Sunday, January 27, 2013
Friday/Sunday Felicities - the fabric edition
this week's Felicity was going to be fabric. FABRIC FABRIC FABRIC!
i went down to my US post office box and picked up all the goodies i spent my x-mas money on, and i've been folding it and trying to organize it. my new rule is that fabric has to be put away before i can buy more - good rule, huh? we'll see how long it lasts.
this past week also included an event called Visit Your LQS Day (LQS = local quilt store or shop), which was a "worldwide celebration for independently-owned quilt shops everywhere". it was organized by the Fabric Shop Network, and there was a contest, which i don't think i ended up entering because it was confusing, but the main purpose was to support local shops, and i did do that!
since i'd been to Spool of Thread several times lately, i thought i'd go visit Matt's store The Quilted Bear, since i hadn't been there in a while.
i found some great tone on tone prints, drooled over the floor model Janome Horizon, and had a slice of yummy cake!
i also stopped by a fabric store that i love called Save On Fabrics to pick up some linen.
you canm see some of linen on the left - orange and teal, yum!
and as i watched people post pictures of their LQSs on instagram for the rest of the day, and read some of the comments people were leaving (really interesting thoughts, but that's another post), i started thinking about how damn lucky we are here in the Lower Mainland. we have so many options of where to shop. SO MANY!
yesterday i left a long instagram comment for a newer quilter with a rundown of stores near her, and instagram ate it. since i had to rewrite it anyway, i thought i'd add some more details and combine it with the thought about how lucky we are, and that leads to
Felicity #2 - local fabric stores!
as lovely as it is to go to Spool of Thread and have all modern fabrics to choose from, there are lots of other shops where we can find some fabrics that we like, along with many of the tools that we use for quilting. we don't have a plethora of modern shops, but we do have a lot more than quilters in other areas!
in Surrey we have A Great Notion right on the border with Langley, Wineberry Fabrics, Tom's Sewing Centre on the border of North Delta, a Fabricland with unusually friendly staff, and my favourite, Save on Fabrics.
i first discovered A Great Notion when i bought my first Teflon foot. at that time i wasn't quilting, but i was doing garment sewing in addition to vinyl work, and i was hugely impressed with their notions. understandably, that's what they're known for, but i've since learned that they actually do have some lovely modern fabrics (i bought Aneela Hooey last time i was there, and Moda Crossweaves), and a fabulous selection of threads for quilting. i'm in love with Sulky 12wt, which is so much easier to work with than the Aurifil 12wt. they also carry some Kona solids, and some Moda precuts. they close fairly early if you work during the day, and i don't think they're open on sundays.
Wineberry's Fabrics has been around forever, but within the past few years they moved into a smaller store. it's the same basic location, just the other end of the strip. they've started carrying yarn as well, and no longer have the sewing machine section. Wineberry's has always had a large selection of faux Japanese prints, which aren't my thing at all, but there are a few fabric gems to be found, along with a good selection of quilting tools and notions. they carry small spools of Aurifil 50wt, if you ever find yourself in a fix. i don't remember what their hours are, but i do remember that i don't like them! i went there once and they were closed or something.
Tom's Sewing Centre is where i've been getting my machines serviced for years now, though i rarely go into the store these days. they have a large fabric selection as well as the more mechanical types of notions - they don't carry ribbon, for instance, but they carry rulers and Go! cutters and different sewing machine feet. more tools than notions, i guess. i have taken a number of classes here, and have had mixed results, but that was just as often due to the other people attending their classes as it was the teacher. i did once take a class where the teacher spent a ridiculous amount of time grilling me about modern quilting "why can't we just join a traditional guild", creating a lot of unpleasant tension, but she was a teacher brought in, not one of their staff. i used to do a bunch of charity sewing for them, but the year after i made three throw size quilts for their christmas family, they decided that they'd only take charity quilts made of 100% cotton, no fleece or minky backs, no linen, etc, so i don't anymore. Tom's is a Janome/Elna dealer, and i love Elnas, so that's a definite positive. also, they close fairly early. they used to be open late one day a week, but i don't think they do that anymore. they're closed on sundays.
