Fourth Corner Quilts sees DIY chance while city prepares for plastic bag ban

As retailers in Bellingham prepare for the Aug. 1 start of the city’s new ordinance banning single-use plastic bags in stores, Fourth Corner Quilts is one step ahead.

The quilting and sewing supply shop, owned by Julia Menkee, hosts a series of workshops that give people a chance to make their own reusable tote bags. Attendees pay $5, which includes everything needed to make a bag: materials, in-person instruction and the use of a sewing machine.

Menkee said the bag ordinance has allowed Fourth Corner Quilts to try something different with its instructional workshops.

“There’s always growing pains with change,” Menkee said. “For us, it’s an opportunity to have a positive twist to it.”

While spaces in the store’s August workshops are already full, Fourth Corner Quilts has a waiting list for future events planned this fall.

Once Bellingham’s bag-ban rule takes effect, shoppers will have to bring along reusable bags to stores or pay 5 cents to retailers to have items placed in paper bags instead.

The Bellingham City Council approved the ban in July 2011, giving the city’s retailers one year to plan for the change.

The ordinance was driven in large part by the group Bag It Bellingham, led by local residents Brooks Anderson and Jill McIntyre Witt.

A similar ban took effect last month in Seattle. Bans are also set to start in the Washington state cities of Bainbridge Island, Port Townsend, Issaquah and Mukilteo between now and March 2013.

Fourth Corner Quilts is located at 1844 N. State St. in Bellingham. For more information, call 360-714-0070.

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