However I was recently rather stuck with a memorial quilt and I did in fact go to my local specialist fabric store. The thing I found most valuable from my visit was the discussion and ideas given about my project. I felt a lot more confident & prepared to tackle it when I left.
I often feel overwhelmed by going into a fabric store - my head starts to explode - I get shy and start to doubt myself. Andrea Deal from Gotham Quilts says that this is a common reaction and openly invites people to e-mail her with questions about fabric.
Teri Lucas is a talented quilter & teacher - she teaches at Hartsdale Fabric and works there too. I've taken lessons from Teri and she also made me feel much calmer and much more prepared as a quilter. (You sign up for one of Teri's classes here.) Teri said about shopping locally: "There are several reasons to shop at a brick and mortar store: supporting the local community and providing jobs; the experience of the staff - the staff at Hartsdale Fabric has a combined experience of at least 70 years, with a wide range of technical skill and love of color - on a good day there are several of us to offer opinions; convenience; classes."
Karen Haynes is another talented quilter & teacher (not to mention lots of fun & positive energy too!) Karen works and teaches at the City Quilter which is a fun quilt store in the middle of Manhattan. Karen says: "I shop both online and at local shops. I prefer local shops because I get to touch the fabric, chat with the staff, get opinions and see the colors for myself. Not to mention, shopping local keeps the brick and mortars in business. I mostly like online for sales and stuff I can no longer find in stores (smaller online places seem to have stock longer)."
Image from Christie's Quilting Boutique
Lisa Mason the President of NYC Metro Mod Quilt Guild says: "Mostly I buy my fabric in stores. And I try to support local mom & pop shops, not the big chains. There are a few reasons why I shop local. First of all you are supporting your community and the family running the business and working very hard to support their family. Second, if you frequent the same shops you are building a relationship with the shopkeeper. They will get to know you and your tastes and will start to buy things they think you will buy. You can also feel comfortable asking them to order things for you. You meet other quilters in shops, you grow your own community by connecting with other like minded people. Thirdly, I like to see the fabric I'm going to buy, touch it, stroke it and pile the bolts up together to see how the fabrics will work together. I shop at Christie's Quilting Boutique in Norwalk, and the City Quilter in NYC. Whenever I travel, I also seek out fabric shops. One I particularly love is in Salem MA, Marketplace Quilts.
I do hope we all consider what we could be missing next time we reach for the computer to order fabric. I promise to try and do better in future.
Congratulations to Sherill in MA (selected by the random number selector). She has a great book and a stack of wool batting squares coming her way.
UPDATE: As of April 13th Hartsdale Fabric closed its doors. If you love your local fabric store - remember to shop in it.