Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Fabric Shop hopping

Isn't it fascinating how fabric stores have their own personalities?

I guess it's a combination of personalities of the store owner and the other people who work there, and the way the store is decorated, and the types of fabric in the store.

Today, my buddies Gerrie, Rita, Janet, Pat and I popped into a fabric store that I'd not known about. (What? A fabric store in a 60 mile radius of my home that I didn't know about? I have no idea how that one snuck by me.) It had its own charm...it is in an old house, and you go from room to room across pleasantly creaky floorboards. But aside from that, the place didn't thrill me. Half of the rooms had scrapbooking supplies, which hold no interest for me. The fabric mix was not particularly to my taste. It reminded me somewhat of another area store that features country and traditional fabrics. That shop doesn't do anything for me, but to my good friend Jenny (whose favorite quilter is Debbie Mumm) it's her ideal shop.

Interestingly, today two of us in the group were specifically looking for purple fabric and we both noted a serious lack of purples. Funny how some stores just lack one color. My local shop, a wonderful place with a great assortment of fabric (considering that it's pretty tiny) has a serious lack of pink/fuschia/magenta.

Another area store which is no longer in business used to have every notion known to the sewing world, and almost every book, and a decent overall selection of fabric consistently had the worst quilts on its walls. Every one was ugly or poorly designed (in terms of fabric choices) or just dull. It used to amaze me, how much nice fabric they had and yet how unattractive their sample quilts were. It was a functional store, but not at all inspiring.

Years ago, I worked in two different fabric stores. Each definitely reflected the personality, taste, and organizational style of the woman who owned it. To this day, I can't encounter a store with messed up fabric bolts without straightening a few as I peruse the fabric. It makes me cringe to see shops where fabric is permitted to trail on the floor where shoppers might step on it.

I feel very lucky that there are some great stores in my area: Fabrications in Healdsburg, Quilted Angel in Petaluma, Pumpkinseed Quilts in San Rafael, New Pieces in Berkeley, Thimble Creek in Walnut Creek, Carolea's in Sunnyvale. I don't lack for good fabric shopping, that's for sure.

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