Monday, September 27, 2010

Heartworks Quilts & Fabrics { LQS Series }

One aspect of my REAL job (or that thing that gets in the way of my quilting as I like to call it) is that I get to travel all over the countryside visiting different hospitals, nursing homes, city and village clerks, and residences of the families my company serves. That leads to many miles in the car (sometimes hundreds) every day passing over hills and little back country roads with all sorts of sights to see: farm stands, country stores, barns, covered bridges, and most importantly quilt shops!! Yes, it's true, I brake for fabric people! I'm like a hawk when it comes to spotting places that sell fabric of any kind. The first question I ask any clerk after we're finishing up the paper filing is, "Any local quilt shops around?" Get the picture?

I happened upon a quilt shop today that my grandmother has been telling me about for quite a while. I knew it was there, tucked away in Fly Creek, NY. I've passed by it many times, but I never stopped. Don't know why. Today, as I saw it grow closer in the car window I decided to stop and I met Margaret Wolff.

When I arrived at the shop I opened the door to be greeted right away by a large chocolate lab and 2 springer spaniels. They all took notice of my entry and immediately sized me up, circling and wagging. I looked to my right where Margaret was standing behind the counter and said, "Hi" with a smile. She returned with an enthusiastic "Good afternoon!" and quickly explained that the large lab was her grand dog who was visiting for the day. She doesn't normally have this much "help" at the store. I let her know that the dog security guards were no problem at all and reached my hand down to scratch the labs ear. He tilted his head sideways toward my hand and closed his eyes almost smiling. I made a new friend. One that thought he needed to follow me along the first aisle of fabric till Margaret grabbed him and headed him in the other direction.

Now, in the past I have always been a "Type A" shopper. I routinely go up and down every aisle scanning the shelves for anything that catches my eye. I do it at the grocery store, I do it at chain stores, it drives my wife nuts. I work my way from one side of the store to the other. Fabric shops are no different. I look at everything. You never know when your going to find the last few bolts of Flea Market Fancy! Honey, remember that trip to Quilt Market at the end of October you said you'd go with me to? How many hundreds of vendors are there going to be? Consider yourself warned! LOL

After my furry shopping partner left I got down to the serious business of treasure finding while Margaret took a phone call.

I admit, I had been on the Heartworks website a few times checking to see if it was worth a visit. I find LQS's that carry modern fabrics few and far between in my area. The quilters here tend to gravitate towards the country florals and pastels. I like bright and bold. After clicking around for a few minutes I found that she carried Moda, Robert Kaufman, Windham, P & B, the usuals. I found a few pictures of Wild Thyme by Carolyn Gavin which seemed an adventurous choice and one I liked, so I filed it the back of my mind for the next time work took me by the place.

By the time I made it through the first few shelves of fabric Margaret was off the phone and we chatted a little. I spoke about how I was working on some quilts for the Moda Bake Shop and we admired some bolts from their new line Breakfast at Tiffany's. I mentioned that my grandmother shops here quite a bit and she knew who she was as soon as I said her name. I told her I wasn't looking for anything in particular, just wanted to "check the shop out." After a few minutes she excused herself to the back room where she had several machines set up to continue work on a project. As she started her sewing machine back up I wandered through the rest of the aisles and found some Early Bird by Cosmo Cricket and some Robert Kaufman polka dot fabric that I scooped up and took to the cutting counter. While I was shuffling to the front of the shop with my loot Margaret poked her head out of the back room and said, "There's more fabric back here. The flannels and Christmas fabrics are upstairs. We are after all the Queens of Flannel!"

She was right! Upstairs were bolts upon bolts of flannel and an entire wall of Christmas fabric. One new line in particular that caught my eye was Bliss by Bonnie and Camille in flannel. The colors in that line are the perfect shade of red and aqua. YUM! I resisted scooping them up to carry downstairs knowing I already had a growing pile of cotton bolts on the cutting table. I did sit there for a few minutes just to stare at the mesmerising dots and flowers that seemed to jump out on the almost glowing aqua backdrop.

