What’s it worth? Part 2 – A Bigger Picture

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Last November I dashed off a blog post about calculating the value of a handmade quilt. At the time, it got modest attention, but in January the post saw a flurry of views, most of them coming from Pinterest, and a week later, Ravelry (it seems that this question applies to more than just quilting in the world of the handcrafted item). And then a week or so ago, it exploded across Facebook, resulting in a landslide of comments coming to my inbox.

Thank you! I loved reading what you had to say.

This is something I’ve thought about deeply over the years I’ve been making quilts, and by the responses from so many people, I’m far from the only one. Many of you wrote to tell stories of the times you were offered a pittance for the beauties you’ve made.

We have some obvious passion here, so let’s have a dialog about this. I’m really interested in your thoughts, and I want to use this social group-think to advance my perceptions, and so that I can be part of what turns the tide to a higher regard for what we do.

So first of all – a couple of ground rules. By DIALOG, I mean a well-reasoned conversation of give and take, where we address the concepts rather than nit-pick people’s grammatical prowess (or how homely their dog is). I am, after all, inviting you into my house for a chat, and in my house we play nice in disagreement. I find myself wanting to say up front that OF COURSE I don’t speak for everyone (how on earth could I?) and OF COURSE my generalizations don’t apply to everyone (how on earth could they?) And for the record, OF COURSE I’m a feminist – as in a person who will fight for the rights of women (aren’t you?) and OF COURSE I’m not uptight about profanity! And that said, if you hate what I write, please just quit reading and unsubscribe – no fanfare needed. Please don’t be the person who keeps watching porn so they can keep protesting how terrible it is!

So let’s begin!

I recently read a wonderful quote about complaining… don’t complain – either fix it or let it go. I’m not willing to let go of the idea that we can elevate the perception of the value of a quilt (and for the sake of ease I’m going to use “quilt” instead of “handcrafted item” but feel free to substitute what works for you – my intent is inclusive). So how do we fix this?

I think we have several perceptions to work on – external and internal – and by that I mean what others think of what we do, and what we think about it ourselves. 

So in the world of external perceptions, it seems that people think what we make does not have the value of a living wage. And when we try to claim that wage, there is outrage and disbelief, and even smack-down – like we have no right to even ask for payment. How did we get to place where we will pay a plumber $40 an hour, and deny a quilt-maker $5 an hour?

I think part of it is good old fashioned patriarchy: the guys got to set the rules about men’s work having a higher value a while back and the mostly female craft world is still playing by them. Some of us willingly, the rest of us because that’s often still the playing field available. Men in general don’t seem to have an issue with monetizing things – for example: a friend told me about the time she got into jewelry making. She made some beautiful earrings, and showed them to her husband, saying wouldn’t this be a cool gift for so-and-so? Her husband immediately asked where she was going to sell them. Women in general have not been cultured to think this way, and many of us still need to drop-kick the idea that earning good money is a sordid affair.

Another part is the availability of cheaply made goods – stuff that comes from overseas, made for barely subsistence wages in developing countries. We’ve become used to a $6 T-shirt, and a $100 bed-in-a-bag (sheets, pillowcases and comforter, all Martha-matchy-matchy). The general public is so removed from a truly handmade item that they have no frame of reference. A quilt is a quilt is a quilt, right? While we were getting used to the low prices, we got used to the lack of quality – the T-shirt lasts only a season, the bedding maybe two or three before the colors are out of fashion and the fraying begins. And thus spins the wheel of planned obsolescence and consumerism (and this is such a huge topic that I’ll just poke it and move on rather than disappearing down that particular rabbit-hole today!)

These factors also weigh on our internal perceptions. In a culture that has bred a disregard for the work made by women, we’ve adapted to the discomfort of this particular pot of boiling water like the proverbial frog.  And in a lot of cases, we’re not being held down by the old rulebook as much as we’re pushing our own heads under the bubbles. How many times have you seen a woman give away something too cheaply? How many times have you been told by a woman that what you made isn’t worth what should be charged? How many times have you thought “She’s asking WHAT for that?” and walked on to the next booth?

I’m treading carefully here because, like many of you, I’ve given my time and fabric to some wonderfully worthy causes. I believe in the karmic value of these gifts, and I can’t imagine how the world would look without the thousands of quilts (pillowcases/knitted hats/etc) made by the big hearts and nimble hands of We Who Make Stuff. These are specifically not the quilts I’m talking about, though I do wonder if the fact that we give these so freely doesn’t hurt our cause.

I am talking about the fact that many women don’t value the work of other women. We secretly roll our eyes at prices we feel are uppity, rather than honestly calculate what it took to make it. We don’t support other makers by paying a fair price for what they make – instead we think, hell, I can make that at home, forgetting that it’s not just the materials in the price tag but the creativity and hours of construction too. Of course you can make it cheaper – you’re not charging yourself for the time. We guilt trip our friends who skip the charity sewing day into feeling like they grew horns and a tail for choosing to sew on something of their own instead. We photocopy patterns to distribute amongst our group, rather than honor the effort it took to get it into our hands by buying a second copy. We cave when someone barters us down, not because the barter is fair, but because we’ve been told that looking like we have a spine is unattractive. We hush our friends into caving too. As guild program chairs, we grumble that the speaker who would like to stay in a hotel (rather than a member’s home) is a bit big for her pantyhose. Just last week I got asked to lower my teaching price for a guild I’m told can well afford me (and I know from research that my price is hardly out of line).

On my original post, quilt appraiser Bill Volckening commented “Quiltmakers are intelligent enough to know how to produce cost-effective quilts for the realm of commerce, should they wish to do that, but they don’t seem to wish to do that.”

I concur that we women are incredibly smart and creative in our business endeavors. But I would argue that making the quilts cost effective is the only part of the equation (and before you pillory Bill, it was not the only point he made – go read up before your fingers leap to the keyboard). There’s only so much money to be saved on materials and only so much time to be efficiently squeezed unless we think that creating a different breed of sweatshop is a good thing. The root of it is a bigger game… we have to UP our own perception of worth, and we have to UP our support of others that are doing the same, and BE SUPPORTED in this by ALL, men and women both. That cost-effective price that Bill speaks of needs to go UP, up far enough to support the making of the quilt, and it can’t all be done on the shoulders of efficiency and sale fabric.

So I go back to my original call of action… keep records to accurately calculate your price. State and own your worth. Make sure your under-informed customer gets some the education as part of the transaction. And even if you have to settle for less, do it less often, and never without the lesson. I get that we can’t change this all in a weekend, but I bet we can up the game together.

