Featured Shop: Christie’s Quilting Boutique

Though she’s had a number of “black-and-white” jobs, color has always been dear to Christie Ruiz’s heart.

First she was a police officer, wearing a drab uniform. Then she served as technology coordinator for a local school district, working with keyboards and monitors day-after-day.

Despite these monochromatic careers, Christie nurtured her love of tints and tones. Her mom taught her to sew when she was seven, and Christie caught the quilting bug in her 20s. About 17 years ago she opened an online store, which is still part of Christie’s Quilting Boutique. “I had quite a following and people would ask if they could come to my store, but that was my house so it didn’t really work,” she says. About three years ago her husband Edgar found a property and they decided to open the brick-and-mortar shop. “I had to leave my real job, but I’ve never been happier. Spending every day with quilters is great—we laugh and giggle and are so happy to see each other.”

The 2,000-square-foot space reflects Christie’s love of cheerful colors and her state pride. One wall is dedicated to the “Connecticut girls”—fabric designers Kate Spain, Denyse Schmidt, and Jennifer Paganelli all live not far from the shop’s Norwalk, Connecticut location. “We’re located on a major throughway from New York City and people who stop in can’t leave without buying a piece of fabric from a Connecticut designer,” says Christie. “When Kate’s Early Bird line came in, there were two or three bolts gone the same day!”

Edgar Ruiz, Christie’s husband, is the shop’s longarmer.

Christie has nonstop energy—“my staff won’t let me have more than a cup of coffee a day because they can’t keep up with me”—and the shop hums with activity. Classes, a block-of-the-month program, and three-times-weekly open sewing sessions mean quilters are always popping in and out of the shop. Christie’s already gearing up for a biannual Connecticut shop hop held in September, which last time brought in 500 shop-hoppers over 10 days. Quilters come in to participate in charitable activities like Quilts of Valor, the Million Pillowcase Challenge, and the RARE Bear Science Project. The “Connecticut girls” show up in person for the shop’s annual retreat, held this year on April 8, and Kate Spain comes in to share her holiday fabric during Christmas in July.

Kate Spain and Christie unload goodies at the shop.

Kate’s not the only popular Moda designer at the shop and Christie has sold Moda fabric since she opened. “Deb [Holmes] is my rep and helps me navigate the waters,” says Christie. “She helps me pick out things that fit in my shop. I had no retail experience before this—it was crazy train to leave a good paying job to do this, but it’s worked.”

Christie’s Quilting Boutique has helped piece and quilt Kate Spain’s samples like this one for Quilt Market.
Moda’s president, Mark Dunn, and Christie at a Quilter’s Take Manhattan gathering in fall, 2016.

A big part of why it works, Christie believes, is the community the shop creates. “This is a happy place, bright and cheerful and someone’s always greeting you,” she says. (As if to prove her point, Christie called out “hellos” and “goodbyes” during our phone conversation, always referring to customers by name.) “Quilters are good people with big hearts. We’re having a good time and I don’t know what I’d do without these ladies in my life. When I was a police officer I was the only female and now I get to be around women, and women who are like me. We’re like one big family.”

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42 thoughts on “Featured Shop: Christie’s Quilting Boutique

  1. Loved this post and hearing such an amazing success story; especially the part of Christie’s husband doing the long arming! I keep telling my husband to trade his skill saw for a long arm once he retires – I haven’t convinced him yet, but it is about the same technique. Right? Right ;)!!

  2. Would love to visit this shop and sure wish we had a shop like this in Northern CA! Love the story too!

  3. Please tell us where the shop is located so we can stop by. I don’t see the address listed in the article. Thanks!

  4. I love Christie and Christie’s shop!!! It is one of my happy places. She always has a happy hello and she carries everything. If she doesn’t have it, she will get it for you. The quilting services are fantastic. Come and join the fun!

  5. Wonderful post, your shop is so uplifting and colorful. You guys look so cute in your photos. I’m going to have to be an online customer being so far away (Flushing, Michigan) although I may just pop in one day. Thanks for the posting and offering wonderful Moda fabrics!

