Sunday, 12 August 2012

And what about your local quilt shop?

Last week I asked you whether you had joined a local traditional quilt guild and what your experience had been.  The responses generally backed up the reservations I had had about joining a local group.   Traditional quilt guilds did not always offer a warm reception to modern quilters and their quilts.  Some lucky people had started or found wonderful local guilds and others had had frosty receptions and their work sneered at.  Waiting lists were often long, attitudes not always open minded and meetings were often scheduled at times which only suited retired quilters.  Modern guilds tended to be more welcoming and open minded but not everyone lived close enough to enough modern quilters for a modern guild to be a possibility.  It seems a shame that there should be a divide like this when really we are all quilters and that should be the shared passion.  I'd love to learn techniques and take ideas from more experienced quilters and, in turn, I'd love a more experienced traditional quilter's eyes to be opened to some new ideas and fabrics from my quilts.  But that dream doesn't seem to be borne out in the reality of the quilting world.

But now another question for you - what about your local quilt shop.  I have two quilt shops local to me - each one an example of the two types of quilt shop I have heard about.  One, which I shall not name, is not friendly, not welcoming and I have never had the warm welcome I would really love to get from a shop owner who shares my passion.  I'm never asked what I'm working on or never stopped to be told about the new fabrics that are in that I might like.  I phoned once to ask if they had Kona pink and the person on the end of the phone had no idea what I was talking about.

My other local quilt shp is called Quiltessential and is situated in a beautiful old mill in Cromford in the Peak District.  It is run by Ann and Darren Mayner who are pretty much the dream quilt shop owners as far as I am concerned.  Always friendly, always chatty, always welcoming. They know me, my husband, my kids, my fabric likes and dislikes and welcome me with "it's blogging Lynne" when I visit.  They're always interested in what I'm working on and always stop to ask how the kids are, to chat about new quilts they or I have designed and to talk about this, that and the other.  I love going there whether or not I have anything to buy.


So what about you, how is your local quilt shop?  Have you been to any of their classes and courses?  Are they friendly and welcoming or uninterested and a little bit snooty?  Do they know you by name?  Do they stock the kinds of fabrics you like to use?  Are they interested in what you are working on?  Are they open to new ideas and products?  I'd love to hear more because I am not sure that there are very many local quilt shops out there that we really love to go to - but maybe I'm wrong about that.

114 comments:

  1. Unfortunately around me I have no quilt shop. The only one which I had been in was a big one, far away from my town, extremely expensive and was more like a supermaket than a real LQS. I do not buy fabrics in LQS in Germany, as fabrics there are mostly very traditional, there are no new collections there and well... the prices. It's cheaper for me to order online in US then buy fabric in LQS. Said but true. I also miss some modern quilters in the area. The nearest MQG is over 500km from me in Berlin.

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  2. Austin is a very craft friendly town. We have lots of artists and art supplies for everything here. When it comes to quilting, we have an abundance of shops to choose from.

    My absolute favorite shop is fairly new to the area, less than 6 months old. It's called Remnants Fiber Culture and is run by the youngest quilt shop owner in Texas. Owner Jessica Sloan is friendly and fun loving. She comes from a traditional piecing background and loves modern fabrics. The Austin Modern Quilt Guild meets there every month. Lots of great designer lines, super kid friendly (a playroom and everything) and awesome longarm quilting services make it my go to destination for quilty stuff.

    I can personally say that I have received good service and have shopped at Honey Bee Quilts and Ready to Sew Bernina with my kiddos (four of them under 7 years old) in tow.

    The Quilt Store on Anderson is a favorite of mine. They have a shop cat named Chaco, friendly and helpful owners. Great beginners classes. I took their beginning quilting class when I first made the jump from apparel sewing. And they sell lots of great novelty and batik fabrics.

    We also have some modern focused shops. Stitch Lab is our downtown shop. It features all the most modern prints and an amazing class lineup. I took screenprinting with Kat McTee and it was fabulous. They host events for local artists, like a book launch and signing for Malka Dubrawsky and other fun events.

    We also have a shop a bit further South. Outside of Austin, is Valli and Kim. It's a drive that can easily be made and their fabrics are lovely. The owners are sweet and regularly offer classes that are free if the supplies are purchased from the shop. They also offer discount to those using the nearby Wimberley Quilt Ranch to retreat.

    In Round Rock, I like Sew and Vac which is a very traditional shop but they do a nice job servicing machines and have a good selection of patterns, notions, machine feet, etc. They also serve as a collection point for Project Linus quilts and do a lot for charity.

    North of us is Poppy Quilt and Sew, a Georgetown shop. Owner Anita has fun events like meet the teachers before a new class season, sales and often serves cake at special events. Fabrics are mostly traditional and novelty but some fun modern fabrics are available. Sale bolts are well priced and plentiful. Lots of patterns and fat quarters as well as nice blenders. They also support Project Linus and accept donation quilts.

    In New Braunfels is a shop called Quilt Haus that is known for it's mod fabrics (traditional are plentiful too) huge selection and in house kits and patterns. Such fun. The owner is super sweet, I've met her at local events and meetings and shopped her booth at Houston International Quilt Festival. I hope to make it down to her actual shop this winter if I find a babysitter as they don't want to drive that far to look at fabric with me ;)

    The crazy thing is, there are several other shops within close driving distance. I haven't even managed to visit them all yet. We are incredibly fortunate to have so many choices in our area and I do think that having that much competition encourages a friendly and helpful demeanor among shop owners and employees rather than the snobbery others have experienced.

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  3. Im an embarrassment of riches when it comes to quilt/fabric shops. Besides the big box stores of Joanns and Hancocks I have 4 LQS with in 20 minutes, another 4-5 with in an hour and even more within 1-2 hours. Every month or so I do my own shop hop just around town. My favorite carries only Free Spirit/Westminster. Im greeted with my name, personal chit chat about family and my quilting. It recently changed hands to a young girl handpicked to continue the tradition and who is expanding the fabric line-some Quokka is coming in soon! The other 3 stores carry moda, batiks, Riley Blake, Bentarex, and Free spirit/Westminster among others. They are more traditional but still welcoming. One is half awesome Knit store as well. A recent opening a little father away is a mix of popular moda, DS Quilts, free spirit, and she said she hoped to add Japanese fabrics soon. The one store while the owners are steeped in tradidional batiks have embraced our new MQG. They have let us meet there every month, let us have open sews, and have ordered more modern solids and designers fabrics (TP Birds& Bees and FMF!). They also know us. So disperate beginings can merge and find common ground. If you can move Winston Salem,NC, USA is the center of this fabric universe.

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    1. When I visited Winston Salem a couple of years ago I was amazed at how many great fabric stores you have there! I of course hit them all and had to mail my fabric home before I caught my plane to come home! :D

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  4. There are three fabric shops in my town, 2 which I would count as 'quilt shops'. One is an Aladdin's cave of beautiful quilt fabrics. It's full of lovely modern fabrics and therefore very useful if I'm trying to make a quilt without paying for postage costs! Unfortunately the staff aren't too friendly. I tend to feel uncomfortable there, but I try to press past it. The other shop has absolutely lovely staff. They're very friendly and happy to help. I've been given a student discount there several times despite telling them I'm not a student, and they always round fabric amounts up and prices way down. Unfortunately they don't have such a good range of fabrics, but they're getting more all the time, and the shop is always my first call for batting/accessories. In both shops the staff recognise me and my hubby, but I'm not known by name - yet anyway! Both offer classes, but I haven't gone to any yet mostly because I don't have the money spare but also because I'd be a bit scared at the first shop, and the second shop focuses more on dressmaking.

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  5. I'm in Canada where fabric is usually about double the price it is in the US (I recently saw a Jelly Roll on sale for $60 and the Canadian dollar is at par with the US one!) As a result, I buy 100% of my fabric from online US shops. Even with shipping and the occasional duties I save a tonne of money. The few LQSes that are close to me absolutely do not carry any of the fabrics I use -- not even Kona! I suspect that if I suggested they carry Amy Butler or Heather Ross or Anna Maria Horner they would think I was insane. If I'm ever looking to pay $18/yard (if it's on sale) for batiks or civil war repro fabrics I know where to go, though...

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  6. The closest quilt shop to me is where I have gone for years for about 95% of my fabric, thread and batting. Their prices are higher than I would pay anywhere else but I have always believed in supporting local businesses. I've always chatted with the ladies in there and I have a couple of the gals that are my favorites who I chat with and bounce ideas off of.

    Sometimes I would go in without any clear idea what I wanted and just wander until something caught my eye. I think in the 17 years I've been going there that only one time did I leave without buying something.

    The last time I was in there was a bad experience and I haven't been back since. I'm talking myself into going back because I'm sure the person that offended me was just having a bad day, maybe, although she is usually the one who is not as friendly as the others. Sadly she is the owner's daughter and the manager of the store. I was doing my usual wandering around and I wandered past where she was at her computer talking with her neice who also works there (who is one of the sweetest most friendly people I know) and she very snidely said "is she (talking about me) just going to wander around all day or is she actually going to buy something?"

