I’m not a big fan of shopping for fabric yardage online.

I’ve done it several times and more than once I was disappointed when my order arrived and it wasn’t the right/same color on the website, or the scale of a design was larger or smaller than pictured or I imagined.

I required a large amount of backing fabric for one of two quilts I have to get quilted by mid-August. I promised my mother I’d complete the two quilts she started for her twin grandchildren.

At that time the twins were in elementary school, but we had decided that they would be wedding presents. The twins are now in their 30s and I decided I wasn’t waiting any longer to complete my promise to my deceased mother.

I needed at least 10 yards because the quilt measures 108” by 108.” So recently I hitched up my big-girl panties and braved going to a fabric store with a friend.

I had heard about this shop at Quilt Guild meetings but didn’t pay much attention to the conversations.

My reason for dismissing this shop was because its name is Quilt It Yourself (QIY). I had no reason to go to a shop which, I presumed, had several longarm quilting machines where people could go and, with some basic training, rent a machine and quilt their quilt themselves.

I was hoping to get up to the Compass Centre and purchase my backing there, but numerous calls and e-mails generated no reply, so I ascertained that they were not open.

Hobby Lobby was also not open to the public yet. After searching the Quilt It Yourself website to find an address and hopefully a map, my friend and I picked an afternoon that worked for both of us and away we drove to the QIY Kempner location.

The building is a good size, and yes, there was one longarm machine in the center of the building not being used.

I found out later that renting the longarm out hadn’t turned out as expected by the owner. But the shop has a lot going for it in its wide variety of fabric, notions, patterns, organizational boxes, digital software, pre-cut bundles, and just about anything else a quilter would need.

The lady working there was very helpful, and after exploring the whole shop and its many goodies, I finally decided on my backing fabric.

I did not want a 108” wide back — they had a wide variety of “wide backing” — because it wouldn’t be large enough for my quilt since everyone knows by now that your backing HAS to be larger than the quilt top.

This is especially true if you are going to mount your quilt on a longarm. Additional fabric is needed; I prefer at least 6 to 10 inches, to attach the backing to the leaders on the top and bottom of the quilt.

I decided I wasn’t going to try to add more fabric to an already 108” backing but instead opted to make three sections of regular 40” fabric.

Now that I had my backing, I was happy with my purchase and could begin quilting. Oh, did I mention that the prices for fabric were very economical?

It was several days later that I remembered that along with the two large quilts I needed a baby quilt. So after I found out the nursery colors, back to QIY I went.

I’m thinking this shop is going to be my go-to place for my quilting needs.

Nancy C. JUDD is a Herald correspondent.

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