Since I travel so frequently for work I have the opportunity to check out fabric shops all over the northeastern United States but I’ve been remiss in posting about them. This week I went to Quilted Threads in Henniker, New Hampshire. It was about an hour out of my way but I had seen it mentioned in a recent quilt magazine as a place to find “modern fabrics.” I had actually stopped trying to find quilt shops during my travels because so many of the ones I had gone out of my way to check out had been full of “traditional fabrics” that I would never use. The magazine article (and I must apologize I don’t remember which one it was) included some photos of the inside of the store and it looked pretty promising.
I was astounded when I first walked in by the selection of Japanese craft and sewing books (about a dozen of them, some translated to English and some in Japanese) as well as the Sashiko kits and sashiko thread. The fabric selection was nicely varied. While there was a large selection of what I consider more “traditional” fabric motifs and manufacturers there was also a wide variety of modern designers and a variety of types of fabric. I was thrilled to see a nice selection of new and old Echino prints and five or six solids. They also had a number of voiles- Tula Pink and Anna Maria Horner. They had a decent selection of solids- as large or larger than most brick and mortar fabric shops. I guess the one thing that I thought was a bit lacking was their selection of home decorator weight fabrics. They did have lamininated cottons and suprisingly they had three of the new super wide Melody Miller prints. Unfortunately they didn’t have the large bee print which I’ve been dying to see in person…
Pricing was varied because they carried so many different types of fabric. I didn’t look at the solids so I’m not sure what they cost but the standard quilting weight fabrics were around $10 a yard and voiles, Echino, and the few home decorator weights went up to almost $20 a yard.
In some sections there were baskets of fat quarters and along one wall there were shelves of them. I prefer my fat quarters to be organized all by color or all by collection but they seemed to organize the fat quarters differently on different parts of the shelves. It also looked like the fat quarters were mostly prints they no longer carried yardage of.
I didn’t buy anything (shocking I know) but a couple of ladies asked me if they could help. The only thing that suprised me a bit was when a lady asked if she could put a stack of bolts down on the cutting table and at first the woman working there wasn’t going to let her. Allowing customers to stack fabric is a pretty common practice for fabric shops as it encourages customers to buy more. If you have to schlep three bolts of fabric around you aren’t likely to keep shopping or want to pick up and carry around more. The worker did eventually make room and allow the customer to leave the stack but it was still odd.
What I like about brick and mortar fabric shops is that they often have fabrics in stock that have long since sold out of the online shops. The downside is that their inventory is much slower to turn over so I doubt I’ll go back again any time soon. I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t see any “must haves” and what with the economy being what it is I’m trying to restrict my buying. But I did see plenty of “like to haves” and if I was making more in commission I certainly would have purchased a few yards if for no other reason than to support a local quilt shop that is so obviously trying to cater to “modern” quilters.
If you are going to be in the area it’s definitely worth a bit of a drive.