Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Quilt Shops

The Stashbuster question this week is about our favourite quilt shops. Well, at risk of seeming a little controversial here, I do not have a favourite local quilt shop and in fact I rarely shop in quilt shops at all here in the UK. I occasionally buy from traders at quilt shows, but 95% of my fabric is ordered online, most of it from equilter.com. The reason is because I have been to the States several times and seen their glorious, enormous quilt shops, full of wonderful affordable fabric and all sorts of books and accessories. Most UK shops are but a pale shadow, one or two small rooms with a limited selection of fabric which is all amazingly expensive, $20 a metre or more. The vast majority of their fabric, books and accessories are imported from America and by the time the import duties, VAT (tax) and mark-up is added on, it is just ridiculous - although a quilt shop owner did explain to me once that she was actually making very little profit, the majority of the add-on is all going to the government. When I order online I go for shops that send by Global Priority envelopes, which are cheap and come airmail, and even with shipping the fabric still works out considerably cheaper than buying in the UK. I also have a vast choice, and access to the latest collections, which I wouldn't have in most UK shops and certainly not in the small ones near to me west of London.

I do sometimes order haberdashery from Cotton Patch in Birmingham, they have a wider selection than many UK shops, so if I need Steam-A-Seam or similar I will order from them online. But I love equilter, their service is excellent and prompt, with a personal touch (wrapped up in tissue paper with a nice sticker and a handwritten note), I find their online pictures are very true to life so I am almost always pleased with what I have ordered, and their website is easy to navigate. Plus they send a newsletter every week to tell you about new arrivals and sales! And of course every time I go to America, I post loads of fabric back to myself and also fill up my suitcase. I've even brought back rolls of batting - but that was before they started restricting the luggage on flights. I know not everyone is happy to shop online but I probably do more shopping online now than I do in shops, not just for quilting but for everything else as well - books, holidays, cameras and printers, gifts, toys, appliances, miniatures. It is just much more convenient for me, it is usually cheaper, it's easy to access reviews and compare prices, and it arrives at my door (most of the time).

1 comment:

swooze said...

Thanks for sharing!

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