Quilt Shop: Tater Patch Quilts

While we were in Klamath Falls this past weekend, I drove south about 25 miles to a quilt shop I've visited before:  Tater Patch Quilts in Merrill, Oregon.

I checked back to see what I'd written about the place before, which left me with mixed feelings about what to say this time around.  Apparently, the last time I was in, the service was better.  I'll say more about the service in a minute, but first I'll tell you about the store.

Tater Patch Quilts is located in the tiny town of Merrill, and it is very easy to find because it's right on the highway.  There is plenty of on-street free parking, and with such a wide street, it is easy to get in and out of your car without feeling as if you're going to be run down by passing traffic.

They have an excellent supply of fabric, notions, patterns, books...in essence, everything you'd want to find in a good quilt shop.  Their fabrics ran the gamut.  There were lots of batiks, calicoes, civil war prints, and a good selection of flannel.  There were also plenty of blenders and florals.  I would say they were a little light on novelty prints, which was disappointing.  I was hoping to find some cat fabrics, but only found them in the flannels.

The last time I visited, I completely missed the downstairs, which is a significant part of the shop.  Although the stairs are right in front of the door when one walks through, somehow I missed them...both times.  This time I had the presence of mind to ask, and was then embarrassed to realize that they couldn't have been more obvious to the even most casual of observers.  I think my eyes must have been looking up at all the beautiful quilts hanging on the walls and from the ceiling.

The downstairs houses a great sale area with fabrics marked 40% off.  I found something here.

They also had quilts for sale arranged by size, as well as pillows and bags.

There were some stunning quilts hanging from the walls and ceiling.  I was especially taken with these panel quilts made from photographs of the local area.  I've cropped them and left the photograph in the image so you can get some idea of the beautiful work the quilter did.

The one below was just wonderful.  Klamath Falls is the home of the Winter Wings Festival which is held in February of each year.  Each year millions of birds migrate south from the Arctic region to winter over in the relative warmth of the area...although it's hard to believe when you visit Klamath Falls in February.  It is quite cold during the winter.  We attended the Winter Wings Festival several years ago, and I saw my first bald eagles.  There were dozens of them, and so it was quite exciting.  This quilt is meant to depict Klamath Falls' significant part in bird migration.

I did find some fabrics I liked.  I got a couple of yards of this green one.  I had a fat quarter very similar to this which I used up long ago.  I have just little scraps left over, and always wish I had more.  Now I do.

I went specifically looking for a piece like this next one.  I think this will work well for my thatched roof in the next Doors of Ireland block.  Add some thread work, and this should work out very well.

Finally, I got this blender from their 40% off shelves.  Nothing in mind for this.  It'll just go into my stash for future use.

This little wall hanging was made up and hanging in the shop.  I liked it and so I bought the pattern.  

So I liked this shop both times I visited.  This time, however, I was quite put off by the service.  While I've said many times that I don't like service in quilt shops to be hovering, I also don't like to be ignored completely.  While there were three employees and four other women in the shop, not a single person spoke to me until I went to have my fabrics cut.  All of the other women in the store knew one another by name, and were gossiping about this thing and that thing to the point that I felt as if I'd intruded into a private quilting bee.  

Even while I was paying for my purchases, I was ignored, while they chatted amongst themselves.  Now, call me petty, but when I'm spending my money at the cash register, I like to be the center of attention.  It wasn't until my fabric was bagged up and I was walking out the door that the woman who took my money smiled and said, a little too cheerfully, "Have a nice day!"  Thanks.

While I would visit this quilt shop again, I can't rate it any higher than three rotary cutters out of five.  (Some day I'm going to come up with an actual image for the rotary cutters.  Just you wait.  Then, my ratings will really be sought after.)  The poor service annoyed me this time around.  Maybe I was just crabby because of the heat and the smoke in the air, but whatever.  These women were just plain rude.  Poor service is one thing.  Bad manners is quite another.  So I would completely recommend visiting Tater Patch Quilts if you're in the area, but go for the fabric, and for no other reason.  It is a great store.  Maybe one day I'll visit again and be able to say something more positive about the service.

