Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My thoughts

Much to my surprise I read the sign, The Patchwork Pig is closing. I almost cried. It is an hours drive from my house, but I got to go 5 or 6 times a year. They had the best selection of civil war reproduction fabrics. I am sad just thinking about it.
Last year in the fall the LQS nearest me closed. Then I read about a shop I did business with on our travels closed. This is getting seriously sad.
Last month I was told the bead shop that I love so much is closing. The owners have hung on for 3 years with no pay and using their savings to keep the doors open. Much too long in my opinion, but I do understand the hope that it will turn around if you hang on just a bit longer.
Depressing. I know we had a boom for many years where people made good money and hobbies could be splurged on. Quilting was an area where I saw LOTS of money dropped and I did my own splurging and dropping. I know in the economy there are ups and downs, but I still find it sad that people, myself included love(d) their jobs/businesses but have to give it up. There just isn't the extra income anymore.
I hear from the business owners say they can't stay open if everyone shops online. I understand that. On the other hand as a consumer trying to stretch my money I can't see me paying a brick and mortar store $10-$12 a yard for the same fabric I can buy online for $7-$10. I completely understand  the B&M stores provide a service that you can't get online. But I also know for a fact they don't provide the services they did just ten years ago. First off when I started quilting the ONLY place to learn was at a quilt shop or guild. Now days you can learn so much online or take classes on DVD that you can stop and replay as much as you wish. Most of the quilt shops I know of (and that is a lot) don't even have classes on a regular basis and when they do it is for purses, or quick quilts I lovingly call slice and serve. It takes no skill and they aren't that appealing. Why would I pay you $30-$50 to teach me to slap a few fabrics together for a "quick" baby quilt, or to follow along a pattern that I can buy for $10 and do on my own at home.
I do hope the B&M store owners find a way to become a necessity again.

Then I think about all of the "stashes" that we all have. There was no way we could keep up that kind of buying. Our homes aren't that big! I hear so much about busting stashes, using it up, giving it away. People are embarrassed by the size of the stash. My former pastor would call that gluttony. I'm guilty so I'm not pointing fingers.
Lots of quilt shops opened during the feeding frenzy years. There were years of Shop Hops where you could board a bus and spend a day going from shop to shop. There were so many shops in some areas that it may take two days of this or more and you could spend less than an hour at each place. Women would come home and have spent LOTS of money. I have been friends with some ladies (they told me this in confidence) that when they got home and dropped their bags, they didn't open them for weeks or month because they had so much it got lost in the shuffle. I did this a time or two. I blamed it on the fact I was shopping at quilt shows I was vending at and I was just too busy to put it all away. The truth is I was part of the frenzy. Buying just because it was pretty and it called to me.
Now our closets are full to overflowing. There is no room for more sewing machines after the 5th or 12th  or 20th one. We own 7 cutting mats and 13 rotary cutters. There are 8 deep drawers of thread and that is just the embroidery threads, not counting the piecing or quilting threads. We have two or more books shelves that are buckling under the weight of books, magazines and patterns. We are taking medication for the anxiety we feel everyday after looking at the list of 73 UFOs we haven't touched in ages. The bright spot in the sewing area is looking at the finished tops we have ready for quilting. The anxiety continues when we realize there are 57 of these tops that need to be quilted. I have tops for my as yet to be born grandchildren. Two of my three children aren't even dating anyone much less married!!!

Ok, now that we are almost buried under our quilt obsession what do we do?
I say we dig ourselves out! Dig out and get to sewing!
Sews and quilt!
Give away the quilts!
Quilts of Valor!
Homeless shelters!
Emergency relief!
Just make beautiful quilts and enjoy the fabric, patterns, threads, etc that you own. Stop stressing over the size of the stash and sew! Stop stressing over the UFOs. If you no longer want to make the project offer it to someone. Sell it, give it away, just get out from under it. Sewing and quilting do not go well with anxiety. Sewing is supposed to be a stress reliever. If you are avoiding your sewing area due to the over abundance you need to take a deep breath, pull your shoulders back and dig in. Get the sewing area into a shape you can be happy about once again. Once you are happy you can accomplish great things.

Now that I have got myself all pepped up I am going to get a Coke and go sew!


Anonymous said...

Diane, what a wonderful entry in your blog and I know many people have the same feelings that you do and the same stash...more or less. I think you need to submit your entry to a quilt magazine. I definitely think it needs to be published!!!
Linda G

Sharon said...

Great post! I agree with everything you said. I have quite a few UFO's and I start getting stressed out but it seems like it is because I am "supposed" to be? I sometimes have to stop working on something to work on a baby quilt or a gift for soemone and then I worry that I won't get back to it. And they pile up. And I stress. And then someone says "when are you going to finish that top you started?" And I feel guilty. Well, this is the year that I am laying all the guilt aside. I am working on what I can when I can and enjoying what I do. I have too much other stress in my life that I can't control to be worrying about something I should be enjoying, right? Sorry for the long post!