    I went and grabbed the quilter's muslin that I needed but nothing else. She is the one who came to cut it for me and she said right to me in an unfriendly tone "all that wandering around and this is ALL you are getting?" I mumbled something inane... I do not do confrontation well and I am always very nice to everyone so I wasn't sure how to even respond to this, other than to not go back in there!

    If I drive about 25 miles there is another quilt shop, Parkland Parish Quilt Co. that I love. They are always super friendly and as soon as you walk in they start chatting with you and showing you stuff once they find out what you are working on. Their prices are on the high side but if I need something "right now" they usually have it or they will call around and find out who does have it for me! THAT is service.

    I'm sure I'll eventually need something from the shop where I usually always go and I'll go back in, but probably not until my feelings get done being hurt. I am not easily offended.... but just the fact that the manager was so very rude has really put me off. :/

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    1. wow! that's horrible. You're being nice when you say she was having a bad day because that is some of the worst customer service I've ever heard of. Doesn't she have any clue that perhaps you were wandering around gathering ideas and may come back and buy $500 in product? You just cannot treat people like that!!

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    2. Wow, if someone had said that to me I would have dumped the fabric on the counter and left. She does not deserve a second chance and I would rather drive 25 miles than go into that shop again. I would be making sure that the owner knew about it too, doesn't matter if its a relation or not!

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    3. I agree - you need to tell the owner because that shop will fold if the this woman takes over the shop in time. I don't like confrontation either, but I think I would have blown my top with that comment. Yikes.

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  7. We have a really beautiful quilt shop called the Fabric Cupboard. Beautiful material and great deals. Lots of new and interesting patterens. Its the only one I use now.

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  8. I'm in Canada too, in a city. There are at least 4 good quilt shops within an easy drive. They all have a large selection, but a different focus. One is a standout for me because the owner is such a great lady. You can hear her laugh throughout the store. I feel like smiling when I go in there. She has a lot of batik (not my personal favourite), and lots of traditional fabric. I have to look closely for my preferred things. I've taken classes there, and gone on a retreat she sponsored. Another two stores are more impersonal, and despite the fabric choices I rarely go there. The 4th store is also great, but more of a distance. Price is definitely a factor. I also buy a lot of my fabric online, and I wish it wasn't so, I'd like to support local business, and there's no substitute for pulling fabrics from the shelf and trying them together. Even with postage, buying online gives me at least a 30% saving, frequently more. In Sept I'm going on a shop hop in the US , and I'll probably come back with a ton of fabric!

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  9. I have one quilt shop in my little city of 70,000 people. Actually I guess there are two but the other was always a machine shop before they ever carried fabric and in my mind that's what they still are, although I took my first ever quilting class there.

    I love my little shop. Owned by Kathy Deaton and Mr, Quilter, her husband. He is the long arm quilter of the place. I only wish they had more pre-cuts and fabric lines. She tends to sway more to batiks, which is good for a lot of her customers. But I've taken a a number classes there and always have fun and she is always so friendly and welcoming as are all her staff. They all know me by name and I know them all by name. It's a great shop.

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  10. Well, I'm glad to see I'm on the right track with my ideas for the LQS I am planning to open in the next year. There is one other shop in the area (20 min. away) and the next nearest is 45 min. to an hour, with more in the 1-2 hour drive range. However, my nearest competition, while knowledgeable and helpful, is very much more "traditional" fabric lines, albeit carrying a wide range of batiks, they carry no solids and very few of the quite whimsical modern prints newer quilters are using.

    My shop will embrace the modern quilter, be a welcoming and fun place to visit, whether you're buying that day or not. I plan to have a sewing space for classes as well as sew/play times for those who just want to create with their friends. It is a long journey, and some days I have trouble keeping my eye on the prize, then I read these comments and know that I'm on the right track.

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  11. We've got at least a dozen quilt shops here in the Phoenix Metro area, but they are sprinkled across the entire (approx. 60 mile wide) valley. I'm lucky that the one closest to me is awesome. Zoe's Trunk carries everything from Moda to repro fabrics, the staff is friendly and extremely helpful, and I just love going in there. I've had a chance to visit most of the shops during our annual shop hop, and thankfully, I've never really been treated poorly at any of them, but some really do have very limited selection - definitely limited enough to keep me from driving 20 miles+ to them. And then there was the one that had a cat helping out at the store - which is a cute idea, but the whole place smelled like a litter box... o_O

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  12. I have one LQS I've been coming there for about 7 years seeing the same staff, they don't know me by name.
    There is one lady that asks what I am working on now and then but she seems quite lost when I tell her I am working on my online quilting bee's lol! I have tried to explain but she doesn't really care.

    They stock batiks lots of them, novelty and civil war prints and some Moda. They do however have the best bin full of mini scrap bundles. I sometimes find little gems in there OOP Lecien, Liberty fun stuff! They have a nice selection of books on modern quilting and lots of Japanese magazines. They offer a cup of tea sometimes which is nice.

    What I like least is that their prices are high and inconsistent, I pay more or less for the same thing depending on who's in the shop. Trusted I've had some great deals that way but I know I've been overcharged as well.
    Worse is they give bad advice, if they don't stock it it doesn't exist (when I know it does) if they don't know they'll just make something up not very helpful. I completely lost trust in their advice when they had a new type of wadding and the lady told me she loved it so much better than Hobbs. So I tried it and it was rubbish. Next time I was there for wadding I told her I wanted Hobbs and she informed me that she never uses anything other than Hobbs....yeah right!

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    1. You’ve made me curious about that shop Leila!!

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    2. Email me, I will let you know where it is ;)

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  13. If you can make it up to Stockport, you should drop in on Patchfinders. They are in Cheadle, and are fantastic. To me at least. They spend time matching fabrics, and making 'out of the box' suggestions. Thye do modern, they do traditional, they do workshops of all types, including open workshops, where Jan will help sort tricky nubbles in what you are trying to do. They exclaim over finished quilts and take photos to show the member of staff who isn't in! My only problem with them is that they are over 20 miles away and therefore, I cannot justify going there without plenty of pennies to spend!
    I also have Abakhan a lot nearer, but they are not knowledgeable, and a few smaller fabric shops, but again, they do not have the depth of knowledge available from Patchfinders.

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  14. We have two local quilt shops, one sells very traditional fabrics and batiks because that’s what their customers want and ask for (well... not me...). I love their scrap bin, I had some great finds in there! They have no clue about what is modern and what is going on on the internet. They have a small room with what they call modern fabrics, but those are just loud colours and the wrong prints.
    In one shop the atmosphere is very friendly and in the other you don’t feel welcome at all.

    There’s a shop at about 20 km that has almost the same traditional (civil war reproduction) fabrics but they also specialize in notions and books for cross stitch and embroidery. The people there are not welcoming at all.

    There’s a quilt shop at about 60 km that I love for their kindness, the Kaffe Fassett collection, they always try to take up some fabrics of new and modern collections, not whole series, but at least they try! They have fun workshops and I love the fact that they offer to keep some fabrics apart untill you have finished a project and you know for sure you don’t need anymore background stuff.

    There are lots of quilt shops at about 50 - 80 km, some with a slightly more modern fabric collection. There’s not one ‘real life’ shop in Holland that I know of, that only sells the fabrics I love. So, I buy more and more online (also in Holland) and more and more in the UK, to avoid the custom services and VAT. We are allowed to import for about 22.- Euro from outside Europe and that’s not much fabric. Sometimes I take the plunge because even with the added shipping costs and custom services, the fabrics are not much more expensive than when I buy them here.

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  15. I always try to *shop local* if I possibly can.

    But sadly I have found this fairly unrealistic when it comes to quilting supplies.

    About 20 miles away there is a lovely shop called the Owl and Sewing Cat. I went there for an Overlocker Workshop and it was a lovely day out.

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  16. My local quilt shop is Midsomer Quilting in Chilcompton, Somerset, and anyone in the area should really drop in for a visit. The staff are really friendly and helpful and happy to spend time helping. There's a seating area if you get tired, where free tea and coffee are always on offer. Husbands are welcome to sit and have coffee, I love their fabric choices, though they don't stock Moda which I have to get elsewhere if I want it. They have a large range of older fabrics at £6 a metre, perfect for backings. They have classes every Saturday and Sunday which cater for a range of interests. Friday and Monday are drop-in workshop days.

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  17. I have a couple of local quilt shops in my nearest town/close surrounding area that I found when I first started quilting. The first one I found I think I have been to twice and haven't been back for a long time. They were lovely and welcoming but just don't have the types of fabric I find I can get online. The second I have been to a few times but again not for a while. Again they stock some fabrics I like but not much. My younger sister went in for me last year to buy me some fabric for my birthday and was greeted with the shop woman telling her she was too young to be a quilter and she is only a couple of years younger than me lol. There is a lovely shop thats about half an hour away from me that has a better range of fabrics I like and I took a class there once. The staff were lovely and helpful and I enjoyed the class. Again though the more modern fabrics I really want I can only really find online and to be honest I got sick of trailing around to 5 different shops in various areas only to find that none of them stocked the fabric I was looking for when it is much easier to buy online with a couple of clicks! When I travelled round Australia earlier this year there were some gorgeous shops with great fabric! Lots of it came home with me lol! :)

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  18. I live in a corner of Pennsylvania where we have a lot of quilt shops...or shops that carry quilt fabric. My favorite place to shop because of the sheer volume of bolts they carry is Mennonite owned and very friendly. However, no one that works there is an actual quilter. They all sew but not quilts. They do carry the widest range of fabrics and I know I can always find what I need when I shop there. Because it is in Lancaster County, the fabric prices are excellent and they run sales all the time. They also extend a 15% discount to guild members or members of a sewing circle.

