Support Your Local Quilt Shop

Happy Labor Day to all!

I’ll be teaching at Nancy’s Notions Quilting Expo this week and have been very busy making up kits for my  classes. When I realized how full the classes are (praise the Lord :-), I did a bit of panicking because kit making can be a bit overwhelming. My first thought was to just rush to my local Joann’s because it’s close and easy.

Then I gave myself a good mental shaking because:

1. I use quilt shop quality fabric in my quilts and should do no less for the projects my students will be making!

2. If we don’t patronize our local shops, we’ll lose them!

So I’d like to get on a soap box and take a stand for quilt shops. One of my favorite shops in the Milwaukee area was Fabric Fusion. It had an artsy personality and was owned by a hard working and creative couple. A friend recently related that quilters would go to Fabric Fusion, choose fabrics they liked, and write down the bolt information so they could go home and order it online for less. How disappointing. And this is a contributing factor to why Fabric Fusion is no longer with us :-(.

So, support your local quilt shop! It requires a lot of hard work and dedication to run a shop and it’s a tough business to keep finiancially profitable. Shops also provide many helpful services. We quilters are very tactile and neeeeeeeeeeed to touch fabric when we buy it.

Now this doesn’t mean I don’t want to keep my local Joann’s in business too. That store provides numerous jobs as well as a good price for non-fabric items that I need regularly. The hours are also quite convenient. Thus I really do like to spread my quilt shopping around.

On that note, I would like to share a recent lesson I’ve learned that would fit into the category “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is”. On a recent trip to Joann’s I saw a product I found intriguing:

I’ve been doing a lot of “thread tail hiding” on my latest quilts, using the technique I illustrated in my March 27th post called Loose Ends: I’m using the standard self threading needles and they work well, but sometimes they’re a bit tricky to pull the thread into. I decided I needed to try this “side opening design”, even though it was packaged as one of those “as seen on tv” deals. Please don’t waste your money! The needles were thick, dull, expensive and quite difficult to thread.

Well, as of today the kits are together (with help from my dear husband) and I’m anxious to finish packing. Nancy’s Expo is always such fun. Hope to see many of you there! 


I just received a comment from Sarah B. informing us all that the original “Spiral Eye Needle” was designed by a woman named Pam Turner and is made in the USA. Sarah said that these needles are great, so I went to the website and ordered a set. I can’t wait to try them and I’ll be sure to share my thoughts in a future post :-)!

5 Opinions

  • Trish said:

    Thanks for the note on the One second needle. I’ve had my eye on these needles each time I go to joanns to try on my quilts. I’ll stich with the needles with the open tops.

  • Sandi said:

    I absolutely agree about supporting our local quilt shops! I struggle with this, though, because all of MY local quilt shops cater to a different aesthetic. There are five or six quilt shops within a half hour’s drive of me (I’m in south central Wisconsin) and they carry very few fabrics that appeal to me. They’re wonderful people – this is not a mod vs. trad bashing comment – but I don’t want to buy their fabric. It’s a bit of a Catch-22. I don’t shop there because they don’t carry fabric I like, and they don’t carry fabric I like because I don’t shop there. Lightbulb moment – if we want this to change, we need to talk openly with our quilt shop owners.

  • Louise said:

    Thanks for the info in the needles. In the picture they look big, but I might have been tempted to try them. Now I know not to.

  • Sarah B. said:

    There are some NICE needles called Spiral Eye that work really well. They are a bit pricy but work really well because they don’t come unthreaded and you can use them with kind of short tails. I had a problem with one and contacted the inventor. She was happy to have me return the needle for a replacement as she is very quality oriented. I bought mine at my local quilt shop :>) We are fortunate to have several quilt shops in our general area and they all have their own personality. One owner is a wonderful pattern designer whose latest pattern is generating lots of sales through Keepsake Quilting. We are so excited for her success!


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