Sunflower Napkins

Sunflower Napkins
Sunflower Napkins

These are also for the Grand President of the Native Daughters. The napkins will be placed in the bag I will show you later this week. Same fabric.

They go with her theme, which is sunflowers and with the dessert plates we got for her as a gift last year.

I put the label on as many people do not use cloth napkins at home and I wasn’t sure she would know what they are. I would hate to see someone wearing one on his/her head. 😉

Sunflower Napkins - full
Sunflower Napkins – full

I generally use 2 quarter yards – fat quarters – to make my napkins. I like generous napkins that cover my whole lap. I think I made these square.

Normally, I do a decorative stitch on the edge, but I wasn’t up for that with this project. I just sewed two lines of straight stitching and I think it looks fine.

They are done and I am pleased. Napkins are a great way to use up fabric, by the way.

Carpenter’s Wheel Row 3 Section 1

Carpenter's Wheel Row 3 Section 1
Carpenter’s Wheel Row 3 Section 1

Except for one long seam across the center, I actually finished this piece before I went to Portland.

It is the first section of the last row and it is a bit of a trial. I have more cutting to do for the text squares and it is a bit of a trial. There seems to be a lot of cutting in my life right now.

I have now started on the next section. I have to cut, as mentioned, and make a bunch of four patches before I can make any significant progress, but I am making some progress.

Blue Lemonade Cannibalism

Blue Lemonade Cannibalism
Blue Lemonade Cannibalism

I decided to use blue instead of purple on step 3 of En Provence. I have been hanging around not doing anything about step three for several weeks. Finally, needing something mindless to do for a few minutes, I cannibalized the blue squares from my stash of Blue Lemonade 2 inch squares. I planned to use them for En Provence and replace the Blue Lemonade blue squares before I started to sew that piece together.

Everything didn’t go as planned.

Blue Lemonade also has green and purple squares, so the entire box wasn’t blue. Also, there were duplicates, so I didn’t take all of the blue squares as I want both to be relatively scrappy. Not even the majority of the box was blue. I think the squares were evenly distributed between the three colors.

Cutting from Scraps
Cutting from Scraps

I ended up with about 380 squares. If my math is right (never a guarantee), I need 672 squares to make 168 four patches. Bonnie doesn’t exactly say, but I think I need 672 squares to make 168 four patches. My math isn’t so terrible that I can’t multiply. Still, it seems like a lot. I can use strips and make them less scrappy. We’ll see.

Blue Scrap Bin
Blue Scrap Bin

Then I started to cut from my scrap bin. I have a lot of blue scraps, so I was able to cut several out of the scraps. My scraps are either too small or too big. Still, I found some I could use. This put me up to 464 squares. Not shabby, but still 200+ short. I don’t relish the thought of cutting 200+ squares, but it has to be done or I have to use strips.

Then I have to replenish the Blue Lemonade squares as well. Sigh.

 

 

Layer Cake Explosion Gets Started

Yes, I am starting another project. Mostly I am starting it because Daisy said I should and then the omens were good. I found a layer cake I liked at $15 off and found some American Made Brands background at a $1 off per yard. Perhaps this will be boyish enough for one of the nephews?

I couldn’t have done it without my recent travel. I got the layer cake (left) at Fabric Depot in Portland. That place is huge-HUGE and they were having a pretty good sale. Yes, both new items add to my fabric usage totals, but I am hopeful that I’ll be able to finish something larger than a handbag soon.

The charcoal is from Yoder’s in Shipshewana, Indiana. They had the whole line, which was awesome! I got a bit more than I needed, but you know, mistakes. The fabric is now washed so I can start cutting.

The quilt is called the Layer Cake Explosion. You can find the free pattern on Craftsy. Also, check out Daisy’s blog for more information. I did look at the templates for the alternate block and I am thinking I might do something else. I am not a fan of the way that little triangle looks. We will see.

The pattern calls for the Creative Grids Stripology Ruler. There is a YouTube video which shows you how to use this ruler. As much as I love rulers, I don’t think I will be using it. I think I will use my Accuquilt, though it is possible I don’t have the right die for the strip size. Stay tuned.

ColorPlay: Pressed Glass

I haven’t done any sewing for the past 14 days or so, thus Indiana is being featured again. At Yoder’s they had a section of housewares that had the most interesting stuff: 5 kinds of molds for popsicles, the old versions of Risk, Clue and Sorry as well as bowls, plates, locally made wooden spoons and cutting boards and a zillion other things you didn’t know you needed.

