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The under 45 quilter

November 15th, 2017 by Morna

The 2017 Quilting in America™ study took a specific look at a group of younger quilters, those under the age of 45. The complete study indicated an average age for the dedicated quilter of 63, down from 64 in 2014. Over time the average age had been increasing. This was the first time that the study delineated results for this subgroup.

The study reveals some important observations about this younger group of quilters. They are more likely to be an occasional quilter and less committed to the craft, largely based on time and work constraints. Here is what the studied showed about this important group:

  • Educated (4-year college graduate 35%; Post graduate degree 23%)
  • Affluent ($98,000 average household income)
  • More likely to be an occasional quilter, however, they still devote on average 10 hours a week to quilting vs. 13 for the total sample, which is substantial given the other demands on their time. And, this group is two times more likely to be employed full-time while devoting this time to her craft.

  • Though more likely to be beginners, this age group is not an entirely a “newbie” group as the percentage of Intermediates is on par with the total sample.
  • 26% have purchased a traditional sewing machine and 26% attended a quilt show in the past year, suggesting a growing commitment to quilting
  • Modern quilting is much more prevalent in this age group
  • In general their dollar expenditure is less but only by 10%, and that is largely driven by lower spending on machines and equipment
  • Websites (75%) and online video (63%) play a stronger role for information and inspiration than the total sample.
  • Facebook, lnstagram and Pinterest are important sources for this group
  • In addition to Internet search and social media, blogs are also important to this group

 

About the Quilting in America™ survey and its partners

Quilting in America™ 2017 is the eighth in a series of studies done since 1994 with the intent of measuring the amount of time and money quilters spend on their hobby in addition to profiling the key segments of the market.

The study is conducted in two phases: Phase I, administered by ORC International in January 2017, involved surveying an online, national panel of households to measure incidence of participation and the dollar value of the quilting industry. When 6,105 completed surveys were received, ORC closed the survey for tabulation. This information, along with new sources of market data that were not previously available, were used to present the 2017 findings.

Phase II was conducted by Advantage Research, Inc. in April and May 2017. Survey invitations were sent to a total of 415,104 quilters over a period of several weeks. The invitees were comprised of customers from APQS, The Quilting Company, Hobbs Batting, Northcott Fabrics, Quilting Treasures, and Quilts, Inc. When the survey closed, a total of 21,347 completed surveys had been received, yielding a response rate of 5.1%.

The Quilting Company, a division of F+W Media LLC, is building off the tradition and excellence of established brands including Fons & Porter, McCall’s, and Quilting ArtsThe Quilting Company is dedicated to inspiring, educating, and equipping quilters of all interests and skill levels. Its websites, online education programs, video services, live events, magazines, and books all serve to meet the needs of the quilter wherever they may be. Building Your Passion Piece by Piece. www.quiltingcompany.com.

Quilts, Inc. is the producer of the wholesale industry trade show International Quilt Market (fall edition since 1979, spring since 1981) and consumer show International Quilt Festival (Houston edition since 1974, Chicago edition since 2003}. The Houston Festival is the largest quilt show in the U.S. and regularly attracts more than,55,000 attendees from 35 countries. We’re Quilts! www.quilts.com

Your turn!

What are your thoughts about the survey results? One of the challenges for those of us who have been in the industry for many years is to encourage this younger demographic. This is critical if we want the industry to continue to thrive and to grow. By understanding where the younger quilters learn and how they connect, we can be in a better position to do so. I also thought that the amount of time they dedicated to quilting isn’t that much different than the dedicated quilter, less than 30 minutes a day. As this group ages and has more unrestricted time, I wonder if they won’t devote even more time to the art form so many of us love.

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4 Responses to “The under 45 quilter”


  1. Lynn N. said:

    Thank you for this post, and thanks for addressing us – the 45 and under crowd of quilters! I’m glad to hear you wanting to understand us better, because I feel that isn’t always the case with the more “typical” quilter. While I have encountered some very encouraging, helpful quilters who were happy to help me increase my skills, I have come across just as many (if not more) who are dismissive and sometimes downright rude. I’ve been sewing since I was a child, and have done so professionally for most of the last 10 years, so it’s been really quite hurtful to have older quilters and people in the industry in general completely disregard my abilities simply because I’m not “a real quilter”, whatever that means. I quilt for the enjoyment of it, for the challenge of trying something new and outside my comfort zone, and to make things that people I love will hopefully use and treasure. I don’t think that’s any different than older quilter’s motives, so I don’t understand the bias. We (the younger quilters) are not a threat- we are the future of this skill, art form, and hobby. If you really want to understand us, include us. Don’t shun us and then wonder why we learn everything from YouTube and Pinterest tutorials. At 45 years old, the internet is not my first thought for learning something new in general but for quilting, it has become that. My computer doesn’t care how long I’ve been quilting, and the friendly face showing me the technique I want to learn doesn’t judge me for my age. It’s a lot easier than constantly feeling that I have to justify my right to quilt too, something that I’ve felt on too many occasions with older, more experienced quilters. So I’m really glad that you are reaching out to understand us. Thank you!


  2. Morna said:

    Lynn, you’re welcome. When I think about the younger quilter, I remember back when I was in my early 30s and moved to a new city. I found a quilt guild right away. (Actually my husband found the notice of the meeting in the paper for me.) To this day, I remember how welcomed I was by some of the older quilters. They were interested in what I made and how I approached quiltmaking. The feeling was mutual. I had been teaching for a few years already and went on to do workshops and lectures. It was really a non-judgmental environment, and for that I’m grateful. We all love this art form and need to encourage and learn from each other. Some day all the under 45 quilters will be the over 45 quilters.


  3. Jessica said:

    Thank you for posting these statistics. As a quilter in her early 20s, I’m happy to read that there are so many other quilters in my generation (and the generations immediately before & after). I’m surprised that the median income is so high, but I suppose it makes sense — it can be an expensive hobby, after all!

    While my grandmother is a skilled and avid quilter, most of my quilt inspiration definitely comes from the Internet. It’s just such an incredible tool for seeing the creativity of people all over the world. I feel very grateful that I can also ask questions & learn from my grandmother, though.


  4. Morna said:

    Jessica, Happy to meet a young quilter in our field. I started quilting in my 20s, too. I was lucky to find others in my age range, plus those older who welcomed me. What you noted is key; you are able to ask questions and learn from your grandmother. And, I’m sure she loves sharing her traditions and knowledge. I think what is important is that we are inclusive and we learn from each other, older and younger. We can each inspire. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

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