My Indiana Mini Shop Hop

August 20, 2010 at 12:15 pm Leave a comment

I took Friday, the second day of GenCon, off from the convention to do some shop hopping.  Indianapolis is the state capital of Indiana and the biggest city in the region:  #14 in the nation by population, it’s a 3 1/2 hour drive southeast of Chicago (#3) and a 3 hour drive west of Columbus, OH (#16.)  For comparison’s sake, Baltimore is #21 and Pittsburgh is #61.  (Here‘s the list, it makes entertaining browsing.)  The reason I got all statistical is that, living in the grand Northeast American megalopolis as I do, it’s easy to forget how open so much of the rest of the country truly is.  Midwest cities rise out of the prairie like the Emerald City, with little of the continuous suburban sprawl that so characterizes the older colonial cities.  (Does that sound weird and snobby?  “Oh, your city is sooooo post-Louisiana Purchase.”)

Emerald City

So what, pray tell, does this all have to do with quilt shops?  Well, quilt shops want to be where their customers are, and in a less densely populated state, that means you get a lot of them clustered around one densely populated area.  In Indiana, that means the quilt shopping is going to be good around Indianapolis.  And it does not disappoint.

Always In StitchesI started at a shop I’d never been to before, Always In Stitches in Noblesville, IN.  The shop is just down the road from Conner Prairie, the frontier living history site (think Colonial Williamsburg meets Laura Ingalls) that I had fully intended to visit if it hadn’t been disgustingly hot and humid.  Stupid August.  Anyway, the shop was lovely, with a much wider range of products than most I’ve been to recently:  along with standard quilting supplies, they also carry cross-stitch and embroidery patterns and materials, yarn and knitting patterns, and wool applique supplies.  These other departments, though smaller than the quilting area, were not afterthoughts, but were well stocked and varied in their own right.  And the quilting selection was no slouch, either.  I managed not to buy any fabric there, as I’m not currently collecting for any new projects and I am so over full-price fabric that I don’t have a specific project in mind for, but I was powerless against their adorable shop models of purses and bought two patterns:

Patterns 8/6

The “Maggie” bags are tiny, for holding an iPod or a cell phone, but are really nicely constructed, and the brag book holders would make excellent gifts.  Both patterns are easily adapted to using patchwork instead of solid fabric as the outside, which ties right into a lot of my Japanese designs, as well.

Quilt QuartersNext, I visited Quilt Quarters in Carmel, IN, the site of my second fabric miracle from a previous post.  It’s a good thing I had checked their website before heading out there, or I might not have survived the shock when I walked into a nearly empty store.  All is for the good, though:  they’re not going out of business, they’ve moved.  They’re keeping the old location open until August 20 to do an inventory reduction sale, and while I was there, some customers were getting amazing deals on floor model Berninas and sewing cabinets.  I concentrated on the fabrics, and even that was an embarrassment of riches.  I stayed as conservative as I could, limiting myself to some color basics and some fabrics that promised to be useful as backs or borders, but it was difficult.  They had some great fabrics, and all at 50% off:

Fabric from QQMore than eight yards of gorgeous fabric for under $35 is not a deal to be taken lightly, so I didn’t!  The poor staff was overwhelmed, but I had nice friendly quilters to chat with in the cutting line, so the time passed pleasantly.  I then, in the interests of completeness, went to the new location to check it out:

Quilt Quarters IIConsidering they’d been open less than a week at this point, I was really impressed at the layout and organization.  They have a much larger classroom space in the new shop, and models and fabrics were really nicely displayed.  Of course, there were no sale items at this location, but I managed to be taken in by a couple of taupes:

Fabrics from QQ2I do recognize I have a taupe problem.  They’re just so pretty, and just hard enough to find to be a challenge!  Although, the one on the right is by Moda, so I might not have the scavenger-hunt excuse for too much longer.  I’m glad this shop is continuing to do well; it used to be owned by Kaye England, the famed quilt designer, teacher, and author, who had a local chain of three shops.  This is the only one that survived her retirement.

Quilts PlusMy last stop was at Quilts Plus, on the north end of Indianapolis.  This is a great shop; I manage to make it here every year, and once I even took a hand applique class they were offering while we were in town.  While their specialty is Civil War-era reproduction prints, they have a large selection of just about everything else as well, and their shop models are not to be believed:  tiny tiny pieces, beautifully executed.  They seem to have a knack for recognizing the great patterns with lousy cover photos and making much more attractive models of those; I wouldn’t be surprised if they outsell all other shops on certain patterns on the strength of their model alone.  I’ve bought several patterns from them that I never would have looked at twice on the rack.

This trip, I limited myself to a couple half-yards:  a taupe (hey, I’m on vacation!) and two juvenile prints.  I don’t have a specific baby quilt in mind just yet, but we’re expecting a baby boy in November, so I’ve been picking up cute prints as I find them.  As with baby clothes, the girls’ stuff is just overall more attractive for the most part, but designers seem to be picking up on the disparity and making it better — it’s not all just trucks and footballs any more.

Fabric from Q+The moon and stars print is from Mark Lipinski‘s new collection, “Good Morning, Sunshine.”  I had seen the title fabric from the line at Quilters Corner in Pittsburgh, and although it’s darling, all the phrasing on it is along the lines of, “Time to get up!”  I had joked with my mom that, as a first-time mother at 38, I need a fabric that says, “Go to sleep!  Why won’t you sleep?  It’s nighttime!”  Turns out, Mark had already made it for me.  Not only is it retro-cute, but it says, “Good Night Sleep Tight” and “See You In the Morning.”  Smart man.

There were actually a couple shops in the area that I could have reached the same day but decided against.  I had already been to Back Door Quilts on Wednesday (site of the batik fabric miracle!!!) and didn’t want to return to the same part of town to get to Sew Much More, and I had heard that the shop in Avon, west of the city, didn’t have much inventory.  One that I really wanted to go to, irrationally based on its cute name, The Fussy Cut, wound up getting stricken from the list because their website didn’t have hours listed and no one returned either my phone call or my email.  With customer service like that, I guess they don’t need customers!  Besides, that gave me plenty of time to get back to the B&B, have lunch, and bike back down to the convention center to meet my husband.  And, of course, Wolverine.  Because it’s GenCon.



Entry filed under: Fabric Shopping, Travel. Tags: , , .

Fabric Miracle in Indianapolis? Part 2 of 2 My First Quilt

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