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
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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