A thoughtful week in the quilt blogging world ends in smiles

Patchwork and quilting requires deep concentration at times, at others, while hands are busy working, there is opportunity for the mind to run on to other matters. These matters can range from the close at hand such as ‘how on earth am I going to quilt this?’ to reflecting on national or global politics.

IMG_1801This week I’ve been making little quilted tidy baskets ready for my stall at the Oakley Village Show  -‘mass production’ techniques gave me opportunity for reflection. I’ve also completed a table runner that exercised the ‘how am I to quilt this?’ part of my brain. I feel like a real quilty blogger now as I have to say, ‘At this point I can only show a sneak peak of the back of the runner as it may become the subject of a class’!


My reflective moments have centred on the future of patchwork and quilting, prompted by recent posts fromm Melanie of Catbird Studios, Rachel of Stitched in Color and her link to an article at Generation Q magazine. Not being a great thinker (I have a below average sense of curiosity and never did have the brain power to attempt a university level education) my train of thought mainly involved relating what I understood from these posts along side my personal experience.

Is patchwork and quilting seeing a decline? There are some indications that there is a downturn in the revenue to be had from this craft. Mel writes eloquently about the closing of magazines and Christa has detected a reduction in the number and productivity of quilty bloggers. I discovered this era of patchwork and quilting when it was on the crest of the wave and have really benefited from that momentum: with well established local quilt groups full to capacity and new groups forming; existing fabric shops expanding and enterprising people finding enough demand to open new specialist quilt shops; a whole range of new publications on the magazine racks and book shelves; and the scheduling of more quilt shows up and down the country.

Out of this time of plenty have come many good things, not least the precious friendships that have flourished first through the sharing of a common passion but, over time, through the sharing of the highs and lows of life.I agree with Melanie that the patchwork and quilting world is now entering a time of consolidation. While the passion for the craft may be undimmed the desire to buy more magazines, books, notions and, dare I say it, even more fabric is not so insistent. As the momentum slows there is more need for quality rather than quantity in all areas of the patchwork and quilting world and this inevitably means that some businesses will no longer be able to turn a profit. I also think it is beholden on individuals like myself who have gained so much from the surge of popularity in our new found craft to be prepared to contribute more fully to the patchwork and quilting world. I don’t primarily mean financially, although the May is for Makers campaign was a wake up call re. the need to remunerate pattern designers appropriately for their skills rather than constantly using free patterns. By ‘contribute more’ I have in mind actively participating in local groups, taking part in workshops, sharing skills with those new to the craft, commenting on each others blogs, and submitting quilts to shows – whoa! Did I just write that last ‘for instance’?

Yep! Submitting quilts to shows! Wow! That was the most unexpected outcome of considering the possible decline in popularity of patchwork and quilting! So, rewind… That thought arose from recollecting conversations across the tables at last weeks sewing day with friends. One lady in our group announced that she would be making a quilt for a public show next year.  We had all attended shows this year,  Quilts UK Malvern or The National Quilt championships Sandown, and concluded there were fewer retail exhibitors, attendances were down and, sadly, the number of quilts on show had dropped significantly and that those on show seemed to be less well exhibited than in previous years. Hum! I came home and looked up the 2017 quilt show websites. Serendipity – Quilts UK Malvern open class is titled ‘Gardener’s World’ and wouldn’t you know it there was already in my little book of squared paper an embryo design for a quilt based on the plan of a formal garden! This is way out of my experience but hey! if we don’t take part, it won’t happen right?  Melanie’s correct in saying that the actions of individuals won’t make a difference to the ‘ebb and flow’ of the popularity that crafts go through but collectively I hope we can maintain a presence that ensures we can continue to source materials and like-minded people through actively participating in the patchwork and quilting world.

It’s not all been thinking and reflecting there have been plenty of smiles this week too:

  1. More flowers in the garden 🙂

  2.  Laura Trott, Olympic Cycling Champion, giggling her way through an interview 🙂

3. A day out with friends 🙂IMG_1787

4. Preparing home grown produce for a meal 🙂IMG_1780

5. Reading ‘The Duchess’, a biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman.

Linking with Amanda for Five Things Friday. Enjoy the weekend 🙂


8 thoughts on “A thoughtful week in the quilt blogging world ends in smiles

  1. Love those tidy baskets and your beautiful quilting! Being a relatively new quilter (and blogger) it’s interesting to read about the possible decline of quilting, especially since it seems to be so popular. I can really see where local quilt shops might be taking a major financial hit. I don’t contribute financially much at all, given the fact that I solely quilt with upcycled materials, but I do try to support the community in a few of the other ways you mentioned (quilt show attendance and submissions, connecting with other quilters and being a quilt guild member). It’s definitely given me something to think about… I’m foreseeing some workshops in my future! Thanks for the insight and for sharing your happy things! I hope you have a lovely weekend!

  2. Very nice post Allison. Kudos to you for daring to enter a quilt (quilts?) in a show! That idea leaves me feeling so vulnerable. Something I need to move past I suppose. I look forward to seeing your garden quilt come to fruition.

  3. Good thoughts here. I think perhaps quilting as a whole is entering a more mindful era. We have been inundated with new fabric lines every few months and I believe we have become saturated. It is time to decide what we want to buy, based on what we really like, rather than just because it is new or popular. I have never understood “destashing.” When I see people re-selling bundles they have bought for themselves, I can’t help but think, why did you buy it in the first place if you are falling out of love with it so soon? And yet, I understand how easy it is to be tempted to purchase the next best thing.

    Good on you for deciding to enter! I have only had one quilt in a juried show, all my others were entered in local shows.

    • Thanks Katy! I guess it is not a bad thing to have a time of ‘consolidation’ and really consider our individual tastes rather than being rushed along by the constant addition of new fabrics etc.It’s very tough for retailers too, feeling pressured to constantly stock the latest prints and being left with ‘redundant’ fabrics – a bit like being fashion retailers!

    • Thank you! Yep! I’ve no idea what to expect really but I’m not going to get too worried about pleasing judges, just hope to add another point of interest and maybe inspiration to those who go to enjoy the show ☺

  4. Hi Allison, I did read Rachels’ post but I’ll have to go and read your other links. I think there is an ebb and flow to everything and that may be what is happening with lots of quilty things. I have often thought about how the related industries benefit from all the excitement that bloggers stir up with the new fabric lines coming out, blog hops for new books ect. There’s a lot of really good stuff out there – both for purchase and free. I do think I do my bit to prop up the industry and should really concentrate on what I have right now because it will probably keep me going for the rest of the time I have 😉
    Your baskets and your sneak peek quilting looks very interesting !
    Cosmos is a favorite flower of mine as well.
    Isn’t it satisfying to prepare and enjoy food that you have grown yourself !
    Entering a quilt show is an exciting goal to have.
    I really enjoyed your vacation pictures and commentary – thanks for sharing.

    • Lovely to hear from you Colleen. We are fortunate to have such a well served craft to enjoy. As Katy commented it’s probably a time of calming down and not getting so overwhelmed with all the choice of fabrics and patterns that we lose sight of our own tastes!


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