Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Bitch is the New Black

Yes, Tina Fey is right.

"Bitch is the new black.".

There are around 480 entries on the naughty list (485 entries and some of them reference other entries for when people change their handle).

Some of the swappers have multiple entries on the list.

Why are swap hosts allowing people into a swap when they have no crafting pictures in your stream?

If you are new to swapping - I would be more apt to allow a person who has pictures of their work in their stream (clear pictures, not fuzzy).   If you want to start swapping - start posting pictures of things you made so potential hosts know that you are seriously about joining instead of joining to get free stuff.  The less crafty items a potential swapper has in their feed, the more likely they are going to flake.  TRUST ME!  There are 480 entries on the naughty list.

If people aren't posting pictures of their crafts, it is more than likely because they are making junk and taking advantage of the swapping world.  It is unfair for someone to send out a well made package (notice I didn't say perfect) and receive crap.  I have seen too many angels assigned to take care of the crap packages then I care to so this does happen so yes, this isn't nice.  It has been happening way too often and its people that have no pictures of their crafts in their streams.

Swappers - be patient while a potential swap host goes through IG streams to make sure they have quality swappers in their swap.  Would you rather have your partner right away or a quality swap package?

Please post clear pictures of your progress that go beyond fabric pulls.  Post pictures of a nifty extra or progress.  I tend to procrastinate and if I know I have progress shot coming up, I try to write it down.  I need to be better about meeting my progress shots dates rather than have the host trying to figure what I am up to.

When I see nothing but random craft supplies, I start to wonder WTF are they making?  Is it a bunch of stuff they found on the clearance end cap?  Bonus points if your random round-up includes stuff with glitter puff paint with colors from the 80s.  1980 called and they don't want their junk back.

Swap hosts - post a picture and tag your naughty swappers and if they can't respond  within a reasonable amount of time - then boot them.  Yes, I have forgotten to post progress pictures by a certain date and if I would have gotten kicked out - then that is how it goes.  I did respond to the reminder and I need to write down check in dates in my calendar.

If a swapper shows no progress pictures, then boot them. Procrastinators will not like this.  It is easier to boot a non-participant then to find them an angel.  Tip: if you are a procrastinator - write down the first ship date as your final ship date.

Maybe, "Do you own a calendar and use it on a regular basis?" should be a question on a questionnaire.

I am baffled by the amount of packages a person can receive while having NO progress pictures.

If your partner has no progress pictures, do not ship.  Alert your swap hosts.  You will not be placed on the naughty list for holding shipping to a partner who has no progress shots.  If for some reason you are placed on the list, email me.  I will personally take you off as long as you can document your communication.

I hate to say this because I do not always want to do it, but I think people must post pictures of their finished item.  The swap host can interceded then if the craft doesn't meet the swap guidelines.  Yes, it puts more pressure on the swap hosts and hopefully this will lead to smaller swaps and deter shady swappers.  If you can't post a picture because you recreated all of their tattoos or something like that, then send the host a picture of the final project.

I recently made an item using a pattern from their mosaic and using non traditional colors (which they wanted) so I ended up sending a picture to the swap host and posting a cryptic picture.

Do not let swappers string you along.  At a certain point in time, swaps must end.  A swapper shouldn't be waiting six weeks after the ship date without a resolution.  I think two, maybe three, weeks after the ship date is enough time.  After that, everyone needs to move on.

I am all for letting people know who got flaked on know who their partner was.  I do not want to send a package to someone who couldn't be bothered.  I understand life happens and you can communicate that.

By the way, sending invalid tracking numbers to your swap hosts will land you on the naughty list in no time flat.

If you assign an angel to a swapper, tell them.  People are willing to wait and will be okay in knowing that something is coming.  If you have no interest in assigning angels, tell your swappers upfront.

Is there a $3 store that sells awesome stuff that I do not know about?  Twice this week, I heard of swap hosts charging $3.  One was to pay for the lady's time (I am still waiting on shopkins and oop fabric) and the other was for the angel fund.  Angel fund lady took off.  And why $3 - that is a random - odd number.  Unless you are paying into a fundraiser, do not pay your swap hosts.  It is not a paying job despite what some people's headers claim.

If you do not feel comfortable in telling people no, then maybe hosting a swap is not your thing which is okay.

