Thursday, 22 September 2011

interesting reading

This post by the girls at Ink and Spindle has sparked a fair amount of discussion online. I particularly enjoyed reading Adrienne's post on her $600 baby quilt (and reading some of the comments left by the blog readers of both Ink and Spindle and Adrienne). It makes interesting reading and if you haven't taken the time to check out both posts, I wholly recommend you do.


all finished!



I don't make quilts to sell.

et voila!


Despite people (non-quilters, non-crafty) telling me I should.

fruit pastilles

All too often I give quilts away (all of the pics here are quilts I've made to give away).

French General Fat Geese

Mostly to people I love enough to know they'll appreciate them, and the cost, time, and effort involved.

dream on

Someone asked about buying this quilt once. I gave a (low, in my opinion) value of $500 after discussion over coffee with some quilty friends (fortunately I happened to be sat in Starbucks in Salt lake City at the time for Spring Market, so I had plenty of friends to ask the opinions of), because that was what I would have been happy to receive in return, it covered my costs (just about) but not my time so much. I also felt like if I'd asked for more I'd have been valuing myself too high. In hindsight that's a little silly. I still don't really feel like a 'proper' quilter though, more like I'm playing at it and getting lucky. One day someone will realise and point me out. (Of course, a 'proper' quilter is impossible to define, I make up my own ridiculous hurdles in life, I'm like that.)

constellation

I didn't hear back (I wasn't surprised). I was kind of happy they didn't want it, because I really love that quilt.

Sometimes I make quilts for new babies and don't get much of a response from the parents. That really irks me. I could go to the Gap and buy a few onesies. I could buy you a rattly bear. I could spend literally a few bucks and have a gift boxed stack of stuff for you. But instead I make you a quilt, because it shows I care about you and want to welcome your child into the world with a hug. If I'd given you a cheque for $600, would you appreciate it more? Yeh, probably. But then I wouldn't be as true to myself. When my oldest was born my auntie made her a quilt. We still use it in the car for cold mornings. I should go get that quilt out and show you. Remind me. It's dated now, but it was the most useful and most beloved gift of all. That was well before I had even thought about quilting.She spent time, effort and a lot of energy in making that quilt for Grace. That makes it a priceless gift. So much nicer than a onesie. Or a cheque.

66 comments:

KnightMare said...

And so much more useful than a onesie. (possibly not the cheque).

It can be used for other things once the child has grown up.

Shevvy said...

Very thought provoking - and good ammunition for the next time I have people going on to me about selling.

I usually fall back on the fact that I still consider myself a bigger and am still practising, or that I do it for pleasure and as soon you add a commercial aspect to it then making the quilt becomes work and in my head the fun would be reduced. Also, I would be so paranoid about every little bit being as good as I could get it I would take twice as long to make it!

Cille said...

I'm follow you. My quilts are all gifts to friends and family. I have been asked recently to make a quilt for someone else. I admit to being flattered but ending up saying no. Partly because I dont think I'm good enough and partly because I want to decide what pattern I sew, which colors I use, and only to sew when I WANT to. Not because I HAVE to.

rderrett said...

And babies grow out of onesies very fast. They never grow out of a quilt. Which is why I am about to make 3 this winter for forthcoming productions.

Freddie said...

Two friends had babies recently and I made quilts for both of them. One lives very close and I am so pleased that she uses the quilt. I see her little boy snuggled up in it in his pushchair on the school run. And no neither of the quilts were perfect and certainly weren't worth £500 but I did put my time and effort into making something that was just for that little person. My other friend was so pleased with her pink quilt because it was just for her little girl.
I do worry about giving quilts as not everyone likes them and it is very personal. I started to make a quilt for another friend who is due any day. I don't think I will give her the quilt though. Not after she complained about getting some "silly hand knitted cardigans" her elderly neighbour had made for the new baby. I'll just wait for someone who will like it.

Annabella said...

I read your blog but don`t often comment but I love this post...and it`s so true about the love that each of us sews into a quilt we make for another. So special and it makes them priceless really.