    My favorite "real" quilt store is only a few miles away. They are friendly and engaging. I do not ask for advice regarding fabrics or colors but I do know women who go there for that kind of service. They offer classes but I have never taken one. I do not often shop there simply because of the price and their selection is smaller. I think they are an excellent shop for someone just getting their feet wet quilting.

    I shop for price and quantity at this stage of the game so the friendly fabric shop nearly always gets my business.

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  19. in Canada and my favourite, most fabulous shop just closed this week. Not because it was not a great business but for health reasons with the woner. To get my kind of fabric, it will have to be a drive into the city... 1 to 2 hours or on line. There are several closer shops but they tend to be more unfriendly and more traditional and can be pricey. What i really miss are the konas. Shops just have to get more on board with solids.

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  20. There are two quilt shops that I know of, but I have heard rumour that there may be one or two more shops on the outskirts of town (which is far away as I live in one of Canada's largest cities and it's all sprawled out).

    One of the shops is really close to me, so I have visited on a few occasions. The staff seem very nice and knowledgeable, but the fabric selection is, for my tastes, pretty abysmal. Last time I was there, maybe 10% of the fabric was fun designer fabric and I hardly found any actual solids (a dozen, maybe). The rest was batik and florals. This was an improvement over the last time I had visited, several months ago. Don't get me wrong, I know a lot of people like such things, but not me. I like designer fabrics, solids and maybe the occasional *real* batik.

    I haven't been to the other shop yet, as it's a bit inconvenient to get to by bus (my only transportation), but I've heard it's very good and is staffed by lovely and knowledgeable staff.

    I hope to take some courses at the closer shop, perhaps in the fall. They have a wide variety of courses (mostly based on traditional quilting, but covering everything from the basics to fancy art quilts).

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  21. Our local quilt shop is wonderful. They go out of their way to get to know customers. Very welcoming, friendly, and knowledgeable about products.

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  22. Phew! Have made it this far without seeing anything bad about myself. I occasionally help out (very occasional) at Dotty Dollies in Wellington, Somerset. It is a lovely, bright shop and there is something in there for all tastes but it is a small shop and therefore they can only stock what they do and what they do have is bulging at the seams.(pardon the pun) Debby and Joan (the owners) are very friendly and good fun, hold classes, make up cushions, bags, bunting, quilts for sale too and work extremely hard to make their shop work. If they can get it for you then they will. Without customers they wouldn't exist. Please support your local quilt shop. Anyone heading to the South West for a holiday then they can stop off at J26 as it is 5 minutes away and parking is cheap.

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  23. I have 2 LQS not too far away & the staff is good at both. But neither carry that much in the way of new, modern fabrics, except for maybe some Amy Butler and Kaffe fabrics. Moda is non-existant, as is Free Spirit & Riley Blake. I do shop at both on occassion, but I do probably 95% of my fabric shopping on-line. Even with the shipping, it's also less costly. For the record, I live on an island, so driving to a farther shop is not an option.

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  24. I have way too many quilt shops locally that I feel guilty when I order on-line.
    One of the shops ignore me because I am new and does not offer modern quilters options. The rest of the shops are really great and happy to see me, I always buy something. I admit I like attention when I go into a shop - At times I feel I know more about fabric lines then the shop owners.

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  25. I missed your question about the quilting guild so I have two answers. Luckily I was introduced to a quilt guild by a friend and they have been wonderful. At 43 I am considered one of the 'young ones' which I think is hilarious. My friend Mitzi and I have gotten a lot of these usually traditional quilters to break out a bit and Mitzi was even our block of the month person this year. We did the Bottled Rainbows quilt (reveals are this month) from Stitched in Color and this year we are doing the Granny Square (make one for yourself, one for a donation quilt and one or more to put in the pot for a drawing). We have been very lucky.
    As far as an LQS goes, the original store was very much like you described. I wasn't really welcomed. While in the store, much older quilters were treated with much more respect and care than myself. That store has since closed and a new one has opened. The owner was originally a bit stand-offish but has gotten much better as she recognizes me now. She travels some and has friends who mind the store for her and they have been very sweet and helpful. They also have been pleased to hear that I blog about quilting.

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  26. My LQS is great they know by name, always ask what I'm working on, don't look at me like I'm on another planet when I say I'm working on online bees,or swaps, and know I love lime green! they have lots! They stock a lot of traditional, batiks, moda and a good oriental section too appealing to the traditionalists. Very little modern fabrics, no Japanese or anything remotely different. I know what I can get there and that's ok, it's all ways a warm welcome, and I've been left to man the shop when needs must, and frequently put my ore in when others are struggling with colour selection.

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  27. Oh, as if my comment wasn't long enough already...when the new LQS opened I was a bit worried because of the types of fabrics she offered. But she has attended some shows and such which has really helped her widen the variety she offers.

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  28. There is no 'quilt shop' as such near me - there are craft shops with quilt / patchwork departments but the are both crammed into small spaces, making them somewhat confusing and uninviting if you are trying to pull together a selection of fabrics for a particular project - no lay off spaces, and really not much of a cutting table zone (one actually, on occasion lays the fabric on the floor and cuts it with scissors)
    There is another, slightly further away, upstairs in a farm shop which is more quilt orientated, and they even have workshops etc, but I've only been there once...
    So generally I have to relay on the internet for fabrics

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  29. I've experienced the same as you. Some of our shops' staff are warm and welcoming. Others are very cold, even go to the extreme of saying in their email sale flyers that they will not be able to help you on figuring out pattern yardage etc. when you come in. I, too, feel like they are not in "the know" about fabric lines and techniques that are coming out. I don't understand it. If you went to the appliance store to purchase a washer and dryer, wouldn't you want to talk to the sales person about the different machines, etc. The same is true of fabrics and patterns. These folks are supposed to be the experts in this area. I would think that in the economy we are in, they would be bending over backwards in the customer service department. When a person can choose to buy the same item at two different shops (or cheaper online), they will always go to the one with the best customer service. At least I will.

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  30. I am lucky that we have numerous shops nearby and happy to shop local. Each has their own flavour/culture and most know me, if not by name, by sight so I am always warmly greeted and happily chit-chat. Most ask what I am working on and all will assist to point me in the right direction or offer suggestions. I have taken classes at several of the shops, however, do this less frequently as time is an impediment. If I see something that I really want to try, then I will carve out the time! :)

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  31. I work at www.webfabrics.net We always greet everyone that comes in and know most by name. We love to see WIPs and finished quilts and often take a photo of them and post on our FB page! We have batiks, modern, traditional, reproduction and TONS of basics and blenders. We can't fit in every collection out there so our boss tries hard to find what our customers will like.

    It is so much fun to see quilts or other projects made out of fabrics bought from our shop and then in combination with things they have bought elsewhere. We embrace every kind of quilting...even if it isn't to our taste there is always something wonderful about each project.

    If a customer is having a problem finding a color or just to get started picking fabrics we will help out no problem. We have a big online community of customers all over the world...it is so fun to fill an order and say...I got one for Australia or I have one going to Singapore!:)

    I look forward to going to work all the time.....guess that says a lot too right?!:)

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  32. Oh, I am always dismayed when I hear that some quilts shops are unfriendly and cool. I am a new fabric rep for Blank Quilting and am visiting many wonderful shops--big and small, newly opened and well-seasoned--and for the most part, the owners and staff have been delightful! If you live near or visit east Tennessee and northern Alabama, stop in these shops. You can see a recap and lots of photos of my shop visits on my blog at www.FiberAnticsbyVeronica.com. I hope you continue to support YLQS, especially the nice ones! --Veronica

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  33. my local quilt shop is lovely---for what it is. the new owner is welcoming, though the owners she bought the shop from always treated me like an ignorant toddler even though i patronized the store regularly. the shop's shortcomings are its inventory and location. though it is convenient for me, it is far from main roads at the edge of a small city. and the fabrics are only civil war reproductions; this makes sense for the region in which we live, but can be stifling to those making more modern designs. pretty much i only go there a couple of times a year, but i'm always glad it's there.

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  34. My village shop is run by a couple of lovely old ladies, for old ladies! Lots of poly-cotton, lots of Disney and lots of Christmas nasties all year long. Good for embroidery thread and other bits and bobs but NOT fabric. My next nearest is The Eternal Maker, and if you multiply their website by about a million, you get how cool and wonderful the actual shop and Anna are!

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  35. My local shop is owned by the loveliest woman. I took my first class there, and she has been interested in all that I do since then. My only complaint is that the fabric selection there is not what I like. So I go for basics, but when I go on a binge, I do it in the comfort of my own home.

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    1. That's my story, too except there are 2 shops like this where I am - lovely people but not quite the fabrics I would buy. I took a class to make my first quilt at one and actually finished it one evening at the other.