The first rule of being swap host getting in touch with your inner bitch because over 480 names on the naughty list do not lie.

I have said "WTF?" way too many times this week.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Common sense dictates....

Common sense dictates....

1.  ...that you will use math after high school.  Please keep in mind how much postage will cost when signing up for swaps.  A flat rate international package is around $23.  If you have 40 packages to ship out x $23 = $920.  Please be mindful when signing up for a string of swaps that are due within two months of each other.

This person knew that the majority of her partners would be international.

2.  that your partner should not have to use google to figure out what they received.


I showed a picture of a coloring sheet (that was the swap project) to my husband (self-proclaimed nerd boy) so sometimes he knows stuff that I do not.

His first perplexed question was "Why is that animal wearing sweatpants?".

Second guess, "Half Animal - half mermaid".

Third guess - "Half Goat - half mermaid".

The correct answer was a sea-goat.  Capricorn is a half goat/half fish.  This would be great if the swapper was a Capricorn or was into greek mythology (the concept would have been great).

Everyone needs to send me shopkins and rare out-of-print fabric (Tula, Heather Ross, Anna Maria Horner come to mind) for me having to google "half goat-half mermaid".   Also, do not google
"demonic unicorn mermaid" which was another possibility for the picture.  There are some very creative people out there.  I might end up on a list for the NSA.

Even without looking at her questionnaire, I would have made the person a unicorn or something "Nightmare Before Christmas" according to her photo steam.

Another picture from same swapper appeared to be hybrid of a man/longhorn.  It was actually a creature that is man/goat/sheep.  My husband's guess was a centaur.  I do not understand why the swap host didn't intercede on this one.  Maybe half-goat hybrids are not very good swap project topics.

For those of you who always put you love everything, would you really love a sea-goat that could be a demonic unicorn fish coloring or an angry animal wearing sweatpants?  Is this harsh?  An angel was assigned to mail the partner a package.  There will not be an ambiguous goat-hybrid creature in the package.  The said partner has sent many wonderful angel packages.  Was it really fair to her that this is what she received?

Please note:  the amount of effort is in question here.  The marker coloring sheet was that - it was not a painting. If you are indeed a true artist, then go for it and it should reflect the time it takes to create a medium-sized craft item.  I use a sew together bag as a guideline which takes me approx. 4 to 6 hours to make.  And again, the package did not reflect the partner.  You can make smaller projects as long as the time it takes you to craft such items is around 3 to 6 hours.  Anything over, is on you.   No, the three hours doesn't take the time it took to procure the supplies.

It is a good idea to read over your partner's questionnaire before you send them out a package.

3.  ...that you understand the word(s) you use when you describe yourself.  The word that comes to mind is hustler.  While hustle means busy movement or activity (like the hustle of the streets of New York) the slang means to swindle or to fraud, to obtain through illicit or aggressive actions or to solicit Johns (as in prostitutes).

According to - it means to make money by any means necessary.

So, when you say you are a hustler - are you swindling people or are you a prostitute or  selling drugs?

If you google the word "hustler", the pornographic magazine is the first thing that pops up so are you a fan of the magazine?

4.  that your Instagram feed shouldn't urge people to call children' services.  Please do not post about your love/usage of illicit illegal substances.  Remember that marijuana is not legal in all areas of the world.  It isn't in Texas.  Please do not send a package that smells like marijuana.  What if that receiver is driving home from the post office and gets stopped on a routine traffic stop?

I live in a mandatory reporter state - "Reporting by Other Persons In approximately 18 States and Puerto Rico, any person who suspects child abuse or neglect is required to report. Of these 18 States, 16 States and Puerto Rico specify certain professionals who must report but also require all persons to report suspected abuse or neglect, regardless of profession. New Jersey and Wyoming require all persons to report without specifying any professions. In all other States, territories, and the District of Columbia, any person is permitted to report. These voluntary reporters of abuse are often referred to as “permissive reporters.” - from

Swap hosts have enough going on that they do not need this burden on top it.

If you have a substance abuse problem, I urge you to get help.