Mystica said...

I too only quilt for people who will value the time that goes into each quilt. I hand quilt so it does take time. Those quilts are stupendous and they are extremely lucky to get something which involves not just a ton of work, but is actually a labour of love.

Hen said...

Thank you for pointing out these blog posts which are really interesting and thought provoking. As a person who does sell her quilts, I agree entirely with the baby quilt example. Sadly, there are too many "x 2s" in the formula for reality. I produce quilts I love (sometimes I'll produce quilts to order,) and as such, it never feels like a chore, in fact I feel lucky to be paid for my hobby. I sell some of my quilts because I'd have far too many if I kept them all and the sale pays for my next fabrics, batting, machine and so on. I cover my costs and a some for labour. It's also a great feeling when somebody writes to thank you and tell you just how much they treasure the quilt you've made. Better than languishing in a cupboard?
As to the gifts, that's a hard one but whilst I totally understand you being upset that your gifted quilt is not valued, maybe it is because the recipient views things differently from you. We are quilters so to us, a quilt is the best gift in the world! But the whole point of gifts is that you give something you think the recipient wants to receive (I am always telling my son this!), so if your recipient just doesn't "get" quilts, sadly, you are going to be disappointed by their reaction and better off sticking with baby Gap if that's what they prize, and keeping your quilts for a recipient who will appreciate them for all they're worth.
Hen x

Cat said...

thank you so much Katy for your post, and for linking to Ink + Spindle and to Adrienne's blogs. I've just started a teeny sewing business with a friend, and we talk a lot about pricing and try so hard to get the price 'right'. We would love to maybe sell small quilts ... maybe ... but Adrienne's $600 baby quilt was a revelation! thanks again for posting and sharing your thoughts.

Nicole Follow the White Bunny said...

You are so right! I sometimes had people ask me if they could buy my embroideries and after I informed them about the price (which was in all case too low an estimate for the work I had done) I never heard of them again! So I make patterns and people can make their own stuff. I also give away or swap my embroidery work with people who actually really appreciate it (at least I hope so!) I did buy a quilt once (remember?) for what I call a very friendly price and it is much loved and appreciated here!

Patchwork and Play said...

I have crafted for many years and believe you can never get a return for the time you put into a project, not matter how big or small or what it is! You can re-coup materials but the time is never adequately rewarded. That is where love comes into it!

Montseta said...

I read you blog but usually never comment but this time I had to. I read all the posts and I agree with you. I will not sell because I'm a sloppy/amateur quilter (fine for me but perhaps not for someone that has paid for the quilt). I sew for fun and for the people I love but if I had to sell my quilts they would be so expensive! In Spain fabric is double the price than in the USA, and I'm so slow sewing... It saddens me when I give a present to someone and does not appreciate is for what it is: it would be cheaper and easier to go to a shop and buy something instead of doing it. Therefore I'm very picky know to whom I give things.

Sheila said...

I fully understand what you are saying ,I have recently made two baby quilts , one still in progress and I hope the parents appreciate the time I put into these little quilts as I too could have gone out to buy something but I felt I wanted it to be something made by me that will hopefully be well loved and used . Great post.

Bronwyn said...

Very true, all of what you wrote. Hang on, except for "not a proper quilter" - pfffffttt! Those quilts are magnificent!
I have given baby quilts too and not heard anything (anything!) in reply. Luckily though, the last two I gifted were appreciated and I see them in regular use. I think that was partly choosing wisely who might appreciate them.

Mary Jo said...

Amen

Becky said...

I commented on Adrienne's post the other day. I totally agree that people who don't quilt usually don't understand the value of what you are giving them. I make mine as gifts also and only for people who will have an appreciation of the quilt. When people bug me to sell them, I generally just smile and dismiss the comment.

kx said...

