Favorite Quilt/Fabric Shops!

Originally appearing as posts on the main blog page, these are my three favorite fabric/quilt shops to visit and spend money.  They are kind of far apart - maybe that's part of the charm because I don't get to them often.   They are great shops for many reasons.   Here is some of why (not in any particular order).

Number 1
Originally posted 5/3/16

 Stitch Chick's Facebook page.

My brother and I took a whirl wind trip to Connecticut this past weekend.   About 14 hour drive from our mid-western homes, we started out Thursday after work, stopped in western Pennsylvania for a few hours sleep in a hotel, then finished the drive Friday arriving about 3:00 in the afternoon.  We had 28 hours at my son's home, then reversed trip, staying Saturday night in an eastern Pennsylvania hotel.

Just a few miles north of my son's apartment, two years ago I discovered a wonderful little quilt shop in Franklin, CT called Stitch Chicks - their website doesn't do the shop justice.  I drop in and spend a little money each time I'm near - which isn't often, once or twice a year - so grand total, I may have visited this shop 4 times.  Friday afternoon we arrived in town before my son was home from work, so I bee-lined it to the shop and soon parted with some of my hard earned money and walked away with treasures!

The shop wasn't very busy and the lady behind the counter was engaging me in friendly conversation when she said, "you look familiar".  Once I told her where I was from she recalled I visit my son in the military here in CT.  It's nice to be remembered.   And doesn't hurt their bottom line any, as I returned on Saturday, to show off the guitar quilt  I made for my son, and part with more of my hard earned money in exchange for more fabric (I plan on making a table runner and placemats from what I selected this trip.)

So, what do I love about this shop?  Well, it does have beautiful fabric, of course. And tools and gadgets. It's not overly crammed with product like some shops making it hard to move around - just well displayed and easy to shop.  But mostly I love the ladies.  They love sharing - which by that I mean they love to have folks bring in what they've made and show it off.  That is so good for the ego!   They are friendly without being pushy, just the right mix.  We found common ground, in addition of course to the quilting - my son in the Navy, one of the lady's husband retired from the same.  (We've talked submarines more than once.)

On my second trip into the shop about a year ago, I picked up a cute mini-charm pack saying how I liked it, but didn't know what to do with it and immediately was handed a pattern free of charge.  On another trip they were having a promotion that included a bonus for spending a minimum amount - I think it was a little case of sticky notes - the thin ones you can easily use to temporarily mark things - and being shy a dollar or two, that was close enough for them.  I wasn't even aware of the promotion going on. These ladies are great!

If you're in the area of Franklin, CT, stop in - and tell them a Navy mom sent you!

Shop #2
Originally posted 5/4/16
 Jackman's - St. Louis

There are a lot of great online resources for quilting fabric and supplies, and I probably will write about a few of my favorites.  However, these first few are old fashion, brick and mortar, and while they have a website, it hardly does them justice.   Online ordering is nice, but I like walking around, seeing and feeling the fabric.  Some times colors are not quite as represented online or fabric weight isn't what you expect.   Of course it helps if you are ordering brand names, but still there's just something about walking around all the bolts of fabric and seeing it all in person. 

Jackman's Fabrics has been serving the St. Louis area for over 100 years!  Jackman's has three stores - I have only frequented one of them - 1234 N. Lindbergh Blvd - a.k.a "the Creve Coeur" store.  They have it all! They sell apparel fabric, upholstery fabric, "minky" fabric and hundreds and hundreds of quilting cottons.  There's always something on the clearance tables, always something on special. A wide variety of Kits, pre-cuts, scrap bags.  All the brand names! I could spend hours in here!

And inspiration galore! Walk around the store and not only see and feel all the fabric, but look up and see , gosh, maybe 50 or more quilts hanging above the fabric shelves as well as small project ideas such as bags, hot pads, table runners, even clothes, hanging on the sides of shelves, walls, ends -rotated, moved, refreshed, and new hung on a regular bases, so you have to come back to see what's new!  If that doesn't inspire your creative energy, I'm not sure what will.   Look at just one small area of the store (picture copied from their website):

In addition to all the fabric and displayed ideas, their sewing machine department sells Baby Lock and Juki sewing machines, sergers, long arm quilters, quality threads for embroidery machines, and long arm quilters as well as accessories for those machines. And service and repair as well.  I bought my Baby Lock Crown Jewel II long arm quilter and frame from them about 8 months ago and have been having a ball using it.  

