Monday, January 12, 2009


What a busy and productive day it has been. Four lap Quilt tops have been made and they are ready for "Baby" tomorrow. Baby is my APQS Freedom longarm machine. I am often asked "what goes into a Quilt" and "why is a handmade Quilt so costly". Lets take a recent queen size quilt for example such as "Antique Serenity".

Antique Serenity has 32 different quarter yards of fabric in it. I am talking top quality, Quilt shop fabric. Fabric that will retain its color and texture for years to come. There are several grades of fabric, top grade is sold thru Quilt shops, and lesser grades are sold at volume outlets. It may have a designers name on it, but it will be a "second" or even "third" grade.

So I spend several hours cutting a simple pattern, sewing it, ironing the top and now it is ready for quilting. A queen size quilt requires a substantial amount of backing, I use Perma Press Quilter's Muslin 108" wide, so I need 2.5 yards for a Quilt measuring 90 x 103 inches. Next comes the batting, again I have a selection of batting such as 100% washable wool 96" wide, Arctic Bamboo 98" wide, and polyester batting both on the roll and prepackaged. Quite the inventory. Again I need around the 2.5 yards of batting.

I also carry a healthy selection of threads, cottons, polyester, fine, thick, plain, variegated, hundreds of spools and every possible color is represented. Hundreds of prewound bobbins reside in a nut and bolt organizer, ready to be used. It takes around 6-8 bobbins per queen size Quilt at 96 yards per bobbin, and the same amount applies to the top thread.

A professional long armer also has a good supply of patterns, roll patterns and block patterns. My inventory consists of 45 pantographs and a dozen or so block patterns.

Depending on the pattern I use to quilt my queen size, I am looking at 2-3 hours to quilt it, and I do my binding by machine, so add another hour to apply a binding.

For me, doing this as a business on a daily basis, a queen size Quilt can be done in a day. My Studio houses 3 sewing machines, an embroidery machine, a long arm machine and a serger. A large cutting table, a thread cabinet, a closet full of fabric, bolts and assorted yardage, and a vast fat quarter collection. Many tools such as pins, rotary cutters, seam rippers, rulers, measuring tapes, scissors and other odds and ends are a necessity.

As you can see, there is a considerable amount of money invested in my Studio. Besides paying for the materials of a Quilt, one has to realize some revenue for the maintenance of the machines and the cost of running the Studio. A percentage of of each sale goes into a pot to take care of the annual cleaning, for purchasing needles, oil, light bulbs, etc.

Now after all this is taken care of, I pay myself. Yes, my time is worth something. I am selling you a top quality, beautiful, handmade, machine pieced and machine quilted, made in Canada, one of a kind Quilt. It doesn't get any better than that! When you buy handmade from me, it will not fall apart in the wash. I have Quilts made 20 years ago and I use my Quilts and they are constantly being washed and the look as nice now as they did then, just a bit more loved.
So here you have it, a little, and I stress "little", account of "what goes into a Quilt" and "why is a handmade Quilt so costly".

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