Monday, July 25, 2011

fabric shopping

Before last week it had been 8 months since I walked into a real brick n’ mortar quilt shop.  8 months!  I’ve been into a couple craft stores with fabric…but no quilt shops.  It’s kind of sad.   I just don’t live within close range of any shops that carry what I use.

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I bought almost all 1/2 yards.   Out of the 4 times I’ve been in a quilt shop in the past year….I received  snarky comments at 2 of them about buying small cuts of fabric (from the one doing the cutting).  What gives?  Am I the only person who only buys 1/2 and 1/4 yards?  I seriously doubt it.   I would rather have a big stack of coordinating 1/4 yards than a few 1 yard pieces I get sick of in a week.   

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I got these for my twin bizzy kid quilt.  I love that top houndstooth print by Michael Miller.   Now I just need to stop staring at these and get cutting! 

88 comments:

Suburban Stitcher said...

I get mostly 1/2 yards too. I actually rarely even go in my LQS when they have sales...because it's limited to 1 yard or more cuts. I'm like you...i'd get tired of it by the time a full yard was used :)

Toni said...

Great customer service, huh? I almost always buy half or quarter-yard cuts for the same reason. The only problem with that is having to carry around all those bolts! That houndstooth print is so versatile. I have it in green and love it.

Mary said...

I'd request a manager and ask if it's store policy not to sell small quantities of fabrics ... and then take my business elsewhere. Can't believe a sales person would treat you that way!

But on a happy note, love your fabrics, and like you, especially that houndstooth! Can't wait to see the next quilt!

Hugs,
Mary @ Redo 101

matate10 said...

My LQS has a different take on cutting fabric. A sale is a sale. If you want to spend money at the store that is good no matter how small the cut! I personally like having a LQS within a mile and a half of my house and feel the attitude of the shop owner will help keep the shop open in this economy. Snarky comments don't make the customer feel like coming back to spend their hard earned money at the shop. There's another shop about 20 minutes away that has that kind of attitude and I never spend my money there.

shez said...

very nice fabric

Kristi said...

When I was a fabric cutter, I would have LOVED you! To me it was always way easier to cut a 1/2 yard than it was to cut 8 yards of something. Easier to fold into a nice little stack too!

Esch House Quilts said...

A strange idea of customer service! I often buy half yard cuts too.

Sarah Craig said...

You are not alone - I love buying 1/2 yards! I only feel sorry for the person behind me in line when I have a huge stack of bolts to cut..... Sounds like your LQS needs a lesson in customer service! pretty fabrics, too.....

Deb said...

A sale is a sale, shouldn't matter the yardage of the cut. I almost always buy either 1/3 or 1/2 yard cuts.

Samelia's Mum said...

I like buying more smaller cuts too. More variety.

Andi @ Jane of all crafts said...

Beautiful fabric! I buy small cuts too. I don't understand why it is an issue, it's not like you're getting it for free. They should be thankful for your business, no matter if it's 1/4 yard or an entire bolt.

Lori said...

Goodness, those are beautiful fabrics! I also prefer 1/2 or 1/4 yard cuts. You are definitely not the only one out there that prefers those sizes! Your LQS should be happy to have your business and not complain about having to do some work! Geesh!

Jen said...

My favorite baby quilt only requires 1/8 yd cuts for most of it. And I've taught a few people how to quilt with that pattern, so I buy even smaller cuts than you! Most stores gave been nice about it, in my experience. And one store, when buying just for my stash told me to only do 1/2 yards :). I love them--they remember your name even after one visit! Though I have bought over 2 yards of that grey houndstooth. My favorite!!

Melinda said...

Sometimes I'll be in my LQS for a half an hour and leave with 1/4 yard because I finally found that perfect bit to finish my project. I haven't heard a complaint yet, but I'm sure they make them once I'm gone. :)

Elsa said...

Silly fabric cutter. I always buy 1/4 and 1/2 yards and my local fabric store will even cut fat quarters (Cool Cottons in Portland)!
Love your fabric choices!

Mary said...

