Quilting sympathy needed and venting


Recommended Posts

Thank you for listening, you are the only ones who will get this. 

 

You know those customers that you cringe when you hear their voice on your answering machine?  Not only because they are not your favorite person, but also because she sounds like Minnie Mouse with a cold.  She prides herself on her piecing, but I swear that some of these are just cut wrong.  How else could you manage to have cornerstones that are clearly off by 1/4" on one side, but match on the other?  Praises for continuous curves!  Then there is the border.  Start with home decorating fabric.  Really.  Currently I have 2" extra on a border to ease in, and home dec fabric doesn't "ease" like quilting cotton.  I can't even take a tuck in the border because it feeds into the next border which is pieced, and that really screws up her already screwy piecing.

 

I'd post photos, but I know that somehow they'd get back to her, and her feelings would be hurt.  I already feel badly for posting this, but it really does help to vent.  I'm about 1/2 way through the quilt, maybe I'll just post "after" photos when I get it finished, and not mention it's issues.

 

Thanks for listening and please share some of your horrors as well.   In my book, Shana's post so long ago about "What do the American Flag, Dolly Parton, and this quilt all have in common?" takes the top prize.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't quit for customers ..... only myself. BUT, I got a call several weeks ago from the 25+ year old granddaughter of a very dear lady at our Church. Could I possibly quilt a top she had made for her brothers upcoming wedding (August 2!).

It was 'almost' finished ... she just needed to add the borders.

I suggested she call a local longarmer, and gave contact details.

Two weeks later, I get an email. She is still hoping to get the top finished ... she only needs to add the borders! I tell her she has really left it too late.

Monday, this week, I get another email. Is there any chance ... she only needs to add the borders!

Today she brought me the top, batting, and white backing! This is the first quilt top she has made; she took 'lessons' at a local LQS. None of the blocks match up, it is pressed every which way with no regard for how the other end of the same seam was pressed and stitched, it's not even close to square, and there are 'holes' all over where the stitching didn't catch both fabrics (because they aren't the same size)!

I spent all afternoon picking out seams and trying to, at least, close up the 'holes'.

I know I should have refused it, but the wedding is next weekend and no one else was going to take it. I only hope I don't drive myself (and my DH) crazy over the next several days as I try to, at least, do an acceptable job on this.

Wish me luck, please.

Janice

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not long ago, there was a gal that called me to quilt a quilt for her -- our first time working together. She was referred by a wonderful lady whom I quilt for so I thought things would go smoothly. Of course, she needed the quilt back ASAP. So I tell her, okay, I'll see what I can do. She wants to bring it in that day. Yes, I was busy with something else but made time for her. As it turned out, she arrived an hour late. Not that my time is important or anything, you know? No phone call, no apology for being late or anything. 

 

Fast forward to me finishing her quilt and calling her to let her know it's done. She wants to come get it and again, I'm busy that afternoon/evening, going out to a pre-planned dinner date with my DH for a special occasion. I tell her that I have dinner plans but I'm willing to wait as late as 5:00 so she can pick it up. On a hunch, I called her at 4:50 (she lives a half hour away) and she still hasn't left her house and tells me SHE FORGOT AND WAS CLEANING HOUSE!!! I told her, I'm sorry, she will have to reschedule a time to pick it up as I was going to head on out on my date.

 

I was not super happy at the time and wondered what I was going to do should she call again. I know it sounds like that isn't as bad as dealing with the quilt that is all wonky, but I'd rather deal with a wonky quilt than a wonky customer!!!! :P :P :P

 

As it turns out, she wasn't a friend of one of my favorite gals, just an acquaintance who worried about passing my name on to her and felt bad she hadn't called to warn me of this gal's tendencies! LOL

Link to post
Share on other sites

My sympathy, Beth! She knows she can't quilt them herself and she knows you'll make them better!

 

I think those special customers and their special quilts are penance for the great majority of good customers and good quilts that we get to work on. That said, I've had and still have my share of "cringey" calls.

 

I have the Queen of one of the local guilds (not mine) who has never lets me forget that she has "great influence" over the other guild members and who hints, every visit, that she can send lots of customers my way--wink wink--if I extend to her a nice discount. :blink: My secret? I overcharge her and then apply "her" discount. I don't think she's ever referred me to anyone.

 

The free spirit who knows about, but doesn't care about, good piecing practices. She brags about what a bad piecer she, almost with pride. I finally turned away her last quilt because of huge D-cups and ruffled borders. I asked her to fix it up a bit and I bet she'll never touch it again. It'll probably be in her UFO pile when her kids inherit.

 

Another where I didn't know whether to be mad or flattered? She brought three extra tops to her appointment! She didn't have any other scheduled spots but figured I could "work them in" around all the others in the next month or so. I offered her the next three available openings and she said she couldn't wait and needed them right away. *sigh* I suggested a few other longarmers locally who have computers and a shorter turn-around. No, she wanted full custom. Tomorrow. Without an appointment. I guess you never know until you ask... She took the three extras home.

 

Janice--I'm sending you good thoughts after reading about your rush job. We're all suckers about being involved in a sweet situation. Knowing that the end result will make both the customer and the recipient of the quilt so happy is what sustains us and pushes us through to the finish. Good for you to take it on---and I hope you have a nice libation of choice handy after the job is done. B)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Customers like this make you wonder how they treat other professionals that they hire. The electrician, plumber, cleaning company, etc. Somehow we longarms will put up with this kind of behavior. I know that I need to be more firm with a few customers.

