Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eternal Maker and Giveaway!!!

Back in August Katy, Tacha and I paid a visit to the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham,UK.

The quilts were great, the company wonderful but the more importantly the shopping was amazing! While trolling the stands I came across Eternal Maker, a UK fabric shop with the most amazing array of fabulous modern fabrics and super friendly staff.

You can find out more about them and look at their gorgeous selection of fabrics at http://www.eternalmaker.com/ and I caught up with Anna once she had caught her breath after the show and found out a bit more about them and the interesting building that the shop lives in!

How was Eternal Maker born?
The Eternal Maker came about kind of by accident really. I had just quit my job in London and moved back to Chichester at about the same time my mum was looking for new premises for her company - The Button Company. Although she was looking for a warehouse, the cheapest place she could find had a shop front, and she asked if I would like to run a shop from there with her. It had to be something that went with buttons - and as I have always been into fabrics and crafts, it was a logical next step. Looking back I realise we went into it quite blindly - without really knowing anything about the industry, or how to run a shop, or what we needed to stock. It was a lucky accident though, as I wouldn't swap my job for anything - compared to my last job, it's a dream, although I would love to have the salary I had in my last job too!


Tell us more about the building where you shop lives and how having such an interesting building came about.
We were evicted from our old shop as our landlord wanted it for something else, and at the time it was a huge blow, as we had just re-done a whole part of it. We spent several frantic weeks looking for new premises but nothing was right - we couldn't afford town centre prices, but we wanted passing trade, and to be easily travelled to. We needed parking, and we needed the space for both companies. Finally, after weeks of driving around the area looking at all sorts of weird places, with me saying 'no' one too many times my mum pulled over the car and said - that's it. If we can't find somewhere, we'll have to shut down. She asked me what exactly I wanted, and I said 'a cross between a fire station and an old brick warehouse' (ok, I like to aim high, I realise that) and she said some words I won't repeat and drove on. And then, maybe 100 yards down the road, there it was. An old lorry depot, covered in black diesel, but underneath, beautiful brick walls, high ceilings, and shutter doors. It had it's own parking, was next door to the cinema, and 5 minutes walk from the train station - it literally ticked every box. But, it was a huge mess. It took 5 weeks from start to finish, and we pretty much did it all ourselves with our staff - painting, building, laying floors, the works. It was definitely a labour of love for all of us. From the start I had a dream of it being like a fairy tale place - things to look at everywhere and outsized things (we have giant coat hangers hanging from the rafters above with our display quilts on them). So we painted super-sized haberdashery items on the walls, and brought the outside inside with our trees, amongst other things. It makes us laugh that when people walk in for the first time, there is regularly an audible gasp as they take in their surroundings.


Do you have a mission statement? What is your aim?
I'm not sure if we have what you would call a mission statement, but my ethos is this: if everyone else has it, why would I want it too? I want people to find with us the things they never knew they wanted until right now. Or those things they've been looking for forever. Or even sometimes nothing, but have come away feeling happy. We are a small team here, but we all love what we do, even though we are always super busy. I would love to say we are super professional, but that would be a big lie - we constantly refer to other shops as 'real' shops, while ours is just like playing shop - but we all have a passion for what we do, and I think that makes a huge difference to how the customer feels at the end of the day. We work in chaos, but it's a very happy chaos.

You have a fabulous range of fabrics that really caters for the modern sewer. How do you decide what to stock?
The decision of what to stock is easy really - I just have to love it. The vast majority of the fabrics I stock I totally love. I'm lucky that my taste has always been fairly eclectic - I love bright colours, but I also love the more 'boring' end of the colour spectrum - grey is one of my favourite colours. I love big prints, but I also adore the little ditsy prints too. I have always been a huge fan of modern Japanese fabrics, and we buy in huge collections from various Japanese suppliers. I sometimes refer to our fabric selection as feeding my fabric habit, as if I buy it once for the shop, sometimes that means it doesn't end up in my stash at home too (this works only some of the time). I spend a lot of time researching fabric suppliers, and my only wish is that I had more money so I could buy from some of the other suppliers that are on my 'when we can afford it' list!

What do you like to sew yourself?
We always joke in our shop, that Rachael (my shop manager) buys fabric for pyjamas, and I buy it for skirts. When I get the time, a skirt is my go-to project, but I also make quilts, bags, and all sorts of other things. Usually the fabric 'tells' me what it wants to become, and I just hope my skills are up to it(that sounds weirder than I mean it too - I hope other sewers feel this way...)

