The JoAnn Chronicles

In Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Cat’s Cradle, for the people on the island where the drama takes place, it’s against the law to believe in Bokononism. Anyone caught practicing the religion is subject to a horrible death penalty. However, as you progress through the book you find that everyone really is a Bokononist. That hints at my relationship with JoAnn Fabric: outwardly I complain that JoAnn’s, the “Big Box” fabric and craft store, has put all the smaller local craft and fabric shops out of business and now has diabolical control over what is available for purchase, but yet I still patronize that place like mad.

The fact that I married a man who lives within walking distance of a JoAnn’s was just one of the enticing, glorious perks of wedded bliss (sadly, the store went away when the Publix next to it expanded, but I’m still happily married!) And just around the corner from where the JoAnn’s used to be is a Viking sewing machine store which has happily received the diverted flow of my ready cash for sewing stuff.

The remaining JoAnn’s in our town, Gainesville, is far away, you have to drive past the freeway exit to get to it so there’s always a lot of traffic, and it’s rather shabby inside. They never seem to have what you want unless it’s pretty basic. Some of the cashiers don’t know how to enter the mysterious codes that will get me 50% off remnants, horror of horrors.

Having just denounced it, I now confess that I run rather than walk to the nearest JoAnn’s when I’m in another town that has one.

Provo, UT: JoAnn’s Etc (the Etc denotes a Husqvarna Viking shop within) is a vibrant place. Provo is the birthplace of lots of crafty items that JoAnn’s sells, and especially scrapbooking is huge here. Cake decorating, all sorts of sewing, knitting, and crafts are monumental here. Utah seems to shelter more people who support the “stay-at-home mom” point of view, and it seems that families have more kids. JoAnn’s has lots of fun things for kids to do. I saw more yarn here than in other stores like this.

Altamont Springs, FL
: Of all the JoAnn’s Etc’s I’ve seen so far, I like the layout of this one the best. It is so organized. The displays are engaging. The sales people are friendly and informative. There was a massive art department. I walked by as the Viking clerk was demonstrating the cutwork embroidery accessory package, so I stayed around for that and then learned a lot about the Huskylock sergers she had on sale. My visit was cut short when the clerk’s husband called her from home and said that a tornado had touched down. Everyone scattered!

Colonial Drive, Orlando: I spent more money in this Joann’s Etc than any of the others, and I want to understand why I succumbed to the sales pressure here, rather than at one of the others. One, I found a lot of juicy remnants.

remnants from Orlando

These are remnants that I try to get when possible, because they’re expensive and useful fabrics and they’re half price. I like to use the knit jersey remnants for clothes, especially t-shirt and other tops. Some are good for purses, some are destined for quilts.

Some will end up as phants (see previous post about A Home For Phant or visit the site here).

I did buy some yarn at all the JoAnn Etc’s, skeins that were on sale. And from Orlando, I found the size 50 needles I’d been looking for. But yarn’s another story; I’ll be working on it on my other blog, wednesday night knitting .

Contest prize from

Some days I feel so lucky! Many thanks again for the great opportunity to win at Relief Society blog. (see the pic below of my winnings) We tried the Lion House hot rolls and they were thoroughly delicious! And the tote bag is gorgeous! I found out on my birthday that I had won, woo hoo! Getting older wasn’t so bad after all.

Lion House, Brigham Young's home in SLC Utah


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ethel Grogan
    May 19, 2011 @ 22:26:36

    Hey, I wanna go to the Jax JoAnn’s. Maybe if I find out where it is, I can drag my Texas friend there when I pick her up at the airport the first of June. Though she is likely to tell me to go after I drop her off on the 13th. sigh I didn’t know that Britteny has a group making Phants. Sounds like fun – is it on Weds night? sigh
    Brittany wants to do it once a month I think.


  2. bakingteacher
    May 29, 2011 @ 08:18:32

    Wow I would find living next to that shop very dangerous!


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