Cultural: My first quilt shop visit in Poland!

Not that long ago I became aware that a member of my Facebook group, Becky Quilts in the Old Country, Ewa, (say it like you say "Eva") has her own quilt shop in Warsaw.  I often live in my own little fog, so I don't know when exactly I became aware of her shop or when the desire came over me to visit her, but it did. It became stronger and stronger in February and early March --probably as the weather got better here in Poland!  

She posted a picture of a quilt she made out of shirtings in the group - and that's when it hit me that she is part of this group and is right here in Warsaw. (Sometimes I'm pretty slow!)

I checked out her website and I noticed that she teaches classes. I kind of filed that away for reference.

Do I need anything?  Hmm...well, I did need some gray fabric for a pattern I've got planned.

(My stash is really, really low on gray - is anyone else like that?)  Anyway...

When I actually looked at her location on her website and saw that she was located "not that far from us" in Warsaw (in other words, on our side of the river that divides Warsaw in two), I decided that I just had to go.  She was quite close to the East Warsaw train station. I knew I could take the train in.

There were many reasons I wanted to go, but I settled on two - first, I wanted to ask her some questions about teaching beginners here in Poland (esp. the centimeter/inches question) and secondly, I wanted to buy some things to encourage her in her business as I'd like to see quilting and quilt shops make a go of it here in Poland. They fight a tough battle as I'm sure many people tell them, "It's so expensive!" when they see the fabrics.  That tends to be people's first reaction about everything here.

I'm not sure if you've gotten this impression, but neither my husband nor I are ones to hop in our vehicles and head for the heart of Warsaw - it is not a pleasure to either of us - too much traffic and hassle. We've been known to order something and have it delivered rather than drive to a shop in Warsaw to get it.  (Delivery by courier here costs under $5 so it's not out of line with what it would cost to drive and park somewhere.)

I spent some time perusing her website and making decisions about what I wanted before I went.

She's open three afternoons a week and on Saturdays for a few hours. I dislike going "out to Warsaw" in the afternoons because of the traffic --trains often get very full on the return trip --I would rather go out about 10 am as traffic is at a minimum then-- but on Friday morning at breakfast I told my husband that I wanted to visit this shop just as soon as we ate our dinner (1 pm).

If you look hard enough on this menu, you can see where we went.  I was chuckling at the prices of the drinks. I suppose when you divide everything by 4, it isn't so startling as that is the exchange rate right now approximately 4 zl to a $1 USD.

If you look hard enough on this menu, you can see where we went.  I was chuckling at the prices of the drinks. I suppose when you divide everything by 4, it isn't so startling as that is the exchange rate right now approximately 4 zl to a $1 USD.

He then counter proposed that we go out to eat in the center of Warsaw for lunch- going by train. and he would show me the platform I needed on the return trip.  So that's what we did. On the way back home from "eating out", I got off the train at the right place and walked over to the shop which was only about a 5 minutes walk and quite easy to find.

She had warned me that it wasn't a big shop - but since we have no actual quilt shops in Otwock or our immediate area, it was all "great" and really - quite nice!

She graciously gave me permission to take pictures.

Let me take you on a virtual tour.

As you come to the door facing the street, she has decorated the window with a cute room. 

Sorry about the reflection!

Sorry about the reflection!

When you walk in the door, the first thing you see is a huge patchwork star - well, actually the first thing I saw was Ewa, the owner - as I tend to hone in on people much more than an environment, but most people would probably notice the star!

When I asked Ewa about the black and white fabric surrounding the star, she told me she got it at Ikea.  Now, this is a woman after my own heart!  Here she is in her own shop and telling me that she bought this fabric somewhere else.  I couldn't help but like her! It made me more determined than ever to try to support her shop.

When I asked Ewa about the black and white fabric surrounding the star, she told me she got it at Ikea.  Now, this is a woman after my own heart!  Here she is in her own shop and telling me that she bought this fabric somewhere else.  I couldn't help but like her! It made me more determined than ever to try to support her shop.

This was hanging above where Ewa stands below, at her cutting table.

To the left as you walk in the door, you see this display of fabrics - 

The bolt of gray and other things weren't usually there, but I had just bought them and they were waiting to be reshelved.

The bolt of gray and other things weren't usually there, but I had just bought them and they were waiting to be reshelved.

Then, when you turn to the right side, you see two shelving units of fabric - 

I had been debating on some of that orange and pink and yellow stripe. That's why it is all wrinkled. I'm sure she went and straightened it after I left.

I had been debating on some of that orange and pink and yellow stripe. That's why it is all wrinkled. I'm sure she went and straightened it after I left.

Then you see the display of solids and other fabrics. I bought some gray from that collection.

I had written her previously and told her I was interested in some "words" fabrics, so she pulled them out and showed me what she had.  I also looked at her templates, and rulers.  She has someone make some for her. I bought one that is a Dresdan Plate bargello template.  She displays it on her website, and I had already decided I'd like to try it. I have very few 'gadgets' or specialty rulers.

So anyway, after gabbing and chatting for about an hour, or even more, I ended up with these fabrics.

I went for the grays on the left side plus the metro line fabrics on the far right. The ones in the middle I had pretty much already decided I liked from her website.  

 

and this template:

And you know what?

Ewa is an identical twin!!!!

Yep!  Unbelievable!

She studied to be a lawyer - her twin sister is a doctor.  Ewa gave up her "lawyering" to take up owning a quilt shop and teaching patchwork. She says that she loves it!

I hope her business continues to grow and I hope I can be a customer.  It is wonderful to learn about and meet real people who quilt right here in my own area.

One thing I've noticed about the quilters in Poland--there may not be a whole lot of them, but the ones that are here are quite good.  They take it very seriously and seem to have a gift for it.  

I am hesitant to say they are "so talented" after listening to even part of the book "The Talent Code" which emphasizes that "talent is less gift than work and training the brain."

However, there do seem to be many artists who have taken up quilting here in Poland. I've been quite impressed by the level of artistry and dedication to their task.

Many of them intimidate me--they are so good--I feel like, "I could never do that" - even though I know it isn't necessarily true. 

Anyway.........

So here you are.

Thank you for coming with me on my first visit to an actual quilt shop here in Poland!

Oh...and she did tell me about two more quilt shops  in Warsaw - so maybe in time I'll make my way to their shops and report on them if they'll  allow me to take pictures!

 

and oh...prices!  Did you want to know that?  They ranged from 28 zl ($7)/meter (39")  to 40-44 zl ($10-11)/meter for the same name brands you would find in the USA.

 

While you are here, feel free to check out my sister's goodies that she has for you!