Just how far will a quilter go for a good deal on fabric? It depends on the quilter. But most of us will go a little farther than what seems rational. My non quilting friends think it's irrational to be a quilter. Paying hundreds of dollars for fabric and supplies then working for weeks or months to make a quilt that they believe can be purchased at any big box store for a quarter of the price. My response to them is usually something a little snarky but they end up getting the point. To me it doesn't seem rational to pay someone to put fake nails on my fingers when press on nails are so much cheaper. Or why pay hundreds of dollars for a hair color and a hair cut when Walmart has hair color and scissors? And why on earth would any woman pay for a pedicure when you have husband who could massage your feet and paint your toenails! LOL! That'll be the day!
At one time Mr. Podunk also questioned my fabric purchases and quilt making. That is until the day I questioned his fishing trips that produced no fish on the table. Hundreds and thousands of dollars of fishing "tools", boats and canoes, and let's not forget the hundreds of dollars spent in gas getting to just the right fishing location somewhere in the US. Coming home home empty handed seemed irrational. Not really, but it helped him to see my point. This all happened years ago, we now have an understanding and support the other interests with no questions asked. So this leads me back to my original question, how far will a quilter go for a good deal on fabric? Well this week for me it was 4 1/2 hours away. Tennessee here I come!
I've been planning this trip for a month. For the entire month it seemed rational. About 2 1/2 hours into the drive I started questioning my own sanity. I mean really, a 4 hour drive for fabric? Wouldn't shipping costs be less than the price of gas in the truck? Sure, but it's not always about putting the fish on the table, right? Just take it all in and enjoy the journey. Going through cities is always a big treat. Being a country girl has it's advantages, one of them is I'm easily impressed even with smaller cities like Louisville, Kentucky. To me it's HUGE!
Once we made it through the iron jungle I felt more at home and comfortable with the decision travel all this way for fabric. It's a little greener down in TN than back home in Indiana. The scenery and the talk of the scenery made the ride pass by quickly. Mr. Podunk was raised in Pennsylvania and he often misses the mountains. Indiana is pretty flat compared to PA. The hills and mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee were an added treat for him. He loved the winding interstate driving that made me feel like I needed a 5 point harness seat belt. Who needs Kentucky Kingdom roller coasters with winding mountain interstate roads. Just strap in, put the pedal to the metal and hope the police don't see you. A speeding ticket might be cheaper than a day at an amusement park...HAHA!
Choice fabric is a wholesale fabric distributor. They sale discontinued fabrics. Most of the fabrics they sell are brands normally found in quilt shops and also have their own brand, which I have also seen in some of our better quilt shops in Indiana. If you been following me for any time at all you know I'm no fabric snob. I use it all. Designer fabrics are great but when I see a print I like I don't care what's on the selvage, I don't care if it's new or old, it all sews pretty much the same.
I've never in my life seen so many bolts of fabric in one place! The picture below was taken from the very last isle of the warehouse/store. The last 3 isles you can see is flat folds or skinny bolts. The 7 or 8 isles before these were bolts on top of bolts. On the far bottom right of the picture is a laundry bin/shopping cart. I was shocked to see how many shoppers had one or two of these full in the check out lines. I'm pretty sure they were quilt shop owners. It was well worth the trip to see all the fabric and the like minded fabric crazed shoppers.
We were back on the road and headed home after about an hour of shopping. This trip may not seam like a big deal since so many quilting people are going to big quilt shows, rubbing elbows with fabric manufacturers and being featured here and there on social media. But for this little country girl who refuses to play by some of the rules, it was huge. It was just what I needed after a recent rejection of my patterns by a huge wholesale company. Apparently I'm not big enough for them. They loved my patterns but my footprint in the quilting world isn't large enough. My heart sank for a very short bit, then I pulled up my big girl pants and looked at it rationally. They were right. All I can do is keep moving forward. Rejection is always a step forward, at least I took the chance and learned something.
I know you're wondering if I loaded up the truck with bolts of fabric. No, but I did come home with a really cute Robert Kaufman print, it will fit right in with the happy and bright color pallet I love so much. I also purchased 2 bolts of bright white since I use it almost exclusively as background fabric in most of my quilt designs. Yes, I could have purchased this in their online shop for the same price and the shipping would have been cheaper than the gas to get there. But I wouldn't have had the journey.