You also run classes. What kinds of classes do you run?
We run classes in all sorts of things, quilting, basic dressmaking & more simple sewing courses. We also have a papercraft area in the shop so we do cardmaking and other things like that. As I write this, there is a freehand machine embroidery course with Lara Sparks going on, which is one of our most popular courses.


I suspect that owning a fabulous fabric shop is the dream of all crafters. Do you feel that you are living your dream?
This is pretty close to living my dream. When you think about these things in advance you don't always think of the realities - the fact that you have to pay for all the fabric, rent etc., that you don't get paid wages yourself, you work all hours of the day (and sometimes night), and that you are nearly 30 and living in your mother's attic (yes, that's me.) But I think when you really, really want to do something, things like that shouldn't get in the way, and hopefully one day I'll get paid to do my dream job!

What’s next for Eternal Maker?
I've learnt not to predict the future - I would never have said 3 years ago I would be here, and even 18 months ago that we would be where we are. I see new things every day that I want to do and bring in for the shop. The main thing you can expect from us is more of the same - beautiful fabric, different fabric, and lots of other exciting things to go with! Oh, and we are re-launching our website in the next couple of months so watch out for that!


Anna has really generously giving us 2 little fat 1/8th bundles of Echino fabric to giveaway.




If you'd like a chance to win one leave us a comment and we'll draw 2 names on the 17th October. Good luck!!!

141 comments:

  1. Makes me wish I lived in the UK. Thanks for the give away!

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  2. What a nice shop ...I wish I could visit it.

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  3. What a pretty shop!! I bet it's just fantastic. Another reason to visit the UK. :)

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  4. That sounds really like *magic* the way they found this shop. *S* And it looks very magical too. How I'd love to be able to go there.

    In the meantime, I'll take the little fabrics here in Chicago. *L*

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  5. What a beautiful shop! So light and bright. Thanks for the give-away chance.

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  6. I'm probably going to get killed for this but Eternal Maker is local to me and I have been there. It's only 20 miles from home. I have another shop closer but their selection of fabrics is very different.

    I have to say it is even better than the photographs. It is so spacious and airy with no clutter and a fantastic array of fabrics. The service is pretty special too. Love going there!

    I sound a total suck-up, but can I please be entered for the draw??

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  7. What great, unique fabrics! I love the look of that shop, and it sounds like the owners have just the right attitude. I would love to visit sometime! Thank you for the nice giveaway chance!

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  8. That transformation really involved a lot of vision and elbow grease! It looks very inviting. Thank you for the give away!

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  9. What a beautiful store. The tree and the shadow painted on the wall add a wonderful character.

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  10. what a fantastic story and gorgeous shop. I love the details and would love to visit it.

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  11. love the patchwork couch...thanks for the chance

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  12. What a beautiful shop! My biggest complaint about American fabric shops is that everyone has the same thing. I know we are lucky here in the US to have access to lots of fabric, but I wish more shop owners would go outside the box and stock something a little different.

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  13. oh my goodness- those fabrics are delightful! such great colors! cheers to our UK quilter friends! thanks!!

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  14. Yummy fabric and craft stuff, I'll have to get there one day.:)

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  15. Oh my dream Job through someone else's eyes! Please enter me! Thanks! Michelle

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  16. Those fabrics are beautiful! I could really use some inspiration and that would fill the bill perfectly :)

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  17. Oo-oo-oo love the shop. thanks for the giveaway. nanasew at gmail dot com

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  18. I wish I had a sweet little shop like this in my neighborhood! So fun!

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  19. What a great shop....wish it wasn't across the ocean! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  20. Wow, what a beautiful shop. Thanks, Anna, for letting us from across the pond take a peek.

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  21. I'm glad the blog is back up and running! I wish I could visit that quilt shop!

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  22. That fabric is yummy! Thanks for the chance to win some!

    Angelina

    figure8angel[AT]gmail[DOT]com

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  23. sounds like a great shop! Next time I'm in the UK I'll have stop on by...you know...because I travel internationally so often. LOL.

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  24. Looks like a beautiful shop! Thanks for the giveaway.

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  25. Wow! I would be in heaven at that shop! And I would also love some Echino fabric in my stash.

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  26. They didn't consider giving away that little sofa? Great interview! As a business owner I recognize so many things she talk about, the long work hours, the love to your work and the low income... If I ever have my own shop I want it to look just like that!

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  27. what a beautiful shop!! LOVE it! :)

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  28. I love the eternal maker - great fabric selection and great service. I loved their stall at the Festival of Quilts too :)

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  29. It does sound and look like a dream even if the salary is not there! What a fantastic transformation of the premises, you have done yourselves proud!! Great choice of giveaway too, I love Echino! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  30. On my list to visit now - I love different shops

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  31. pick me! pick me! the only thing better than this great fabric would be if it came with a free trip so I could visit this wonderful shop!

