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HOW & WHY TO
For four years in a row, Constant Contact has given me an "All Star Award." Quilt Journalist ranks in the top 10% of CC's newsletters, based on the numbers of people who open and read the content.
Every month, this space is full of news and reviews, an insider's look at the quilt world prepared by a former Wall Street Journal reporter. Readers learn what's new, cool and important -- ahead of the pack.
Plus, there are juicy giveaways every month, including precuts from the wonderful folks at Moda.
Click below where it says: Join Our Mailing List and become a quilt world insider today. (To read testimonials from subscribers, go to
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Flannel Fabric and
June's winner will receive a jaw-dropping stack of luscious flannels from Primitive Gatherings' new Farmhouse Flannels ll fabric line. (Retail value about $150.) This fabric will be arriving in stores in July, and I expect it will be as wildly popular as most offerings by Primitive Gatherings.
Also going out to this month's lucky winner will be copies of both books featured in the Book Roundup, Love Your Creative Space by Lilo Bowman (below) and the book Kaffe Fassett wrote with his niece about their years long practice of painting together (see book cover at right.)
For a chance to win ALL 3 ITEMS hit reply to this email and add the word CONTEST to the subject line (not the body of the email.) Or email Meg directly at at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to add a message to me if you wish, using either method. I love to get feedback, and I'm currently collecting testimonials to add to my website home page.
Entries must be received by July 10.
The winner will be chosen using a random number generator. You
must be a subscriber to win, and the fabric will only be shipped within the U.S. Previous fabric winners cannot win again.
The winner of the Moda fabric for May was Kathy Dunkle. She also won a ticket to Quilters Take a Moment, a fabulous 2-day event in September that benefits the nonprofit Quilt Alliance. Five more QTM tickets were given away to:
Antoinette Rosinski, Bobbie Jean Weidner, Sandra Woods, Rita Raddatz and Rebecca Buchanan.
Quilters gotta quilt, and they continue to do so. Partly as therapy while all their normal routines of life are on hold.
This month, I'm going to share some of the positive and hopeful adaptations that are making it easier for quilters to continue this way for the foreseeable future. Including a resource so guild leaders can be trained to host programs on Zoom as smoothly as possible.
Have you been wondering how Covid-19 is affecting the financial state of quilting? Read on, as I share a brand new survey from an industry leader.
This issue is full of news bulletins and another triple prize, so check it all out.
And here's a heads-up to my readers: normally I take August off but this year I'm skipping July instead. I'm up to my eyebrows in deadlines with work I must complete before heading to the beach.
See you back here in August?
State of the Quilt Industry and What's Next?
Mark Hyland has been a steady hand at the helm of
for a good while and he's one of those people with his hand on the pulse of his whole industry. That's partly because Handi Quilter's parent company, Premier Needle Arts, commissions a major survey of quilters every year.
(Note: this is different from the Quilting in America survey that is typically conducted every three years, previously by F+W publishing.)
Normally the results of these Quilting Trends surveys only go to industry insiders but this year, due to chaos and worry about the virus and the economy, Mark decided to share the latest results more broadly. While the drilled-down-deeper numbers are reserved for paying clients, the overall results were shared in a Zoom webinar on June 18, including numbers from a supplemental survey done 10 weeks into the Covid quarantine.
The general survey was done early in 2020 when questionnaires were sent to roughly a million quilters. Completed surveys from 20,000 quilters were analyzed, providing researchers with loads of data on everything from household incomes to quilters' favorite techniques, products and more.
Mark said the size of the quilt sector continues to grow about 1% to 2% annually and is about a $4 billion industry right now. He said the number of quilters in North America is between 9 million and 11 million. About 8% of those are beginners, while a third of quilters have been at this more than a quarter century. Quilters tend to start in their early 40s.
There were several statistics that jumped out, including that quilters as a whole are gradually spending more time per week at their craft, between 6 and 10 hours total. (Remember, this was before Covid quarantine.) Favorite size of quilts to make these days: lap size.
The survey shows that 41% of quilters are "shopping" more from their stash than at retail establishments, but when they do buy stuff, they prefer independent quilt shops. Quilters say they are buying less from chain stores, a 10% drop. The survey showed that quilters are slightly less inclined than previously to hire someone else to finish a quilt (good news for Handi Quilter). But there seems to be a declining participation in guilds, which makes me sad.
As for the add-on survey taken in late May, more than 90% of quilters say they are quilting the same amount as before Covid --or more. In fact, 31.4% reported they are quilting "much more" these days while 28.2% are quilting "a little more." This certainly confirms my expectations!
A lot of questions were asked about what quilters were willing to do now if it involves leaving home. A healthy majority are OK with shopping, but there is widespread reluctance to attend anything in a crowded room. Mark Hyland said that show attendance "will likely be 40% to 50% of normal through the rest of 2020."
My prediction: expect more cancellations.
Virtual Quilt Workshops are HERE
One of the lessons of Covid is that we can do many more things virtually than we ever imagined. That doesn't mean we wouldn't rather do them together in the same room, but we're making rather tasty lemonade.
