Not a lot of quilt stores can claim three generations of ownership. And if quilting continues to run in the Quilter’s Square family, a fourth generation may be waiting in the wings.
The original owner of Quilter’s Square, which opened in 1982 wasn’t a family member, but the shop was purchased by Allen and Mary Charles and eventually sold to their daughter, Chana, and her daughter, Kayla. Now it’s only a matter of time before Kayla’s daughter, Kaia, joins the crew (although she’s got a little growing up to do, first).
When she does, she’ll be learning from people with loads of experience. Chana says she first got involved in the shop when she was pregnant for Kayla in 1993. “I started doing machine repair, but gradually worked everywhere,” says Chana. In addition to being a Bernina dealer, the shop offers longarm services to customers and does quilt repair, makes quilts on request, and even does binding—actually, Kayla says her grandmother and grandfather do the binding. “Our whole family sews—I have six uncles and at least three or four of them quilt,” says Chana, who notes that this part of the business “keeps us about as busy as selling fabric.”
And that’s saying a lot, since the shop is hopping with classes, including beginning quilting, (which uses a churn dash quilt from Camille Roskelley of Bonnie and Camille), Block of the Month (a recent offering was Simply Sampled by Jeni Baker), and others. Quilting Squares offers a free borders and binding class quarterly, so class participants who have pieced tops can learn to finish them, and one unusual class offering is smocking.
Kim Polson is the Moda rep for Quilter’s Square. “I’ve been here for six years and she’s been here at least that long,” says Kayla, who started working in the store when she was just 16 years old. “She’s good and she knows her stuff. We know the quality of Moda and know that what we see in a photo will be good, but it’s nice to get that personal touch and see it in person. She does a great job.” Kayla says Moda fabric’s popular with customers. “When Bonnie and Camille’s Miss Kate arrived, it was in the store for less than a week—it was crazy!” Edyta Sitar, Holly Taylor, Sweetwater, and Three Sisters are all big sellers. “Kate Spain is one of my personal favorites,” says Kayla.
Both Kayla and Chana have designed quilts and sew samples for the shop. While they love being around fabric all day, both say that working with customers is their favorite part of owning Quilting Squares. “I don’t always get to sew and so I enjoy getting to have a part in other people’s quilts—I like helping them find that one fabric that makes things pop,” says Kayla. “Quilters are the nicest people in the world.” Chana echoes that thought. “Our customers are like family, and I just love them,” she says. “We get to know them and share in their joys and sorrows. It’s rare to meet anyone who sews who isn’t a nice person.”