Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A Sneaky Peeky and Changing Times

Well hello there! I want to start out this week with a little sneaky peeky of the 4th block on the journey down Briarside Lane. This block will be debuting on Saturday. How are you coming with your other blocks? I know it's the time of year when everyone starts running out of gas for creative things as the warm days and fresh air are calling them outside. Yet another reason Jules and I made this a 6 month project.



Also today, I wanted to share this note I received from Kona Bay fabrics. Not only are quilt shops closing up, but so are fabric manufacturers. I received another notice that Red Rooster fabrics is closing. The times they are a changing. First, many quilters are aging and have sooooooooo much stash, that they are overwhelmed and have decided to reduce what they have and not buy any more. Second, there aren't that many young quilters or young people interested in quilting. If they are, they tend to be attracted to the modern quilting. Also, they don't buy like all of us did. They buy what they need or buy a kit. They don't collect hoard fabric like we all did. The industry is changing for sure. I noticed it a lot when I vended at the Mid Atlantic Quilt Festival. A lot of the vendors I have seen for 25 years are gone and more said they are retiring within the next year or two. It makes me rather sad to say the least, but I know that nothing stays forever and times change. It will be interesting to see what it is like in the next 5 years.

Here's the letter I received.

After 26 years in the fabric business, it is time for Da Textile Samurai to close down Kona Bay Fabrics.  This is our last week.

I'm sure you realize how tough this economy has been for many years and can understand how challenging it has been for so many.

The last few years, in particular, have been very hard but I wasn't ready to quit before I could honestly say that we gave it our all and did what we could to try and keep Kona Bay Fabrics alive.  Alas, it just wasn't meant to be.

Many shops have closed during these tough economic times.  Attendance at Quilt Market has fallen off over the years.  Colleagues and friends whether they be competitors or sales reps have also decided to change their profession and move on.

Having said all this, I look forward to the future and await what it will bring.  I'm still young and energetic and am merely ending but one chapter of my life.  

What I will miss the most is the friendship that I have made during these past 26 years.  Quilt Market was always a time when friends who shared a love for fabric and quilting came together.  Speaking to quilt guilds gave me a great opportunity to be with people who love our fabric and always gave so much encouragement and support.  

Through our constant emails (and I hope I didn't email you too often), we were able to bond with our friends and supporters and have crazy contests and giveaways.

I will miss the great staff and supporters who really made Kona Bay Fabrics our home for the past 26 years.

I don't know what the future will bring so I don't really think this is good-bye.

For now it is MAHALO for your past support and ALOHA to everyone!!

Douglas
Da Textile Samurai
Kona Bay Fabrics

So what are your thoughts on all of this?

Hugs,
Michelle

16 comments:

Barb said...

I hate to hear this....

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I find this just the reverse in our area. We are very strong in quilting and have several wonderful shops that meet all quilters. We are very strong in the heritage quilting and civil war fabrics, but there are changes for the young and modern quilters - those shops are there for them and there are new guilds forming. Embroidery machines are becoming very popular as are the smaller 'hobby' size quilting frames/machines. Hand quilting and other forms of hand work are also strong. We see a huge diversity and shops are there.

Lace Faerie said...

This is sad news! I am 54 yrs old, been sewing since I made my own Easter dress in 5th grade. I came into quilting as a means of justifying my fabric buying habit! I've been quilting for about 7 years. Quilting is big in the Pacific Northwest. I belong to 3 guilds, each with different demographics. One of the fun things our local MQG is we have our Happy Hour Handwork meet up. Our local Whole Foods store has a large, brightly lit eat-in area with salad bar, espresso stand, local brews on tap, wine by the glass and a wood burning pizza oven. We meet after work hours, enjoy a glass of wine and a light meal. Then a member spreads out several vintage linens and we all take out our hand work. All are welcome! Quilters, embroiderers, knitting and crocheting, whatever. The feedback from the community has been wonderful! Many many people stop and ask what we are doing! By being inclusive, inviting everyone to join us and making sure they know membership is not required, we have grown to a good size group of people who come and go as the can. That's the way we keep quilting and handcrafting alive.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Though I realize that times do change and that most of us don't have a choice but to "go with the flow", I am always terribly distraught by the fact that much of the PASSION in creativity and entrepreneurship is being destroyed. I've seen several small businesses, run by extremely talented artisans are now KAPUT. On the one hand, I realize I am getting older, often reminiscing about the GOOD OLD DAYS, when you could easily find small shoppes that carried everything you needed to sustain your simple living, or shoppes that offered beautiful, one-of-a-kind supplies to create. Gone are the days of the corner five-and-dime where my mom and I would walk at least once a week for a spool of thread, a yard of fabric, or simply a candy bar. Now everything is BIG, requiring you to have a HUGE car to load up and haul big purchases, because that's what it all seems to be these days. Oh Shell, this is sad. I truly am with you and as an educator, I try to prepare my students to be good thinkers which includes CREATIVITY because if the up and coming generations don't have dreams, we will perish.

Susie Q said...

Interesting view as here in the UK Quilting is one of the fastest growing hobbies and we don't seem to have enough quilt shops! I suppose that if there are still fabric suppliers via the web it will be okay but it is not the same as going to the store and picking out fabrics yourself. I think the last eight years has been difficult for all businesses with the world recession but I think things are starting to get a little better. We work in the engineering industry and it is only the last three months of last year and the first three of this that things have picked up.

I will still keep quilting and if necessary we will have to go backwards like the original quilters and use old clothes to make our quilts.