5.  .... post a picture of the craft you made and a thank you of the one you received.  It is highly suspicious if you are not posting pictures of what you make.  It had lead a number of swap hosts to think certain swappers are taking advantage of the system.  Post a thank-you of the package you receive.   We are all busy.  I work sometimes 12-hours days and get home and try to post, at least send a DM.  If you are going to lie, make it believable.  If you are working for a corporation that is known to be against over-time, then saying you worked 80 hours a week is implausible.  Claiming that all your packages arrive damage is implausible too especially when its a soft-quilted item that was wrapped in tissue paper and plastic.   If you are going to claim that your package is damaged, then please be prepared to send the swap host a picture.

A note to swap hosts - do not allow people with no pictures of their crafting talents into your swaps.  You will be very grateful for the headaches this saves you.

If you are new and want into swaps, then post pictures of the awesome things you make.

6. .... swap mamas talk.  If you claim that your foot is broken and can't sew, then don't send another swap mama progress pictures of you sewing.  If you claim your project is finished, post a picture of it.  If you claim it is done and you string along the host by saying that you are waiting to ship it, and then tell someone else that you are wanting to finish it, it leads people to draw to the conclusion that you are up to no good.

Many suspicions have been raised/confirmed simply by swap hosts talking.

7. .... that you should use your own instagram account to sign up for a swap.  It is not okay to use your underaged relative's account to sign up and then flake on swaps.  If you are not able to use your own account because you have flaked, then do not use someone's else account and do the same thing.  If you have flaked (received but not sent), please do not sign up for more swaps.  This is not Christmas.  This is not people randomly sending you packages in the mail.  You need to send out a quality package in return.

I would only feel comfortable in sending to someone over 21.   Swap hosts - please be transparent and let your swappers know if they are shipping to someone under 21.  I have seen swappers as young as 15.  Please do not be a Date Line Saturday night special.

8. ...that fraud charges can and might have been filed for habitual flakers.  From what I have been told, it can be considered fraud to engage in a swap and not send but receive through the mail.  I am not a lawyer so I am not going to say more except that I have been told that this might have happened.

9. lie about signing up for a swap.  It is not in anyone's interest to sign you up for a swap.  I have heard this more than once.  This is especially funny when the said non-swapper posted pictures and link in the stream about the swap that shall not be named because they didn't join.  How did they get your likes/dislikes and personal information?

10. ...that you should post realistic possible projects in your mosaic.  I find it actually kind of rude that someone would expect a Monet when they can only draw bad stick figures.  Yes, it is okay to realize that some swaps are for all levels and please post a variety of levels in your mosaic.  An easy way to do this is to search:  Blank Topic Craft Projects.  Lets say, I want to do a Les Mis swap but I have no ideas.  Google: Les Mis Craft Projects and that should give you an idea of what the average Joe can make.

11. ...that you might have to make your project twice to send out an item that is of quality.  I had to make two totes once because while my first fun was okay, it wasn't what I wanted to send.  This is why waiting to the very last possible minute is usually not a good idea.  It is okay to make pin fails but it is not okay to mail them and expect posh boutique on 5th Avenue quality in return.

12. will and does happen.  Communicate and be truthful.  I am having a hard time sewing up this caddy.  The recipient knows that I am working on it.  I should have purchased the class as well as the pattern but I am keeping her informed and I have a Plan B.  Certain things have transpired (they are not bad) with my child and I need more time to help her.  If you can not ship and have received, then either return to sender your package, mail it onto your partner or ask your swap host for guidance.  It is not okay to go totally dark because life happened.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You Must Be This Tall to Ride this Ride....

So, I keep having to change the swapping rules.

I think all swappers must be:

1) Human,
2) Able to Swap Using their Legal Name (or a variation of their legal name), and
3) Over a certain age.  

Age - I think it should be 18 or 21 (definately in some of the saltier swaps).  I would feel uncomfortable in being partnered with someone under 18.  I don't know know where their parents are at.   I can't even figure out where Max and Ruby's parents are at and that is a popular cartoon.

Yes, they might be the next master maker of all thing and growing their soon-to-be Martha Stewart enterprise.

I think there should be a box that states you must be this age to participate.  I am just trying to keep someone from being on a 60 Minutes Special.

Yes, I know rules make swaps less fun but there are reasons for them.  

There have been a lot of snowflakes lately and there is one that has flaked in at least 20 swaps from the summer until now.  That is 20 makers that sent to someone who has no intention of sending, 20 non-receivers but sent, 20 angels (maybe), and 20 swap mamas that are scrambling.  So one person can impact up to 80 or more people.  To be fair, she says she intends on sending.