My favorite comment from customers with wonky piecing and wavy borders "You can quilt that out!"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beth, did you charge for fixing her mistakes? I had a customer who would drop off her quilt and then ask for an estimate for how long it would take.  I'd give her a ball-park day and tell her how many quilts were ahead of her and such.  Then she would start to call every-other day asking if I was done.  When I told her I wasn't working on her's yet, she'd tell me to hop to it and go get busy and get her's done!  Sigh!  What can I say?  I got to where I wouldn't answer her calls - but then I am afraid she will show up at my house!!!!  Eek!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beth, did you charge for fixing her mistakes? I had a customer who would drop off her quilt and then ask for an estimate for how long it would take.  I'd give her a ball-park day and tell her how many quilts were ahead of her and such.  Then she would start to call every-other day asking if I was done.  When I told her I wasn't working on her's yet, she'd tell me to hop to it and go get busy and get her's done!  Sigh!  What can I say?  I got to where I wouldn't answer her calls - but then I am afraid she will show up at my house!!!!  Eek!

 

 

I think I would tell that customer to "hop to it" and take her quilt top home !    :unsure:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Beth, did you charge for fixing her mistakes? I had a customer who would drop off her quilt and then ask for an estimate for how long it would take.  I'd give her a ball-park day and tell her how many quilts were ahead of her and such.  Then she would start to call every-other day asking if I was done.  When I told her I wasn't working on her's yet, she'd tell me to hop to it and go get busy and get her's done!  Sigh!  What can I say?  I got to where I wouldn't answer her calls - but then I am afraid she will show up at my house!!!!  Eek!

 

 

 

Oh Sylvia! What a pushy lady! My b*tchy self would have let her know after the first call that every time she calls again about the same quilt would result in having her top pushed back by one customer. I believe that the squeaky wheel works to correct customer service problems many times, but to pressure you like that is really harassment and particularly nervy. But she wouldn't do it if it hadn't worked for her in the past... :wacko:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Aww, come on, didn't every one of us start somewhere? You needn't have long armed it. You could have suggested she tie it off or quilt it on her own DM. Even explained to her how to do so.  None of us are required to take any one's quilt, nor is it a requirement of owning a long arm to police others work.  We all started somewhere, and if my memory is right we've all shared how hard/terrible/wonky/wavy our first quilts were.  Bottom line,  quit cutting down a customer.  She is a customer because you chose to take in her quilt. It doesn't matter if it was guilt behind doing so.  Either way, you took it, and now you owe her quality.

 

We are not the quilt police, and we have no right to criticize, belittle or shame the hand work of another woman (or man).  Whether it's spanking newbie wonky or failing eyesight elderly stitched.  And, like you said,  someone that knows this young gal will probably read this topic. And pass it on.  My heart hurts thinking how she might feel after her heartfelt and handmade gift was critiqued so poorly - and posted for all to see.  Not all of us have perfect skills.  Nor should we have to.  Wasn't it enough that she loved enough to make a quilt for a very special family member and you accepted your part in helping her finish it? 

 

This isn't a private little tea party gossip site. This is a very publicly available forum not limited to APQS elite quilters.  Sorry to sound so nasty, but have you thought about how degrading some of these comments are coming off?  It may help for us to remember this. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sometimes people just need to vent and here it probably doesn't get back to  the customer.   If you vent locally, it will definitely get back to the customer and many others who don't need to know how you feel.  Many people probably feel this is a safe place to vent their frustrations and by doing so makes their day go a little better.

 

Don't quilt for others - but have a dear friend who listens to me vent when I am frustrated.  And I believe quilters view this site as a dear friend.

 

Marilyn

Link to post
Share on other sites

We try to support each other in a profession not many others understand. I find other quilters stories very interesting and am glad that they have a place to find sympathy and understanding. The people who bring their tops to us have many quilt shops, guilds, small groups, and friends to express their frustrations to. We, the quilters, are spread over a wide distance and are few in numbers compared to "toppers". This is the place I come to celebrate, find inspiration, and a sympathetic ear when I need it.

Thank you all for understanding me when I am down and celebrating with me when I am happy with my quilting endeavors!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I currently have a quilt which was begun several years ago by a lady who was in the quilt class I taught at church.  She was going to hand quilt it, marked all the lines, and alas, they are not straight. It's evident where she moved the quilt on the table or counter, and now the orange marks will not come out.

 

It is actually 4 of the little quilts, and the borders around each of the blocks are not equal, nor is the sashing. 

 

Trying to cross hatch it is driving me nuts, and I finally had to decide to #1. Do my best,   or #2 Not charge for all the work.

When I got it, it was safety pinned, had to rempove the pins, and found a couple under the top which I could easily gotten caught under the hopping foot or broken a needle on.

 

I talked with her and she said all she wanted was "the darned thing done with".  I also had to cut zip lock bags full of threads off the back of the top.  I spent well over 4 hours doing all that.   I will charger her for all that, plus some of the quilt time.. Considering I got so frustrated at trying to get the diagonal cross hatching done, that I killed a ruler is beside the point.

 

It is her quilt, she is a client, she did her best from a class I taught..(we did not get to putting more than one unit together and the sashings, etc,) so I can't blame her for the work,  so I agree with her, lets get it done the best I can, and give her a discount.  I know most quilters wouldn't do this, it's just my thing with this person and this quilt.  She's not involved with other quilters, and for that I'm so very thankful.. lol

 

 

She's a wonderful lady and very dear to me.. that's why I'm not charging full price, plus the lack of knowledge she got from the class which was shortened.

 

I'm not criticizing her work, just saying she wasn't taught and done her best. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...