Hugs, Susie x

Rebecca said...

Yes times are a changing...
Part of the change of buying habits can be found in the price of fabric.
$12 to $14 a yard dose not allow much of anyone to build a stash.

krislovesfabric said...

I am saddened by this too but I have to agree with Rebecca's comment that the cost of fabric has gone up so much in the 17 years or so that I have been quilting. It was around 6 dollars a yard and now is twice that or more. I find I can't justify that to just "stash" and buy for a specific project in mind most of the time now.

JudyCinNC said...

Two or three quilt shops in the Raleigh area have gone out of business. I believe our generation has also come to fixed income living, which gives us discretionary buying. I have recently sold half of my stash, and only do small items I like to gift to others. Modern quilt guilds are taking over around here.

I No longer can afford to purchase quilting fabric at today's prices; haven't seen too many patterns I like; I no longer want to make big quilts as my quilt closet (I like to hang my quilts) is bursting at the seams. Downsizing also creates other considerations in our choices. It is quite sad to me - I loved my Golden Girls bi-weekly all -day sewing group where we laughed all the time, sewed a lot for charity and ourselves, challenged ourselves, and had wonder pot luck lunches. DWH and I love our gardening and some knitting at night keep us busy. Interesting comments - especially where quilting is thriving. Who knew? JudyC

Judy1522 said...

I have to say I am not surprised. I have not been into quilting for that long and don't have a large stash of fabric although I have more than I thought I would ever have. What I felt from the beginning was that the quilting field was over saturated with fabric, tools and machines. I was really bothered by the fact that if you didn't buy the fabric now it would probably be gone and you would not be able to get that design again. That alone was driving the fabric market and pushing people to buy what they had no immediate need for. Years ago I always knew that if I didn't buy enough fabric to make something I would be able to go back to the fabric store and probably find the fabric again. That is not the case now and with the high price of a yard of fabric quilts have become extremely expensive to make and difficult to justify buying fabric at full price unless you have a specific project. It's kind of ironic when you consider that originally quilts were made to use up leftover fabric scraps in a useful way. But there again times have changed. Having said all this I am sorry to hear about what is happening and hope that this doesn't become the way of more fabric companies. I believe that the quilting world will survive but maybe in a smaller, less frenetic way than it has been for the last few years.

QUILTING IS BLISSFUL, DI said...

Oh my--I had no idea that even manufactures were closing!! here is my personal thoughts--I have been quilting for about 16 years now--and I have made many many quilts and have pretty much hand quilted them all--I did not sell many--mostly gifts or donations for charity--and then my pile here--over half the boxes that I shipped to Fl in my move were quilt related--either quilts already made up, fabrics, threads, notions ect--but I gave away or sold tons of fabrics and books and patterns and such--thinking I could buy more when I got here--but that has been a problem--there is only one quilt shop in this area that really carries a nice line of fabric that I have found--and most of the quilt shops today are sooo busy and so full of machines and the larger items that they don't have the bolts of fabrics nor the models that you need to inspire one when one does go in--soo--I do think some of the down hill quilt problem is the shops themselves--I do not buy hardly any fabric that is not a designer named fabric--as I do want the best fabrics in my quilts and don't mind the price to do that--yet--I often do not have the money to purchase this fabric anymore--living here is more expensive than it was in NY--I often have to order online for the newest lines-only way I can get them--I do not like the modern quilts--I have tried--I do not know if it is my age, background or what--I just like the old blocks for patterns and the prints--one thing though that has come out here with a couple seniors is--their kids don't want any of their stuff--but--their grandkids love it--so I don't think quilting is going out--it is just skipping a age group or two--
enjoy the moments,diane

Createology said...

I have always and will always LOVE fabrics. I have to feel them. With our "Instant Gratification" society and "throw away disposable" everything now-days it is sad to see long time shops and manufacturers go out of business. This sneak peek is tempting me. I will have to add it to my collection. Sewing for me is pretty much on hold until we sell here and relocate...no matter how long it takes. I just pray I live long enough to enjoy all these kits I have acquired from Raspberry Rabbits. Creative Bliss never dies...<3

Rabbits' Guy said...

Go with the flow! Demographics have a big part - where do the people who like to quilt go when they retire?

Tina said...

I have to say that think all of the comments you've received are 100% spot on. I've had many of the same thoughts about the very high cost of fabrics (it seems to go up $1 or more per yard, each year), the bad economy, fewer quilters, and the quilting world overall seems to have shifted its' focus toward more modern fabrics and styles. I'll certainly miss Kona fabrics - I've always loved their beautiful colors and great quality. We don't have a quilt shop in my town so I typically just make do and if absolutely necessary, I will look online. I received an email from The Thrifty Needle just last week that they are no longer in business (I believe they are in New York state). Yes, times are a changing which is sad.

Pieta Laker-Ratcliff said...

It is so sad to hear that Kona are closing down. I try and shop locally but must admit that I do purchase online whenever I see a sale advertised. Over the last few years I have noticed that there are so many new lines being introduced all the time and wonder if now there is too much choice.
On another note - it is April 1 here downunder and I have to wait until the earth turns for my next instalment of Briarside Lane. It looks intriguing and I am so loving the designs. I would love to be able to purchase prints of the original drawings from Jules.

gsvatek said...

This is sad news...but understandable when all the factors involved. You stated some true facts Shell...

Virginia Timmins said...

To a fabric shop!! Seriously, I have heard that all the small digital printing shops on line are having a big effect. Unfortunately many of them don't seem to care about quality. I am optimistic that quilting will survive.