I made my brother in law and his wife a quilt for their wedding. Thankfully my quilty friends convinced me not to spend a lot of time on it. They opened the box, shoved it back in asap, and NEVER said thank you. I saw it in their house on the couch in the basement!
Needless to say that they rec'd store-bought gifts for their 2 newborns!
I guess we all need to know when our crafty souls will be appreciated!!

Karamat said...

I read an article once that suggested pricing quilts at $15 (for a simple quilt) to $25-30 per square foot. It seemed REALLY high to me until I did the math - her numbers have merit. I doubt I'll ever quilt for money, but do enjoy making them for gifts and fundraisers.

Wendy said...

I love this post, so thank you for writing it. I don't sell my quilts either. I've probably given away 3/4ths of the ones I have made (my husband asked me the other day why I don't keep more of my quilts - and it made me think about the joy it gives me when I make something for someone I love). I agree with you about baby quilts. I've made five - out of the five, 2 people actually sat down and wrote me lovely thank you cards...I knew they appreciated the work and effort and love that had gone into the quilts. The other three barely thanked me. It is a little discouraging. But, at the end of the day, I think we DO have to stay true to who we are...and quilts are some of the most special gifts, in my opinion. My MIL gave me four beautiful vintage quilts handstitched by her mother - they are some of my most treasured possessions.

Nadine said...

Wow. I love this post. And I am so with you, Katy. A lot of people don't value quilts, people who don't know quilts, don't have a clue about the price of cotton fabric and shipping, customs to import it from the US. And mostly the value of my time and effort. They don't care that I sit every evening for hours, and on weekends, making something while they sit and watch the telly and haven't produced anything useful their whole life. I have friends who keep saying they want everything cheap and they don't realize how rude it is when they tell me they love my quilts and would love to have one and then are not willing to pay 50 quid for it. RUDE. So rude. I think I am selling my quilts on Etsy for not even half of what I would like to ask for them, but then buyers still ask for a discount and I am not selling a lot at all. But that's the market, if nobody will pay the amount, then it is not worth that amount, maybe to me, but not on the market. Shame.

Caroline said...

Great post. I think part of the problem is that we live in a world where you can go to Primark or H&M and pick up a t-shirt or bag for £1. We seem to be so used to paying peanuts for badly produced, mass-market rubbish that some poor child in India has sewn together, that the concept of actually paying good money for something that is genuinely 'hand-made' seems alien to some. Hand-produced, artisan goods SHOULD be expensive! They reflect the time, skill and materials that have gone into the making of them.
I think giving a quilt as a gift is something very lovely but I stick to those people who I know will appreciate the work thats gone into them... The others just get onesies from Babygap!!!

Isisjem said...

Beautiful photos! Maybe you need a book of quilts full of yummy photos and then tell people to go buy that if they want the eye candy at a low cost! lol.

If I had a child I would absolutely treasure a hand made gift like a baby quilt. When I was a baby a great aunt made this funny little pink rabbit for me out of some furry material. It looks quite primitive. I only have a very vague memory of this aunt beause she was seriously elderly when I was born. I still have the bunny 37 Years on. It may not be the prettiest toy ever made but she made it with love and I will treasure it always.

Retro Age Vintage Fabrics said...

Your quilts are timeless and priceless...and just so beautiful. You could sell them as well as give them. Ones given are so loved...and ones sold are liked or loved. Both sorts are fabulous...and needed. I follow your blog as your quilts and attention to detail amazes and 'wows' me - if you ever needed or wanted to sell your creations, you could...there is no doubt.

jen said...

If you want proper accolades to accompany your quilt gifting, may I suggest doling them out at the baby shower? I've had a much better response when doing so due to the fact that somewhere in that fake baby diapering/cake eating/boy or girl game playing crowd there's a quilter or two who will go on and on about how generous your gift is. Mostly, until someone makes something themselves, they just don't appreciate the effort. Unfortunate, but true.

I'm off to read the "interesting discussion"!

Cass said...

