How do you say no?

This is a question that I have seen many times on various quilting sites. When someone wants you to make a quilt but they want it at a rock bottom price. My situation is a little different, I have some family members who have seen my quilts and they know how much time and work goes into every quilt that I make and they absolutely love the end quilt.

They have asked me to make quilts when their friends have had babies or for birthday / Christmas presents, and at first I happily made them just for the cost of the materials used.

However as I have gotten busier and the techniques I use have become harder, I decided that actually I need to draw the line and put a stop to this. Because if I am making a quilt for a family member(and I am more than happy to do this) that is different to me making a quilt for a family member who then wants to gift the quilt to someone else. I believe that at this point they should become a customer, do you agree with me?

At the end of last year, I told them that if they wanted me to make any further quilts for them to gift, that I would have to charge them the same as I would charge anyone else. There was a silence as I explained my reasoning for this, luckily they understood where I was coming from and agreed that I should do that, however I have not been asked to make anything since!



  1. Helen Howes

    This happens to my students a lot – they make something for themselves, then get an approach along the lines of “you enjoy this, why not make something for my second cousin’s third wife’s stepson” with no offer of payment. They usually have the common-sense to say no, or at least to ask my advice, at which point they get given a standard “costs” document. Mostly, at this point the requester gets the idea that this is not a favour one should ask quite so freely..
    A full bed quilt, from new fabrics, can cost upwards of £600 in materials alone, plus hundreds of hours of work. Yes, I give quilts, quite often to complete strangers, but they are my quilts, in my style, and at my leisure.. So, don’t do it, folks, you will hate the colours, they will buy nasty cheap fabric, you will lose sleep…

  2. Corinne Curtis

    I think you have done well to stand firm on this, and let family and friends know why. I wonder if they even realised that what they were doing was the same as asking you to buy a present (the value of your labour) to give to someone you didn’t know. I personally don’t sell quilts, or even take money for materials, but then I have decided I will not make to someone else’s requirements. I make what I want to make, from fabric that has come from my “hobby budget”, and as I end up with surplus quilts there will be some unexpected lucky recipients or charities.

  3. Teresa Barrow

    I agree Ami, I have made double quilts & baby mats for family, including my parents, step daughters and grand-children. I have also made for my personal friends having children or new grandchildren as a totally surprise gift. As a purely surprise gift I was then under no pressure, as there was no expectation & if I chose to spend my money & my fabric & time that was my choice. I have on a few occasions made quilts for other incoming babies of friends of friends on request, and a sensible discussion about actual costs & timescales has always happened first. They have always been delighted, and often paid far more than actually requested, more often as a personal gift of lunch out, plants for the garden, or a nice bottle of wine in appreciation. I am now making quilts for the Quilts for Care Leavers project, again totally my choice if I want donate my materials and time.

    1. Ami Richards Post author

      Thanks for your comment Teresa, I like to make what I want to make too and most of the time that is what I do, but I now have a stash of about 12 fully made up quilts and 7 tops, they have to get sold as I can’t store them all and everyone has a quilt and I don’t want to stop making them. Oh the dilemma’s….