Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Change is constant

There’s been a lot of buzz over the last few weeks in the quilting universe. Three major organizations announced huge decisions: (1) F + W Media will cease publishing Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine following their next issue; (2) American Quilters Society will cease publishing books in 2017, and (3) International Machine Quilting Association, host of the Machine Quilters’ Showcase, will fold.

While it’s a lot to digest, it seems to me that some of this was inevitable. The trajectory of the quilter’s universe appears to be latching on to and riding the modern aesthetic, and I believe that’s just business. We have two large factions; those of us older gals (in age, not spirit) who are more traditional in our choices of patterns, fabrics and the like, and the younger set who claim to be “modern” quilters. (I mean no disrespect to modern quilters. I love a lot of what they do and want to do some of it! This is just what I see from my perspective.) What I also see is that while the older quilters have more disposable income and time (for some) to quilt, some of us are also aging to the point where we no longer have the need to have that latest fabric or pattern, and don’t spend all of our waking hours quilting.

This got me thinking about my own quilting path. For many years, my goal for my retirement was to quilt all I want, which means most of the time. I have a huge fabric stash that I have always referred to as my 401(k) plan, because I knew I would have it when I retired and could use it up in my golden years.

What I didn’t take into account was what the Hubster wanted to do—selfish, I know, but I have always thought that I would FINALLY get to do what I wanted when I retired. The Hubster, however, has no hobbies. He’s a fabulous cook and he can build and fix just about anything, but he doesn’t see either one of those activities as hobby-worthy.

We’re just a few years from retirement and we started the conversation a few months ago. He said if I was going to quilt all the time, he didn’t see the point of retiring because he didn’t want to sit in his chair all day watching TV. I told him I wanted to travel, too, but he couldn’t see us traveling enough to justify retiring; he’d rather work to keep his brain active.

I had to really think about this. While the idea of his continuing to work would help us out financially when I retire, I don’t want him to be disappointed when he is finally ready, or is forced to retire. So I asked him, “What if we bought an RV and traveled full time?”

My goodness, his eyes lit up like a Christmas tree. So here we are, planning to retire in 5 to 8 years, selling the house and buying an RV to travel around this great country of ours.

So now I’m rethinking and adjusting my retirement plan. That fabric stash I mentioned? It needs to be obliterated between now and the anticipated retirement date, and I want to use up as much as I’m able. The Hubster fully understands and appreciates my need to sew, and said we could put a lot in storage and take some along with us. I can’t see putting the fabric in storage. I’d rather stop at the good quilt shops along life’s highways while we’re traveling! I’ll have to change the way I approach my quilting—i.e., finish one before starting another (that will be some adjustment!). Then there’s the machine issue—I can take a sewing machine, but I can’t take my longarm machine. Don’t get me wrong—I love to work by hand—but I love using my machines, too. I’m stewing on this. Maybe Hubster has the right idea of storing the fabric and the longarm can be set up there…

I also know we cannot RV forever. We have a Plan B for when we decide we can no longer be on the road, or if by the time we retire, we can’t get on the road.

So, getting back to that idea of change: It’s constant. I’ve lived in my house for 20 years and that’s the longest I have continuously lived in one place; it’s gone by in the blink of an eye. That’s the only thing that hasn’t changed for me in those years. Everything else: family, friends, work life; it’s constantly changing and I try my best to roll with the flow.

The quilting universe also constantly changes. I believe we’re going through what Wall Street calls a correction—and it may be good for us. I feel we have been saturated with so many shows, publications and fabric lines that (and I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud) it was too much. I also believe that we will see an improvement in the way manufacturers, publishers and shop owners will do business in order to keep the quilter consumers happy and they can continue to provide.

Back to our regular programming--I'll have a picture post soon!

Go quilt!