Saturday, September 20, 2014 · 6:05 p.m.
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Chattanooga Quilts connects a younger generation to a piece of Americana. (Photo: Staff)

Tucked in a cozy corner of Ooltewah across the street from an antique street lamp clock, Chattanooga Quilts is keeping pace with the growing interest in the time honored tradition of quilting.

“We are sharing the love of quilting and starting new quilters off on their projects all the time,” Kim Thomas, owner of Chattanooga Quilts, said.

Regardless of not having a sewing background, Thomas began quilting six years ago with a group of six women and caught the quilting bug. The shop took a hobby to a full-time pursuit for the former stay at home mom when the shuttering of Lavender Lime Quilting aligned with the time when her two children were aging out of the need for constant supervision.

Chattanooga Quilts resides in a building that was originally a pharmacy in the 1930s. The hardwood floors are still intact. Shelving are now home to bolts of vibrant batik, Civil War reproduction and trendy patterned fabrics, and an assortment of other sewing notions.

The full service shop provides everything a novice or experienced quilter would need to complete a crafting project from patterns to thread to fabric to batting to minky fabric, a new favorite of the quilting world as a plush backing.

“A quilt shop is a little bit like a neighborhood restaurant. it’s somewhere you come and you know that someone is going to know your name and someone is going to know your style,” Thomas said. “We wanted it to feel like you are among friends here.”

The stock of fabrics ranges from batiks, reproductions and new trends. (Photo: Staff)

The range of friends Thomas has seen covers 20-year-olds to 80-year-olds. The more experienced crafters are drawn to the store for its supplies and sense of community, while many are bitten by the quilting bug through Chattanooga Quilts’ classes.

Every month, the shop offers a beginners class that meets once a week for three weeks at a cost of $60. With modern techniques such as rotary cutters and a quilting roller, in addition to the detailed geometric instructions of the patterns, participants can complete the top of a 40 inch by 40 inch quilt in a month. Students can then opt to add a fourth class for $15 to layer the blanket with batting and a backing.

Chattanooga Quilts also offers advanced classes and technique specific courses, including applique, paper piecing and aprons, as well as a Saturday sampler day in which quilters are given a pattern and fabric to complete one block and build a quilt section by section over the course of a year.

“Our tagline is tradition meets inspiration,” Thomas said. “If we show you enough things, we’re going to tempt you and inspire you to do something new beyond your limits.”

Next week, Chattanooga Quilts will celebrate its one-year anniversary with a fabric sale. Classes are ongoing.

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