When I was buying fabric for my Dear Jane Quilt, I would go into quilt shops and pick up about 20 bolts and ask for 1/8 yard of each. Only once did they complain. After they started cutting, to be nice, I would put the bolts back on the shelves when they were done.

Mary
http://www.quiltgenius.com

covering said...

I'm another one that mostly buys 1/4 and 1/2 yds ;)
-annabelle

Jessica said...

I work in a new LQS and that drives me crazy to hear about people acting that way to customers. Hello, they are buying your fabric! We like to keep a happy and welcoming shop always :)

ccorey said...

Saturday I was at the quilt shop and bought 10 1/4 yard cuts of different fabrics for an I Spy swap. Yup...I'm sure they loved me.

kristastitched said...

I hear you! The owner of my LQS totally rubs me the wrong way. One time I waited at the cutting table for 15 minutes (on my lunch break!) with several bolts and some precuts, and spent over 100 bucks, and she treated me like the person looking at machines was her only concern. She rushed through cutting, making careless cuts, and then speedily checked me out as if there were a ton of people in the store (it was only me and the woman looking at machines). I haven't been back! I like to buy 1/3 yard cuts, I didn't know it was annoying!

bnh123 said...

I buy mostly 1/2 yard cuts, but I tend to buy online. I have a 6-month old and he's not very patient with me fabric shopping!

Peggy said...

Wow we have an absolutely wonderfully little quilt shop who are just happy for customers, even browsers for that matter! I rarely purchase more than a 1/4 yard of anything and they are so friendly and courteous. IIn fact they are known for asking about what you are making and will even take the time to help you look for coordinating fabric or make suggestions if you just aren't sure. They truly are a delightful little shop!!

The Tulip Patch said...

My favorite size cut is 1/3 yard. I get sick of a fabric usually before using a half yard. I feel like I can't do as much (math wise) with 1/4 yards. 12"x44"...perfect! You can do anything with it.

p.s.phyllis sews said...

Oh, no! I would have thought the LQS staff would be the last to become snarky with their customers. In a Joanne's or Hancocks where their staff might not ever have seen cloth on a bolt, I would understand.

I am finally learning that 1/2 yard cuts are the best because it does take awhile to use up the yard.

Go have fun with your new fabric!

megan.futo said...

I always buy 1/2 yard cuts if I'm implus shopping which happens a lot with fabric. Most projects I do don't require much more and if I more I almost never use the leftover. So keep on keepin on. Can't believe I just typed that....

Camille said...

How rude! I will never understand grumpy, snarky people that choose to work with the public. At my LQS I get the stink eye from the other ladies that shop there because I'm young. Needless to say I make the trek to a further shop with more variety if I can.

I always buy half yards because then I get more variety and have more options than a fat quarter.

If that fabric holds some bad memories of poor service I'll gladly take them off your hands :D

Me? A Mom? said...

And LQSs wonder why they are losing business to online shops...

Half yard cuts are my go-to size. My budget can't bear full yards.

Meg said...

fabric is so expensive here in Oz, even a FQ requires a second mortgage!! $6.95!! or $27 per metre...so they had better be nice to me if i am buying their fabric!
I would ask for the manager/owner, i am sure that in this economic climate they may see that a new employee may be what it takes to keep their business and your custom!

Staci said...

Good Grief! I've never had a comment like that in a quilt shop! What the heck are these people thinking, treating paying customers like that!!??!! Quilt shops are a 3 hour trip for me, and when I can get there, I mostly buy 1/2 yard pieces, but have sometimes bought a dozen or more 1/4 yard pieces. I would think with the price of fabric skyrocketing the quilt shops would be tickled pink to actually sell any size cut of fabric!

There actually is a shop nearer to me, it is the only one in our entire very large county, but I have been treated so badly in there I will never enter it again. At first I thought it was just me, but have since talked to several others who had even worse situations. I noticed a couple weeks ago the quilt shop is for sale. Can't help but wonder if the business did so poorly because the customers were treated like dirt!

cakegirl said...

I always buy 1/2 or 1/4 yard pieces and have received EXCEPTIONAL service at Bigsby's just outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I drive there from Chicago because of their friendly and helpful service and outstanding selection.