So, that is why there are rules because there are 365 entries or so on the naughty list and its not all encompassing.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dissection of a Mini Quilt

With all of my posts, always defer to the rules of the swap. 

Please note:  The majority of the swaps I join state that your mini (quilt) or hand-crafted item must be constructed out of quilt shop quality fabric.  The main exceptions are Kona (which can be purchased at JoAnns and Hobby Lobby), maybe some of the bigger designers like Denyse Schmidt and Janna Lottsdotter who have fabric lines through JoAnns, maybe some Heather Ross (Hancocks) and if its a licensed themed swap - maybe if they are not sold at LQS.  The rules of the swap should state expectations.


Does size matter?

I tend to think mini-quilts (minis) are around 12 inches squared to around 24 inches squared with anything in between.  Some swaps may allow 6 inches up to 30.  I think most baby quilts start around 36 inches.

After that, what does your partner want?  Do they mention limited wall space?  If you have limited wall space, you might want to put this on your initial questionnaire.

It is my opinion, that you really shouldn't go smaller than 12 inches.  If  I was going to make a series of minis, I would make something this small.  The rule is - make something that you would love (or would love if you had your partner's tastes).

When in double, post a question.  I think the preference is to go bigger rather than smaller.

Larger than life mini that I love


Is it hip to be square?

Minis do not always have to be square.  Right now, I am really loving hexagons especially for fussy cuts.

If the mini is not a square or rectangle, then the binding should be cut on the bias.  Here is a great tutorial from The Blue Chair on how to bind a hexagon mini and Jay Birds Quilts on How to Bind a 120 degree angle.


Mini-quilts are great because they allow you to try something out and you do not have to commit to a while quilt.  You can try a new techniques and color schemes.  Maybe you wouldn't choose to assemble a 1-inch english paper pieced quilt but for a mini - it works.

You can use quilt blocks (sizing them up or down to fit the swap parameters), do more of an artistic quilt, or improve.  If you add 2.5 inch sashing to a 12.5 inch quilt block, then your mini is around 16 inches.  It is a great way to use up those amazing orphaned quilt blocks.

Many of Thimble Blossoms patterns are sized for minis and Sarah Fielke did a whole book with mini designs.  Here is a list of mini patterns from Patchwork Posse.

Thimble Blossom's Mini Swoon

Improv Cat Mini

Pillow/Cushion cover patterns make great mini patterns as well.


Here is a little secret, a print is going to hide quilting flaws (designs) a lot better than a solid.  I think you should stick to a quality print or solid.

Sometimes I admit that I use fabric that I order that might not be the right color or fabric I don't love on the back.  After all, the back is on the wall.  There some special occurrences where I used backing that fit a theme or had meaning.

I did use a red batik on a backing but I posted my picture to the group and while some said no - my partner said yes.

This was not my favorite print and I had enough to use as a backing for a mini.
I don't think you have to necessarily use the fabric that you paid $500 unicorn tears for on the back and its okay to use less loved (black sheep) fabric on the back as long as it meets the swap's rules.

Please note that no one will get a mini from me backed in pheasant fabric.


Some will argue that a hand bound mini quilt lies flatter on the wall.  I normally attach my binding to the front and stitch it to the back.   Once I stitch the binding to the front, I iron going out and then iron it once more folded to the back.  I find that ironing the binding gives me nice corners.

 I only hand bind if its a swap rule or linen.

I learned how to hand bind from The Crafty Gemini's youtube video.  I am still not perfect at it but I am getting better.  Make mug rugs or a 12x12 quilt sandwich to practice.  The 12x12 quilt sandwiches are perfect to use on your counter for your dishes (drying mat)

In my experience, the quilts that lie flatter against the wall were well basted and well quilted.  I normally use basting spray on my minis.  I really don't care if my mini's hang flat on the wall and that is me.  I use 505 spray.

Can you use a facing?  What do the rules say?  Most mini-quilt specific swaps says that you should bind the quilt.  If its not in the rules, maybe post a questions to the group and if your partner doesn't answer, then go for it.  Traditionally, mini quilts are bound.

Caroline at Sew She Can has a great tutorial on binding a mini.  I normally use this method and I just finish the way Rita at Red Pepper Quilts demonstrates.

