The numbers are in! Premier Needle Arts, the parent company of Handi Quilter, Superior Threads, and Connecting Threads, conducted and funded a survey of 1 million self-selected quilters in late January and early February, 2020. Over 20,000 people opened the survey, with an 83% completion rate. Here is what the survey reports:
There are 9-11 million quilters in North America, of whom about 8% are beginners. Most of you, almost 60%, prefer “traditional” quiltmaking or “casual” quiltmaking. About 15% identify as “modern” quilters. About 10% or less say they prefer “art”, “artisan”, or “thread art/fiber work” quilting. Only 8% consider themselves professional quilters or do show quilting. Over 30% like free-motion quilting; 20% like custom quilting; and 20% like computerized quilting. (I don’t know what the authors of the survey mean by “custom” quilting; is this hand quilting, or quilt-by-check, or something else entirely?)
Far and away, when it comes to shopping, most quilters go where their favorite fabric is. Important but much less so are location (how close and convenient), what patterns and inspiration are available, and what the hours are (eg., you can shop in your pjs with a glass of wine in your hand at 3am at an online site, where as you must shop within the brick-and-mortar shop’s open hours).
When asked where they like to shop, close to 70% said an independent quilt shop (this warms my heart). “Online” got a 67% rating, “chain stores” about 28%, and others like quilt shows, sewing machine centers, and big-box retailers 5% or less. Most likely quilters shop at all of these places from time to time, but I am happy that the independent quilt shop is everybody’s favorite. Going along with these statistics, most purchases are also made in the independent quilt shop, with online and chain stores coming in second and third.
For brick-and-mortar stores, convenience is paramount. Most respondents said they would drive a maximum of about 30 minutes to get to a store. I am thinking this depends on many things: whether there is a quilt shop that close to you, whether your “local” quilt shop has what you are looking for, or whether you like the shop, for example. In general, though, we like to shop close to home.
Not too surprisingly, most quilters go to free online classes for their education (over 50%). Magazines and classes at local quilt shops or other institutions also provide a resource, as do family and friends and quilt shows. Most quilters, I think, probably avail themselves of all these resources from time to time in the course of their quilting journey.
Now that I have written all this, I would like to point out that this survey was conducted before the COVID19 crisis began. It would be interesting to run it again, to see if the new shopping paradigms of online shopping and curbside pickup affect anybody’s answers. Maybe the 9-11 million quilters in North America now have another million or two friends; I know Capital Quilts has many new customers, and I hope you will all become quilters once you are tired of making masks!
Our Gallery is once again open! When you visit the shop, be sure to stroll through and admire the COVID19 Challenge quilts. You may recall that Capital Quilts provided 1 yard of fabric and asked each participant to express in a project how they were feeling about the pandemic and the shutdown.
A few of you sent us pictures of your old and forgotten Works in Progress that you have gotten out and worked on or finished since the pandemic began. We’d love to have more of you send a picture and the date you started it, to the best of your knowledge, and any story behind it. We’ll let you know who has the oldest one!
Elizabeth recommends reading “The Keeper of Lost Things” by Ruth Hogan. She says it is a lovely story. If you haven’t read Louise Penny’s series of books featuring Chief Inspector Gamache, you must! Start with book #1 and be prepared to binge read! The 16th book is coming out on September 1 and I can’t wait.
American Patchwork & Quilting’s 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge is accepting registrations for their Fall Pillowcase Dash September 1-30, 2020. Because of COVID, only individuals may sign up; there will be no teams or groups this year. Everyone who participates get a fun pair of socks (as long as you complete at least one week’s challenge during the month). Other prizes include 10 bolts of fabric and cash awards. Click HERE to register.
We really and truly appreciate your patronage and your patience through this pandemic. Your support has been awesome. You are truly the best customers ever!
Go ‘n’ Piece,
HANDI QUILTER EVENT
I am tentatively scheduling a Handi Quilter Event here in the shop on September 25 and 26. The four classes will be led by Handi Quilter National Educator Diane Henry. Diane lives locally and feels comfortable teaching a small group. We would, of course, wear masks and sit socially distanced. Each class will be limited to 6 people.
There will be four 3-hour-long classes, one each morning and one each afternoon. The first class, on Friday morning, is for those of you who have been making quilt tops like crazy since March and are now ready to quilt them! It is called “Taking the Mystery Out of Longarm Quilting” and is an introduction to the Handi Quilter longarm machine, with information about thread, needles, loading fabric on the frame, and basic quilting techniques. This class is perfect for those of you who would like to know more about longarm quilting.
Friday afternoon’s class is called “Design Your Quilting for the Whole Quilt”, which will get into planning and marking your design, developing a design library of background fills, and making borders fit without measuring. Move beyond edge-to-edge quilting and learn how one motif can be broken down to complement each area of your quilt. Explore fillers both modern and classic.
Saturday morning we’ll have a class called “Using Rulers and Templates”. Diane will talk about using rulers safely, then discuss the different designs you can produce with different rulers and how to mark for them. You’ll get a chance to try various rulers at the machine.
