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You Know You're in Trouble at the Quilt Shop When ...


Mark Tiedeman of Quilter's Paradise

Most quilters have made (or will eventually make) statements like “I’m going to get in trouble” or “I’m in big trouble now” when at the quilt shop. Others, who are actually in trouble, are in deep denial. You can tell who they are because they’ll say something like “I’m going to be good” or “I’m behaving myself today”.

But, what, exactly, does it mean to be “in trouble”? Is there any objective basis upon which one can determine whether a state of “being in trouble” exists? Fortunately, the answer is “yes” …

Based on observing thousands of customers and situations, we have developed a set of guidelines that anyone can reliably use to tell if you, or someone you know, are in “trouble” when at the quilt shop.

You know you’re in trouble at the quilt shop when …

  1. … You walk into the shop and the shop employees all know not only your first, middle, last and maiden names, but also your birthday, when you got married, which high school you went to and the year you graduated, your entire family history, not to mention your credit card number complete with expiration date, verification code and, most important, credit card limit.
  2. … The only fabric that’s new is what arrived yesterday.
  3. … You start hearing voices and realize it’s the fabric speaking to you and not another person.
  4. … The checkout clerk has to coax, cajole, pry and yank the bolts out of your vice-like bear hug embrace so as to cut the fabric.
  5. … The measured amount of fabric you bought is more easily referred to not in yards, but rather in fractions of a mile.
  6. … The checkout clerk asks if you’d like help getting your fabric to your car with the shop’s forklift.
  7. … You start referring to the bolts of fabric on the shelf as your children.
  8. … The credit card limit needed to make your purchase exceeds the national debt.
  9. … You realize that from now on, “fat quarters” are not 18” x 22” pieces of fabric, but the new part of your house dedicated solely to storing your fabric stash.
  10. … You plunk your fabric on the table to be cut and realize you can’t see over the top of the pile …all while standing on a ladder.
  11. ... The purchase you make now gives you a greater amount and selection of fabric in your stash than what most quilt shops carry.
  12. ... The change you receive from your purchase includes hundred dollar bills.
  13. ... You know where the fabric is located better than the shop employees.
  14. ... You originally came to get a spool of thread, but end up leaving with 16 yards of fabric, 23 fat quarters, 5 magazines, 7 books, and an assortment of rulers, needles and pins ... not to mention 2 kits and the latest quilting gadget.
  15. … You realize that there are over 16 million colors that the human eye can discern and with the purchase you’re about to make, you now have all of them in your fabric stash.
  16. … You take your purchase to your vehicle to take home and realize that your 18-wheeler isn’t big enough.
  17. … You’re too tired or challenged to figure out how much fabric you want from a must-have bolt and simply ask: “How much is left?”
  18. ... You get more of a workout lifting and carrying fabric bolts than 6 hours spent at the health club.
  19. ... The cashier needs to replace the roll of receipt paper so as to finish printing your receipt.
  20. ... You come to the shop to attend a class, but instead play "hooky" and spend all of your class time shopping.
Husbands often factor into the “trouble equation”, sometimes in obvious and expected ways, but also in some surprising ways. Observing what goes on with them can and does yield an extremely reliable indication as to whether trouble exists.

You know you’re in trouble at the quilt shop when …
  1. … Your husband drops you off at the shop on Wednesday and says he’ll pick you up next Tuesday.
  2. … You ask the checkout clerk if you can make monthly installment payments on your purchase to keep things under your husband’s radar screen, but realize it’ll take five lifetimes to make all the payments.
  3. … Your supportive husband agrees to come into the shop with you, but complains of a hernia, chronic fatigue, arthritis, tendonitis, gingivitis, seizures, back spasms, dizzy spells, bouts of nausea, whooping cough, tuberculosis, scurvy, yellow fever, acute anxiety, eczema, hemorrhoids, hang nails, flat fleet, tennis elbow, bowed legs, peg legs, color blindness, shortness of breath, psoriasis and ED when asked to carry any bolts.
  4. … Your husband stays in the car on a hot day to wait while you shop leaving the engine on to keep the air conditioning going, but runs out of gas before you’re done.
  5. … You’re with your husband looking for a border fabric and he starts asking for directions to Mexico.
  6. … You’re with your husband asking for help on binding and your husband suddenly becomes alert and interested.
  7. … You’re with your husband, you ask for some help on the instructions for a Yellow Brick Road pattern, and your husband, in a rare moment of lucidness, inspiration and supreme wit, interjects: “Follow the Yellow Brick Road”.
  8. … You’re with your husband asking him which of 6 different fabrics goes best with another fabric for a quilt you’re making for him and he, realizing he’s deep in foreign territory, responds as a deer in headlights: “Is this a trick question?”
  9. … Your husband asks how much money you spent to which you calmly and somewhat indignantly reply: “I earned enough airline miles on my credit card for 2 first-class round-trip tickets to Hawaii.”
To conclude, we leave you with this all-important piece of wisdom and advice that you should take to heart and commit to memory: You can’t get into trouble if you’re always in trouble.

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