Great post Katy. I tend to just give handmade now to people I know will appreciate it especially when i have untested time, money and a little bit of myself into it. I have given lots of Charlotte's friends handmade gifts for birthdays and I feel really chuffed when I see them using something I have made. Recently at a prty two of the kids used aprons that I had made them a few years ago and one boy even asked me if I could make him something else. Whereas she has another friend who I have made quite a few things for, including lap quilts for her and her sister and I never get any feedback or thanks from.

Lynne (Lily's Quilts) said...

Katy, you are right to think that you are not a proper quilter. Proper quilters are usually quite short, perhaps a little sturdy, they were flat clarks shoes, patchwork waistcoats and carry homemade bags which fit their cutting mats. Sometimes they have a perm and sometimes they have quite fat hands I've noticed. They don't have tattoos and they don't go to their friend's house and take off their leggings through their shorts. Also they have mauve plastic glasses like the queen, not glasses like the 3D ones in the cinema. I am not a proper quilter either because I look like Beyonce Knowles only with a smaller rear. From Mrs Goldsworthy of Derbyshire.

Kat - Housewife Confidential said...

I can still recall the day I realised people made my clothes not machines *ahem*

I think quilts fall into the same category as furniture and given time, skill and materials $500 is not at all unreasonable (and my gosh for that quilt if I had it I would be offering it to you right now as I adore the design).

What we as a culture have lost is respect for good quality items and buying few things. Mass production and exploitation have given us a consumer/disposable society who no longer buy something to last them the rest of their lives.

For me I look at cost per use. Used daily for two years your quilt is less than $1 per day and that really is a bargain when you know it will last 20 times that long.

Mary said...

I have sold a couple of quilts and never felt I really was being paid for my time. I guess it depends on the type of quilt you are making, but if it is at all complicated or time consuming you just can't get a return for the time involved. It would just be out of price range. So I often give away quilts and I love doing that...I don't feel the pressure and it comes from the heart :)

Jenny said...

I totally get where you are coming from. You put so much of yourself into a quilt (time, energy, creativity), that when someone doesn't appreciate it, you feel cheated somehow. I've also considered the long term possibility of selling quilts I make, but I think it would be really difficult for me because I become so attached to my quilts in the process of making them. Keep doing what you are doing. Your quilts are an inspiration for both quilters and non-quilters alike.

Flying Blind... said...

Great post Katy; more alienating the audience by Mrs G I see! I love my Clarks and fat hands x

People who don't deserve handmade things find them too expensive - my dad makes stained glass and ignorant people always expect to pay less than the cost of materials, go figure!

**nicke... said...

i almost wet my pants reading Lynne's comment! she is so great!!! i loved this post and my only aspiration in life at the moment is to become your best friend so that you will gift me one of your BEAUTIFUL quilts!

Heather said...

good post lady. i agree with 100%. peeps don't even realize just how much materials cost, let alone the days involved to make it! i'm with you... i gotta love ya for you to get one of mine.

pst... i luv you minx... ( wink, wink )

x, H

Tallulah Maggs said...

Handmade gifts are wonderful, but not always gratefully received. I tend not to give handmade so much, even my close loved ones take the attitude that I am just being a tight arse not buying something, like making something is some cheapo way out of spending money, when indeed it is the exact opposite and certainly not cheap on the purse or time. Some people are ignorant, and are better of with a ten quid plastic rattle from Gap :(

Tallulah Maggs said...

Btw, you are THE quilter, get used to it, you are way beyond proving yourself chica!

Tiffany said...

Your quilts are gorgeous, and anyone would be lucky to have them as a gift! I think quilts are great presents, and really do mean a lot.

allsewnup said...

I've experienced this as well but in a different field. I goldsmithed for a number of years and would shake my head when people would want custom, one-of-a-kind pieces for less than a couple of hundred dollars! They fail to realize that I have to design, special order stones, redesign in some cases and then spend many hours on a single piece. It's totally mind boggling to me. Ihear your pain sister!
Thank you for a splendid read.

Carolyn

Nancy, Near Philadelphia said...

