Monday, July 18, 2011

Are you shopping for a custom quilt?

Just in case your attention was drawn here, let me tell you a little about my business. All the quilts I make are made from good quality quilters cottons and are not pre-washed. If I do use fabrics from discount stores or other sources the label will tell. I do not pre-wash my fabrics and after quilting them they usually lay flat. Personally I love to wash them and see them bloom into a shrinkled antique look. I use batting from Quilter's Dream Company and sometimes from Warm Company. Since I usually fall in love with all the quilts I make, I have a hard time putting a price on them. I can never pay myself enough! I like to cover the cost of the materials and the wear and tear on my machinery. If I make minimum wage with the rest, I consider that a good thing. However, I never make minimum wage and I usually take a loss. I'd rather see these quilts go to a good home and become loved and cuddled than to sit in my closets getting old. The label on the quilt will tell fabric and batting content, and whether it has been washed or not. None of my quilts have ever been used except to hang in my studio or a show or shop. If there is a story to tell, I will include it with the quilt. I like to store my quilts flat so that fold creases are minimized. Sometimes they hang for a while, but then I rotate them to keep them from sagging. My windows are covered with UV protective plastic, or window blankets to prevent fading. I keep my inventory small and usually sell or give as gifts after two or three years. I have a couple of quilts that I can't let go that are hanging on the wall currently. People have offered to buy them but there's so much history in them, I probably will have to die before I let them go.

I forgot to studio is smoke free, pet free, and fragrance free. I try to keep lint and dust to a minimum. I maintain my machinery between each quilt to keep it running in good condition and prevent oil and grease exposure. I use a new needle for each new quilt. All thread is 100% cotton unless otherwise requested.

So you see, I take pride in my work, and the quilts I make are top quality. I don't claim to be a perfectionist, but my quilts are meant to last a lifetime or more. It's all in how YOU the consumer use and take care of them. They are meant to be used, not folded and stored in archival boxes in dark closets. If you shop for a custom made quilt, sewn by machine, quilted by machine, you probably expect to pay a little more than slave labor would cost. Quilts made by hand in third world countries can be had for dirt cheap but are very fragile, almost disposable quality. Consider that when you shop for an American made, local economy, local craftsman, made to last a lifetime quilt. The price will shock you. Look at the workmanship and materials and ask yourself which you would rather have. I congratulate you on supporting our cottage businesses and paying the extra for an excellent product. If you walk away with a smile on your face you know you did the right thing. If you have nagging doubts, tell the maker your concerns. We are only human and have feelings too. Bartering is not out of the question. Just be careful to not insult the maker.

Good luck finding the love of your life and I hope to find you knocking on my door someday.

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I am Bonnie Russell, owner and quilter, and my business is making beautiful quilts and making quilts beautiful. NABQC came about as a partnership between the love of sewing and hazelnut farming. That's how the name was chosen. My husband, Fred, is the nut farmer, and I do the sewing using many bolts of fabulous fabric. My studio is located in Dundee, Oregon, the beautiful Willamette Valley, in the center of a hazelnut orchard. Experience came with 42 years of dress making, 40 years of marriage to my wonderful, loving, supportive husband (34 years of nut farming), 25 years of raising three daughters, and now we have seven grandchildren to mentor in Future Quilters of America!

With a Statler Stitcher and Gammill Optimum Plus longarm quilting machine, a 14 foot table, and the drawing program AutoSketch, no project is too big or too small. Anything from hand guided meandering to custom digitized designs can be applied to a project to complete that labor of love.

This blog is to temporarily serve as a source of information until a website is produced. It contains pricing, products, helpful hints, pictures, inspirations, and who knows what else will show up. Thank you for reading and I hope you will find it helpful.

Tale of a Dog