Monday, November 7, 2011

Fabric - LQS or 'big box' fabric?

Another cold, rainy day here in AZ.  I have the table topper ready to quilt and I decided to take a coffee break. While I was finishing up piecing the table topper, I noticed I have several different 'types' of fabrics.  I know that one is from a quilt store.  I remember buying it when some friends and I did a shop hop.  I know one piece I ordered from an online store at a discount price.  Another piece I know I bought it a Hancock's and then I used a sheet for my embroidered blocks and setting triangles.  And it all works together (at least I think so).  I have one piece of fabric I used that is 'thinner' than the rest, but other than that, not much difference at all.  So,  it got me thinking about the fabrics in my stash.  Very few were purchased at a quilt store.  Quite simply, I  couldn't afford to make a quilt more than maybe twice a year if I was paying what the quilt stores charge.  I do realize that the 'big box' fabric / craft stores have the advantage of buying in large quantities over what an independently owned quilt store buys.  But I wonder if almost double the cost is really necessary?  Okay, I'm not meaning to discourage buying from your LQS,  and if I was going to make that heirloom quilt that I hoped to last for generations, I would go and purchase from the LQS.  Yes there is a difference...... but I have to say that I've bought some gorgeous fabric at the big box stores and I've bought some crap from the LQS.   My own personal opinion is that I use what I can afford (yet not able to read through) and that allows me the ability to make more than just a couple quilts a year.  All fabrics are not created equal - even in the LQS.
Please note this is my own opinion and not meant to influence others.



Melissa said...

I think a lot of LQS shops charge what they need to charge to make ends meet and some profit as well. From selling the fabric they need to be able to cover paying for: employees (which includes all associated taxes), electricity, rent (commercial rent can be quite expensive in some places), bank fees, charge card fees, website fees ... I don't know, it's probably quite expensive to be a quilt shop. Plus, they have to have a lot of fabric on stock, so if they purchase 1 bolt, they might not see any profit from that bolt for many months. I try to support LQS when I can but my reality is that I have to do the best I can with what they have at the big stores. I wish fabric was free!

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Katie - I totally agree with you! I don't want to hog your blog so I'll do my own post in a couple of days - after I gather my thoughts. This is a GREAT topic for discussion - so discuss it we will!! ;))

Lyanna said...

I completely agree. Everyone should use what they can afford, there's no reason to go into debt to make a quilt.

Wasn't the whole origination of a quilt to use up pieces of other things or left over bits of fabric?

I know a woman who shops at thrift stores looking for fabric. She's told me that most of her stuff comes from scrubs that may have had a stain. She cuts the stains out and uses all the rest, and her quilts are just as beautiful and useful as ones made from LQS fabric.