Online tutorials through sites like Creativebug have accustomed us to quilt teachers on our screens, but until now, small workshops led live by remote teachers were rare. I'm here to report that new tools like Zoom have created a new trend and quilters are finding some meaty positives from this method. In particular, they like working at home, using their own stash and equipment, but still being able to get immediate help from a teacher who can see what they are doing.
Quilt teachers out front on this trend include Sherri Lynn Wood (photo below), who is teaching livestream workshops out of her studio in Cincinnati. She often gives classes under the auspices of two different guilds, who don't have to be geographically near one another to share the expenses.
But the real pioneer of this approach right now is quilter RaNae Merrill, who started a venture in March called Live Online Quilt Classes (see logo image above). Through her website, quilters can sign up for a scheduled class including one on free-motion mastery, one of RaNae's areas of expertise. Or, they can sign up for a "private" one-on-one lesson with RaNae or another instructor. Or, a guild, store or retreat can hire Live Online to set up and run a workshop with the instructor of their choice.
Expect her roster of teachers and classes to grow quickly: one of her goals is to eventually offer classes on the site daily. "We have been reaching out to some teachers and others are reaching out to us," RaNae told me. "Teachers are starting to catch on: we've all been dumped into the deep end of the (Zoom) pool, and it's learn to swim or you're dead."
I was so excited to hear about all the valuable work RaNae is doing, especially her Guild Moderator Training, which is customized for each guild. Maybe your guild is early on the Zoom learning curve but you'd like to start offering lectures and workshops for your members. The idea of this training is that Live Online helps you run your first one, and then you're ready to take off the training wheels. She has created a handbook for moderators and another for participants, which is part of the package.
Want to learn more? I urge you to sign up for the Live Online newsletter to learn about future workshops. They've also been doing virtual happy hours at 7 pm eastern on Fridays, where an upcoming teacher does a mini lecture and shares some quilts. Happy hour is free, but requires registration.
I think this trend is going to be HUGE. And this seems to be the place to remind everyone that I'm giving Zoom lectures now. If you want details (since I haven't had time to update my website yet), write to email@example.com.
Sherri Lynn Wood goes virtual
New Virtual Quilt Auction Service:
Dana Auctions LLC
Another brave industry figure who opened a cool new business during quarantine is quilt appraiser Dana Balsamo. I know Dana and have personally hired her to appraise quilts, so I know how good she is.
Dana went to auctioneer school and got certified as an auctioneer a year ago and has been working for multiple auction houses since then. Her 5-year plan was to have her own auction company. "I thought I'd have my own building and stand up there in a little suit, like Sotheby's," she told me, laughing.
But faced with the cancellation of all her lectures and appraisals, and with plenty of inventory from her online vintage textile business, Dana made the bold move to start an auction business NOW, with only online auctions for the moment. Her first auction was last weekend (sorry), but she'll have another in a few months.
What you want to do now is get on her mailing list so you'll have plenty of notice for her next auction. You'll find
her website here
You got this, Dana!
2 Special Summer Books
Pattern and technique books have their place, but I want to recommend two books that offer something else. The first is pictured below,
We all know Kaffe for his richly patterned fabrics and quilt books, but he was a painter before he swung into the needle arts. This charming book commemorates a 12-year ritual he had of spending a week each spring painting with his sister Holly's daughter. Erin, an award-winning artist. The two would meet in Big Sur, California, where both grew up, and paint the same collection of objects in the same room, Kaffe in acrylics and Erin in oils. This volume also serves as the catalog for an upcoming exhibition at the Monterey Museum of Art. I found it both charming and inspiring.
Publisher C + T approached Lilo after she created a year long program for the TQS newsletter called Let's Get Organized. Every Monday for a year, she did a blog entry on the topic, filled with savvy ideas and plenty of photos, covering a lot of ground. She's an expert on adapting her crafting to a new space because she was a military wife and moved 13 times in 21 years.
One of her big concerns was accessibility, so she showcased people who needed adaptations to continue sewing. "I talked to a woman who had a massive stroke and figured out how to keep quilting, and I interviewed a woman who has macular degeneration at 90 and still quilts." This isn't a book about a dream studio you'll likely never get: it's about making the absolute most of what you've got now.
You can buy the book at The Quilt Show store or Amazon, but the only way to get an autographed copy is to go to
Quilt World News & Notes
*Issue 15 of Quiltfolk magazine was just mailed to subscribers. Go here for a sneak peek at the Nevada issue, which is juicy and gorgeous and fun. If you still want to submit a quilt story for Issue 16, which is a themed issue about quilts and family, you have until July 6. We've received more than 150 submissions thus far and they're going to help make the next issue exceptionally profound.
*The nonprofit Quilt Alliance has a terrific new podcast called Running Stitch, tied to its QSOS oral history project. More than 1,200 quilters were interviewed since 1999 and those voice recordings have now been digitized. Host Janneken Smucker, a history professor who also quilts, plays a few excerpts and talks to interview subjects about what they're up to now. Episode one features Victoria Findlay Wolfe: when I interviewed this A-lister in 2011, she had yet to publish a single book and had no idea what lay ahead.