Why You Should Support Your Local Quilt Shop

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In this day and age, with so much commerce on the Internet, it is critical that we all support our local quilt shops. Every year, more and more of these shops are closing, and that breaks my heart. A friend who owns a shop tells me people will often come in and ask for help choosing fabrics, then write down the information on the bolt and leave—presumably to order it online. This is extremely distressing to me. And why is it so important to support your local quilt shop?

Shopping online may save you a dollar or two, but you don’t get the benefit of the experienced sales people who can help you find that right fabric, offer advice when you hit a snag, or tell you how to accomplish something you haven’t done before. It is the local shop where you can take a class, look through a book, or connect with other quilters. It is the local shop that will help you find the right sewing machine, show you how to use it, answer your questions when you run into trouble, and service it when needed (and it should be serviced once a year; I bring mine in the week of my birthday so I never forget).

Finding your fabrics online is not an effective way to choose fabrics and see how they work together—often the color isn’t true on your monitor or you don’t see that unexpected (but perfect) match in a part of the store you hadn’t originally considered. Just last week I needed a fabric to finish a project, and it was the quilt shop owner who said “Oh, I know the perfect one!” It was in a section I hadn’t thought about, and she was right. That wouldn’t have happened online. Most of us are visual and tactile: we want to see it, touch it, compare it to our other selections. This only works in a shop, not on a computer screen.

So go to your local quilt shop this week, look around, buy something, and support this incredible resource that you will certainly miss if it disappears.

Leni Levenson Wiener is an art quilter and instructor, as well as the author of the Pictorial Quilt Guidebook. Visit her website at leniwiener.com

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