  6. Love your article and pictures of Christie’s shop. We are so lucky to have Christie, her helpers and the quilting ladies in our area. They have all welcomed me as a new quilter into their community with open arms. Congratulations!

  7. Quilts of Valor is so grateful for everything Christie, Edgar, and their customers have done to help us wrap veterans and service members in honor and comfort!

  8. It is so nice to see Christies shop featured here! Christie and her family are delightful, from her kids (in the background) to Edgar (building, painting, longarming), to Christie’s Mom (helping out ) and her helpful and kind staff…it is such a pleasant place to stop and select fabric….and frequent tempting sales keep us stopping in for a little of this and that.

  9. Christie’s Quilt Shop is such a happy place. You don’t have to be a quilter to enjoy walking around the store. It stirs up your creativity and Christie will help you with any questions you may have. Wishing you many, many years of continued success, Christie!!!

  10. That’s my quilt shop!!! I’m here right now! We LOVE Christie! And we love Moda! Come visit any time! Thank you so much for this feature. Support your local quilt shop. You never have enough fabric and notions!

  11. Congratulations to a wonderful, well-deserving person and shop! Not only will you leave Christie’s shop with pretty fabric, you will also leave with a happy spring in your step! I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to see Christie in action and her care, kindness and endless creative energy makes her shop an oasis of inspiration. We’re so lucky she decided to take a leap of faith by opening her doors and heart and the community she and her family have created is one I’m so proud to be a very small part of. XO

  12. I am so proud of you and Edgar, Momma loves to stitch, sew and make quilts. Wonderful quilt shop and a real happy place. LOVE YOU and all your success. I can not wait to get stitching my Early Bird fabric by Kate Spain. XO

  13. Christie has brought the American Dream alive! She is a hard working lady and I am proud to call her my daughter ❤!

  14. With so many brick and mortar quilt shops closing, it’s wonderful having Christie’s a short ride away from my home. Christie’s is a lot like “Cheers.” If you stop by once, “Everybody knows your name.” There is a welcoming feeling that I have never experienced at any other shop. Her yearly retreat featuring the 3 Connecticut designers is amazing. I’m always delighted to stop by to browse on a quiet afternoon and find Kate Spain or Jennifer Paganelli chatting with Christie and any customers who happen by. Her selection of Moda fabrics is great and there are always interesting samples hanging up in the shop. Whether you are visiting Southwestern CT (my home county of Westchester, NY) or traveling on I95 to or from New England, Christie’s is definitely worth the short detour.

  15. Christie’ shop is so bright and cheerful, her stock is absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to go back!!

  16. Christie has lots of beautiful fabric and a great notions wall — but my favorite thing is all the social opportunities she offers. You’ll always feel welcome by her, her staff and the other customers. Thank you for featuring this fantastic quilt shop!

  17. I learned to quilt at Christie’s. Her and her family couldn’t possibly be any nicer and helpful. She has a great eye for beautiful fabrics, and her shop and all the quilters who work there or come in to visit are delightful! I am so lucky to have such an amazing local quilt shop, and to have Christie as a friend!

  18. The best place around!!! Everything in the store is available online too! I shop in person but browse the eBay shop to look! Christie, Edgar (and Sally too) have taught me so much and I am grateful. Good friends have been made and amazing fun!

  19. Christie is fabulous! Her shop is outstanding! Her family is terrific! I so agree with another comment that it’s like walking into “Cheers”! Christie must have a photographic memory as she remembers everyone’s name. She and her staff make you feel so welcome. The shop is inspiring with an outstanding selection of beautiful, irresistible fabric. And, because of Christie and her encouragement I have a fabulous Bernina 790E. She and her wonderful family are such an asset to our community and the quilting community, too. Congratulations Christie! You deserve all the accolades!

  20. We are so fortunate to have Christie’s shop in our corner of Connecticut! She brings enthusiasm and creativity to the quilting community and her shop is everyone’s “Happy Place”! It’s inspiring to see the lovely fabrics and samples, especially from the 3 local fabric designers, and it’s great to leave with the makings of a new quilt. She has also touched the lives of veterans in our area through Quilts of Valor, a wonderful program. Thanks Christie! See you soon : )

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