I was in Toronto last weekend for a CHA (Craft & Hobby Association) board meeting. Because of how I had to book my flight, I had 6 hours from the time I landed until I had to be at the hotel for the start of the weekend. Yes, you guessed it, that was just enough time to visit a few quilt shops. But since the week prior had gotten a bit chaotic, I hadn't had a chance to do much research online to double-check locations, hours, etc. I located addresses of several shops, thanks to Dad's GPS, but only two of them were still where they were located when I printed a quick map from Google. But one shop staffer suggested another shop, so in the end I visited three shops and still had the chance to look around the town and get ready for the meeting.
What shops did I visit?, you ask.
First, I stopped at Cock-a-Doodle Quilts. I found some fat quarters--I'm assuming they're quarter meters, which is slightly larger than a US fat quarter. But since fabric is more expensive in Canada, I didn't want to get carried away. They had some lovely batiks, this adorable farm print (I'm pretty sure this is bigger than a fat quarter, but I don't have it here to measure), and a panel that I can't yet disclose. As always, you know I'm a sucker for farm fabrics.
Next, after a few misses, I had another hit. The Quilter's Block is a smaller shop, but it was filled with some great fabrics. It's more of an urban shop, which was a new experience for me. As often happens, I ended up with two of the same prints in different colorways. And I also picked up a black-and-white and a black-and-gray print, which are also becoming a pattern for me. And the gal in the shop was very helpful, as we chatted about my mini-shop-hop, she suggested one other store in the area. So off I went.
The shop she suggested was Sewing Machine Factory Outlet in Scarborough. (Again, thank goodness for Dad's GPS!) I found some bolts of fabric that weren't full price--some marked down and some buy-one-get-one-free. Yes, at this shop, I bought yardage, but only off of four bolts. And then there were two fat quarters. As before, the two circle prints are the same print in different colorways--and I love circles and dots. I absolutely fell for the geometric print--it reminded me of some of the ones I picked up in Utah. As for the mosaic-looking print, I thought it would be a great fabric to use to get some practice freehand quilting with that big ole machine of mine. It's beautiful--shades of teal, creams, and brown, and there are birds and florals. I'll do another show-and-tell after I get it quilted--I'm itching to play with that machine again. I need much more free time! As for the two fat quarters, just some batiks that I thought were interesting.
And to round out my trip, here's a funny story. As I walked into the shop, I noticed a gentleman just hanging out in the store. Turned out, he was a fabric rep. I should have guessed--this is not the first time I've been visiting a shop while the fabric rep is trying to do show-and-tell. I don't mind it at all, I love to get a sneak peek at fabric lines, but I always feel bad for the shop owner and the rep, as it's much easier to do fabric selection when there's no one around and you don't have interruptions. I know when I was managing the quilt shop in Florida, we did our best to have the reps come in the evening, which was probably quite inconvenient for them but was very convenient for us. When I was in North Carolina on that vacation I mentioned a few weeks ago, the same thing happened and I bought a lot of fabric then too, partially because I wanted to make it easier on the shop owner, so I just had her cut half-yards. Talk about a tough time getting everything to fit in an already-packed-full suitcase! I was much more frugal with my purchases this trip and was able to get the fabric in my carry-on bag without too much trouble.
So that's my tour of the quilt shops in Toronto. I'm sure I missed some, so if you know of any that I missed, share it in the comment section so anyone who stumbles upon this posting looking for quilt shops in Toronto will have a more complete list for shop hops of their own.
(P.S. If you haven't heard, CHA's planning another Craft SuperShow in Anaheim in January 2010. For a recap of the Summer show, check out these blog posts: Judikins, fabric, Kaiser, JustRite Stamps.)