Monday, June 4, 2012

how long does it take to make a quilt?

Isn't that one of the questions that we get asked so frequently? Such a seemingly innocent question--but so hard to answer. "A life time" is certainly a true answer, isn't it--although maybe just a bit snarky. An actual calculation of the time it takes to sew the quilt is another answer--but what about the design time, the thought time, buying the fabric--it does add up. Sure I can do a guestimate--after all, I am a business person--but is that really accurate either?

Currently I am working on an order for a wonderful couple in the Carolinas. They saw my quilt ancient light. You may remember this one.

Ancient light--45 x 45"--copyright Ann Brauer 2011

Lovely quilt--the pops of light just draw the viewer in. I call this quilt ancient light because I was thinking of the mystery of the early caves. But--and as you may have learned there is always a but--the quilt is for their bedroom. A light and airy space with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Now, I did try to make this quilt a few months ago. Even blogged about it here but while vernal light is a wonderful quilt--it sure does not feel light and airy, does it?

So I thought and thought. Would contemplate the quilt in those odd moments. Doing repetitive hand finishing. The early, almost awake time in the morning. The clients--such wonderful people--sent me paint swatches and colors of the rug. An almost dusty grey green. Gorgeous and soothing. And the color of the bathroom--much more spring like. They suggested that blue on the bottom would reflect the ocean and the mountains.

Hmmm. Well, I just had to work on the quilt. Maybe if I started with a dusty blue on the bottom the quilt would come to me. Nothing to lose by trying.

 Not bad. I keep the paint swatches by my cutting board as I test the fabrics. It is hard to get the greens and greys to be just right. But I note that while the colors of a single block look dubious, a row of them does create an interesting color.

 And the next row begins to define the quilt.

Now if I can only keep my attention focused as I move further and further up the quilt. But luckily I do have the concept. The color palette. My answer to "How long does it take you to make a quilt?" is often a grin and the truth "The sewing is the quick part."  And usually I don't explain that sometimes I have to make more than one quilt to get the feeling just right, if you know what I mean.

Does this ever happen to you? How do you answer the question?



  1. Beautiful quilts, Ann - very inspiring.

  2. I love your quilts! I like Karen Kay Buckley's response to your question on how long it takes to make a quilt. "XX number of years," with XX being the total number of years you have been a quilter. For me, my response would be 37 years. Each quilt I make incorporates all I have learned in 27 years.

    1. Yes, it is true that each quilt teaches me something that I use in the next quilt. Good answer.

  3. I have no idea how long it takes! Sometimes I am sitting in my studio and pick up a piece of fabric and next thing I know I have a quilt pieced on my design wall. Other times-(special orders usually) when someone has sent me swatches they "love" it takes me much longer. I see that as I match the swatch with fabrics the quilt will be a challenge for whatever reason. It could be the fabric doesn't match the quilt that is being designed, or the fabrics just are not playing together well. I have to forge through and make the order and get it out the door, remembering that the person that ordered it will see their fabrics and not move their eye to see it could have been this way or that way. And they always love it. That is why I like to start from what I want to make and like and hope to find that creation a good home. It takes how ever long it takes.... ;)
    and I love every minute of it!

    1. I agree--I find that trying to make a quilt for others is much harder. I want them to be pleased with the quilt so I have to first put myself into their frame of mind.