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  36. we have lots of quilt shops, but 2 closest to me which I frequent. The 2 shops are very different in what they carry & specialize in & I like each one for different kinds of projects & events. Both have lovely owners, friendly, helpful staff & awesome merchandise.

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  37. I live in rural New Mexico. We have one shop about 12-15 miles from my home. "Busy Bee" has very friendly owners who are very interested in providing good customer service. I've not taken any classes there since most have been offered when I was working or just didn't interest me. The shop is quite small but as a good selection of fabrics for its size. I've purchased fabrics for one or two quilts there and have purchased quite a few fat quarters. I think it's a challenge for any small shop to have the latest and move out the old quickly.
    I do think they listen to their customers and try to have fabrics that are appealing.

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  38. My story sounds alot like yours. I too live close to two shops. The one is owned by a not-so-friendly type...you just never know what her mood will be. It seems strange to be in the business of serving the public and being so cranky. Anyway...the other shop, Hip Stitch Studio, is brand-spanking new and, oh my heavens, the fabrics are awesome! They're bright and fresh; the owner is a very nice lady who loves to talk and she always wants to know if I've finished sewing up what I'd bought the last time I was in. (Um, no, I'm just in to buy more gorgeous fabric!) The shop offers other classes as well, not just quilting. My 8 year old daughter loves going there; my Mom has taken a tatting class there as well.

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  39. My local quilt shop is half an hour away and I have attended lots of classes - that is how I got to know some of the staff who teach there. They also get external teachers to come but I think I am getting to the end of what they can offer. I wish their was something more challenging...

    They know their fabrics but tend to be more interested in my work if it is from their workshop. They are more traditional in style but until recently I didn't know about modern.

    In the other direction is the Eternal Maker ! Need I say more! Not attended a class there yet!

    But now I seem to buy more fabric online!

    There are a couple of fabric shops a lot closer who sell a smallish collection of quilting fabrics - the staff are friendly in both and in one they seem to take an interest in what I'm doing be it a pirate costume or a quilt! They both run sewing classes but I haven't been to any there.

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  40. There are four fabric shops local to me. One I don't go to because it's a bit out of my way and I have never found anything I like there.
    One is a haberdashers. They have everything and if they don't have it they'll order it. They don't specialise in quilting though. Some of the ladies who work there are are part of the local quilting guild. They are very helpful but a little bit suspicious of anything not autumnal/beige. Having said that they will always be interested and try to help where they can.
    We do have a real quilt shop specialising in quilting and quilt supplies as well. I am never sure what to make of them. Husband calls them the quilt police. They think things should be done their way. They can be helpful but also very patronising.
    I like the fabric warehouse, which is furthest away. They have a huge selection and all the ladies are round about my age (Ok some older some younger). They like bright colours and modern designs.

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  41. My closest options are Joann's (where I buy Denyse Schmidt offerings, Kona solids, and notions) and Hobby Lobby (where I buy Kona solids). There is also a small privately owned quilt shop a little further away which I go to occasionally when I'm in the area. I can find some tools, a wide Kona selection, and a few modern prints (they carry a few Sweetwater fabrics) as well as some modern quilting books. They are friendly enough to greet me when I come in, but I haven't really built a relationship there -- mostly because I can see their focus is on more traditional fabrics and styles. Only once have I taken the time to make the ugly commute over to the Sew Modern store in Los Angeles. I dearly wish they were closer to us!

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  42. I have 3 LQS each about 30 mins drive away.One has very traditional fabric but the ladies are reasonably friendly. I have taken classes there but again they are very traditional and not really my cup of tea. I attended to learn about quilting. The other shop is Doughtys of Hereford. They have a reasonable collection of fabrics including a lot of Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler and some decent solids( though not Kona).However, the staff are not very helpful or friendly.The third is slightly closer (20 miles) but again has a very traditional choice of fabric, no solids and unhelpful staff.
    I only go to these shops if I desperately need fabric to finish something or if I have a deadline.I think the main problem with the UK is the price of fabric. I know this is not the fault of the retailers as they are only trying to make a living.It cannot make sense for it to be cheaper to buy fabric in the USA, ship it to UK and sometimes pay custom tax and it still be significantly cheaper. Add to that the much better choice of fabric and it's a no-brainer.

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  43. Sadly my LQS is just like the first one you described, and the classes they run are mostly attended by the traditional guild types you also describe here! It's so sad cos lots of folks who come to my classes have had what little confidence they had knocked out of them by an awful, demoralising experience at our lqs. I end up having to restore and repair these people's belief in themselves that they can choose fabric well and create beautiful things, as well as direct them to online shops! It is my dream to one day have a lqs, have the kettle constantly boiling, the door always open, cupcakes always available and a smile always welcoming whoever comes in (& gorgeous modern fabrics to choose from too of course!). Jxo

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  44. I don't have an LQS. There's one up in Milgavie at the Dobbies garden centre, and I know Fiona (poppymakes) goes there quite often, but it's actually really hard for me to get there as it's diagonally across the city from me up a lot of 30mph roads with about a million traffic lights, so I tend to avoid Milngavie as a whole lol

    I do, on the other hand, have two local fabric shops with quilt sections. Well, one has a very small selection of Amy Butler mostly, but we'll kid on it has a section ;o) The one with the small selection is nearest my office but has a very limited selection of all the fabric they sell, and are pretty crap in the haberdashery dept. They have staff that are somewhat hit and miss (one was so bad, that I actually filled in a response card and said that I actively avoided being served by her because of her attitude - she's in her late 20's, while the rest of the women are rather older, but she's really cheeky, and often downright rude!)

    In the other one, they have a huge customer base, but they do know me in the quilting section, and have a small fight over who gets to serve me so they can find out the next mad project I'm working on. None of them 'gets' the concept of sewing blogs and that sort of thing, nor do they realise that the eejit that orders the fabrics only ever picks one or two fabrics from one line, and that there's a whole 'nother world out there. Still, sometimes the eejit picks well lol I love that shop more because of the huge dressmaking, home decor and habby sections too.

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  45. I'm very fortunate to live in an area with lots of great LQS close to me or within driving distance. I'm in California's Eastern Bay Area and we have lots of great modern, reproduction, plus Joann's everywhere :). My LQS by far offers the best service, are always friendly, greet me by name and ask about family. True, I will find some sales people friendlier than others, and of course better at putting things together, but the key thing I have found is with the owner's attitude. If the owners are enthusiastic, go to shows, Quilt Markets, design patterns, etc., the fabrics coming out of the shop are more in line with what's currently trending and exciting. It also helps that we have some exceptional teachers and designers who live here, so there are always great classes being offered. Love my LQS :)

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  46. I have gone to two of the LQS near where I live. The first one that I went to made me feel like an intruder. A lady came out of the second room where ladies were sewing and laughing and cut me off about two steps into the shop. She asked me what I needed and made a disapproving sound when I said that I was looking and would know when I saw it. She was watching my every move like I was going to steal something if she turned her back. I did go back there a second time and wasn't treated much better by a different person. The second shop is wonderful and they ask me what I'm working on and make me feel valued as a customer. They are also the ones that told me that the local quilt guild was starting a Saturday chapter and it was going to be right up the road from my house. That was a year ago and I'm still a member of the guild, and still shopping at that shop.

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  48. I still haven't made it to my LQS. By the time I found out we had one I thought I'd have been moved by now. I can't imagine any store being rude/unfriendly/unwelcoming though, doesn't make very good business sense.

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  49. Geez, feel like I might sound like negative Nelly what with my answer on guilds but I have the same as you. One shop makes me feel bad when I visit, like I am interrupting. The owner is downright mean. I wonfer why she can stay open and don't go anymore. The other shop, which I love, is semi-closing.. :( I buy much of my fabric online and when I can, when I travel. The shop you go to sounds lovely!

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  50. I have an amazing new fabric shop opened really close to me in Basingstoke, Hampshire. There are two other fabric shops in town but this one stocks Amy Butler, Tula Pink, Kokka, Tina Givens and loads more. They have an online shop too www.staystitching.com.

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  51. Living in Seattle, there are a number of pretty good shops to choose from. The one that is closest to me has a nice owner, some so-so staff, and a lot of cutesy pink fabric so it's a toss up! When I lived in Boston, I didn't have as many options for the longest time until Gather Here in Cambridge opened. If you live in the area, seriously go visit! It's such an inspiring and fun store to browse and stitch in and Virginia (the owner) is very helpful and nice. :) I miss it!

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  52. The nearest LQS is about 20 min away and they are so nice! They know me and I have taken a class there and they are vey helpful, on Saturdays they always have a class or sit n sew with carry in. Problem is they do not carry much modern fabric. Approx an hour away is Shipshewana In. They have 2 large quilts stores (and many smaller ones) one of the two is much more friendly and always wants to see what you are working on and more then willing to pull fabric, etc... The other, while they have a vast array of fabric, is much more business oriented and not so people oriented. I buy from both depending upon the project but also purchase alot on line due to the choices as most of my LQS's are 85% or more stocked with traditional/batik fabrics. On the guild question, I have gone twice, very nice ladies but mostly retired, and very traditional although one lady (say 30'ish) did have a modern quilt for show and tell and although it did not receive the oohh's and aahh's like the more traditional they were at least open to it!