And I really, really would love to read your thoughts!

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Image credits here and here.

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115 thoughts on “What’s it worth? Part 2 – A Bigger Picture

  1. I love the fact that we are now, finally, talking about this. My hat (hand made of course) is off to you for writing a couple great posts about what we are worth. I agree, we do under value our worth, especially when it comes to things we make and only we can change it. I know that for me, I would love to make a quilt, scarf, pillow, sweater, etc, etc, etc, for everyone on my Christmas and birthday list. Gifts, both giving and receiving, are one of my Love Languages, and it’s a powerful desire. I have learned, the hard way, that people, especially someone who does not make things (quilt, knit, jewelry, etc) do not really appreciate the value and the time of the gift. After one particular incident, I have pretty much stopped making anything for some people and limit my time and budget for others, because I know they just don’t care. A friend who also has a hobby creating things, I will go above and behind for, and I know that they will treasure a hand made item. It kind of sounds terrible, but it kept me from the disappointment. Another friend says that you can tell something home – made from something hand – made and the difference is in the quality. I think some people do not appreciate hand made items because they think of them as home made, as if “you didn’t buy it, you just made it” and that goes back to our need to educate people of our value and worth. Thanks for the discussion!

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    • You are so right Gayle. When my sons were small I used to take in sewing. I made wedding dresses, mens sports jacktes and even lingerie. I often got the comment “I can buy that at whatever store cheaper.” To which I would reply then you have that option. However if you want an outfit ‘custom made’ to your figure it will not only fit you better, it will wear better and for that you will have to pay a little more. Why is it that when you work from your home people think you should be cheap??? I do not waver on my charges any more – if you want custom made – you pay for it. I do not run a sweat shop and my work is well worth what I ask and more.

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  2. I sell quilts on Etsy and have priced them considerably higher than many other quilts there. I love your point of paying for 50 years of sewing experience and 20 some quilting.
    I recently entered three pieces in Des Moines Quilt Week and had them appraised while there. Even with my higher prices, I found the appraisals necessitated me raising them even more. One thing that was emphasized is that the value is what it would cost to hire someone else to remake it. Here’s where the plumber analogy works well. If you wanted to remake a well-made quilt, you would not do so with substandard fabric or minimum wage sewists. I try to pay myself what I’m worth, but the appraiser thought my work was worth more–in one case almost twice as much!

    Thank you for these articles! I will share.

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  3. Thank you so very much for these two articles. I have been wondering how to value my quilts and determine their “worth”. Your words really hit home and I applaud you for bringing this information to all of us who “make stuff at home.” :)

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  4. Thank you for this and ‘part one’ as well. I’m a fairly new quilter but a long-time sewist and have been considering selling my wares. As a professional healthcare worker I would never consider undervaluing myself. I’ve struggled with what to charge for my time (materials are easier) but now feel like I have a solid argument (educated reasoning) to back me up. I’m with you sister! I’m worth it, and I’m not going to settle for sweatshop wages!

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  5. Thank you for getting and moving this conversation along! I shudder at seeing items made by someone for sale on eBay or etsy at Walmart prices! This devalues everyone and how do we change it? We all must value our work more and refuse, yes REFUSE to sell our work Cheap! I also make clothing for a living up against importers. Often I say well go get that shirt for $35 versus mine for $75 and I’ll see you in a few weeks when it shrinks more than you can wear it and it won’t last 1 year! Sometimes they get it, some not. But I refuse to come down to that cheap labor level — But women all over must stop doing this or you keep us all down.

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  6. As a costume and fashion designer and maker, I applaud your thoughts, comments and bravery. Sing it sister…
    Costuming, for example, is the lowest paid job on set (hour for hour) – the sound boom operator gets a lot more than a costume maker (and the maker has normally been working for maybe 2 month before the shoot starts).

    Another factor that influences how much people take clothing and costuming for granted is that, because people handle/choose/wash clothes every day, they can be very picky about them, so costume design takes longer than set design.

    SOME SOLUTIONS: if you ever have someone offer you far less than what your work is worth, ask them to come and watch you/assist you at work for 1/2 a day. Might be a bit strange with quilts, but it has worked for me with directors (if they “can find the time”)…

    if you don’t feel like having a random in your home, tell them that just because their crappy target shirt made in china cost $5, doesn’t mean you can survive on less than minimum wage when you live here.

    DO NOT SUBMIT TO THE SYSTEM OFFERING LOWER PAY TO JOBS IN INDUSTRIES DOMINATED BY WOMEN… in other words… tell the boys to darn their own damned socks!!!

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    • AMEN! So tired of people calling my ‘custom made’ clothing, quilts, crochet “home made” – they then expect to pay LESS than a factory, one-size-fits-all rag from the big merchandisers. It’s takes time and effort plus knowledge to produce an item that is custom made and hand tailored. I am an experienced seamstress and now make quilts. Everyone wants a quilt but few will pay for the quality – so I don’t work for them! I am now retired and sew for personal satisfaction and and the pure joy of creating something by myself. I will make a quilt and give it away as a gift but I will not sell one for one cent less than what I FEEL it is worth. Made in my home where it is spotless in my sewing room, crafted especially for you is CUSTOM TAILORING and you will pay more but get much more value.

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  7. Thank you for mentioning that part of improving the payment we receive is becoming willing _ourselves_ to pay for the time, materials, and craft in the hand-made goods we admire and choose to purchase. This blind spot comes up among professional writers as well — I asked a group of graduate students, each of whom said that they wanted to make a living as technical or creative (poetry, fiction) writers, what pieces of writing they had read and enjoyed during the last month. They dutifully listed magazine articles, blogs, newspapers, poetry, short stories….

    Then I asked them two more questions: 1) How much did you pay to read these things? 2) Would you have read them if you needed to pay for each item?

    No, they said — we didn’t pay, and we certainly wouldn’t have read those things if we needed to shell out cash for them.

    I let their words hang in the air for a moment or two, as I looked each of them in the eyes, and then said “So — you want people to pay each of you a living wage, for work that _you_ don’t even value enough to buy? How is that going to work, exactly?”

    By the end of the term [this was a course on publishing], a few of the students had bought subscriptions to journals or magazines that produced the kind of writing they aspired to. Some progress… But I was appalled to realize no one had ever put those pieces together for them before!

