When friends who aren’t quilters see my tiny sewing studio (which is more like a ‘sewing corner’ than a full sewing studio!) one of the first things they ask is how I find the time to cut, piece, sew and quilt my many half-finished projects. Then, once they see my growing fabric stash, they have another question: how do you find the money to keep buying fabric? Quiltmaking might require a bit of an investment—of both hours and dollars—but for me, it’s worth it, just to keep quilting!
Three quilters interviewed in Houston, Texas at the 2011 International Quilt Festival talked a bit about finding the time and money to keep quilting and how those challenges affect quiltmakers today.
Lynn Welch: “I think time is a huge issue for quiltmakers. The second one would be with the economy would be money. You know we’re looking at quilt fabrics that are over ten dollars a yard, spools of thread at four dollars a spool and that’s going to start impacting what people buy and what they make. I think you’re seeing the generations behind mine as having a lot of time constraints. If they can’t get into careers and are working two or three jobs just to make even, I see that with my nieces, they don’t have a lot of free time to do handwork or even machine work. You’re seeing a growth of the modern quilt guilds which are people that are doing much simpler quilts, not so complex, but they still love quilting and using fabric
but it’s a whole different way of looking at quilting, which I’m glad to see that that’s happening. I think time for a lot of people and then money probably are going to constrain the industry.”
Sharon Gaylor Chambers: “I think finding time to do their craft, their art. You really have to be able to do that. With most of the women these days working outside the home, it’s difficult because I’m privileged to have been able to work and do my craft and then retire and do my thing here.”
Gail Valentine: “The price of cotton [laughing.] We were commenting on the price of cotton, it must be really hard for new quilt makers to build up a stash like we certainly did years ago. Things change, up and down. I remember in the 70’s there just didn’t seem to be that much available. A lot of quilters started quilting in the 80’s and learning how to quilt in the 80’s. I had no stash, but I was able to build it up and beyond.”
You can read more stories from the International Quilt Festival (and hundreds of other locations!) at the Quilters’ S.O.S.- Save Our Stories page on the Alliance’s site.