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  53. I have 2 LQS near me. The first is only a few minutes down the street from my home and I would like to shop local, but they are open 10-5 everyday and sometimes a Saturday morning a month. This does me no good since I work 8-5. I did go there one time when they opened on a Saturday. It was large, but there was no modern fabric. I was followed around like I might steal something. I did not buy anything there.

    There is another shop that is about 30 minutes away that is smaller but is open every Saturday. The first time I was there I had some fabric cut and I asked the question "Do ya'll have fat quarter bundles?" (I have to say ya'll since I'm from Texas LOL). That lady nearly bit my head off. She almost shouted and snidely said "No, but we will cut some for you". Maybe it was the shocked look on my face, but even the other 2 store workers just gave her a look. I didnt say anything, but paid and left. (Did I say something wrong?)

    I did go back to the store but have only bought a bit. The prices are sky high and they do not carry pre-cuts or bundles. I do wish that both of the stores would use the Internet more, like newsletters or mailing lists. Perhaps if they had a sale or specials that came to my email, I would make a special stop.

    Mostly I have started buying more on the Internet and I am not so happy with that because I would like to support local businesses. I also go to Joanns when they have a coupon sale, but you really have to watch the sales. They are going to price me out of not going there anymore though. The Quilter premium fabric which is not designer is now starting to go at 12.99/yd from 9.99/yd. For that price I can get really good stuff much cheaper on line. I do get my Kona from Joanns with a coupon of course.

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  54. There are two here in Indianapolis that I know of. One is meh. I think they are more clothing fabric than they are quilting. I was a fan of the staff or the set up. It was very quilty and inviting. The other is Crimson Tate. The owner, Heather, is great. She is always so friendly and cheerful when you come into the shop and very helpful and interested in what you're working on. She's got a lot of great fabric too. I love visiting her shop and would love to take a class there, but I feel a bit intimidated because I don't really know anyone else who sews/quilts and would want to go with me.

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  55. We've got quite a few fabric shops in our city, although the best ones for the modern quilting are probably Material Obsession in Drummoyne (Inner West), and Cottage Quiltworks in Warrimoo (Northern Beaches). Their ranges are modern, with CQ sorting by colour, and MO sorting by range/style.

    The staff at both places are friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about quilting, and I know that CQ runs classes at all levels. MO seems to have a quilting space downstairs, but I'm not sure if they use it for classes and I've never heard of them running a class.

    Other than that, there are some broader 'mostly quilter' chain-store shops in the area - Craft Depot at Pennant Hills, and Hobbysew at Ryde. Their selections of fabric are pretty good. Hobbysew has a better selection of quilting solids right now (more Kona) and seems to be tending towards blenders rather than patterns/novelties. Craft Depot has more novelty prints, and more of the recent collections (by which I mean 3-6 months old in the US: it always takes a little longer to reach Australia).

    The staff at Craft Depot are reasonably knowledgeable about quilting and sewing matters, but Hobbysew is newer and while they have a few quilters on staff, they seem to have more 'casual workers' who don't know about the ranges or fabric quality or quilting things.

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  56. I have one quilt shop relatively close by but as fabric is so expensive in Australia I would only shop there if I needed something specific. I would never make any quilts if I had to buy all my fabric at $20-$25 per metre, regardless of service. I have to shop at Spotlight (a discount homewares store) and I also shop on the net although the postage of nearly $17 does add to the cost it is still cheaper to do that. My budget won't stretch to anything more expensive!

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  57. We have a wonderful.shop here in Fort Worth. they don't know me my name, but they do recognize me. :)
    I love thier stuff, but as with any shop I goto from Alaska to Texas I am always told my fabric selections won't go together. I've not taken any of thier classes due to preferring to fumble around on my own..
    I must second the comment on the Quilt Haus in New Braunfels, Texas. It's always a must stop by and say Hi when I'm in the area!

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  58. I didn't chime in on the guilds, because I have never been able to go to the traditional guild (it meets during the day), but I have been to three different MQG's (Los Angeles, East Bay and North Bay) and there are usually a few members who are experienced traditional quilters with an open mind, so you still get to learn from their experience.
    As for quilt shops, there is one large one in town, and it has a TON of fabric, but most of it isn't my taste and the welcome I get is definitely very hot and cold depending on who is working. They always act like I am a new customer and they seem surprised that I can actually quilt.

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  59. I'm always quite happy to go to the Quilt Shops in my area in Alberta and in BC. Saying those words "I'll buy the whole bolt" on a regular basis, makes you a bit of a memorable customer.

    The owner of the quilt shop closest to home does know me by name and is always ready to suggest books I might be interested in.

    At times I do notice the staff trying to talk customers in or out of their fabric choices and sometimes their advice leaves a little to be desired. I usually know what I want so that doesn't happen to me very much.

    I usually do enjoy my trips to the Quilt Shops....a little too much if you knew how much fabric I have.

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  60. I have worked at our quilt shop for ten years. We know a lot of our customers by name and everyone gets a hello! I always make a point of asking new shoppers where they are from. They leave happy with a promise to come back. I enjoy that part of the job .

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  61. I live in an inner western suburb of Melbourne, Australia...and a crafting blackspot! Or so it seems to me. There is no local quilting group, LQS or anything crafty. I'm sure there are a few within 10kms of where I live, but never easy to get to, and mostly not open on weekends either. I have a few regular online shops I buy from, with personal service and suggestions right up my alley.

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  62. I love Quiltessential but it's been ages since I last went because I seem to only be free on Sundays- when they are closed. It's not just round the corner for me either, it's a bit of a trek so usually I go to The Fabric Guild in Leicester. The staff are nice and it's great for notions, cheap solids, 99p fat quarters and oddments but there's a lot of old fashioned style fabrics so I have to supplement it with online shopping. There's another shop in Long Eaton which isn't too far but I would like a bit more selection and her prices are a bit high now I've been spoilt with the Fabric Guild!

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  63. What an excellent topic, close to all our hearts Lynne!! I have two LQS. My closest one has lovely, friendly staff who always ask what I'm making. They run great, relevant classes. I buy all my notions, paper pieces and batting from them. I regularly ring to ask random quilting questions, and there is always a helpful answer. They service my Bernina. They are just lovely.

    But. I cannot buy fabric from them, as they don't stock anything I want to buy. There are rare exceptions - the odd solid and they had the great Moda Mad with Love line. But that's it. They go to Quilt Market, and I always ask if they intend to buy particular lines - but it's always a 'no' - we just have different tastes. Most of their quilting ladies are much older than me, and I guess they are the buyers they cater for.

    The shop a little further on has great fabrics, there's always something to buy, there's a lot of gorgeous stuff - but never exactly what I'm after - recent examples - they're not getting Cherry Christmas, Madrona Road, or Winterkist. There's never been Echino, Melody Miller, Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt, Prints Charming, good Moda eg Summersville, good textural solids eg sketchy crosshatchy prints (like Timeless Treasure) .... (they're just the ones I can think of right now!!). And the staff are polite but not particularly interested or friendly.

    So. I buy pretty much all my fabric online, mostly from the US, some from Japan - it's heaps cheaper (I'm in Australia), but I have to guess a lot at exact colour and I 'panic buy' a lot - buying way more than I really need, 'just in case' I never see it again!! I buy from a few regular shops, including Etsy shops, and I have always had excellent service and pretty quick postage.

    My LQS ideal of lovely, helpful staff and awesome fabric probably won't ever quite happen - but I am so thankful to have local lovely, helpful staff and to be able to buy awesome fabric online from excellent-quality shops. If I could buy the fabrics I want from my lovely LQS, I would definitely pay the higher price for the convenience and immediacy of it.

    thanks for asking Lynne!! Cat.

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  64. My lqs is the Bramble Patch, and they carry a good assortment of fabrics to suit traditional and modern. The staff are friendly and more than willing to help if you ask them. They also offer a good assortment of classes which is where I learned the basics a few years ago. On the downside, they seem unaware of the online side of the quilting world, their online shop is very poor, prices are astronomical on some things, and staff are seldom aware of upcoming lines of fabric. I remember asking about Pips (when I already had a FQ bundle from online shopping) and they had no idea what I was talking about but were stocking it a couple of months later. Surely staff should be kept up to date on incoming stock as well as current stock. The majority of my shopping is done online, and I go to the Bramble Patch when I need to find one more fabric for a WIP, or a specific item.

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    1. After having helped out a lot at my LQS (volunteerly) I know why new fabric lines are so much later in the LQS’s in Europe. The quilt shops in Europe depend on the agents coming by with fabric sample books of new lines coming out. After they have visited all the shops in i.e Holland, they start ordering the fabric lines in the US. They often have to wait another few months before the fabrics are delivered (if at all...).
      Quilt shops are not allowed to order directly from Moda or another manufacturer, they need to make a deal with their agents here.

