Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ode to a Quilt Shop



Cullingully Cottage Patchwork Barn




These are just some of the shops here in WA - not an all inclusive list.

I live in a part of Australia that is rather secluded.  Perth, Western Australia has the unique distinction of being the most isolated capital city in the world.  I can tell you that coming from a place like New York to the quiet life here in Perth has been an adjustment.   I’ve learned to regulate the pace of life to a slower cadence and I’ve even resigned myself to no grocery shopping on a Sunday (as the stores aren’t open....).  However the one thing I continue to find extremely frustrating is the lack of variety in my fabric shopping options.  I don’t mean the variety of fabrics exactly – it’s more the variety of shops to get them from.

Here in Perth I can count how many dedicated quilt shops there are on one hand – in less than 5 fingers.  And for a fabric-a-holic such as myself that is pretty poor picking.   Living in Western Australia means I don’t really have the option of hoping into my car to drive to a quilt shop a state away.  Doing that means days of driving and crossing the Nullarbor desert.  And even I’m not THAT frustrated.  So I must content myself with what is available here in WA.  And I have to say I hand it to those cherished few shops in what they give in serve to their customer base are tenfold what they lack in numbers.  

With only one exception I have never walked into a quilt shop here in WA that didn’t have pleasant and helpful staff and a welcoming atmosphere (the one exception has since closed – geez, I wonder why????).  No matter what bizarre or obscure question I may have thrown at them over the years (telephone call to a quilt shop “ I have this really neat fabric, it’s black and grey with an interesting motif in centre.  No, I don’t know the maker or the designer – but can you tell me if you have it in your shop?”) they have always tried to help me with a smile on their faces and patience in their voices.  I know how hard working retail can be and how demanding customers are at times - I once worked in the ladies shoe department at Macy’s!  So when I completely dumbfound a sales clerk and they still keep their cool, they have my undying respect and admoration.

So here’s a toast to the quilt shops of Western Australia.  Who provide an important service to the quilting community in uncertain fiscal times.  We sewers would be lost without them.


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