Thursday, October 20, 2016

Once upon a time... at City Quilter...

The lonely City Quilter sign, amid the constant construction/destruction on the block.

I wrote this post to tell you that the beloved City Quilter is closing (10/26/16).  They will still maintain an online presence, but we will miss the brick and mortar store!

I visited the store yesterday, stopping in to see if they were still carrying the umbrella kits I've always loved, but never quite committed to... (Note: they only had one left... I still haven't committed to that project).  The store was busy and happy, with lots of hustle-bustle... and they still have plenty of lovely quilting cottons and tools available for purchase.

But... their looming departure makes me feel sad.

Why? This is sad news for the sewing community, especially since there are so few stores who really approach the more crafty, non-professional, artistic and skilled sewer in such a respectful way. Community is vital to inspiration, motivation, and creativity. Unless you are a relatively rare breed of creative energy, what inspires you to make the things you make?  Generally speaking, what others have made/are making/what supplies there are to use - right? The layout and inventory of this particular store has always been warm and inviting, the staff has always been particularly helpful and welcoming, and they did not hesitate to answer questions in a patient, professional way.

But, it also sad for another reason.  What will replace City Quilter for the the people who love this store?  That is the question.  I have heard a few suggestions, and, while I will research them and put them here on the blog, I fear that there is no true substitute for this place.

Once upon a time, I wrote this post...

Even if you don't specifically care about "quilts" in general, I sincerely urge you to visit this particular show.  The New York Historical Society Museum, located on scenic Central Park West at 78th Street, is one of our city's fabulous visits of the moment.  On view until August 24th, this exhibit lets you get up close and personal with the beautiful quilted specimens on display.  While it is truly about our American history, it is also a very interesting textile study.  The fabric used to make quilts made two centuries ago have stood the test of time, and hold the same beauty today as when they were made.

At first glance, this exhibition might seem a bit quaint, its subject — textiles and the Civil War — evoking Americana more than American history. But this show, “Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War,” which opened last month at the New-York Historical Society after originating at the American Textile History Museumin Lowell, Mass., does much more: It turns Americana back into history.

-  a quote from the article "King Cotton and His Bloody Surrogates" - New York Times

“Reconciliation Quilt,” 1867. Made by Lucinda Ward Honstain (1820-1904) of Brooklyn, New York. Cotton; appliquéd.

Examples of wools and cottons of the time are shown in the display cases throughout the exhibit, and examples of items made using these fabrics reveal their quality, durability, and beauty. The stitches in the quilts really spoke to me as I examined them, feeling the patient skill of quilt makers who worked thousands of careful hand stitches into those pieces, with no idea of how they would one day be displayed, and what they would mean in the context of our nation's history.  Truly, what a beautiful exhibit...

Also note on the plan your visit page of the museum's website, the museum also offers a "pay what you wish" admission on Friday evenings, and children under age 5 are free.

If you love quilting?

Try City Quilter or Purl for great quilting cottons.  Try Rosen and Chadick, and B&J for great cotton prints in general.

If you would like to know more about this blog, obtain a map of the garment district stores, or upcoming Speakeasy tours, just follow the links for more information!

1 comment:

  1. I heard during MPB Day that the City Quilter was closing, googled it and found your post as well as one on Jeramiah's Vanishing New York. I love CQ and I'm not even a quilter! Always loved their NYC fabric, the sashiko, and the handstitching kits. That's where I found the Heidi Boyd kits. I too have thought about their umbrella kits every time I go there, but I would never use a big umbrella like that.


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