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  65. It looks like a lovely shop, and I'll pop in for a look around now you've recommended it, as it's not too far from Sheffield! But it's very expensive - they have FQs for sale at £3.25 in the exact same fabric I buy online for £4.10/m. That's a markup of over 300%

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  66. I'm in the UK, in Lincolnshire. I have one lqs about 10 minutes away, she's pretty new so not a huge range, but very affordable, ie. £6-8.50 a metre! Then about 25 minutes away I have my mum's lqs, http://www.thestitcheryonline.org.uk/ They are wonderful, can't do enough to help. It's not cheap, but they always have Moda, and the latest stuff. Mind you, when I say 'not cheap', I'm talking about £12.50 a metre, not sure how that compares with what you guys are paying elsewhere.

    However, when I was away on holiday in Norfolk, I found http://www.shansfabrics.co.uk/ Her shop is AMAZING!! Her taste in fabrics is exactly like mine, I don't think I saw a single fabric I wouldn't buy, and a huge range of buttons, and just EVERYTHING!! And she says that although there aren't picture of all the fabrics online, if you just drop her a message saying what you're looking for, she will upload pics of things she thinks will match!

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  67. Oh wow, thanks Lynne, I had no idea there was a quilt shop in Cromford! Whist not exactly local, we do go out that way occassionally, usually to visit the bookshop nearby.

    I dont' have a local quilt shop. There are none near me. It's a really sad state of affairs.

    Hey, I know you didn't want to mention the other quilt shop on line, but will you tell me as I don't want to plan a trip out there if it's not a pleasant place(I have to plan days out or weekends away where this is, convieniently, and completely accidentally, a nice quilt or craft shop!)?

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  68. I have two quilt shops that I go to. One is in Central, SC called Heirlooms and Comforts. Bobby and Sara own the shop and they are as friendly as can be as well as all the people who work there. They know me and what I like. The other one is in Greenville, SC and is Viking Sew 'n Quilt. They are wonderful too and will call and let me know if something comes in that they know I will love and want. I am very fortunate to have these two shops to go to.

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  69. I'm lucky enough to have quite a few shops within driving distance ~ all with different kinds of fabric and all welcoming. The shops are Cool Cottons, Bolt, Pioneer Quilts and Fabric Depot ~ all in the Portland, Oregon area. Then there are a few just over the border into Washington ~ Country Manor and Fiddlesticks ~ in the Vancouver, Washington area. Actually there are even more, but these are the ones I go to. All the shops are different but everyone is very friendly and helpful! There are a lot of quilters in this area and a bunch of guilds ~ for now I only go to the Modern one, but would really like to check out the more traditional.

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  70. I have a very good relationship with several of my local quilt shops. There are a LOT of local quilt shops around me - 8 shops within a 30 minute drive, and at least 10 more within an hour's drive. Many are geared toward the very traditional fabrics (lots of Civil War reproductions), but most have a reasonable mix of blenders and at least a few modern lines. The closest ones don't follow the popular modern designers, so I have to travel a bit to get them. I learned to quilt from the most traditional of all of the shops, and even though I seldom shop there anymore, they're always friendly and welcoming when I go in. One of the shops pays me to turn their patterns into an attractive format for selling. They are all open at least a few hours on weekends, although their weekday hours are generally geared toward people who shop during the day. A few have a single weeknight where they stay open late for those of us still working. Everyone working at the shops expresses interest in me as a quilter, even if the things I'm making aren't to their tastes. I frequently take a top or finished quilt with me to the shops because no one else can appreciate the work that went into it like another quilter. I've never been disappointed in the response. There have been a few outspoken customers, but comments are usually along the lines of "I'd never have thought to put those fabrics together!" rather than "Why would you put those fabrics together?!" Honestly, a big part of it is my confidence in what I accomplished. I can easily laugh at a remark that might be interpreted as critical by someone less comfortable with their work. Usually that turns into a conversation about quilting and we all go away happy. There is one shop, however, that I only go to when it's part of a shop hop. The owner is sour-faced, stingy and sometimes rude. I've been told that she won't turn the lights on in part of the store because electricity is expensive and there are only two of us. There's light - just not enough to clearly see and compare colors. The shop is packed tight with fabric. She actually carries a reasonably good range of styles, but the vibe of the place is so negative I don't like being there. Prices are pretty consistent between shops. Two tend to be lower in price and both are in homeowners' basements. Sound strange, but one has a separate entrance is a reasonable sized shop with lots of lighting. You forget you're in a basement. She does not use punch cards (rewards for shopping there frequently), but instead marks all of her fabric about 50 cents to a dollar less than most other shops. The other is a "secret" shop, hidden in a residential area. You need to make an appointment to shop there, and when you arrive her dog greets you and escorts you through the kitchen to the basement steps. The shop is packed to the gills with fabric, nothing "designer" but all high quality fabric. We've taken six people there at once, but I wouldn't want to try to cram any more people in. Her prices are super low, ranging from $3 to $6. She has a fairly extensive supply of wide back fabrics that she sells for less than $10 a yard. She is always happy to see us, always interested in what we're working on, and when we show her a screaming fabric combination, she happily throws in something even more extreme.

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  71. I have a very traditional style LQS that I go to once a month for a sampler group. I don’t buy much there in general, but every time I go, I manage to find *something* I want to buy. The staff is hit or miss, though. Some days, they are really nice, greet me, ask what I’m working on, etc. Others, they are cold and very "who is this person who looks too young to be a quilter." Yes, even after 8 mos. of being in a monthly club there.

    There’s a second shop not too far from me that I go to a couple times a year. They’re very Kaffe Fasset-focused. They do have some lovely Art Gallery fabrics and such, but overall it’s not a place I go unless I am headed that way for something else. They’ve always been friendly, but not inquiring.

    I’ve try to visit shops all over, because I love trying to buy the fabrics I’d normally get online at local stores—there just aren’t any near me that carry that sort of thing. It’s very traditional here in Central NY state, overall. There is a place that just opened in Oneonta, about an hour away, that seems more modern, but I’m not sure. I hope to get down there one weekend soon.

    Friendliness really is a factor of whether I will go back to a shop or not, though. We travel around the state a lot during the summer, so I get chances to stop many places. There’s a shop about an hour and a half away that I will make a special trip for every once in a while (or make sure to go there if we’re in the area). They are a little more traditional than I normally buy, but every time I’ve gone in, they’ve been nothing but friendly and helpful and there’s always *something* that interests me. Yet, at other, closer, stores, I’ve either gotten brusque service, no help until I bring my selections to the checkout, or even been followed around as if I couldn’t possibly be in the right shop, and thus up to no good. (You know that type of helpful hovering vs. is this person going to steal something hovering.)

    As much as I want to support the LQSs though, I get the best service, support, and conversations from the JoAnn in town. I don’t buy as much fabric there as notions and what not, and most of my $ is spent at the unassociated-but-located-inside Viking Gallery, but any time I go in, I get friendly help—which is more than I can say about anywhere truly local to me.

    I think to a large extent, though, that’s the nature of retail.

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  72. I agree with Pennydog on The Fabric Guild in Leicester, they're my go to place on basics and often have good range of solids and notion etc at good prices, but a lot of the stuff is old fashioned unfortunately, although they have stocked some cute Riley Blake lines this year.
    There is a quilt shop in Loughborough that carries a lot of fabric and is family run, i've done a few classes there, and am always the youngest by a good couple of decades (i'm 36), but some of the more mature ladies are lovely (not all!) and really keen to share knowledge. Some of the ladies can't choose co-ordinating fabrics for their projects though, and expect you to ask the teacher for approval for every decision you make which i find a bit odd. The fabric lines are aimed directly at their customer base which is on the whole in their 60's, so i understand they won't have all of the latest modern lines, and i have to shop online for those, or engineer a visit to another quilt shop in a different area, but they do carry some very pretty fabrics, good for when i'm doing girly projects etc- prices are quite high as you would expect. They offer a good range of classes, some can be a bit too traditional for my liking, but for most its your choice of fabrics that make it modern. many of the ladies in the shop know me by name which is nice, and they have a box of toys for my little one to play with, which helps.
    There is a lovely modern quilt shop (the sewing cafe) in Hinckley which although it is only 12 months old, carries some really gorgeous fabrics, including Tanya Whelan, Lotta Jansdotter etc, but as its 25 minutes away its an occasional visit only. The classes here are good value for money as they include all of the fabric for the project in the price. The 2 ladies who run it are in their late 20's and are lovely for a chat, all youthful exuberance and keen to talk projects etc, so i've always felt welcome.
    There are also a couple of direct fabric warehouses in the area which are good for cheaper fabrics for big projects, and they've always been pretty friendly when i've been in, but not really a quilt shop.
    So, in short, i have a few LQS and they're good for emergency extras, when i NEED to start a new project yesterday or need a co-ordinating fabric, but once you factor in the generally higher cost of fabrics, and sometimes lack of the right print, its often cheaper to buy online and get it shipped to me! Angela

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  73. Before I moved to Boca, I used to go to a shop in Dania, I think it was. The owner was unfriendly, which gave an unfriendly feeling to the whole shop, but there were a couple of nice workers. I gave up quilting for about seven years. Then I decided to start again just recently. Turns out there's a pretty new shop in my town. And it's full of friendly, helpful people! It's called Stitch Craft. I do go to Jo-Ann's, which is a lot farther away, for tools and notions, plus I'll get batting there and I'll get Kona (they only have a few colors I'd want). My lqs doesn't carry Kona. When I'm at my lqs, I try to find fabric to buy--and I do--but mostly I like stuff that's weird and hard to find so I find myself going online. But I bought my sewing machine there and I give them plenty of business :)

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  74. Where we lived in Washington, I was lucky to have five LQS' at my disposal! Three of them were awesome - said hi, visited about what you were working on, encouraged you to take a class or join them for tea. One was very anti-kid, the employees were rude, and we only went once a year during shop hop so we could get a stamp. And another was not rude, but definitely had the group they were interested in associating with and if you weren't in it, they were stand offish to you.

