Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Quilt shop reviews

A short explanation: My friend [info]firesika who I have known since 3rd grade is going into the Peace Corps. She needed to drive her car to her Dad, so he can use it while she's gone, and I needed to not let her drive that far by herself, especially since she wanted to take the long way from Seattle to Arizona (where her Aunt lives) to Detroit (Nephew) to Chicago (Dad). We ended up driving along a bunch of old Route 66, since it was mostly went where we were going. I met up with her and some other friends for Disneyland and Las Vegas, so the quilt shop hopping started after everyone else flew out. Most of the quilt stores were found by doing web searches for towns along our planned route the next day. The first and last shops were the only ones that I had recommendations for. I only let myself shop for fat quarters, since I had to squeeze everything into my suitcase and onto the plane in Detroit, so I didn't look at the book or notions sections at any of the stores.
These reviews include a rating out of 5, a picture of the fabric I bought there, and a brief description of my impression of the store.

213 Stephanie St, suite E
Henderson, NV 89074
Rating: 4
This is a big store with a nice layout tucked into a little strip mall. It was bright, sunny and cheerful inside. They even had a full bed for display, which I thought was nice because it let them show you ways to accessorize your quilts. There were two separate rooms full of fabric with lots of fat quarters to choose from. Nice selection of fun themed prints, like gambling, airplanes, fishing, etc. The employees were very helpful. We were asked if we needed help at least 5 times during my ten minutes of browsing. Plus, when I was making my purchase, the lady helping me was kind enough to give us a recommendation for a place to eat on our way out of town.

Quilters Store Sedona
Quilters Store and Gallery Sedona
3075 W Highway 89A
Sedona, AZ 86336
Rating: 2
This was a small shop and it was hard to navigate around it because they had shelves and tables full of fabric in weird spots. Most of the fabric was color wash and batik prints, with a small section of southwestern prints. They didn't have a lot that was to my taste, but I couldn't tell if that was because it was so dim inside or if the fabric was really that dull. They did have a small section of asian prints, and I was able to find a nice fabric to use for the binding on a current project. We were only asked if we needed help once, and then, when I needed to get my fabric cut, I had to interrupt a conversation two of the employees were having to do so. When the cutting was done and I was ready to pay, the lady who helped me was cheerful and chatty, but I felt like it was too late to be friendly.

Fabric Dreams
Fabric Dreams
1926 Civic Circle
Amarillo, TX 79109
Rating: 3.5
This store is tucked away in a very strangely laid out strip mall, so it was a little hard to find. Also, the directions we got off Google Maps sent us in entirely the wrong direction. I was able to get directions from someone there that turned out to be identical to the Google directions with a right instead of a left. I was tired and cranky when we got to Fabric Dreams. We arrived shortly after they had opened, so we were the only customers and the lady who worked there was extremely friendly and showed us the new fabric they'd gotten in. They had some really cool stuff I've never seen anywhere else, but I wasn't in the mood to browse much, so I didn't buy very much fabric. I would love to go back, in a better mood, because I think I would have bought a lot more.

Oklahoma Quiltworks
Oklahoma Quiltworks
9323 N. Pennsylvania
Oklahoma City, OK 73120
Rating: 5
This store was very busy when we got there. There was a class going on in the back room, and people were rushing around trying to find the last bits they needed for their projects. Even though all of the employees were busy (helping customers, working with the class, cutting fabric) we were still asked if we needed help by every single employee we saw. A sudden rainstorm started after we had been there for awhile and one of the employees at the cutting table sang out “What a great reason to stay inside and shop more!” The whole mood of the store was happy and friendly, with people chatting in line and giving advice about fabric choices. This was also the biggest store we went to. They had an especially good selection of bright retro prints. Not only did they have a huge amount of fat quarters, but they were willing to cut fat quarters off of bolts for you, an option I've never heard of in other fabric stores, but I think is great because I adore fat quarters. This is by far my favorite of the stores we stopped at. It almost makes me wish I lived in Oklahoma. I would love to take classes here.

Quilt Sampler
Quilt Sampler
1802 S Glenstone Ave
Springfield, MO 65803
Rating: 1
This store was a letdown after Oklahoma Quiltworks the day before. We were asked if we needed help a couple of times, but it was always asked as someone was rushing by, and I didn't get the feeling that they really wanted the answer to be “yes”. They had a large civil war reproduction selection, but other than that it seemed like the same kind of quilt fabrics you see at Joann's. They did not have a good selection of fat quarters, but they did have a 10 for $10 section in bins out front. I tried to get 6 of them and the lady at the register said I had to get 10. I tried to get her to sell them to me at the regular price instead, because I didn't really want more then 6, but she looked at me like I was insane. I asked if I could leave my fabric at the counter while I went back to look for 4 more fat quarters and she kind of sighed and said “sure.” I really didn't like the feel of this store at all, and when we left I was cranky with myself for buying as much fabric from them as I did. This is the only store I visited that I would not shop at again if I was ever in the area again.

1540 Columbia Ave E
Battle Creek, MI 49014
Rating: N/A
This store was closed, which was annoying. I had been checking websites for times with other quilt stores after I tried to go to one in Prescott, AZ that turned out to be a mail order only business run out of someone's house, but Quiltery doesn't have a website. We were trying to decide what to do for lunch since we had been hoping to ask someone there for a recommendation when I noticed the store across the street...

Flying Stitch
1534 Columbia Ave E
Battle Creek, MI 49014
Rating: 5
Okay, so this isn't a quilt store, but I love to cross stitch and this is the first time I've seen I cross stitch store. They had an amazing selection of patterns, and I wanted to buy way too many of them. The ladies who worked there were super friendly. We were greeted as soon as we walked in and when we explained how we ended up there because Quiltery was closed, one of the ladies ducked in the back and while we looked around they found a pamphlet for a quilt store in the next town, and called them to see if they were open. They couldn't get through, so they called the knitting store in the same shop to ask them if the quilt store was open. Then they patiently explained to us how to get there, and told us the name of a restaurant near there that would be good for lunch. We spent a long time there because after all their help, there was no way I was going to leave without buying something, but I had limited space in my bag, and I was worried that the fancy flosses would get ruined if I tried to transport them home. Eventually I found tape that is specially designed to hold needlework onto the scroll bars, which is wonderful because I have been using thumb tacks and scotch tape up until now. I liked this store so much I am considering buying my floss from them and having them ship it to me. There is a website that comes up when I search for them ( but it is broken.

Shops at Marshall House
Shops at Marshall House
100 Exchange Street
Marshall, MI 49068
Rating: 4.5
This is an historic home where the garage and main floor has been turned into a series of shops. The quilt store and yarn store share the same area, with the yarn store in the first room you walk in and the quilt store in three rooms behind and a little area at the front of the yarn store that I think used to be a sun porch. They had an amazing asian section, twice as big as any other asian section I've ever seen in a quilt store. There were even Sashiko prints, which are really hard to find in my experience. We were the only customers while I was there, and both quilt store employees were friendly and helpful. When I was making my purchase, I asked for a lunch recommendation and the man helping me gave me the same recommendation as the people at the Flying Stitch. He tried to find some coupons, but wasn't sure where the owner had put them. I went back to the knitting section to extricate [info]firesika and he came flying out of the quilting section with the coupons saying “Oh! I'm so glad you hadn't left yet!” This store was a little dim and cramped, but that's to be expected when you are operating out of such an old house. Plus, it meant that the asian prints had a room almost entirely to themselves.

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