October 8, 2009

The Quilt Shop Dilemma

I've been making it a point to support my local quilt shops rather than google shop the fabrics I want and buy the best offer out there. I go to their sales and stock up on the fabrics that they have that I like, I keep up with their inventory so I always have an idea of what they have on hand, and I talk to the owners when I can't find something I'm looking for. No one can say that this is not a valiant effort. I think it's important for community and local small business support. I know it's hard times for them right now, in fact, I got an email this week that my favorite little shop is closing.

The problem: not every quilt shop can stock every line of fabric or every colorway or every matching solid. I ended up driving all over town looking for a certain Moda Bella solid to no avail for the baby quilt I'm working on. One quilt shop is still unvisited because they close at 5 pm every day. 5 pm? This makes the shop inaccessible to every working quilter except on the weekends. Grrr. Gas is used up, time is wasted, frustration levels have risen.

This becomes the routine: check the LQSs, check my favorite online shops, google what I'm looking for and buy it for a much better deal than I could have gotten at a local shop. I would much rather drive to a shop, find what I need and have it the same day without paying for shipping. But by the time the search is over, I could have already received the fabric in the mail and the gas spent driving all over town would totally cover shipping.

I also think it's rather amazing that we as quilters can shop for fabric all over the world. It opens up a huge world of possibilities - to find out about new fabrics that blog friends are designing, or learn about fabrics like Flea Market Fancy that are out of print, or buy Japanese fabrics on a Japanese website that is kind enough to translate into English.

Just thinking out loud. Enough of that. Back to studying...


Anonymous said...

I agree!
I try to buy local, but sometimes it's just hard. I make it a point to buy at least the backing fabric and batting from my lqs - even if I can't find what I need for the front.

Barbara said...

Since I like having my local quilt store, I do the same thing. Try to buy from her first. then if I can't find it there, I just go on-line.