Virginia (of The Silly Boo Dilly) has a tutorial on how to face quilt.  While I have not used this technique, I was told that it took the same amount of effort.

Julie (Jay Bird Quilts) has a great tutorial on how to do a single fold binding for a mini quilt.  Please note that she only recommends this method for items that will not get laundered often.  So, if the receiver has animals that like to pee on things - I might not use this method.  A friend of mine washed her mini because her cat peed on it when it accidently fell.

The raw edges of the binding should be hidden.

Hanging Sleeve:

I normally only put a hanging sleeve - I usually do corners on my mini's if its directional.  If not, I let the receiver decide which way is up.  I don't really notice if the mini's I receive have a sleeve.  I usually hang mine with clear push pins so this isn't a big deal to me.

Sew We Stitch details how to make corners for a hanging sleeve.


This is the department that I slack.  I did buy some iron on labels with my logo on Etsy.  All you really need is a sharpie and a piece of fabric.  Labels (and label information) are placed on the back on the mini as not to distract from the front.

I am lucky if I managed to get a pre-printed label on my mini.

You can purchase fabric that you can print from an inkjet printer.  I have not had any success with the diy method so I use a coupon.

Some things to include are:

Maker's Handle and Name
Receiver's Handle and Name
Location of Maker


Chances are, you are going to have fold up your mini to mail it.  I use warm & natural (not a sponsored post).  A quick once over with an iron will unwrinkle them.  I don't buy craft sized batting.  I just buy a bit bigger for my quilts and use the left-overs for minis, pillows, mugs, etc.  You can frankenbat too where zig-zag stitch two pieces of batting together or use Heat Press Batting Tape.  I like the larger size and I do use a pressing cloth.  If I hand you the piece after it has been quilted - you can't tell.  The tape works best on straight edges so I do rotary cut my pieces to give them a nice smooth edge before I tape them together.

Poly-batting is fluffy and doesn't lay on the way as nice in my experience.


I haven't received a mini that has been washed.  What if you want your wonderful quilting to pop and that only happens once it has been washed?  I would include a note in your swap package and then leave it up to your partner.  An unwashed mini might hang better but there are not any hard and fast rules.

Fractal Pattern by Patty Sloniger
This was not a mini but a pillow cover.  I densely quilted the low volume areas hoping the colored section would pop once it was washed.  I did tell my partner my intentions and I left it up to her to launder.

Final Thoughts:  

Other than what your swap hosts sets as parameters - there are not a of hard and fast rules.  The mini should be three layers (just like a quilt).  Always keep your partner's tastes and wants in mind.  If you have a "I love anything" partner, then make something you would like and in a note put - I made something I would love so this is a little piece of me to you.  Please do not send something that you know that your partner will not like - that is not okay.   Please use quality materials and construction techniques and you should be good.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Works in Progress - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It is finally starting to feel like fall.


Pumpkin Mini Quilt

Red and White Block Swap with London Modern Quilt Guild

I always have issues when I sew this block from the diagrams because the greens are so so close together.

Halloween Swap:
Working on making several small projects

Pinnie - Sometimes you just need quick finish.
Although someone told me that there is a free tutorial online somewhere.

Heather Ross Mini Swap:

Works in Progress:

Anna Maria Horner Hexy Flower Mini

Started: October 1, 2015
Block:  Friendship Scrap Block
Color:  Grey with scrappy blues
Do Good Stitches

Started: September 2015
Bonnie and Camille - Scrappy Trip 
Ordered more fabric

Green Pillow for Emma to Match Quilt
Status - need to finish quilting

Do Good Stitches - Granny Squares
Started - May 2015
Status - off to be basted
Size - Lap Quilt/Have backing - Back Made

Epic Tula Quilt - Bonnie & Camille Pattern
Size: King
Status: Piecing - need batting and backing
Fabric: Assorted Tula with Kona Ash

Smaller Projects:

Tula Classmate:
Need to make inside

Minion Swap:
Need to Start/Planned made

Starbucks Mug Rug Swap:
Mug attained

Schnitzel and Boo:
November Deadline
Need to bind

I am going to link up with Lee!

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Cost of A Baby Quilt

I do not normally sell my handcrafted items.

