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Thread: Does the cost ever hold you back?

  1. #1
    Super Member Naturalmama's Avatar
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    I haven't even completed my first top yet, but I've been buying fabric here and there, collecting for my next two quilts... I don't even want to know how much I've already spent on fabric, charms, batting, thread, and quilting tools (not to mention sewing machine repair!) But that isn't even the killer for me - what I'm really terrified of is the quilting cost. I haven't called around yet here, but I know it isn't cheap. Is this really a hobby I should pursue? (I have no patience for hand quilting, and tying I'd only like for a certain look - not as a rule) How do you do it when you live on relatively low income?

  2. #2
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Take a class and learn how to quilt it yourself! It takes practice and you need to be less of a perfectionist, but your quilts can still look great! I have done most of mine with stitch in a ditch or decorative stitching. I took a free-motion quilting class months ago and am now just getting brave enough to do it on quilts that are gifts. I expect I'll get better with each quilt. The fabrics can cost you a bundle, but if you shop around, you can find some great deals on quality fabric online. That helps alot, especially with the backing fabric.

  3. #3
    MelissaK's Avatar
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    Quilt yourself, or stay away from big quilts and do little projects instead. I won't make a quilt bigger than 60 x 60 b/c I can't fit it in my machine.

  4. #4
    Super Member Naturalmama's Avatar
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    I have this thing in my head that if I'm going to go through all the trouble of making a quilt, it needs to be big enough to be practical - big enough to use. Which for me means basically queen-sized. I don't suppose I could quilt that with a regular sewing machine?

  5. #5
    Super Member jljack's Avatar
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    Oh yes, you could!! My second quilt was a queen size (barely) and I quilted it stitch in the ditch on a $80 Brother sewing machine. I had to move it to my dining room table and use the whole table to support the quilt, and roll it up tight to fit the small opening of my machine, but I did it.

  6. #6
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    It can be done, but you'd have to use thin batting. The teacher of the class I took quilted a king size on a regular machine. The trick is to focus on a small section at a time. Or you could make several sections, quilt first then assemble the sections. I have a machine w/a larger throat, so I can fit a larger one in mine.

  7. #7
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    Hi Tina---the cost of quilting can be a deterrent. It can be a very expensive hobby!! But, as you get more into it, you will accumulate tools and supplies and then the cost diminishes some. I am a good online shopper--find fabric on sale, order from shops where you can get free shipping, etc. Connecting Threads is an awesome-check them out.

    The cost to have a quilt quilted can be costly. To machine stipple at a long arm quilter is about .018 cents/per square inch here. If you are having a quilt custom quilted, it costs even more. Have you thought about doing it yourself? If you do not already have a walking foot, it would be a good investment for you---would pay for itself with your first quilt. You can start off by quilting in the ditch, doing grid quilting, etc. When you are feeling more comfortable with your quilting, you may want to branch out and buy a foot for your machine that will allow you to do free motion quilting. There are MANY people on this board who do all their own quilting with a regular sewing machine--and turn out awesome quilts!!!

    If quilting is a hobby you have a passion for-and it sounds like it may be since you are already planning your next 2 quilts-then you will find a way to make it work for you.

  8. #8
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naturalmama
    I have this thing in my head that if I'm going to go through all the trouble of making a quilt, it needs to be big enough to be practical - big enough to use. Which for me means basically queen-sized. I don't suppose I could quilt that with a regular sewing machine?
    I prefer to make large throws---the men in my family are all over 6 feet--so we like 'em long! Most of my quilts are 60X80", give or take a few inches. This is easily manageable on your machine. A throw quilt is about as practical as it gets--they get used the most of any quilt I make.

  9. #9
    Super Member Lisa_wanna_b_quilter's Avatar
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    I'm sure cost is a consideration for nearly everyone, but it doesn't mean you can't enjoy quilting. Throws are awesome. If you make enough throws for everyone you can turn the heat way down. Voila! Money saved on heat equals money you can spend on quilting!!

    There are dozens of people on this board quilting beautiful quilts on machines that cost less than $100. It can be done. Patience and creativity will take you far.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcia
    Quote Originally Posted by Naturalmama
    I have this thing in my head that if I'm going to go through all the trouble of making a quilt, it needs to be big enough to be practical - big enough to use. Which for me means basically queen-sized. I don't suppose I could quilt that with a regular sewing machine?
    I prefer to make large throws---the men in my family are all over 6 feet--so we like 'em long! Most of my quilts are 60X80", give or take a few inches. This is easily manageable on your machine. A throw quilt is about as practical as it gets--they get used the most of any quilt I make.
    This is about the size I like - I call them "couch quilts" - big enough to cover most people (all over) - and small enough to be able to get through the machine. Also, fairly manageable to wash and dry.