Thanks for this post, Katy. It's as though you were reading my mind! I don't make quilts to sell, either, much preferring to give them as rather lavish gifts to people who will appreciate them.

And, for the record, your quilts are wonderful. You've never posted on that I didn't love!

Jan said...

I've just had the same experience. In the past 6 months I've given 4 quilts to new babies, but 1 was not acknowledged, and it was given to a relative!

Your quilts are fabulous, and your work is inspirational.

CaraQuilts said...

I've actually been, teasingly, cursed for giving my baby quilts. If they get forgotton the babies go nuts and won't settle down! They're used to their blankies.
I agree it's important to give quilts only to those who appreciate them, because they do have so much invested in them.
When I give baby quilts I give them to the baby, not the parents so it's ok if they're not impressed, though I do tend to get a big reaction to the fact that I made it.
I kind of shudder to think of the "value" of some of the quilts I've made, that's a lot of money and a lot of time.

Poppyprint said...

You are so a proper quilter, silly. I also give quilts away as a gesture of my love and caring for the recipient. It is my hope that they will be puked on, dragged around and loved to death. I give them to charity and fundraising causes, too. We still don't have one on our own bed, but both my kids have a couple. Once I offered to make a quilt for a dear friend's new baby...he responded "my wife hates that craft fair stuff, don't bother." It was all I could do not to cry right there in the office cafeteria. Of course 2 years later when quilts appeared in a swishy lifestyle store called Caban, she called me up and said "wow, you were so ahead of your time, would you still be interested in making a quilt for us". WHAT??? So of course, I did. But I made her pay for the materials.

Recently I did a commission baby quilt and I asked the customer to pay for the fabric as well as a fair hourly rate for my time. We were both happy and I felt that my work had been fairly compensated. Making commission quilts can be tricky if you are not good at estimating your time, tho. It's also not a great idea to take on a design or colours that don't inspire you as that project can quickly becomes a chore you resent!

sewkatiedid said...

I'll be interested to follow this discussion. I'm shocked when I look at what people sell their quilts for, they are barely covering the costs. I give quilts away or keep them for class samples, but would love to sell some.

All of these quilts are lovely Katy!

sewfunbymonique said...

That's why I love selling on etsy. People can take it or leave it & I don't have to hear about the negative! I also keep it super simple with squares and rectangles so that I can sell them. I wouldn't attempt anything more detailed for anyone but me or for a gift for someone who I knew would appreciate it. Your quilts are awesome!!

memmens said...

Oh flip I agree! It winds me up so much, I made Christmas gifts for my nieces and never had any response! But my husband tells me it should all be in the giving...hmmmm. Sometimes you know who will appreciate a handmade present and who won't. A few people have asked me about quilt making for money, but like you say you would have to charge so much, and I enjoy making them for loved ones and that is much of the joy of it, not sure I would feel the same about making one for money!

Helen said...

Hi there, I can't imagine selling a quilt, I'd be so apologetic, 'it's £thismuch but I'm sorry about the dodgy binding, and those bits there where the points don't meet up perfectly, and be everso everso careful how you wash it cos I always worry about my quilts falling apart in the machine' although they haven't yet! I'm also a bit more careful about gifting quilts since the time I found one I'd made for a friends baby stuffed in the corner of a playroom. Filthy, obviously unused, disregarded etc etc. Most annoying thing? Those were my pointiest pinwheels to date!!
I make for the love of making and the people I'm making for. The people who receive handmade gifts from me know they come with love, from love. Helenxx

Lizze said...

I feel you. I have received generic, form letter thank-you's recipiants of quilts I've made, and it kinda breaks my heart. I don't know that in this world of cheapy-ready made gifts, non quilters "get" what goes into a hand made gift. Your quilts are beautiful and anyone would be lucky to receive such a gift. I also struggle to price quilts, and frequently only can justify what pricing and what I spent. We are artists, and our value is as great as any other artist. Let's not forget that!

Sarah@PingsAndNeedles said...

Lovely post Katy. And the others were really interesting too ...

