While doing a web search for quilt shops in NC, I came across a shop called Fabrics In The Fray in Spruce Pine, NC. The name was intriguing and the shop was within driving distance of Boone so we drove on down to check it out. Owner Anita Dowd greeted me warmly from her desk as I entered the shop.
As you check out the photos I took of the shop I would like to tell you a little about Anita. We struck up a conversation and discovered we had some things in common. Anita once resided in Mobile, AL and she knows all about having to drive all the way to Pensacola to shop for quilting fabrics. I’ve made several trips to that shop in Pensacola myself. She loves Marti Michell templates and once stopped in Atlanta and met Marti. I’ve been to Marti’s place and took some classes from her on her templates. I then taught classes on the templates and I use them regularly. And so on it went.
Clever use of an old iron gate.
If I could use one word to describe Anita, it would be enthusiastic. Her shop fills a real need in this part of NC. Quilt shops are few and far between and quilters have to really travel to get their supplies. She is excited about helping to fill this void and is in fact in the process of taking two giant steps forward. First, the shop will be moving in October ( Movin’ On Out) to a larger and more visible location. Secondly, she and her husband are working on redoing the inside of an old Avion camper into a mobile shop ( Takin’ It On The Road). She plans to drive the trailer regularly to several area towns and set up shop for the day. How cool is that. I would so love to see it! While she is on the road, a faithful employee will keep the doors open on her brick and mortar shop.
Another attractive display piece – an old fireplace surround. The whole cloth wall hanging caught my eye.
Anita’s goal is to keep her shop personal and friendly and provide great customer service. To this end, she plans to maintain a small shop atmosphere with somewhere between 1000 and 2000 bolts of fabric. She has an Accuquilt Studio cutter with dies and a Brother Scan and Cut in the shop to enable customers to speed up the cutting of shapes and strips for their quilts. Also available for use in the shop is a long arm quilting machine that can be rented by the hour, day, or week.
A play area tucked into a corner to keep the little ones occupied while their mothers shop. Kids fabrics and batiks in this corner.
Anita keeps a good supply of threads, etc for the cross-stitchers in the area. The shop offers quilting classes and projects, commissioned quilts, hand and machine quilting, and a weekly Sit and Sew on Wednesday’s when the shop is closed. It seemed to me she is covering all the bases in customer service in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Now for just a couple of pics of what makes her shop so interesting. She is a collector of old buttons and displays them in these cereal dispensers. Quite an eye catcher. A friend of mine was in need of a metal button or two. Anita helped search through her metal button box and I came away with a couple for my friend – no charge! Older kids can play with the buttons while mom shops. I would have loved to do this when I was a kid – turn the handle and “dispense” buttons into the tray, sort and stack, etc.
Anita’s husband is also a crafter. His medium is cardboard art. I was impressed with this “quilt block” he constructed out of cardboard. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as cardboard art. I googled it and it is pretty interesting.
Anita loves the speed and accuracy of cutting Log Cabin blocks with Marti Michell Log Cabin rulers and used them for this quilt. She may have cut the strips first with the Accuquilt cutter. If I lived near her shop I think I would have to take advantage of her cutters. The Scan and Cut for applique shapes would be awesome. I’m thinking about all those applique flowers I need to make for my Judy Neimeyer Double Wedding Ring quilt.
Log Cabin quilt made in the shop.
If you are in the area and want to visit the shop, keep in mind that she will be in a new location soon, so check out her website for the new address. She is also on Facebook.
Links: Website http://www.fabricsinthefray.com/