Archive for the 'creating' Category

Mar 31 2014

Another Ruler

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I added another ruler to my quilt making collection. Eleanor Burns is an expert at inventing quilt techniques that make cutting and sewing fabric easier and faster. Eleanor Burns shows how making a quilt is an easy and quick process. The latest ruler is called the 4.5 On-Point Ruler and creates accurate square on point patches.

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During the recent Mountain Quilt Fest in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I took a class taught by Ann Drothler entitled Kylee’s Kite. The new ruler allowed a quick way to square up each block. I do think the ruler will be an asset to my quilt making. Here is a picture of the unfinished top my mom, sisters and I made in the class.

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Mar 15 2014

National Quilting Day!

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March 15th is National Quilting Day. I hope to be using the longarm to finish another quilt. I might even stay in my pajamas and quilt all day!

Here is an idea to celebrate the day.

From Craftsy

Do you have a neighbor, babysitter or hairdresser who deserves a little recognition? Make a simple quilted pot holder and pair it with fresh flowers to give a quilted gift that’s sure to be remembered. After all, quilting is a hobby that’s designed to be shared. Maybe your gift will inspire the recipient to take up quilting as a hobby!

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Mar 13 2014

How Much Is It Worth?

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Whenever someone asks me to make a quilt for them, they ask how much it will cost. They are usually shocked at the price. Here is a wonderful explanation of why my time is valuable.

What’s It Worth from Hunter’s Design Studio.

This morning I caught a post on a quilting Facebook feed… a member posted a picture of a delightful baby quilt and asked what she should charge the neighbor that just asked to buy it from her. She mentioned that the quilt was made from a panel with pieced borders, and that the quilting was done in threads to match the fabric colors (oh, the thread changes!). She mentioned she was thinking $85. A fellow poster thought $100 was better. Another said it depends on the closeness of the friendship.

First of all… I’m not naming names here because I don’t want this person to feel pilloried – far from it, I absolutely appreciate her question and have one heck of an opinion about how it should be answered… a rather, ahem, shall we say passionate opinion – you are warned! Her question, which I hear dozens of times a year, is absolutely legitimate. How does one price a handmade piece of work?

And to note – there is a difference between what it’s WORTH, and what you can ACTUALLY GET for it. So keep that in mind and I’ll address this difference at the end after I show you how I calculate the WORTH part of it:

1. Determine the cost of the goods involved. Fabric is averaging $12 a yard, and even if you bought the fabric years ago, it will still cost you $12 (plus sales tax) a yard to replenish what you used. Same goes for if it came out of your scraps. You still bought the original yardage that the scraps came from… they didn’t give you a 25% discount assuming that a quarter of it would head to your scrap basket! If you got it on sale, wonderful! The savings are for YOU. You hunted it down. And it’s probably the only “freebie” your going get out of this process so take it and run.

2. If you don’t want to count out the yardage of all the little pieces, instead calculate the total area of the quilt top (let’s say it’s 48? x 60 for a generous lap quilt), and then multiply it by 3 for a simple quilt, and 4 or more for a more complex one – then divide it by 1440, the area of a yard of 40? fabric. Why these numbers? The fabric it takes to make the top of a simple quilt is about double the surface area because of all the fabric lurking in the seam allowances – and don’t forget the binding! The other “one” is the backing. And use 5 if you paper pieced most of it (because there are way more seams and you have to cut bigger for paper piecing). So for this simple lap quit: 48 x 60 = 2880, 2880 x 3 = 8640, and 8640 / 1440 = 6. So 6 yards at $12 a yard is $72 for materials.

3. Do you wash and iron your fabric before you use it? Add 25% for the time and water and electricity and wear and tear on your (probably expensive) iron and your Netflix subscription for the movies you watch while you iron. Ladies… it’s 2012 and in 2012 we do not iron for free.

4. What did the batting cost? The thread? The embellishments? Add those in. Yes, the thread – because you have to replenish it! And you are probably using a lovely, high quality, long staple cotton goody that can’t be had on sale at the big chain store so yes, you must charge for your thread. And note that there are other consumable products that you could charge for here: machine needles, blades, template plastic, fusible web, etc.

5. Now we get to TIME. How long did it take? Not just the cutting, pressing, sewing, but the “sits and thinks” part of the equation. The pondering, plotting, and extra trips to the store for one more FQ of the perfect print for that corner. The stitching of the binding. The label. All of that. I’m going to, for the sake of easy numbers, say my simple lap quilt took 15 hours – in other words, about a day to choose, cut and piece (assuming all the materials were already in my studio), and another day to layer, quilt and bind. Yes, the binding you do in front of the telly at night is still hours spent on the piece.

6. How much do you think your hourly rate should be? $10? $20? $30? You are certainly worth more than minimum wage. You are a skilled craftsperson. In my case, I’ve been quilting for 25 years and sewing for 43. This is not an insignificant statement. If you hire that depth of skill to lay tile in your house or make cabinets for your kitchen, it will cost you more than $20 an hour. My years of skill ensures the quilt is well constructed, made of quality materials (chosen with a discerning eye and years of practice), and executed with knowledge and a passion for the artistry and craft. This is WORTH a lot. So I’m going to go with $20 an hour for my simple quilt (I would go up for something more complex, and add even more if it was a commission for a pain-in-the-patootie client). Thus – $300 for my labor, and I’m rounding up to $100 for my materials (high quality cotton batting, threads from Aurifil and Isacord, etc). So my lovely little lap quilt is $400.

