RIGBY — Linda Kauer and Christine Jarvie are professionals who combine fabric to make beautiful and creative quilts.
But fabric is not the only thing the two women have put together. In the spring of 2018, Kauer and Jarvie stitched together work and play, opening up Stitchin’ Around Quilts in Rigby. The business started initially in Kauer’s basement, but quickly moved to a small storefront on Main Street, and later that year transplanted to a much larger location on the south side of Rigby City Park.
“We wanted to just test the waters and see what the market was like,” Jarvie said. “And so we knew within just a month or two that we would need a bigger place.”
Jarvie said it is also nice to have everything under one roof. She said that while they were on Main Street, they had to run back and forth between Kauer’s basement — where the lasers were located — and the shop.
Jarvie and Kauer both said they were inspired to open the shop after Abbott's Craft and Variety in Rigby closed and Porter’s Craft and Frame owners had announced the closure of their craft store as well.
“There was really a need, especially north, for some options for fabric and quilting … for people,” Kauer said. “Because I know I don’t like to have to run 20 miles to get a spool of thread.”
Kauer said she had already been in the process of starting an Etsy store when she met Jarvie.
“That’s a funny story,” Jarvie said.
Jarvie said she and Kauer were shopping at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts around the beginning of 2018 when Jarvie saw Kauer carrying a whole bolt of HeatnBond in her cart.
“Now, if you do an appliqué project, usually a couple yards is plenty, but a whole bolt is 35 yards,” Jarvie said. “I just asked her, I said, ‘You must have some massive project to be buying a whole bolt of HeatnBond.”
From there, the two started talking, and Kauer ultimately hired Jarvie to create samples, Jarvie said. Within a few months, Stitchin’ Around Quilts became official.
Kauer said that although the store has blossomed into a full-on quilt shop with a storefront, she still went forward with the Etsy store.
“We get a lot of people, not necessarily people in Idaho, that are the ones that are ordering from us,” Kauer said. “I mean we’re getting Florida and New York and Oregon, so it kind of opens up the whole world … and it’s the way of the future.”
Kauer said one of her goals with Stitchin’ Around Quilts is to make the craft accessible for younger generations. Part of that is making it less time-consuming through new techniques such as laser-cutting appliqué, which Jarvie said is the shop’s specialty.
“It’s so much easier to do it with the laser and have everything already pre-cut, pre-fused, than having to do it yourself the traditional way where you have to trace everything and cut everything out,” Jarvie said.
Stitchin Around Quilts takes custom orders, and the employees and owners also use the lasers to create quilt kits and quilts. Kauer said oftentimes people do not have time for a long project, and laser-cut fabric can make it possible for those who don’t have much time to make a quilt quickly. Jarvie said quilting is often a creative outlet for individuals, and can connect people.
“What I love about it is almost all quilts that are made are given away,” Jarvie said. “And that’s done out of love. And you know your time creating those is a part of you. So you’re giving a part of you, with a lot of love and talent, to the recipient.”
Jarvie, for her part, said she hopes the business inspires people when they come in and introduces locals to new techniques they might not have been aware of before. She said she also hopes to expand the business.
“We want not just to be local, but we’d love to be (in) the whole Intermountain, across the U.S., (and for) people (to) know about Stitchin’ Around Quilts,” she said.