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I'm sure this will be a long drawn out story but I really need some outside opinions. I joined a local group of ladies in a little sewing group who called themselves the Janome Girls back in October. I have known a lot of these women for quite sometime and the 'head' lady of the group I've known the longest.

I got my Millenium in November, with raving support from the ladies in this group. And the 'head' lady was supportive and had told me on a number of occations that she has quilts she would like for me to do. Not too long after I received my machine we started friendship quilts where we choose our own fabric, give everybody some, then each of us makes a 12 X 12 block for each other.

Anyway, when we began this endeaver, I offered to quilt all of these quilts for free because for 1. I considered these ladies my friends and 2. It gave me an opportunity to get some practice. They were all very supportive of the idea as they all thanked me.

Our local quilt store owner, who is also apart of this group, has been VERY supportive and has really encouraged me to pursue this line of business. She is always putting in a good word for me and telling people how talented she thinks I am and how spectacular I will be very soon. She has given me all of her business since I've gotten my machine.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the first person of the group bring me her friendship quilt. She then told me that the 'head' lady of the group had sent her quilt out to be quilted elsewhere. I then called another of the ladies in this group, who I considered to be one of my best friends, to see if she had finished her quilt and if she sent hers out. She said she had with the other ladies quilt. Well as I hung up the phone I was in tears.

Now I realize that people have the right to send their quilts where they would like, I don't have a problem with that. When you find someone that you really like you stick with them.

I guess what really bothered me was that one of those blocks on that quilt was from me. One of the Janome Girls. One of the friends within the friendship quilt.

We live in a VERY small community (approx 1000 pop.) and the closest long arm quilter to us before me was 7 hours away. Everyone is always preaching about supporting local business.

I feel hurt. I feel betrayed. It doesn't really bother me from a business stand point but at a personal level. I feel like this 'head' woman sabotaged me. Even now I'm hurt.I definately feel betryed by my other friend. I wasn't expecting that at all.

My question to all of you is: Am I over reacting?

Has anything like this happened to anyone else?

What do you think?

This episode happened over 2 weeks ago and I still haven't told my husband because I'm afraid of what he'll say. I really had to fight to get my machine and I absolutely adore what I do but I'm afraid that if I tell him it will give him more amo to say "see?..."

Let me know what you all think.


Tammy in Northern Alberta

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Hi Tammy,

I sorry you fell so hurt.

I will tell you so I tell every new machine owner and every machine want to be owner. You should quilt for your friends or family for free. You should not "practice" on their quilts while in the learning process.

1.If they like it that's great, if they don't that's bad advertising for you even they know you are learning.

2. When you feel it's time to start charging them they may feel they should pay you for your time.

3. Go to the local guild or church and see if the have charity quilt that they would like quilted. It's great to practice on real pieced tops.

I know it's hard not to take this personally from you friend. However keep in mind when they start seeing you beautiful quilts they are going to come to you to have you do the same for them. At that point you will fell free to charge the fee you need to for your services.

So hold your head up and keep practicing and showing your progress with a big smile on your face.

By the way one of the best form of practicing is on paper. Especially in the beginning you are getting the feel for your machine and trying to learn quilting design. So learning on paper give you an edge when you go to do it on the machine.

I'm sure your friends did not even think that they may hurt your feelings in their actions. As far as your DH what's to tell him if you know his response. Keep it positive and you will feel positive.

Best of luck in your new adventure. You will do fine, give it a little time to get your feet on the ground.

Keep us posted on your progress.


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I feel for you!

I would encourage you to just talk to these gals & get the story.

Sometimes piecers/quilters will wait to see a Longarmers work, have you shown them things that you have done?

If not I would load some fabric and quilt up some of your best work & be sure to show it to everyone!

I think that you will be surprised at the calls you will receive, be confident in your self what you do, & what you believe in! You are going to be just fine, do not let this get you down, rise above it, you can do it!! ;)

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Tammy, typically I believe that honesty is the best policy but you don't want this to get blown out of proportion. Before you ask someone why they sent their quilt to someone else, ask yourself a couple of questions.

1) Is my quilting as good as their other LAer?

2) Have they seen enough of my work to know how good I am?

If your answer to both of these questions is yes, then make the inquiry in a very friendly manner. If your answer to either of these questions is no, then let it go for now. Once you start showing off your work you will get plenty of business. It might take some time but they will follow . . .

And for the lady that did bring you her friendship quilt, concentrate on doing an awesome job and the others will wish they had come to you. You will find your greatest satisfaction in a job well done.

Happy Quilting,

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Hi, Tammy:

I'm a new quilter, too. So, I think I have some understanding of how you feel.

Whenever the subject of LA comes up, everyone will be so encouraging, then, in many cases, those same people may disappear after the machine arrives. It's human nature. Try (and I know this is difficult) not to take it personally. Give this situation some time for 'things to blow over.' In the meantime, practice, practice, practice! You need to become the very best quilter you can be.