Yoder's Pressed Glass
Yoder’s Pressed Glass

One thing I saw was a whole display of pressed glass serveware. OMG! I never saw such pretty stuff. It wasn’t expensive, but I could have fun with some of the serving pieces. How do you like that square cake plate?

ColorPlay: Pressed Glass-default
ColorPlay: Pressed Glass-default

Will I ever learn? The default palette has nothing to do with what I see in the photo. I always expect so much more.

ColorPlay: Pressed Glass n.2
ColorPlay: Pressed Glass n.2

Of course, I liked my first attempt much better. It isn’t great. I could do without the Kona Taupe, but the Morning Glory is wonderful.

ColorPlay: Pressed Glass n.3
ColorPlay: Pressed Glass n.3

I am not a fan of the Midnight but otherwise the third palette is much better. The Sage and Aqua really add to this palette.

The Palette Builder is a great and fun tool. Try it out! Let me know if you make anything with any of these palettes.

Shop Review: Yoder’s Department Store

Yoder's Department Store
Yoder’s Department Store

Yoder’s Department Store is the place that is the main fabric store for the Shipshewana Quilt Festival. I never thought I would go to this place. It’s in Indiana. Do you know how far it is from my house? 5 hours on a plane, 3 hours on a bus, assuming your plane isn’t late and you don’t miss the bus, and about an hour in a car. We went to this store right after Zinck‘s and only had about an hour to look around. I was slightly jetlagged, so I had enough time, but I could have spent weeks in that store and not seen everything.

The other thing I noticed was that the store was scrupulously clean. Where Zinck’s was a little dark and slightly grubby – not dirty, just very basic – Yoder’s was spotless and bright.

Yoder's Soft Goods Section
Yoder’s Soft Goods Section
Yoder's large fabric area
Yoder’s large fabric area

For those of you who have not been to Yoder’s, it is a giant building with a few different and separate areas: fabric and clothing, housewares, hardware and a few others. We went into the fabric and clothing section, which also had shoes, table linens, baby clothes, and a few other things. The fabric section took up about half of that space. There was so much fabric that it was difficult to take it all in.

Yoder's Tula Pink & Friends
Yoder’s Tula Pink & Friends

Finally, I decided to do a circuit around the outside of the department to see what I saw. One of the first things I saw was some Tula Pink fabric.

This made me realize that I was in a different sort of store. The fabrics weren’t closeouts or remnants; they were the latest fabrics and a lot of them. I saw several lines of Thimbleblossoms fabrics, tons of Moda, all the American Made Brands solids, Kona solids, Bella solids.

I think I saw more of everything than I have ever seen anywhere. I think there was more fabric here than in Portland at the Fabric Depot. It would be close. If a person couldn’t take in all of the yardage and wanted to just pick some pre-cuts, the task would not be much easier. There were so many pre-cuts, I really couldn’t look at them all. Also, there were new ones. I saw Lulu Love by Cory Yoder (coincidence???) as well as Sunday Drive, which I had seen in Oregon and Washington.

Yoder's Notions
Yoder’s Notions

As with most quilt stores, there were quilts hanging everywhere with kits available for all of them. I found many of them to be quite appealing. Everywhere I went I saw notions, as well.

There was a whole large area with Creative Grids rulers. They had everyone I have ever seen including my favorite the 4.5″ x 8.5″ and the one on my list, the 20.5″ square. I bought a cut loose project sheet from this area to make a scarf hanger using a coat hanger, fabric and large WonderClips. Stay tuned for more on that project.

Indiana view
Indiana view

Outside Yoder’s was a farm and there was a great view of the barn. I love this view and would, theoretically, love to have my own version. I probably wouldn’t like the work, though and would need a superb farm manager like Patrick in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

My friend said there were at least 20 fabric stores within an hour drive from her house. I think I’ll have to come back. I am going to try and get a contract at her university so I’ll have a reason. 😉

Book Review: Double Vision Quilts

Double Vision Quilts: Simply Layer Shapes & Color for Richly Complex Curved DesignsDouble Vision Quilts: Simply Layer Shapes & Color for Richly Complex Curved Designs by Louisa L. Smith

This is not the first book by Louisa Smith that has intrigued me. She has an interesting style. This one wasn’t on my list, but it intrigued me and I bought it on impulse at Stitch in Ferndale. The first thing that attracted me were the bright colors on the cover. In looking at the cover again, I can imagine using Dale Fleming’s circle technique to make it.

