Welcome to Des Moines, Stitch!

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a great new fabric and yarn shop in Des Moines called Stitch. That’s very exciting news, my friends. Des Moines has been ripe for a modern fabric shop for a long time and I couldn’t be happier. It’s located in the East Village on East 5th Street. I think it’s the perfect location.

I stopped by over the weekend and fell in love with the store. The whole look and vibe of the store is very fun and modern. It carries such fabrics as Leah Duncan’s Tule line, Heather Ross’ Briar Rose and some lovely prints by Anna Maria Horner; all fabrics you’d otherwise have to purchase online. I’m so happy that I don’t have to drive all the way to Iowa City anymore to buy quality modern fabrics I love. (But you know me, I still will.)

092113_0007WI was delighted to discover that I had already met the one of the owners (Tami Stroh) and her daughter before. They had purchased a tissue cozy from me at an East Village crafts show a year or two ago. Tami shares my love of cute Japanese fabrics. She said she may be getting some Nani Iro fabric in the shop sometime. I can’t wait!

092113_0022WTami Stroh, one of the co-owners of Stitch

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Sewing machines that you can rent per hour for sewing projects

092113_0019WIn addition to fabric, Stitch also carries yarn, knitting needles, books and sewing patterns. I haven’t knitted in years, but with all the yummy yarns they have, I just may have to take it up again.

While I was there, Tami asked me if I would be interested in teaching sewing classes at the store. Of course I couldn’t say no. I was so flattered and happy that she asked me. Her store is so awesome. I think this could be Des Moines’ version of Purl Soho. I hope it’s a huge success. Please spread the word and tell everyone you know about it.

Going to the Fair

Dave and I went to the Iowa State Fair on Saturday and it was a beautiful day. We finally got a break from the sweltering hot temperatures and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Usually fair time is synonymous with unbearably hot temperatures. This is just a given. While I love going to the fair, I don’t look forward to sweating the entire day. So this year was a very pleasant and welcome surprise. Another nice thing was that I won second place on my crosses pillow and honorable mention on my star pillow. It’s always a great feeling to win a ribbon on one of my fair entries.

We go the fair every year and usually go in the morning and stay for the whole day. We visit almost every building and see just about every exhibit. We really aim for the whole fair experience and try to get our money’s worth. This year, though, I think it was a little too much for us. We got there a little after 9:00 a.m. and left around 9:00 p.m. By mid-afternoon, we were starting to get tired and were ready for a nap. I think next year we might go in the evening and get the discounted admission rate. We decided we really don’t need to go to every building, like the main part of the Varied Industries Building, because the vendors don’t really change from year to year. Next year we’ll just visit our favorites and I think it will be more enjoyable for us.

Crafts Show Season

One thing I look forward to in the spring besides the warmer weather is the start of crafts show season. It lasts from May to November and just about every city seems to have crafts shows, now that creating handmade items is widely popular. And Des Moines is no exception. The downtown area alone has three wonderful shows that I feel lucky to be a part of:  Market Day, Craft Saturday and Sunday Bazaar. If you haven’t been to any of them before, definitely check them out. There’s a lot of cool stuff to see.

Usually, by November, I’m sick of crafts show season. I love making stuff, don’t get me wrong. But by the time November rolls around, I need a breather. By then, I will have spent the last six months doing shows back to back; selling at each show and then feverishly creating more inventory to sell at the next one. Because I have a full-time job, I usually burn the midnight oil each night after I get home from my day job, trying to get ready for each show. So it’s nice to have that break between Thanksgiving and Easter, when I can concentrate on just making items for my Etsy shop. But I do miss the extra income that the shows bring in.

My booth at one of the Market Day shows last year

As hectic as my schedule is during crafts show season, doing the shows is kind of fun, and sometimes very profitable. What I love the most is when people buy my products at the shows and tell me how much they love them or how wonderful they are. That makes it all worthwhile. It’s like they totally get me. It’s also fun to walk around and see what all the other vendors are selling. There’s truly a wealth of creativity there.

I’m doing the Market Day show downtown this Saturday. I’ll be there with all of my inventory, along with many other vendors selling their wonderful handmade goods. I feel very fortunate to be a part of this show because not everyone who applies for it makes it in. This will be my third year being a Market Day vendor and I’m excited because I have a few new items and I can’t wait to see if they do well. It’s hard to predict what people will be interested in and it always seems to differ at each show.

Some new matryoshka pincushions I made for Market Day

This Saturday is also the start of the Downtown Farmers Market, so I’m hoping for a good crowd. The location of Market Day is strategically located in the Kirkwood Building, 400 Walnut Street, right near the Farmers Market. The weather is supposed to be nice and sunny, so stop by if you get a chance (from 9:00 – 2:00). I’d love to see you. It’s also a great opportunity to find Mom a one-of-a-kind Mother’s Day gift.

My Fabric Shop Fantasy

I always tell my husband that if we won a ton of money in the lottery (I’m talking set-for-life kind of money here), I would open up a modern fabric shop. I’d carry the latest trendy, modern fabrics by the most popular designers. Denyse Schmidt, Anna Maria Horner, Liberty of London, Kokka, Lecien and Echino are just a small sampling of the designer fabrics I would carry. These are all fabrics that can’t be found here in Des Moines, where I live. *Sigh.* I end up buying a lot of fabrics online because I can’t find them locally.

Flea Market Fancy from Denyse Schmidt Quilts

I wouldn’t carry any of the typical quilting fabrics that you could find at most quilt shops because people could buy those at the other two quilts shops in town. I wouldn’t want to take away any of their business. I think there’s plenty of business in this town to go around. My shop would definitely be a fun fabrics shop. I would model it after some of my favorites: Home Ec. Workshop, Bon Bon Atelier, Crafty Planet, Stitch Lab and Quiltology.

I would also offer fantastic sewing, quilting and embroidery classes—catered toward younger sewers—that taught the latest modern sewing and quilting techniques. There would be finished samples galore hanging throughout the store to give customers ideas and inspiration. And, of course, I’d have to have all of those cool sewing patterns by Sew Liberated, Heather Bailey, Denyse Schmidt and Penguin & Fish that I seem to only be able to find online or in other shops when I travel to larger cities.

Some of my favorite sewing patterns

I wouldn’t open this store expecting to make a lot of money; although it would be great if it did end up being very profitable. I know that owning a business is a lot of hard work. And most new businesses don’t see any real profit during the first few years. It can be tough to keep a small business going, especially in this current economy. Which is why I would only do this if I never had to worry about money again. Having this shop would just be my fun dream job. A place where I could go to escape the daily stress of life and sew or quilt all day long. And be around other fabric addicts lovers. I mean, what’s more fun than being in a fabulous fabric store? I can’t think of anything better. You know what I’m talking about, right? I know you do.

I can see it all very clearly. I’d have a large room in the back for classes, retreats and sew-ins. I’d even invite our Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild to have its monthly meetings here. It would be sew much fun (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!). I even know where I would open the shop. Close to Des Moines, in a very small suburb called Windsor Heights, there’s a newish building on University Avenue that’s for lease and doesn’t have any shops in it yet. It’s been vacant for a while. Every time I drive by it, I can’t help but think, “That would be an awesome location for a fabric shop!” There are lots of floor-to-ceiling windows and ample parking. It’s even close to Interstate 235, so travelers from other cities could get to it easily. See, I’ve thought of everything.

Gosh, I guess I’d better go buy a lottery ticket, huh? Is there some type of venture, creative or otherwise, that you would pursue if money were no object? Tell me, I’d love to know.