I used to sell my prints and paintings and the idea that I would charge an hourly rate for something creative is just plain bonkers.

Every quilt I've made has been for someone else. I'm lucky that they have all been appreciated for the love behind them. I was upset when a friend just left my Echino quilt folded on an ottoman at the end of her bed and never used it, but I'm over that now ... I know she loves it to look at, but not to use. That's her thing. It's fine.

I made my Ruby Star Rising quilt for me ... Every night I appreciate the gift I gave myself LOL .. really. The investment of time and effort and love should be enough for anyone.

The thing that I really didn't like about the ink & spindle post was the idea that there is only one 'right' way to price things. Utter bollocks. You can charge what you like for something as long as someone will pay it. That could be low or high. Know your customer. Otherwise you have no business.

I made cushions for 2 years. I also made pretty whacky greetings cards too ... I priced according to my costs and my market, not my time ... But that was just my way, not the only way.

p.s. I'd pay a gazillion pounds for any of your quilts, if I had it :)

carolyn said...

You, my dear, are most certainly a quilter. and although we make "blankets" NEVER under value your art. I too would rather give my quilts away to the right loving person them sell them cheap. That would feed my inner critic and we all need NONE OF THAT! Keep true to yourself and keep up the good work.

carolyn said...

I just read Lilyquilts comment and here's what I wrote her. I have to say a REAL quilter is NOT as you described.
I may not have tattoos and I may be older than you but age and experience does not make me square !
Some quilters may be blue-haired old ladies that like teddy bears but that does not define a "Quilter".
We all love fabric, color, like to sew, talk, encourage and inspire each other. Some of us like to break rules and it's called "modern quilting"
there is room and respect for us all.

carolyn


www.laughingduck.typepad.com

Doris said...

Thanks for the links, Katy, I'm behind on my blog reading and had not gotten to either of those posts. I have (under-priced) quilts in my etsy shop, because I made them for the sake of creating, and I really don't need to keep these particular ones. I gift a lot too, and like every quilter, have had the lack of response or no response at all (what the hell happened to the common courtesy of sending thank yous?!?) from new parents and married couples who received a handmade gift. And no response from potential commission clients after I send them a detailed quote and explain the whys of the price. Oh, well, I do it all, every bit of it, for me and my sanity and health. Bottom line. And you are a REAL quilter, don't ever under value your self or your time, my Dear.

jednoiglec said...

I thought that this problem takes place only in Poland... So thank you for this post!

Most of the people in capitalistic countries are working in service industry. Their salaries are based on hourly rates (or monthly lump sums), they don't have to worry about materials and other costs (they got everything from their employers). This is the reason that they don't know how prices of handmade items should be calculated...

Susie said...

I won't sell any of my handmade (knit or quilted) things either, though it has been suggested that I do. That's not why I make them.

I'm with you on the "being irked" front though. I made a quilt for my nephew (who will be turning 6 next week by the way!) before he was born and not a thank you, kiss my arse, nothing. Come to think of it, that tends to happen any time I make a handmade gift of any kind for my family. (Other than the urchins living in my house that is!) I don't know if it irks me so much as it hurts knowing the amount of time, effort and damnit LOVE that was put into that handmade gift for it to basically be shrugged off like that. Ungrateful wretches! *sigh*

It seems that only those that are also "crafty" in nature truly appreciate such things. I knit gifts for a fellow quilter (just to shake things up a bit of course) for her granddaughter-to-be and she loved it. I think it's because she actually "got it" and knew how much time and effort it took to knit the things I did.

Now, as to this nonsense about you not being a "real quilter", yeah, well hush. We all know it's not true. I think it's because we are our own worst critics that we say such things.

Now, the next time you have a quilt that you're ready to give away and you want to show someone some love, I'll gladly accept your "oh so pitiful attempt at quilting" and love it dearly! I need something beautiful in my chaotic life. (See? How'd you like that little play there? Y'know the whole ChaosIsMyLife thing from Twitter? Yeah. I know. I'm a dork. *sigh* It's been a long day.)