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  8. Wow! And Thanks. I Just Enjoyed Both Articles. Many Good Points Made. ….Made Me Also Think Of Those Who Think You Can “Whip them Up Something” The Week Before A Birthday Or Christmas….

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  9. Thank you very much for sharing this series of posts. I have been contemplating selling quilts for extra cash, and also feel strongly that my time and craft is valuable. My friends want to offer me about the cost of materials, which makes the concept of selling goods exhausting. My family of sewers also have told me to only charge $5 or less per hour, which again is disheartening. But I believe in what you say and the value you ask. Thank you for the words of encouragement and support!!

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  10. Just got this link from Facebook and am happy I found you. I design knitwear for AG dolls and sell my patterns. A couple of month ago I signed a contract with one web site to sell my patterns there. Their traffic was and is good, but they set the price and that was $3.99 for a pattern that on average takes several months to design, sample knit, then test knit and then tech edit. Plus they take 50% of my sales to cover their advertising. At the end I am getting $1.75 per pattern sold.
    I was curious to see what I’ll be getting for the same patterns in my Etsy shop and decided to up the prices. They were still selling for $20 a piece ( though at a slower rate of course)!
    That really gave me a good perspective as to how and what I can and should charge. And I will drop that “good willing” site as soon as my contact comes expires.
    On another note, what really bugs me is the the statement I heard many times:” but you know how to do it (meaning to hand knit a man’s sweater), it’s easy for you, why do you charge so much then?” I always think to myself that following that reasoning those who don’t know nothing and have no experience gained through years of trials and errors should charge and be paid the most. It’s like living in the upside down world.

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    • A couple of snappy comebacks:

      It costs LESS because I’m faster now that I have honed my craft!

      If what I do is “just knitting” to you, why do you go to a restaurant to pay for “just cooking”?

      :-) Sam

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      • Great come-backs Sam. I once crocheted baby sets (sweater, hat and booties) and took then to a craft fair one year. My price was $15/set and I got comments like “it’s homemade so $15 is too much!” or I could make that for less” and the one I really go heated over was a woman who offered me $5 for a set. To me my work is CUSTOM made, if you can make it – go home and make it and to the cheapskate I said “I’d rather give it away to the needy than let you have it for $5!” I eventually sold the sets at another fair and got $20 per set. To me that was still cheap!

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      • Love the latest reply that it would be better to give it away than sell it for $5. I actually LOL because my reply to a buyer negotiating for 1/20th of the cost is “I’d burn it first” but in actuality I either give my quilts as gifts or make them specifically for charity. It’s actually better for my self esteem to do that rather than undervalue my talents.

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  11. I’ve been reading all your $ew Worth It articles, having read the very thought-provoking and, quite frankly, fabulous post by Molli Sparkles on the subject at Sew Mama Sew. I’m so glad I found your site. I hope to start my long-dreamed-of sewing business this year and have been really wrestling with the worth/value vs. what people will pay for it equation. Thank you, because now I just think I’m going to charge what it’s worth, I’m going to aim to the top-end buyer if they’re the only people who will pay my seemingly top-end but actually conservatively-costed prices. I know what I do is a craft and is a skill. I am an artisan. I need to live up to the value, in all senses of the word, of the sewing I do.

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    • I think you hit the nail on the head… part of getting the right price is targeting the right market with the right products. You’re not going to get $20 for a baby bib at a corner craft faire… but you might get it at a swanky boutique.

      I’ve had some lovely testimonials from people who’ve used the invoices to great effect – Josh/Molli being just one. He took the simple hours/materials formula of my invoice template and utterly pumped it out to cover every last detail. For some, just tracking hours is a huge leap, so I’m content to supply a more modest framework until people grow into it :-) The evidence of support is growing though… people are standing a little taller about what they do, and in that confidence, they are getting a better price.

      I’m in it for the long haul, and ultimately this will become a comprehensive list of resources for anyone making handcrafted work, be they sewists, knitters, potters or printmakers. It’s time for us all to have our value recognized and compensated!

      Thank you for being part it!

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  12. I give a custom made quilt to each of my nieces and nephews. I wanted them to have an heirloom item as none of them on one side of the family have any grandparents. As teenagers, they obviously have no concept of the value of the gift. I am often asked how long it takes to make one of these quilts, so with one quilt I carefully calculated out not just materials, but time. I gave myself minimum wage in the calculations. This was about 8 years ago now, so prices have definitely changed, but It ended up being a $3,000 quilt. When I gave this quilt to my niece, I included this little tidbit of information. My quilts are now coveted and appreciated by the family as they now have a better understanding of their value. When one went to college and had roommates, she got a bed-in-a-bag and left the “special” quilt home because she didn’t trust roommates to treat it like she wanted. She now has her own place, and decorated the apartment to go around my quilt.

    Another little sidebar, when another family member was pregnant, they wanted me to make several quilts to go in the nursery. They were very good at respecting my time and talents. They wanted to provide the materials, and they all wanted to help assist me with the labor – even the men. Depending on skill level, some cut, some ironed, some simply cut threads. Many of them were stunned at how much work a couple of “simple” quilts took. All of them now understand of what I do oh so much more.

    Maybe it would help us all if we went against the traditional gift giving manors of “removing the price tag” before we give a gift. Leave the tag on so to speak so they better understand what they are getting.

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  13. When people \ ask me to make them a quilt (With no idea about how much materials and the like cost) I ALWAYS \ say…No, sorry, my own schedule is full but I will teach you how to make your own quilt if you want one.

    If they REALLY want a quilt, then they accept, and they would go through the entire process themselves….

    I happily escort them to select fabric and told them on the importance of value and contrast…and educated them at the checkout about COST. I show them how to cut and set them homework..in manageable size bites so as not to overwhelm them.. and so it can fit around family and work…Just like I do. Then the piecing, same process… They purchase, under guidance, their own batting … they made a sandwich, ….more time……. Then the quilting itself, the fun part, the thing I love doing most…. Pay for a long arm quilter to do it (I had to resist the urge to do it for them :( … or DIY… up to them… Finally the hand binding (now THAT IS my favourite part of the whole process) … do they want to outsource this too to a pro? I’ll show them some prices online Or learn themselves…..? Their choice.

    So at the end of the day I have done my bit and ‘educated’ another person about the costs involved, the financial costs and time costs…. I have saved myself work in an already too busy schedule. I have spread the love of quilting… and shared a skill…

    But I still haven’t figured out what I should be charging for my teaching >.<

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  14. In the end, if you are selling items the price is what someone will pay for them. If you are making them as a hobby and don’t care if you sell them you should price them as high as you value them and see if anyone wants them at that price. If you are making them as a gift, they are priceless.

