There’s a difference between the hand-crafted quilts you see at the Relief Sale and the ones you see in department or home goods stores. Yes, you can buy a “quilt” for $125 at a gift shop or online e-commerce store but there are key differences that you will want to consider.
Low Quality vs. High Quality
A quilt that is put together in a factory might feature the latest colors and patterns (or lack thereof), but it’s not meant to last a lifetime. The fabrics are lower quality and are sometimes “aged” for a antique effect. Plus, the quilting (or stitching) is rather coarse – and this is what is holding your quilt together! Once you wash it a few times, you’ll see the stitches start to pull out and unravel. Soon your factory quilt will be ready to be retired and you’re ready to spend another $125 on a new coverlet or bed spread. That’s good for the department store, factory and designer, but not really a good investment of your hard-earned dollars.
When you buy a handcrafted quilt at a store or benefit auction like ours, you’ll be buying a piece that often features top quality cotton quilting fabrics with higher thread counts. These fabrics are easier for the craftsperson to work with, have a longer life and more vivid color-fast colors. The construction of the quilts is well thought out with attention to secure seams and binding.
Of course, you don’t want to wash your beautiful new quilt in hot water with your dirty gardening clothes. You’ll need to care for it carefully, but when done correctly, your handcrafted quilt should last a lifetime.
A Hand-crafted Quilt is an Investment
Yes, you’re going to pay more for a handcrafted quilt, but consider it an investment for a lifetime of enjoyment. In reality, the cost of the supplies and labor often outweigh what you will actually pay. Below are approximate statistics of what it costs to buy fabric for a bed-sized quilt, assemble it, quilt it and then finish it.
One-of-a-Kind Heirloom made by Real People
A hand-crafted quilt is actually a piece of art. The maker has used her (or his) artistic eye to purposefully select fabric colors, patterns and the design of the quilt. Then the piece is sewed together with love and attention to each detail – it’s not a mass produced bed spread meant to be put together in a far-off country by the thousands. Rather than a nameless person in a hot dusty factory overseas, your Relief Sale quilt is made in a little sewing room by a real person with a name!
Once the quilt top is pieced together, it may be quilted by the same person (called one-needle) or by a church group or sewing circle. Think of the conversations, stories and laughter that are shared with every stitch!
If you want a unique statement on your bed or to hang on your wall, consider paying more for that one-of-a-kind quilt. Your friends will admire you for it.
Each Piece Holds a Memory
I personally have a quilt at home that was made in the 1950’s or 1960’s by my grandma, “Alvin” Ida Miller. She sewed it with her old black Singer sewing machine from pieces of her old worn-out dresses (they came through the Depression and wasted nothing!) Then she quilted it herself in a quilt frame she set up in her own house. My parents slept under that quilt for many years and it held up through 40+ years of use. No, it doesn’t feature the most current colors selected by today’s trendy designers. Though she died in 1980, I think of each color as a piece of her life reaching back to me through the years.
Your newly-purchased Relief Sale quilt has a story, too! If you’d like to know more about the background of your quilt, ask a volunteer at the quilt auction to help you.