Sunday, June 18, 2006

Are you a "dedicated quilter"?

In Alaska, Peggy slowly became a "dedicated quilter"
LEBANON, OREGON… As Peggy got more into quilting, I noticed this was more than a passing fancy. Then she and Dawn did that thing they called Alaskan Chocolate Quilting Company quilt shop. (See ACQC's Web site.)

Even back then, dumb me figured when they would be quilting 'til 2 or 3 in the morning, it was getting serious. Then there were stops at every quilt shop and fabric store along all Alaskan highways. More clues.

There were a few more signs
'Course that expensive, computerized sewing machine and that little bitty Singer said "dedication". All the fabric in plastic bags, on shelves, in four storage cabinets in her "sewing room" yelled out "dedicated". But what was it really? What is a "dedicated" quilter?

Not 'til we looked at starting a quilt/tea shop
Not 'til we moved here to Oregon did I find out. Not 'til making a business plan for ACQC as a quilt/tea shop in nearby Brownsville, Ore. In 2001, did I discover the numbers that define quilters as "dedicated".

"America's in stitches!" a survey report
"America's in stitches!" was a press release from Houston's International Quilt Festival. Found a copy somewhere on the Web. It was packed with great numbers to put in ACQC's business plan. Was sure with all those numbers about dedicated quilters, banks would soon be seeking us out!

ACQC in Brownsville never made it. That's another post. But I learned dedicated quilters spend money. Or rather I looked at our checkbook and realized Peggy was a dedicated quilter!

$1.84 billion is what quilters spend
What did "America's in stitches!" say about these nearly a million adult Americans who spend "a staggering $1.84 billion per year on their hobby"? They said the numbers were growing!

Since 1997, the previous survey—yeah there was a 2003 survey and probably one going on now—but back to the 2000 numbers.

In 2000 there were 15 million U.S. households with at least one quilter. On average, those quilters spent $118 on quilting each year. But 824,400 households had “dedicated quilters,” who spent more than 500 bucks on quilting annually. That's $1.7 billion of the total spent on quilting, or 94% of the total market.

1,104,696 ladies were these high spenders. That was a huge 68.8% jump over 1997.

You might question the use of "ladies" above. Sure there are male quilters, but do you think many qualify as "dedicated"?

Yes DQs buy fabric
These dedicated quilters (DQs) put their dollars where their hearts are. In the past year they had bought 106.6 million yards of quilting fabric worth $736 million. That was 60,568 miles of fabric—enough to circle the globe 2.5 times.

These DQs start an average of 14.2 projects per year. 76% of them had a sewing/quilting room at home. Most, 88% said they are intermediate or advanced quilters, and almost half enjoyed both contemporary and traditional styles.

Some DQs buy a "few" more machines than average
Here, in the basemen of Peggy's Alaska Cabbage Patch B&B, Peggy's ACQC has 7 sewing machines, a New Joy quilting frame, 6 cutting mats, 1 cutting table, 10 rotary cutters, 4 irons, 5 ironing boards, and a working Ironrite mangle, ca. 1934. Her computerized Bernina is in our bedroom with more fabric.

But Quilting in America™ 2000 survey found DQs had only an average of two sewing machines and 24% of them bought a new one in the previous year. 13% were planning to buy a new machine in the next year.

Peggy is not doing business with ACQC so I guess she has to be termed an extreme DQ! What do you readers think of that—Is she an extreme DQ?

It's said "Don't ask a woman's age"—but they asked quilters
Quilter's ages were another number to count. Most span the generations from 35 and 75, but DQs were mostly college-educated women (74%) with an average age of 55 and average household incomes of $74,806. Only 20% of DQs were between 18 and 44. On average DQs had about 11.2 years’ quilting experience.

They also buy a few books/magazines and have a "stash"
As many of your may guess, quilt books and magazines were their most frequent source of quilting info. DQs purchased five quilting books a year (mostly local quilt shops). Plus they subscribe to 3.7 quilting magazines on average. (How does that ".7" mag come?)

DQs bought 96.5 yards for projects started in the last year, spending about $667. They admit to $2,407 as the average value of their reserve “stash” of fabric—though 5% own up to owning more than $10,000 worth!