Our last class, on Saturday afternoon, seeks to stir your imagination. It is called “Jumping into Improvisation Quilting”. Looking at your fabric motifs, the shapes of your blocks, and even using surprising thread colors can all be used to quilt in unexpected ways. Topics include drawing and transferring simple designs to your quilt, using straight lines to create drama, adding unexpected designs, using marked grids as a foundation, and drawing inspiration from fabric prints.
In every class Diane will give you lots of tips and tricks. The outlines of the classes above are just the beginning of the information she will impart. You’ll have a great time and learn lots.
Each class is $75. Register online or by calling the shop at 301-527-0598.
Note: I will be keeping an eye on the progress of the pandemic between now and the end of September. If metrics become unfavorable, I will cancel the event and refund your money.
I am also counting on you to be responsible about not coming to the event if you have been exposed to the virus within 2 weeks of the event or if you are feeling in any way unwell or someone in your household is unwell. Let’s protect each other! Thank you in advance.
This will be our first attempt at an instore class since March. If it goes well, I will consider having other classes here at the shop. Fingers crossed!
IN-STORE SHOPPING AT CAPITAL QUILTS
We continue to offer shopping by appointment here in the shop, and remain closed to casual walk-in traffic. Please click here to make an appointment. Need more than 25 minutes? Book 2 consecutive time slots! Please be sure to carefully read all the rules we have around in-store shopping, and know that the staff is wiping down surfaces frequently with disinfectant.
Pro shopping tip: if you know you need needles, elastic, thread, or other items that do not require an in-person appointment, go ahead and order them online!. Specify curbside pickup, and you can pick those things up when you come for your appointment, and then you can spend all your time enjoying the fabric!
If you are unable to come to your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can fill that time slot.
CAPITAL QUILTS CARES
We are collecting scrub caps for nurses and respiratory therapists at a local hospital. Wearing PPE all day can be depressing, and medical workers love to perk up their day with happy or silly scrub caps. The requesting doctor received one from her mother that she loves! She made a few more for herself, and knowing what a lift it gives her, is hoping to share the love. There is no restriction on the pattern to use, but she likes Milly's Tie Scrub Hat Pattern from Brimming with Love. It's a woman's hat with enough room to tuck long hair up into. Twelve Bees has a great video and pattern for making a men's scrub hat. (Not necessarily men, but for people with short hair.) 2 hats from just a hair over a 1/3 of a yard. (12.5 inches)
We also have free pillowcase kits available that you can sew at home. They are a wonderful beginner project to do with children. The kiddos will learn some sewing skills and stay busy, too! We can mail them to you or you can pick them up curbside. Return the finished pillowcases to the shop (when you can; there is no rush), and we will donate them to Ryan’s Case for Smiles when the appropriate time comes.
Small Kennel Quilts are always accepted for donation. These small quilts are sent to shelters and rescues all over the country, and are a great beginner project, or a way to practice your free motion quilting skills. We just received requests from North and South Carolina, from shelters taking in animals displaced by Isaias.
NAVIGATING THE ONLINE STORE
For those of you who are computer-challenged, click here for a quick tutorial on getting to and through our online shop using a laptop or desktop computer. (Smart phones and tablet screens may vary.)
We have had a few people call to say that they are having trouble getting PayPal to work or to make a selection or are having other issues when they use the Capital Quilts online store. If this happens to you, try refreshing your browser. That often solves the problem. Don’t forget to click on “I am not a robot”, and select the method of delivery (shipping/curbside), too. If you continue to have a problem, please contact the shop at 301-527-0598.
We have all made a mask or two (or 50, or 200, or…), and would like to share our favorite patterns, and some tips and tricks we’ve discovered along the way. Click here for all the details! (By the way, some of our customers are now offering completed masks for sale on our website, if you aren't interested in sewing one yourself.)
Bill Nye the Science Guy has posted a video in which he demonstrates how to test the efficacy of your mask. Put your mask on and light a candle. Try to blow the candle out. If the flame wavers or goes out, your mask is not working. Dispose of it or add a filter and test again.
We recently started listing all mask-making supplies in a single category to make them easier to find online. Click here to see all the currently available items. (Updated each and every time we get in a new product!)
Mask Kits for personal use:
Kits are currently available! They contain all the materials (pre-cut fabric, twist ties for nose wires, cotton twill tape for fabric ties, and pattern with tips and tricks) required to make either 5 or 10 at a time. These kits are not intended to be used to make masks for donating to medical facilities, but are perfect for the “shoppers’ masks” now required to be worn in public in our area. Click here to order.
Not interested in making your own masks? No worries! We have several local quilters and crafters selling their masks through our website. Multiple styles and prints are available, including NEW communicator masks for those who need others to see their lips (or their smile).
SEWING MACHINE MAINTENANCE
We are able to accept all brands of sewing machines for cleaning and tune-ups. To take advantage of this service, go to our website and sign up for machine repair. Bring your machine to the shop. We will take it in and wipe it down with a disinfectant (safe for sewing machines). We will let you know it is ready for pick-up and wipe it down again before we give it to you. Our technicians are working as quickly as they can, but both have essential day jobs. Machine servicing wait time is currently estimated at 2-3 weeks after drop-off.
