Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Price Of Making A Quilt

Cowgirl Cross Quilt - Finished December 2011
All photos click able to enlarge

Back last summer, someone sent me a email asking me how much is cost to make a quilt.....they were just asking out of curiosity. That email has played over and over in my mind more times than not in 2011 and I am sorry to say, I never answered that email personally. It came at a time when I was really hurt by the actions of others over giving quilts as gifts. Mainly because a homemade gift to them, was not a gift at all but a cop out in regards to buying something for someone. Talk about ignorant fools, a quilt is not a cheap hobby or gift. So, before I knew it 2011 had gotten away from me and that email never got answered.

So, I was going through some files on the computer, and noticed that several quilts I finished in 2011 did not make it here on the blog for whatever reason. I wanted to make sure they were included on the blog for finished in 2011, so as I ramble on about the cost of a quilt, I will show the photos here and call it a day. Please know, that these are not necessarily the quilts sent to unappreciated folks, just the ones that I could not find on the blog. There were several finished in 2011.

First, the price of cotton, quality quilting cotton, I might add has steadily climbed in 2011. Those who are quilters know this, but those that are not have no idea. Some fabrics I paid over $10.50 a yard in many of these quilts I am showing here. I am not sure the yardage needed per quilt. Not only that, I have a little problem, and do not make small quilts. So, the price alone for fabric is rather steep. Backing the quilt top is another matter entirely. For a queen or king quilt it takes about 8 yards or more of fabric, depending how you construct the back. I think you can see it is not cheap. At. All. Most of the backs I made last year for quilts were pieced, so I could try and cut down on the cost of backing fabrics, but even at that, it is not inexpensive.

Wedding gift. Finished Summer 2011
Aside from the fabrics and thread used to make a quilt, time is another factor. One does not sit down and make a quilt in a day or two. Most cases it does not even happen in a week or two but several weeks. From the planning, purchasing fabrics, cutting, piecing and putting it together it takes a lot of time. Lots. Of. Time. Far more time than it would take to walk into a store and purchase something off of a registry and go home and wrap it. However, sometimes, that may not be the best option.

Back of wedding gift quilt
Once the quilt top is finished, it has to be quilted. Now, along with the quilting you also need to buy batting for the inside of the quilt. On the average for the size quilts I make, the batting runs about $35.00. At this point, some  quilters have the option of quilting the quilt themselves, or sending it to the long arm quilter to do the quilting. Since I make large quilts, I have been sending them out to have them quilting. The quilt below not only was a large quilt in which I used expensive fabrics, but the quilting alone cost me $175.00. I could not believe it cost me so much, and after the expense of over $165.00 for the fabrics, that made this one expensive gift. Once the quilt has been quilted, it has to be bound. I don't consider the cost extra for binding as it was purchased with the fabrics ahead of time, but I can say, it is a lot of time involved in getting that binding on. And believe it or not, this is on the low end of what quilting can cost a quilter if they don't have the expensive equipment to do it themselves. Long-arm quilting machines cost more than the price of a new car. Trust me. That is true in every sense of the word.

House warming gift summer 2011

For me, it really is about giving a gift that might mean something to someone. The time involved, not to mention the hours spent on creating something beautiful and then to just give it away is often not an easy thing to do. Especially when it is not regarded as a real gift in the first place. It has caused me to rethink who and what I gift to anyone in the future. I want my works of art ( if I can be so bold as to say that ) to be received and treasured. It is a piece of me. Something tangible to serve as a reminder of the love I had for that person as I made it with them in mind. Something to outlast my days here on earth and to serve as a memory and treasured.

Back of house warming gift quilt

This summer I bit the bullet and tried something on my own. I tried machine quilting on my own with the smallest quilt I have ever made. I was able to maneuver this one through my machine and finished it start to finish on my own. I felt like I had accomplished so much.

 Hugs and Well Wishes Quilt - finished summer 2011

This child's quilt and small doll quilt was made and sent to a little girl in Dubai undergoing treatment for Leukemia. At four years old, that is a scary thing to face and I wanted her to have something bright and cheery to take with her to the hospital.

Back of Well Wishes quilt

 I was most proud of this little quilt as it was the first quilt I had actually quilted myself and it was bittersweet sending it off to such a far away land. I know the child's parents appreciated this gift and that is what matters most to me. If you have a moment, say a prayer for her continued healing in 2012.

Doll quilt to match well wishes quilt - with duckie

Below is the last finish for 2011. It was a Christmas gift for a friend of my son's. They were over the moon with this quilt. It was a special one to me as well, as my son gave me an idea of what he wanted and that was it. No pattern. Just out of my head onto fabric came the design. My year finished off on a high note as the appreciation for this gift overshadowed any under-appreciation on others throughout the year. For me, that is what it is all about.