  11. #11
    Super Member mpspeedy's Avatar
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    I don't know why everyone shys away from handquilting. True I have been doing it for 40 years and am probably very fast compared to most. I love to watch TV and handquilting is something I can do at the same time. It is certainly less expensive than having it done by a longarmer. I have at least 1/2 dozen friends who are longarmers and they do beautiful work. The satisfaction I get from handquilting is very relaxing and I have heard is good for my bloodpressure. I do simple machine quilting on the chairity quilts I make for the Linus project. I also machine quilt any quilts I make for those I know who will not care for them properly. Of all the parts of quilting the things I like best are collecting the fabrics and doing the handquilting. The other parts are like housework. I do them because they have to be done. As a child I hated doing the dishes. I don't own a dishwasher and never have. To me it is less trouble to do them, mindlessly by hand than to scrape, and or rinse off and then load and unload a dishwasher. Since my family only consists of myself and my husband for the last 10 years or so even that chore is minor. If I entertain a larger group I usually use disposable plates, cups and glasses etc.

  12. #12
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    If the idea of quilting on your regular sewing machine seems intimidating, another option is to get a machine quilting frame -- you can sometimes find them used on craigslist for less than $500, and it would theoretically pay for itself within a few quilts (i.e. compared to sending it to someone else to quilt). And there are many frames that would work with a regular sewing machine (although the kinds of patterns you could make would be somewhat limited). I love using a frame -- there's no tugging and rolling to fit the quilt underneath the machine throat, as it's all handled by the frame. It does take some practice and getting used to, though.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loretta
    My favorite size too- I call them sofa throws.
    Funny - the image I get from when you say "sofa throw" - it stays nicely folded up and never gets dirty and always looks nice

    - the image I get when I say "couch quilt" - it's in the room where the TV is and more often than not is rumpled and gets used a lot - more of a utility quilt than a show quilt

    - sofa, chesterfield, couch, davenport, divan, settee, daybed -

    Is it comfortable and is it long enough to stretch out on?

    Back to the question of cost: Yes, the cost of long-arm quilting does hold me back from making really large quilts.

    I made the mistake of offering to make a quilt for someone - and in my mind it was "couch quilt" size, but she wanted a king-sized one for their bed. Those beds are like football fields!

    Now I've learned to be a lot more specific!

  14. #14
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    I have a friend who owns a mid arm quilting machine and all she ever makes is tops never does finish them. I think this is a waste. That mid-arm takes up a lot of room in her room.

  15. #15
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darlene
    I have a friend who owns a mid arm quilting machine and all she ever makes is tops never does finish them. I think this is a waste. That mid-arm takes up a lot of room in her room.
    Maybe you could suggest that she could give it to you so it's out of her way!!!

    I quilt all of my own quilts. I have made over a hundred and some odd. Some of them are "in the ditch" some are quilted diagonally, some are an all over stipple or meander. I simply could not afford to send out all my quilts to have done. I do have one or two that I may have quilted by a "professional" they are queen size, for my bed and I want them to look really really nice, but other than those. I must "do them myself"

  16. #16
    Super Member Naturalmama's Avatar
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    I see now where it would be good to start out small and try it all out. I really thought you had to have a special machine to do anything of any size. Hmmmmmm..... will I have to buy a bit more fabric to make a table topper that I could play with??? ;)

  17. #17
    Super Member Tiffany's Avatar
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    [quote=mpspeedy]I don't know why everyone shys away from handquilting. ...[quote]
    I think you might be surprised at how many of us hand quilt. It doesn't seem as popular as having it done by machine or long arm, but there are still lots of us out there who enjoy hand quilting while watching tv or visiting with friends. :-D

    I have machine quilted a king sized quilt on my sewing machine. Was it a pain in the butt - YES! But I would much rather do it that way then send it out and spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars (which I don't have) to have it done by a long-armer. I simply cannot afford that. I prefer to hand quilt but gave in and started machine quilting because I can get more things done that way. Now I just save the hand quilting for my special quilts. I probably have enough quilts to hand quilt for the next few years. :oops: Machine quilting may sound a bit scary but if you start by using a walking foot and doing simple lines (stitch-in-ditch or gridwork) it is actually very easy and it is amazing how quickly it goes. If you are really uncertain, I would definitely recommend taking a class if you can. They can be invaluable and you meet the best people there.

    Yes, the cost of quilting can be a bit overwhelming. I started quilting because I needed a wedding gift and didn't have a lot of money and thought a quilt would be cheap and fast. Ha Ha hahahahahahaha!!!!! Okay, 18 years later I know better and the cost can be a bit rediculous. Still, I love to quilt and can't imagine my life without it.

  18. #18
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    And so many people have no idea of the dollar cost and time involved in making a quilt.

    No thanks to those ads that say "Any size hand appliqued and handquilted quilt for $39.95."