This is a ‘normal sized’ C&T book which includes 94 pages, 11 projects, a gallery and lots of technique information so readers can make the projects their own. After the detailed table of contents (pg.3) and a short introduction (pg.4), the book begins with a section called “how it started” (pg.5-6). Smith discusses her idea, her inspiration, all the while implying the importance of doodling. She goes on to discuss how changes in her design led to other versions and the second section, “Working in a Series” (pg.6).

Working in a Series is all about the ‘what if’ of the creative process – those spin off ideas that pop into your mind as you work on one piece. As you know, I often work in a series because of this reason. See more about my series quilts.

The colors throughout the book continue to be a huge draw for me. As I page through the book, I am kept interested.

In “The Layered Approach” (pg.8-10) she talks about how layers improve/make these quilts. Layering fabric is something I have played with on and off, so I can appreciate the value of such an approach.

This book has basic construction techniques. I don’t mind it because the instructions are related to this specific technique, for the mist part. There is a very brief section on quilting (pg.85) – just commentary. It is not a how-to. She also talks about her method of piecing a back (pg.35). The instructions are brief, but useful. She covers blocking (pg.36), binding and facing (pg.36-38), displaying using stretcher frames and making a sleeve (pg.39).

If you are a beginner expecting full instructions for every step, you will be disappointed and will need another book with basic instructions or check out my quilt class tutorials. The security tips given are specifically dedicated to help you make these quilts.

The 3 methods of construction described are “Using a Grid of Blocks with 1/4 KISSes and No Fusing” (pg.11-12), “Using a Grid and Fusing” (pg.13), “Using an Invisible Grid with Multiple Layers of HUGs and KISSes” (pg.16). Method 2 is split into two parts, thus you see four methods listed.

“Color” (pg.17-25) is a long and valuable section. The author discusses value (pg.17-18), finding a color scheme (pg.19-24) as well as balancing color (pg.24-25) and using a proportional color wheel (pg.25). The section on choosing a color scheme is well developed and includes examples. The examples really help to improve the reader’s color knowledge.

The section on “Machine Applique’ ” (pg.26-29) includes examples of stitches (pg.27), basic applique’ techniques (pg.26) and has a lot of pictures. She suggests experimenting with your machine before starting on your Double Vision quilt. I agree I always do a test of the satin stitch (or whatever applique’ stitch I am using) to figure out the density, whether I like the thread and sheen, etc.

Smith defines Embellishing, another section (pg.30-32), as “…adding something to the quilt top to make it better” (pg.30). I think of embroidering or beading as embellishment.  While she talks a bit about machine embroidery (pg.32), most of the section refers to layering on shapes.

“The Gallery” (pg.40-46) is fantastic. The section shows a lot of quilts, tells what method was used to make than as well as the artist. It is a feast for the eyes!

Finally, comes the “Projects” section (pg.47-88). Each pattern has a picture of the quilt on the section’s main page as well as a larger picture on the main project page. As you would expect, the pattern shows fabric requirements. These are a little different because the fabric requirements are divided up into layers. Fabric is followed by cutting and assembling directions. Applique’ and embellishing are included, if applicable to the pattern. The colors throughout the project section are phenomenal. Finally, the book has full sized templates coded to the relevant pattern (pg.89-94).

This book is interesting. It is definitely not the same-old, same-old. It will really stretch the reader, both in skills and in fabrics. This book is  definitely worth a look.

View all my reviews

Shop Review: Zinck’s

Yes, the past 2 or so weeks have been an embarrassment of riches in terms of fabric shops. Shockingly, I have just returned from Indiana. Despite being from California, I have lived to tell the tale. Everyone was actually very nice and nobody judged me for being a Californian. Of course, my friend, Natalie, didn’t let me out of her sight.

Zinck's Home Dec
Zinck’s Home Dec

Zinck’s is housed in a former furniture store, so it is LARGE. They have all kinds of fabric including a large selection of quilting fabric. I saw fleece for $1.99/yard and thought of BAM‘s pet bed project. There were a large number of home dec fabrics for $5/$6 per yard with sale home dec fabrics at $1.99 a yard. Can you say Priced To Sell?

