Hello everyone! Hilary here. It’s been quite awhile since we’ve updated our blog and we sincerely apologize for that. Barb and I have been busy preparing for a wedding! My oldest brother (that would be Barb’s oldest son… am I confusing you yet?) was married on Saturday to a wonderful woman and we were thrilled to get to spend 5-6 days with her family and friends in a vacation rental in the San Francisco Bay area. It was quiet and relaxing and the wedding was beautiful!
We’re back to everyday life now, though, and upon our return to Wisconsin, I realized I’d let a few things slip over the last few weeks as we prepared for our trip. We were, however, able to come up with a fun topic for our latest blog post!
First, let me set the stage for the inspiration behind today’s post. The wedding was a unique opportunity for each of us to meet and talk with people who come from a wide range of backgrounds. Cynthia’s family is Mexican, ours American. Cynthia’s sister is working toward her PhD in Australia and her boyfriend is Australian. Nicholas and Cynthia had a number of friends from all over the world fly in for the wedding. Nationalities represented were Mexican, American, French, Australian, Italian, Israeli, Japanese, and Indian. Languages spoken during dinner included English (both Australian and American), French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Hebrew, Hindi, and Japanese.
What does all of this have to do with quilting? It has to do with quilting because upon learning that Barb owns a quilt shop in Wisconsin, a number of people began talking with us about quilting and sewing in their own cultures.
Let’s talk about Australia. Cynthia’s sister is learning how to sew. Her boyfriend’s mother, who is a quilter, is teaching her. In Australia, cotton fabric is sold by the metre (approximately 39″ compared to the 36″ in a yard). At this time, the Australian dollar is at an almost one-to-one conversion rate with the US dollar. Now the kicker – a metre of cotton fabric in Australia is USD $20 or MORE! Compare that to our prices of, on average, USD $10 per yard.
Through our website, we’ve heard from a number of Australians and New Zealanders who tell us that it’s actually less expensive for them to order fabric from us and pay for the shipping and handling than it is for them to drive down the street and buy it.
Last week, we had a visitor in the shop from Cape Town, South Africa. She and her husband were in town for the International Cheese Technology Expo in Milwaukee. I was asking her about quilting in South Africa and what prices were like there. I told her about what we’d been told of the prices of fabric in Australia and New Zealand and she said that in South Africa, it was about the same. Approximately USD $20 per metre of fabric.
Makes you feel a little better about what we pay for our fabric here, doesn’t it!
Over the last few visits between our families, Cynthia’s mother, Carmen, has become rather interested in learning about quilting. Barb gave her some fabric and a book for her birthday in March so she could work on some placemats. When we met again last week, we provided Carmen with some fabric and patterns for a few bags and an apron. In Mexico, they don’t typically create quilted blankets and items as we do here in the United States. As I’m sure you already know, patchwork quilting is actually a fairly American tradition. Our understanding is that in Mexico, traditional textiles tend to be more along the lines of woven, embroidered, or knit.
There are, however, some fabric stores in Mexico that sell quilting weight fabric and patterns, just like your typical quilt shop here in America (well… we found one so far). The one quilt shop we’ve found in Mexico is actually very similar to an American quilt shop. They sell fabric by the yard and it averages around USD $14 per yard.
While we don’t pretend to know everything there is to know about quilting, especially in other cultures and countries around the world, we did find it very fun and interesting to speak with others about the textile traditions that exist where they live and we thought it might be fun for you, our customers, to hear what we learned over the weekend (especially about the price of fabric!).
Have you done any traveling outside the U.S.? What have you found or what do you know about quilting in other parts of the world?