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Gayle, you have fallen victim to fabric snobbery. Some JoAnn's fabric is not very good and some quilt shop fabric is not very good. Three years ago I called several well-known fabric manufacturers' offices to determine whether they sell 2d and 3d runs to WalMart, JoAnn's and other discounters. The answer was a resounding "No." The answer uniformly was that they sell fabric all over the world and they simply cannot risk their reputations and thus their customer base by selling inferior products in mass markets.
It is possible that when they have a bad run, they might sell it to wholesale discounters, but not to the big stores where people expect to get quality.
I bought fabric at an LQS away from where I live and that same day dropped into the WalMart there and found exactly the same fabric. People have argued with me that it wasn't the same--but it was--I am an old hand at judging fabric.
Moreover, all the fabric snobs need to do is think about the fabric our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers used for their quilts. Scraps from sewing clothing, worn shirts, skirts that their kids had outgrown, hand-me-downs from the neighborts, feed and flour sacking were all used and some of those quilts are still in use or are in the hands of people who cherish them.
And--how many posts have you seen that are ecstatic about yard sale/thrift shop finds. It is possible that the manufacturer/designer has his-her name on the selvedge, but is just as likely not and these lucky finders have no reliable idea where that fabric has been since the day it was bought. Nevertheless, the finder is thrilled.
My mantra is this: Use a little sense! If the fabric feels right to you and it fits your project, I am willing to bet that no one other than you will know its origin unless you tell them. And I am willing also to bet that the project, unless it meets with a catastophic event or is so well loved that it has to laundered every week in hot water and bleach, will last longer than you will. froggyintexas
Last edited by FroggyinTexas; 12-10-2011 at 12:34 PM. Reason: typo
You have to go with your senses (touch, feel, drape) on fabric wherever you buy it. You can get some nice fabric at JoAnn's but you can get crappy fabric there also.
I used a lot of Joann's fabric when I first started quilting, but unfortunately some of the colors faded, especially the purples and blues and reds. (Which is extremely disappointing when you spent a lot of time on it.) Occasionally I do buy some of their medium quality fabric if it looks and feels alright, but use it mostly for backing quilts.
IMO buy what you like and can afford. To keep your LQS in business, purchase from them as you can. Remember our grandmothers made quilts from feedsacks and they are highly prized today.
Perhaps I am mistaken, and if I am I know someone will quickly tell me so, but don't ALL stores, LQS, Joann's, Walmart's, Hobby Lobby, etc. buy from more than one manufacturer? So if one fabric bleeds, all you really know is that the manufacturer of that fabric has unreliable dye in that color in that batch , not that every manufacturer in the store has unreliable dye in that color in every dye batch. Isn't this why we prewash fabric from every store before we invest hours of effort in it?
I was talking to a Joann's asst. mgr last weekend, who previously owned her own quilt store. I shared with her the stories I'd heard. What she said was that there was a separate section of what they refer to as the premium fabrics for quilting. I looked at them, trouble is they all have Joann's label on the bolt end. Then she told me about Joann's getting in fabrics from manufacturers that are 2 years old or more ( the designs) so you can sometimes find prints from the likes of Moda, Hoffman, etc. if you can recognize the print or the designer. Those bolts do not have their original manufacturer label, they have a Joann's label. Whether all this is accurate I cannot verify as fact, I just talked to an asst. mgr. who knew plenty about quilting fabrics. Bottom line, I do not ever buy fabric from W-M or Joann's, I learned my lesson the hard way.
I have found great fabric and lousy fabric at LQS and Joann's.