After that, as your quilting business begins to grow (and, yes, it will), this will be a dim memory. If you have a shop owner promoting you, you are in great shape! After all, the more quilting she sends your way, the more completed quilts are accomplished and those folks will come back to her to buy more fabric!

As a older, Southern woman, I follow the course of action of 'killin' 'em with kindness' and never letting anyone know they have slighted me! Of course, when those ladies come callin' for you do their quilts because you do just drop dead gorgeous work, you are going to charge them full price, aren't you!?!


New Jersey

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Brush it off. It's truly not personal. I am assuming they just think you are in the learning, practicing stages in longarm quilting and they just didn't want anyone to practice on their top, even if it is for free. Get use to not getting all the quilt tops in town. It just doesn't work that way. Certain quilt top makers will always have their favorite longarmer to use. You will soon have your own style and quilt top makers will find you. You need to do charity quilts for free and enter shows and show off your style. Even if it is the best pantograph you have ever seen. You will have plenty of business in the future. Sew only what you can do best for the public and charge what everyone else charges for it. Don't try and do heirloom when you are not ready, only offer what you know that you can do good for right now. You just need a track record and you don't have one yet. That's all. You'll be fine, I think that happens to everyone. Pull up your boot straps and act like nothing happened and do the best d--- quilting they have ever seen. Then when they want something quilted say, "Sure, I will put you on my waiting list"

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Here is my 2 cents.

I've had my machine for about 18 months and have plenty of issues. It's hard not to take things personally however this is a business, so getting a bit of a tough skin is a good idea. Always remember not you will never please everyone and that's okay, like the other ladies have said concentrate on the ones that are supporting you.

I've had major issues since I started my business, some of them becasue I've got a dog(who by the way is never in my studio) because my house isn't perfect, becasue I've got small children and becasue I'm young. Well let me tell you, I've cried lots of tears and had plenty of reason to quit but the bad feelings pass and the joy of doing something you love no matter what other people think will alway win out in the end.

I just recently went to a business trade show and brought along small samples of my work as well as my portfollio. I created my portfollio with the help of some art students on the local Universtity campus. And thanks to this I know have a Canadian thread sponsor who is sponsoring my competion quilts. They are awared that I've only entered 2 quilts so far but the point is the owner likes what he sees and sees potiential for the future.

My long winded responses is this. If you really love what you do, try to work past the frustration because there will always be ups and downs along the way. The thing that make us stronger and makes us true business women is how you handle the low points.

So keep up the good work. Believe in yourself. Stick with the ones that already use your service because as you improve they will be your biggest supporters. Don't worry about the ladies they will come to you even if it isn't right way. Stay focused on the positive, listen to the negatives (with a grain of salt) and just keep working away.

Remember all the ladies that are on this board are here to help. They've given me some very good advice over the past 18 months and It's part of the reason that I've stuck with this carreer choice.

So good luck. You will do fine you just have to believe in yourself.


The Quilt Lady

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I know how you feel, a similar thing happened to me. I had quilted through my LQS for five years, someone else bought a longarm. I noticed "my" customers were bringing their quilts to her. Yes, I felt hurt, but smiled and realized they had the right to go wherever they wished. Six months later, I realized, we have two different styles of quilting. Some people prefer hers, others prefer what I do. Many of ''my" customers came back! Smile, hold your head up and practice to develop your own style.

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I have had a similar incident happen. I have a specific "friend" in our group and she was super supportive, or maybe I should say, "encouraging", but then sent her quilts away to have someone else quilt them. I honestly think it was because she was "jealous" that I was doing this and she

wasn't, because it wasn't too long after I started that she told me that she was talking with her husband about how she would really llike to do what I was doing. So, anyway, whether it was because of me just starting out, or because she didn't want to help me succeed, I don't know, but it just shows people's true colors, because everyone else that was supportive, has given me their quilts, told others and come back for repeat business. The best way to "show them", is to just be the best at what you do and be the most successful--!!! Then, when you have an awesome reputation, they will wished they could say they had many quilts quilted by you! Good luck!

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Take a deep breath. Exhale, now eat a piece of chocolate. Feel better? Look, take the time to "get your chops down". The ladies in the group may be a bit apprehensive since they probably consider you a newbie. We've all been there.

Also, for some reason, while most folks are looking for a "deal", FREE implies that the work you do is not worthy of charging. Should any of these ladies contact you about quilting their next quilt (not THIS one), remember to CHARGE THEM. The offer you made was limited to the quilt in question, and you should not feel obligated to do them any favors in the future.

I have a person that I email frequently on the West coast, and she quilts. She sends her quilts to a lady in Arkansas who does the quilts for under $50, including the batting. Because we are associates, and I know she's a busy mom (her quilts are not "heirlooms"), I offered to quilt one for her at no charge. It's been a year, and she's not taken me up on the offer yet. BUT she tells me the lady in arkansas only uses white thread and she's had one of her quilts for 6 months....

