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Thread: What quilting items do you buy when traveling?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Jan in FL's Avatar
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    What quilting items do you buy when traveling?

    My DH and I recently spent two glorious weeks in Seattle, Alaska and the Olympic Penninsula. For weeks, he plotted and planned all the quilt shops he would take me to. I was so excited. I do not know what I expected - well, yes, I did. For some reason, I expected to see a lot of fabrics that I can't get otherwise.....really? I came home with no new fabrics, but lots of plans to order online (to save the space and weight in my suitcase when we flew back to FL) when I got back home. And for the most part, I can find the "northwest" type fabrics I was interested in. I did actually buy one quilt kit i Alaska. Other than that, I asked at each shop if they had any patterns exclusive to local artists in their region. I did come home with three quilt patterns of this type.

    I had fun but feel let down and disappointed that I didn't get more. Where did I go wrong? How do you shop on vacation?

    I am going to San Francisco in August and want my experiences and expectations to equal each other....

    Thanks for your advice.
    Enjoy your day,
    Jan

    A fat quarter is not a body part!

  2. #2
    Super Member Pat625's Avatar
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    I think part of the problem of seeing new things when we travel is the fact that we spend so much time surfing the internet that things common to particular regions have been seen prior to our visit there. Access to so much worldwide is a blessing, but also takes some of the excitement of discovery out of personal visits to new places.

  3. #3
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    Issue for me is that I'm not a 'stash' buyer. I only buy for specific projects. When we were in NM last fall I went to every LQS that I could find. Bought a couple of cute fat 1/8 packs of very localized fabric. Bought a couple of stencils. Saw some absolutely AMAZING fabrics. Most of the places I was in did not maintain an online shop but would do phone orders. Usually I just buy gagets or notions when I'm travelling.

  4. #4
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    I've often wondered the same thing about visiting quilt shops in other areas expecting to find something different. Twice I've gone to shops while traveling. Once in Louisville and while I did find a RED batik I'd been looking for I found the prices much higher than at home. The other time however I spent a LOT of money on quilting stuff BUT that was on a trip to Paducah ... just couldn't resist the incredible sales ($3, $4 and $5/yard!).

    There are some places I will travel to where I will make an effort to visit local shops as part of my travel plans (Lancaster County PA, and any foreign country), but other than that if I "find" a shop I'll visit but I doubt it will be high on my agenda if other activities beckon.

    I have to add though that I come from an area with a large selection of quilt shops - large and small - within a 2 hour drive. I have two large shops that are 40 minutes from my house.
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

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  5. #5
    Super Member willferg's Avatar
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    When I've bought fabric while on vacation, it's because the fabric just spoke to me, not because it in any way represented where I was buying it. I guess I just gave myself permission to splurge and then bought something I really liked, if I saw something I really liked. I, too, found that the fabric wasn't radically different from what I could find at places closer to home...
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat625 View Post
    I think part of the problem of seeing new things when we travel is the fact that we spend so much time surfing the internet that things common to particular regions have been seen prior to our visit there. Access to so much worldwide is a blessing, but also takes some of the excitement of discovery out of personal visits to new places.
    that's absolutely true

  7. #7
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    When I travel to a quilt shop on a vacation, I usually find fabric that my LQS doesn't carry. I always end up with new fabric. I have never found fabric from a certain region. I just find something I can't get locally.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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  8. #8
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I think your DH was wonderful to do that for you. I buy what I really love where ever I see it. Most of the time when traveling I see the same things I see in local shops or on line so I don't buy. When we were stationed over seas I brought back boxes of fabric.

  9. #9
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    When I visited Albuquerque in Feb. I found Southwest design batiks that I was able to add to my stash, plus since the shop was moving location they had a large selection of fabrics at 1/2 price! I got a few yards of those & had my daughter ship them to me. Plus, when I was checking out & mentioned I was from MI, the clerk gave me a sw design FQ! I was a happy traveler!!

  10. #10
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I think it's all part of being a global and internet-driven economy. There are several quilt shops in my town, they all pretty much carry the same stuff. Manufacturers sell the same products regardless of region. Quilt designers want to sell as much as they can, so marketing patterns online to the entire country is a smart choice.

