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When Your Favorite Quilt Shop Closes

Posted by Jen Lopez on Oct 13th 2021

My favorite quilt shop is closing and as the clearance sales ramp up to a fever pitch, I’m even more upset than I thought I’d be. Sure, I’m losing the best selection of fabrics in my state and the next, but it’s not just the loss of shopping options that has me grieving. My Local Quilt Shop (LQS) offered so much more.

My LQS was a place of community. Every time I stopped in, a fellow quilter always enthusiastically asked me “what are you making?” and I often indulged in the same inquiry of others. I really enjoyed talking about our intended projects, who they were for, what cool fabrics we were using and special little factoids about the project, like: “My son is really into D&D now” as I’m picking up both the red AND the blue colorways of the In the Beginning digitally printed dragon fabrics.

Checking out all the new fabric selections as well as notions and widgets always provided me with a sense of inspiration. If I had a project that just wasn’t coming together or I hadn’t felt any creative juices flowing for a long time, a trip to my LQS always kicked that into high gear.

I had always wanted to learn Long Arm Quilting, but I definitely don’t live on a long arm budget. Thanks to my LQS, I could have this opportunity I otherwise could never afford. For the price of a few yards of fabric, I was able to take a class taught by a very lovely woman on how to use one of several gigantic and very fancy long arm machines. I regret that I never had a chance to quilt any of my many quilt-tops-in-waiting. Note to self: make the time for things you really want to do before the opportunity is gone.

Every time I walked into my LQS, a sky of beautiful quilts was hanging from the rafters. The building was not a small down-town shop but rather and old New England brick factory with high ceilings that could accommodate countless beautiful quilts. It was like walking into a quilt show that never failed to fill me with appreciation for this beautiful art form.

Finally, the owner of my LQS is as self-made woman who’d been in the business for 37 years. Her story of overcoming and thriving after numerous setbacks is very motivational, and she is an earnest supporter of my quilting-related business, By the Yard®. I publish greeting cards and calendars about quilting, based on my comic of the same name. She hosted cool events that I was invited to participate in, she carried my products, she always asked how things were going and was very generous in offering her business advice and support.

For all these reasons, I’m going to dearly miss Ryco’s Creative Sewing Center in Lincoln, RI. You can read more about the iconic Ryco’s and its unflappable leader, Pat, in this article from the Valley Breeze. I’m sure I speak for all who have ever ventured to find Ryco’s in its notoriously obscure location, thank you for all that you’ve contributed to the quilting community, you have been a true inspiration!

Please join us here every other Wednesday for another fun, fiber-filled installment of By the Yard. You can read more By the Yard® and check out our 2022 Calendar for Quilters at www.bytheyardcomics.com.

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