Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Economics of Quilting

I finished the Market Tote Bag for the Pink Purse Fundraiser. All that pink. One more project to go with it to finish up the birthday quilt for Granddaughter CC and I can go onto other colors.

Its unrealistic for me to think I will like everything I create. Real life is experiencing every kind of emotion & experience, and I think that is true with quilting. Somethings I work on will make me smile, and somethings I am less fond of will make others smile. I do like this tote. 

Here is the link:

The pic above is the front, and this one is the back. However, that is from my perspective. Whomever bids on this at the auction will use it in whatever way they chose for as long as it holds together.

JoAnn's pattern just has a simple inside seam that leaves the edges raw. I reinforced it with a zig-zag, but even that may not last.

You can buy a tote bag for a few bucks in the grocery store that are made of some sort of pressed plastic coming off a factory press. People get used to those kinds of products and have less appreciation (in some cases) for a home-made product. And I face it, cotton is not plastic and will not withstand carrying heavy objects for too long.

I like how the tote turned out, but wouldn't carry it.

Thank goodness we are able to chose what we like, as well as people we like. Humans are made up of all these wonderful differences and personalities living in cities and towns, neighborhoods and communities. Each of us unique in body, mind and spirit. 

What breaks us down is exactly our differences and preferences, so the level of conformity that takes over forms our choices and how we are able to fit in.

It wouldn't  surprise me if the bag earned more money at the fundraiser than the quilt does.  The pink I found for the back & last front border is not the bubble-gum pink usually used. AND the scrap quilting on the front was done in rectangles rather than the squares. Its personal preference again. I am surprised at how folks like the scrappy quilts even more than the ones that take so much more work.

I am probably just being too picky. It is what it is and if someone wants a homemade quilt, they will have this opportunity to bid on one and get it for a lot less than if they went to a store that sells them.  Again, we are able to buy quilts made in a factory overseas for a lot less money than they are worth to make here.  

If you add another zero to the cost of the materials used in creating a quilt, you have a marketable value. That means if I spend $30 on materials, the project ends up being valued at $300. You can still purchase good fabric between $10-15 a yard, and for a twin size quilt, you will need 8-10 yards, plus batting and thread. In other words, each quilt that size easily costs about $150 just to start it, making its end value at $1500 or more!

I used to be able to buy a spool of cotton thread for 29 cents. Thread is running $3-6 a spool for common cotton. Then, for tools, you need a rotary cutter and blades, pins & needles, scissors, a cutting mat and rulers, all of which wear out or need replacing. 

Its no wonder that quilters make scrap quilts using as much of every yard that is purchased, including batting scraps. Yes, it matters that scraps would contribute to the landfills, and yes, it matters that the cost of things are rising all the time.

We can take a lot of free online classes and download free patterns. It means being quite mindful of the work, the end results and our concentrated efforts.

I enjoyed the resulting tote, and if I hear what it sold for at the auction will report that here.