Cowgirl Cross Quilt Finished December 2011 closing, I found that in talking to other quilters, I am not the only one that experiences these types of hurt feelings. One lady said she will never make another thing for any one in her family. I thought how sad is that??? But I can certainly see why she would say that. I don't know if it is a sign of the times or the fact that some can not put a price on this type of gift therefore it is not something of value in their eyes. It boggles my mind.

And to the person who emailed me that question that I have neglected to answer after all this time. Let me say, I am sorry. I guess honestly there are lots of variables in the actual price of each quilt, but they are certainly not something these days that are inexpensive to make.

I'd like you to know, when I sketched out a plan for quilts I want to make in 2012. I have added a special quilt that will be coming to you. The fabrics have all been purchased, I just need to find a pattern I like to go with the special fabrics I have purchased to use in a quilt just for you and your sweet husband! I know without a doubt you will love what I you see....we have the same loves on many levels, no matter how short or tall! 

Choose Joy Quilt - gifted to Sara's mother finished October 2011

Nothing like starting off the new year with a rant.....which really was not supposed to be a rant, but I guess that is where it led! It's OK. for me, I got it off my chest and feel rather good about it!! Funny, how in the three years I have been quilting, I have only kept one finished quilt for myself. I have mad many, but only kept one! I might make myself a couple this year!!  Now, on to quilting in 2012 and for gifting them to special people who know the value of a gift from the heart.


  1. I understand. I made a baby quilt for a girl we went to church with a couple of years ago--never received a note or anything. It broke my heart! You had some beautiful quilt finishes for 2011! :)

  2. These are such lovely quilts, Suzanne. Anyone who doesn't appreciate their "value" doesn't deserve one, in my opinion. My mother is a quilter, and nothing is more special to me than a gift made by her hands. Money can't buy that.

  3. Beautiful quilts and they are all priceless when you stop and think about it- mean so much to those who receive them! I have 1/2 dozen quilts from Bill's grandmother and wouldn't sell a one for a millon dollars!

    Happy New Year!

  4. I'm now very careful as to who gets my quilts. I've had the same experiences you have had. If I don't know in advance it will be treasured, they won't get one! My grandkids, 11 & 16, know the value of quilts and love them. In fact my grandson, even tho' he has quilts of his own, has commandeered, one that I built for his Dad when he was in high school. Quilts in that household are well loved! Hugs! Toni

  5. You are an amazIng quilter! I have my grandmother's quilts that my mom gave me and LOVE them! I've not sewn many quilts, and have two to finish, but I sure have enough fabric to make, oh maybe, 5-10!! (I made myself stop buying fabric). Thanks for sharing it all with us. There are silly people everywhere.♥♫

  6. Unfortunately, there are some people who are going to be unappreciative no matter what someone does for them. They are just generally unhappy people. I have only pity for them. They miss all of the beauty in life.
    I can tell you that the quilt you gave Juli and Brian for a wedding gift is immensely treasured and holds a special place in their home. Thanks again.

  7. Your quilts are amazingly beautiful!! I'm sorry those you've given them to don't appreciate all the work, time and love you put into them! I've given gifts that were very well thought out,and purposeful and felt the sting of the receiver not appreciating them or even saying thank you as well. It's not wrong to guard your heart against those kinds of hurts in the future, but don't stop reaching out in love-just like with your last quilt, you will find someone who will be ecstatic for one!


  8. Suzanne that must hurt so much!! I know my Mom use to quilt and I have one she made the top of for me and my MIL quilted by hand! It is a treasure I am passing on to my oldest daughter..made by both of her Grandmothers. I love quilts and found a small Christmas quilt last year at the thrift shop...I was honored to purchase it and treasure it as obviously someone else did not. I pray this year your 2012 quilts are met with joy as they provide warmth and comfort! hugs, Linda

  9. Thank you for posting this; glad to hear I am not the only one to have this response. Sadly, most people have no idea how much a precious piece of us a handmade item is..or the cost that went into them.
    Again, thank you for sharing this...your quilt work is absolutely beautiful!!

  10. I think all quilters understand your dilemma. Luckily there are a few in our families who understand. As a matter of fact, my daughter bought a handmade quilt at my sister-in-law's garage sale that had been a gift to my sister-in-law from her mother-in-law (if you can follow). My daughter (although unrelated to the quilt maker) appreciated what had gone into it's creation, thanks to her mother :) I think that, in addition to the money invested, we have invested a piece of ourselves in our quilts. P.S. Your quilts are lovely!!!!

  11. How sad that someonw can't appreciate the love behind the quilt. I am fortunate that most of my family treasures what I make. One person complained about the borders on her quilt. She'll never get another.
    Your quilts are gorgeous. Enjoy the process for yourself. Congrats on the machine quilting. Learning to machine quilt smalls is on my list for this year.
    Happy New Year.

  12. Personally I would rather have a gift made with loving, caring hands rather than something bought in a store. To me a gift is something from the heart, something a person really wants the recipient to have. It seems more and more people prefer gift cards or plain old money. And frankly it makes me not even want to give gifts.

