Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A little reality check on how quilts are valued

This quilt is another UFO that I finished a couple months ago, and finally was able to photograph. The quilt top is from Jeannie Flory, made with her signature cheery bright colors. I don't know the name of the pattern. She donated it to be made into a quilt for the Bags of Love project, for kids who have to be removed from their homes for one reason or another.

One of the ladies who saw this quilt wanted to buy it and donate the proceeds to the Bags of Love project, but when I found out how much she wanted to pay--$35, less than the cost of fabric and batting--I told her that the quilt was really made for the kiddies and not for sale. Good quality quilt fabric (you don't want to waste your time on cheap stuff) has recently gone up to $12.99/yard (*shock*), and a quilt for a double bed takes at least 10 yards, depending on how much you want to hang down the sides of the bed, and how small you cut the the pieces before sewing them back together; a lot of that yardage can end up hidden in the seams. This is why I am not happy when charity quilts are sold for less than half the cost of the fabric. "But the fabric was donated!" is often the claim. That's true, much of the fabric for charity quilts are donated, but I ALWAYS end up buying extra, just because what is donated often doesn't have anything in the donation bin that will coordinate with it. That's why I insist that my charity quilts go to the kiddies who need them and not be sold.

This woman who wanted to buy the above quilt for $35 went on to ask me if I would quilt it instead of tie it, because she liked my free-motion quilting on other quilts she had seen. Her additional offered price wouldn't have paid for even one hour of quilting. I had to repeat to her that the quilt was for the kiddies. She wanted to see all the other quilts I had "available for sale." It was nice to have my work appreciated, but I could tell she didn't want to appreciate it as much as the fabric and work were worth.

It seems that people who like quilts want to pay the same price for them as a foreign-made quilt of poor quality or even a blanket from Walmart. We should send all these people up to Lancaster, Pennsyvania, one of these days, and see what the Amish and Mennonite quilts bring up there! Not that my quilts are anywhere close to those quilts in workmanship... I told the woman, as kindly as possible, that my quilts are for family, friends, and charity, or for the wall, and that I don't make them for sale.

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