68 – Let’s do some math! Plus new tutorial, furniture refurb, ruler talk and more


  • Furniture refurb finished – what I learned
  • New pegboard mounted – thread and ruler stash reorganized
  • Some teeny paper piecing – new long-term project for my overflowing scrap bin
  • Creative Grids rulers – what’s so great about them? I’ll tell you!
  • New tutorial! Pineapple pincushion
  • I make some iron caddys
  • Splurging for my birthday – a new sewing chair!
  • Basil’s latest knee problem


  1. Katie, thanks for doing the math. I try not to buy precuts because of the inflated price. However, I sometimes buy if there is a great price, like the daily deal at Missouri Star Quilt Co.

    • MSQC does have great prices for daily deals on precuts, that’s usually when I try to snag mine too if I buy one. It’s still interesting to see what you’re paying per yard!

  2. I love Barb and her shop, Crafty Threads.

  3. Bethany says:

    As much sewing as you do, I think it’s a great idea to get a chair with proper support. After years of suffering from tendonitis and carpal tunnel from being on the mouse all day at work, I finally got a new (expensive) mouse and it’s working out great. You might just be saving yourself a lot of money in medical bills by getting a chair that is more ergonomic for you! 🙂

  4. Can’t you use an “ironing board cover” as your heat resistant fabric for the iron caddy? Just a thought…

    Katie’s 15 year old sewing chair was purchased as a computer chair. She was crazy about it being a “blue jean” chair. She gets sentimental about things and hangs on to them long after she should have replaced them. The info on the Heavenly Sewing Chair make it sounds like the Cadillac of sewing chairs! I hope you enjoy using it! Info on it can be found online for those interested…I found it a few months ago and mentioned it to Katie. She had already heard of it.

    • The heat resistant fabric is called “ironing board cover” – it’s the same thing. A storebought ironing board cover wouldn’t be wide enough for the caddy though and I think it would end up being more expensive.

  5. Another great podcast. I don’t usually comment but your spreadsheet did it for me! Thanks for doing this! I will be using it often. I don’t mind cutting but I would figure my time into that end figure. I need to time myself and then put a cost to that. For example, if it takes me an hour to cut a jelly roll then you would need to figure that into the end cost because its done. Does this make any sense? LOL Do you mind if I share this with my podcast listeners and direct them here?

    • Absolutely – feel free to share!

      Another factor that might play into this is driving distance to your LQS where you get your bundles. Gas isn’t cheap these days and some quilters drive upwards of an hour one way to get their notions and fabric. Wear and tear on rotary cutters, mats, rulers and blades also come into play.

  6. What a great episode, Katie! Thanks for the spreadsheet. My entire family lacks the math gene and I’ve spent a lot of time chewing my tongue and scratching my head trying to do these calculations. Now I’ll just hop over to your spreadsheet. Good luck with your book proposal. I have a good feeling about it. I admire the way you’re putting yourself out there and making opportunities.

  7. The spreadsheet is interesting. I’ve only calculated roughly in my head. If I have more time than money, I cut my own. With more money than time, I buy.

  8. Great chart! I have often wondered what the breakdown was. Although there is no price on all the thought that goes in to picking out those fabrics. I am often wandering for a couple hours to pick it out myself, lol!

  9. If you buy a Jelly Roll in solid it’s not worth it in my opinion. You can as well buy the solid as yardage and cut it yourself (especially if you have one of these June TAyler Rulers or even a cutting machine – then it’s quite easy. If you don’t have one of these it’s a pain in the b***). I love precuts since they give you the whole fabric line and save you the cutting but for solids its just not worth it!

  10. Thankyou so much for the spreadsheet. It’s a great eye opener for what we really pay. I love precuts as they save a lot of time and allow me to have fun with a full range of fabric.
    There is so much math involved in this new hobby of mine it sometimes puts me off. Half square triangles made with charm squares make “what size” squares?
    How to calculate for flying geese. ….. Oh a never ending math problem.

    Thank you so much for the blog the podcasts. Listen from the start and loving them.
    Annie in Scotland

  11. Thanks for the spreadsheet. I couldn’t change the prices in your spreadsheet for some reason, but I copied it and pasted it into my own (blank) spreadsheet, and then it worked. It will be handy for looking at various prices, for sure!

    • Oh thanks for letting me know – I updated it so anyone can edit it. Glad you got it working on a blank spreadsheet too though!

  12. GREAT spread sheet…printed it to put in my purse to remind me of the cost. I usually cut my own as I go along. I have a bin of 2.5 IN strips that I keep for projects. I have recently starting cutting 5 inch and layer cakes because there are so many patterns available for pre-cuts and they make a fast quilt. I feel so frugal now.
    Been listening to your podcast while driving to northern MI … thanks for the company.


  13. Carole Wool says:

    Katie, great podcast! I wish you luck on your book proposal. Also, I have been needing a new ruler and appreciate your comments!

  14. I love the Creative Grids rulers, especially with the 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch markings on the sides. The 2 1/2 by 12 1/2 inch is my favorite ruler; I have two so that one can stay with my machine and one at my cutting area upstairs.

  15. Hi. The best way to buy fabric is to wholesale it yourself. I buy direct from the wholesaler, and what I don’t use for my custom work, I sell on ebay at discounted prices to other quilters.

  16. LOVE Creative Grids rulers. If I find a ruler that is just a “nice to have” ruler, the deciding factor is often whether it is a Creative Grids ruler or an “other” ruler. My BEST one is my 3.5 x 12.5 ruler. I use that one every single day. It’s what I use for paper piecing and for subcuts. LOVE it!

    I have purchased only one jelly roll and that one was discounted more than 50% so I felt it was worth it. I just get fat eights and fat quarters when I need variety in my fabric choices. Those pinked edges drive me crazy and I feel too constricted by the 2.5 size.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Another great episode! Thanks for the calculator (I am so math impaired it’s not funny) – I just used it today as I was looking at a FQ bundle of 15 pieces for $45. Needless to say, I passed that one up; it is even more expensive per yard than my expensive local fabric store (not a quilting specialist, but they do carry a lot of designer quilting cottons).

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