If your machine is broken, be sure to write that in the notes section. We are not always able to get parts for machines other than Janome, but we will contact you before proceeding. If you want the technician to call you with an estimate before making the repair, please put that in the notes section as well.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
So many lovely new things to tell you about! First, we have "All Lined Up" from Studio E. These digitally printed stripes are bold and vibrant and ready to play! $12.99 per yard.
Autumn is coming! Celebrate crisper weather with Boccaccini Meadows' "After the Rain". Fungi, maple leaves (and seeds) take center stage in this beautifully rendered collection. $12.99 per yard. FQ Bundles of all prints are available for $52.50.
"Sunny Fields" is chock full of sunflowers and bachelor's buttons and butterflies, allowing you to make something "summery" to keep you cheerful year-round! $12.99 per yard.
2021 calendars are here! Check out the full selection by clicking here. Pricing varies.
Like so many schools, we are electing to not hold classes in the shop but to have virtual learning instead. We will make this as easy as we can for you, sending you a link to the Zoom class. All you have to do is add the Zoom app to your computer, IPad, or other device so that you can open the link and participate in the class.
Class size will be limited, at least at first, while our teachers become familiar with using Zoom. As before COVID, you can sign up online, by phone, or in the shop if you are here on a shopping appointment. Class descriptions are found below and on our website. Each class will have a supply list; look for this on our website: click on “Class Calendar in the blue bar at the top of the home page. Find the class on the calendar and click on that, then scroll down to the bottom left of the page to find “Supply List” and click on that.
HIDDEN WELLS: Use 2½” strips to make four blocks out of one block, then move them around in different combinations to get the look you love. This is a technique class to learn how to make a new block and manipulate it to make something else. Use a strip set or cut your own strips; you need 4 for the class to learn how to make the block. You will not make a finished quilt as part of this class, but you will learn how to make a block that you can then use to make a quilt.
This class will be held on the Zoom platform. Please download the supply list to be sure you can meet the technological requirements and have materials on hand for the class. Meets on Sunday, August 30, 2-3:30. Julie Taylor, instructor. $20. Limited to 10 participants. Skill level: intermediate.
THE CAPITAL QUILTS COMPLETE COURSE OF QUILTING: This course is designed to teach you everything you need to know to make a quilt, from how to use your sewing machine to fabric selection to sewing on the label. Learn a new technique each week, including cutting, pressing, set-ins, paper-piecing, and more. You will make a sampler quilt incorporating all the major quilting techniques, and then learn how to sandwich, quilt, and bind your masterpiece. It is the perfect opportunity to start at the beginning and learn one step at a time. This class will have 10 meetings on Zoom and 1 meeting with the instructor in the shop, one-on-one, to go over using your machine and selecting fabrics for your project. Please plan to wear a mask in the shop. You must have your own sewing machine. There will be homework!
This class will be held on the Zoom platform. Please download the supply list well before the 1st class to be sure you can meet the technological requirements and have materials on hand for the class. Meets on 10 Wednesdays beginning on September 9, 6:30-8:30. The last class is on November 11. Betsy Kulamer, instructor. $270. Limited to 8 participants. Skill level: beginner.
AccuQuilt is continuing to offer $100 off the Go! Big and Ready.Set.Go! cutting machines during the month of August. This is a mail-in rebate available only through retailers (not on the AccuQuilt website); get your rebate form with your purchase at Capital Quilts.
AccuQuilt introduced 3 new dies last week. They are “Starry Path”, a 9” finished die; “Snail’s Trail”, 8” finished; and “Maple Leaf”, 8” finished. If you would like to order any of these dies, please let me know and I’ll get them in the shop.
Meet the Janome 2222. This entry-level mechanical sewing machine is a perfect machine for a new sewer. It has 22 stitches, a one-step buttonhole, an auto-declutch bobbin winder, front-loading vertical bobbin, and a maximum stitch width of 5mm. The feet snap on and off. The free arm allows easy access to sleeves and other tight places. You can drop the 5-piece feed dogs for free-motion quilting. There is a built-in needle threader. It comes with a dust cover and at just 13 lbs. is also a perfect machine for travel.
Capital Quilts has 2 of these machines in stock.
Special Financing Promotion: from August 18-September 8, 2020, Handi Quilter is offering $0 down and 0% financing with Free Shipping. This is a great time to buy a longarm quilting machine or a Pro-Stitcher!
Tune in to the Handi Quilter Facebook page every Tuesday at 2pm EDT for their Shop@Home Event, which features tips, tricks, and tutorials on Handi Quilter products with limited-time special pricing and a give-away to a random live attendee. They announce a special on a different machine or accessory each week. If you can’t watch the Tuesday event, go to the HQ website and enjoy the “And I Quilt” series of videos. You can still get the special pricing on the week’s product through Sunday.
This week, take 15% off the bundle of 7 Ruler-of-the-Month-Club #5 rulers.