And again, the people are wonderful!  I can take a free mini lesson on my long arm nearly anytime I need (call ahead to schedule) and each time I do, I get 20% off sewing machine department purchases that same day.  The ladies are nice - so is Tom Jackman who told me all about my new Long arm and helped load it in our van.  They do deliver and setup these beasts, but we are a little out of their delivery area - by about 450 miles! - no worry, though.  Mr. Jackman assembled what he could in the store and gave me lots of information and advice plus a phone number if I needed assistance.   Need help, advice, ideas?  You can find it here!

Jackman's is a quilter's playground.  You HAVE to stop in if you are ever in the area! 

Shop number 3 
Originally posted 5/5/16

 Erica's Craft & Sewing Center

**********Update - 6/26/18- Unfortunately Erica's has closed!  I'm so depressed!  The shop was opened I think 30 or 40 years???  It looks like they simply just retired - I wish them all the best and will miss the shop for a long time to come! :are cousins**********

Erica's Craft & Sewing Center has a rewards program and that is far from my favorite thing about this great shop in South Bend, Indiana!!  But still, what a nice little surprise to have a quick $10 taken off one of my subsequent purchases because of this rewards program. Basically it's this: "For each $100 spent on regularly priced merchandise, you earn a Reward Certificate good for 10 reward dollars which you can use on a future purchase of regularly priced merchandise." And no card to carry around & you don't have to ask for the discount when earned- they just keep your name and address in the computer and ask your name with each purchase. Then when you have earned a reward, they say so as your making your next purchase.  I purchased an add-on for my long arm from Erica's online.  That along with the first in-store purchase of a little fabric I had made previously, and in only my second trip to the "brick and mortar" I had $10 off my purchase.  Woo-hoo!!

It would appear that my favorite shops are far from home - yes, they are.  Erica's is about a 3 hours drive from us.  I get my hubby to take me there every so often because South Bend is also home to his favorite pizza joint - Barnaby's.  

Erica's website is a bit better than the previous two stores I've written about, but still leaves something to be desire.  Even so, I have purchased online.  But the "brick and mortar" shop is just great!!

My very first time in the store, as soon as I walked in the door I was "Wowed" by the quilts displayed right up front.  So, right away I'm looking around for other finished projects displayed throughout the store.  Not as many as Jackman's, but then Erica's isn't as big as Jackman's.  Still they've got 'em all over.  In my last trip in they had a red, black, and white jelly roll race quilt (what's a jelly roll race quilt?) with a nice looking border on display. It worked.  I bought the jelly roll!

Immediately on walking in you can see this is much more than a quilt shop.  To the left is an alcove of yarns and knitting/crochet supplies.  To the right are machines - sewing, sewing/embroidery combos, long arm quilters and lots of stuff to go with them - such as machine embroidery patterns, specialty threads, long arm rulers and other accessories.  And straight ahead,  near and all the way to the back, you can see fabric - bolts, fat quarters and other pre-cuts, and lots of inspiration.  And as you walk back, there's a corner of patterns, magazines, and books.   Near the counter there are coloring books - you know, the ones for adults that spark a lot of ideas for me for patchwork and/or applique, and free motion quilting, as well as craft and sewing inspired trinkets - like pins and charms, magnets and mugs, even socks and t-shirts.  They have supplies for cross-stitching, hand embroidery, felt kits, latch hook rug kits.....several different crafts.

What I love about this place is while I'm shopping for beautiful fabrics I usually find some accessory I didn't know I needed until I saw it.  I've purchased long arm quilting rulers, friction pens, and "Bobbin Buddies" among others. I think they have just about every foot available for Baby Lock sewing and sewing/embroidery machines.

On my third trip into the store I "discovered" an additional room I hadn't even investigated previously.  I had thought erroneously that was a stock room or something.  But in reality it's their classroom which also houses some of what I can only imagine is overflow fabric bolts and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, clearance merchandise.  So, if you go, don't make the same mistake I did - go through the open door and explore for the best deals!

On my last trip we happened to visit during their celebration of 42 years of business and what a pleasant surprise to get 20% off my purchase because of it.  Unfortunately I didn't win one of the fabulously looking gift boxes they were giving away!  Erika's is always coming up with some great promotions.   

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