Andi said...

I do make quilts to sell but only on commission. I tend to sell at the "Wholesale price" according to that formula but even then people usually baulk at the suggested prices. But I stick to my guns and so I don't sell that many quilts.
But I get 'enough' commissions and it leaves me with more time for personal crafting.
I LOVE all those quilts you have given away. You are a very generous chick!!
xx

Anonymous said...

Love the quilt at the beginning of this post!!
Do you have a pattern for it?
Thanks!
Erin

Katharine said...

Wonderful post and love the comments. Even I, as a non-blogging, not that original quilter have had people asking me why don't I sell my quilts. Um because I hand quilt and only a millionaire could afford to pay for my time?

Also because this a creative outlet for me - so I don't want to make something for someone else's taste.

And as for you not being a proper quilter. Go and wash your mouth out with soap, missy! Of course you're a proper quilter. Just looking at this post has reminded me of at least 2 of your designs that I want to do.

Kate said...

I sell small cot quilts and it is usually only other crafters who realise how much work is in them. I am really picky about who I give handmade gifts too now, I will do anything for people who appreciate them, but others, it is much easier to give a bought gift and spend my crafting time on people who will love it.

Nicky said...

Non crafters just do not understand how long things take to make - lace making friends of mine get upset when a wedding garter they may have spent a good part of a year making are not appreciated - a couple of inches of some lace can take an afternoon to make!

But is this asking too much of people to understand in the mass produced market at the cheapest price - what they need is education about quality and art and I'm afraid textiles just isn't as appreciated as other forms of art!

Erin said...

I recently started selling quilts. A friend asked if I could make 4 fairly large quilts for him to give each of his family members. He asked how much I would charge. I way under charged him at $150/quilt. I know they should have easily been $300, but he is/was a friend so I decided to charge him approx the cost of materials. I have been working on them for a good 4-5 months and just gave him 3/4 of he asked for. I didn't get a thank you for any of them OR comment on if he liked them or not. I really had to prompt him to say thank you. I am so devistated. When I showed him one of them , the first thing he said was "What is wrong with it". I chose a pattern that wasn't your typical symmetrical pattern. I couldnt' believe he said that. I told him, what he should be saying was thank you becuase I have worked for months on these. He said "I thought the deposit in your bank account was thank you enough". He still doesn't get it. I am heartbroken, and now our friendship is being tested. I have made so many other quilts for people and showed them the quilts I made for him, and they raved on and on. I guess this isn't related to this post that closely, but I did think of it since it just happened and wanted to share. Anyone else had any similar experiences? Am I expecting too much from him?

Wendy said...

Erin - I just read your comment and I am appalled by your "friend" and his rude response. No kidding that your friendship is being tested! I am always so amazed at how hurtful people can be - especially when it is the people who we feel closest to...This is a hard, hard thing to go through and I am sorry that you have been hurt in this way. I think it is never too much to expect people to be kind...and he is not being kind or gracious OR a friend right now. If he had a preference for what he wanted, he should have shared that with you BEFORE you created the quilts. $150 for FOUR large quilts is nothing...so his comment about the money being thanks enough is a joke. At any rate, be kind to yourself - you did a good thing, you poured your heart into your art, and unfortunately you were treated badly. *hugs* to you.

Nichole said...

@ erin: that IS appalling! You could show him what handmade quilts often sell for to help him gain some perspective, but personally I wouldn't want to speak to him again!

I quilt also, but mostly art quilts for exhibition. They don't sell usually, which is fine, but I have no problem pricing them accordingly.
On the other hand, I LOVE to knit. I recently made my daughter a knitted dress for her birthday which my friends all love. Someone asked me what I would charge to make her one. I suggested a very modest $50. (which barely covers the cost of the luxury yarn I used, not to mention the 20 hours plus it took to knit!)
Needless to say she didn't want one after all.
I don't knit to sell my stuff. If I make a sale, that's great. But I knit because I love doing it. Unfortunately, as in quilting, it is a time consuming process that people don't understand or value.

