As of this morning, the poll is:
70% – quilt shop
14% – chain
15% – half and half
Those are more the numbers I was thinking.
I surely understand those who say the prices at quilt shops don’t fit your budget. I’ve ranted about the price of fabric here before. I know some who live outside the U.S. would be thrilled with our prices. I can’t remember the exact prices/years but in the mid to late 90’s, good, quilt shop fabric ran $5 – $6/yard. Then all the manufacturing/printing was sent overseas “to save money”. How did that translate to the $10+ per yard we’re now paying for good quilt shop fabric? If the cotton farmers are getting more $$, I can live with that but I doubt that’s the case.
Don’t forget that Connecting Threads has their fabrics for $5.96/yard with free shipping on orders over $50 and their fabric is made from cotton grown in the U.S. and it’s all manufactured and printed in North America. I like that and wish more companies would follow their lead.
It isn’t the quilt shops making more money. Wholesale fabric costs are now more than what I paid retail in the mid 90’s. Do you realize that if costs double again in the next ten years, we’ll be paying $20/yard for fabric?
Sometime when you’re in a quilt shop, look around at the fabric. Mentally count the number of bolts in the shop .. maybe 25 bolts per shelf, 100 shelves in the shop . . think how much money those shop owners have tied up in fabric. I understand they’re not doing it for us . . they’re doing it to make a living but it’s very difficult to make it as a shop owner. Not only do you have to be very aware of what your customer base likes . . 30’s, batiks, children’s prints, tone on tones, etc., and try to stock your shop to meet the needs/wants of your customers, but there are patterns and books, fresh samples have to be made and shown. The shops I love the most are those who have lots of samples. Even if the samples are designs I would never make, I just love walking into a shop full of beautiful quilts and wall hangings.
It isn’t easy being a shop owner! They don’t come home with a set paycheck each month . . for many shops, there are months they hope to break even!
So, when you go into a shop and see $10/yard fabric, please don’t think the shop owner is rolling in cash . . not happening these days.
Does that mean I’m going to run down to the local shop and empty my pockets so she can pay her electric bill? NO! I’m just saying all this to say most shops struggle a bit and those who sell sewing machines, offer longarm quilting services or rental time on the longarm, that all helps their bottom line.
I completely understand buying what you can afford and honestly, for me . . with fabric in the $10/yard range, I won’t buy it. That’s why I spend in spurts. When I find a sale, I stock up. Buy what you can, when you can, at whatever shop fits your budget but remember that the quilt shops will not stay in business without our support.