Melanie@Crafty Cupboard said...

I Love that Henna Garden, and am so glad she's reproducing it in its own line. Happy happy! I make small quilts so I buy in small cuts too. And only a few at a time, since it makes more sense to feed the family instead of buy fabric :)

Ironically, I am making the trip out to a QS today, but they are very nice there. Way pricey (though still less than paying for shipping), but nice people! I only have old-lady quilt stores close to me. Boo hoo.

julia said...

really yummy fabrics!
would you mind to tell the manufacturer/designer of the yellow/white striped fabric. it's gorgeous and i'm looking for this kind of fabric for a long time.
thanks in advance,
julia

Meg said...

I love scrappy quilts, so I tend toward smaller cuts, too. I also tend to buy for stash, knowing what colors/basics I'm running low on. So my stack will look hodge-podge. This has prompted comments from several cutters/quilt shop workers, "What are you going to make with these? What are you working on?" When I say that I don't have anything in mind, or I just really needed yellows, or whatever, I get looks like I'm crackers. Apparently, quilters in my area don't "do" scrappy?

Really, it's so strange, but I always wish that folks in my local brick & mortar stores were more friendly--that's my one consistent complaint!

bethanndodd said...

Lovely fabrics (I have several of them myself!). I almost always buy 1/2 cuts...boo to the person who made a snide remark to you for doing the same. Hope you have a magnificent Monday! Smiles~Beth

adnohr said...

Makes you wonder if some shop owners are just having a hobby rather than running a business. …oh, if this business fails, DH will just buy me a new one….

emedoodle said...

I agree about LQS and the snarky comments. I recently found one that is pretty awesome (the fabric cutting guy actually was interested in hearing about the flickr swaps I do. Pretty awesome! I'll definitely be heading back there! :)

comfortstitching said...

There's got to be something wrong with the world when a girl can't even go fabric shopping without someone spiking her punch.

Cameron & Jill said...

I love 1/2 yd bundles!! They are pretty much all I buy. Then my quilts have lots of diff prints and not just 4 or 5. If someone said something rude to me while buying fabric I would walk out and tell them they just lost mine(and whoever reads my blog) business! maybe then they wont be so rude to the next person!!!

Barbara said...

That stinks that people have been rude! Whenever I buy smaller amounts, the person cutting has asked if I'm making a quilt, as that's what smaller cuts often are for. I hope you start getting better responses like that!

aksherry said...

My favorite quilt shop is 150 miles away and they don't care at all if I bring 10 different fabrics up to be cut into fat quarters. I love them.

Stephanie said...

I find it depends on the shop. I'm lucky enough to live within 10 miles of 4 locally owned quilt shops. A couple of the shops have no problem cutting a fat quarter right off the bolt, but the other two shops are not as helpful.

**nicke... said...

i can't believe they were snarky to you...you are a super star. they should be ashamed! ;)

Sara said...

1/2 yd cuts are great and you get a great selection that way--booo to the quilt shop! They should be happy they are getting your bizness:P

I am making a top with greens and blues too. Love the color combo.

Three Sisterz said...

Beautiful fabrics! You have great taste! And I agree about the smaller size of cuts vs. the large size that seem to hang around too long! Can't wait to see the finished project!

~Courtenay

Karen Elizabeth said...

In my little brain,I would think that those 1/2 yards do add up. In this economy any sale would be a blessing in my eyes. Love the fabric you choose. Can't wait to see them finished.

Paige said...

I almost never buy more than quarter yard cuts and luckily have never had anyone say anything. Ugh, that would make me mad!

badlandsquilts said...

Love that yellow dot to the right...I'm right with you, I usually buy 1/2 yard too.

Gail's Card Cafe' said...

Beautiful finds! too bad that they are grumbling about someone bringing business to their local quilt store. I would think they would rejoice about someone coming in instead of buying online! I don't get it! Bet they'd sing a different tune if the shop was going out of business.

Cristin H. said...

I nearly always buy 1/4 to 1/2 yard cuts. When I purchase, it's usually for a specific project, so occasionally I've even gotten an 1/8th of a yard. I have 2 LQS and have only received excellent service. Yay! Go stores!

