Changing Tides in Juneau isn’t technically a hole-in-the-wall shop, since it’s on the second floor of a building full of shops. I found it via a street-level window display.
It’s also a little bigger than what I consider hole-in-the-wall. But as it caters to cross stitching and needlepoint as well as quilting, it’s plenty cramped for one.
Like The Quilted Raven in Anchorage, Changing Tides focuses mostly on Alaska-themed fabric prints and designs. It’s in downtown near the harbor, easily accessible to most tourists by foot. There’s quite a bit of overlap with what The Quilted Raven sells, too. As the owner admitted to me in conversation towards the end of my visit, she’s well acquainted with the owner of The Quilted Raven and they have similar tastes in fabric.
One difference I noticed, though, is that Changing Tides has a pretty good selection of non-Alaska prints. The blacks and whites were especially interesting, but there were a couple of batiques that really caught my eye. I found a pink batique with a red cherries pattern that I had to adopt in addition to the white and black abstract print I had selected, even though my budget was a little tight.
Changing Tides sells scraps by the ounce. I think the prices are perhaps a little high for scraps, but they have some really good scraps. It’s a great way to get a little bit of each of a bunch of Alaska-theme prints in one spot.
For Cross-Stitch and Needlepoint Folk
The store carries an array of patterns for cross-stitch and needlepoint. Some are counted, but they have a bunch of patterns printed or hand-painted directly onto canvas hanging behind the counter on the left as you walk in. The hand-painted ones include unique originals by famous Alaskan artists. You pay for it, but it’s worth it if you can afford it. The one that caught my eye was $175, but I would have been happy to pay it if I could. (Though I might’ve been afraid to actually stitch it!)
They carry embroidery thread, too, but I paid little attention to that. You can get embroidery thread anywhere. I should have checked to see if any of it was locally made, but didn’t think about it. Sorry!
For Art Collectors
Changing Tides serves as a consignment shop for local artists in the Juneau area. In addition to the works of cross-stitch and needlepoint for sale on one wall, many of the quilts on display are for sale, too. All of the consignment art is Alaska-themed. There’s a lot of good stuff; I recommend checking it out even if you don’t intend to buy.
Because of this, picture-taking isn’t really welcome in Changing Tides. Some of the artists represented don’t want their work photographed. The owner also doesn’t like having her picture taken.
In fact, I rubbed the owner the wrong way by walking in with my camera out. I assume that being in the most touristy area of Juneau involves dealing with people who just want to walk in, take pictures, and leave. The owner was short and snappy with me at first, but warmed up to me once I put my camera away (as soon as she started getting irritated with me) and started shopping.
The few pictures I did take are up on Flickr.
While I was in Juneau for Kyle’s wedding, I visited two quilt shops. I wanted to visit at least one, so Ash pulled up the GPS app on his iPhone and we went to the first one on the list. That was RainTree Quilting.
RainTree Quilting is located off of Mendenhall Loop Road. A few trees separate it from the street, but the store itself has enough front windows to give the place a light, airy feel. They have a show room and a class room, with completed quilts hanging in each. The fabric selection reminds me of what Quilt Tree carries here in Anchorage, in terms of color values and the types of patterns they carry, though there were fewer oriental fabrics.
The owner was in that day, with one employee. Both were friendly and helpful; we got to chatting a bit about Anchorage quilt stores and quilt tourism in general. I may be only starting quilt store touring, but they said that people come through from all over. They were fine with me taking pictures (though many of them came out poorly). I ended up cutting both the picture taking and the chatting short, though, because Ash and Patti were demonstrating signs of boredom, eventually retreating to the car.
I’ve decided that I will get a fat quarter of some green fabric and a yard of something else nifty from each quilt store I visit in my travels. From RainTree Quilting, I took away a bright green fat quarter with a scratchy/speckly pattern and a dark blue batique with a dog sledding pattern on it. It’s possible I could have gotten that same batique from The Quilted Raven in Anchorage, but I wasn’t sure and it really appealed to me while I was there.
I found my visit to RainTree Quilting a pleasant experience, and recommend the place highly. More pictures can be found on Flickr.
I finally got off my duff and walked over to Quilt Tree this evening. Up ’til today I had gone exclusively to Seams Like Home due to its extremely close proximity to my place of work. (Well, except for one after-hours fail attempt to hit the quilt shop in Eagle River with my sister.)
I didn’t realize before going there that Quilt Tree is a combined quilting and yarn crafts shop. And they don’t waste any space. They have bolts of cloth on top of shelves and leaning against shelves on the floor, leaving just enough space to peruse. I didn’t wander into the yarn section — though I probably should have, since I need some supplies for my Halloween costume — but it looked just as crammed as the cloth half of the store.
The color and pattern selection is perhaps a bit more muted at Quilt Tree than at Seams Like Home, on average. The two stores have some of the same fabrics available, but there’s really not too much overlap. Not outside the batiks section, anyway — I haven’t decided how much I want to get into batiks yet, so I didn’t really look at them.
Quilt Tree’s fabrics are a hair pricier than those at Seams Like Home. It’s really a negligible difference, though, generally $0.50 a yard. Their fat quarters are priced about the same, and like Seams Like Home they’re willing to cut a fat quarter off of just about any bolt for you. Exceptions to that at Quilt Tree are upholstery fabrics and their selection of imported Japanese fabrics.
The imported Japanese fabrics are wonderful. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill oriental designs; they’re the kind of fabrics Japanese crafters like to use for their patchwork. The cloth designs varied from simple prints to cute prints to a few bolts that seemed designed to be miniature fabric stashes on a single bolt (having several simple designs spanning the length of the fabric in stripes). The ones I looked at all ranged from $15-$20 per yard. They tended to fit in with the trend towards more muted colors I saw.
Overall, it’s very nice. I’ll definitely be hitting there more often as I seek to inflate my fabric stash.