I just read the funniest blog post titled “State of the Stash 2016” written by Barbara at www.stashoverflow.wordpress.com !!
Be nice and finish mine first, then you can go back and read Barbara‘s!
My comment to Barbara was “I am still laughing!!!!! I keep trying to explain the Row-by-Row “frenzy” to my husband. It was well defined by your post and he now understands what a great marketing scheme it is, to get quilters all worked up and out on the road into the quilt shops!! I too have fallen off the wagon already, big time. I am working on a mystery quilt with FROM MY CAROLINA HOME . wordpress.com and it is a scrap buster….except…I needed neutrals….lots of them. Like 6 yards! And how boring is it to shop for neutrals, so of course I had to buy something else! Go sew, have fun, play with your fabrics and tackle those bindings without guilt. Retirement usually means less money to play with, so I am glad you have a STASH to work with, and the resources to pick up a few bits and pieces, here and there!”
I am certainly glad for my stash of fabric, and glad for the bins and bags of scraps that have been “gifted” to me in the last couple of years. I try to be a “good steward” when buying fabric for the quilts we make at church for our graduates, and bargain shop at every opportunity. Retirement does mean “less money” for our hobbies and “more time” to pursue the hobby. I am glad I “stocked up” before I retired.
You may remember that I wrote about listening to a shop owner, trying to explain ROW-BY-ROW to the listeners at a recent meeting of Helping Hands Quilt Guild. Honestly – if it brings people into the shop, it is a GREAT marketing ploy!!! My experience with the Row – by – Row was to pick up a license plate for a lady I didn’t even know and mail it to her. Her big brother was soliciting friends to help her get one from every state, and they would be reimbursed for the cost of the plate and the mailing costs. Someday, I hope to see what she does with them all. I listened to a lady at the guild meeting talk about how she loved some of the Row-by-Row patterns being handed out in shops out on the West Coast of the USA, and was unhappy that she couldn’t get a copy. The speaker at the guild talked about ways people were trying to “cheat the system” to get their free pattern. For example, the person who called and claimed she was disabled and couldn’t get to the store; that also contacted more than 30 stores, trying to get the pattern. Others who just could not understand why the particular store they were standing in front of had the NERVE to be closed on Sundays, etc. So, the buzz is real, the frenzy that Barbara wrote about is real, and I am so glad I didn’t “get on that roller coaster”. My guess, the quilt shops see a low customer volume in the summer, and this is a great way to get live, breathing bodies in the store! Good for them and congrats on a great marketing tool.
So, one of the great debates I read about on line is the big box store vs the local quilt shop. With the news of the 2nd bankruptcy filing by Hancock Fabrics ( news link )and the immediate closure of 70 of it’s 260 brick and mortar stores, you wonder how the great discounts and coupons and deals will all work out in the long run. Stores like Hancock Fabric and JoAnn’s have branched out into far more than “fabric store”. With the additional crafting items, jewelry, yarn, decorator items, they off much more than the local quilt shops can. Additionally, they offer variety and volume. Trust me, I love the 20% off on senior citizens day; and all the other coupon specials; and I hate to pay $12-14 per yard at the local quilt shop. I do have to “wander the fabric aisles” to find good quality fabric and often “fill my cart”. My recent excursion on Wednesday cost me about $56. My receipt said I saved $54. So, I wonder how you can stay in business with that model. Yes, I do shop the local quilt shop, and occasionally buy the $12/14 per yard fabric. More often though, I wait for those shops to have a sale and then I pounce. This is an expensive hobby, no doubt about it. I guess that is why I am such a “scrappy person”. So, with the demise of big box stores, I think the local quilt shops will benefit. As it is, where I live, it is a 30 mile ride to the big box store, and only 12 miles to my nearest local quilt shop. I have 2 in my circle of life, one 15 miles away in another direction. I also love to shop at quilt shows, looking for the latest gadget, and I have been known to order fabric from online shops.
What do you do? Shop local? Shop big box? or Shop on line?