Zinck's quilting cottons
Zinck’s quilting cottons

They had a large number of quilting cottons. I wasn’t overly impressed with the quality, so I stuck to fabrics that had a selvedge I could find and recognize. There were lots of different designs, many of which I did not recognize. Lots of calicos and ‘interesting’ novelty prints.

Zinck's Fat Quarters
Zinck’s Fat Quarters

There were a large number of fat quarters at $1.50 each. I was determined to find some. When I went over to look, I found that a lot of them were the flat packs. Flat packs have a piece of cardboard inside and a sticker that says made in China. While there were some cut prints, I didn’t end up buying any. The fabric felt like Joann or Walmart fabric and I didn’t like the feel.

Zinck's Flat Folds
Zinck’s Flat Folds

One interesting aspect of the shop was their flat fold quilting fabric. There were pieces laying on tables consisting of 2-6 yards of fabric. They would cut pieces off, so if you wanted only a half yard, you could get that. If you bought the whole piece, however, they would give you a dollar off PER YARD! If you need backs, this is the place to go.

The store had knits, flannels, various polyesters, suiting fabrics and basically anything any sewist would want. If you are on a budget, you should definitely visit.

On our way to the next store, we got a little Amish Country ambiance.

Amish Country Ambiance
Amish Country Ambiance

26 Projects List – May 2017 Edition

Well, hello! It has been awhile since I confessed to my UFO and WIP list. February, as a matter of fact.

Finished 2017 Quilt Projects

None yet. Sad I know. My fabric used list is really suffering.

Finished 2017 Non-Quilt Projects

Shockingly, the above along with donation blocks and tops is about 50 yards of fabric this year and I am only a little bit in the black in terms of usage.

Doing Good

In Process
The  ‘In Process’ is used to denote projects on which I am actively working or pretending to stitch. I try not to put away projects, because that will ensure I never work on them.

  • Carpenter’s Wheel blocks – The  blocks are completed, as you know and I am well into putting the blocks together.
  • City Samplerblocks all made. Need to sash the blocks and finish putting the top together. I have the fabric I will use and I have no washed it, so nothing is stopping me from getting going.
  • English Paper Piecing Project– half hexies – I am still making stars. I am still using the big stack of fabrics I cut over Thanksgiving to make more stars. This piece is a weird shape otherwise I would just finish it and move on. I still a month of traveling with DH and he has plans for other trips where he has no duties, though there is still some negotiation to made on that.
  • En Provence – Second clue is finished. I have decided to use blue where the purples are in Bonnie’s version. The blues are cut and I just need to sew.
  • FOTY 2016 – It is still time to start arranging it. I wanted to do it immediately after finishing the Peacock top, but with my design wall issues, I don’t think I will.
  • Lobster – have more stitching to do and then I need to quilt it.
  • Octagon 9 Patch: ready to put together. Not sure what I am waiting for. Another leaders/enders project or do I want to lay out the blocks more carefully?
  • Under the Sea: class project; like the design and am happier with the colors. I haven’t worked on it since February.

Still WIPs
I still have WIPs. Who doesn’t, after all? A project in the ‘UFO’ category means I am stalled. A nicer way of saying UFO is a WIP. The list is a lot shorter and the projects are newer, for the most part.

    1. Aqua-Red Sampler – I need to lay the blocks out and put the piece together.
    2. The Tarts Come to Tea: I still haven’t worked on this since April 2011, though, I did bring it to the 2017 CQFA Retreat as a potential project. It is still in a prominent location so I have easy access.
    3. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. No progress.
    4. Pies and Points from Victoria Findlay Wolfe class. No further progress. I did wash the background fabric I found when I went to Portland, so I am ready to cut. I need to focus on this and it is not up high enough on the list yet.
    5. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. My career counselor breathed new life into this project for me. She asked a simple question and the end result was inspiration for this piece, but I kind of lost steam again after printing images on paper to try out different designs. Lately, I have stopped feeling like I need to finish this piece. I am not ready to give up on it yet. I think it really needs major surgery.
    6. Serendipity Lady Quilt: no progress.
    7. Stepping Stones #2 – I am ready to make the border blocks , but haven’t gone beyond designing the blocks yet.

Ready for Quilting

  • Nothing

In Quilting Process

  • Peacock Quilt – at Colleen’s
  • Thanksgiving tablemat – I started quilting this piece at the 2017 CQFA Retreat. I made good progress, but it isn’t finished yet.
  • Theoretically, the Tarts Come to Tea is in the quilting process, though I haven’t worked on it in a while. It did come with me to Retreat and almost made it high enough on the list to get some love.

