What makes one quilt more
valuable than another? How do I know that a quilt I want to
buy is worth what is being asked? If I have an heirloom quilt,
do I actually dare use it? How do I care for an heirloom fabric
item to preserve its condition and value?
When I started quilting
I wondered these things myself, so I began doing research to
find out about the quilting world. There are a variety of fine
resources available if you'd like to do more investigating
before purchasing a quilt (see the Links page
for more information), but here are some condensed answers:
Things that add value to
individual quilts include uniqueness, quality of fabrics and
batting, complexity of design, use of color, meticulous workmanship,
having a quilter's label or signature for identification purposes,
whether the quilter has won major awards for their work, age
of the quilt, and of course, the amount of detail in the quilting
(the stitching that holds the top, batting, and back fabric
together) and piecing (assembly of the top layer). Both piecing
and quilting can be done either by hand or by machine. Having
the quilting done by machine does not automatically lower an
item's value. It takes as much skill and practice to do high
level machine quilting as it does to do hand quilting.
How much a quilt is worth
is always somewhat subjective, since there can be no replacement
for the wonderful wedding quilt your grandmother made that
has been lost or damaged. As with any item for sale, values
also fluctuate with changes in how much the 'market' is willing
to pay. One of the reasons I include links to other quilters'
websites is so you can educate yourself about the 'market'
and be reassured that I am charging reasonable prices.
and feeding of heirloom quilts is not as difficult as you
might think. American
Quilter's Society has a comprehensive yet inexpensive
Your Quilts, $6.95) that is a must-have for
serious quilt collectors. You will find a condensed quilt
care set of recommendations on my Links page
that are largely based on the AQS book.