Author, Publisher, Developer, Stitchcoder


My Own $10,000 Quilt

Last year my girlfriend-ish person Nina Paley hand-made a $10,000 quilt, which led to us collaborating on a $1000 machine-made quilt. I got to help make a bunch of those, and we've even sold a few of them, but there remained a nagging hole in my life. I wanted to make my own $10,000 quilt! Lacking creativity, I decided to do it by simply repeating the $1000 design ten times to make an uncut sheet of ten bills.

This was a good test of stamina for the machine: All together there are over 1.8 million stitches in this beast. It used over seven miles of thread, of which half is the main colored thread on top and half is bobbin thread on the bottom. (Praise be to pre-wound bobbins.) There's also about 50 miles or so of thread in the cloth, but we don't count that.

This monstrous quilt is also a good test of what it would look like if we used twice as much thread in making the $1000 bills, to increase the depth of the color. Personally, I like it. But it's kind of hard to call it a quilt when it's so completely hammered down with stitches. More like a tapestry.

Nina kindly offered to bind the edge for me (which she does with a foot-pedal driven antique machine):

And now I get to do whatever I want with it, because it's MINE, ALL MINE! Currently I'm sleeping under it, just because I can.

If you're curious about how the machine works, I shot this GoPro footage during the stitching of this quilt, with the camera strapped to the sewing head. It's long, but you don't have to watch the whole thing. Just stick around long enough to see it go on a tour around the whole bill. 

One final note, as my kids have pointed out, if you say "ten thousand dollar bills" you could mean one of three different things:

  1. 10,000 $1 bills
  2. 10 $1000 bills
  3. An indeterminate number of $10,000 bills

Mine is #2.  

Theodore Gray1 Comment