And now I'm off to make dinner.  I'm so looking forward to getting some sewing in tomorrow.

15 comments from clever and witty friends:

WoolenSails said...

I really like the wall quilts, nice pieces of art and way to display them. I would not like being ignored either, I enjoy a quilt shop where the owners stop and chat with me, most of ours do that and are always willing to stop and help if I am looking for specific things.


Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

The panel quilts are incredible representations of the photos beneath them. I'm amazed and impressed beyond words...

We are lucky enough to be on the flight path of the Canadian honker Geese and so we get to see and hear them going both ways. Fabulous to see them in large groups wandering the soccer field eating who knows what.

Thanks for the review of the quilt shop.

Wendy said...

Good post... I once spent several hundred dollars in a small "local" craft store because it was local and I was into crafty things and they had punch cards that kept track. It took me several, several long months to fill these cards, so you can imagine my dismay of having visited this shop so very many times, that even after filling several "$100" cards, the clerks couldn't even acknowledge that I had been in before. You can be sure I never went again. Customer service sells just as much as the product does, sorry about your poor experience, but thank you for sharing the beautiful quilts!

Dirt Road Quilter said...

Those are some lovely quilts! I am always intimidated by landscape quilts, but I love them. I am sorry that the customer service was so awful and that they were rude. I recently went to a quilt shop like that and although I have been there before, I doubt I will go again. I kept trying thinking it was an isolated incident, but I guess not. The shop just 3 miles down the street is just the opposite and it is such a joy to shop there. I'm glad you found a few things though. That thatched roof fabric is great! Looking forward to your next block!

Teresa in Music City said...

I am always blown away by landscape quilts that are well done - and these are obviously pieces of art! How wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing them. I agree entirely with your observations about service. I've been in shops where the helpers are too chatty and interested in each other to give me the time of day. It is irksome to say the least. Your word "rude" is better!

Teresa in Music City said...

And I love the fabric you chose for your thatched roof!!! It's going to work perfectly!!! =^..^=

LynCC said...

Those photo-quilts are spectacular. I could examine them for hours, I'm sure, if I could see them in life.

hafza said...

I love the panel quilts...all of them,so beautiful!! Thanks for sharing:)

Diane Wild said...

Again, another great name for a shop and/or restaurant. Too bad about the service. I agree, customers should be acknowledged. Good that you found some "door" fabric, though.

Dana Gaffney said...

Even without actual rotary cutter pictures I seek out your reviews. Since I just visited my second ever quilt shop, I'm glad to read this review, I'm not alone in wanting a little more in the service department. I was so disappointed and now don't really care if I ever see the inside of another quilt shop.

kc said...

WOW - those landscape quilts are really something else! Just stunning, and sooo life-like. How in the world did she (he?) make those cool pine trees??

I know exactly how you felt in that quilt shop...that's how my LQS is all the time. I really dread going in there, and sadly, don't go very often because of it. I'd much rather travel 2 hours (each way) to go to either of two others, where they seem much friendlier to strangers. Oh well, I look at it as their loss, not mine. Hobby Lobby seems to have quite a selection, the fabric is pretty decent, and while there are no batiks....I do get to use a 40% off coupon! :)

(love the Catio from previous post & can't wait to see pix from your friend's place!!)

Kate said...

The landscape quilts are really cool, lots of "wow" factor.

Too bad about the service at the quilt shop as they look like they had lots of stuff.

karen608 said...

True, being nice and civil to a new customer can make them feel great and the customer will come back. I worked in a dime store, chatting up customers & now years later people still talk to me on the street since they remember me as a helpful, friendly person. I might have been the only person that talked to them the whole day. It matters!

KatieQ said...

I forgot to add how much I like the quilting on the flowers and dots quilt.
I have had a similar experience in 2 different quilt shops recently. With all of the LQS that have been closing recently, you would think that they would be paying more attention to customers.
The fabric you chose looks great for a thatched roof.

quiltzyx said...

The quilting on Daisies & Dots is fabulous - just the perfect design!

I agree with you about the service in any shop. I'm lucky that all 3 of the local quilt shops are stocked with friendly staff, and they're good at ooohing & aaahing too!