It’s no secret I love to go to quilt shops. Most quilters do. We love the fabric, the notions, talking to other quilters, looking at new patterns, and embracing the inspiration. It’s a wonderful time and unfortunately, there may be less and less of the opportunity as more and more LQS shutter.
However, there are four other types of stores I like to shop at that offer great purchasing opportunities for quilters. The establishments are probably not aware that they are great spots for quilters…even quilters may unaware of the possibilities in these stores. And those types of stores are office supply stores, hardware stores, sporting goods stores, and dollar stores. We’re discussing dollar stores today.
In case you aren’t aware of what a dollar store is, it’s kind of today’s version of yesteryear’s five and dime. In some of these establishments, nothing is priced over a dollar. In other stores, everything is one dollar, and at others, most (but not all) products are a dollar. Some are more. I am very fortunate that there is a Dollar Tree in the same plaza that I purchase my weekly groceries. Nothing in this store is over one dollar.
Which means I can go in and spend $10 to $15 and come out with some great quilting room finds. I did just that last weekend and wanted to share with you what I found and how I use them – which is generally not in the way they are advertised to be used.
This is a clear shower curtain liner. While it’s a great thing to be able to buy a shower curtain liner for a buck (and saves you the chore of washing your old one – just toss that sucker and hang up the new one with no guilt involved since it was only a dollar), I’m not using this clear liner in my bathroom. I am using this in my applique process. Sometimes, (especially if I’m using a dark applique background that’s difficult to see the pattern with, even if I’m using a light box) I trace the complete applique pattern onto a clear vinyl surface and lay that over my background piece to help me place any embroidery and the applique pieces.
A clear shower curtain liner works wonderfully for this technique and is way less expensive than purchasing vinyl.
And this is a pill box. I have one of these I use for my vitamins, but I use this one to store my sewing machine feet. I have one of these large pill boxes for each of my machines. Since the partitions in the pill box are over sized, that means most of my feet will fit in there just fine. This helps keep my sewing machine feet organized and the lids snap firmly closed, so they won’t fall out. This is a great thing to have if you’re taking extra feet with you on a retreat. They stay in together and don’t get lost.
These little containers are my very favorite Dollar Tree purchase. When I carry a salad for lunch, I put my dressing in one of these. But in the sewing room they are great for storing buttons, beads, pins, tiny pieces of applique, or for holding Best Press or starch if you’re using one of those in your applique process. They’re also great to squirrel away small portions of M&Ms – just in case you need a chocolate refuel on retreat or those late-night sessions in your quilt studio
not that I know anything about that.
I talk a lot about “project boxes” in my blogs. It’s no secret that when I have a quilt cut out, I throw it in a project box and label that box. I can get these great boxes from Dollar Tree and they’re perfect for larger quilts.
There are also other options for these boxes. There is a closet organizing section at my Dollar Tree and they have these great boxes with lids, and then they also have these tinier boxes. The tinier boxes fit neatly into the larger ones and allow me to keep notions, applique pieces, thread., etc., super organized and together.
If you’re like me and tend to use a fair amount of paper clips and binder clips to keep like quilt pieces together, the dollar store is a great place to stock up on these items. I have also found these:
Aren’t they cute? They also do a wonderful job keeping small quilt patches together.
I have also found these:
This package contains small wooden dowels. These were found in the craft section (which is also where I found my tiny, wooden clothes pins). While I am sure there are lots of things that can be done with the dowels, I use them to keep my large spools of thread and their matching bobbins together.
This comes in handy with Loretta the Long Arm. Instead of keeping the bobbins all together in a box, I can keep the bobbin with the spool of thread it belongs with, so there is no second guessing.
I have also found retractable card holders.
These are a wonderful way to keep up with your scissors. Attach a small pair of scissors to the plastic loop on one end and then clip the colored circle to your collar or neckline. You will never be scrambling for your scissors again. And before Command Hooks were produced, I had one of these attached with Velcro to my sewing machine and hung my small sewing scissors from it. That way I always knew where my scissors were while I was sewing.
It goes without saying that there are a couple of things almost any dollar store has that quilters need. Masking tape. Ziploc bags. Snacks. But lately my Dollar Tree store has started stocking these fairly regularly:
That’s right. A tabletop light. And it’s really bright, too. For a buck! It has three LED brightness settings and is lightweight. For a dollar, I could afford to keep one of these in my portable sewing bag, and a couple on each sewing table. I’ve purchased two for the hubster (who ties his own flies for fly fishing). I’ve given a couple to each of my kids. And for the price, even if you can’t find a replacement bulb or it fizzles out on you, it isn’t a waste of money. The ladies I quilt with are so enthused about the find we now send each other text alerts to let each other know if the Dollar Tree has them in stock.
It really pays to keep your eyes and mind open when you’re shopping non-quilty shops. With a little imagination, all sorts of stuff can be commandeered for your sewing area. And when you approach a dollar store with that attitude, you can save yourself lots of money – that can be used for fabric!
Until next week, Quilt with Passion!
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam