I hadn’t been to Lancaster County, PA in a long time, so SIL was kind enough to drive me to Philadelphia and stop at some fabric shops along the way. We enjoy shopping together. We have the opportunity to catch up as we drive around. She never does that trip to Lancaster County alone, so I get to help her renew her fabric.
We mapped out 8 or so shops, but only made it to three. I was happy to find enough food fabrics to make the Disappearing Nine Patch. One of the shops had a lot.
In general, I did see a lot of brown and muddy colors. I tried to be careful and not buy those. I also tried to be cognizant of the light. It is hazy in that area when it is hot and that affects how I see the fabrics.
We started out with a list of stores on the Quiltart website. Thanks, Judy! We used SIL’s GPS to find directions to all the shops. The GPS made us make a lot of left turns, which wasn’t always easy.
Dutchland Quilt Patch
This was a two story store with a lot of Amish looking gift items and a lot of potpourri. Two Amish women were working there (one was in training). The fabric was upstairs in a light aqua room. They had fat quarters and a large number of bolts of fabric. I bought a few pieces, some FQs for a friend and some embroidery needles. Their colors were a little on the murky side for me. I did enjoy talking with the young woman who cut my fabric. She commented on the motifs and colors we chose and talked a little about her own sewing.
Fabric Shack, formerly Lapp’s Dry Goods
Next we went to the Fabric Shack, formerly Lapp’s Dry Goods. This is a quilt/fabric store in a former house in the middle of a bunch of farms, e.g. it is not on a commercial strip of stores. SIL and I have been to this store in the past. I like the former name better. There is something unappealing about the word ‘shack’. It didn’t matter because the first thing I saw when I walked in were the Farmer’s Market food fabrics. This store also had LOTS of fabrics. In addition to regular quilting cottons, they had the pre-quilted fabrics, a whole room full of flannels, Moda pre-cuts, books and FQs.
We had to wait a long time when we went to check out because the lady in front of us was buying multiple cuts of 10 yards each! She told us she was making Stack-n-Whack or One Block Wonder quilts and was buying so much fabric, because she was stocking up for the summer! Later, SIL explained how the technique worked and I looked at her book, but am not sure I’ll be making one using that method.
One of the things we saw, which was not a surprise to me, were Amish buggies everywhere. Obviously, people had to get around and they were using buggies. I enjoyed watching them drive by as we waited in the Fabric Shack to check out. The horses were gorgeous and looked sleek and well taken care of. Next door to the Fabric Shack was a mini buggy parking lot.
Zook’s had the most fabric of any of the Amish stores we visited. They had arranged all of their fabric by manufacturer, which I thought was an interesting way of arranging it. It seemed to make it easy for them to find fabrics when people called.
We spent the next 2.5 hours in traffic getting to Philadelphia. Bleah! I would have liked to have gone to Sauder’s, but I found plenty of fabric on this trip.It gives me something to which to look forward in the future.
I also saw these scooter bikes everywhere in Lancaster. I don’t know if they are really called scooter bikes, but that is what they look like. I seriously thought about buying one for the Young Man, but didn’t have the energy to figure out how to ship it home, so I left for this trip. Perhaps another time. I thought they would be very useful for getting around a college campus. I am not sure how one would compare to a bike as I have never tried one out.
While in Philadelphia, I tried to go to Spool Sewing. I looked up their hours, walked over within the specified time and they were closed. 🙁 Oh well. Perhaps I’ll go to Philadelphia again and they will be open.
A few days later, I drove up to New Jersey to co-host Mark’s radio show. As I drove, I wondered why there were no quilt shops with big signs on the side of the road that I could see from the highway. If I could see it, there was half a chance that I could stop at the store. 😉
Wishes do come true, because not 5 minutes after thinking that, I saw a huge sign for Pennington Quiltworks. How could I not stop? Pennington Quiltworks was bright and cheerful. When I arrived the place was buzzing with activity. There was a large group of ladies having fabric cut and getting ready to leave. I found out later that there were 17 of them in the group and they were working on a very bright and cheerful friendship quilt.
