Sunday, July 28, 2013

On the Road Again...

Hello my friends!
How are you?  Have you been busy quilter bees? My life continues to be a hot mess!  It seems that just when I think things are going to settle down something else comes up to keep me hopping!  The good news is that everything that is keeping me crazy is all good stuff! 
This week my husband and I made a little trip to Virginia where good friends of ours ended their 20-year Air Force career with a wonderful retirement ceremony followed by a great retirement party!  Never one to let the opportunity to visit a quilt shop pass, I quickly scoped out the shops in the area and along our route and while we weren't able to stop anywhere on the way we did manage a few stops while there and on the way home (:-P)  Lucky for me I have a WONDERFUL husband who is ready and willing to shop hop along our routes when traveling by car and this trip was no exception!
Norfolk, VA
We made our first shop stop while killing time
between the retirement ceremony and retirement party. 
This is the Fabric Hut.
It's a very big store and carries not only quilting fabrics but
 lots of sewing products including bridal fabrics,
decorator fabrics, sewing machines, and notions ~
kinda like an independent version of a retail chain.
Virgnia Beach, Virgina
We also managed to squeeze in some time at Sarah's Thimble

This was the perfect day to stop by as
Sarah, the owner, was there and so nice
to demo her Statler Stitcher for me and my hubby.
It's great because he now realizes that
I absolutely should have it! 
Now I just have to find the $15,000
it will cost to retrofit Gammill Bea!
Not the greatest picture I know but you get the idea!
Here's one of the main part of the shop.
Another good thing about stopping in on Friday
was that all the Batiks were on SALE!!  50% OFF! 
 You know I took advantage of that!

Mechanicsville, VA
Now, Millstone Quilts is not exactly on the beaten path but don't let that stop you from going because it is well worth the trip! 
This is the second time I have been to Millstone Quilts;
the first time I went was with my friend
and quilty pal Michelle (click her name to go to her great blog).
Millstone Quilts is a Quilt Sampler Featured Shop
and lives up to the reputation!
The shop has three levels- this is the first level:
Isn't it beautiful?  I took 25 pictures of this shop and
had such a hard time choosing which ones to post!
This is the Gristmill Wheel and is over 150 years old.  
I love the way they use the space for display!
The Grist Wheel is on the second level of the shop and
 I was standing in front of it to take the next photo.
 This is the second level looking down from the third level.
And here is the third level.
And here's just one of many well-done displays
It's a great shop!  The staff is warm and
welcoming and ready to help.  They have tons
 of samples and many of them have been
 made into kits and are ready to go. 
This is one of my all-time favorite shops!
Stauton, VA
Our last quilt shop stop was Rachel's Quilt Patch.
This shop is located in an old train station along with several other businesses.
As you can see they have yarn as well as quilting fabrics.
They were very nice in this shop which is
owned and operated by a mother-daughter team
 with a grand-daughter "in-training" (she's probably about 5
 but you're never too young to start quilting!)
It was a busy day as they were photographing and cataloging
 quilts for the Shenandoah Valley Quilt
Documentation & Discovery Project.
  The Virginia Consortium of Quilters is researching
Virginia quilts made before the year 2000. 
Now, the next picture isn't that great but
if you look CAREFULLY, you'll see some blocks
 hanging on the design wall. 
There are two sets...can you see the smaller ones on the left?

That is a new Civil War block of the month
that is coming out in September so...
Yep- I signed up! I couldn't resist!
It's called Hampton Ridge
with Fabrics by Paula Barnes for Marcus Brothers
 and quilt design by Red Crenoline Quilts.
This is the photo from the Marcus Brother Website
 of the completed quilt. 
You can see this photo and thumbnails
of all the fabrics by clicking on the photo.
Hampton Ridge
 Now, sadly, many shops close early on Saturdays
so this was the last quilt shop we managed to get to on our way home.  Fortunately, antique stores stay open a little bit longer! 
 Didn't find anything I couldn't live without but I had fun trying!
Of course, between shops there's a lot of free time on the road so I took a project with me...
This is another Block-of-the-Month that I am working on.

Now the pattern is actually written as a traditional appliqued quilt but Bella Quiltworks in Tuscon Az has modified it by reducing the size of the blocks and making it out of wool.  I've received the first 4 or 5 months of blocks but have only finished month one and two. 

