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SandraC

I hate to sound like I'm whining but....

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I've just finished a quilt for a very elderly lady. Every quilt she sends seems to be a bit worse in workmanship, I hate to say. Almost every time I have to ask her for more backing as it's usually just an inch longer on the width and length. I can't pinpoint it but when I ask her for this fabric and explain why, she makes me feel like I'm trying to rip her off for fabric.

She also makes me feel like she feels I charge a lot. Believe me this is not the case as I keep a close eye on what the other LA'ers charge in the area. I almost feel like giving her a huge break on this quilt but part of me is balking since she is always very well dressed and is a snowbird, so I feel like I should get my rate, right????

Now this quilt probably had borders that were 4" too long, there were at least 5 open seams that I saw at the last minute (luckily didn't run the machine into any of them!) The backing was pieced together from a variety of fabrics...cotton, poly and what looked like a sheet...so some of the backing drooped in spots. There was a pucker in one of her seams and the quilting seemed to magnify it :(.

I don't know whether to hand it to her and take the money and run. Or should I sit and explain tactfully what the problems were? With her I feel like she would take it as criticism. It doesn't look like a great quilting job because of all the fullness in the borders (and a couple of discreet pleats)....but I know it's a great job considering what I had to work with.

When I picked up the extra backing fabric she handed me another quilt and I told her it would be booked into the end of October and she said "well, I don't want to wait too long"!!!

I really would rather not take any more of her quilts because of how they make me feel. She makes me feel guilty for making a living at what I am doing.

I did the CL Baptist fan on the quilt since I find it helps smooth out problem areas and it is an old-fashioned quilt and really suits it.

I guess the whole thing could be my fault since I put it on the machine and quilted it instead of handing it back to her to repair it?

Sorry to go on and on, but I had to vent to someone who may understand and maybe give me some pointers on how to handle situations like this.

Thanks

Sandra


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APQS Liberty

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Sandra-

You do NOT need to appologize for venting!! I don't do quilts for others but here are my 2 cents- Life is too short to have someone make you feel bad about doing what you love!! You know you did a great job with what you were given to work with - That's what is important. I would explain things to her tho, & if she's not ok with that..Oh Well! I also would not take any more of quilts..Tell her you are all booked up and she can see if someone else can do it for (I would also give a "heads up" to your other LAers) This entire situation may still bother you for awhile but really in a couple days or weeks , and you have moved onto other's quilts that you enjoy and they appreciate you, it won't seem like that big of a deal and you will be able to laugh at this-But I know in the meantime it is stressfull! You are going to get alot of different opinions here but you are ultimately the final descion maker! Now because I don't do other's quilts some my think I am talking out of my ***. But that's what I think. You can vent here anytime. Keep us posted!!


Sewhappy

www.sewhappyquilts.com.

406-582.0914

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Sandra,

That is a tough one. Doing a quilt that is less than perfect starts you off on a bad note. I would probably talk to her and tell her where the difficulties were. I wouldn't reduce my price. The last thing you want is her going to bad mouthing you so I'd do it delicately. No need to apologize for venting either!

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Don't reduce your prices...if any thing increase them for the problems you are correcting. Charge for adding leaders to the backings (the cost of the fabric and your time to stitch them on). Charge for repairing seams.

When you pick up a quilt or she drops one off, immediately measure the backing to make sure it is large enough. If it isn't hand it back to she right then and there.

She probably haggles every one on prices from the plumbers to the electricians...they aren't going to lower their prices for her or feel badly. You need to earn a living and if she doesn't like she can take her quilts elsewhere. Life is too short to deal with people like her.


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From the point of view of a cabinet maker, there are some customers that you just don't want. They'll be well known in the trade so their bad-mouthing will do little harm.

Ultimately, it comes down to: Am I willing to put up with this?

If not, educate the woman. If she doesn't accept your suggestions and leaves you, you're better off. If she does appreciate what you're trying to teach her, you are BOTH better off!

mrmargie


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Okay, first off I am the worlds most sensitive to people being upset with me. If I know what I've done I'm better with it, but it's the ones that seem random or undeserved that eat me up. I can be easily manipulated by the pouting/sighs/ other signs of unhappiness of others. That is, until I realize that they are "operators". They use their behavior to manipulate those around them.