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  32. Great place. I love the passion.

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  33. oh my... what a gorgeous shop!
    i know what my first stop will be if i ever come to birmingham. :)

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  34. wonderful to hear you "living a dream!" - continued success :)

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  35. Wow! Amazing and unique shop! Oh how I'd love to visit!!! Definitely a labour of love! Thanks for the chance to win such a wonderful giveaway!

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  36. What a wonderful space and great fabric!

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  37. What an interesting shop. Thanks for sharing and the chance to win some neat fabric.

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  38. The shop is lovely, the fabric is inspiring, and the tree in the shop--makes me want one, too.

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  39. I really admire these women for the vision they had. If ever I get to the UK, this shop will be a must-visit.

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  40. I would love to get a chance to play with these fabrics.

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  41. Thank you for sharing this shop with us. It will definitely be on my list when we return to the UK. I would love the chance to win.

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  42. Awesome prizes :) Thank you for holding this give away!

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  43. I LOVE the shop! I wish I had someplace like that to visit...I'd be there a couple of times a week, for sure! And enter me in the drawing, please. I don't have enough fabric!!! But who does???

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  44. What a fun shop! I love that fabric and would love a little bit of it!

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  45. Wish I lived in UK to go see this shop - it's amazing to see the before/after pics of the shop. Please enter me in the giveaway - always looking for new fabric!!!

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  46. Who wouldn't love some fun Echino to play with! Thanks for the fun giveaway and the chance to win!

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  47. What a great looking shop, thanks for the giveaway!

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  48. Congrats & best of luck. The shops looks quite charming.

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  49. What a cute and fantastic shop! I am not in the UK though, so I guess I will have to make up an excuse to go there and visit! ha!
    great giveaway!

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  50. What a gorgeous shop! The couch,the giant things and the trees are so much fun. I love the story of how the present shop was found. It's wonderful how being passionate about something can make things happen.

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  51. Thanks for the give-away chance.
    liége

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  52. Wow I wish I could take a mini vacation over to the UK right now to go fabric shopping! Thanks for the chance!

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  53. Wow what an amazing shop! I love the tree inside. It's a shame I live on the other side of the world :( another reason to go back to the U.K!

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  54. Certainly makes me wish I lived in the UK! Wonderful fabric, thank you for a great give away!

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  55. Gorgeous shop! If I lived there, I'd be a constant visitor. :) Please enter me in the draw.

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  56. What a fabulous shop!! Love the tree in the middle - thanks for the chance to win some lovely fabric!

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  57. Sounds like a fabulous place.

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  58. Looks like a lovely shop. Thanks for the giveaway.

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  59. What a fabulous couch, and gorgeous fabric too! bellgirlsblog {at} gmail [dot] com

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  60. What a cool shop! Love the tree thing going on inside too! So much effort but it looks so worth it all. Good luck to you in your lovely store! Gorgeous fabrics too, love the modern look so much. Would love to win!

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  61. What a lovely story - I wish them all the best of luck in pursuing their passion. :)

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  62. Lovely fabric, I like the quilted sofa cushions and the tree in the shop. What fun to visit another country's quilt shop

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  63. I only wish that I could visit this shop in person! It is so lovely!

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  64. wow, i love those fabrics!! very vintage inspired! thanks for the contest!!

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  65. I want to live in that shop! owlbert@live.com.au

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  66. Beautiful shop - wish I lived closer. Echino as a giveway, hope I win!

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  67. Cool shop! Wow - what you and your Mom went thru to find it.

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  68. I love makeovers but a fabric shop makeover? Gorgeous.

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  69. The before and after photos are amazing. I can't believe they were so farsighted and their staff so dedicated. They must be fabulous people to work for.

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  70. I came across the eternal maker at malvern - The stand was being manned by the owner's mum at the time - what a lovely lady!!
    Gill

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  71. I really like your post you done great jobs. Thanks for sharing valuable information.
    UK New Car Prices

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  72. The shop really does look lovely and I'd definitely look them up if ever make it to the UK *sigh*

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  73. wow...lovely shop!!!
    thanks for the chance :))

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  74. That is one of those perfect type stories to read about. Hoping great success and and a nice salary for the owners in the years to come~

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  75. Sounds lovely; I'd love to win. Please include my name.

    jam

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  76. What a great looking shop. Sure hope I win the giveaway :)

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  77. Love the patchwork couch! Would love to add to my fatquarter collection :-}

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  78. I wish we had a shop like that here. The tree inside is really funny and that couch is to die for!
    Well, until then I will just have to keep on ordering online :)

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  79. What a gorgeous shop, thanks for sharing!!

