Monday, February 28, 2011

Quilting as a business

I have often thought about how cool it would be to do something quilt related as a business.  Maybe make quilts on commission, or work in a quilting store.  Maybe I could teach people how to quilt.  I still haven't decided if I will ever do any of those things, in part because I don't want something I love so much to become "work". 

In an effort to try out quilting as a career (sort of) I made a quilt for my sister a few years ago.  She had purchased a quilt that she loved, but failed to ask me or anyone who knew about quilts, how to clean it when that became necessary.  She "sent it to the cleaners" where she thought it would be safely cleaned.  It came back terribly faded.  When I saw it I thought it was just an antique quilt.  She nearly cried when she explained how vibrant the colors had been.  Wanting to help, I volunteered to make a new quilt in a similar style.

Since I am on the east coast and she is on the west coast, I asked her to send me measurements and photos.  Turns out it was a king size bed quilt!  Undaunted, I told her I would make her quilt for the cost of the materials.  I had wanted to do a quilt on commission, as well as some of the techniques involved in this one, but I didn't think I was a good enough quilter to pull it off and get paid for it.  So I didn't charge her for the labor of love.

Armed with my brand new Bernina machine, I began.  I also kept up a steady, if slow pace.  I reasoned that any future customer would want a quilt made in a reasonable amount of time.  I sent progress pictures as I went along.  I loved the experience and the joy the finished quilt brings to my sister every time she looks at it.

I still don't know if the business world of quilting is for me.  I guess time will tell.

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