Neither have been squared up yet and I probably should have ironed them before I took their picture but...oh well.
 I'm halfway done with month three, too! :)
Now, I have one more thing to share...
About a year or so ago I went to a quilt shop
where they sold "Stitch-a-book" and
I FINALLY tackled it and got it done!
Basically, its a binder and pages that you
cover with your choice of fabric. 
Page choices include address book, password book,
quilt diary and four or five others. 
You can get the custom binders and pages
 from if your
local quilt store doesn't carry them. 
They come in three sizes...mine is a medium.

There's a pocket on the inside and next time
I'll pick a contrasting fabric for the pocket.  
You can customize it so that you use
more than one fabric but the
designer recommends you make one "single-fabric"
cover before tackling the multi-fabric cover
and I can understand why having made one. 
Now that I understand how the pattern works
 it will be easy to properly place secondary fabrics.
Well, that's been my week...what did you do? 
I'd love to hear from you and
if you have any suggestions
(shorter posts?  more pictures?  fewer pictures?)
I'd love to hear those too!
Keep on Quilting!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Washington Shops and a couple of Projects

Hi Everyone,
How was your week and weekend? 
Did you get any quality quilting done? 
Well, I've been hard at work on a project
 and I am happy to say that I finished a top! 
This is called Autumn All Around 
and it's a pattern from
the Summer 2013 issue of Primitive Quilts.
It's 31" X 36" and has 94 "pennies". 
I love autumn/Halloween/Fall stuff and
this wool applique has it all! 
Now all I have to do is get it
loaded onto Gammill Bea!  :-)
How do you think it should be quilted?

Another project that I brought along with me is
Merry Merry Snowman. 
It's a Bunny Hill Design pattern and I bought it as a
block of the month about two years ago (oops).
In any case I did get it started, finally, and block one is now complete!

 I think I'm going to add black buttons for the eyes
of the snowman at the top.
 The french knots don't seem enough... 
what do you think?

So that's what I've been doing the last few days but I promised to finish filling you in about the shops that I visited in Washington so lets do that now...

Des Moines, WA

This is Country Carriage Quilts and this
is an AMAZING Shop. 
 It's about 15 minutes from
SeaTac International Airport
so if you're heading through there make sure
that you give yourself some time to go...
I promise, you won't be sorry! 
This shop is worth missing a flight over!
It's also a Quilt Sampler Featured Shop and
 as we take our tour you'll see why!
This is their sale area... Lot's of great kits and
$5 wool scrap bags.
Here's the contents of mine...
This shop has everything and
very cleverly and artfully displayed. 
There's a lot in this shop but you can see it all.

So, along with my bag of wool scraps,
I did find one more thing to purchase...
Another block of the month!
It's called Minglewood and here are a few shots
 of the sample they had hanging in shop: 
They had it hanging in a hallway so
I wasn't able to take a head-on shot.
Isn't it gorgeous?!?!  How could I resist?! 
 My mom couldn't resist either :-)
Anacortes, WA
In Stitches is in Anacortes, Washington which is
 as far west as you can get without a boat .
I understand that new owners have taken over
as the original owner retired. 

It's a nice shop with helpful staff.
Mt Vernon, WA
Last, but certainly not least, is Calico Creations
This shop has a lovely selection of patterns

And lots and lots of fabrics to choose from

It's well lit and the layout lets you see all their wonderful offerings!

But I have to say that my favorite part
 of the shop was the wool!!!
And as it so happened, my mom and I arrived
 just after the shop received a new shipment!
The only problem was how to choose
from the 100 or so colors? 

This is just a few of the choices!

Here's what I bought...

Aren't they GORGEOUS! 
These are Mary Flanagan Woolens and
if I had hit the lottery,
trust me, I would have bought
a LOT more.

Of course, I bought wool from other shops so,
truth be told, this is only about half
 of all the wool I acquired on this trip.
  I guess I better get started on some wool applique projects!

 So, that's my Washington Quilt Shop Experience. 
It was so much fun traveling from
shop to shop with my mom...
 we always have such a good time! 

 I still have to tell you about all the
INDIANA shops I've been visiting
so make sure you come back in a few days!

Until then,

Happy Quilting!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sew much to Share!

Hi Friends!

I have so much to share that I hardly know where to begin...  It's been a crazy July and it's only half done!

