In Defense of Inefficient “Hobby-Hustles”
Laura Marie

Yes! I think about this all the time. I am a quilter and for the most part have just done it for myself, and given a few away as gifts. I took a commission request via facebook from an old college acquaintance to make a baby quilt. Because we were bar-friends in college and I wanted to do something nice, I quoted her $125. A handmade baby quilt should have been priced closer to $250, I think, for my skills and the inordinate amount of time it takes — shopping (materials alone ran me about $60), cutting, piecing, ironing, more piecing, more ironing, more piecing, more ironing repeat until you have a quilt top (over 20ish hours), then quilting the front, batting, and back together, then attaching the binding, then HAND-SEWING the binding on the other side, then washing with a Shout Color Catcher wipe for color-fastness and so it is ready-to-use. I realized with quilting it’s a labor of love and if I break it down by an hourly rate then it is never going to be worth selling because it is never worth my time. People get on my case all the time to make a website and sell my work but it is. not. worth. it. I will never take another commission. I do agree that if I had a surplus of quilts I would sell them to, if anything, make room for more, but I’m only going to make things I’m inspired to make and if that inspires someone to give me money for it, then great. I make a lot of throw-size quilts and moving forward I will never charge less than $275 for them (or it will be a very expensive gift to someone I love).

I have made curtains for a friend — she bought the materials and I made 3 sets of curtains and charged her $40/pair and she was more than happy to pay it. I felt good about that exchange. I would make throw pillows for $35–50 (depending on amount of piecing)(+materials). Toiletry bags for $30. Coasters for $30, pouches of a variety of sizes for $30. It’s interesting to think about. But, also, as soon as I attach a cost to something it becomes less of a hobby/thing I love to do and more work/thing I hate.

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