I love quilt stores and fabric. Love everything about them. I even love the way quilt stores smell. Yes, you read that right. I love the way quilt stores smell. Why? Because quilt stores even smell good.
There is a quilt store right up the street from me. Let me repeat that. Right. Up. The. Street. I drive by it every time I leave or come home. I can walk there in 3 minutes. (Fine, double that, I’m slow.) I see the look of envy on your faces.
My youngest daughter’s first job was there, what a great first job. After her first day of work I asked her how she liked the new gig. She paused, pondered and replied, “I like it. It’s quiet, has a nice temperature and it smells good.”
Pretty fair assessment of an awesome job. Let’s examine the last outstanding quality, shall we? Yes, we shall, the smell of a quilt shop.
When I walk into a new quilt store I initially have visual overload. If it is a fabulous one, my heart beats faster and it is almost hard to breathe and talk. I prefer to be by myself, like it’s an art museum where I just want to absorb.
In fact, the first time I went to Hancock’s of Paducah, I had to blink and rediscover those breathing lessons I learned a lifetime ago in Lamaze classes. I think my husband has the same reaction at an electronics store or car dealership.
When I first browse a new fabric store, I want to do a slow walk all the way around. I don’t want any help and I love it when the clerks understand that I am having a moment and just let me be. Sometimes I see something I just have to own. Immediately. I snatch the whole bolt up and cradle it like it might run away.
After the first browse I start making decisions. If it’s a once in a lifetime visit to shop on the road then I have to do some math in my head. (Have I mentioned I am really bad at math?) I try to think, what money is available, how much do we really need? Do we need to eat this month, are the utilities essential?
Now my eyes are working and my brain will settle down. At this point I just take a deep breath and savor that smell. Close your eyes and imagine your favorite over the top shop. Take a deep breath and imagine that fabric smell.
It is such an enveloping aroma and so very different from one of the super lit chain stores where the smell of the sizing alone could give me a rash. Quilt stores have a much better smell, a homey atmosphere and a subliminal message that whispers softly “Buy it all.”
Now I am ready for my final perusal of the store where I make decisions. Tough decisions. At this point, I would enjoy actually rolling in the fabrics but I’ve learned it’s pretty much universally banned. Trust me on this one.
I am in the zone and I find what I cannot live without, what will make my heart sing when I get home. If it is not one of those best on earth stores, I will still find things to buy, don’t worry. It’s just not quite the same whole body experience.
Suddenly I have an overwhelming urge to hit the road and find a new quilt shop, a new heady experience of thread, smells and color to embrace. Want to come along?
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I have another post about shopping for fabric. Read it here.