Conversation continued…

Thanks so much for your comments on my last post about the Long Beach Quilt Festival!  Modern quilting’s place in the overall quilting world (industry, really…) is an interesting conversation.

From all of the comments, I have deduced the following:

We all shop almost exclusively online so therefore when fabric we like is in quilting shops, it doesn’t sell.  As a result, the shops decide not to carry it the next time around.  This leads to a vicious cycle and it keeps us online and isolated from the quilting world at large.

So, I’ve decide that any time I’m in a quilting shop I’m going to make a point of spending my money there.  Unfortunately  I don’t get to them often as I live in L.A., 10 minutes from a huge fabric (but not quilting) store that carries a lot of what I like.  I know that my few dollars here and there won’t make a difference, but I’m going to do it on principle.  Also, I’m going to consider submitting my quilts to shows & festivals.   I can’t complain about not being represented if I haven’t tried to be that representation myself, right?

Maybe if we all do this, it will make a difference over time?

Oh and the best thing about the festival?  I met JamieJulie, and Beth!   Oh, and I tried out a long arm for the first time… my sister had to hold me up I was so weak at the knees… I seriously covet a machine with a frame.

In quilting news, I’ve decided that the big hexagons are going to be a queen sized quilt.  So I’ve been cutting!

Cutting Hexagons

A couple of you asked how big they are… I made myself a 9″ template!  It’s going to sew up quickly once I find a minute to tackle it.

Guess what’s happening on Friday? A giveaway! It’s gonna be my one year blog-o-versary!

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  • Debra

    July 29, 2009 at 10:22 am | Reply

    It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who can’t find material at my local quilt shop. They are wonderful ladies there, but they just don’t carry anything that I’d want to quilt with. I ask lots if they’d ever carry “x” designer or “x” line. I probably drive them crazy. I do buy my basics from them though. All thread, Kona white and batting, so like you, I try. Although I’m new to quilting I’m going to try to get a quilt in the State Fair this year, but it’s my sons quilt and he is young and doesn’t quite understand giving it up for 3 weeks, so we’ll see. Thanks for the info and the continued inspiration! I feel less isolated being able to read yours and other modern quilting blogs!

  • ~Michelle~

    July 29, 2009 at 10:25 am | Reply

    As a fellow LA resident, I’m curious about the fabric store you mentioned… I’m not very adventurous in LA, but it does seem hard to find good fabric in person!

    • Alissa

      July 29, 2009 at 10:42 am | Reply

      Michael Levine’s downtown… They have a HUGE selection of quilting cottons and lots of stuff I love!

  • nichole

    July 29, 2009 at 10:55 am | Reply

    You make a good point about us more modern quilters buying our fabric online. I am definitely guilty of these. I rarely buy fabric in the store. Part of the issue is that the quilt shop closest to me has only 2-3 shelves of fabric I like. There are a couple that have a better selection, but they are 30+ minutes away. At that point it is shear laziness that I order online. It does seem that it will only thing that will help it change will be to support the local shops. I have never thought about entering my quilts into shows and festivals. Maybe I will have to give that a try! It sounds exciting! 🙂

  • Cheryl Arkison

    July 29, 2009 at 11:02 am | Reply

    Very good points. I entered my first show this year. It wasn’t juried, but it was a good ice breaker. And while the volunteers gathering the quilts oohed and aahed, my quilts (and many others) got the short end of the stick when it came to display. I guess we can’t always win.

    After your post I was also examining what I could do. Two things came to mind. When you do go into the local shops, ask for the fabric you want. The more people that ask, the better. But if you never say anything, they won’t know that there is a potential demand. (Same prinicple applies in your grocery store). Second, I decided to join a guild. It is another way to get some modern styles out there, and learn from the traditional/art world as well. First meeting in a few weeks.

  • Brittney

    July 29, 2009 at 11:19 am | Reply

    I am another guilty party, I almost exclusively buy my designer fabric online. There’s a great selection, and best of all, the prices are competitive. I’m torn by this fact, because I want to support my local fabric shop (which does have a lot of modern designer fabric I love) but their prices are almost double what I can find online! Even with the added cost of shipping, it’s so much cheaper to buy online, which is my main concern. And I know that buying online doesn’t help the price of fabric in the stores either, it’s just like you said, it’s a vicious cycle.
    Thanks for bringing up this topic, it’s an interesting issue. Hopefully putting all our minds together and talking about it will create some solutions- great discussions usually lead to something productive 🙂

  • Jamie

    July 29, 2009 at 11:50 am | Reply

    Gosh girl…Thanks for the blog love! I think that these are great conversations to have-especially with our local shops. When I lived in Oregon, my favorite shop was the Stitchin Post and they have an online store as well. They have a great balance of traditional quilting fabric and hot new designers because they are a mother/daughter team so have trans-generational appeal (the daughter is designer Valori Wells). They also host a Quilt Show every July that is incredible. Check them out:

  • Audrie

    July 29, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Reply

    I always check my local quilt store but I can hardly find anything suitable, so I turn to online shopping. Can’t wait to see your finished hexagon quilt 🙂

  • Amy - parkcitygirl

    July 29, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Reply

    I’ve been behind in my reader – I had the same issue at the HMQS show in SLC. In the whole place only one vendor had anything that I really liked, and I took about 40 pictures of quilts (there were 100’s) that were at all inspiring to me.I often go to my local shop before purchasing online, they usually don’t have the line or the colorway that I had my eye on. Unfortunately they don’t seem to know the fabric lines very well either! I was thinking about getting a quilt in the fair – I need to go look it up again, it’s next week! Thanks for the push 🙂 And – I can’t wait to see your hex’s together!!

