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Fifty lucky members attended another Saskatoon Quilters’ Guild retreat at Living Skies on April 6, 7 and 8. It was a grand time.
Attendees are still talking about meeting the Quilters’ Fairy Godmother, Merriweather Quilt Fairy, and wondering how on earth the committee was able to arrange for her to come. Lucky attendees won Olfa cutting blades, gift certificates, a basket of fabric and quilters’ goodies, batting, a Euro-pro travel iron, a Sidewinder, and a “How to Do Almost Everything Book”!  There was lots of laughing, visiting, eating, and even sewing. Special thanks go out to the Pop-Up Demo Teachers: Shan Cochrane, Sheila Marshall, Brenda Downing and
Gillian McDougald. Thank you to Norma Sparrow for donating pens and notebooks, Dorothy Boran for her generous contributions to the great prizes, and Diane Leontowicz for masterminding our game the first evening. Next year’s Retreat is already booked at Living Skies for April 5, 6 and 7.

HUMBOLDT BRONCOS QUILTING VIGIL –  A heartfelt thanks goes out to the members of the SQG for the amazing response to the call for help to assemble quilts to provide comfort for the Humboldt Broncos team members, their families, emergency responders, billet families and other members of the community affected by the devastating bus crash on April 6. We had sewers stay between the guild afternoon and evening meetings on April 23. Others took fabric and blocks home to assemble tops. In the end we finished 30 quilt tops, using the blocks from Humboldt’s Haus of Stitches and additional blocks made from fabric donated by a group of ladies at a retreat in Rosthern and Dalmeny. Thanks again for everyone’s help in making our sewing afternoon such a big success!
#quiltsforbroncos, #humboldtstrong

A few “Guilder Goodies” classes, taught by marvelous members of the guild before the afternoon meetings, had members learning to make adjustable casserole carriers. Another class, machine applique/enhancing and embellishing, allowed participants to play with Inktense pencils.

This spring’s programs featured quilting instructor and colour enthusiast Bonny Voice giving a trunk show/presentation focusing on her
use of colour, and on May 28 we had a chance to turn our trash into someone else’s treasure. For those of us who had been de-cluttering our sewing rooms and found a few things we no longer needed, this was the opportunity to either sell items or give them away. Members were treated to a Strawberry Social with a Mad Hat theme. It’s Bloomin’ All Over was the theme for an evening of
learning to make a variety of flowers in a group setting.  Spring bouquets were made using buttons and fabric leftovers.  The year-end Windup Potluck was held June 11. This potluck featured a lighter fare of appetizers, salads and desserts. The Christmas Challenge pieces were displayed and members voted for their favourite. The evening also included a presentation about the theme and categories for the 2019 Quilt Show, ‘Reflections in Colour’.

And finally we wonder, what does it cost to make a quilt?
Many of us have been asked this question and often find it a difficult one to answer. SQG member Cheryl Bock decided to conduct a survey to see if there is a straightforward answer. She provided the following report.

QUILT COST SURVEY – Cheryl Bock, April 2018.
Web-surfing guild members had found estimates for the cost of making a quilt. These were often in American dollars without source references. Following up on this information, I realized that costs could be surprisingly low, amazingly high and everything in-between. So, what DOES it cost you to make a quilt? What price would you ask if you were selling a quilt? How do you value your time? I developed a survey, and polled retreat attendees and guild members. I learned that some of my questions were open to interpretation, and open-ended questions were difficult to analyze, but I hope you’ll enjoy seeing the responses from the 24 participants. Please note that this survey was done in a spirit of participation and enjoyment for our guild and should be interpreted as such. No claims are made as to the robustness of the data and the results presented.

Assume that you have made a quilt that is 100 x 100 inches and that the quilt is pieced at an average skill level. What would the cost be of your quilt top fabric?
Average cost was $240. Lowest cost was $50 and highest was $1200.
What type of batting would you use?
77% chose wool, 8% chose other and 4% chose bamboo.
What would be the cost of your batting?
Average batting cost was $45. Lowest cost was $20 and highest was $80.
What would be the total cost of materials in your finished quilt including supplies such as thread, binding, pattern? Note: This is a question that lacked clarity as some replies apparently included the quilt top and batting in their response.
The average cost of additional supplies (not including the quilt top and batting) is $30.
Who would do the quilting?
54% of survey participants would do the quilting themselves; 38% would do some quilting themselves and have some done by others. What would the cost of the quilting be?
Average quilting cost was $230. Lowest cost was $100 and highest was $750. Thread cost was estimated at $12.
If you were to sell the quilt, will you add the cost of your time/labour?
78% of respondents add their labour cost while 22% do not.
What would the labour cost be?
Average labour cost was $450. Lowest cost was $50 and highest was $2980. Labour costs per hour ranged from $10 to $20, with an average of $16. Average labour time was estimated at 20 hours.
If you were to sell the quilt, what would the selling price be?
Average selling price was $900. Lowest price was $300 and highest was $4500.

My labour charge is double the supply cost. My selling price is double the supply cost but also depends upon the complexity of the quilt and its appearance. My batting choice is influenced by the purpose of the quilt, for example, a baby quilt will be repeatedly laundered.
My selling price is based on material cost. Hours are based on the complexity of the pattern and whether it is custom quilting or a pantograph. I would sell a quilt at a price to recover the cost of materials. The addition of a 40% consignment fee might be added and was included in my calculated selling price. I quilt for enjoyment, so selling the quilt for the cost of materials would allow me to buy more fabric. I have donated several quilted items to silent auctions, and I am usually disappointed to see that they don’t sell for close to their worth.

CONCLUSIONS: Some of us sew as an expression of loving and caring, as was recently shown by the #quiltsforbroncos sewing day. We are reluctant to put a price on our quilts, as love is priceless. This also holds true for the quilted gifts we share with family and friends. For some, even when selling quilts, they want only to recover the cost of materials so that more fabric can be purchased and they can continue to enjoy their hobby and indulge their passions for colour, texture and creativity. For others, quilting has become their profession; a way to express themselves through an art that has components of both beauty and utility. What DOES it cost to make a quilt? The final answer lies with the quilt-maker within each of us.