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  15. Great topic and I’ve enjoyed all of the comments as well. Whenever this pricing topic comes up on Facebook or other forums! I see so many women repeat that silly “Rule of Thumb” where you just triple the cost of materials to come up with an appropriate selling price. I will usually reply that this method of pricing might be acceptable for craft projects such as gluing shells onto a picture frame, but not to Quilts. I might spend $10 on shells, glue and a frame and be thrilled to sell it for $30 since it only took me an hour. I just earned $20/hour making that frame. Generally, when I make a t-shirt quilt, I calculate my materials cost to be around $80.00-$100.00. About 10 yards of fusible interfacing, 2 yards of batting, sashing and binding fabric plus fabric to border each t-shirt block. Most of these quilts will take me a minimum of 25-30 hours to complete. If I want to earn the same $20.00/hour I made on the seashell frame, I would need to charge at least $600.00 for a quilt. I would rather give my quilts to charity! then sell them for less than they are worth. Several friends of mine can’t even sell a button onto a shirt, much less make a quilt. It’s up to all of us Quilters to educate customers why the quilts we make are worth the price and stop giving our product away at such cheap prices. If someone complains about your price, too bad. they can go to Wal-Mart and buy the cheap things for $29.99. I am a skilled Quilter with many years of experience. Do not call me Crafter and expect me to work for free. tell potential customers that the slaves were freed many years ago and that you will not work for free. Also add that since you are a small business, you do not purchase any of your fabric for cheap wholesale prices and pay the exact same price anyone else pays at the store.

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  16. This is my 2nd comment on this thread. I recently received a phone call from the wife of a friend who decided she wants to make a quilt for an expected grandbaby. She was surprised when I told her I no longer hired out my quilting skills (I’ve been burnt several times doing this). She felt that if she bought all the materials it would be fair for me to make it for her… cut it out, sew it, sandwich and machine quilt. I had to stress several times that I didn’t do that type of work. Oh but she would buy the material! again and again the same thing as if my time was worth northing, never mind the wear and tear on my machine. This woman is not close to me, not related to me but she persisted. I finally offered to “help” her make the quilt but I would not just do it. That was the end of the discussion and I haven’t heard from her since

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    • Jan, way to go!!! I wonder how my friends who love to work in the yard would feel about me asking them to spend about 30-40 hours of their time to plant flowers, trim shrubs, cut my grass, spread mulch, etc as long as I promise to buy all of the materials for the job. They would look at me like I was crazy. I would certainly be willing to swap my hours for her hours, but I don’t think any of my friends would take me up on the offer. Swap Quilting or Gardening.

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  17. Fascinating. I started selling quilts last year when I realized how much I was spending on fabric and how much I enjoyed making them. I dithered awhile about prices, and finally decided what I really wanted was to recoup the cost of supplies. So I charged $50 for easy lap quilts done with relatively low-end fabrics. A few that were done with Japanese prints or batiks, I sold for $75. Does this cover all my costs? No. But it covers the cost of my fabric. And that ‘s fine with me. I’m retired, and my income is a little more than adequate. I’m not making quilts to earn a living–I’m making quilts because I like to make quilts. I lOVE to make them, in fact.
    The difference between the plumber and the quilter is that the plumber supplies an essential service–none of us will live with raw sewage on the floor, or mold and rotting wood around the leak in a pipe. But quilts are not essential. We can buy a cheap blanket at Wal-Mart to do the same job of keeping us warm. A quilt may satisfy our craving for beauty, for fine textures and lovely colors, but for many people, staying warm is all they can (barely) afford. I make quilts for friends, who are delighted to have them, and I donate quilts to Hospice or to residents in my mom’s assisted living place. I don’t try to sell at street fairs–too many people saying, “I can do that at home myself,” and copying my designs. I’m selling only to people who appreciate that it is hand-made and beautiful. And no one is quibbling over my prices. And I’m quite happy.

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    • Hi Jan – thanks for writing. I’m glad that covering the fabric only is fine for you (and lucky you that you are retired with an income that allows you not to care if you make a wage). No one is quibbling over your prices because you are giving away the farm. By doing this, you are setting an unrealistically low expectation for the paying public – teaching them that only the fabric is worth paying for, not the time, not the skill. Yes plumbers do some important work when the drains get clogged, but they also get paid very well when we decide to upgrade a bathroom or a kitchen – neither really a necessity – and the skills required to do that are as specialized as those we use to make quilts. For the sake of every other person out here who isn’t retired and needs to pay their bills, PLEASE raise your prices so that we may ALL benefit. At a minimum, let the people getting the $75 steal that it should have cost them $350 on the open market. Respectfully, Sam

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      • I have to agree with Sam here. Although I am retired I still feel my work is worth more than a ‘steal’. I don’t make quilts for hire because of this. My sister wants a quilt and she has bought me all the materials and I will lovingly make her quilt for FREE because I love her. However if anyone else offered to just provide the materials, I would set them down to a sewing machine and show them how to make their own. I did not work cheap before I retired and my time is just as valuable now – especially to the general public who knows nothing of a quilt’s worth. By the way – I have a quilt made by my Great-great Aunt approximately 1840’s. It appraised at nearly $1,000 – even though it has clearly been used but cared for. So if a quilt that is over 100 yrs old and made by hand (every stitch) is worth $1,000 why should we be paid less now when they are made even better and more intricate?

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  18. I was just introduced to your site. I absolutely agree with your part 1 and part 2 of What’s it Worth articles. We need to charge for our “art” what it’s worth, whether we need the income or not. I’ve been working on a Baltimore Album quilt with 3-dimensional flowers, metallic embroidery, and beading all by hand. I had a ‘friend’ ask me to make her one. I told her no, but that I would teach her how to make her own. So she asked me to make one block for a pillowcase. Again, I said no, but would teach her. She said she didn’t have time, could I please make a pillowcase case for her and she would pay for it. I told her the price was $600. She never asked again. My time is too valuable to undervalue my art. We should put a price tag on our work, even if that isn’t what we get, so people start to understand what a hand-made work of art costs (work of art could be quilts, paintings, writings, knitting,etc). I gave my son and daughter-in-law an appraisal with their wedding gift – a king size hand-made quilt), after my daughter-in-law commented that all we were giving them was a quilt for their wedding. After seeing the appraisal ($2500), she had a new appreciation for the quilt and actually asked me how to care for it. If we don’t educate people, who will?