Sam Hunter has an excellent series called "We are Sew Worth It".    Sam is a professional maker (in my mind) and she writes patterns and books.  Molli Sparkles has contributed to that series and developed a template for pricing.  He even prices out a throw sized quilt.  Anglea Huffman, a long armer, wrote this post about her considerations into her pricing.  I highly suggest anyone who tries to put a value on their work to read Sam's series.  Even if you do not want to sell anything you make, it is a well-written and informative series.

As I am a hobbyist, I get approached by people who know I sew about projects.  A fellow quilting friend said that she tells people "If I love you, I will make you a quilt otherwise you can't afford me". While, sometimes I do use this line, there are certain people or circumstances that I will consider making something on commission.  It was eye opening to me that the placemats cost at least $120 in supplies.  There have been a few times where I have taken on commissioned work for family and friends.

I made a larger mini-quilt (it around 36 inches squared) and my coworker purchased it for $150 before I had the chance to put it on my wall.  It was a pixelated heart quilt.

I made this baby quilt as a favor to my mother-in-law and I was paid $100.  I told her to tell her co-workers that my pricing starts at $200.  Again, I did it as a favor.   After I listed out my supplies for the placemat project, I wondered if I was on target about my assumed costs for a baby quilt.  This quilt measures around 40-inches x 45-inches.

I used 5-inch charm squares and I ordered a few half yards (most online stores have a .5 yard minimum) and I pulled the rest from my stash.  She wanted blues, greens, and browns.  The motif of the nursery was giraffes.

Planning/Buying Fabric - 1.5 hour
Cutting/ironing fabric and digging through my stash - 2 hours
Strip Piecing and Ironing - 2 hours
Basting - 1 hour
Quilting - 2 hours
Applique (including finding the letters) - 1 hour
Binding (Making biding and machine sewing it on) - 2 hours

Total Time Spent - 11 hours

Materials Purchased:

5 - 1/2 yards fabric -$25 (includes shipping)
Batting - $12
Backing Fabric - $15
Thread - $10
Steam a Seam - $5

Total = $67.00

Supplies I used but didn't figure that into the costs: - basting spray, pins, binding clips, iron, rotary cutters, rulers, mat, iron, spray starch, needle, sewing machine,  and scraps of fabric I used.

If I paid myself $15/hr - this quilt would be $294 which I would make it an even $300 to account for the supplies I didn't charge for.  Maybe I need to tell my mother-in-law - the quilts would be $300.  I know there are some that think that $15/hr is too low.   This quilt was simple patchwork using 5-inch charms.  I chained pieced it and I am a slow sewer.  I think it took me around 4 months to make it.

I used to get paid $13/hr a few years ago to kind of babysit an 11-year old.  My job was to make sure that he didn't burn down the house and one time I did have to tell him not to climb on the roof.  I finally had to tell his mom when he was 12.5 that he really didn't need a babysitter anymore.

I do refer people and I like to give them a realistic baseline.  I tell them, I would charge around $200 this way the prospective buyer knows that they are not going to get a quilt for $50 or $75.  And if the person that I am referring to can source their supplies for less than I can and make the item faster then they will be able to charge less.  I have an idea of what some of my professional sewing friends charge (most of the time).

According to instagram, I made this quilt - 28 weeks ago.  I did manage to sell some of the brown giraffes in the destah and I just found a lot of the green so I don't think that the fact that I have scraps left negates anything because I haven't used them for anything.  I probably won't either so I have to hope on destashing them or gifting them.

I purchased the steam-a-seam at a little quilt shop and it was one of those of crap, I need to this.  I don't applique much so its not a supply I normally have.  I am not going to research buying a bolt of something that I normally use a few times a year.  Yes, I did make a trip to JoAnns for batting as I normally don't keep a ton of batting laying around the house.  And if you turned your hobby into a business, there are other ways to be more economical and efficient and I am aiming this post the the pure hobbyists who gets requests so they can give an informed answer even if they do not take on the commissioned work.    I know professional makers have items like advertising and electricity costs where I do not.  Then again, they may able to buy their supplies at wholesale and are more efficient than I am.

Also, I am lazy.  I would rather say, I think it would be around $X and if they want to move forward then to fill out the template.  I do not want to quote things if the person is not serious.

I once told someone that I would only charge them $300 to make a queen sized quilt and I want to kick myself for doing that.  Even at $300 in which I would barely make back the cost of supplies, it was too much.  Having just made a queen sized quilt I realize how big it is and how much I spent on materials alone.  I hope that they never approach anyone waiting to pay $300 for a queen sized quilt.