  19. #19
    Super Member Naturalmama's Avatar
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    I do love finding good deals on ebay and the online shops. And even JoAnn's, especially when the batting is half-off. So if I could figure out how to do the quilting myself, even if it's not fancy, that would make it much more reasonable.

    I will check out all the suggestions - and I think trying a very small project first might help. Now to figure out what to do for that!

  20. #20
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    A crib quilt or lap quilt (about 45 x 60) is big enough to be "worth the effort" and small enough to be manageable.

    Or a small quilt (36 x 36) with thin battting for a little tiny one. That would probably be fairly manageable.

  21. #21
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quilting is like any other passion/hobby. It can get very expensive or it can be done less expensively. Some can and do hand quilt all, others only some of them, yet other's it is machine quilting all the way. Some people would love to hand quilt, but can't due to physical limitations, but can continue to pursue their passion by using their machines.
    AND some can afford to hire Long Armer's and LQS prices, and some can't. We are all in different economic catagories.
    But what we all have in common is we love to quilt :D:D:D AND we all find a way to follow this passion, one way or another!!! :D:D:D:D:D:D:D

    There are many wonderful patterns out there for lap quilts...they can be as elaborate as a bed quilt, or simple and fast, they are probably used and seen the most, and the easiest to quilt on a machine.
    I love to see a family gathered to watch a movie together, everyone snuggled up in a quilt that reflects "them." The differnt colors, prints, styles, patterns, each one was made with love, one stitch at a time.... To me, that is a truly awesome sight to behold :D:D:D

  22. #22
    Super Member Moonpi's Avatar
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    While all the shiny new machines and longarms are wonderful, they are just out of reach for many of us. My machine quilting is not that great. I am the first to admit it. If something is special, I generally take the time to hand quilt. Sometimes I combine hand and machine quilting. I've never sent one out to be done.

    I have done plenty of huge quilts, but space limits me to smaller ones nowadays. They are still fun to make, and a challenge to design.

    There are plenty of threads here about quilting on a budget. The original quilters made do, and some of us still follow that tradition :)

  23. #23
    Senior Member Sandy1951's Avatar
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    Naturalmama,

    Like the others, I completely understand your concern. When I decided to start sewing again after several years away from it, I was shocked by the prices of fabric, patterns, and thread. I was able to buy patterns I wanted by taking advantage of the sales at JoAnns. I had to either buy fabric on sale (which I thought was still too expensive) or remnants and I also bought thread on sale. Then I got interested in quilting. :|

    The more books I read about quilting, the more I wanted to do it, but by then I knew how much it was going to cost. I came up with some extra money and was able to buy most of the tools I needed on sale quite a while ago, but they were still a huge investment. I bought fabric on sale. I can never get exactly the fabric I want; I have to buy what I can afford. However, I haven't bought a walking foot and embroidery foot (to do free motion with) and I haven't bought any batting yet. I was going to make quilts for my granddaughters for Christmas, but finally put them aside because money is just too tight right now and I can't afford the batting or the walking and embroidery feet. We're in the process of getting ready to move and it's going to take every extra penny we can come up with to buy propane for the house we're moving to. I'm hoping to get the feet and batting I need next year, then I'll finish the quilts. I thought about tying them, but I know they'll be laundered a lot and I think they'll hold up better if they're quilted.

    I hadn't even thought about sending my tops out to be quilted; it's just not in the realm of possibility right now. I hope I'm able to do my quilting on my old Singer Rocketeer, if not, well, I'm not going to think about that. Hopefully I'll be able to. I might try some hand quilting, but I'm not sure how that will work out since my fingers go numb when I use a needle for more than a few minutes.

    Like Moonpi said, some of us (probably many of us) just have to make do like the original quilters did. :-D

  24. #24
    Senior Member sewgray's Avatar
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    I took a machine quilting class for beginners at my LQS and the teacher had quilted plenty of queen and king size quilts on her regular home sewing machine. It's all in how you set it up and lots of practice. If you can't take a class use your 40% off coupon at JoAnn's and get Harriet Hargraves book Heirloom Machine Quilting. The teacher I had was great. The first thing she told us was never listen to anyone who tells you there is only one way of doing things. There are lots of ways to do everything. You just have to find the one that works for you.

    Also I bought a Fun and Done pattern and the templates and this is an easy way to make a quilt of any size with any sewing machine. Google Fun and Done quilts.

  25. #25
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    quilting is a very expensive art form.

    i am a very frugal quilter - we live in an expensive part of the country so i have to cut corners where i can.

    i shop for deals on fabric (whittles, thousands of bolts, quiltfabriccloseouts) and i have DH build things for me instead of buying them (quilting table, design board).

    the most money saving things i've done was

    1) learning to do the actual quilting myself

    2) dyeing/painting my own fabic. it costs me about $2-3 to make a yard of fabric.

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