A few years ago I set myself a challenge - to visit all 50 states in the USA. I was fantastically lucky as a child (and adult!) to be able to visit some incredible countries and had some incredible (and occasionally scary!) experiences. But, aside from the UK, my favourite country to visit is still the US.
I've crossed quite a few states off my list so far. New York, Jersey and Connecticut - done! California, Florida and New Orleans - tick! Massachusetts, Alaska and Kansas - seen! Washington State and even Missouri (hello MSQC!) - all stamped in my passport.
One of my favourite things to do whilst in in the States is to shop, particularly for my beloved Yankee Candles and fabric. Whilst both these things are available in the UK, the costs are high and the selection comparatively small.
For instance, a yard of Mint Mochi by Cotton and Steel from Fat Quarter Shop is currently $10.75 or £6.97. The same yard from Simply Solids is $18.50 or £12.00. Admittedly fabric in the UK is sold by the metre which is slightly larger than a yard so you get more for your $ but not that much more!
Now I do not blame the fabric shops in the slightest - they are doing a fantastic job supporting a new and growing industry whilst doing battling with high overheads and a manufacturers who set very high rrps.
My favourite fabric shops in the UK are Simply Solids, Village Haberdashery, Fabric Frieze and PlushAddict. Ladies flying the (homemade!) flag for sewing, quilting, knitting and all thing beautiful in the UK!
I, like many other quilters outside of the US, try to buy as much from local fabric shops and from within their country but at least once a season I'll put in an order from the U.S. Even with the postage and import taxes, it's still cheaper overall.
There must be a point mid-Atlantic when everything become much more expensive - like a fabric Bermuda Triangle. I'll keep my eye out next flight for a small island made up of jelly rolls and fat quarters.