    My art instructor told our class if we undervalue our work, it tells people that we are not real artists and that it hurts every artist out there trying to make a living with their art. He also said when you undervalue your art, you make the public wonder why it’s priced so low – is it inferior?, did the artist use inferior materials?, is it not well-made?, etc. He told us to have pride in ourselves and our work.

    Thank you for for allowing me to add my comments and also, thank you for sharing your writings! I look forward to exploring the rest of your site.

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  19. All I can say is DITTO; DITTO, DITTO!! I have loved these posts & the comments too! It is HIGH TIME the discussion is held, the lessons are learned, high esteem & proper compensation is given for that which is so deserving. I know many of us quilt & give because we love the recipient but it doesn’t hurt to remind them that the gift is not “just a quilt”. So very well said. I’m here thanks to a guest post of Molli Sparkles on SewMamaSew. I’ll be following on bloglovin’ for more wonderful inspiration. Thanks for the boost!! :-)

    http://www.busyneedle.ch

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  20. Very well said, all. I’ve been sewing for fees for over 25 years. I’ve worked on everything from wedding gowns to baby layettes and am about to purchase my first long arm quilting machine to also offer that service. In the beginning, I found it very hard to ask for higher prices but learned very quickly that once I did, more respect was given for the work. Even if someone is not willing to pay your price, someone else will. If they need your service bad enough, they will pay for it. Do not compromise your worth and value in the product. I’ve said many times, “You could go to , but you won’t get the fit, the quality and you’ll dress like everyone else and the product will not last.” An individual quilt is no different. Uniqueness costs, quality costs, research and development costs, education, internship, and years of developing skill costs…period. Charge what you are worth and don’t compromise.

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  21. My mother made a quilt for me when I was in my teens a few decades ago. It was beautiful and comfortable and I loved it, but I had NO idea until now what it was really worth. Thank you all for opening my eyes. From this day forth I will cherish any and all “home-made” gifts as one-of-a-kind works of art.

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  22. I have a inkpad stamp that reads “Love is Handmade”, which says it all for me. Food, fabric, & flowers are all art of my hands and gifts from my heart. Pricing something for sale is difficult because if I enjoy the creative process and also enjoy giving it away, I cannot be objective about price. I am also my own worst critic. Bravo for appraisals!

    My mother-in-law hand quilts one day a week with an elderly group of ladies at their church. They charge clients $1.00 per hour for their time to hand quilt the client’s quilt tops! YES!!!!! They do BEAUTIFUL quilting! The money is donated to the church of course, it is usually around $400 to mark, baste, and quilt a queen size top depending on the size. They love the work and the camaraderie. They think that is a lot of money for a quilt. What do you think?

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  23. I stopped doing alterations because no one wanted to pay what it was worth. Making an ill-fitting RTW garment fit someone perfectly takes a lot of time and skill. But it often cost more than they customer paid for the garment and they balk at the price. I have an expensive sewing machine, a room full of sewing equipment and notions and have taken many classes to learn how to do this. Don’t I deserve to be compensated for acquiring this knowledge? In the professional world, we pay people more when they gain new skills. Why not with handmade items?

    I once had a bride’s mother call and ask me to hem 3 bridesmaid’s dresses. They only needed an inch of the bottom she claimed. But the dress was lined and had an overskirt. That’s 3 layers and she wanted to pay me $5 total for each dress. I told her $15 per layer. But its only 1 inch she kept saying. She just didn’t understand how complex the job was and how long it would take me. Needless to say, she didn’t get her dresses hemmed by me.
    Thanks for a valuable discussion!

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    • The hemming of prom dresses hit home even more than selling a quilt does! I used to sell some quilts, but stopped when I realized how seriously I was undercharging for my labor. But prom dresses — I have 2 teenage granddaughters, and hem dresses for them. They’ll call me the night before a dance and ask me to hem a full-skirted dress with 2 layers or more of tulle, and a slip, and oh, I don’t want the train, could you remove it? For one rush job, I had my granddaughter stay with me while I hemmed her dress. What to her seemed like a simple job took me almost 30 hours of hand labor to roll-hem a chiffon dress, hem a slip, and made some strap adjustments. And she was there for every step! After I cut off the excess chiffon, I had her measure it — 48′ of chiffon, and then had her stitch some. Now she, and her sister, appreciate what I do more than they did. And understand why I say no to “just hemming” their friends’ dresses for free.

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  24. This was very insightful. I make many quilts each year, as I publish patterns and sometimes create multiple samples for one pattern. Needless to say I have MANY quilts stashed around the house. From time to time, I will have someone offer to pay me for one. Of course, they are thinking Wal-Mart pricing, not handmade pricing. If they are a close friend, I will typically give it to them letting them know that they really can’t afford to pay what it is worth. If the many babies that are currently cuddled up in one of my quilts realized that they are snuggling up with $500 worth of love, they would sleep even more soundly. I would much rather donate a quilt to the local school auction and see it sell for $100, than to line my own pocket with $75. At least I can know that I made a donation worth $500 (for that matter, Uncle Sam knows the value of my donation too), regardless of what the school was able to sell it for. I like the thought of making sure to always give the lesson of the “real” value of the item being given/sold.

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  25. This is a subject I’ve been contemplating for years. Truthfully though, I do not think the discussion goes far enough to address either the way we value our skills or the way our skills are valued.
    The belief that homemade and handmade items are just not good enough/cheap enough/safe enough is filtering into mainstream thinking in insidious ways. Bear with me. I will give several examples. Our local schools will no longer accept homemade food items for classroom parties nor will they accept them for their fundraisers. Only store bought will do. I am told “It’s for the health and well being of the child.” Another example: Laws have been passed here making it illegal to give food to the homeless unless it is made in a commercial kitchen. Again the argument is for health. Believe me when I say I am all for the health and well being of both children and homeless, and I can see the thought behind the rulings, but there is a subtle implication that the average person is not good enough/clean enough/…enough, and I find this not only worrying but downright insulting. I know this thread is primarily about sewing but this is food for thought.

    I would also like to ask if anyone here has had repeated requests for donations and ask how they address this. As a working artist I am constantly being asked to donate my work to different charities. One year I logged over 20 requests. I do donate to charities but have become much more selective. I have come to the conclusion that I must be willing to “shoot myself in the foot” in order to do so. Here is why, and I will keep it brief.

