I knew I had a few quilt tops done and ready for quilting and backing but I had no idea I had SO many. When I went to sort through them all I counted 14 finished tops. FOURTEEN. That is not even including the piles of blocks that I have that are all meant to be a quilt top. So to say I have a problem finishing what I start would be an understatement, to put it mildly.
But putting it out there that I had so many unfinished quilts really motivated me to tackle that huge pile of quilt tops and turn them into finished quilts. And in one Saturday, I was able to get 3 finished! Yay me!
This one was intended to be a crib quilt or baby girl quilt for my shop. I was making a pattern from Camille Roskelley's book Simply Retro. But I was WAY overzealous when trimming my HSTs for the churn dash blocks and cut several too small. Which means that when I pieced the blocks together, several of the pointed ends of the blocks got chopped off and didn't align well with their neighbor blocks. That is why I tossed it to the side about a year ago-- I was bummed I messed up my last pieces of this Heather Bailey fabric. Heather Bailey is probably at the very top of my list of fabric designers. So then I decided I would keep it for our house and decided to just add a border of this bright aqua around it to make it bigger. I quilted it and then bound it in a sweet little pink polka dot fabric. Then I had a few people comment that they wanted it and I realized my list of essential oils that I want to buy is LONG so I decided to list it in my shop, at a lower price than I would have charged had I made the blocks perfectly (more about pricing in a minute). It is listed for sale in my shop here.
This is my Doe quilt. I don't normally like to make a quilt exclusively with one line of fabric (although that's difficult to argue when both this and the quilt above are solely from one line of fabric) but this one I felt really stood well alone. This quilt top was backed and quilted-- all it needed was a binding when I tossed it aside. I didn't like how there was a couple puckers in the quilting -- then I had a breathe and reevaluate moment and realized the little puckers I was talking about did nothing to diminish the overall look or feel of the quilt. That said- I did seam rip one of the bigger puckers and left a couple smaller ones. After I washed and dried it, I couldn't even find the spots that initially drove me crazy - that's a deeper lesson, I'm sure. This one is also listed in my shop. p.s. you might be able to tell that I am STILL in love with incorporating essex linen whenever I can in a quilt. In this case, it's the binding.
And then this one. I honestly had just forgotten about this one. Which is funny because it's pretty big and occupied a rather large space in my castoff pile. I made this with a fat quarter bundle of Tanya Whelan's Lulu fabric, but I mixed in a couple low volumes because I have a thing about having ample white space (in my quilts and in my life), I made it quilt as you go style, so all it needed was a pieced backing and a binding. I finished it and went to take pictures to add it to my shop when I saw it! I splotchy mark that splattered across 3 different clocks of fabric. I literally had to keep my tears from falling. I totally wanted to blame my kids, too, but I remembered exactly what it was. I had started this quilt top when we were packing up to move to our house in the winter of 2015. I remember loading stuff into a box and tripping, spilling my coffee everywhere and in the box that held my works in progress. I thought I had cleaned it all up. Apparently NOT. Ugh. I have worked to get the spot out and it is certainly faded but still there. My lovely friends on Instagram are telling me to list it with the spot and maybe discount it some. I feel really bad about selling a quilt with a spot on it though. A little puckering or not perfectly pointed points is one thing, but a spot.....I am still trying to figure out what I will do with this.
Okay....now about something that I have been asked about and I guess just feel the need to share out loud. Pricing. How do you price a quilt. I have read ALL kinds of articles and thoughts on this topic and it definitely seems to be a relatively heated issue with quilters. You can read about pricing quilts here , if you are interested, and HERE is another great article.
To give you an idea-- the fat quarter bundle I used to make the Lulu Roses quilt top above was $56. The backing consisted of 3 yards of fabric and almost another full yard for the binding, and 4added low volume fat quarters-- at $9/yard, that is an additional $40ish with me rounding down. The batting was about $11, and I got it with a coupon. So we are at $107 just on materials. Then there is my time, which took me about 12 -14 hours to make. So if I am just recouping my materials and paying myself a minimal hourly wage, we are at around $200, and that is only paying myself the bare minimum and making no profit. Based on a lot of the pricing methods I have read about, I would need to charge about $400 for the quilt top above using their methods.
So here are my thoughts on the topic. I love to quilt. I really, really love it. But there really isn't a need for my children to each have 7 quilts, so I decided that I would create a little shop to sell my items, if anything, to help recoup the cost of fabric and continue to fuel this passion of mine, and maybe just maybe, make a tiny but of money. I would LOVE to make
$400 on a quilt....but I remember a key phrase I read about when getting my MBA and that was "what the market can bear". I don't think the average etsy buyer would be willing to pay $400 for a quilt. And though it is a one-of-a-kind, original, handmade item, I am still competing against Target and TJ Maxx because for people who are purchasing from a utility perspective, they can get a quilt the same size for around $50. ugh. So I am somewhere in the middle of this pricing equation. I want to recoup my costs and pay myself, but I also want to make something that people can afford and would be inclined to buy.
So that quilt top above-- I would have listed maybe a little under $200, had I not seen the spot. Some quilters would scoff at that and say I might be belittling the art of quilting by charging that, and some customers might think it is crazy to spend $200 on a quilt when they could buy a (poorer quality, mass produced - haha) quilt at a super-store for $40. I am just doing what I think is right for me.
So there you have it. My perspective on pricing. And if you still think that handmade quilts on etsy are expensive, click on over here and check this out.