Binding

None

Hunting and Gathering

  • 30 Something: I am still cutting 1.5 inch squares. I am pretty sure I have the 800 I need, but I am not ready to sew these yet, so whenever I have a chance I cut more. It will give me choice when the time comes. I’ll have to think up a new name, too.
  • Blue Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch blue rectangles
  • Blue Lemonade: cutting blue, green, purple 2 inch squares. I am going to use these squares for En Provence, so I will need to cut more, I think.
  • Pink Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch pink rectangles
  • Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I probably have enough fabrics and just need to decide to start.
  • Windmill quilt: Still hunting and gathering. I am supposed to be cutting a variety of greys for the background. I bought a new template, so I should be able to get going again

Other

  • Stepping Stones #3 using the Macaron pre-cuts from Hoffman. I have all the fabric in pre-cuts and am just waiting for space (and desire) in my schedule.

What’s on your list?

Shop Review: Fiddlesticks

Amanda and I didn’t feel like we were quite done with our day of fabric-y goodness, so she suggested that we head to Vancouver. I always think of British Columbia when I hear Vancouver, but, of course, Amanda meant Washington. The shop we visited was called Fiddlesticks.

Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop
Fiddlesticks Quilt Shop

We actually stopped at another store first, but it was closed, though all signs, including Google, suggested that it should be open. Not closed forever; just closed that day. It didn’t matter, regardless of how much I would have liked to see another store. Fiddlesticks was a great stop. I bought a couple of items, specifically text fabric for the Carpenter’s Wheel backgrounds.

Fiddlesticks: repro area
Fiddlesticks: repro area

The store was light and airy. Some of the shelves were white, which is very appealing to me. I also liked it that the shop catered to a lot of different types of quilters. Modern Domestic was fantastic, but quiltmakers specializing in reproduction quilts would find nothing of interest there. There was a small area highlighting these types of quilts, catering to these quiltmakers at Fiddlesticks.

There were other areas that catered to specialty interests of quiltmakers.

Fiddlesticks: Wool Felt Project Area
Fiddlesticks: Wool Felt Project Area
Fiddlesticks: Front of the Store
Fiddlesticks: Front of the Store

As I said, the shop was open and airy. This came partially from large windows and white paintwork, but also from the apparently new building. The shop was in a strip mall, but not a nasty, low rent strip mall. It was a nice, clean brick building across from a lovely open green space (probably slated for redevelopment, but nice and green right now).

Fiddlesticks: Catch-all Area
Fiddlesticks: Catch-all Area

They had a lot of bright and cheerful fabric. I found lots of batiks and other current fabrics. There was a great catch-all area with charm packs, current tools and notions. Fat quarters, layer cakes and charm packs were everywhere.

I looked at the Lulu Love by Cory Yoder charm pack at several different stores, including this one. I didn’t end up buying it at this shop, but I did eventually buy it in Indiana (more on THAT later). The Lulu Love colors and Moda fabrics were very much in evidence at Fiddlesticks.

The other thing I liked about Fiddlesticks was that it was very clean. They seem to move their merchandise, which I can appreciate.

Fiddlesticks: Back Area
Fiddlesticks: Back Area

My favorite room was in the back. It had the Kaffe Fassett fabrics and the text prints. There was one Kaffe Fassett print that I almost bought for another tunic or a dress. I have a few pieces at home waiting to be sewn, so I held off. I was sorely tempted, however. I love those large flower prints!

Fiddlesticks: Back Area 2
Fiddlesticks: Back Area 2

I saw the Moda text prints that I originally got in mini-charm format for the first time as yardage on bolts. As weird as it sounds, it was interesting to see the various designs that way. Yes, I bought a few pieces for the Carpenter’s Wheel backgrounds.

Fiddlesticks: Longarms
Fiddlesticks: Longarms

The amazing thing about this shop was that they have 2, yes TWO longarm machines. It was interesting to see them in situ. One was working while we were there. I didn’t ask any details, but it looked like the machine was doing some kind of pantograph.

I liked this store and I would recommend a visit. It is an easy drive from Portland.

Various & Sundry 2017 #7

Books, Blocks, Patterns & Projects

Modern quilt block library by AnneMarie of Gen X Quilters can be found on her block. Great and interesting block ideas.

