Wednesday, January 25, 2012


This week someone asked me if I would make them a quilt on commission. I'm afraid I declined. Has anyone ever done that?

It has always seemed to me that the amount of time put into making a quilt would never justify the cost and effort. The materials may only run $100 (think of that batting and backing too!) but all the time sewing and quilting runs into hours and days and months and sometimes years! And someone is going to buy this at even minimum wage? I don't think so! I feel sorry for the "handmade quilts" I see at Walmart or Penneys. They DO seem to be loosely quilted (not that well) but someone in China or Indonesia or somewhere has still spent hours making the quilt and it is being sold for $40?! How much was that person's time worth?

Occasionally I have gotten involved in selling small handmade things for church or kindergarten bazaars. Coasters, bags, even knitted caps. But I remember one time years ago when manning a booth some little obaachan fingered the wares and then said to her friend,

"Too expensive... Let's wait until the end of the bazaar... The prices will probably go down."

It made me sort of sad... I'd spent hours making patchwork bags and was trying to sell them for $15 apiece for the church... not for my own pocket. But someone still thought $15 was too expensive and in truth, some of the bags were sold later in the day for about $8. From then on I decided I would give away quilts, not sell them. It is more important for me to see a smile of surprised delight or know that somewhere someone was enjoying an unexpected gift (donation quilts included) than to make a little bit of money that wouldn't pay for the time put into the quilt making.

I'd be lousy at running a business.

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