For the first part of our trip, we visited A LOT of quilt shops. For the second part of our trip, we did not visit a single quilt shop. So it evened out.
I like quilt shops. I like feeling and touching and petting fabric. I also like the ambiance of most fabric shops. They tend to be super friendly, warm, and comfortable. I say most because I have run into a few that did not impress me.
The first quilt shop we went to was in Los Gatos and called Natural Expressions. The refreshing thing about this shop was that they did not carry a single piece of Moda fabric, which is rare for the shops I visit. I love Moda, don’t get me wrong, but I like a variety. They also had a FABULOUS section of voiles, but they hid them right next to the cutting counter and on a bottom shelf. I almost missed them. A downside was that the staff was not very welcoming. I never was told hello, asked what I was looking for, etc. They weren’t unfriendly, just not friendly. Also, the shop was very open with high ceilings. It was very pretty, but it also gave it a cold atmosphere. Prices were average. I was neither displeased or pleased with the shop, but I still bought something. I couldn’t resist those voiles…
The second shop we visited was Prairie Queen Quilts. My aunt’s mother told her about this shop when she found out that I was a quilter. It’s a very traditional shop, but they still carried a large selection. This was probably my favorite shop we visited. They were very friendly, helpful, and engaging. The shop and people were very welcoming, and combined with their good prices, I was very tempted to purchase a lot. I especially wanted to buy a couple of panels. They had more panels than any shop I’ve been to and I was a lot of fun looking at them and the coordinating fabric. I restricted myself to just a few things…
The pattern is Checked by K Cotton Studio/Keiko Clark. They shop had it made up and it was beautiful. I can’t wait to make a more modern version! The middle is some Lecien fabrics. And the last is a kit to make a chicken pin cushion. I made it as soon as I got home.
Kind of weird, but cute.
The third fabric shop we went to was Beverly’s. This is a chain, actually. I was surprised at the quality fabric they carried. The amount of Kona cotton solids was amazing. I didn’t think Moda allowed their fabric to be carried in chains, but I found Moda, Amy Butler, Robert Kaufman, and a whole bunch of other designs. And it’s a great price. So although it had the feeling of Joann Fabrics, I was very pleased. I bought fabric for an iPad sleeve for a friend.
Fourth on the list was The Granary. This shop also felt like a “regular” quilt shop. The ambiance was great, but the people were not. I had not a word spoken to me after a brief hello, which I’m pretty sure I initiated, until I made my purchase. Their selection was really great and they had hundreds of half yard cuts. They were stacked just like fat quarters. It was really awesome. I definitely would like to see more quilt shops do that. However, everything was expensive and prices were not easy to find. Actually, I lied. I did have some interaction with the ladies who were working there. I asked them the price of their fat quarters. I spent a lot of time browsing around and didn’t really find anything that I wanted to buy/was willing to pay the price for. However, I felt guilty for spending so much time browsing, that I came a way with a half yard cut.
The final shop was Peapod Fabrics in San Francisco. I have been following her blog for quite awhile and I really really wanted to go to this shop. It was very small, but cute, and there still was a good variety. I was very unimpressed with lady who was working. She was not friendly and did not seem very knowledgeable. I asked her about a fabric in the scrap bin and she had no idea what I was talking about. The prices were good so I bought a couple of fat quarters.
Overall, all of the shops would be great to shop at. Some were better than others, but there was not an awful one nor a fabulous one. I would recommend all of them. I feel like my biggest complaint was the people working at these shops. Maybe it was because I’m used to the friendliness of the Midwest, but when I travel, I usually don’t notice the difference. People seem to be nice wherever I go. For example, I visited the Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild and everybody was super friendly…just as friendly as the people at the KC Modern Quilt Guild. I had a great conversation with a part time employee of Heavenly Cupcake. By the way, cupcake tastings are my new favorite thing. Why do more cupcake shops not do this? It’s genius! In my past visits to California, I have not noticed people being less friendly than here in the Midwest. So that theory is shot. I wish I could have made it to Quilt in a Day while I was in San Diego, but it was too far of a trip. Maybe next time…and there will be a next time. I absolutely LOVE California. I will live there someday. If I keep telling myself that, it will come true.