One of my favorite stores, the Cotton Shop, is going out of business because the owners, the Daineses, are retiring. This fabric store, with a zillion bolts of cotton and flannel, batting, and sewing notions beloved of quilters—and people like me, who would like to be quilters, but could more accurately be described as “fabric collectors”—is located at the corner of 500 North and Freedom Boulevard (200 West) in Provo. Their stores in Murray and Sandy are closing, too. This will be a loss to sewers and quilters on the Wasatch Front.
Fabric stores, like libraries and bookstores, are easy to enter and hard to exit. I wander around, looking at the enticing fabrics and designing quilts in my head, and end up carrying bolts of stuff I can’t live without around the store. I look at those fancy quilting machines and wondering if a new sewing machine—mine is a 1971 Kenmore model with some bobbin problems—would convince me to sew some of the projects I have stacked in piles around the sewing room. Then I look up from my collection of fabric bolts; two hours have gone by and I have to decide whether or what to buy, trying to multiply prices-per-yard and calculating in my head how many yards I should get. (Six yards of everything seems like a safe bet, since I don’t know what I’ll need it for.) I usually end up buying two or three yards of whatever I can’t live without, am shocked by the total price—I’m still thinking 1970s fabric prices—take it home and wash, iron, and starch it, and fold the pieces into the neat piles on the sewing room shelves to join their buddies in quilting fantasy land.
My quilting fantasy land is mostly a result of the Elm Creek Quilts series by Jennifer Chiaverini and the Cobble Court Quilts series by Marie Bostwick—yep, I’m really good at reading about quilting and not so great at doing it.
I’ve made one quilt, from a kit called “Glaciers of the Inside Passage,” designed by Lisa Moore and purchased at the Rushin’ Tailor’s QuiltAlaska shop in Skagway. We were walking around town when our cruise ship was docked there some years ago; we went into the quilt shop and a completed version of the kit was hanging on the wall. After our ship had sailed off to the next port, I grieved that I hadn’t bought the kit. Alan, who (unlike me) lives in the twenty-first century, suggested that they might have a website, and he was (as usual) right. The lines aren’t exactly straight, but the quilt is hanging above our bed and looks great to me.
I will sorely miss the Cotton Shop’s contributions to my quilting fantasies—going out to Orem to the big chain fabric store just won’t be the same. Thanks and farewell, Cotton Shop.