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  80. Great shop. I love that sofa!

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  81. What a lovely shop! I wish I lived across the pond so that I could shop there!

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  82. What an amazing shop - and such a gorgeous space! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  83. another reason to wish I lived in the UK. thank you for the give away chance

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  84. The shop looks stunning. Wish we had one like that here :-)

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  85. Lovely shop! I try my chance to have these beautiful fabrics :) thaks for this fantastic giveaway!

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  86. what a beautiful shop! It's probably a good thing I can't visit - I would want to buy way too much!!
    Great giveaway!

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  87. Great shop, wish I lived closer.Thanks for the give away chance. Love Equino.

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  88. Shop looks fabulous---I want to go to a yummy shop like that and browse!

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  89. Oh my what a fab shop! I dream of owning a fabric shop one day, wish I could pop on over and visit in person!

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  90. what an AMAZING shop! it sounds and looks so lovely - i've always dreamed of that remade industrial type of space! one more thing to add to my list of "reasons why i have to make across the pond one day"!

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  91. What a nice shop. Maybe I will visit it one day.....

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  92. What a wonderful giveaway and amazing shop! Thanks so much!

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  93. WoW, Wow, WOW!! Thanks for the peak into such a cool shop. I wish I lived closer. That is truly a dream job.

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  94. I love the Eternal Maker, and that was a fab interview, thank you.

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  95. Adding to my list of shops to visit :)

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  96. Beautiful store! :) Love it! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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  97. I'd love to be able to visit your shop! And what gorgeous fabrics . . .

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  98. what a great place that is! and not in the us but kind of around the corner (oh well..), i even may see it for real one day!
    thanks for the great giveaway,
    claudia

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  99. wonderful fabric selections! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the giveaway!

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  100. What a pretty shop! Wish we had one like that in MD!

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  101. What a great story and a great looking shop.

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  102. This sounds like a totally fabulous shop! Why is it half-way round the world from me!!!

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  103. Their shop is really lovely...I wish I could visit!

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  104. That store looks amazing -- I want to move right in! Like many others -- I just wish it was closer! Thanks for the peek...

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  105. The store looks absolutely stunning!

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  106. What a refreshing post! i loved the story and the pictures are very inspiring. Thank you for sharing both stories (yours and Anna's) :)

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  107. Love the shop. Always want to visit the fabric shops showcased on blogs (or any fabric shop). rpshandATnsDOTsympaticoDOTca

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  108. Wonderful shop. But I am in France so too far away.....

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  109. Looks like a great shop. Someday, if I ever get time off and fly across the ocean....

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  110. I want to go there - it looks awesome!

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  111. Lovely shop - after so much work on what looks like an open air workshop. I have never had Echino fabric so would be nice to win this.

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  112. I'd love to go there!
    Thanks for the giveaway :)

    fineinsanity {at} live {dot} com

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  113. What a wonderful shop, I can imagine how much work went into it, but something you can't buy is the vision and the artistic flair, just love the tree.

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  114. what a lovely shop! I picked up a few bits and pieces from the Eternal Maker stall at the Knitting and Stitching show, and they were such a great bunch of ladies, with a great selection of fabric. thanks for the giveaway!

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  115. wow. that shop looks gorgeous. I wouldn't mind living there to be honest. Will have to find out how to travel there from York on the train. (I bought a whole pile of fabric from The Eternal Maker at the Festival of Quilts actually.)

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  116. oh no, I just looked at the address. a bit far from York. well it will have to be the next holiday then

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  117. OH wow I love it! You can tell a lot of work went into it.


    giveawaymommy at yahoo.com

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  118. The shop looks wonderful. i would love to visit someday!

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  119. Thanks for the great "trip" to such a lovely shop. Please count me in for a chance at those sweet Echino fabrics!

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  120. Wouldn't I love to shop there...even if it is 5 time zones away and on another continent. When I eventually make it to the UK, I'll find this shop and make a special stop! ;) And they're giving away fabrics...my kind of girls!

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  121. The shop looks fantastic and the fabric great! Would love to be a winner!

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  122. love your shop and the fabric. the tree on the wall to reflect the real one is ingenious. I feel a win!

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  123. I just found your website and love it. You are so lucky to run your own shop, but I can imagine that there is a lot of admin.
    Oh and I would love to win the fabric.

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  124. A great shop. Thanks a lot for the giveaway. I love these fabrics.

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  125. What cute fabrics, and a great store!

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