One time I was at a shop where a customer became furious because the cutter wouldn't sell her fabric by the inch. The cutter offered to cut her an 1/8th of a yard, but the customer got mad and left.

Ideally, if I'm buying a few small cuts, I would love it if the shop person (if they had time) would say, "Hey, we just got this new fabric in that would match these pieces, take a look!" I may have overlooked something great. I look to the employees as the experts on what they have in the store.

Live a Colorful Life said...

I almost always buy 1/2-yard cuts (um, because that's usually the only way to guarantee getting the selvage that I want...). Anyway, you purchased some most awesome fabrics! Especially the polka dots. (Do you remember the names of the three dots on the white background in the top picture by any chance?)

Miranda said...

I buy the smaller cuts. I never get any trouble. I usually just get the "what'cha making" question. Those are great fabrics!

Cheryl Arkison said...

So weird that you are you getting grief. I usually have to ask if they'll cut a FQ (some don't).
What is that yellow zig zag? I need me some of that!

amy smart said...

Nice pile! Love that green Pearl Bracelet!

I always feel extravagant if I buy a whole 1/2 yard. And yet, I seem to be doing it a lot lately. :)

Julie Phillips, aka Julieloveslucy SCS said...

I buy mostly fat quarters at my LQS and they never make rude comments! But they also know that I like to online shop and they better treat me right or they won't see any of my money. : )
Hugs
Julie

Beth said...

I hope you love your fabric and don't let the aggravation of the day rub off on it, so to speak.

I have never encountered snottiness about any size cuts. I, too, buy lots of small cuts, and the only problems I ever encounter are when shops won't cut fat quarters. If the pattern calls for them, and I love the pattern, I will buy 1/2 yards and then have a second set of fat quarters for some other project.

I would mention that snarky comment to the manager, via a letter or email since you don't go there often. She ought to know her bratty employee is alienating customers.

Pat V. said...

Wow, I've NEVER had anyone in a shop criticize my fabric purchases! I can't believe they would risk alienating customers in this economy. I agree that you should mention the comments to the manager.

Canadian Kristin said...

Eek! I actually buy in 5" widths (whatever that is in quilting math) and have also bought some fun fabrics in 2.5" strips when they are fun for fussy cutting hexie petals from. Can't imagine my LQS snarking about 1/2 yard cuts, that's just craziness! I'm with you, more variety is better and smaller cuts are the way to more!

midnight hysteria said...

like, *kristastitched,* above, i have a lqs that does not seem to like my presence but loves my money ... they are rude and ignore me in preference of their friends (no, i'm not paranoid) ... i lve about 2.5 hours from seattle, too far for a day-trip for fabric, so try to shop local and, like someone else said, i spend, sometimes, $100 ... no more ... i shop online now, almost exclusively ... the heck with bad business practices ... oh, yea, once when they were being really, really snarky, i took all the fabric home and remeasured it ... i was shorted on each piece ... i called the manager and brought it back the next day, he had it recut (not by the same person) and i have not been back since ....

Kim Apted said...

This has never happened to me at any Australian store. My local store lets me start a pile of bolts on the counter so I don't have to carry them around, and they BOGOF fat quarters every Friday (if only I didn't work Mon-Fri!!! *sigh*). They're friendly and ask me what I'm making.

The only downside is yardage for quilting cotton is so dear in Australia (typically $20-30/m AUD), so I buy the majority of my fabric online.

Nancy said...

I often buy 1/2 yards and have never had any comments made. Someone was having a bad day. I even went to a store that offered to cut a FQ of fabric that I wanted. Sorry you had a bad experience.

klee1 said...

I buy most of my fabric on-line because there are no quilt shops within an hour of my house. So...often on-line shops require at least one yard. I have found a few who allow smaller amounts. I have been in a few shops where I've been made to feel like a second class citizen.

kc said...

