What Makes a Dedicated Quilter? Money, Time, or Something Else?

Yesterday I published a post on tracking expenses. I’ve never kept track of my quilting costs before, but I’ve decided to try it in 2015.

I referenced a survey by Quilts, Inc. that defines a “dedicated” quilter as one who spends at least $500 a year on quilting. My blog friend Yanic rightly pointed out that money spent isn’t necessarily a good indicator of dedication.

Perhaps time spent is a better measure “dedication.” How much time one quilt takes is not very important to this issue. Getting from one end of a project to the other is, I suppose. Or maybe not… Another interesting subject for another day… Can you be a dedicated quilter if you don’t finish projects?

But if you call yourself a quilter (do you??), is it because you have made a couple of quilts? Because you make a dozen quilts a year? Because you spend many hours a week on projects? Because you spend money on fabrics or notions or classes? Because you think like a quilter relative to the interaction of fabric and design?

Do you think of yourself as a quilter? Are you a dedicated quilter? What does that mean to you? I’d love to hear about it in comments. 

 

 

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24 thoughts on “What Makes a Dedicated Quilter? Money, Time, or Something Else?

  1. Quilt Musings

    I would say I am a quilter, but I don’t know if I would say I am a dedicated quilter…though I would hesitate to say I am not dedicated! I think saying, “I am a quilter” means we have taken it as something that helps define ourselves in our own eyes. It expresses a part of ourselves or a feature in our lives. Dedicated is perhaps much more ambiguous. I am back quilting after about a 5 or 6 year break. Am I dedicated? I use the last 30 minutes before leaving on a trip to to finish off the binding on one more project. Am I dedicated? Insane might be a better word…

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Writing absorbs an enormous amount of time and attention. It’s hard for me sometimes to figure out the right trade-off of the moment. And yes, I think if we did a poll, most would enjoy the planning and piecing most, the quilting not as much!

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  2. TextileRanger

    I have seen that statistic from Quilts, Inc. too – since they put on those big quilt conferences, I think they make that statement to prove how important quilters can be to local economies, not to say that someone’s not dedicated if they spend less. Houston loves having the International Quilt Festival here – it is our second biggest conference every year, so it adds a lot of tourist dollars, without requiring big expenditures for extra police! Who could be more peaceful than quilters?

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Sounds like the best possible convention! It may be something like the estimates/averages of wedding expenses. If they (the wedding industry) says the average wedding costs $30,000, then couples may just assume they would spend that. Who wants to be less than average?? I don’t believe those numbers, myself. Or perhaps it is the mean but nowhere near the median.

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  3. Yanic A.

    I think of myself as a “quilter-to-be”… I have the skills, the eye, the desire and a pretty decent stash… I’m lacking time and equipment. So right now, without really having a way of quilting big pieces, I’m finding ways to make mug rugs, baby quilts, table toppers and pillows… Quilting techniques are being applied, but no real “quilts” are being made… Does that make any sense? I am dedicated to the thought that ONE DAY I will be a quilter!!!! 🙂

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  4. farmquilter

    I am a quilter and I prefer the actual quilting over any other part of the process. I do have a longarm and I do quilt for others as a business. It seems the only time I piece a quilt is when I am not at home!! I only finish about 6 quilts a year of my own because I always seem to have customer quilts on my frame. I don’t spend very much on fabric any more – I started quilting 7 years ago and have a stash that is way too big for someone who doesn’t piece that many quilts. I did piece around 50 quilts while I was house/pet sitting for my daughter when she was deployed to Afghanistan and I still need to get them quilted. But I am still addicted to buying new rulers to make new quilts with and I love quilting magazines and books. I am an obsessed quilter and need to play with some facet of quilting every day, even if it is just drawing quilting patterns!

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  5. lorene holbrook

    I do believe I am a dedicated quilter. but sense I have everything I need to make quilts, I try very hard not to buy. if I do, it’s borders, battings and backings. I do not have yardage of fabrics. when I buy, it’s usually 1 yard or less. I recently purchased the easy angle ruler. bonnie hunter suggested it. I used it and loved it. so I try really hard not to buy books, magazines and such. I need to use what I have. I would call a dedicated quilter, someone who uses what she has and makes a lot of quilts!

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      When we can spend a little bit to gain a lot (a good ruler or tool), it’s worth it. I shy away from most gadgets because I am not convinced I’ll get the good out of them. So far I don’t need many, so it’s working for me. Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Nann

    I’m trying to recall when I realized, “I am a quilter,” and had the confidence to define and announce myself that way. About 15 years ago, I think. My business cards now say “retired librarian, quiltmaker, volunteer.”

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    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It’s an amazing feeling, though, isn’t it? I don’t remember that moment. I do remember when I realized I’m an Iowan (LOL!) and also when I realized I am a designer. And now I realize I am starting to think like an artist, and am starting to think of myself AS an artist. That is very humbling to me.

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  7. Thread crazy

    Devoted and enthusiastic I believe best describes the way I feel about quilting. I love to piece and watch the colors and patterns that I see in my head, fall into place and all come together. Then there’s the quilting, which I personally feel breathes life into a quilt. So who’s to say what defines and makes one “dedicated”? “I’d say it’s all our answers regardless of the definitions of our words. We as humans, tend to “dedicate” more time to do those things that we love. Call me crazy, but I feel for us quilters that’s a win win, any way you look at it.

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  8. denmck

    Interesting question! I definitely don’t define myself as a dedicated quilter based on the money I spend, but rather by the fact that I spend time and effort towards quilting. Not just making quilts, but reading about quilt making techniques, the history of quilts, taking classes, blogging, designing, going to quilt shows or exhibitions, etc. So I too, might say I’m “devoted” to quilting rather than a dedicated quilter. 🙂

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