You probably wondered if I had once again abandoned my blog but fear not!  As it happened I took a last minute trip within my current trip to the great Northwest.  I spent a week in Washington during the Fourth of July and it was FABULOUS!  Now, the thing about Washington is that it has the most beautiful three WEEK summer and this year was no exception.  My folks live on Whidbey Island, which is North of Seattle and every year they host a Fourth of July party.  Usually one or two of my parents' five childern and their families make it up to enjoy the fireworks over the harbor but this year all of us were planning to go.  Of course, as my mom says, "If you want to make God laugh, make a plan", and let me tell you He must have been rolling on the floor with this one!  My husband and I were all set to make the drive to Whidbey when his new employer moved his training date up a month which meant no Fourth with the family.  I was so bummed and of course my husband encouraged me to go alone but this new job was such a change for my 26 year-Air-Force-Veteran husband that I wanted to be there to support him while he transitioned to civilian employment.  Well, I just couldn't stay away so on the 3rd of July I bought a ticket at 1 pm and by 5:30 pm I was in the air and on my way!  I coordinated with my sister, Tracey, and my brother, Chris, so that my arrival would be a surprise for my parents... I think we succeeded....

Here's a photo of my folks and and their kids.

From left to right:  Dave, Tracey, Me, Mom, Dad, Victoria, Christopher


This picture was taken from their yard.  They have an amazing view of the harbor!

Panoramic View from my parents' patio.

It was such fun!  The downside was that I had to go without my hubby.  The upside, besides spending time with my family, was that I could spend a day or two (and a dollar or two) exploring the quilt shops around the area with my mom :-) and here's what I found:
 Oak Harbor, WA
The Quilters Workshop is one of two or three quilt shops on Whidbey Island.  Unfortunately, this is the only shop I was able to get to on the Island so my next visit I'll have to be sure to budget in more time for quilt shop exploring!

I found this shop a little disorganized but once the shopkeeper (owner?) got off the phone I found her to be friendly.  This shop offeres long-arm services and had a small selection of yarns for knitters and crocheters as well as fabrics and quilting books.  I cannot say that they had a whole lot to choose from but what they did have was good quality quilter fabrics and notions.

My favorite part of the store was this sign which
was hung in the doorway to the classroom.  Sorry about the glare!

Seattle, WA
You can find Undercover Quilts in Pike's Market- the popular tourist attraction- in downtown Seattle.
This is a quilt that was made for one the shop's anniversaries
(sorry, can't remember which one!)
by one of the customers

The problem with this shop is it has sooo much in a small space!  Lot's to see here especially if you like outdoorsy themed quilting. 

 The staff was very friendly, welcoming and gracious! 
The Quilting Loft is also in Seattle- a little North of Pikes Market.
This is a new location for the Quilting Loft. 
It used to be futher south on the same road but
the new location offers more space and better light!

This shop offers lots of modern and bright fabrics
 and the shop itself is bright and airy; 
lots of room to step back and see everything.
 I was a little disappointed that they didn't
have kits of some of their samples
but the staff was very friendly and offered to help gather fabrics. 
Unfortunately, when you are in a hurry to get to
a bunch of shops before they close it doesn't leave a lot of time for picking fabrics :-(
Another Seattle shop is Pacific Fabrics
and while not strictly a quilt shop,
 it has some great quilt fabrics and notions.

This was the last shop of the day and
we only had about 10 minutes
to see everything before they closed! 
I did find one gadget that I thought I'd give a whirl....
This is the Cutting Edge and it's a vinyl strip
you apply to the back of your ruler. 
Each package contains 10 strips.
You apply by firmly pressing on to the back of your ruler. 
Now, the idea is that when applied the strip will
a) provide non-slip action and
 b) provide a lip that works as a stop
 much the way your quarter-inch foot works when piecing. 
 In all honesty I have not used this while cutting fabric but
one pitfall I see is that in order to work
you must apply it very carefully (ie accurately)
 to your ruler or all your cuts will be wrong. 
Can you see how when I applied it here
the strip is not as close to the line on the right as it is on the left? 
I can see using this as a general guide
when cutting a lot of pieces the same width
 but I think using the actual ruler line
when cutting fabric is a better option for me.
Well, try as I might to keep things brief
I just can't seem to manage it! 
 I have several more shops to tell you about
 as well as project updates
 but you'll have to come back to read about them
as I am out of time! 
I saved the best for last so make sure you drop in! 
I'd love to hear your comments so feel free to leave one!
Happy Quilting!