    But those other three. They were awesome. At our new place here in San Diego, I have looked up the local quilt shops and found a modern quilt guild, but I haven't had the chance to stop by any of them. I really hope the shops are awesome, at least one of them, and I have high hopes for the quilt guild, if I can ever get around to joining.

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  75. I am halfway between two of the most wonderful shops in Central Virginia. One is Cottonwood in Charlottesville, VA and Mary and her crew are always most helpful and wonderful about me wandering about the store with no idea what I want. The other is Patchwork Plus in Dayton, VA and they are equally as awesome. I'm very lucky and I try to buy at the independent shops to support them but I also buy a lot of fabric from fatquarters.com just because they're cheaper.

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  76. I live in the Chicago area and we have very few LQS. The best known, Quiltology, can be very cold and uninviting. Another , Quilter's Destination, is the same. The owner has never smiled, made eye contact, or acknowledged my presence, but her staff is wonderful. I often make a trip to Milwaukee to a shop called Bigsby's because of the friendly reception I always receive and their selection is great. just one block away is Patched Works. They have a huge selection of fabric, but one employee is alwyas there, being very loud and opinionated andhas insulted me once too often. Such a shame. I don't mind naming these shops in hopes that they correct the situation.y


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  77. There is only one quilt shop in my town, and unfortunately it sounds just like the former that you mentioned. It is not warm and welcoming, and because it is the only quilt shop within several hours drive, it is overpriced by approx $3 per m more than I'd pay elsewhere. Because there is no other shop I have no choice but to go there, and so I only go for fabric I need in a hurry or just cant match online. I am not necessarily a modern quilter, I just make whatever suits me. I. Fact, today I have to go there to buy more Kaufmann white for a very traditional churn dash in 30s prints. I know they will look down their noses at me and be unfriendly no matter what I am making.

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  78. I live in Northeast England and we're very lucky! There are two local quilts shops that I've been to and another (new one) that I haven't. The closest (15 mins) is ok - they stock bits of ranges, but I always find that if I go for a specific thread colour they won't have it. I've done some classes there, but the costs always seemed to spiral as you needed more and more fabric. The other shop, The Fat Quarters is about 40 minutes away but it is definitely worth it. Loads and loads of fabric and notions, great staff, who know our names, our taste in fabrics, about our families. We have a huge laugh whenever we are there and they offer classes every week in a huge variety of projects. And if there is a porject you want to do and it isn't offered as a class, they'll put it into the next available slot! I never fail to come home with what I wanted and more and I always have a great time - well worth the drive. It is entirely their fault that I got into quilting in the first place (and they are a Brother and Husqvarna dealer, so if I have problems with my machine, I know they'll be able to sort it out). Highly recommended.

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  79. If you are ever in Northeast Indiana, stop by Fabrics and Friends Quilt Shoppe in the tiny town Roanoke. LOTS of fabrics and all things quilty, friendly & helpful staff - if they don't know the answer to your question they will be honest and tell you so, and try to head you in the right direction. The first weekend of every month (unless it is a holiday weekend) finds owner Deb Roehm holding a fantastic sale with free lunch for her customers. Ok, so I'm bias! I make shop models for them, getting to play with the lovely fabrics, patterns, and books, and also get to demo techniques several times a month and occasionally teach a class! Even if I didn't work for Deb, I'd love this shop!

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  80. I'm in the UK and I have Lady Sew & Sew in Marlow and Henley as my nearest LQS in OXON/BUCKS. They are pretty helpful, but their fabrics are quite middle of the road, but the prices do reflect this (approx. £3.50 per 1/2 m). The Henley shop is actually a warehouse although they are open most days but have a minimum 1/2 metre cut policy, but it is good for wadding, solids and the odd cool print. They are very good with courses, but I haven't actually attended any yet. There is a much better shop in Wallingford for anyone that is in the Oxfordshire area, called Village Fabrics and they are very helpful, especially in terms of how much fabric you will need and I also got my best ever piece of quilting advice from them 'if you do it wrong, unpick it'. Also, they think I'm really young which is great because I'm not at 38! They stock all the Moda ranges and equivalents, but don't branch out into the imported Japanese fabrics or anything too racy, but that's not why I go there, it's the experience and advice that are their best assets.

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  81. Just read the comment above and didn't realise there was any other fabric shops in Oxfordshire other than Village Fabrics - which would be my LQS I guess but I've not been there for years. Far easier to buy online and last time I went there was before I found out about Modern fabrics so not sure they'd carry the modern fabric I'm into these days. I first went to the store's warehouse bit on a trading estate and it was the first time I'd been in a decent sized fabric selling place. I'm sure the staff would be friendly but the last time I went in there I was in a hurry and was really dashing in and out to buy fabric.

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  82. My first local one I went to was horrible. Bad service, mean-spirited, overly expensive and just plain no fun. The next one was much better and I bought my machine from them. Still not as friendly as I would like, but not unfriendly. The third one Madaboutpatchwork.com is a dream. I buy on-line from her and at shows and she is unfailingly fun and talkative and sells great things and her prices are even almost on par with the US! I haven't been to her "shop" (her house) only because it is in a little suburb on the far side of the city away from me...

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  83. There are two shops where I live in South Texas. One sounds like the first shop you mentioned, but that is only what I have been told since I have never been. The second one is so much better. I would say 95% of the patrons are retired age women, and most of the events are planned for them, but that being said, they are very open to modern ideas. Yes, half the store is civil war fabric that bores me to tears, but one quarter of the store is fun, modern fabric! Every time I visit, the owner is asking about what I'm working on. She wants to add more modern shop projects and uses me to defend her case to everyone else who is more traditional. So I have become her informant/guinea pig for modern patterns, which is fun. Everyone at this shop (customers, owners, workers) have all treated me like family from the moment I walked in. There is very much a sense of "while our styles might not match, our craft does so we are bonded" when you visit here.

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  84. My favorite local quilt shop is Meeting House Fabrics in Wales Massachusetts. It's awesome! It was a meeting house / church and it is such a peaceful place, the owner Shelia is wonderful, love her! Fabric choices are varied she carries vintage, modern and wool. A little something for every one.

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  85. We are so fortunate in the Portland, Oregon area to have a number of fabric stores in town. Two are rather large, almost "big box" type with vast selections but less than personal service. There are also two smaller stores, Bolt and Cool Cottons, which are wonderful. Both have a lovely, almost curated selection of gorgeous fabrics, including Liberty and many Japanese prints. Service is impeccable and they have great customer loyalty programs and sales throughout the year.

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  86. I have two quilt stores equal distance away from me, one I will never go to again, when you walk in they give you a filthy look because you have dared to interrupt them, they look shocked that you have asked them to cut some fabric and they are just plain rude and unhelpful....the other couldn't be more different Patchwork Corner, they are lovely, welcoming, know my name, always have a chat, and if they're not too busy, make me a coffee and sit and chat, they know my husband, my friends who I have taken there and they are a pleasure to go to, even if I don't need anything, the welcome is so lovely that I'll call in if passing.....it makes so much difference to be treated nicely and I would drive twice as far for good customer service if I had to. There is another quilt store about 3 miles from my house, but again the owner is rude, overcharges and cuts fabric wonky, sometimes you lose 2-3 inches and when you complain and ask for it to be cut straight, you get grumbles and sulks, so I never set foot in there again

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  87. I've been to a few and I've had similar experiences as you have. Most are really cold, stale. The workers ignore me for the most part and they only sale dusty old batiks. Then I found one that was excited to see a 25 year old walk in with a rhinestone headband in her hair and a shiny nose ring in her nose. I admit, I don't fit the "look" but this new place welcomed me, introduced me to their store. It was awesome.

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  88. We have one quilt shop close by which I have stopped visiting, I went there once when they had only just opened and I have to say they were very friendly, even offering me a cup of tea and biscuit.
    My friend, however, went later and had a very different experience, in fact when she told me the story I concluded that the shop had try to bully her and decided to boycott them. I hate bullying and don't understand how a shop can do this to one of their customers. It means I had to go back to order fabric online or take every opportunity I can whenever I see a quilt shop on my travels.

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  89. I have an awesome quilt shop near me. Well, about 25 miles away but in may area that is near. The owner is friendly and so helpful. I usually let her pick my colors when I start a new quilt because she is awesome at picking fabrics. They have tons of classes. I spend so much time there that she has hired me as a fill in when she needs someone to work. I probably would not be a quilter if she had not been so friendly and excited about my learning to quilt.

