Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Favourite LQSes

As with choosing a favourite child, it's nigh on impossible for us quilters to pick our favourite quilt shop, right? Each one is loved the same, but different aspects of each one is loved more. So it is with quilt shops. Because I spend some time in the winter months in Florida, I have two, well maybe three.  See?!

An optional assignment for the month of January for us Island Batik ambassadors was to write about our LQS, which stands for Local Quilt Shop, for my non-quilter readers. 😍 I took pictures at home in January of my favourite LQS, A Stitch in Time, but somehow never did write up the post. I neglected to take pictures of my favourite LQS in Port Charlotte, Expert Sewing Center (that is the store's FaceBook page; here is the online store; Sewing Supply Warehouse), but I did take some of my favourite one, Alma Sue's Quilts in Sarasota! I've mentioned this one several times over the past couple of years; in fact I even have an Alma Sue's Quilt Shop label! That's love!

Let's start at home. This is A Stitch in Time in Leamington, Ontario, Canada.
A Stitch in Time opened in 1991, in a smaller location than the present one. It sells not only a wide variety of fabric, but also a wide variety of yarns and notions. They also sell cross-stitch supplies. This combo is my dream shop, well, the knitting and quilting part for sure, as I don't cross-stitch anymore, and embroidery, though I want to, rarely seems to happen.

As you can see, it's well lit, and there are plenty of quilts on display, on the walls, in vintage accessories like that red wagon, and the baby bassinets.  This is the main room, and I am standing in the centre, at the till. Behind me is another cutting table (there's one in the back you can barely see here), all the notions are to the left behind me, and there is a wonderful bin of sale fat quarters as you enter the shop. At the very back, just to the right of the EXIT sign, is another doorway. This is the yarn room. LOVE! I actually felt my heart rate speed up the first time I stepped in there. Just to the right, past the red wagon and the shelves of fabric, is another 'room' (think L-shaped dining room) of more fabric. the left just past the till/checkout counter is yet another doorway to a room, an entire room of Minky!!! (next time I'm there I will update this post with a photo) This is the best selection on both sides of the border (remember I live just outside of Windsor which is on the southern shore of the Detroit River, with Detroit on the north), and IMHO, the best-priced selection as well. With over 6000 bolts of fabric, and very reasonable prices, I find myself gravitating more and more to this shop which is a mere 8 km from my house!

Alma Sue's Quilts
One week later, 2000 km or 1200 miles to the south, and a little braver about taking photos of a quilt shop....
In Florida, one of the very first shops I discovered is Alma Sue's Quilts in Sarasota. If her golf cart is parked outside, the store is open! Note the Amish bicycles on the left side of the photo.

Just inside the door at the checkout.
From the checkout area, this wide-open space is what greets you:

You can see another room where the Christmas tree is that is just for Christmas fabric.

To the left of me is this large, naturally-lit hand-quilting area:
I surreptitiously snapped this one, as the Amish do not usually like their photos taken.
That is what fascinated me on my first trip, when she was in her previous location, less than a block away, was seeing Amish ladies gathered around a frame, hand-quilting a quilt. She offers this popular service while they are in the area during the winter months. How do they get there? was my question as well, since that would be a super-long journey by horse-drawn buggy... 😂 Why, on huge coaches (not the Cinderella or stagecoach kind, but busses) driven by a non-Amish driver! If you look past the ladies, you can see the opening to another entire room where you will find some fabric, (sale fabric is here), books, remnants, quilts for sale, and the sewing classroom. A closer look into this room is below:

I spoke with Ella to find out when she opened the quilt shop. I knew it had to be 2008 or earlier because I'd bought the backing fabric for my daughter Brianne's wedding quilt from her. Interesting! She was the first quilt shop in Sarasota, opening in 2002. She opened it to give her mother something to do after her father had died. In her words, "It just exploded!" It is located in the Amish area of Sarasota (yep, who knew, but it's true). Across the parking lot from the quilt shop is a popular restaurant, Der Dutchman, (if you don't eat in, then definitely take out a coffee and either some fudge or a red velvet donut with cream cheese icing, or a whoopie pie...) and just behind the restaurant, opening very soon, if not already, is a large hotel, The Carslisle Inn. The shop has been asked to make 300 quilted pillows for the hotel, which has a different quilt pattern theme for each floor.