It still doesn't make it easy for me to live with their displeasure, but I do my best. :D

I'm going to tell you what I have to tell myself.... No one can make you feel bad without your permission. :cool: My mama's favorite lecture (she still gives it to this day) is that you can't make anyone feel/do anything. You can line up 10 people, go down the line and spit in all their faces, and you will get 10 different reactions. One will spit back, one will throw up, one will cry, one might hit you... you get the idea.

So, you go about your quilting business, and it is your business and you deserve the money you make. You take her quilts, you make her do her part ( provide the right backing "assigning her behavior no value" when she pouts, huffs, sighs, whatever) do your best work what you have to work with, give her back the finished product, take her money and next quilt if she keeps giving them to you and smile all the way to the bank.

I have a 6yo DS who's experimenting with the whole drama/pouting routine. At first it PO'd me, but then I realized that was just playing right into his drama. So now I walk away smiling to myself about how funny he looks, and if he makes the mistake of following me in an attempt to effect/manipulate me by his sour mood I amuse myself by singing made up songs about how sad his life is and the such. Next thing I know he's giggling too.

I'm not suggesting you sing songs outloud to her, but in your head is good.:P :P:P Just smile at her attempts to manipulate you. That's what it is. It is NOT a reflection on your work, or your prices, or the fact you can't magically grow her backing fabric larger.

It's just her way of operating in the world. She probably does it to everyone who lets her, and it might even get her something for nothing occasionally so she keeps it up.

There's a good chance if you act oblivious, and happy, and pretend not to notice, she might even give it up and sweeten up herself. Maybe not. But regardless, you will still have your peace.

"If we treat people as the are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming." - J.W. Goethe

Expect better behavior from her. Period. Don't take her childish (because that's what it is) behavior personally. Smile, and make up a song in your head. ;) Don't let her make you anything you don't want to be/feel.

You can't control if she leaves you or bad mouths you, you can only do your best and leave the results to the Universe.

Just my opinion of course, and what I preach to myself on a daily basis. :P


DD16F38B079A7A9200191C204295D207.png

APQS Freedom SR

Hopeton, Oklahoma

http://community.webshots.com/user/tracyeq

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Just say "NO". Do what you need to finish this one and then just don't do any more. You are the boss. If you don't like her piecing, she makes you feel like you are trying to rip her off, there are major problems with the quilt that you have to fix before you can even quilt.....then just say NO. Let her take it to someone else and let them rip her off :)


Mary Beth 

Powered by 2009 Freedom

Future winner of the Millie Sweepstakes

http://marysnutshell.blogspot.com/




 

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I agree with Mary Beth. Have spent most of my life trying to please other people and falling into the trap of feeling guilty because I just couldn't measure up. I think this is a case where she doesn't want to present a good product for you to work with, but wants perfect back for the cheapest price - so it makes you feel bad - Don't!!!! We all have our jobs to do and we should all do the best we can. If she can't do her end of the job, don't deal with her. Just be nice about dropping her from your list. She'll just find someone else to pick on. Some people are very good at that - it shows their own short comings.

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Sandra...you have received some GREAT advise from MB, Cheryl, Tracey to name a few....but NEVER ever give someone permission to step on you. They were all correct in their statements of that, and you are so much more and so in control that this lady needs to get an eye awakening.

I had a lady do this to me each time I took a quilt to her...so I finely after about the zillionth one took a movie camera and filmed the WHOLE process of the quilt. Although she thought she knew what a Longarm quilter was and she thought she knew how we operate, she had no clue, she had only seen them in shows, played with them a tiny bit and never never used one.

I had a quilt that listed off to the left hand side of the frame...it was totally cut on bias...and NOTHING I could do was helping the corner kept get bigger and bigger and yet even bigger...the first time I took the completed quilt to her she refused it and made me take it home and requilt it( was a king size quilt, and this is where I Learned how to skin a quilt)...okay that's when the camera came out....I made her sit through the whole film with me explaining each and every bump, wonky bit, and curse word that yes did slip out of my mouth...not proud of that, and didn't really know you could hear me, until we watched it...oopps....

