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Fabricating artwork

Jackson Bell

The first thing a parent will usually tell their child before

entering a store is to not touch anything so nothing gets

accidentally broken.

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But at Q is for Quilts, the Burbank-based hobby supply store,

being touchy-feely is actually encouraged as part of the shopping

experience.

“It’s fun for kids when they walk in because they run their hands

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against the quilts,” owner Julie Zastrow said. “And the moms’ hands

aren’t usually far behind.”

An avid quilt-maker who took up the hobby in the early 1970s, the

Glendale resident opened her store almost 10 years ago with the goal

of making it a one-stop shop for quilters.

The store sells all the supplies a hobbyist needs, including 6,500

bolts, or 15-yard rolls of cotton. It also has an extensive

collection of books on the subject, and hosts about 20 quilt-making

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classes and workshops every month.

“I opened the store because I like people and I love fabrics,”

Zastrow said. “But the best part about this job is the customers.”

Bookkeeper Susan Fleischman agreed, joking about the fanaticism of

the culture.

“Quilters become crazy when they want fabric,” she said. “They

will go anywhere to get it.”

Ventura resident Cynthia Paul, who has been shopping at the store

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for 10 years, agreed. She said it has one of the best selections in

the Los Angeles area. Her friend Ellen Levine, a Toluca Lake resident

who is also a regular, joked that the only reason they met for lunch

in the Burbank area on Monday was because Paul wanted to buy more

fabric.

Zastrow said quilt making can be an ornate art form serving more

purposes than just draping beds. Quilts are also made as wall

hangings -- quilts made for displays like paintings or photographs.

In fact, the store’s walls are adorned by them.

And the demographics for the hobby, Zastrow said, is more diverse

than the stereotypical retired lady filling her time by making quilts

for her grandchildren. Classes have quilters as young as 13, and

males contribute to about 10% of the store’s business.

Prices, depending on the size of quilt and quality of fabric, can

range from $20 to $150. And most quilters have several ongoing

projects at a time.

A self-described quilt-making addict who learned the hobby about a

year and a half ago, Levine paraphrased another friend when asked to

describe her interest in the hobby.

“When making a brand new quilt, someone will ask me, ‘How can you

afford it?’” she said. “I’ll respond by saying, ‘How can I not afford

it? It is the one true expression of my mood.’”


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