How do we determine worth ? We put a price tag on it and see if anyone bites. I don't look at Ebay to see what quilts are going for , I look up Amish quilt web pages and scroll through the quilts. Lots of people ask how long does it take to make a quilt. Like any of us who quilt obsessively want to know.
Quilt store quality fabric is going up again, to $13-$14 dollars a yard. An average sized quilt , 60" x 80" is going to take 5 yards of fabric. I just found a nice quilt calculator at Quiltbug.com . The calculator doesn't have a place for borders and sashing etc so I added 2 yards to it's estimate. Then there is the back of my fictitious quilt. It will require 2 cuts of 88" of 42" wide fabric, so 5 yards. 10 yards , total. Now of course there are always sales but lets just say say I won the lotto and get to throw caution to the wind. Ka ching, $140 big ones and I still need batting , $25 , thread $7. and a new rotary cutting blade $5. $177 and I have a pile a fabric, not a quilt. Given that a brain needs something to do while sewing I have calculated that a simple quilt block requires an hour and a half to be cut out sewn and quilted, again in a simple pattern. So my quilt will take about 45 hours of my time if all goes well. Even at $10 an hour , and I know construction laborers who make that , that is $450, plus cost of fabric.
Calculating worth of quilts has interested me since I saw a crib sized quilt sell for $100 about 15 years ago. The quilter viewed the fabric as extra as it was made from leftovers from a bigger quilt. While she was quite happy with her $100 , I was struck by the thought that it was kind of like having your neighbors under price their home , sell it , thus reducing the value of yours.
I stumbled upon the web page of Sam Hunter , who grapples with this subject in her ongoing blog series " What's it worth" With the advent of folks having their quilts quilted out we have more concrete evidence of worth of the quilting side of the work , if not the piecing.
The quilt picture above is a small table quilt , about 14''x 26'' that I donated for a raffle for my alma mater. I won't donate to silent auctions. People are out for bargains and often the people running them have no clue as to value of handmade items. This is a one of a kind quilt with an unusual edge. I estimated it took 10 hours to make. I wouldn't work for less than $20 an hour so that piece is valued at $250. I emailed the people in charge of the raffle ,suggesting the tickets be $5 and if they can't have the raffle long enough to raise over $250 ,
they could return the quilt to me. I give away lots of quilts,
but I won't sell one for less than it is worth.
Just for fun , use one of Sam's calculations to determine the cost of one of you quilts. I bet once you do , you will never let your children use one of your creations as a soft landing at the bottom of the slide no matter how much you love your grandkids.
Sew something wonderful this week !