What I'm trying to explain here, is that is how I got across to her that we as quilters don't charge enough, we don't always charge what we should and we do a lot that we don't even mention to them, the customers, we just do our jobs and let a lot go...we don't normally complain, other than to our girl friends, how bad some quilts are...we do however seem to praise the quilters who bring us easy and good quality tops...we for some reason avoid the ones like this beause we don't want to sound bitchy, petty, or be the quilting critic. And then we fell bad when we have to say something because they just keep getting worse and worse from some. We all are miracle workers and we don't seem to know it at times.

I might not go to this extreme again, but I would take pictures of say the holes in the seams....the really really wavy borders or the "D" cups so that when they complain to you about the quilt not laying flat that you can show them that this is why and if they had done XYZ...that maybe just maybe they wouldn't have a disappointment at the end.

Also...I have found that the pictures seemed to come in handy when I teach....never mention names, but I do show students that do not or have never quilted that if they don't do this or that, that what they see in the pictures will happen to them and then they won't have a happy quilt when it comes back from the quilter, or they will have a devil of a time to do it on their DSM.

Also its saved my bacon a couple of time, because I had one lady throw such a fit that she started to tell everyone who she knew I quilted for I was a bad quilter...so the pictures came out and I showed her friends how bad a piecer she was....never had her come back into my studio, but I never lost a customer who was a friend of her's either....so it did pay off for me to CMA.

Sandra...you have a voice...use it...whethers it to tell this lady you are to busy to continue to be her quilter or to tell her that she needs to fix a few things before you quilt again for her or to do as Cheryl suggested measure it and then hand it right back to her...put the monkey on her back and get it off yours..and whatever you do..blow this off and don't let it mess your life up and let it continue to eat at you.

Okay...me stepping off my soapbox now...sorry can you tell that this is a sore subject for me...I let someone control me and now I have the control back.;);)


Bonnie Botts

APQS Sales Rep - Certified Service Technician

APQS Millennium 2006---MJ

APQS Millennium 2004---Lucy

405-533-1025 home

518-935-3832 cell

"Absolute rules are about as useless in making quilts as they are in raising children" Carter Houck---1992

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I had a lady call me Wednesday evening wanting to bring me 2 quilts to 'see what I could do on them'. She came Thursday bringing another lady with 3 quilts of her own. The first lady I could handle.....the second lady had pieced all three of her backs with odds & ends, not squared up anything, and one back was just barely the same length as the top and she said "Can't you just cut the extra off the side and add to the bottom?" I said 'Yes, you could take it home and do that or I can do it and charge you by the hour for my time.' Did I mention she also brought 8-10 pieces of batting (different types) for one of her quilts because she was trying to use up her leftover scraps. What on earth are these people thinking???

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Y'all are priceless! You have so many good ideas, and know how to turn those lemons into lemonade! bravo! :D

I learn something new from you every time I get into the forum.

Do you think that some people just don't know HOW the longarm really functions, and that there is a really good reason that we need three inches of backing around? (yes, I have unpicked stitches from my leaders from things that were too short!) Or, run over a loose edge and had that wonky wad of fabric, stitches and thread caught around the foot. OYE!

In my particular case, I don't know if the clamps were original to the machine, or a modification. What I do know, is that they are big and bulky and bind up the machine if I can't keep them away from the edge, and it makes for some wonky stitches some days! It's better if I have a wider backing, that way, it keeps those clamps away from the head and don't bind up. I haven't done that many customer quilts, I'm still mostly a newbie doing it for friends and family for the practice.

sammi

(When life gives you lemons, ask for salt, lime and tequila! lol!;))

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Applause, clapping, whistling, cheering! I am praising the excellent advice above! Y'all are right on with your advice.

Just remember this: As with anyone who provides a good and an honest service as a business owner/operator:

"YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE SERVICE TO ANYONE."

Explain the situation with her quilts; explain all of the options she has available; explain (and even provide references) to her about other quilters who might be a better fit for her.

Whatever you do, end your business on a positive note (for your as a professional and a business owner). Then, wave and smile and tell her "buh-bye" in a nice way.

