Sunday, April 15, 2007

My favourite shop - Midsomer Q

Let me take you on a little day out to my favourite quilting shop. It says a lot that I hold a loyalty card for this store as it is about 4 hours drive from my house. Well, actually that’s cheating a bit because I only go when I am in Bath on holiday when it is half an hour’s drive up out of the valley in which Bath lies and out into the countryside.

Midsomer Quilting is in these stone buildings on land shared with a garden centre and a craft shop. The shop is L shaped with one ‘wing’ being a very pleasant workshop area where spent Easter Saturday being educated on threads and needles with Dawn Cameron Dick. More of that in a subsequent post.

There are several reasons that this shop is my very favourite of all the ones I have tried (and my husband got very worried when I said that I was ‘ collecting shops’). Firstly they give you chocolate digestives and tea. (In my case tasty Roiboos and Vanilla tea at that.). Now it’s not just that I can be bribed with cocoa solids (although I can) but my point is that you are positively encouraged to just hang out there a bit. There is even a seating area right in the middle of the retail area for you to sit and relax.

And a very pleasant place to hang it is too. It is neat. Fabric goes on the shelf not in piles of bolts slithering all over the floor. (In my house it slithers right down the stairs and through the house but I like shops neat!) Apart from a good range of fabrics ( I didn’t photograph them but they stock about 65 African style fabrics in just one small area of the shop). It is also developing. I went back this Friday after the class and was shown new shelving and a whole new display of thread racks.

It has beguiling shelves and windowsills with quilting gifts on. Not knick knacks. (Knick knacks set my teeth on edge – the same feeling as tearing masking tape with them. Ugh). No, quality gifts – jewellery, jigsaws, coasters, stationery and the like all with quilting motifs. I also love their Amish dolls you can see sitting on this shelf. They have little African girl doll kits too. They don’t sell fabrics on line but some of these gifts are available mail order from their website. Plus lots of books – this photo shows just half of the display that runs either side of an archway.

They are also just really nice people. I went in April 2006. When I rang this March to book the Easter Saturday class I was remembered by Chris. When I went back last Friday his wife remembered what I had been shopping for over a year ago. Chris had even taken the time to google me after the class to find out more about me. (It turns out there is a scary amount of information about me on the Net if you know where to look!!)

(And in case this photo made you wonder - no Chris does not have 2 wives .... at least I don' think so! One is the co-owner of the shop, De)
They open Friday – Monday but put their personal phone numbers on the door so if you were just passing you can call and they come and open up just for you.

I know for most readers this shop is not one you can visit readily, but perhaps if you are looking for a present for a quilting friend you will consider (just as a favour to me) sending off for one of their gift items. Or treat yourself – after all, you deserve it!

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