Sleeping On It…


Partially quilted light areas

Never ceases to amaze me how my brain keeps working while I sleep and when I wake I have a solution to the problem I walked away from (temporarily). I trust my sleeping brain implicitly – it always comes through; there’s always a solution the next day. That was how I worked when I was writing – stop when I got to a place where I wasn’t sure how to proceed – next day, ideas were just there! Always! Same with the quilting – walk away from a decision point, come back next day and there’s a way to work things out.

Last night the problem I needed to solve was how to quilt the light diagonal spaces in the quilt because the fabric expanse was too big (4″ x 20″) to lay flat – I needed to fill the space with something. I thought about just straight line quilting but that seemed too boring. I woke this morning thinking about stippling and knew how to set that up. I traced the light diagonal shape onto paper, sketched in some stippling, scanned the drawing, opened the image in Photoshop and scaled it to the right size, saved the image, imported it as background into my TruEmbroidery Create software and created a design based on my sketch (had to do some adjusting to balance the fill). I did a test run to see  how the stippling worked out – it was perfect! Just the right size for the space.

So far, I’ve quilted in eight of the spaces – I have four large ones, four light triangles and eight smaller diagonal pieces to go – that’s three different embroideries, in all, to fill all the different shaped light areas. I’ll probably work at this some more this afternoon, and it will still take at least another day, if not two, to complete the fill work.

Cost of table topper?

Overhead: $0 – I won’t cost the electricity to run the machines, the iron, the lighting in the studio, rent for the studio space.

Supplies: $100 – the backing fabric alone cost me $40 (cotton fabric these days is ~ $20/m) – then there’s the four half metres of red/green printed fabrics, plus the metre of dotted cream fabric – so $100 is an estimate, my materials may have cost a bit more and I’m not counting in thread or machine needles.

Batting: $30 – batting is $26/m plus tax – the cotton needle punched batting I buy is 90″ wide so I needed a metre.

Labour: $20/hr – I’m a skilled artisan, my time is worth more than minimum wage! My education consulting hourly rate used to be anywhere from $100 – $200/hr, my web design hourly rate is $50/hr. I should be charging the same kind of rate for the sewing/quilting but let’s go with $20.

I will have put in at least 15 hours (probably more over 7-8 days) to make this Christmas table topper so labour = $300.

Total cost for the topper were I selling it: $430.

However, the topper is a gift for a long-time friend; it’s a labour of love.