Marit said...

A very difficult subject! A quilt is a mix of artistic expression, craftsmanship and supplies that are quite pricey in themselves. So I am thinking, as long as the two last factors are fair quality, you are putting a price on yourself as an artist. And you have to consider how much your time is worth, too.
I have recently opened a little online shop. It is a chance to think these questions through. So far, no sale... I don't mind. I m not giving them away ; )

Well, actually I am. I am gifting quilts to people I care about. An that's a very different thing, altogether...

Katy, very interesting topic, here. I just love the gallery of your quilts in this post. I would not want to part with a single one!

Mego said...

Love love love this post! I, too, make quilts for gifts to the people I love. My niece recently got married and I made her a quilt out of fat quarters I had been collecting (novelties) as she went thru the different stages in her life. They had been sitting in the "Jill" box forever. When my brother saw it he wanted to know what ELSE I was giving her as this was just a 'blanket'...My niece however wrote me the BEST thank you note. She had noticed all the different pieces in the quilt, she remembered when she loved My Little Pony and when she went thru her ladybug phase. She loved the baseballs and the soccer balls. She even loved the ballerina (which she most definitely was NOT) because she remembered a conversation when her mother WANTED her to be more 'girly' and I told her to be 'herself'. It was all so totally different from my brother's response. And that is why I made a quilt for her.

Elena said...

I actually just had a moment like this recently. I handmade a lovely gift (not a quilt) for a shower and the bride didn't seem to much appreciate it. There were much more oohs and ahs over the store-bought gifts, that all cost less and took less personal time. I ended up wishing I hadn't bothered or had just kept them for myself.

At this point, I pretty much reserve handmade quilts for very very close friends or immediate family, and other special people get handmade whole-cloth blankets. The blankets still take time, thought, and effort, but aren't quite as involved.

Dan R said...

I gave a baby quilt to friends this past spring. I loved making it so much that I made a similar one and listed it on etsy. A few weeks ago we all went for an outing up the coast, along with the new baby. The mom told me she had thought about commissioning a quilt for her new niece, but thought the price would be too high -- she hadn't seen the etsy shop yet. That night, she bought the second quilt -- she thought it was a bargain. Nice to have that story in my back pocket.

I've given away far, far more quilts than I've sold. When I do sell, I insist on getting a price that makes me happy to pack it up and ship it off (well, bittersweet sometimes).

Dan R said...

Also, I hadn't taken proper notice of the red geese before. That quilt is so lovely. (or maybe I'm just hungry)

Leigh Ann said...

@ Erin - maybe "acquaintance" is a better word than friend.

I've made many quilts, and have learned the hard way that many people don't appreciate it. I try to be more careful about who receives them - my husband's family does not appreciate my handgoods at all. I keep trying, and keep making them, but my quilts, and table linens are considered the worst of the gifts. The gift no one wants during the gift exchange. My feelings are hurt alot at the holiday season.

Switch to another household, where the same type of gifts are loved, worn, worn-out, and appreciated. I love making things, and it gives me great joy, that they are so well loved.

I'd be happy to sell my work, but I have difficulty with the idea that my work could be worth more than the fabric costs...my imperfect, full of flaws work. I've made a few things for custom sale, and I'm just so flattered that someone likes my work enough to want it, it's difficult to price it. I had been told double the materials a long time ago - and have charged it once or twice.

People pay $600-$1000 for purses, that don't look a lot different than the $15 variety. Maybe if we just say it's worth $600, and hold our heads up, and act like we believe it's worth that much, people will be willing to pay for it?

bananaorangeapple said...

Last time I gave away a quilt I wrote on the card: If you don't like it please give it back because it took me a long time to make and I love it.
The recipient has not given it back so as far as I know it is appreciated.

I still get a bit nervous thinking about the last quilt I sold on my etsy store. Did I charge enough? Too much? Crikey what a minefield.

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