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.