    When I first started quilting, I was excited to shop the vendors at the quilt shows, a lot of times they brought stuff in I hadn't seen yet. Now I realize it wasn't because no one else carries it, it was because I was new and I hadn't seen it yet.

    I think you might have better luck going international. I'm VERY intrigued by a lot of the designs coming out of Australia and Japan.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Handcraftsbyjen's Avatar
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    I buy local patterns, look at what's popular in the classes, and I buy a FQ at each shop while on vacation and then make a vacation quilt. Even of I can buy the fabric elsewhere I buy it so that I have momentos from my trip.

  12. #12
    Junior Member beaniekins's Avatar
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    Well, since I live in Canada, I tend to buy things like batting when I'm in the States since it's so much cheaper there. I do try to support my LQS, but sometimes there are such good deals on fabric that I can't resist!

  13. #13
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I buy a quilt kit that reminds me of the area. This way I remember the trip whenever I use the quilt. Before internet, the local shops had items that were new and different to visitors. No so now. Everything new and distinct is available to everyone. I always buy a notion or quilt item for my sew buddies too.
    Got fabric?

  14. #14
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    I've had great fun searching for new and unusual bug fabrics when I was getting ready for an Bug Jar quilt. My next search will be for a Candy Jar quilt. You might have fun searching for something similar.

  15. #15
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    We too plot out the local quilt shops when we are traveling somewhere. I usually only buy if it is a fabric that my favorite LQS doesn't have. When we were in Tennessee earlier this year, we found several LQS to go to. I always buy at least a FQ or 2 in each shop. There was one shop in particular that we spent an extended amount of time in. It was a very small shop but had a wonderful selection of fabrics. The owner and her husband (who was the fabric cutter by the way) were so pleasant that we felt like we had known them forever. I found several fabrics to purchase and she had a shop sample of a quilt she had made that I fell in love with. She let me take pictures of the quilt and helped me find all the fabrics, and even gave me a little discount. She even gave me the pattern for FREE!

    The beginning of this month, we took a trip to Michigan to go camping and see family. We found a few LQS and checked them out. At one of the shops, again a small one, the owner was so friendly and talkative that I did purchase several fabrics from her and spent a couple hours browsing and chatting. The 2nd shop we went to, even smaller than the first, had 3 people standing at their counter and didn't even acknowledge us until I needed something cut. I bought a yard of fabric and 2 FQs there.

    Sometimes, when I'm on vacation, I just don't feel like LQS shopping. It happens but rest assured the feeling always passes!
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
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  16. #16
    Senior Member roguequilter's Avatar
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    my dh does the same w me when we travel. sometimes i will ck out a lqs, but for the most part, their stock varies so little from home that i look for kits or tools. shopping to make my guy happy. akes me happy! lollol
    the rogue quilter - in from wandering in the sun and snow with camera in hand.

  17. #17
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    My DH and I have visited Alaska several times. They have some lovely quilt shops along the cruise ship run. I always ask about quilt kits by local quilters or artists. I've purchased some really beautiful patterns with blocks of local Native American markings and totems. As for fabric, I've purchased fat quarters of local flowers. Bright purple and fuscia, but I can't remember their names.

    We cruise a lot, and I soon got tired of touristy souvenirs, so sometimes I'll just buy an inexpensive t-shirt with a local theme in each city we visit and I make a t-shirt quilt to remind me of the trip when I get home. I bring along one of those vaccuum bags and once I push the air out I can pack a dozen t-shirts in a sliver of space in my suitcase.

  18. #18
    Super Member IrishNY's Avatar
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    I usually only buy patterns and fabric when I travel. I look for fabric that I haven't seen before or that will remind me of the area I'm in. Same with patterns. I bought a couple great ones in Sedona AZ by a local designer. Same in Cape Cod. I don't want to haul back stuff I could get at home but always find some things that are new to me.
    I'd rather be at the lake

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    Quote Originally Posted by auntpiggylpn View Post
    We too plot out the local quilt shops when we are traveling somewhere. I usually only buy if it is a fabric that my favorite LQS doesn't have. When we were in Tennessee earlier this year, we found several LQS to go to. I always buy at least a FQ or 2 in each shop. There was one shop in particular that we spent an extended amount of time in. It was a very small shop but had a wonderful selection of fabrics. The owner and her husband (who was the fabric cutter by the way) were so pleasant that we felt like we had known them forever. I found several fabrics to purchase and she had a shop sample of a quilt she had made that I fell in love with. She let me take pictures of the quilt and helped me find all the fabrics, and even gave me a little discount. She even gave me the pattern for FREE!