Have you seen Yuliya Reshetnikova’s work? I found her on IG and then went to her website to look around. Her website is in Russian, so it is a good thing images are universal. What drew me to her first was her Oddfellows blocks. She chooses fabulous fabrics and does a great job fussy cutting. It has a lot of pieces (which you know I can’t stay away from) and reminds me of my Carpenter’s Wheel blocks. I might need to make some of these blocks. 😉

THEN I saw her Dear Jane blocks. She is making them from Kaffe Collective fabrics. YES! Including my man Phil’s fabrics. Oh what a great idea. I have often thought of making a Dear Jane quilt using modern or more up to date fabrics, but never had an idea that made me really excited. This does, though I would be copying someone else’s idea. Good to know I can still get excited about Dear Jane.

Judy Martin is still one of my favorite quiltmakers. She has such great patterns and her advice and pattern writing is supreme. She may not be considered a modern quiltmaker or au courant, but she keeps putting out patterns and books that are suitable for all levels and all fabrics.  Her Celtic Squares Deluxe quilt pattern would be gorgeous in modern fabrics and has a lot of background space for quilting. She has a new venture: e-books and patterns, which means you can order and receive your purchase immediately. Check out her new site. You can also get a sneak peek at her new Lone Star book. Some of the variations she shows are fantastic. Not stodgy at all.

Pat Bravo is hosting an EPP Party and it starts today. Check her blog for all of the details. It is a good way to dip your toe into English Paper Piecing without committing to La Passacaglia. The EPP Party will run for 24 weeks providing 1 block each other week, so plenty of time to learn and finish your blocks. This post also provides a list of supplies and says that the first block comes out May 1. Of course there will be prizes.

Moda is having a challenge called the Moda Bella Challenge. The idea is to celebrate Mark Dunn’s love of color and passion for textiles. The piece must use certain Bella solids and have a contemporary feel. Full details are in the PDF. There is also a blog post written about the challenge on the Moda Cutting Table. I wasn’t that enamored of the colors. Some are okay, but the primaries are a bit too nursery-ish for me and the selected fabrics are the only ones that can be used. I have a idea in my mind, but since the selected fabrics are the only ones that can be used, I am not interested in spending the time. The first prize is $5000. All the prizes are purchase awards.

Fabric, Notions & Tools

Jennifer Paganelli is a fabric designer favorite. I see her designs as consistently appealing. Her latest offering is Sunny Isle, which is so pretty and definitely goes with her other lines, such as Queen Street (the fabric I used to make the Improv Round Robin).

Prairie Twilight is on sale at Craftsy.

I just started following Riley Blake on Twitter. They post very clever tweets, also useful tweets. One recent one was a yardage card.

Inspiration & Other Artists

As you may have seen, if you have spent any time in my Gallery, I have a small series of political quilts. Politics are hard, because people feel differently about politics and very strongly. I am politically active, but in a quiet and personal way. I don’t talk much about politics, not because I don’t want to talk about them, but because I don’t want to get in a fight with people. I don’t think, in general, we know how to have a civilized conversation about politics. Lately, I have been feeling the urge to make another political quilt expressing my concerns. I haven’t quite figured out what to make. Then I saw my friend Sarah’s quilt. Sarah Ann Smith made the quilt that I want to make for this year. She wrote about Speak Up, Speak Out on her blog a couple of days ago. It is a homage to our right to demonstrate peacefully. It also has messages that are relevant. I really like it.

I saw an ad for beautiful cards on Instagram. One was a lovely in bloom cherry tree. Another was a wonderful cherry pie. So clever. They also have a 5 pack in case you have need of five Mother’s day cards. 😉 The cards are pricey and I would use them more for inspiration than sending one to someone who would just toss it out.

I saw a photo on IG and immediately translated it in my head to a quilt design. What do you see?

I have been thinking about a Jack’s Chain quilt for a long time. I remember seeing a sample at the Cotton Patch when I first started quilting. Recently I saw a super upgraded and upsized version on IG that really excited me. It made me think of my recent review of the New Hexagon.

Friend Mary turned me on to Sotak Handmade. The site has a great look and lots of interesting projects, tutorials, links and fabric. I haven’t had much of a chance to surf the site, but do like the Olivia pouch and the grocery bags.

Feedback & Surveys

If you want to have a say in what videos Sara from Sew Sweetness, creates, now is your chance. She has a short survey that allows you to do just that. All I could think of was techniques she uses in her patterns such as sewing inside pockets. I also said that she would do well to think of producing the videos in such to help us think about using the technique for other patterns.

