Friday, March 20, 2020

How to support your local shops during COVID-19 social distancing

With the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus, many of us are practicing social distancing and self-quarantine. As quilters, sewers, knitters and makers, we have the skill set (and the supplies, no doubt) to combat this isolation time with the crafts we are passionate about. We got this!
Attending to my Farmer's Wife sampler WIP [work in progress]. Assembling blocks 2 x 2.

Don't forget YLQS (your local quilt shop)!
During this uncertain time, however, I encourage you to not forget about our beloved quilt shops, yarn shops and independent sewing centers. These small businesses still depend on us!

Farmer's Wife blocks. Fabrics from Art Gallery Fabrics.
Directory of Shops that carry Art Gallery Fabrics.

How YLQS is managing
Independent quilt, fabric and yarn shops are getting creative with ways to continue to support our quilting/sewing/crafting endeavors—offering curb-side pickup, personal local deliveries, virtual shopping via Facebook Live, Instagram and social media platforms, offering discounts on products and shipping, while figuring out how to use alternative methods to bring us instruction, tutorials and classes—in addition to keeping a sanitized shop and protecting themselves and their staff. It's an enormous feat of juggling and the learning curve for implementing new technology can be steep.

Ways WE can help and support YLQS:
Keep making and crafting!
Assembling rows of 6" bloc
  • Go through your stash and revisit those UFOs. You'll likely need borders, sashing, backing or bindings to finish them. Call or contact YLQS and have them ship what you need.
  • Visit YLQS on line. Fill the shopping cart and they will ship fabrics and supplies to you.
  • Many LQSs are making kits of their shop samples, packaging class/club/BOM projects so you have everything you need to hunker down and craft at home while we get through this time. Buy a kit for yourself or for your kids as a creative outlet from on-line learning. 
  • Ask for a personal shopping assistant. I've seen several shops walk through their store via Facebook Live and show new fabrics, kits, notions and products they have that will inspire or help you with your craft. Place an order.
  • Purchase gift certificates—for your own future buying needs or for your friends.
  • Shops are posting Flash Sales on social media and through e-news blasts. Take advantage of them.
  • Fabric companies have opened up the archives of free project patterns for us to access. Be inspired to make something!
  • Fabric and pattern designers, brand ambassadors and others are hosting "I-sew-lation" quilt-alongs and sew-alongs. Refresh your stash, buy the kit, pattern or book, and join in.
  • Follow, Like and leave comments on social media. The traffic will elevate YLQS's page in on-line rankings... making them get noticed by others with similar interests.
  • Post photos of your UFOs, WIPs and Finishes and tag and hashtag YLQS, the fabric and pattern designers and fabric companies. These small things improve on-line rankings. Spread the love!
Adding additional fabrics for a scrappier sampler quilt.

Non-quilters and non-sewers can support too!
  • Purchase gift items (books, note pads, greeting cards, jewelry, etc.), gift certificates and finished shop samples and display items
  • Inquire about and employ a shop's other services such as making T-shirt quilts, making heirloom or commemorative gifts (pillows, etc.), or embroidery services.
  • Got a quilt top you've inherited, rescued or purchased? Commission their quilting services. Get that quilt finished so it can be enjoyed.
Completed Farmer'sWife sampler top. Auditioning possible borders.
I have placed an online order with my LQS for two fabrics to audition additional options.

Out of sight but not out of mind
I'm again working on my Farmer's Wife sampler quilt during social distancing. I've ordered two fabrics from one of my quilt shops for possible borders. I hope you revisit your UFOs and order supplies to finish a few of them. Studies have shown that participating in hobbies and crafts during uncertain times relieves stress and calms nerves.

YLQS may be temporarily out of sight... but don't let them be out of mind. They are depending on all of us NOW so when the world gets back to normal, these small businesses will still be afloat!

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