Then there are digital quilters and surfer quilters
Computers and the Internet were becoming a part of many quilter's lives. 76% of DQs own computers (up 15% from 1997), and 57% of them log on every day. They spent 2.1 hours each week visiting strictly quilt-related web sites.

So that was my introduction to dedicated quilters defined

Peggy, Dawn, Rusty, JoAnn, Ruby, Jean, Sue and more Santiam Scrappers are either dedicated quilters or dedicated quilter wannabes. At my dialysis center, at least two health care women are also wannabes.

Me thinks there are lots of DQs locally and about 10 or 12 meet in the basement each Wednesday afternoon. A couple DQs come on Thursday evening. Then there are those Scrappers who meet on the third Saturday.

Plus all the quilting bees at local senior centers, in churches, in the local Mennonite community, and on, and on—there're everywhere! DQs are almost a plague.

Oh yeah—What about the 2003 numbers?
The latest Quilting in America 2003 survey said there were 2.1 million quilters and they each spend an average of $139.70. That's an estimated total dollar value of $2.27 billion for the quilting industry.

Now they spend more than $500!
"Dedicated Quilters" are now defined as individuals that spend more than $500 per year on quilting-related purchases. They are a small but mighty group. They represent 5.21% of all quilters, yet make 94.7% of total industry purchases.

The total DQ spending in the 2003 survey was $2.149 billion, an increase of more than 26% since 2000.

Most dedicated quilters are women
The DQ profile says, they are 99% female, 58 years old, 76% attended college, and they have $80, 397 household income. Spending is up to an average $1,934 per year on quilting and they have been quilting for 12.3 years.

In a DQ's sewing/quilting activities there is $5,542 of quilting tools and supplies and $2,860 worth of fabric. They still have 2 sewing machines, but 21% own more than 4 machines.
In the past 12 months, 25% of DQs bought a new machine for $1,811 plus $181 of accessories. Their 12-month fabric buy was 100.7 yards costing $772.40.

Like all surveys, there are all sorts of strange numbers—DQs favorite patterns are small-scale florals (78%), tone-on-tone neutrals (68%) and holiday prints (62%). Wow!

So—Are you a "dedicated quilter"?


Blogger Shelina said...

Oh my,
I'm afraid that I keep secrets even from myself. I buy things from time to time and they join the sewing room family, but I've never actually tried to put a value to it. I think I need to join the DQ support group. Maybe they will help me admit my addiction.

8:40 AM  
Blogger frostystitch said...

OMG..I fear you have committed the worst mortal sin possible for a "DQ" have put numbers to our passion. Naught..naughty. I never want to anyone to see how many yards of fabric I have stashed in my home, how many miles of cash register tape I have totaled in my "must have" purchases. OUCH! You have pricked us with a very sharp pin and we are bleeding all over our stash,(rinse well with cold water before washing.)
My stash inspires me, it comforts me it gives me motivation to make great things, but alas it could also get me drawn and quartered. I live on a combined DH (darling husband) doesn't have such a passion and it is a darned good thing. So please Chris, no more marriage can't take it!

8:29 PM  
Blogger Leah S said...

Oh yes, then by the numbers you've given, I must be a dedicated quilter. For my birthday alone, I spent over $250 on fabric.

I have no idea how many projects I've started, I'd easily say 2-3 dozen a year (now I didn't say completed!) But I can comfortably say that I spent over 60 hours/week towards quilting, including any online time with websites that have a quilting focus.

Although I'm in the minority in other numbers - I'm only 23, my husband currently makes less than $30k/year and I own only one machine. :)

9:39 PM  
Blogger Artful Stitches said...

I just loved your article and am assisting my parents with articles on The Quilting Passion. I did't realize how much I had spent, had a ball though. The funny thing is I am going through a divorce and my husband wanted a credit of $30,000 for my 147 quilts I have made so far. When I think about my 4 machines, 3 are embroidery, long arm APQS Milli/computer and all that fabric and kits and books over 100. I really made out with all my stuff and no he did not get a credit. Welcome to the world of quiting my friends.

3:13 PM  

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