    Wishing you a blessed 2012, my blogger friend!

  13. I hate to say this but the person that did not value your quilt did not value you in my opinion. It is so sad that people put a value on commercial mass produced items instead of something made with love.When I receive something handmade I know that that person really thought of pleasing me as they were making it and it means all the more.

  14. Never fear, there are many of us who covet your quilts. That has to be nearly as high flattery as imitation.

    I once heard of a woman who made a Double Wedding Ring Quilt for a newly married couple, and soon found it being used as the dogs bed in the barn. There is simply no accounting for taste or manners.

    Certainly the New Year will not only be full of blessings but blessed stitching also!

  15. I may be on several different lists, but never will you find me on a "quilt abuse" one. I love and appreciate quilts. I treasure them all. Nothing finer than when someone personally takes the time and work to make me anything. You blessed me dearly with one. Carie still thinks it is the prettiest one I have. It is on one of my beds as a spread. Thank you. I love all these you have shared today.

  16. Your cross quilt is magnificent. When I enlarged the picture, I was amazed at how beautiful the pieced background was.
    Sometimes it's important to rant about a subject that has really caused you pain. This is certainly something that touches all quilters. We were at the home of one of my husband's relatives and saw one of the children open a birthday gift with a huge frown on her face, then open the card and shake it upside down saying, "Is that all there is?" Luckily, the gift was a toy, not a quilt. I can't imagine the reaction if it was something homemade.
    Your quilts are works of art. Hopefully, the future recipients of your kindness will appreciate them.

  17. This post was not a rant. It was a lesson. To anyone who does not 'get' the cost of being creative. And yes, what you make is 'art' - and you make beautiful art work by the way!!

    I really enjoyed reading what you wrote simply because you made all the points in a nice way and it makes sense. We all only have so much time to spend, and when we spend our time creating things for people we love and then have that treated like it was cheap or 'oh here, have this!' it does make you feel unappreciated. It has happened to me, so this post was nice to read.
    Happy New Year and let the past stay there!! This is 2012 now and this year, all your hard work and fun times will be appreciated by millions!! ;-) Especially when you post your pics on the blog!!!

    Have a super fantastic January! Only the best for you this year!!

  18. You've come a long way, baby! I remember your first quilt experience, and now you're creating pieces of art without a pattern! Wow!

    Happy New Year!

  19. Your quilts are works of art and in my opinion, a gift like this is priceless. You do put your heart and soul into it and I can't imagine not being thrilled to receive such a gift. I wish I had a quilter in my family!

    Happy New Year!


  20. Oh Suzanne,
    all I can say about those people and I use that term sparingly(sp) is HOW RUDE!!! I do so depise people like that!! I made my MIL a beautiful scrapbook page that featured her with her three grandchildren and her great grandson, I found it sitting in the floor beside her dresser turned to the wall!! I promptly brought it home and took it out of the frame, put another scrapbook layout of my beloved Hershey man who has gone to Rainbow Ridge in it and hung it on the wall. I took that gift back 5 years ago and she has never mentioned it!! So, I know how much people can hurt you! I made my BIL a framed layout with him, his Harley Davidson bike, and his grandson on it and he displays it in his office at work!! I love your quilts and I am so sorry that those people hurt your feelings! You are so sweet to make a quilt for your follower and her hubbie!!

  21. I struggle with commenting here but feel I must. FIRST let me say that yes the people who receive handmade gifts and don't appreciate them need to learn manners. Second (and I know I'm too much of a "Polly Ana") but I believe that they just really have ABSOLUTLY NO IDEA how much time and care went into trying to make the perfect gift. They don't realize that for months (days, weeks, hours, whatever) they were all you thought about as you were crafting their special gift. The ones that don't appreciate the time or money that went into the gifts have never crafted themselves.

    I must admit that as a child I never appreciated the gifts my mother would make as I always thought they were cheap. I wanted a new scarf and glove set that were store bought because I felt the handmade stuff labeled me as poor. Boy was I dumb. But it was a stereo type that was perpetuated by my peers too. I've gotten serious about gifting handmade items too, and am hurt by the lack of appreciation as well. I just try to remember that non-crafters or non-creative people just don't understand that it isn't about cost. It is about time and love. Although the cost is pretty high too.

  22. Some people need a gift of a book of manners! Ha!
    Your quilts are works of art. They can not be reproduced or made in mass quantities. I once wanted a store bought quilt because we want a red and white bed cover and even I hesitated and another scooped it away! :(
    There is nothing like a gift hand crafted. I wish I could afford to purchase everything like this! There is no quality better than crafted by an individual for an individual. Hugs Anne

  23. My wife and I were given a number of quilts for our wedding. One was done by a church. One was made by my brother. That quilt is my favorite and has been used for our bed over the course of our marriage, (23 years and counting). I truly appreciated the effort and work that went into each quilt. Keep up the good work.
    * I really like the Cowgirl quilt. Illuminating.



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