    A donation of any crafted item, be it a quilt or a painting, rarely sells for it’s stated value, much less it’s true worth. Items generally sell at 30 to 50% of the stated value, sometimes less. This sets up a belief system in the buyers eyes that they only have to wait for the next auction to get a bargain. I have been approached by someone wanting to purchase work they saw in a gallery. They offered me less than 50% of the price I quoted and they thought they were doing me a favor!

    If you are trying to make a living from your craft then it’s also time to consider how the taxing authorities look at your donation. Only the cost of the materials themselves can be written off (unless you are a business – another discussion) and those material purchases must be well documented, so if you used a scrap from your stash, good luck finding that receipt.

    We all have choices, even when some of them are dictated by the laws we put in place. The biggest choice I think we all have is to be mindful. Be mindful of the consequences of your choices and don’t buy into self perpetuating belief systems. Educate others about value, yes! Ask for your true worth, yes. Value yourself enough to write your local policy makers and find work around solutions to situations that puts you back in the drivers seat. There is no telling what solutions we can come up with once the discussion becomes big enough!

    There’s that word again. LOL. Enough said.

    Joyce Martin

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  26. Regarding the comment of 007 eddie concerning how much to charge for teaching. I belong to the American Sewing Guild in Plano, TX, and I have a quilt group that meets at my home for which I do not charge because it is a “sharing” of knowledge that the ASG fosters. But, If I did teach classes independent of ASG, I would charge about $20.00 – $25.00 an hour. And, I am not sure that is enough.You are a skilled person and you should be paid for it. Have you taken “painting” lessons lately, or used a “personal trainer” at your health club? I know personal trainers start at about $50 an hour if not more, or did the last time I checked.

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  27. I’m so happy I found this blog. My daughter and I have been making/selling quilt-related items for some time and have found the mentality of the general public is truly accurate as has been stated. At one time I owned a quilt shop and people wanted us to make them a quilt for $50 – all inclusive! NOT! First, we appreciate ourselves and that we are of WORTH to others and then we EDUCATE others on our WORTH!

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  28. When I am asked to make a quilt for someone, I ALWAYS tell them approximately what it will cost-between $125-$175 for a baby quilt, for example. That way, everyone knows up front what the anticipated cost will be, depending on which fabrics you select or I have to order, how complicated the pattern is, how it’s quilted and what type backing is selected. I’ve had people shocked at the price, but that’s almost what it costs me. I make very little on a baby quilt. The ones I make are usually for friends or friends of friends, so I don’t ask a fortune for them.

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  29. Wow… have you hit a nerve!!! Thank you for writing both articles. I for one do a slow burn when I see crafters undervaluing their items just to make a sale. I am a firm believer that if you have the skills, and you mark your items accordingly, the right people will willing pay your asking price.

    First… to answer the artist asking how to handle the request for too many donations… this is what I have done in the past. At the beginning of the year I decided how many pieces of ‘whatever I wanted to donate for the entire year… breaking it down into how many per month. For example… let’s say I was willing to donate 12 items, so one a month. As requests came in I would place them in a folder.. and then choose one and donate. Simple. That stopped a lot of charities from waiting to the last minute also. I felt bad after a while turning down some worthy charities so I decided that I would keep the system in place for a large item… but had many smaller items already made to donate to the ‘losers’ and the ‘Johnny Come Late-lys’.

    Secondly… Whenever a friend of a friend asked me to custom make anything, be it a quilt, a painting, a birthday cake, I would enthusiastically accept… then immediately pull out a tablet and begin discussing design. I draw a sketch… then begin to write down all the material costs, and labor fees… then write the final fee in LARGE numbers at the bottom and circle it. I explain I am willing to accept the material fees up front, and the labor fees upon completion. THEN… I give them a working timetable and suggest they go home and think about it. If they really were serious and want the item… I insist the materials fee be dropped off by a given date in order to keep it all on track. I have found this system works for so many reasons… 1. It gives the person the lesson they need, plus the ability to opt out graciously. 2.There are no surprises. 3. Most importantly… I come across as a professional in their eyes… and not just someone with nothing to do at home.

    Third… Whenever I attend a craft show or other boutique type store I scrutinize the item I am interested in. As a crafter myself I can pretty much tell if the materials and workmanship are quality. BEFORE I look (or ask) for the price, I determine how much it is worth TO ME to possess it. If the price is higher, I ask the maker to explain why… maybe I didn’t know her material costs as it is not my area. If the price is too low… and I really want it… then I pay the maker what I was will to pay and explain why… then strongly suggest they raise their prices. I have never had anyone NOT accept more.

    Last… I have been to many ‘co-op’ shops and upon checkout am offered a discount. The first question I ask is, “Will the crafter receive less for this piece because of the discount?” If the answer is yes… then I pay the original amount, take a business card of the crafter and send them an email with a photo of my receipt to make sure they are paid fairly for their item.

    I hope the above suggestions help.

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  30. This has been so reassuring and inspirational!! I am a retired nurse who has turned my love of weaving into my business – Weaving Stone Studio. Pricing has always been a struggle for me but this conversation has convinced me to keep those detailed records and charge my worth. I also teach and have uncharged in order to compete with the classes at the local fiber shops. Thanks for the kick in the butt I needed.

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  31. I agree with you and I think you laid out the argument for how and why the true value of our work needs to be calculated really well in these two posts. This is actually a lesson I learned from my Dad, who was a freelancer. He never discounted his price for anyone. He would donate his time and talents to causes he believed in or as a gift to a friend but he felt that discounting his rate was undervaluing what he did and that wasn’t going to happen. Selling quilts for less than they are worth is the same thing.

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  32. WOW! What timing to read your articles.

    I’m newly retired and have recently sold a few things I made to test the market. I sold them in a specifically inexpensive market to see how something slightly higher priced of better than average quality would sell. They sold in the winter holiday market with no problem. Since then, they have sat on line and I took the postings down.

    My Mom is worried that I won’t have enough $$$ to cover my expenses in retirement. So am I. That is why I am considering quilting as an income stream. I had a profitable craft business more than 20 years ago. I stopped because I no longer had time to maintain it. The business provided a nice extra income but couldn’t support us. So I dropped it to look at a more lucrative full time career. Now I’m back to having time and needing a bit of “extra” income.

    I’m looking for that illusive area between worth and selling price point. I’m also intending to keep having fun with my quilting. So I will be turning down a lot of orders if they are items or colors, or have requirements I do NOT want to deal with.