  • LIfe a Colorful Life

    July 29, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Reply

    I have to agree with Brittney. I actually used to work in the local quilt store a couple of years ago, and as I said in my comment to the previous post, they carry quite a few of the modern designers. However, with the economy the way it is (and my husband is in the construction industry and has had a 40% paycut), and the fact that buying fabric in the store is $2 to $3 a yard more than online, I find myself shopping almost exclusively online, not only from an economic standpoint but also convenience. So it IS a vicious cycle, as I know my local store is experiencing a definite downward trend in sales.

  • Nancy

    July 29, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Reply

    I live in LA, too. I go to JoAnn’s alot but I’ve the Patchwork Penguin in Tujunga is great. The owner has a nice selection of fabrics and a great deal on scraps–you just stuff them in ziplock bags and they are really nice. I like Quilt’n’Things in Montrose. Nice selection and a nice sales rack. Discount coupons available. Why don’t we try to come up with a list of quilt shops and ask them to offer discount coupons to quilt blogs to drum up business?

  • Andi

    July 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm | Reply

    Can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for a year. You seem like a complete pro!!
    I’m with you on the ‘shop local’ front. In Australia, shops simply can’t compete with the US prices on fabric. Shopping online is, therefore, so very tempting.
    I do it a bit but prefer to shop in a real bricks and mortar shop and support local businesses.
    They really need our support too!!
    Good for you!
    ANdi 🙂

    PS Loving your fabric choices for the giant hexes.

  • Amy (badskirt)

    July 29, 2009 at 3:47 pm | Reply

    oh! Might I suggest this festival – Craig and I are seriously thinking of doing Japanuary for fabric shopping, quilt shows and snow skiing! I’d love to see an Alissa original in person. Do enter the Tokyo show!

  • Dorrie

    July 29, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Reply

    Very well put. . .My local shop at this very moment has 10 different bolts of Far Far Away including Unicorns on blue and magenta and it sits. . .myself and others have made several different projects using these wonderful fabrics and not much interest. . . I just don’t see it! By entering modern projects in quilt shows, judged or otherwise is very important. . .we need to all do that!

  • jaybird

    July 29, 2009 at 8:09 pm | Reply

    well put… you’d love spool.. its a shop here in philly that has lots of fabric in your style… and go check out M&L.. yes they are big and not so friendly but they have a slew of good new stuff in stock!

  • Abby Mann

    July 30, 2009 at 8:34 am | Reply

    I’ve enjoyed your discussion and even ventured out to my local shops yesterday…and spent money 🙂 I even had a convo with one of the owners about passing on quilting to my generation. It was a good experience! Here’s to a possible visit to a local quilt guild…yikes!

  • jacquie

    July 30, 2009 at 5:56 pm | Reply

    guilty as charged on the online shopping thing…i think there’s a feeling from modern quilters that guilds are not for them…it depends on the guild of course, but i think on a whole we shy away. we need to join, take leadership roles and bring in the programs and workshops that relate to us. you’re right alissa…if we don’t participate, we get what we get.

  • Alexis Mitchell

    July 30, 2009 at 9:44 pm | Reply

    I can’t wait to see the big hexagons finished!

    On the fabric shopping – there are three quilt stores (which I know of) in Singapore – they all stock fairly traditional stuff, and there’s Spotlight which is ok, but not the best quality – so my only option is to buy online. I wish I could see and touch all the lovely designer fabrics out there – but alas I cannot : ( Sob…….

  • rhea

    August 3, 2009 at 5:59 pm | Reply

    I think one thing people do not realize about pricing at an online store vs. pricing in a brick and mortar is that brick and mortar stores have to have higher prices because they have much more overhead. Fabric is marked up and from that mark up they have to pay for rent, heat, electricity, insurance… paper towels! All kinds of things.

    Most online stores are run out of someone’s home and yes, the online store owners are paying those expenses, too, but retail shop owners are paying for their homes AND their businesses from their profits. Online stores may not realize what they are doing, but their pricing does undercut and hurt the brick and mortar stores… ESPECIALLY the ones that already carry the modern designer fabrics.

    And also don’t forget, when you have a question about how to do a binding or how to make a particular block, you aren’t turning to an online store and you certainly aren’t turning to a Jo-Ann’s: you are turning to an independent retail store for their know-how. Know how that they most often-times give away for free.

    The best way to get what you want from a brick and mortar store is to be a part of their community. Ask and you shall receive!

  • LS

    August 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Reply

    Hello, I too was at the Long Beach International Quilt show and felt that the modern quilters were not being represented.

    I also live in LA I find that there are a couple of stores that you can find great modern quilting fabric by all of the modern “name brand” fabric companies. I shop Michael Levine’s in downtown LA but, I ABSOLUTELY love M&L Fabric in Anaheim. It is a little drive but, well worth it (I make it at least every other week)! One side of the store has the full priced fabrics but, the other side of the store has a huge discount section at $3 and $4 a yard. Some of them the name brand fabrics – maybe from last season – but, still beautiful. I too would like to be able to connect with other modern quilters in person. I LOVE to connect online but, I was just thinking that maybe we should even start some “Modern” Quilt Guilds. . . just an idea but, it would be a start. There’s nothing like meeting in person and creating in person!

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