Expert Sewing Center
Since we moved from the Bradenton area to the North Port area, I have found a third local quilt shop, in Port Charlotte, Expert Sewing Center.
Here is the classroom, snagged off their FaceBook page where you can go to see several other photos!

This store has a wonderful selection of fabric, especially of Moda fabrics. This is where I bought all the fabric for Aidan's Radiance quilt and Dayna's Shoot for the Moon. They also stock Handi-Quilter needles and bobbins, and tons and tons of threads. I purchased the background fabrics for an upcoming (SO EXCITED) blog hop quilt from her. I highly recommend checking out their online store (links are all in first paragraph of this post, no affiliation) as that is where I first 'met' them. Also you should know that Sheila's sale section is to die for.

Okay! Time for me to shoot for getting some quilts finished in the very near future, so I'm outta here!

Since I haven't mentioned affiliations for a while, be sure to check out the new Craftsy format where you pay a small monthly fee and get unlimited access to ALL their classes. If you have Netflix, this is the same deal, just quilting, knitting, cooking, photography, and on and on, whenever, wherever, as much as you want! That link takes you to their site where you can get a free trial of the service!

Also Sewing Machines Plus has a pretty sweet deal on for the month of March: up to $400 off machines. Also pretty sweet for the entire month is 10% off your entire order and free shipping on orders over $49 within the US. My Little Foot 1/4" foot that I bought for my Featherweight from them is on sale for $19.99, regularly $25, so that is 20% off! I highly recommend that foot, just LOVE it.

Connecting Threads has the thread Avril, my Avanté, loves on sale, Essential 100% cotton, for just $1.95 for a 1000m spool! They stock a fabulous array of colours. Also something like 75 different green fabrics are on sale for up to 60% off! And best of all, my personal favourite that runs 365 days a year is their free shipping policy, which they extend to several countries, not just the US, with a certain minimum spend.😍

As always thank you for using my links to purchase product; it's what helps pay for things like the linky parties for Postcard from Sweden (such a great number of us are quilting along with Helen and me; hope your HSTs are progressing faster than mine are😞), DrEAMI!, a link for those squirrels that distract you from your regular sewing lineup, Throwback Thursday, a link where we show and discuss our pre-blogging quilts, and Quilt Alongs (yep, yep, yep, the second annual one is coming soon!). There is lots of activity here on the blog...  and behind the scenes. The New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop is starting up now that sign-ups are closed. We are getting to know each other, doing some learning and planning in preparation for the upcoming hops in April and May.

Linking up
Sew Fresh Quilts


  1. Always love to see other quilt shops. Thanks for the tour!

  2. I love those shops!!! At each town we drive through, stop at or visit,I aske about quilting fabric shops!!! Nope, not one, at this place or that. Maybe tomorrow as we start again on our slow return home, I will find one. Those fabrics, and the golf cart, what a dream to be there.

  3. Love “virtual”visits to quilt shops. Almost as good as a real visit. Gotta go visit someone of your sponsors.

  4. There is nothing like walking into a LQS and seeing the samples and of course my favourite thing fabric petting.

  5. Excellent post! I’m all about shopping at LQSs! You mentioned lighting, and I wonder if some store owners realize how important that is, especially if they are a small store.

  6. Love the comment about the Florida Amish community . . . wow! Like you said . . . who knew! I went to college in a small town in western PA which was the center of an sizable Amish community. How "modern" of these communities to seek the sun and still be industrious! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Fun post! I need to get my rear in gear and visit the LQS here in Key West. I remember that it's full of bright tropical colors, so right up my alley :)

  8. So much to see in your blog post, but what jolted me is the fact that I forgot it was time to make the HST for the Postcard quilt!!! Oh no....things are so busy around here, I'll have to find the time next week!


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