After nearly busting my fabric budget for this month and next with the bolts of Bliss flannel, I trotted back downstairs to let Margaret know I was all set. We chatted a little more about quilts and fabric. She mentioned that my grandmother has made a few quilts for her "Jimmy Fund" project. Her shop gives out packs of fabric to anyone willing to make quilts to be donated to the Jimmy Fund Clinic in the Cancer Center for Children at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass. They've also been active in the American Hero Quilt Project giving quilts to the wounded returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

As we were walking to the register so I could pay for my purchases Margaret turned to me and asked if she could take my picture for her newsletter. I said sure and my cheeks must have turned red because she nonchalantly said, "It only goes out to about 2800 people." Needless to say, I was very flattered that she wanted to talk about me in her newsletter. She snapped a few photos of me standing in front of some bolts of Breakfast at Tiffany's. We exchanged a little more information and I handed her one of my business cards with my website and contact information before I left.

Please check out Margaret's website and online store. It's full of pictures and information about classes and workshops they offer. Shes an award winning quilter and has been teaching quilting since 1989. Currently her quilts are hanging in Australia, England, Wales, Denmark, Japan, Ireland, and the American Embassy in Kenya, as well as in many states in the USA. One aspect of her business I'm very interested in is her Quilt Inn where she hosts over night retreats for groups of six to eight that can be custom designed. The Litco Farms Bead and Breakfast where the retreats are held sits right next door to the quilt shop.

I was very glad I decided to stop and even more grateful that I met a very warm and friendly shop owner. You made me feel very welcome Margaret! One note: I forgot to bring my camera with me today (I normally take it everywhere) so I had to borrow the photos for this post from the Heartworks website.

Oh, and dear Bliss flannel, I'll be back real soon to get you. Please save some for me Margaret! :)

Happy quilting,


  1. Well, that was a lovely post, but where are the photos of your fabric purchases??!!? C'mon, fess up!

  2. I've been to Heartworks, and your description couldn't have been more perfect. I have family in Cooperstown, and she stayed open late one day so I could run over and buy batting that I had forgotten to bring with me. It is a lovely store and Margaret is really knowledgeable.

    Hoping to meet you in Houston!

  3. I love the detailed description of your visit, it made me feel like I was there. I will definitely check into some of the links.

  4. I wish I lived in your part of the world! Great post...and I love the Halloween placemats in previous post (just catching up!) Sandy

    PS Congrats on your new venture with Scott too

  5. That was a wonderful story to read!!

    I can't wait to move to NC next year where I have been researching quilt shops and found TONS!!

  6. Omg, I'm exactly the same when shopping! I get annoyed at stores with aisles on a diagonal bc it makes it that much harder to make sure I cover it all. Wouldn't want to "miss out" on anything!

  7. What a fun post Ryan! I feel like I was there shopping with you. :)

  8. Hey Ryan - just stopping over from Charlies blog to say thanks for the Bundle of Joy kit donation and the tutorial!

  9. I love homey shops like that where you feel welcomed when you come in. Nothing like a great quilt shop!!

  10. Thank you for the prize that you contributed to Charlie's GO! giveaway. This was most generous.
    My mother's name is Margaret too and it was sweet to read your LQS story.

  11. Ryan,
    It sounds like you had a very nice visit to a really lovely quilt store. How fun that your grandmother has shopped in the very same store as yourself.
    I love shops that make you feel valued as a customer no matter what you buy- it makes you want to go and visit them again soon.

    Thanks for making such a lovely contribution to Charlie's blog giveaway. It was a very nice thing to do and someone is going to be one happy winner.

    Regards from Western Canada,

  12. What a fun post. How nice that you connected and will be in the newsletter. Happy travels.

  13. Ryan, do shops ever look past you because you are a "guy"? I know that when my husband comes in with me some have suggested or thought that he is just there to follow me around and not really interested in all this quilting stuff which couldn't be further from the truth. Keep rocking the guy quilting stuff. Love it.


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