Aug 21, 2007 BJ Menter Uncategorized
Fall is coming and with it, our countryside becomes awash with color. You don’t just have to stare out your front window or play in a state park to enjoy this season, you can take a short drive over to the southern most tip of Marcellus, Route 20, and visit the Patchwork Plus Quilt and Yarn Shop. The brilliance of the colors of the fabrics, the spaciousness of the premises, and the welcoming atmosphere that embraces you the minute you walk through the front door, makes this a must see stop for the novice to the professional alike!
Patchwork Plus is owned and operated by Judi West and was located in Skaneateles on Jordan Street for 19 years. I was surprised to learn this because I thought I knew Skaneateles so well, but I do not recall the shop at all. That was part of the problem said Judi in a recent interview.
“Unless you knew where to look, a lot of people couldn’t find us or just did not see us,” West said. “That is not the problem now!”
No, it is not. The spacious 5,000-square foot-shop hums with activity. From the 10 part-time employees who obviously love quilting as much as Judi does, to Judi’s husband, Tom, (her main jack of all trades) fixing a computerized Bernina sewing machine, and the customers from all over, the store is hopping with activity.
“We have customers coming from all over,” West said with a smile. “We’ve almost become as popular with tourists as with the local customer.”
West has customers from Rochester, Watertown, New Jersey, Canada and from as far away as Kuwait!
“Quilting has come a long way from its roots in American life,” West commented. “From being a purely domestic craft, it attracts both men and women as an art form now.”
Where do the men hang out who are not attracted to the art form? West laughs and shows a spacious fireplace area set up with chairs, car and sports magazines, a flat panel television.
“We did a survey before we moved and a place for husbands to hang out was voted by the overwhelming majority of the participants,” West said with a twinkle in her eye that is her signature look.
In addition to more fabrics then one thought existed in the world, the Patchwork Plus Quilt and Yarn shop offers quilting and knitting classes suited to everyone from the beginner to the advanced. On the day I visited, famous artist and quilter, Judy Sheridan was teaching a class including Barb McArthur from Liverpool, and a client/customer who had driven up from New Jersey for her class.
McArthur was quite enthusiastic over the shop.
“We are so lucky to have not only this shop, but access to the quality of instructors like Judy here,” she said. “The Patchwork Plus allows us access to professionals and exposure to techniques that you just don’t find available anywhere else.”
Judi West gets her fabrics from all over including such distributors as Moda, Kona Bay, Clothworks, Robert Kaufmann, RJR, and P&B. She is especially proud of her new yarn and knitting section. I was delighted to discover Schaffer hand painted yarns on sale there. Although expensive, this yarn is among some of the best on the market and its colors are rich enough to “fall into.” The yarn made right here in the Finger Lakes region.
“We are attracting a whole new customer because of our yarn center and knitting classes,” West said. “Our stock flies off the shelves.”
West herself is a quilter and has been since 1975 (“I can’t paint worth beans, but I can choose color and fabric and put them together better than most.”), and is full of encouragement to anyone experimenting with the art.
“There is always someone here who knows about quilting,” she said. “There is always someone here ready to share their experience with you. With plenty of free parking and the size of the store, there is room for everyone now!”
There is indeed room, so much room that you may never want to leave the store. That is no lie. I certainly didn’t!