"It takes ages to finish a quilt you're not working on!"

Friday, October 20, 2006

My first commissioned cross stitch!!

I am so excited! (And a teeny bit nervous). The Embroiderer's Guild take on commissions from people asking if any of the members would do some kind of stitching for outsiders. We have all kinds of requests - the Ceremonial Group of ladies work on the garments worn by priests at one of our cathedrals (possibly more than one, I'm not sure). People ring up saying they have inherited a half-finished patchwork quilt - could somebody finish it off? And then there is the mending - very old (and sometimes not-so-old!) embroidered/crocheted/knitted/tatted items are brought in that have been damaged in some way, and the owners don't know how to repair it.
The other kind of work is when somebody wants an item stitched as a gift. Last month, W. (one of my volunteer colleagues) asked if I would be interested in doing some cross stitch commission work. I said yes cautiously, not wanting to commit myself to a Teresa Wentzler epic which would send me to the grave much earlier than planned! But no, this was a Prairie Schooler Xmas design. A man wants to give it to his wife for Christmas, and it has to be done by early December so he has time to get it framed. W. dropped it off to me today, and I am quite confident about finishing it in time. It is on 14ct Aida and only uses 7 colours of DMC. Everything was provided, so I raced down to the photoshop tonight and got a photocopy of the pattern twice the size of the original, so I can mark it off as I work, without spoiling the original chart. I have stitched a grid on the Aida and put it on the frame, needles all threaded with the colours, and the chart is marked into a grid as well. So I'm rarin' to go!!
Only one thing remains - how much should I charge, and how does one charge for stitching? W. said the ladies in the Guild set their own prices with whatever they do; there is no set charge from the Guild itself. She suggested that I keep a record of how many hours I work on it, and how many stitches I work in an hour. I already know my average is about 130 stitches an hour. Let's assume this chart has 8,000 stitches - that would take me about 60 hours. Would $10 an hour be too much? $600 sounds an awful lot of money for something like that!! Even $5 an hour - $300 - sounds a lot, but W. said people must be prepared to pay for our time the same as paying for any other work, and she said she had told the guy it would run into several hundred dollars. Comments please!


Lee-ann said...

It does sound like a real lot of work, I think $10.00 an hour is a fair price for such a personal amount of effort. Do you have an opportunity to quote your price before you get started, he may think for $50.00 he will have it done and not want to pay what you need for all that work.

I do not know of many who would do much of anything these days for under $10.00 per hour so I am going with the $10.00 an hour and not the $5.00 that is way to undervalued (your worth more then that my friend)

It will be beautiful and I look forward to seeing updates here on your blog (with photos please):o)

these are just my thoughts on the costing but I am sure others may have more of an idear me not being a stitcher.
have a lovely day my friend

Linda_S. said...

Hi Gina,
I'm a lot like you. I have a bit of concern over whether someone can afford to pay whatever amount... regardless what it is that I am doing or how long it takes. But the truth is.. we are worth it. And we are providing a service that some people cannot do for themselves.

AngelasGiftNook.com said...

Hi Gina,

I hope I'm not posting too late but the average price to charge is a whopping $0.01 a stitch plus materials if purchased yourself. You can always go up or down on the price if you think it is too low or high. I hope this helps. :)

Gina E. said...

Thank you everyone for your comments and suggestions. Looks like Angela is right on with her costing of .01c per stitch. I have been advised by the Guild that the person I am stitching this picture for will pay no more than $100, and at 0.01c per stitch that would be about $130. I am not surprised at the offer, as he has to pay to have it framed after I've completed it, and that will be at least $100, probably more. I was looking on eBay and a few other places, and discovered that finished embroidered and framed pictures usually sell for less than A$50. So, you are all correct - the 'labour' cost of craft is nowhere near what people are paid in the work force, and I must admit I agree with that, as this is just pleasure and relaxation for me, and to get paid anything is a bonus!