On Friday, I had to choose between Mt. Vernon and quilt shops. Sigh! It is hard being a grown up. I really wanted to go to Mt. Vernon and see their new visitor center and the garden re-do, but I also wanted to go to quilt shops. SIL said I couldn’t do both, so we went to the quilt shops. 😉
Capital Quilts was our first stop. This used to be SIL’s local quilt shop, but I think that Patches (see below) is closer to her. I have been to CQ at least twice before. They have great fabric. They have a lot of batiks, more of the Kaffe Fasset fabrics than I have seen at other shops, some Philip Jacobs and Amy Butler. They also have machines. The thing I like about this shop is that they haven’t sacrificed fabric space for machines.
G Street has moved since I was there last. The space was a lot smaller and their quilting cotton inventory was quite picked over. I heard someone say that they were doing inventory soon, so I am guessing that the selection would have been a lot bigger if I visited next week. They had a number of interesting rulers. I found a few more food fabrics to add to my group. The store manager helped us and she said that RJR is only printing what stores order. Makes it hard to reorder a popular fabric.
Needles & Pins
This is a small Frederick, MD shop which I visited once before. In some respects it is what I think of when I think of the quilt shop in Marie Bostwick‘s Cobbled Court novels, except smaller. I remembered it as being quite dark. This time, even though it was raining, I found it to be quite bright and stocked some cheerful fabrics. They also had a small selection of the felted wool pincushions that I like. They had a great quilt hanging up in the shop. My problem with it was that it was made from Civil War fabrics. It was a BOM and each block came with the fabrics.
I found this situation to be the case in a couple of stores. A few of the shops were doing a BOM in Civil War fabrics and there was no alternative. A quiltmaker was not able to buy the patterns without the fabric and was not able to buy an alternative colorway such as large scale prints or batiks. Of course, everything about the Civil War is very popular in this area and the fabric seems to be quite prevalent as well. Not my thing, though and it makes me wonder if I am alone in this or if they are cutting out a bunch of potential customers. I assume these stores know their customer base?
Patches Quilting & Sewing
Patches was a great shop. It is also in a house right up from the Mt. Airy main drag. The people were really friendly and the place was crammed, CRAMMED, with fabric, notions, tools, patterns, rulers, thread, books and machines. There was no available space because every surface had something to look at or buy.
Did I mention rulers? This store had more rulers than I have ever seen at one store. They had the Quilt in a Day Flying Geese rulers that I mail ordered. They had the Clearview 60 degree triangle rulers that Pam, Sandy and I have been agonizing over in THREE SIZES! I was amazed. I didn’t even know that ruler came in 3 sizes. The shop also had the Starmaker ruler that Kaye Wood uses in the video on how to cut the hexagons from strips. I have never EVER seen that ruler. They didn’t have very many sizes of the Creative Grids rulers, but a person can’t have everything and I really have no reason to complain about their selection of rulers, if you couldn’t tell.
They had great fabric. I could have bought almost everything there, but just had to stop, because I was getting overwhelmed. The employees were very friendly, especially Pam who, in addition to telling us everything about the store, it’s products and classes also acted as local tour guide by telling us about local restaurants.
Sisto’s was our next stop and it wasn’t as well stocked with fabric as Patches. I think it got the short end of the impression stick, because we went to Patches first. They had a lot of machines and I was able to finally buy some bobbins for my machine. Crazy that I have to fly across the country to buy bobbins! We talked to them for a long time about the HQ18 (I think that is the model). It is the HandiQuilter longarm machine. The woman we spoke with knew a lot about the machine and was very friendly. They had a lot of space in the shop, but most of it seemed to be filled with machines rather than fabric.
I asked about Anna Maria Horner patterns at a couple of shops and was shocked to find that they had never heard of her or her patterns. I found it odd, but, again, I think that the shops must know their customer base. I didn’t check to see if FreeSpirit had any fabric in these shops. Perhaps FreeSpirit doesn’t have a rep in the area? Odd, though.