I'm lucky enough to have a good & friendly LQS, in fact, that's one of the reasons we decided to purchase a home in this town! They are helpful, know where their fabrics are (so I don't have to haul bolts all over the store) and are plenty helpful in color matching/coordinating. They don't mind cutting whatever length I need & they'll help with selection if I want or stay away and let me browse if I prefer. Sorry yours isn't more helpful!

Candice said...

Oh my word! I get a STACK of 1/4 yards- usually around 40-60 of them for a quilt. The shop I go to is usually nice- one girl isn't too nice, but the rest are. I feel dumb getting small cuts, but when I don't need more and when it costs so much, what is a girl to do?? :)I talked to a "famous" quilter I know as few weeks ago and she told me she never buys more than a 1/3 of a yard, unless she just adores it, which is rare. So that made me feel better :).

Valerie said...

I'm with you! I love to buy 1/2 yards. I used to buy fat quarters almost exclusively, but now it seems it's cheaper to buy the 1/2 yard, since they upped the price of FQ's at my LQS and it's just a tad more to get the half yard. I like that it's enough to have several cuts for a quilt and usually enough for another project too. I'd rather have more variety...bummer about the snarky-ness - don't let it get in the way of that good feeling of buying beautiful fabric!

Marie said...

Start shopping somewhere else! My LQS never squabbles over whatever cut you want (they're happy to sell fabric). The only exception is the sale area that is clearly marked 'nothing less than 1/2 yard cuts'. That's a shame, their loss! Keep quilting!!!

Annalee said...

I have the cutest LQS (took me about 15 minutes, by the way, to figure out what that meant!) near my house. Unfortunately, I don't go there anymore. It is run by [mean] older women, who won't give me the time of day when I go in. Then, they get snarky when I ask for smaller cuts (like you, I shop in 1/4 to 1/2 yard cuts).

I drive 30 miles away to a quilt shop that treats me like a real person, and doesn't care what size I buy!!

Kari said...

I'm with you--the more variety the better. I can't get my brain around patterns with a really tight color combo. And I have a (fairly) strict rule about not buying the same fabric twice. There's always so much new, great stuff to acquire, so no need to go back. If there's something truly fabulous that will go with everything, I better buy that full yard, because I'm not allowed to buy it again. (I've only ever broken my rule a handful of times.)
I've gotten a few of those glares over the years, so I try not to buy too many quarters or thirds from the brick-and-mortar stores. And there are some that I avoid altogether because of the disinterested staff.
I love buying from sewmamasew, specifically because they'll let me buy quarters, no glaring involved. And then I get happy mail--even better.
If LQS want to stay in business, they should be in touch with what policies quilters need to come back. Hope you can find a place you like.

Cherry said...

I buy the equivalent of 1/4 yard cuts most of the time, sometimes great big stacks of them! Thanksfully my two local quilt shops have never been snarky about it, and that's why I keep going back! I would rather have lots of little pieces of fabric that I love than yards which will never get used, especially as most of my quilts tend to be quite scrappy.

Scrap,Quilt, Preach said...

I buy small cuts too. The last one was for my second single girl quilt. That was a lot of cutting. My cutter wasn't thrilled but as others have said its moving fabric out of the store which is the point of selling it, isn't it?

Rebeccarama said...

how rude! I have never had anyone say anything like that to me, and that would definitely make me take my business elsewhere.

EG said...

LOVE the blue/ green/ gray stack!

Last time I was in a fabric store I got 13 different 1/2 yard cuts. You're not alone!

The One and Only said...

I do not understand why people have to be like that?!? Come on, we are still buying fabric, you're making sales, geez, hello recession....

quirky granola girl said...

1/2 yd is a big cut for me. i usually get 1/4 yds and if i really like it, i'll get 1/3. i like the shop that lets me get 1/8 yd cuts. actually, i love that shop :) sorry they gave you a hard time.

Deborah said...

