply in order to attract customers. Everybody needs to start somehow in order to pay for their investment. In all the years I’ve been a professional quilter I have yet to see a single newbie who had a real business plan before buying a machine. Its very difficult to convince a customer to go to a high crime area and pay five cents a square inch when there are several newbies who charge only two cents and are closer to home. I never understood why someone would pay top dollar for fabric, spend hours piecing a perfect top, then look for the cheapest quilter possible. I refuse to work for less than minimum wage in order to have customers! I have too much invested in myself and my business to do that. I doubt anyone would agree to work for one or two dollars an hour at Walmart or MC Donald’s or Kroger so why do it as a professional quilter?

Enter a couple of new longarm quilting machine sales shops with machines to rent opening. The remaining quilt shop also buys a couple of machines and hires people to be quilters. So why would someone travel clear across the county to a high crime area just to have a quilt done when its so much easier to go a few blocks and do it yourself? Meeting customers at those places is not an option. Meet someplace else? Hire someone to take me? That means I’m going out of my way to accommodate a customer who is not willing to pay minimum wage. Yes, some people do meet customers at other places but why? Aren’t you and your work worth meeting at your place of business just like any other business? Would the manager of a fabric store be willing to take a carload of fabric to a Starbucks so the customer can shop? Would that same manager cut the cost of fabric to make the customer’s hobby affordable? I’m sorry if this offends anyone but for far too long professional quilters have accepted less than what’s fair just to be in business. This is not the 1800s where a woman’s work is worth less than a man’s. Professional quilting is not just income from a hobby. It’s a business and should be treated that way. We are SEW worth it! (Cindy’s Note: YOU GO GIRL!!!)

Over the past couple of months I’ve been exploring business options and making notes for a new business plan. I’ve read the comments given by readers and I want to thank everyone for them. I’ve been approved for a home loan and have started looking at houses. Moving is going to take a few weeks at best. Instead of stressing about getting customers I plan to take this downtime to practice my skills and narrow my focus. I’ll use this time to concentrate on a really good plan for when I move into my new house. Kind of like starting out new all over again. Its fun looking at craft storage furniture and lighting options or designing new business cards. Currently I’m thinking of other options in quilting. Its possible I may not stay with being a professional machine quilter for hire. I have other talent besides quilting and may do something else. Focusing my attention on the future keeps me from thinking about the crime going on outside.

Once again, thank you and everyone who commented. The future looks much brighter today than it did a few weeks ago.

Please feel free to post your comments about anything that has been written.