On Saturday I decided to get a reading on the local quilt shops, shop for some fabric and all around just wanted to get out and see what’s changed. I like to do this every once in a while just to get some inspiration and also to take the temperature in the local area of the business of sewing.
I had made big plans to visit about 8 shops but I soon realized that wasn’t going to happen. The weather was turning after my 4th stop and time was slipping away from me so around 2pm I headed for home. It looks like I’ll have to visit my list in a couple of outings. No problem. It will be fun to get out again on another day.
My first stop was A Touch of Amish in Barrington, Illinois.
My tour began on Northwest Highway through Palatine and then into Barrington. I’ve been a customer at A Touch of Amish for many years so I had an idea of their inventory. I came just as the store was opening and there was a packed parking lot full of cars. A class was going on in the basement and there were another half dozen or so shoppers browsing the rooms. To me, this is a good healthy sign. I really love this store.
They carry a huge inventory of Civil War fabrics as well as Thimbleberries and a decent collection of 30’s prints. The overall theme of their inventory is very muted colors, although I could find plenty of inspiration I tend to like more purist colors, florals, brights, and batiks. I keep thinking someday I’ll takle a Dear Jane quilt but that will just have to wait. This is an excellent store to get your fabrics for that.
My next stop along Northwest Highway was the Barrington Sewing Center. Unfortunately, as you can see, it was out of business.
I must have missed this closing. I’m trying to think when the last time I was there and it must be about 2 years. I remember they carried a fantastic collection of batiks and they carried some garment sewing items and patterns. They were in business a long time so it is sad to see them closed.
I spent a few minutes in mourning and then moved on. Next stop, also along Northwest Highway was to Pieceful Gathering Quilt Shop in Fox River Grove.
I have passed this store numerous times on my way to Crystal Lake but never had stopped in. It’s one of those places if you don’t know its there and you are traveling 50 mph I guarantee you’ll miss it. The sign is beautiful but it’s not bright to catch your attention and the store is a house on a hill, so if you don’t know it’s a quilt shop it would be very easy to miss. I think they should put a big sign on the house or paint it a really bright color to attract some attention. I know I’ve missed it but today was a dedicated day to stop.
I walked into the entrance and was pleasantly surprised. The place was charming with two big rooms of fabrics. The fabrics are on the ground floor and upstairs is their long arm quilting machine and offices. They carried a very similar selection of fabrics as A Touch of Amish. A decent Civil War collection, a 30’s prints collection and several croppings of coordinates.
I was impressed with their class schedules and their newsletter. I will definitely have to take a few classes as they seem to offer something for everyone at every level. There was only one other customer in the store besides myself. A severe contrast to A Touch of Amish. It would be nice to see a few more customers. I tend to think if I’m the only one in the store then that is a bad sign. I’ll keep my eye on this shop and hope it will succeed. I think they could add some brights and some florals to their mix, but like I’ve mentioned earlier that is only because I then to be attracted to them. Who knows, maybe there are more Dear Janer’s out there then I anticipated.
Now for a side trip. I don’t know where I came across this name but in my search for shops a store on Dundee Road called Quilt in Joy caught my eye. Well, I was thinking it was in Dundee which isn’t too far from me but it turns out to actually be in Huntley, a significantly longer drive. Mapquest got me there without any difficulty. There it was sandwiched between tanning and cremation (a side chuckle…get a tan while you quilt and plan your cremation funeral all in one stop).
The shopping center is all by its lonesome on a corner. There’s a few shops and all the spaces are full so that is a plus. Some light traffic but its another one of these scenarios of you have to know where it is to find it or be like me and have a purpose to find it.
The store is bright and cheerful inside and the fabric collections are also bright and cheerful. Some Amy Butler, plenty of Batiks, some Florals and lots of pure color. Such a contrast from the last two stops. No Civil War or 30’s prints so I’m glad to see a shop owner has positioned herself offering a different collection of fabrics. The store is a small single shop storefront but the interior is long. Beyond the fabrics is an area for classes with plenty of room. There were a few people in the shop and I was well looked after while I was there. I would like to see shops a little bigger when they are just opening. To me it just makes more sense to have a large inventory but who am I? I’m sure there is a level of balance that a shop owner has to maintain between inventory and sales.
Well. I hope Quilt in Joy succeeds. It looks like they are off to a cheerful first start! While I was getting ready to leave the winds were starting up and it was beginning to rain. The weather report called for snow so I decided to cut my trip short and head for home.
It was a fun day.