Monday, July 19, 2010

The Local Quilt Shop

image from

In my last post I mentioned that I belonged to a couple of online quilting bees, as I said then one of these is locally based, all members are from Australia and New Zealand.

During the time we were waiting for the bee to fill so we could get started with the fun, hilarity and sewing there was a discussion post started about where we buy our fabric from.

The question was as general as that but the post really ended up being about buying fabric from online suppliers or from the Local Quilt Shop (LQS). And the consensus was that while a lot of us would like to buy local, with all that entails (supporting the local economy, being able to touch, feel and compare fabrics before making a purchase etc.) the increase in cost that came with it was just not able to be met comfortably by many of us.*

And it has got me thinking, and puzzling and thinking some more.

I buy online as much as the next person, not just fabric but books, movies and music. I'm not yet brave enough for shoes or clothes. And I guess with each of the items I do buy online there would be benefit to seeing the item I am about to part with my hard earned dollar for before I did so. In the case of books, for example, there is comfort in flicking through the book and making sure there is more than one project you would like to complete, that the type is one you can cope with when reading by the bedside light, that the hardback is not so heavy your arm muscles will have grown exponentially before you found out how the story comes out.

Plus with online purchases there is the added waiting for delivery, and, at least in the case of my local postie, the lottery as to where in my front garden it will be and the condition it will be in when I arrive home, especially on raining days.

I'm not trying to bag buying things online here, as I said I do it regularly and as with the case of many things there are some massive benefits as well as possible causes for concern. The one that was identified really strongly in the discussion by my quilting bee was the savings.

I guess the thing that got me thinking and puzzling was that the discussion that the cost factor. There are so many other services that a Local Quilt Stare might, and often does offer that to many they are worth the extra dollars per metre of fabric.

Earlier this year, while on a visit to my LQS, I found this booklet. Privately published it lists many LQS's, their opening hours and contact information as well as a number of quilting services and online sale sites.

So I have embarked on a challenge. I'm going to visit these stores, as many as I can manage (and since my family is in Western Australia, I currently live in Sydney NSW and will shortly be moving to Melbourne, Victoria and have friends in the ACT I'm hoping to cover a big range of the areas covered in the book) and write a little review or description of them. I'd like people to take a moment to stop and have a think about what they can get at their LQS they can't get online.

I won't stop buying online, I'm sure, as I am just as sure I won't ever stop visiting my LQS.

What information would you like to see included in the descriptions/reviews?

* For international readers. At most quilt store in Australia good quality fabric sells for between $20-$30 Australian dollars ($US17- $US26) a metre (100cm) which is about 2in longer than a yard.
In comparison I can buy fabric for $US8-10 per yard and with postage this is about $AUS9.50 per yard when it arrives at my door

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