    But back to Mom. This is a person who has always supported my efforts, even when they weren’t too reasonable. She is, I hope, playing the devil’s advocate right now. She has a quilow I made for her at her request and a large sofa quilt I made for Dad a couple of decades ago as well as a very well made 65 year old wool afghan from my Dad’s mother that she she has passed to one of my nieces who lacks blankets in her new house. Mom also has a couple of cotton blankets in the closet.

    Mom (who will be 90 next month) was talking about how her mother earned a living sewing and quilting, but can I do the same? In a world where blankets are so readily available and inexpensive who will want to purchase something as “old fashioned” as a quilt? How can I turn out enough items in a year to “make the bills”?

    Well first of all, I have a long arm quilting machine and plan to earn some money by quilting for others. She doesn’t quite understand this one. Machine quilting a queen size quilt using a long arm machine and edge to edge pantograph pattern, finishing in a few hours and earning $50 to $75 for my labor, machine wear and tear is beyond her ken. My clients bring their own backing, batting and thread – after being told what brands, sizes and types to purchase. If they want me to provide these items, they are charged cost plus 25% for my time and efforts on their behalf.

    Secondly, there are markets for hand crafted items, for hand crafted original items and for artistic items. Not necessarily the same markets. I’m already active in one inexpensive hand crafted market and have made about $150 per month (averaging total income over an 8 month period). This market is where I put my failures – items I will not repeat because I do not like them for some reason, not because there is anything wrong with them. And, I market them under a different name.

    So, it can be done, but probably like my earlier craft business, not done for enough to live off of if I don’t want to ruin my “hobby” status, or only work part time. And, I can get a goodly portion of “worth” out of my pricing. But that is limiting my business.

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  33. A couple of years ago I was just starting to quilt for others. A friend of a friend who is more knits far more than she sews, wanted me to make a quilt for her grandson. While we were discussing several aspects of the project she mentioned that work like this is a labor of love. I think that is the perception that many people have. And as a labor of love we are not expected to charge the real worth of our efforts.
    Well, I replied to this lady, that when you make something as a gift for your family it certainly is a labor of love. But when you hire someone to make it for you, then it is a business transaction. Granted we do our best to impart love and attention into our work but we need to let our customers know that this is a business.
    I also run into many hobby quilters who quilt for a few other people just for the joy of it and they do not need to earn their living from quilting. I think it is important to educate them that it may be fine to offer low prices to a friend or family member, just like what was recommended in part A of this blog, you can show the true value of the work and then discount by what ever you want. This is just a courtesy to your professional quilter sisters. We cannot let the perception of Labor of Love devalue what we do.

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  34. I love your opinion. I agree we need to support each other. I live in a small northern Ontario town where everyone thinks “oh, I can make that myself” and in admit I’ve been guilty on occasion of this myself. It seems worse in smaller towns and I’m not sure why, but when people from southern Ontario who aren’t crafty come up here, they usually don’t balk at the prices because prices are higher at home. I have also changed my thinking on supporting other artists over the years because they are artists, pattern to follow or not, you will never get the exact same piece twice. The time is an act of love for most of us and I think we often tend to think of it that way…and how do u put a price on love? I usually give my quilt/sewing pieces for gifts, and I’ve got a lot pickier over the years about who receives those gifts. It’s very disheartening giving to someone who is not crafty and doesn’t appreciate your time and effort. Recently I have started to sell my items…mostly to help fund my quilting addiction….and have met with both ends of the spectrum in terms of people wanting to pay less or telling me I should be charging more. It has taken a lot for me to say no to people who ask less but I am not willing to accept $5 an hour as you say. It has been an experience to say the least and I have often pointed out that yes the cheap store item is cheaper but my item will last decades…longer if u treat them properly. It is very rewarding when you sell a piece to someone who truely loves it. I am tending to work more in the fibre arts area now and so I quite often use the expression that my work is a painting in fabric. The creative aspect is also original and no one can redo it exactly the same…that in itself is worth a fair bit. If someone does do it, it is but a copy of the original. I think you are right to hold on to your opinion and I do hope more artists of any sort adopt the same! :)

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  35. Kudos to you Sam!!! I too have hit the wall of either “I can do that myself” or “it’s just a hobby” mentality and I wish I had some of the snappy come backs that I’ve read here. I really understand the devaluation of women’s skills versus man’s skills. Funny how many female authors have masculine ‘pen names’ or how about the painter; photographer, etc. who have gone to using their initials instead of their full names for their business names; I, too, had to do this (in my 20-30’s back in the 70’s/80’s) when I was working as a carpenter (non-union or union jobs) as I wasn’t valued or even accepted on many job sites even with the proper referral from the union. Many jobs I had to prove myself, but the lazy drunk guy or smoking ‘Good Ole’ Boys” got to disappear for 15 minutes every hour, while I worked on for a lower hourly rate???? Obviously, this still aggravates me!

    Anyway, I learned to quilt from my grandmother (who never allowed anyone to devaluize her skills (a couple of her quilts were purchased by the Smithsonian in the 90’s)) when I spent my summer with her (I was 9)….so I’ve been quilting for almost 50 years and yes, I do custom work and yes, there have been times that I have under priced a quilt, but those are the ones that seem to be for the worst customer, so I’m getting so much better at sticking with the true worth of the quilt. I have had booths in the craft shows and refuse to go to all that work to be insulted by almost everyone that walks through looking for bargain basement deals. I am asked to participate in the Art Shows in our area and find that the mental shift this brings is such a wonderful experience (much like “a touch of domesticity’s” goal of selling to top-end buyers) as there is rarely the ‘discount’ seekers or snarky comments about doing it themselves. The idea of setting out a bid contract similar to Deb Hathaway’s custom order and deposit for materials is AWESOME. I have a book of quilt designs that are divided by the ‘cost to make’ and I have prospective customers go through it and pick their top 3 and we then discuss the custom costs on top of that figure. Once we go over all of the variables (type of fabrics – blenders, batiks, hand-dyes, etc.) including type of batting and the backing, they are well armed with all the information that will make them understand and value not only the quilt but me, as well.

