I have also been asked a number of times, if I would consider tatting a piece though not as large as a tablecloth. On each time, my response can be either of the following:
A) I do not have the time to work on anything new at this time.
B) I don't take custom work and would prefer to teach you (the person asking) to tat so you can make your own.
C) I don't think you will agree with the price that I am going to ask from you for the piece.
I know response C) sounds patronising or condescending, but I usually say it with the sweetest of smile. Harsh though it may sound, I think it is still the most to the point. Let me illustrate this using the Mystery Doily that I am currently working on.
I have been working on this doily for 24 days now, averaging one hour daily. That makes it 24 hours of tatting. I am only at one-third of Round 4 and there are two more rounds to go. Assuming that I may take another 24 hours of tatting to complete the whole doily, that takes me to 48 hours of tatting altogether. I am assuming the final measurement, using size 40, to be about 24cm wide or 10 inches.
Now, another tatter would easily understand the calculations but, to a non-tatter, these charges may seem rather exorbitant.
Now, are you willing to bring down the charges to the expectation of others, or keep to what your worth is?
I am not!