    The beginning of this month, we took a trip to Michigan to go camping and see family. We found a few LQS and checked them out. At one of the shops, again a small one, the owner was so friendly and talkative that I did purchase several fabrics from her and spent a couple hours browsing and chatting. The 2nd shop we went to, even smaller than the first, had 3 people standing at their counter and didn't even acknowledge us until I needed something cut. I bought a yard of fabric and 2 FQs there.

    Sometimes, when I'm on vacation, I just don't feel like LQS shopping. It happens but rest assured the feeling always passes!

    Was the store in TN by chance "Mountain Stitches by Susan" in Gatlinburg? Love that place. My mom and I visit it every year on our annual pilgrimage to Mountain Quiltfest. I know her husband cuts and folds fat quarters for her. She has a beautiful selection.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Connie M.'s Avatar
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    Fabric is my souvenir of choice. My hubby and I went on a cruise to Southeastern Alaska, and I found great local fabric. There is a quilt store in Sitka called Abby's Reflections (She has a website) where I got a piece that was actually designed for Sitka. It has all local attractions on it. You can order from her website.

  21. #21
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie R View Post
    Was the store in TN by chance "Mountain Stitches by Susan" in Gatlinburg? Love that place. My mom and I visit it every year on our annual pilgrimage to Mountain Quiltfest. I know her husband cuts and folds fat quarters for her. She has a beautiful selection.
    Yes it was!!!! I knew the name had Stitches in it but couldn't remember the rest! They were/are such a wonderful couple to chat with! I loved the shop; it was my favorite that we stopped at!
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
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  22. #22
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    In May our 2 daughters and I went to Norway to visit the country, see where my family came from and visit relatives. We happened to walk by a fabric store in Oslo and, of course, walked in. I found some cute fabric but when I looked at the bolt, it was made in the US so I left it. I did buy a piece of blue and red heavy Norwegian wool that I brought home for my husband to be used as a large throw. I haven't put a binding on it yet. They had the same quilting tools and gadgets but the markings were Metric and the instructions were in Norwegian.

  23. #23
    Super Member auntpiggylpn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vlm219 View Post
    In May our 2 daughters and I went to Norway to visit the country, see where my family came from and visit relatives. We happened to walk by a fabric store in Oslo and, of course, walked in. I found some cute fabric but when I looked at the bolt, it was made in the US so I left it. I did buy a piece of blue and red heavy Norwegian wool that I brought home for my husband to be used as a large throw. I haven't put a binding on it yet. They had the same quilting tools and gadgets but the markings were Metric and the instructions were in Norwegian.
    Interesting that you found fabric made in the USA and we can't find anything made in the US here!
    No one has ever become poor by giving. - Anne Frank
    Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/TheQuiltedPig

  24. #24
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    Haven't been traveling as much as we used to but I love to see a quilt shop sign as we go down the road. They always give us an excuse for an extra stop. Sometimes I see different fabrics; sometimes I don't but it is always fun to look. If I see something I like, I'll usually buy a yard. Patterns pertaining to the area are fun to find too. Flea markets along the way are fun too and you see fabric quite often. Although last time we were in New Mexico I ended up with lots of turquoise jewelry and a rhinstone enhanced Kokopelli tshirt. LOL. No fabric that day.

  25. #25
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    I was in New Zealand, Australia and Tasmania a few years ago. The fabric on their shelves was either made in the U.S. or batiks. Their patterns on the other hand were different and delightful. The quilts were gorgeous and whimsical. I especially liked their stitchery/embroidery patterns. I have seen a line of fabric on equilter in the last few weeks that is from New Zealand, so maybe they are developing their own lines. I did bring back lots and lots and lots of merino wool for knitting and it is the softest yarn I have ever used. The people there are so nice and so helpful. It was my favorite vacation of all time and if it didn't take forever to get there, I'd pack my bags now and do it again.

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