    I always include an appraisal for EVERY quilt that I give as a gift, commission, or donation with the explanation that they need to give this to their insurance agent to add to their policy. Not only is this the only way they will get reimbursed for its actual value if there is a loss (say there is a tragedy such as a house fire or flooding), but it also educates every recipient by showing them exactly what they have and its true worth. I also include the “proper care” for information/ instructions, as well. Without either of these, you are not taking ownership of the piece of art you have spent hours producing. I remember a student saying that she had helped her son & daughter-in-law with their ‘moving sale’ the previous weekend and that she had been mortified and (understandably) angry that the wedding quilt she had made for them was on one of the tables with a price tag of $25.00. She said that she paid the $25.00 and then gave it to the Women’s Shelter in her area as it was too hard for her to see/use that quilt after knowing how little it meant to her son & daughter-in-law. I know anyone that has taught can recall just about every horror story of discovery of how the gift quilt has been used, or discarded, etc. I use a couple different appraisers in my area and they are more than happy to give me the appraisal and will transfer the ownership to whomever and provide them a updated reprint of their appraisal for $5.00 if I don’t have the information available (especially great for a raffle winner, etc.) If you learn nothing else from all these comments, please remember to educate the recipient on the TRUE worth of their quilt.

    I’m also on the Quilt Documentation Council here in AZ and every quilt I own and make are or will be added to this International data base as this will be a wonderful tool to tracking my quilts, but also so my grandchildren, great-grandchildren can also find out how many quilts their ‘Grammy’ made. It is also a wonderful tool for prospective customers to use to seek additional information about me as a quilter before they decide to ‘hire’ me. Don’t mistake this free documentation data base (donations are greatly appreciated, but there is no charge per quilt) for having a quilt appraised, they are two widely different but important tools available to you.

    As for teaching instead of making a quilt for a person (at whatever price), I’ve taught throughout the western states (at quilt shops or retreats) and find that those who will go to a quilt store or a retreat to learn a technique will not want to pay you if they come to your home or you go to theirs….so I don’t see where you get the value of your time anymore than if you actually made the quilt for them. I understand that it is the sharing, but you are still working on their project and therefore keeping you from working on your own project….plus you are probably feeding them too!

    I loved “Debbie’s” idea of swapping gardening for quilting. I’d much rather have them do the housework or cook dinners for quilting….but the concept is the same, as we all know that they wouldn’t feel they were getting ‘paid’ enough for their time and efforts!!!!

    Anyway….sorry so long winded, but I am so thrilled that so many of us are all working towards the same goal! Thanks Sam, I truly hope that EVERYONE will stand up for herself and not back down. There is no ‘glass ceiling’ in the quilting or artisan world! Give yourself the pat on the back and take on the label of Quilt Artist or ???? Take it past the “hobby” mindset and value yourself as it is the only way that you will get the ‘worth’ value for your pieces. As for those who only want to support their hobby….it is said that the greatest job you will hold is the one that you enjoy the most! I say that is also the one that YOU value the most.

    All is in & for the love of quilting!

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  36. thankyou so much for these 2 posts i agree with you on all points i dont sell many quilts but when i do i know that the person who buys from me respects my work and worth. i too get the strange looks and murmerings from some who feel im asking too much but as u say if someone really wants an item they will pay a fair price. i too would rather gift all my quilts knowing that they will be used and loved for the right reason.

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  37. When my daughter was 4 to 8 years old I would make a quilt and tote bag that matched the theme of the party. I stopped when we got invited to a party whom my daughter and I didn’t know or associate with. I did not make a quilt as normal but actually bought a gift. When we arrived the mother saw our wrapped package (was very small item) and said, “where’s the quilt and matching tote.” With out a word to her my daughter and I walked away. That was the end of party quilts for me. Soon it was apparent that my daughter was only invited for the quilt. She wasn’t invited to any more parties that year.
    So, I learned to make quilts for family, friends, and people who are in or pass through my life and need my quilt. I make lots of charity quilts and raffle quilts. Over the years I have emailed and facebooked my quilting services and prices, NO ONE has ordered, but all want it free!

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  38. Wow, what a discussion! I have been sewing for over 35 years and quilting for about ten years. I have never sold anything I have ever made. I usually just give items like tote bags or baby quilts as gifts to family, friends and coworkers. I have been toying with the idea of opening a shop on Etsy now that my kids are grown. I too suffer from the indecision as to what it charge for items. My question is when do you consider yourself an “artist”? If you develop your own pattern? When you properly following someone else’s pattern? How about hand quilted vs. long arm quilted? I have seen many things listed for sale online that are lower quality that are charging more than for more quality crafted items that it is no wonder the general public is afraid to pay the asking price for hand crafted items. How does an appraiser determine a value?

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    • I have so enjoyed this discussion–a recurring issue for all the fiber artists I know. I think you become an artist when you design and execute your own work. Of course, you are standing on the shoulders of all those who have influenced you–teachers, writers, other artists, people who develop exhibitions, newsmakers, critics and your mom. People who properly follow someone else’s pattern are fine crafters, and they deserve the respect and price associated with fine craft.

      I realize that there are artists who engage the services of others to make their original designs–Chihuly comes to mind, but he’s part of a long tradition of atelier artists who produce more work by employing skilled apprentices and artisans (who might paint the entire canvas, leaving the face and “finishing touches” only for the name artist to complete) and often don’t give credit where it’s due. How often do you see something “from the school of ____” in an art history book? While we all learn by studying and following and maybe copying the work of others– there’s great developmental value in that–I don’t think we can claim the artist title until the work is fully our own.

      Value and appraisal? That’s another topic.

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  39. I am a new quilter, about a year now. I have had 2 requests to make quilts. My answer is easy. I tell them how much the materials cost ($68 for a baby quilt) and offer to buy materials for them or they can buy them and I’ll give them a list. Then I say, you pay me what you think my time is worth. Neither decided to have a home made quilt. I quilt for my enjoyment. So far, I have given away quilts to immediate family (kids, grandkids). Not sure what I’ll do with a room full of quilts when I’m 110 years old.

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  40. Pingback: Cost of craft work | Rhonda Bracey: At Random

  41. Great topic and excellent discussion thread. I quilt and crochet. I have been asked many times to make “one of those blanket things” for various people with little or no thought on the part of the requester on how much time and expense goes into a quilt or crocheted item. I use that as an opportunity to educate them. One brother received a double bed sized quilt as a wedding gift from a friend and commented that it must have cost at least a $100. He was surprised the friend spent that much. After I had a little “let me educate you on what it really cost” time with he and my sister-in-law, they were shocked. As many have said on this thread, we need to continually educate people and to never devalue our efforts. I love to give away my quilts as gifts and I have only sold one quilt, but I am careful to explain the value of the gift to the recipient (and not in dollar terms but in love terms). I think about them with every stitch.

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