Hilarity

Riley Blake Sewing Machine
Riley Blake Sewing Machine

Riley Blake Designs posted this fabulous picture on Twitter. It looks innocuous enough until you start reading the labels.

Shop Update

I talked about my trip to Portland in a previous post. I went to a couple of shops for a second time and I want to give brief updates. I went to Bolt again. It is a very sharp contrast to Modern Domestic. It is small, more jammed with fabrics and their aesthetic is really different. i didn’t enjoy as much as I did last time, but I don’t think it is a bad shop. I think I was coming down off of a different aesthetic high. I found some great text fabric I plan to use as the inside of one or two Poolside totes.

I also went back to Cool Cottons. I love the neighborhood it is in and the house where it is housed. The fabrics were also really great, though not as fresh as I was hoping for. I found some more text fabrics and a Blueberry Park I couldn’t resist.

It is hard to know what is a good expectation and what is unreasonable. when I go to shops out of town, I really want to see fabrics and notions I haven’t seen before. I want to take a advantage of the different perspective of a different location. I feel like that expectation might be too much. Still, I don’t want to see the same old-same old. I guess the thing is that shops have to move their fabric through and out and that requires some marketing savvy, knowing the customers and increasing foot traffic. It is hard for a small business owner to be all things.

Creative Spark #12: Go Window Shopping

“Retail, in our capitalist society, has cornered the market on creativity in so many ways” (pg.53). I have to say that the opening line makes me happy and sad. Sad, because retail=shopping=spending money, sometimes unnecessarily. Happy, because creative people work in retail who create beautiful environments that are free to peruse. We have to just keep a tight hold on handbags and wallets. The opening line is a double edged sword throughout the discussion of this topic.

ColorPlay: Tableware original
ColorPlay: Tableware original

I always look into windows as I go past, especially in areas where there are small shops rather than chains. Some chains have great displays, but other all look the same.

The photo, left, used in a recent ColorPlay post, is an example of a great display I saw in Graz. In a way, it is an interesting example of repetition with variety. It is a display I enjoy looking at a fantasizing about buying and using at my house.

Additionally, “[t]he creative aspect of consumerism is that we are all curating our own story through the things we buy” (pg.53). While we can all curate our own story, stories from others creep in. Great Grandmother’s sewing cabinet has sentimental value. The antimacassars lovingly tatted by Aunt Margaret take up space in the linen cupboard. If you have someone with whom you have merged your life, their stories take up visual space as well. Also, we, usually, can’t buy everything in a line, so we have to fit in bits and pieces with the story we have already been creating at home. Sometimes, we get something home and it doesn’t fit at all with the story we have previously created. Then we have a choice of changing out everything or adding in an incongruous piece.

I find this to be true with fabrics. I love French General, but the colors don’t fit with my other fabrics. I get some of their dusky rose red home and find it looks dull and unappealing. I think this is why people like to buy lines of fabric. They know everything would go together.

I really like just wandering around a new city, looking in windows, checking out the various streets, photographing facades of buildings new to me.

Regardless, looking is free. Look, take a photo and be inspired by those who get paid to create beautiful environments. Commercial things I like to look at:

  • signs
  • window displays
  • whole display ‘rooms’ of furniture
  • wrapping paper
  • gift bags
  • repetition of items – like jars of candy, rolls of ribbon

I can’t use inspiration of the things around me if I don’t see them. “Being creative means wandering through your life like an openhearted warrior, paying attention to the world around you.” (pg.54).

Nota bene: we are working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. Support the artist. There is a lot more to each spark than what I am writing and the original chapters will help you. Go buy Carrie Bloomston’s book, so you get the full benefit of her fabulousness! You can see my book review, which is what started this flight of fancy.

You can find the last spark on the blog a few weeks ago.

Quilt Shop Review: Modern Domestic

Modern Domestic
Modern Domestic

Last weekend I went to Portland to visit the YM and attend his last concert of the year.

As a college student, he is busy and was even busier last weekend, because he was working on the tech crew for a play. We slid in little visits here and there and had a good time when we could.

I could have spent time with him Friday afternoon, but instead I went fabric shopping with Amanda. She has recently moved to the Portland area and was free to tour me around. We were able to catch up, talk about books and had a great time.

