I’ve had comments from people suggesting that I should “shop locally” and support my local quilt shops. I’m going to take a minute and address that….
I buy my fabric as it presents itself to me….
This came from the thrift store….
This came from a garage sale…..
I get some fabric from blog readers….
This came from an on line store.
I also buy 100% cotton shirts from thrift stores and use them as fabric. Occasionally we make design a quilt from a fabric line and get the fabric from the fabric company.
Overall-most of my fabric comes from the thrift stores or is gifted to me.
I make lots of quilts….most I give away. Some are charity and many are gifts for family and friends. When I give a quilt for charity, I am already giving of my time. I don’t feel it is necessary to buy fabric from a local store for them. I can easily buy a piece of fabric at one of my thrift stores for 50 cents and I can bind a quilt and occasionally I can even get a piece big enough to back a quilt. If I were to purchase all of that fabric in town at a local fabric shop, I would not be able to do very much charity work at all. It doesn’t make sense to me to buy fabric, in this case, at a local shop.
The thrift store where I buy most of my fabric from donates proceeds from their sales into our community. Hmm…that sounds like a good use of my money and a help to the community. Other thrift stores in my area provide jobs for people who have disabilities. Hmm…that sounds like a program I’d like to support too.
Most of my other fabric is bought on-line. Recently I’ve bought fabric from Homestead Hearth’s Blow Out sale, from Whittles Fabrics and from Quilted Twins. All of the fabric I’ve purchased has been VERY discounted. I love a deal. I’m not someone who needs to touch the fabric so it all works out good for me. I’ve even provided links so others who enjoy a good deal can get things from them as well. All of these places are run by people who are trying to make a living. They aren’t big corporate shops. All of these are stores in towns that are providing jobs to people in their town.
The customer service that I’ve gotten from Whittles Fabrics is some of the VERY best I’ve ever had in my entire life….much better than I’ve gotten at some of my local quilt shops. I love Whittles and I love Cathy. She’s the best!! I’ve been in contact with the gals at Quilted Twins chatting about blogging and the like. They have AMAZING free patterns and I feel one way I can thank them for the free patterns is to buy some fabric from them.
As for my relationship with local shops….I don’t buy very much fabric from them. I have done other things that have supported them.
1-I have done quilt shop tours on my blog. Many of the shops get calls from some of you after you read what I wrote about the shops. Readers call the shops wanting to buy something from them that they saw on the blog post I did. I know, because readers have told me, that they have actually made road trips to some of these shops.
2-Kelli and I have a good relationship with the gals at Forest Mills Quilt Shop. We have had quilts published in American Patchwork and Quilting and we have offered them the chance to sell kits to make the quilts. They have made more money from the national sales of the quilt kits than we could ever buy from them.
3-We are hosting our SECOND quilt retreat at LouAnn’s in Oelwein. That will bring in a money to LouAnn’s and into the Oelwein community to hotels, restaurants and other shops. Here we aren’t just supporting the shop, we’re supporting the city too.
4-We offer free patterns on our blog and we publish patterns in national magazines (We don’t even make minimum wage for our work). This promotes the use of more fabric and in turn the purchase of more fabric…thus others supporting their local quilt shops.
I think I’m doing okay on supporting my local shops even though I don’t actually purchase very much fabric there.
Let’s face it. Quilting is an expensive hobby. I don’t have the means the to buy fabric that is $11 a yard on a regular basis. I do what I can with the resources I have and I don’t feel one bit bad about it…I will admit, it is a little frustrating that I am asked to justify my purchases though.