i love the Surrey Fabricland. i know Fabricland gets a bad rap - it's ridiculously expensive, it's a chain, the employees are often grumpy (you would be too, if you worked for Fabricland),and the quality is not always up to par for quilting cottons, but the one on 108th is fabulous. the staff are actually friendly, amazingly, and they have tons of sales. that's really the thing about Fabricland, they're like Canadian Tire - they keep the prices high so that their constant sales look good, which is fine as long as you remember the #1 rule - NEVER buy anything regular price! i like Fabricland for the occasional Michael Miller cotton, great linen blends in the summer, and basic notions on sale, but i'd hate it if they were my only choice!
and then there's Save On Fabrics. i love Save On. My whole family loves Save On. they can't tell the difference between my sister and i on the phone (no one can, honestly), but they recognize our voice. Save On Fabrics is a family owned fabric store that carries practically everything. they have one of the best selections of knits in the lower mainland, really good prices, tons of vinyl, and a good selection of cozy flannelettes. they've always carried some quilting cottons, but in the last while they've started getting in more, and the price is awesome, between $5.99 and %6.99 a metre. they don't carry a whole lot of notions, but i love their stash of vintage zippers and they carry Mettler thread - which is way better than Guutermann in my opinion. i often buy linen blends and quilt batting here. this is not in any way your typical quilting store - it's much more like a warehouse (see picture above), but it's definitely worth the trip. they're open every day except Christmas, basically, till 6 on weekdays, til 5:30 on saturdays, and til 5 on sundays. oh, and if you have a serger, they have a fabulous selection of serger thread with really good prices.
in Langley there's a Fabricland with a large quilting selection - typical Fabricland service, but hey, Alexander Henry! again, never pay full price!
in Delta/Ladner there is Matt's shop the Quilted Bear. when this shop opened, everything in the store was brown or cream. seriously! it was so country, but Lily did okay, because they were the only store in the area with decent service. in the years since it's become more modern, and since Matt bought it last year (or the year before?) he's been selecting a lot of lovely fabrics. their classes are really reasonably priced, they have a ton of notions, and i can usually find a few fabrics that i have to have. he carries some solids, Konas and Northcott, as well. and he's a Janome dealer, and will match any price in the lower mainland. they're not open on Sundays or Mondays.
in White Rock there is Laura's Fashion Fabrics. i don't really know what to say about Laura's. they carry quilting cotton, garment fabrics, fleece, etc, but a smallish selection of each (though they do have some Kona solids). they had some laminated cotton when i was there last that tempted me, but it wasn't in my price range. they carry a lot of notions, and are the only place in the area that really focuses on machine embroidery (Tom's does too, but not to the same extent). they're also a Brother dealer, and that was a major part of why i didn't want to get another Brother machine. let's just say that their reputation is well deserved in my experience. they're also in White Rock, which means they have crappy hours, everything in White Rock seems to close at 5 or 5:30. i go in there rarely, but if i do, it's usually to buy machine embroidery thread.
in Richmond there is Fabricana, which is more than just quilting fabrics, they carry every kind of fabric, often on the higher end of quality (which also means higher end of price). think wools, silks, etc, in addition to a large dance section (spandex!) and the separate home decor section. their quilting section is larger than many quilt stores, and they will often get a full line of a collection. they tend to get well known designers, and they carry Northcott solids. i haven't actually been to the Richmond location in a long time, but they used to be the best source in the area for fun fur.
there's another Fabricana location in Coquitlam, as well as a quilt shop called Quilted Treasures. i go to the Fabricana in Coquitlam every once in a while, though admittedly less often now that they carry Northcott instead of Kona solids. their quilting section is quite extensive, with a separate section for tone on tones, a batiks section, and a large sale section. they have a wall of Kaffe Fasset, but lots of modern stuff too. they have a variety of batting choices, and have started carrying some organic cottons. they're also open until 9pm on thursdays and fridays, which is a huge plus for me! i haven't been to Quilted Treasures at all, but they had a booth at a quilt show i went to a few years ago, and i keep meaning to check them out.
there's a quilt shop on the Burnaby/New West border called A Needle and I. again, i haven't been to their shop, but i have bought things from them at quilt shows, and have heard that they have a good selection of fabrics. they also carry some Kona and some Northcott solids, i called them to ask recently.
in Abbotsford we have a second location of A Great Notion. i haven't been to this location, but see above for info about their Surrey store.
