How can it be April already?

HOT PICK this week April 10-15
selected widebacks = $10/yard

Last week for the sale.  Next week they go to regular price.

HOT PICK week of April 17-22
SOLIDS on the Bolt = $8/yd
And we have a wonderful array of solids, we carry Northcott solids which have a higher thread count than many on the marketplace, so they don't ravel like some of the other popular brands.  Price includes any solid in store.  Marbles and grunge not in this special.

NEW CLASS - Labyrinth by Faye
Tuesday April 11 and 18 from 1-4 pm.  $85 includes pattern, fabric, class.  Suitable for beginners.

Another Labyrinth session scheduled for Tuesday May 30 and June 8 from 1-4 pm.
 $85 includes pattern, class, and fabric.  Suitable for beginners.

Call 941-330-0993 for a seat at either session.

It's that time of the year again where we sadly say goodbye to our northern quilters one by one, and to Mary our seasonal binder.  This season seems to have been particularly short.  Each year the number of quilters dwindles a bit as the ladies get older and begin to lose their health.  Two of the quilters are local and I get to sit at the frame and satisfy my need for stitching but overall the process slows to a crawl in the summer.  Each year the quilters ask, "Aren't we caught up yet?"  and each year I tell them the day we have nothing more to sew or stitch, that's the day we are out of business.  
We have a limited number of slots to store tops and can't take in another top until one of the slots is empty.  We probably processed 75 quilts this season and there is the shop's stack of about 40 tops to be quilted.  I was able to sandwich a few of my own tops in the frame, but one of mine always gets pushed back in favor of a customer.  So now my quilt racks are getting emptied and time to restock our inventory.  Fortunately some of my quilters will stitch at home for me and I can send out the store's tops to them, but even that is a slow process.  It takes a lot longer to replace a quilt than it does to sell one! 

We are also busy at this time putting together demos and samples for our Christmas in July event, the first week of July for 2 days, not sure which days, top of the week or at end of week.  On one of the days Ella will discuss various types of batting and uses, and hand out samples.  We sell batting made in the USA and use exclusively Hobbs products from Arkansas and Quilters Dream products from Norfolk VA.  Fanni will demonstrate how to make those popular microwave hot pads for bowls and mugs.

It's been a crazy busy season so now we're restocking. 
What's New:
From Northcott:  A nice Noah's Ark collection.  More of that Solitary Sentinel Wolf which is now out of print and fortunately I managed to snag several more bolts.  It sold so quickly I never got to make it into an Attic Window!  Along with the panel are Northcott's naturescapes coordinates, trees, rocks, etc. 

From Westminster:  Kaffe shot cottons FQ, bundles of FQ Kaffe basics, Amy Butler splendor precuts, Free Spirit precuts of pastel solids, and more.

From a variety of vendors:  more and more panels to make soft stuffed animals for babies and children to hold, calico cat, farm animals, Joey the shop dog, etc.  Seems as though vendors are going to cotton animals instead of plush.

So the fabric business keep changing.  We have to work much harder now to pay the rent than we did 15 years ago, or even 5 years ago!  Fortunately we are small enough that we can quickly change as needed.  More and more fabric companies are going out of business and I suspect another wave of quilt shops will also go that way.  Surely was sad to hear that Kona Bay went under.  My favorite Asian vendor and favorite Asian designer Nobu Fujiyama.  Their goods was made in Japan with a fine weave and silky hand.  I will miss their designs and fabric.  Not to be confused with Robert Kaufman's Kona Cottons.  The name "Kona Cotton" belongs to Robert Kaufman.  Kona Bay was a different small company specializing in Asian designs.
Red Rooster announced they are quitting the business.  And this week I received word from Troy Corporation they are going out of business.  Troy Corp was a large distributing company that handled fabric and notions from many vendors.  Their private line of fabric "Riverwoods" will still retain that name.  Troy Corp was located in Chicago.  They were a large company and I did a fair amount of business with them.  That's where the quilt barn panels came from.  So who is left?  All the big players, and a handful of small companies.  According to one of the small company owners, the large online stores are dictating to the fabric companies what discount they must have.  Turns out that is a much bigger discount than we shops get.  Then the large online fabric stores can cut their price way below the brick and mortar shops and still make a good profit.  So who are the big guys running the fabric business on the internet?, Hancock of Paducah, Keepsake Quilting, Missouri Star Quilt Company to name a few.  I can actually go online and purchase some fabric from these places for LESS money per yard than I have to pay the fabric vendors with my wholesale account!  Doesn't make sense does it?

So how can we possibly compete and stay in business?  Well we didn't start out to be a fabric shop, quilting services have always been our mainstay.  So now we are selling our quilts and handmade fabric items online with Etsy and Amazon and two other online "stores."  I am as surprised as anyone to find out that someone would buy an expensive quilt online without seeing it.  There's a big audience in Europe and elsewhere in the world that can't walk into a shop and purchase a handmade quilt so they shop online in the USA.  Works for me! 
Check us out on FaceBook.  We post daily activities and quilts in the frame, also pictures of the class samples.  Our FB address is:  "Alma Sue's Quilt Shop."
There is another web address called AlmaSueShop which contains photos of everything we have online to sell.  Trying to keep our website as an informational site instead of a shopping site.  We keep making adjustments as needed.

Another reminder is that after Easter on May 1 we will begin our summer hours.  Open 10-3 on Monday Tuesday Wednesday, and Saturday.  Open 10-5 on Thursday and Friday. Don't hesitate to call or stop by.  If the lights are on we are inside, busy sewing.  Another clue is if you see a golf cart or car parked by the East Door, then we are inside and happy to assist you.  The East Door is unlocked, so use that door to enter instead of the West double doors.
Looking forward to seeing you at Row by Row.  Our license plates are here, stop by and pick one up anytime, you can buy those at any time.  No date deadlines.  Row shopping starts on JUNE 21.  As you know, this year's theme is "On the Go."  Our row is being designed by John Sims in conjunction with a few students at Ringling School of Art.  It will not be realistic, more abstract and "mathematical" as someone with a PhD in math would create!  Then it's crazy time to cut lots of kits!  So even though the snowbirds have gone home, we are looking forward to a different busy this summer.
Thanks for your business and friendship.

Ella at Alma Sue's Quilts