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Putting a Price On Your Quilts....

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Hunter's Design Studio. I’d like to invite you to become part of a new way of thinking about quilting – one that values our skills, talents, and the beautiful things we make.

Hunter's Design Studio

I know I’m not the only artist that has ever been offered an amount for my work that didn’t cover the materials. And I know I’m not the only artist to have accepted that lesser amount because I really needed the cash. I’ve written two posts about the value of quilts. So you want to sell a quilt. That dreaded question we always hear when a friend or family member finds out that you’re a quilter: “How much would it cost to get you to make me a quilt?”

So you want to sell a quilt

It stops many a quilter in their tracks. We never quite know what to say. People are flabbergasted to hear the prices we pay for quilt shop quality fabric, thread, computerized sewing machines and longarms. Yet, they want to get a custom piece for the price of a quilt from Wal-Mart (by the way – you can get a King Size Wal-Mart quilt for less than $30). Then we have the other end of the spectrum recently brought up via Crafty Garden Mom – the overpriced, cheaply made knockoff “designer” quilt a la Anthropologie. The Cost of Materials Quilting cotton fabric prices vary greatly depending on where you are sourcing them from. The Cost of Your Time. Quiltonomics: The Real Cost of Quilts. Before I started quilting about a year and a half ago, the only thing I knew was hearing about high quality Amish quilts sold in locations like rural Pennsylvania.

Quiltonomics: The Real Cost of Quilts

As ridiculous as that sounds, that really was my only point of reference. One night, years ago, I looked up some websites that peddled these quilts and experienced sticker shock at seeing them at $1,000+. Now I understand… As a novice quilter – I’ve come to understand that $1,000 is actually a *very* reasonable price considering the fact that Amish quilts are hand quilted, which is far more time consuming than machine quilting. Yet, at a day in age when one can go to a big box retailer and purchase a manufactured quilt for $50 or less – without question – there is a huge pricing gap comparing store bought vs. handmade quilts. Every four years, marketing gurus with F+W Media conduct comprehensive research to learn about the spending habits of quilters.

Seriously? The great pricing divide (SUBSCRIBE to Sewing Report on YouTube) For God’s Sake, Don’t Turn That Quilt Into A Dog Bed! Sometimes, I have to remind myself that not everyone is a “maker” of “things.”

For God’s Sake, Don’t Turn That Quilt Into A Dog Bed!

Some people are “lovers of life,” and “all living things,” and crap like that. But me….I’m one to quietly observe what goes on around me, thrive on meaningful conversations (or none at all, thank you) and then take my gathered experiences, obsess over them by myself in a dark room, and eventually make something tangible out of it. Like a quilt. (Or a revenge song.) I realize this isn’t every quilter’s process. Still. People who make things love to feel pride in their work. Um, Yeah….I’m Worth More Than Two Bucks an Hour. There is a delicate balance for quilters, between doing what we love because we love it, and doing what we love because we are obligated.

Um, Yeah….I’m Worth More Than Two Bucks an Hour

It all starts out innocently enough. Why Quilts Matter: What Does A Quilt Mean To You? An Open Letter to the Decemberists – Quilts and their makers have value. Hey Decemberists!

An Open Letter to the Decemberists – Quilts and their makers have value

So, Do You Sell Your Quilts? A Conversation with Marianne Fons. Molli Sparkles: TGIFF - No Value Does Not Equal Free ... It Equals $2,076.65. Molli Sparkles: No Value Does Not Equal Free - Some Responses. Well, that last post kind of took off, didn't it?

Molli Sparkles: No Value Does Not Equal Free - Some Responses

Molli Sparkles: TGIFF - No Value Does Not Equal Free. Well, when I checked in with a few of you in the break room a few weeks ago, I discovered that many of you are totally The Last Donut type of people.

Molli Sparkles: TGIFF - No Value Does Not Equal Free

Gurl, I hear ya, sometimes you just gotta do, what you gotta do! So now that you've had a few weeks to digest, let me show you how all that white powder came together (oh, and you've got some on your nose!) I'm sure you can sympathise with how difficult this mutha' is to photograph. I promise you she's all white, but she easily reflects ambient light. For those new to this project, a long while back I daydreamed of an all white quilt, and then put together a brief costing sheet for a colleague. So I began collecting white tone-on-tone fabrics from all sorts of places: a trip to Canberra, my own stash, from fans around the world (:::waves!

I wanted to do this all white version as a direct response to two things. Now, let's look at where I'm up to on the cost, and let me explain a few things. Molli Sparkles ain't cheap! WASWI: Quilters Newsletter Magazine talks about Value. The conversation about what are quilts are worth has reached one of the big guns, Quilters Newsletter Magazine!

WASWI: Quilters Newsletter Magazine talks about Value

The Aug/Sept 2014 issue includes a very sharp article titled “What’s Your Quilt Worth?” It begins on page 38. Gigi Khalsa interviewed several industry professionals, including yours truly, and put together a well informed article stuffed with facts, opinions, and “behind the green curtain” advice. Nancy Henry talks about the business arc of her Etsy shop, nhquiltarts.Samantha Harvey of Sami’s Quilts and Crafts discusses the formulae she uses rigorously to price quilts. “Quilters who undercharge make it harder for anyone to get a fair price.”