in Chilliwack we have Countryfolk Fabrics and Hamels. Country Folk is connected to Tom's Sewing Centre in Surrey, but i've never been there. i've never been to Hamels either, but i love finding their booth at quilt shows! they carry more modern fabrics, especially moda, and often have precuts. they carry Bella solids, and have a quite extensive website, always a good thing. Cynthia just wrote a blog post about her trip to Hamels for Visit Your LQS Day.
in Mission we have the Bent Needle. i haven't been into the store in almost a year, cause they're in Mission (so far! not really, i'm a suck), but they have been super supportive of FVMQG and FV folks are always saying how great they are. they carry some modern fabric, both prints and solids, they're always willing to order stuff if you need it, and they have the BEST price on Aurifil i've ever seen, even better than online! Cynthia visited them for Visit Your LQS Day too.
in North Vancouver we have Creative Edge Quilting and Sewing (no website). i haven't been to the Creative Edge, and i really don't know much about it.
and in Vancouver proper, we have Spool of Thread, of course. we also have The Cloth Shop and the inimitable Dresssew and lots of other fabric stores that primarily carry fashion or decor fabrics.
i love Spool of Thread, a MODERN fabric shop and sewing lounge (you guys probably knew that though). they carry tons of lovely cottons, including a large selection of organics, and have an amazing selection of japanese Kokka prints, primarily in the cotton/linen blend (perfect for bags!). they also carry the entire Kona solids line, a small but well curated selection of notions, lots of independent patterns, and lovely sewing books. they recently added even more shelves to hold fabric! they're not a quilting store specifically, but they are definitely a source for local quilters.
i haven't been to the Cloth Shop in more than 10 years. i know! but seriously, the last time i was there was late fall in 2002. they used to be in Kitsilano, and the west side feels like a completely other city. i rarely go over there, and when i did, it was always in the evening when the Cloth Shop wasn't open. however! they recently moved to Granville Island, which is much more central. and now i can multitask the trip, going to the Cloth Shop AND to Maiwa! also, the Cloth Shop apparently carries Bella solids, the only source for them in the lower mainland unless you want to drive all the way to Hamels in Chilliwack.
and then there's Dressew. oh, Dressew. the website i've linked to isn't theirs, it looks like someone else made it for them, but it's got a lot of info. like why they close at a ridiculous time, and why they only answer their phone for one hour a day... customer service is not usually a high priority for Dressew, but they can get away with it because they're DRESSEW, and nothing competes with them. (thought they do have a twitter account now, and they're really good about responding to questions on it) the store is almost indescribable, you can see why by checking out the google image search for Dressew. it's two floors, and huge. it's NOT wheelchair accessible, fyi. the street level is fabric, a bit of yarn, and costumes year round. on that note, never go to Dressew in October! they carry a ton of costume stuff, and it brings people out in droves. the majority of this floor is fabric. they have a ton of fashion fabrics, especially fancy stuff, knits, flannelettes, vinyls and fun fur, but not a whole lot of upholstery other than the vinyl. the main draw of Dressew's fabric selection isn't the prices, it's the selection. you might find it cheaper somewhere else, but you won't find it in as many colours. the basement is the OHMYGOD floor. there's a separate room for clearance fabrics, all between $3 and $5 a metre (full metres only), where you can find some great deals. the entire rest of the basement is notions. rows and rows of zippers, of trims, of feathers, of thread, of buttons. they carry some bag making supplies (handles, etc) and some basic needlework supplies, random bags of crap, some beading stuff, rhinestones, lingerie supplies, sequined appliques... so much stuff. make sure you put enough money in the metre, it's easy to loose track of time at Dressew, and now that they've started accepting debit, it's easy to loose track of your budget as well. (still no credit cards though) one of the things that i love about Dressew is that they regularly carry deadstock that's so old that it's cool again. like the pom poms i decorated my car with when i was a teenager.
holy crap guys! that's a whole lot of choices! did i miss anything? pipe up in the comments! i should mention that Surrey, Delta and Vancouver all have great Indian fabric shops as well, mostly carrying the types of fabrics that you'd use for sarees/saris, but other fashion fabrics as well. and there are more Fabricland locations, i've just mentioned the few i've gone to. i think i've listed all of the quilt shops though.