Every day I get several emails from online fabric sellers with great deals, great ideas, and limited time offers. Once in a while, I give in and purchase fabric online. I love getting stuff in the mail, and what better stuff to get than fabric, notions or patterns? However, I realize that every time I purchase something online, that’s a purchase that didn’t support my local quilt shop. Because I’ve been paying more attention lately to exactly what my local quilt shops mean to me, I’m shopping online less and less. I want my favorite quilt shops to stay open, and in order for that to happen, they need my support.
What exactly does a local quilt shop mean to me? So many things. The most important thing to me that my local quilt shop provides is a sense of belonging. The good ones greet you with a warm friendly “Hello! How are you today?” and follow it up with “What can we help you with?” or “What have you been working on?” I love it when I bring a finished quilt top in to pick out a matching backing. It never fails to result in an impromptu show and tell session throughout the shop. I know that when I go to my local quilt shop, I will be greeted with a smile, usually a hug, and an invitation to browse for a while.
My local quilt shops have been invaluable resources when it comes to learning new techniques. You can watch a YouTube video and learn just about anything you want to learn, but it’s really hard to ask a video, “What did I do wrong here?” Just having someone to show your project to and have them give advice is a tremendous resource. Many times, when I’ve taken a class, I’ve learned tips and tricks not even related to the particular project we are working on. That’s not something you can get from YouTube.
Inspiration comes in many forms, and it is all around us if we remember to look for it. The easiest place to find it is in your local quilt shop. The beautiful fabrics, the shop samples, the patterns and the quilting books are all in one place ready to inspire you. Additionally, when you take a class at your local quilt shop, your classmates are huge sources of inspiration. A pattern or book usually gives just one or two colorway options, but when you are in a class with 10 other people, you see 10 other color choices.
Have you ever purchased fabric online and been disappointed with the quality or the color? Was the print not quite the right size? I’ve had all three happen to me, and one sure way to avoid that disappointment is to purchase fabric from your local quilt shop. Many times, the colors on a screen are not true representations of the actual color. When you are looking for a particular color of fabric, it’s best to go to your local quilt shop so you can make sure your fabrics match. Color, quality, and scale of print are sometimes difficult to determine when shopping online.
I split my time between Atlanta and Dahlonega, and I’m so lucky to have wonderful quilt shops near me in both places. My favorites are Stitch and Quilt in Mableton, www.stitchnquiltt.com, and Quilt’n Kaboodle in Cleveland, www.quiltnkaboodlega.com . If you are in the area, check them out!
I love my local quilt shops and I want them to be available to me for a long time. In order for that to happen, they need our support. Looking for a particular line of fabric, a pattern, or a notion? Check out your local quilt shop, and if they don’t carry it, ask them to order it for you. Your requests give them feedback about what products they should stock. Need inspiration for a project? Just stop by and browse, take a class, or ask questions. They are great sources for so many things. Once in a while, pay full price, it won’t hurt you that much, and it just might help keep your favorite shop open.