Often, I barter for things like a quilt for hair cuts and color or other things so its good to have a baseline so you can trade apples to apples.  I traded fabric for my logo and the designer told me that it would be $X so I knew about how much fabric to send her so it was an equal trade.

So I encourage people to list out in painful detail your process for making a quilt and write down each detailed step.  Making an applique name doesn't seem like a big deal but once you realize that you need to find the a template, print it, iron the fabric, iron the steam-a-seam onto the fabric, trace the letters, cut out the letters, iron the letters to the fabric, and then stitch them down, it is a big deal for one small step in the process.

Also, if you are willing make the item for less, I say put it as a discount that way the buyer knows or if you underquoted yourself.

I know now to say that it will be $300 for a simple baby quilt.  I will use Molli Sparkles template to quote more serious inquiries.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Cost of a Placemat

It has been said that "Quilting is not a cheap hobby".

I helped a couple of people with their pricing for their handcrafted businesses and they also tell me that it is too much.  How would anyone want to pay that?

My friend was asked to knit a blanket and only charged $200 for labor which is more than the cost of a blanket at Wal-Mart.

Turns out, that she was only paying herself $3/hr.  The buyer paid for the supplies (which did not include the needles).  My advice to her was to tell the buyer that while she was charging $200, the reality of the price is $667 at $10/hr or $1,000 at $15/hr.  I understood that she really needed the $200 and she needed to educate the buyer on the true cost because did she really want to make these blankets for $3/hr?  Did she want to do that to her fellow makers to set the bar at $3/hr?

I admit to doing this often and I always the person that it would normally cost X.


I made these placemats for a classroom at the child's school.  I only charged the school for the majority of the supplies.


$75 for fabric for front/back and applique and thread ($5 of that was shipping)
$9 for binding fabric
$10 for wonder under*
$4 needles
$17 for batting*
$7 for Frey check
$120 Total in consumable supplies

I could have used cheaper fabric but that would have only lowered the price by around $20.    I did buy some of the items on sale and I could have purchased all of the items on sale if I wanted to make multiple trips spread over a week which would have saved $8.40 and my time is worth more than $8.40.  *These were purchased on sale.

Now you argue that I had scraps but other that then the binding fabric which I had in my stash, I don't know if I would have purchased these fabrics.

Supplies on hand:
I also used three different thread colors but only charged for 1 spool of thread.  Also, I used my rotary cutters, mat, scissors, pins, bobbins, marking tool, pencil, spray starch, and sewing machine.  While you might think of these things as insignificant, I needed them for this project so I had to purchase them at some time and I will replace them.  I always tell people that they need to add in a little bit to cover these items.  If you don't feel the need to compensate yourself for the supply item, try making the item without it.

Time Spent:
1 Hour meeting with Teacher and coming up with design and cost estimate for supplies
1 Hour shopping for fabric on line/1 Hour at JoAnns
1 Hour Ironing fabric
3 hours quilting fabric
1 hour cutting placemats
1 hour tracing designs onto wonder under
2 hours cutting out applique pieces
1 hours ironing on applique pieces
3 hours sewing on applique pieces (I zig-zagged around the edges and outline them).
2 hours making binding and binding
=16 hours

I know I am a slow sewer and applique is not my forte and some people can work faster than I can.  I also needed to clean my machine several times and do other things so 16 hours is a good estimate.

Cost with Labor:

16 hours x $15/hr* = $240
$120 - supplies
=$360 for 14 placemats or $26 each.

I found that the price of $26 is inline with Etsy.  While I couldn't find an exact match, the ones I found were cheaper pricing were not quilted, not bound, and the fabric may have been cheaper.

*I used $15/hr which is more than minimum wage but I don't want to work for minimum wage.

I work outside the home and I do not want my fellow makers to have to compete with my pet projects (when I make something for supplies or just a bit more).  I did tell the person who wanted these made the true cost so she would have a point of reference in case they needed to order these from not a parent at the school.  A comparable item to these placemats can not be purchased at a big box store that I know of (year round).

I realize that others make for extra money and some do it as a full-time job.  The only want to get people to pay a decent wage is through education.  When I told the director (the one who purchased the placemats) the costs, she was surprised but thanked me because she had no point of reference.