Onward and upward. Happy quilting. :)


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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Bonnie, how do you "skin a quilt?" I look one off the frame yesterday that only had 3 rows of pantos done and I spent all day yesterday and until 10 last night and only got about 18 inches removed! (This is my quilt). How do I do it more quickly without ripping fabric?

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Great advice everyone.

Thanks for reminding us we are skilled craftspeople and we are good at what we do. Slik purses from sow's ears cost extra.


Quilting Joyfully,

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Joyce Coburn

APQS Sales,Service, Training

EdgeRider Wheels Dealer

joyce@coburnsquilting.com

www.coburnsquilting.com

330-310-7346

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Repeat after me------

"Your response to my work and the issues always present with the tops you bring me have made me reluctantly decide that you and I are not a good match. May I help you find someone else who may want to quilt your tops for you?"

Stitch it into a sampler---print on the computer----have someone with beautiful handwriting ink it for you---hang it on the wall---cover it with a piece of beautiful fabric and lift the fabric up and read it when you need to!!!:P:P


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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SandraC,

Unless you are in desperate financial straits, I recommend refusing the quilt. If she calls again, tell her you have an 18-month waiting period. Why let people into your life that stress you and don't value what you do? Life is too short.

I love Katherine Hepburn's statement, "You only need enough money to be able to say 'No'."

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Ann--I love that quote!!

I don't recommend telling anyone that you have such a long wait--they will broadcast that information far and wide and the phone will stop ringing.

"Oh, I wanted SusieQ to do a top for me but she's booked until Christmas 2009."

What if she announced that at the LQS--would they pass that along to someone asking about a longarmer or maybe take down your cards?

Too dangerous for me!

Then if a regular calls to ask about it you will have to explain that you lied to someone because they were a PITA--bad for your reputation!

The hard truth with the edges knocked off is better than a lie, to me.

Plus, my memory is too bad to lie--I can't remember what I lied about and dig a big hole for myself!!!:P


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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:P Tracye, you are my kind-of girl! ;) Hey, if they can dish it out (refuse) they sure better be able to eat a spoonful dished right back at 'em! Right??? (I'm a bit evil, too) LOL!

"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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Thank you everyone!!! I knew you would all be so good for my morale!!! So many great words of advice...I guess that means I'm not alone, we've all been there~done that!!! I really like the Hepburn quote, what a great lady she was.

Bonnie, skinning a quilt sounds terrifying...but way better than the length of time it takes to pick out stitches with a seam ripper, ask me how I know!

I guess part of my hesitance is with her age...but I guess young manipulators turn into old ones! I never really recognised it as manipulation before, but it seems so clear now! I guess part of my problem is like Tracye, sensitive to peoples' feelings about my work, I guess. I'm about to call her now to tell her that her quilt is finished and the

price. One thing that makes me feel brave is knowing that the things you dread most usually turn out to be a piece of cake! Oh yeah, and knowing I have friends like you behind me ;)

Thanks again, Sandra


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APQS Liberty

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Bonnie, I do love your "hints"! How funny you are to "Skin a quilt!" The instructions are perfect and I thank you for re-typing it for me. I still love you. Boy, I'd love the meet the folks on this forum in person. I am jealous of you all who know one another personally!!! You are lucky laides, indeed and I consider myself lucky to have found you all virtually!

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I have a beginner quilter who is ATROCIOUS when it comes to piecing but she knows it and understands that there will be "issues" with her quilts. HOWEVER, I am in full agreement with evreyone here who says you should never let anyone treat you that way. I have some of the same fear hangups you describe and it is a continual learning process but I was once an abused wife and absolutely will not allow myself to feel controlled again. You really need either give her an insanely long waiting period, refer her to someone else (if you want to make an enemy...) or just ignore her manipulative behavior say "That's my price" with a smile on your face and take the money. I've wondered if we should add a PITA charge (pain in the @#$%) to some folks...


Robin Kinley

1861 Burnt Maple Way

Vista, California 92081

760-415-0453

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You know if I have a customer over that says something about SID being easier on a longarm I let them give it a go! They soon realize that it isn't as easy as it sounds. There will always be people you can't make happy and I'm happy to let those people quilt their own quilts :P! I'm ok with saying that I'm not the right gal for the job.

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