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  90. Can I tell you I am still fairly new to quilting. After visiting one of our two local quilt shops I almost thought I would NEVER go to another small quilt shop again. It is very dark and cluttered and makes me feel like I am in a basement. And the two old ladies who run it lurk after me as if I am a thief (I am a tattoed freak!) LOL It was not till I went to a quilt shop while on vacation that I realized not ALL quilt shops were like OZ!! sheesh!!

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  91. I'm on the Westside of Los Angeles and was THRILLED when Sew Modern opened about a year and a half ago. Before that only Joann's about 35 minutes away and one not so friendly fabric shop in my neighborhood was available to me. Lauren and the ladies are Sew Modern were so helpful and friendly and taught me how to quilt and long-arm (I took classes). Their fabric selection is large and on the modern side and I am so happy to have met them and the community of open-minded quilters that frequent their store. They introduced me to the Modern Quilt Guild-- a group I'd never heard of before and I immediately fell in love with the contemporary designs and attitudes about quilting. I feel really lucky to have found such a great shop in my area and to have discovered a new hobby that I'm a bit addicted to ;-). Oh, and they sell their fabric online too so I can even shop from home and they have it all cut and ready for me to pick up! Very cool.

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  92. my local quilt shop is really a sweet place. They know me and my little ones by name. They ask what I'm working on and want updates when I'm back in. I've enter pieces in their contests and it's always fun. That being said, about 95% of their fabric I would never use. I'm at least 30 years younger than everyone else I see there and the fabric reflects that generation not mine. I'm always in there for more thread, and I always buy anything I like. I'm trying to subliminally influence what they stock.

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  93. I have three quilt shops local to me ---- all carry a variety of traditional and modern prints. Two know me by name and the third, while always friendly, is a bit more business-like. They also sell machines and are frequently demonstrating models when I come in to shop, so perhaps that's why. I guess I don't mind, though, as I'm able to freely wander the rows and focus on selecting prints --- and it's never difficult to find someone to cut yardage when the need arises. At check-out I'm typically asked what I'll be doing with my fabric, and my more modern fabric choices don't ever seem to raise eyebrows. When a recent 'squeal' over finding Brrr! among the shelves received a geuninely pleased smile, you know you've found a good LQS. I honestly have not experienced a cool reception to my fabric choices or styles at any of the shops I frequent. All three seem to have a good balance of styles --- modern, traditional, 30's, novelty, and so on. I like shopping local because it's that 'instant gratification' and I enjoy the interaction.....but, I've found online prices to be a lot more in line with what I want to spend on fabric. I've never gone the guild route --- my MIL is a member of the local group though and I would say it's a bit more on the traditional side. I don't know what sort of reception I would receive, but I have attended their quilt shows and the piecework is amazing! Traditional, but amazing! {grin} Local to me is "Margaret's Hope Chest", the charity organization, and they welcome quilters of all stripes. I feel like there's a good balance of modern and traditional in my community and I'm thankful for it!

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  94. I go to Quiltessentials at Orton Grange which is just outside Carlisle (England). It really is the most lovely shop with the most amazing selection of cotton fabric, rulers, books, cutters, thread etc,. I'm sure the fabric selection caters for almost everyone's taste. I live over the border in Scotland; but for me; the choice at Quiltessentials is well worth the travel. I also go to a quilt class there and you can either join in a group project or do your own thing, whatever you're working on help and advice is at hand. Most of all, if you are attending a class or shopping you get a warm welcome, advice if you want it, and time to browse. I count myself lucky to be near Quiltessentials. It's so worth visiting.

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  95. My LQS opened the year I moved here. They have a great selection and are pretty friendly. They always say hello, but there are a couple of the ladies who work there who seem to make me feel more comfortable than the others. I have taken classes there, but not too recently. My style has changed and I don't feel as interested in the classes they offer anymore, but I still look to see what's offered, just in case. I did not join the local guild that the shop owner belongs too. It didn't feel right to me. They seem to be a cross between the new, modern things and the older stuff too, as well as being a Bernina dealer and I did buy my machine there. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate them a 7.

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  96. I have a little craft shop I visit about 10 kms away. Whilst their range of fabric is limited - very batik, very traditional and also not very good quality - the ladies there are lovely. They always ask what I'm up to and listen attentively whilst I crucify their language! I would die for a shop like yours close by!

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  97. Hi Lynne, I feel really sorry for all those who don't have a fun time shopping for fabric and quilt supplies. I'm so lucky to be only 20mins drive from a lovely shop in Rochester called Hometown. All the staff are friendly and very helpful, especially the manager. They are all always happy for me to go in with my noisy monsters (aged 4 and 20months), talking to them and teaching them about the stock while I browse the beauties in store. I know that I can go in there with questions or handfuls of my stash to find that last fat quarter to complete a project and they are more than happy to offer their opinion or great advise.

    I can honestly say that the shopping is definitely a big part of the fun of quilting, in fact all sewing for me. There's nothing nicer than rummaging thought the bolts, I'm like a kid in a sweet shop!

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  98. Hi Lynne, We have a wonderful quilt shop in a Ben Franklin Variety Store. It is very home town. I have taken classes there very good classes, some free ones and some paid ones. They have also helped me track down stuff and specially ordered for me. They are great!!!

    I didn't comment on the Quild question, we have a great guild in my small town too. Any type of quilt sewers welcome. It is so nice to visit with the ladies there. I have many more friends than I used to have, plus they share my passion.

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  99. I love my local quilt shop in Buckingham, I've been going there for a couple of years ( it was one of their classes which got me hooked). Both owners are really friendly and chatty, their courses are relaxed, now they've got a bigger shop their fabric range is much larger and I can often find the one matching fabric I require. They even got one of their husband's to give me a lift back to my car two years ago when I bought a sewing machine for them but couldn't park nearby because it was snowing.

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  100. Here in Richmond Virginia there are two quilt shops that I know of. I have only been to one of them since the other is kind of far away. The one I've been to is like the first shop you described. It doesn't carry any of the modern fabrics I see for sale on etsy. None of the quilts hanging on the walls are modern in design nor fabric. A lot of batiks. Once, they had a bit of the Children At Play collection for sale but it was ridiculously priced. I found cheaper stuff on etsy with shipping included. Not one time I have been in there browsing has anyone chatted me up about what I'm working on or whats new. I so wish we had a store like Whipstitch in Atlanta, GA. My LQS frustrates me!

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  101. I have one LQS and another small chain fabric store near me. My first experience at the LQS was poor...I felt ignored for quite a while when I was ready to have my fabric cut and my then 2 month old soon was hungry and crying by the time she got around to me. (To be fair, she then let me nurse in a fabric room that had a door on it.) Anyway, I went back because I had a gift card and the service has been great since then. Her fabric selection is starting to get closer to things that I like too, so that's helpful. The other store isn't as personal, but has a large selection of good fabric and is probably where I get most of my fabric now.

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  102. I don't have quilt-specific shops near me, but there's two crafty fabric shops which I go to. The first one is quite small and has a fairly small selection of fabric, but tends to have nice panel designs on fabric - I just made a Hungry Caterpillar mini quilt from their fabric, and the other day I saw a world map there which i'm tempted by.
    The other one is Vibes & Scribes, (http://vibesandscribes.ie/) they're a book shop but one of their branches is a craft shop, they have lots of fabric and quite a good selection of fat quarters to match. I'm a new quilter so i like to buy a few fat quarters that tone with each other, and if I like the pattern then they probably have a bolt of the fabric too. The staff are friendly and the shop is nice and bright, they don't mind me just wandering round and going away without buying anything either (though that's difficult!)

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  103. I don't have quilt-specific shops near me, but there's two crafty fabric shops which I go to. The first one is quite small and has a fairly small selection of fabric, but tends to have nice panel designs on fabric - I just made a Hungry Caterpillar mini quilt from their fabric, and the other day I saw a world map there which i'm tempted by.
    The other one is Vibes & Scribes, (http://vibesandscribes.ie/) they're a book shop but one of their branches is a craft shop, they have lots of fabric and quite a good selection of fat quarters to match. I'm a new quilter so i like to buy a few fat quarters that tone with each other, and if I like the pattern then they probably have a bolt of the fabric too. The staff are friendly and the shop is nice and bright, they don't mind me just wandering round and going away without buying anything either (though that's difficult!)

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  104. My local quilt shop is also Quiltessential and I have known Ann and Darren for many years form when we worked on the Guild committee together. You are so right about the friendliness of the shop and the interest that is shown in everyone who comes through the door. I wonder if the other one is not a million miles up the road from there? If so it is one that I refuse to set foot in from way back when they were in premises further north. Felt like I was inconveniencing them by going in there as they were discussing something with each other and had to stop to serve me!

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  105. I don't have a local quilt shop, but there is a local craft shop. They have make and meet nights twice a month, and have a large variety of classes. I'm taking a dressmaking one at the moment, and I'vecalso taken a knitting finishing technique class. They don't stock a large amount of quilting fabric, as they also stock some dressmaking fabric, yarn, books, and lots of notions, but I'm always seeing things in there I like. I'll pop in on a Sat morning after collecting the latest online yarn/fabric delivery to show off my goodies because I know they'll want to check them out. I'm always welcome there even when I don't buy anything (which is rare). It's just such a happy, comfortable place.

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