WORTH vs. What you can get

And I hear you laughing. No one’s gonna give you $400 for that, you say. And you are probably right. But here’s the thing… the fact that society has poo-poohed our grandmas’ prowess with a needle while celebrating their husbands’ prowess with a plow is a sad history that we need to rectify. “Women’s work” has been terribly devalued. And ONLY WE CAN CHANGE THIS. It is up to us to educate the public that what we do has WORTH. And we have to do this with confidence. We have to OWN IT.

So the way I tackle this is to state the gist of my calculations to the person that offers me a department store sale price for my work. I state the price, and then I educate them on what it takes to make a good quilt. The fabric quality. The time. The years I’ve spent honing my craft. I point out that I don’t work for minimum wage as this is much harder than “do you want fries with that?” Then I re-state the price. I own it.

Most of the time they don’t buy, but that’s OK (and if I absolutely want them to have the quilt I give it to them for free). I won’t sell it for less because I feel so very strongly that to sell low is to continue the myth that our work has little value. Either I get what I’m worth or it’s a precious gift. I’m taking a stand for the team, OUR TEAM. Every time we let hours of work out of the house for $5 an hour and free materials without the educational part of the discussion we are letting down the team.

I truly get that our original poster might only be able to squeak $100 out of this sale. And that she might have to put aside any philosophical stands to get her hands on that $100 to shore up the grocery budget (and I have absolutely done this when I needed to). But I really hope she adds the “lesson” to her invoice when she picks up the check!

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Mar 12 2014

Still Winter

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We got a ton of snow dumped on us during the night. The weather man said it was coming but I didn’t want to believe him. I am so tired of worrying about whether meetings have been canceled and if I should risk getting thrown into a ditch if I venture out.

I have been working on a customer’s quilt. It is a Mary Engelbreit design called Recipe for Friendship. My customer doesn’t like all over random quilting so I did a lot of intricate ruler work on this quilt. I really like it even though it took a lot of time to quilt.

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Mar 06 2014

Quilt Show

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I have been looking forward to attending the Mountain Quilt Festival since signing up last fall. I will be attending three classes. It has been so long since I signed up that I can’t even remember what will be taught in the classes. Classes are first come, first served when it comes to registration, and may fill up quickly! That is why I signed up last fall. Some entry fees are charged for courses as well, and range from $20-$60, depending on the materials supplied by the instructor. However, it’s worth it when I think about how much I’ll learn. A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN is the perfect event if you’re interested in quilts and quilting. This show draws over 20,000 people each year from all across the country. What do those people have in common? They all love making, collecting, and learning about quilts!

I am looking forward to visiting Tennessee where it will be, hopefully, a bit warmer than here in Indiana. Ever since my cousin revealed that he is a wedding DJ in raleigh nc, I have been itching to go south.

I have been trying to find a cheap flight into Knoxville, TN but, so far, have only found ones priced at $300.00. I am not sure I want to pay that much. I would rather drive and spend my money at the vendor’s booths at the quilt show. Less than two weeks and I will be there!

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Mar 06 2014

Baby Quilts

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I love to work on baby quilts. They are small enough that if I want to try a new pattern of quilting, it goes quickly. I recently quilted these two baby quilts for a customer.

I used the Rambling Rose pantograph on this one.
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I used a continuous curve in each block and feathers in the borders of this quilt called Baby’s Tears.
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Mar 05 2014

Little Houses

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I recently put this small quilt together. I have had the blocks made for months and just now decided to get them put together with sashing. Sashing is created by sewing plain or patchwork squares between quilt blocks. Sometimes ‘cornerstones’ are added — little squares that meet at the corners of quilt blocks.
My quilt is quite small so I might have to make a few more blocks and add borders or the quilt will be too small to use. It would make a cute wall hanging if anyone had a black and white themed room.
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Mar 02 2014

Snow Day

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We got a ton of snow overnight. Our driveway was treacherous and we have stayed home all day. I made this wall hanging.

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The blocks have been made for awhile, I just put the quilt together.

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Feb 21 2014

Waiting for the Mailman

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I am trying to take care of all the quilts that have come to my home, either made by me or my mom. It is difficult. When I look in my Tack Trunk and see all the beautiful quilts, realize all the work that went into their creation, I feel obligated to take the time to store them properly.

Folding a quilt, especially older, more fragile examples, is somewhat risky due to the folds putting stress on the fabric and stitching. To fold a quilt, spread it face down on a clean, well worn white cotton sheet. Cover the back with the same type of sheet to prevent the folds from tearing. Then, fold the quilt in an accordion pleated fashion. This method takes extra time to accomplish, but provides the best protection for the stitching and fabric.

When storing quilts, remember chemicals used in the manufacture of plastics and cardboard, along with natural substances in woods, can all react with quilting fabrics and cause damage. If reactions occur, they can cause quilts to become fragile, prone to tearing or even stain them irreversibly.

I have on order, acid free boxes in which I plan to store my quilts. The boxes are quite expensive but totally worth the price. Now, if the mailman would just bring me the one I ordered a week ago!

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Feb 20 2014

Winter Routine

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Are you watching the Olympics? It has been hard for me to get involved in watching them this year. The time difference throws me off.

I just finished a quilt for a friend of mine. This is one of those 1600 quilts. I think the name refers to how many inches are in the quilt. It is made up of 1600 inches of 2 1/2 wide strips of fabric. You are supposed to use each strip as the piece comes off the jelly roll. I think my friends quilt turned out nicely. I quilted it using variegated thread, King Tut Pharos blues and greens.
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The panto used is Curls and Feathers.
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Back of the quilt.
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