Book Review: Quilters' Travel Companion
Reviewed by Lynn Holland
As you may have discovered by now, we at Planet Patchwork love quilt stores. We like to visit them, read about them and write about them. We truly believe that you can learn about a place by visiting its quilt stores (and the restaurants and cafes that are near them.)
Even before we discovered the joy of visiting quilt stores, we learned that the Yellow Pages were a good source of information about eating and quilting (not necessarily in that order), and we still consult them within about five minutes after hitting town. However, we have found the Yellow Pages somewhat lacking in vital information to help us plan our visits and not waste valuable time that we could use for quilting.
We discovered the solution in the Quilters Travel Companion, published biannually by Chalet Press. The book is arranged alphabetically by state, and groups stores geographically, beginning each state section with a map. Planet Patchwork travelers have been known to take a look at clusters of stores and then plan trips by the denseness of the cluster, rather than choose a destination and then check out where the stores are. What a wonderful excuse to take a trip to Minneapolis or Puyallup!
The QTC follows the basic idea of the Yellow Pages, where stores place ads and offer information they think will be valuable to the visiting quilter. However, even the stores who opt not to place paid advertisements are listed at the end of each state section, so QTC is a fairly comprehensive guide to the quilt stores in the U.S. and Canada. There is also a section on quilt guilds, listing addresses and contacts, that is quite handy.
Among the truly helpful features are maps to help locate shops (a plus for the directionally impaired), as well as shop days and hours. Many of the shops include descriptions of the type of merchandise they feature, along with the ever-important BOLT COUNT! Also of interest is the inclusion of web addresses, so if you cant get there by train, boat or plane, you can have a virtual visit instead. The new 8th edition contains listings of nearly 2,000 quilt shops! In addition, you can subscribe to a modestly priced update service and receive a newsletter every six months that will inform you of changes and additions to the directory.
Even if youre not planning a trip, the QTC is fun to read, much like the encyclopedia or the Sears catalog was when you were a child. Its fascinating to learn whats out there, and QTC makes a great wish book for the grownup quilter.
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