April 11, 2015 When we first learned we’d be in Seoul for a month, I didn’t think, “Oh, great! Kimchee!” or “BBQ!” or “K Pop!” I thought, “Oh great, HAPPY QUILT!”
I had first been to Happy Quilt two years ago, based on information I learned from a blog by Johnnie and Angela (more info at end of post). From our apartment in Dongtan, Hwaseong, it’s a straight shot on the line 1 subway to the Jije Station, about a half hour away! John has been listening to me talk about Happy Quilt for two years now, so he willingly said he’d accompany me and promised to stay as long as I wanted. What a guy!
When we exited JIje, it was clear that the station had changed. Exit 2, the one I took last time to walk a dirt path past rice fields to get to the shop, was closed. There’s a huge addition going on the station. So fellow quilters, take exit 1.The Happy Quilt store is about a half mile walk from exit 1. Walk left when you get out of the station, and then take another left through part of the town. Then take the pedestrian path which runs along the bridge over the tracks.
The selection is huge, and the prices are crazy. Fabric is $7.50 for a 2-yard pack, and fat squares are about $1.10 each. (Compare to $10 or $12 a yard in the US.) The selection is great – fabrics from everywhere, including Vera Bradley (those are $4.00 per yard). I met two English speaking expats there – quilters helping quilters.
I decided that I needed a sewing machine to survive my stay in Seoul and to fully enjoy these new fabrics, so people at the company helped me purchase a Brother machine from The Sewing Factory in Suwon. It’s a nice machine – mechanical, not computerized. Simple, yet with a number of stitch options. Should be great for my “traveling machine” in the future, and to conduct sewing workshops for the grandkids. I was worried about purchasing a machine with 220v since we have 110v at home in the US, but one of the expat women I met at Happy Quilt said she’s had no trouble using a converter. Only problem I do have is the manual is in Korean:) I think the helpful staff at our local Sewing Basket shop will be able to help me out since they are a Brother dealer now.
So my dear quilting friends, plan a trip to Seoul. Come for the fabric, and then fall in love with the food, the sights, and mostly, the wonderful Korean people.
See my earlier post, “Seoul: the Motherload of Quilting Fabrics,” March 8, 2013. Also, below is an excellent post about Happy Quilt – the one which originally led me to the Jije station and through the fields to the store. But be aware that Jije station has temporarily closed exit 2, so you’ll have to take exit 1 out of the station and walk on the bridge to get there. Shows how fast change is taking place in Korea! Everything else is still pretty much as Angela describes in this detailed and exciting blog post! Quilters everywhere thank you, Angela.