How about a little Friday morning deep thinking exercises? 🙂
There’s been almost panic in some quilting circles with the recent announcements if quilt shops going out of business, Quilter’s Newsletter shutting its doors and American Quilter’s Society closing down their book publishing operation. That hit me hardest of all the recent announcements because my three books will no longer be published but . . time marches on.
If you’re a quilter, do you remember your first quilt show? It was either in 1978 or 1979 that a co-worker and I decided to drive over to Houston, just a little more than a 2 hour drive for us, and spend the weekend in Houston. What a trip! We were both really interested in Chinese cooking, had woks and cookbooks so we found a couple of asian markets. We went to the quilt festival and the Renaissance Festival, which was pretty wild for two small town girls! Even wilder, it was getting close to Halloween and there were several parties, apparently with lots of alcohol being served, going on in our hotel so you never knew if you were going to meet a vampire or a Playboy bunny in the hotel elevator.
Living so close to Houston, I went to Quilt Festival almost every year. Then in 1997, we moved to Kentucky and I began going to the AQS show in Paducah. I attended that show almost every year and even went back at least once after moving to MO.
With quilting not being my primary interest these days, and with all the fabric I have to use, every machine and gadget I could possibly want, the quilt shows don’t hold much interest for me these days.
Same with magazines.
Back in the day (don’t I sound ancient?) before I was proficient with the internet and back when there wasn’t so much quilting on the internet, I loved getting magazines in the mail. I would sit and read them cover to cover, I would take them to work with me and read them during lunch.
Now, with so much on the internet, I have no magazine subscriptions of any kind.
Everything changes . . or maybe everything cycles. I look at my own hobbies. I began quilting in the late 70’s and totally stopped in about 1984 and didn’t pick it up again til the late 80’s. Not huge time spans but I quilted pretty much non-stop til about 2011. After moving to Texas, I lost most of my quilting desire. Maybe it was too many deadlines with the books and magazine patterns, maybe it was a bad guild experience . . I don’t look back and analyze because at this time, I’m loving knitting and not missing quilting.
My knitting interest has cycled too. I began knitting a lot back in the early 70’s and totally stopped — gave away all my yarn, needles and supplies, and then got hooked on knitting again in 2006 with those first socks I made.
While I am not pretending to know why quilt shops, book and magazine publishers are closing, for years I’ve said that quilting is getting too expensive for many of today’s quilters. Years and years ago, good quilt shop fabric could be found for $4.99/yard. Most fabric companies, as a “cost saving” decision, moved fabric manufacturing overseas and since then, we’ve watched fabric prices rise to $15.99 and more per yard. It isn’t the fault of the quilt shops. I’m not even saying it’s the fault of the fabric companies . . I’m just saying it’s a cost prohibitive hobby for many people. Without even including the cost of a sewing machine or cutters and rulers, factor in the cost of fabric for the top and backing, the batting and a longarm quilter and there aren’t a lot of folks who can afford to make full size quilts for hobbies.
When we were in Kentucky, I’d order boxes and boxes of fabric from Big Horn Quilts (also no longer in business). I almost exclusively ordered fabrics that were on sale – good, name brand tone on tone fabrics for $3 to $4/yard. Those days are gone – if I were a young craftsy person, on a tight budget, I doubt quilting would be a hobby I could afford.
While I don’t think quilting will ever go away or become extinct, the quilt shows still seem to have a full house, there are quilt shops, both online and brick stores, that are doing great .. I see things changing. I’m happy for my quilting memories. I’m happy for the friends I’ve made through quilting – both in real life and online. I’m happy that I got into quilting when I did.