What started out as a project to source the fabrics that LeeAnn Vallejos wanted for her quilting addiction has turned into a nationally recognized fabric and quilting shop, Stitch – right here on Main Avenue in Durango. Sponsored by Tile & Light Art of Durango and San Juan Basin Public Health
All that Durango resident, Leeann Vallejos, wanted was to open a shop where she could buy the vibrant fabrics she sought to craft her quilts. Seven years later, her shop has been recognized as one of the top 10 quilting shops in North America. You're watching the Local News Network brought to you by Tile and Light Art of Durango and San Juan Basin Public Health, I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Leeann Vallejos admits she's a quilting addict, an obsession that led her to open her own quilt shop called Stitch, featuring contemporary quilt patterns and vibrant colorful fabrics sought by fabric artists like she. That was in 2014. Her concept proved to be so impressive that Better Homes and Gardens recently named Stitch as one of the top 10 quilt shops in North America as part of its 2021 Spring/Summer edition of The Quilt Sampler.
Yeah, so this award is sort of the Oscar of the quilting industry. We are one of the top 10 shops in North America and there are about 3000 shops that make an application to this magazine and they select 10. So, it's a great industry award that really recognizes the hard work and effort that we put into building the quilting industry.
It's easy to see why the shop made the cut from this year's 3000 entries. Hundreds of bolts of colorful contemporary fabrics line the walls. Towers of thread include every color, shade, and hue imaginable. Contemporary and more traditional quilts are displayed on the walls. And it table invites seamstresses to test drive models of their Bernina sewing line that she carries. A team of fabric and quilting experts help visitors match fabrics or provide advice on tackling complicated designs. But the icing on the cake, Vallejos quilt was featured on the cover of the magazine.
You have to submit an original quilt design and they approve it. And once they approve it, you have five weeks to make the quilt and send it to them. So they then have the quilt, they shoot it for the magazine, that we create a pattern for it, so that readers of this publication can order that quilt. And so, our quilt was called Mountain High. And it's sort of Colorado inspired, the Rocky Mountains, and that Alpine-glow sunset, and those beautiful wild flowers down below, you know, with those dark green grasses. So that is our kit and that is gaining a ton of traffic. You know, we've been sending orders to Canada, all over the U.S., and so people are really loving it. And that particular quilt also made it on the cover of the magazine, which is another feather in our cap.
Vallejos says the recognition has increased her online traffic exponentially and the move to 858 Main Avenue last June has generated more foot traffic, especially from out-of-town quilters than her original shop on 15th Street. Vallejos and her husband, co-owner Mark Rosenberg, say they expect business to grow as the pandemic abates, summer tourism season kicks into high gear, and quilters pursue what apparently is a nationwide passion for fabric art.
Quilting, I think, has been looked upon as, you know, Grandma sitting in the corner by the fire stitching something, you know, cute and sweet for you to put on your bed. And now people are doing amazing things with quilting, they're art-quilting, they're doing all sorts of things, and that this industry has grown exponentially. And two years ago, they've done some surveys and studies, and show that quilting is about a $4 billion industry, which puts it on par with golf. So, thinking about that in terms of another industry that's compatible, that's kind of the level of quilting and people don't know that, they think again, "It's just something that Grandma does in the corner." But it's a pretty viable industry that we are super excited to be a part of.
To learn more about Stich, visit the shop at 858 Main Avenue in Durango, or log onto the website at stitchonline.net. Thanks for watching this edition of the Local News Network, serving La Plata, Montezuma, and San Miguel Counties in Southwest Colorado, and San Juan County in Northwest New Mexico. I'm Wendy Graham Settle.