Saturday, March 22, 2008

Quilters are Knitters, too

A recent article in The San Jose Mercury News raved about Stitches West, the knitting expo held at the Santa Clara County Convention Center. The writer was so impressed with the numbers (nearly 10,000 shoppers!) and crowed about the growing market—nearly 1.4 billion dollars—that the knitters and crocheters represent.

That article made me cranky. Every year at that same convention center, Pacific International Quilt Festival is held. Twice that number of quilters attend but PIQF garners little or no media attention.

I should have been mollified then, by the appearance of Ricky Tims on the CBS Sunday Morning. He is, after a quilter. A good one. While it was great to see an accomplished non-traditional quilter on a major network, I was still a little cranky because they’d picked a man. Now, I know there are men that quilt. But there are millions of women who quilt. Millions. The latest estimate is 27 million! My guess is at least a million are doing work on the same level as Ricky Tims. Don’t get me wrong, the segment is still worth viewing.
If you poke around on, you can find the video called Quilts for Sale.

CBS did interview one of the most important women in the quilt world, Karey Bresenhan. Karey is the force behind the International Quilt Festivals, which are held three times a year. The Houston show routinely attracts over 55,000 people. She was the one who told the reporter that quilting was a nearly four-billion-dollar industry. Take that, yarn buyers. Four billion. 55,000 quilters at one show. CBS gave this woman ten seconds of air time.

See why I’m cranky?

It reminds me of an adage in the mystery book world. A male reader will buy only mysteries written by men but women will buy books by both male and female writers.

Women speak with soft voices, often overshadowed by our male relatives, friends and lovers. We quilt, sending the resulting quilts off to wounded vets, flood victims, children of broken homes. We hope that our efforts will somehow change the world.

We knit and crochet, too. I hate to break it to the Mercury News, but I know for a fact some of those Stitches West attendees were quilters.

1 comment:

Becky Levine said...

Terri, the quilting numbers always blow me away. It is amazing that some people think quilting is an old-fashioned craft or is going away as a pasttime.

Um...NOT. :)