Be gracious to your customers. Make accomodation for their schedules, say thank you, I appreciate your business more than you can know. Write a thank you note, ASK for referrals... it will all work out in the end!


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Tammy: :( How sad for you, it's hard that some people don't know what true friendshp really is. If I had been part of your group, & was maybe not sure of your talents, I would of waited until you were up to snuff, & then taken you up on your very kind offer. To have a friendship quilt done by a friend would really be a great gift.

Plus now you know somthing about these gals that you didn't know before, don't let it change you, just grow with the knowing and be stronge, and smarter for it.

I like the "kill them with kindness" way to go, be cool :cool: & then take your anger & tears and put them into the best dam quilting they ever saw, then smile and kindly charge them full price when they show up with another quilt in hand.

Show them what a good business woman is made of, somtimes friends and business don't mix well. A true friend would suport you in everyway that she could, but all people are not equiped with that kind of quality, smile :D be proud of yourself & your work.

Sorry I didn't mean to go on, but I too have been hurt by people I thought were my friends, I find that JEALOUSY is quite often the problem, & you can't fix that.

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Ah, Tammy, while I can empathize with your situation, on the 'up' side, one of the club members did bring you her quilt! The fact that the 'head' member (what does 'head' member mean anyways, if you're all members of the same group?) took her quilt elsewhere, after telling you she had several for you to do is puzzling. The quilting community is an awesome sisterhood, but as with every group there will always be those that are envious of someone else's initiative and potential for success (in that, I do agree with Gerry). You can probably answer this question: Did she, perhaps, feel she was imposing by having you do her quilt for free?

There are a couple of ways you could handle this, Tammy, which you probably know. First and foremost: keep believing in yourself! If you don't value your talent and the value of your own work, you can't expect someone else to. Be your own worst critic, as someone else mentioned. Judge your quilting skills against someone whose work is at present better than yours. That's as much a motivating factor as anything. You already know your work is acceptable because of the support and encouragement you are presently receiving from your LQS. In a small community, that definitely has to count for something.

Try not to put too much stock into the actions of one woman. As for the other member of the group, there are always those that will simply follow suit. Remember, though, that one member didn't! Reward her faith in your abilities by doing a fabulous job on her quilt. If it's an option, make a stunning quilt for your LQS, let it hang in plain view and let them raffle it off towards a charitable cause. Seeing is believing!

This 'head' lady may yet bring you her 'other' quilts, for which you can then charge her accordingly ;) If you're not comfortable continuing on with your group, let them know at the next meeting, that you'll have to miss for a while because you are behind in your orders. I hope everything works out for you! Please keep us posted.



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Hi Tammy,

I agree with the other gals. Here is two more cents worth: I learned that I can't expect others to treat me the same way that I treat them. Secondly, I get lots of practice through quilting quilts for soldiers for free both from the national program Quilts of Valor and also for our state Veterans Hospital.

Keep your chin up, smile and keep on quilting!

Susie B.

Florence, Oregon

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Hi Tammy,

I have not yet started quilting for other people but I can empathize because I think we have all felt "betrayed" by friends in some area of our lives. The Bible teaches us that the best course of action for someone who has hurt you is to pray for them. In this case, just smile at them and feel kind of sorry for someone who has to be jealous and hurt a friend because of some woundedness in themselves. I agree, just believe in yourself and look at this as another stone on the path of life. Just a little stone though not a big one.

I wish you a bunch of quilts to work on and that your business will grow beyond even what you can imagine.

Remebers rain brings flowers so tears can bring smiles.


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You all are so wonderful and how I wish I could have you all at my house sometime!. I really was trying not to over react, and this lady has slighted me many times before in other areas. I do a lot of things in my community. I babysit, decorate cakes, make custom stationary and make a great Master of Cerimonies. As I was reading all tha you wrote it reminded me of all this and how way back whaen these lasies were telling me how talented I was. Which therefore made me think that they are just jealous.

Like I said earlier, I got my machine in November and I took my first customer quilt (from my LQS of course!) 2 weeks later. My LQS has been like a mother to me and is my biggest fan. So as long as I follow her advice and encouragment I know I'm in great shape.

On another note, is anyone out there going to Innovation 2006 in Washingto in September? I've decided I'm going and am going to enter every challange. I am soooo excited! Maybe I'll get to see some of you all there?!

Much Love

and Thanx


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I too am planning to go to Innovations in Sept, If I can get past those guilty fellings I have on spending so much on a simply wonderful machine I named "Gracie". :(

I'll take some rookie classes & try to take in as much as possible from every vendor & booth there is :D plus there is the quilt show, & all the goodies (panno's, thread, fabric, ect. ect.) to see, I'll have a big wish list for Christmas.

I hope to meet some of you in person.

I simply must meet Sue Patten & give her a big hug, she was so wonderful with all her help in getting my Milli to me, we also had some great laughs on the phone.

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