I wish you lived closer--I'd invite you to shop at my LQS! As a shop owner, I love it when folks come in and stack up dozens of bolts of fabric to make their choices. Move in, get comfy, pick your fabrics and then we're delighted to cut for you. We keep a basket of pre-cut fat quarter and half-yard pieces to select from, and we'll cut right off the bolt for you, too (even FQs!). It's not just a better experience for you, it's better for business: when other customers see you spreading out and putting fabrics together, they're more inspired to choose some of your own. One customer selecting a dozen half-yards can lead to three or four other sales just because it's so exciting! It's too bad your nearest shop didn't give you a better experience that day--but you're welcome to drop by Whipstitch any time!!

jmday said...

No, you aren't alone... I buy mostly 1/2 and 1/4 yards at my LQS too. In fact, if I ask for a 1/4 yard they always ask if I want a fat quarter or a regular quarter... they are SO nice.

I can't believe they would give you that kind of lip... ok, yes I can, there's a quilt/cross-stitch store across town that will not sell anything smaller than 1/2 yard... who needs 1/2 yard of cross stitch linen? Seriously.

Cecilia said...

I miss my LQS, well the one we had in NY. They were wonderful and had plenty of selection in fabrics and a variety of classes. I definitely was one of the younger people, but as long as folks are nice, I love to learn from others. If you ever go to upstate NY, I can definitely recommend a shop!

Jennie said...

I have to say, I don't have a local shop that carries much of anything I like, so I'm happily stuck with the Fat Quarter Shop. If they don't like all my half-yard orders, they've never mentioned it!
You made some fun fabric choices. Can't wait to see how you put them together!

Kelsey said...

8 months?!? How did you ever last so long...I've had a similar experience at my local store. And I'm always really confused because they're quilters! They know how it is! Sometimes I walk out with a single 1/4 yard cut and I always feel a little cheap. But that's all I need!

And I have a question for you: do you subscribe to any quilting magazines and if so which one(s)? I'm looking for a good one to get addicted to.

Elisabeth said...

I'm starting to fall in love with 1/4 yard cuts and fat quarter bundles, but I always wish I had more. :P

I also wanted to tell you that I tried your tutorial from the July-Star block, and I LOVE it! I posted pictures of my finished quilt on my blog. :D

Karen said...

Totally with you on the small cuts - and I've been lucky to get fat quarters cut like others have mentioned...just seems like there are always a couple that I want like 4 yards of!

Maria said...

My local stores minimum cut is 20 cm (8inches)or they will cut a fat quarter if you want. I can go in spend an hour chatting and not buy anything.

Nana said...

Such cute fabric! Too bad some places don't appreciate any business. I live where you do, and there are places I'm beginning to not shop at because of rudeness. There are plenty of places to get fabric if I have time. Like the internet or other states. I feel frustrated that we don't have but only 1 stand along fabric shop in my town! If I had the money....I would open up another one. Oh well, I think I need to visit another state or another part of this state and get fabric buying!!! Good luck and keep buying whatever you want. A sale is a sale!!!

Jantine said...

I usually buy FQ's, every now and then a half yard, but hardly more, so I don't think you are the only one at all!

Lisa said...

You should be able to buy as much or as little as you want without any sort of attitude from the cutter. You should have gone and picked 5 more bolts and said, can I have an 1/8 of a yard of these please, with a big smile, lol.

folksmith said...

I worked in a quilt store in Idaho four years ago, and we would even cut fat quarters for people. We enjoyed it and that way we had FQs left over to sell or to use for shop projects. We even gave teeny tiny cuts for you to take home to match with fabric you might already have at home.

I guess i would just leave the bolts on the cutting table and walk out. With the price of fabric these days that's really unreal service, can't believe they will stay in business with an attitude like that.

Mandee Shaffer said...

What jerks! And no, they're not the only ones. I was making a bunch of your sprocket pillows for friends and ended up buying about 30 pieces of fabric, all at just 6" strips and the girl was so annoyed, which made me feel really guilty. It made me not want to ever go back to that quilting store. Sad.

Notya Gonatell said...

love your fabric too- yes? i am trying to find 1/2 yard cuts...i agree with you. I live very, very rural so going out shopping is not a simple task. I am having trouble finding any online shops that sell half yard. please can you share any that you use? I would much appreciate it. thanks you~

Barbara Kanta said...

Half a yard IS a lot of fabric!!! I rarely by more than that. B-)

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