I missed Modern Domestic on my last visit and had heard a lot of about it. I was very glad to get a chance to take a peek. The store was buzzing with activity. There were about four people working, a class or worktime going on in the back and a few customers.

Modern Domestic: Notions area & classroom
Modern Domestic: Notions area & classroom

I really liked the aesthetic of the shop. Very white walls, wood accents and lots of light and windows. There was a pleasing mix of old an new as well. The hop had an old fashioned mercantile type display case housing Bernina feet.

Everything was neat and orderly and the displays were simple, yet well done. I would let whoever designed the look and feel come and design my workroom. In fact, I would be happy to take over Modern Domestic as my workspace! The owner might have a problem with that and the commute would be daunting. 😉

Modern Domestic: Midarm & Longarm
Modern Domestic: Midarm & Longarm

Around the edges of the store was a wide variety of closely curated modern fabrics. When I say closely curated, I mean that they did not have ALL the modern types of fabrics, but the ones they did were excellent and definitely fit in with the overall aesthetic of the shop. One type of modern fabric I did not see was text fabrics. There were a few Carolyn Friedlander map fabrics (Architex??? line), but few, if any, text fabrics. I was looking for them for the Carpenter’s Wheel backgrounds.

Their solid of choice was Kona, though I did see a few Cloud9 bolts as well. No American Made Brands that I saw. Kona does have the most colors available. I just wish they would address the looseness of the weave. Don’t you love their display with heart balloons?

Modern Domestic: FQs
Modern Domestic: FQs

There were also quite a few fat quarters displayed. The shop had a handy cabinet that had to be made for the purpose (or the shop was VERY lucky). Each square could hold about 12 fat quarters.

While they had a lot of fat quarters, they looked like end of the bolt fat quarters. I didn’t see much of their new fabric in the fat quarter bins. I did notice a lot of FQ bundles around with current fabrics. I was tempted by one, but decided on a couple of cuts from favorite prints instead.

There were hanging notions and tools as well (see FQ photo, the section on the right). I liked the way they were displayed, because I could see them all without rummaging.

Modern Domestic: Midarm & Longarm
Modern Domestic: Midarm & Longarm

The shop sells Bernina sewing machines, so a lot of the floor space is taken up with various models. The inventory included a Bernina sit down midarm. They also rent longarm time on a different machine- a Gammil, I think, but I didn’t look closely.

Modern Domestic: Bernina machines
Modern Domestic: Bernina machines
Modern Domestic: Notions area & classroom
Modern Domestic: Notions area & classroom

They sold cabinets as well. Amanda and I stood and admired the one near the thread for awhile. The cabinet could hold one of the large throated Berninas, so the main part was quite large. It appeared to be all wood and slightly higher than a regular sit down cabinet. The chair was definitely bar stool height. We wondered if one could stand and sew at it? Also, we wondered where the foot pedal would be placed.

Several BAMers have placed their machines so they can stand and sew. Some of them have health issues that make this a better options and others have space issues. I have been thinking of how my body would like standing at the machine.

Modern Domestic: Notions
Modern Domestic: Notions

I loved the way they showed the notions. I was sometimes confused on the pricing of fabrics and various items, but not the notions. Everything was clearly laid out and labeled, which was really a nice change. I didn’t realize how much I liked seeing the rotary cutters outside of the package or feeling the webbing.

I was also pleased to see that the shop went beyond the “standard offering” of notions that one sees in many shops. This area was closely curated as well.

Everything was very tidy as well. No piles of anything anywhere I could see.

I don’t remember seeing books and magazines, except for the first issue of Quiltfolk, which was on the counter. I am sure they had some and I just missed them.

I didn’t get the “quilt shop” feeling at this shop, whatever that means. I felt like I was in a working studio.

Thinking about Flying Geese

Last year (???) or maybe the year before I did a Flying Geese exchange with TFQ. I know you have seen the design I am considering. I have been thinking about the Flying Geese themselves.

I wanted to look at them all together. The photo of the ones I have previously posted are above. What do you think?

Up Next: Poolside Tote

Poolside Tote Fabrics
Poolside Tote Fabrics

In Portland, I bought some fabric for the Poolside Tote. And the pattern. I thought I had the pattern, but I didn’t, so I bought that as well.

I really found the perfect fabrics for two totes. The text print is home dec weight and will be the inside.I hope my machine can handle it. I’d love this fabric for some chairs in my living room.

The dots are scheduled to be used for the outside of the totes. I have some grey already that will make great straps.