Did you know that the month of March is National Quilting Month?

In honor of that, (yeah, that’s it…)

I went shopping yesterday.Shopping black fabrics

I took in a few quilt shops;

three to be exact.

I didn’t shop with a theme in mind,

but as you can see I ended up with one!

Since my college days I’ve had a thing for black.

The plaid pieces in front are actually cotton towels, not yardage.

I think they’ll look great with the Christmas fabrics that I’m currently working with.

They do look really nice with the rest of the day’s haul don’t you think?

I also did a little shopping while in central Illinois a couple of weeks ago,

Shopping in Urbana

I saw on another blog, this fusible bias tape maker.

I have the typical bias tape maker in various sizes,

but this one allows you to make 3/8″ bias tape,

while attaching a thin strip of fusible web at the same time.

So, your bias tape ends up being fusible.

I saw it used to make little basket block handles, cool right?

Recently I made the little basket handles on block #28, remember?

Day 2-block 28 Bunny Hill

Afterwards I saw this tool and thought it would be fun to try.

It allows you to fuse your bias strips in place before you sew them; no more pinning!

As for the rest of that haul, well,

I also have recently had a thing for Thangles.

I bought a kit a year ago that had very small half square triangles in the pattern.

The kit included enough Thangles to make the quilt.

It was so much fun that I wanted to make more tiny half square triangles just because I enjoyed the process.

So, I’ve bought a few different sizes to play with since then and here are two more,

just in case.

Did I ever tell you that I enjoy the word “quilt” in verb form even more than the noun?

Meaning, I enjoying the process of quilting even more than owning the finished quilt.

Weird, I KNOW

Anyway, back to my National Quilting Day story.

It’s important that we support our local quilt shops if we want them to survive,

especially in this economy.

In the St. Louis area there are four quilt shops either going or have gone out of business in 2013 alone!

It’s sad to realize that one of them  is where I bought my very first quilt pattern.

Patches Quilt Shop St Charles

Patches, St. Charles, MO.

This shop sent out a monthly newsletter that first introduced me to the world of quilt guilds.

It was a very elaborate mini newspaper that among other quilt things,

listed all the quilt guilds in the area .

As I read the list one day I was curious about what a quilt guild was then read there was one in my area.

The rest as they say, is history!

Another shop that is closing is responsible for selling my very first quilt patterns.

The Quilted Garden

The Quilted Garden, Edwardsville, IL.

One thing I have learned since being in business and  talking to MANY quilt shop owners these past 10 years, either going into quilt shops or talking to them at market, is that much of their pay is measured in passion, not dollars.

I can’t tell you how many times fellow quilters have stated that shop owners must make a fortune selling fabric for $10 and now $12 a yard.

If you stop & think about it,

they do not get $10 for each yard of fabric that they sell.

First of all they have to buy that fabric, usually a minimum of 15 yards at a time.

Like any retail store, typically their cost is half of what they sell it for.

Take for instance a yard of fabric selling for $10,

(good luck finding that these days, but it makes the math easy)

the shop owner probably paid $5, plus shipping, which is going up almost every day.

So they might have $6 a yard into it.

So with 15 yards of fabric that bolt cost $90.

If they sell it at $10 a yard they have to sell the first 9 yards to pay their cost for the fabric.

That is to break even.

They then have to sell the remaining 6 yards of fabric to actually MAKE money.

So, when they sell the remaining 6 yards, they will have made $60.

If you take a look around a quilt shop,

how many bolts do you see???

If it’s a shop that I want to shop in, probably a minimum of 2,000 and that’s not a very large shop by comparison.

Next, think about all the bills you have around your house,

rent, electricity, phone (much more expensive as a business), computer, internet, water, trash pick-up, toilet paper…

The list goes on and on.

Oh yes, I forgot PAYCHECKS!!!

Not only do their employees expect them, owners would like them every once in a while too!

Then remember they have to advertise.

That $60 is crucial to paying those bills.

When you see the cost of our fabric going up, you must realize that shop owners don’t want to see that either.

They know we only have so much money to spend, just like them.

Moral of the story: if shops aren’t selling that whole bolt of fabric at retail,

they are probably not making the money they need to pay rent and all their other expenses required to stay in business.

I will step off my soap box now.

In case you’ve been taking your local quilt shop for granted,

please keep in mind without quilt shops,

there would be no quilting industry!

Tomorrow our guild is sponsoring its bi-annual Spring Workshop.

I will be spending the day with the best kind of friends,

friends of quilting!

Enjoy your day and maybe go and visit your local quilt shop(s).

Until next time,

Susan

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