Sugar Pine Quilt Shop

I was in a mood on Friday when we left for Grass Valley. DH said he wanted to leave mid-morning so we could avoid some of the Sacramento/ Friday night traffic. We left just before 1pm and sat in traffic. This just added to my ‘mood.’

Two good things came out of this. I worked on the Ends Donation Top while I waited and Saturday I woke up much happier.

Saturday is a big day for NSGW events, so we were up and at ’em on the early side. The dedication started at 10 and by 10:45, we were free to do our own thing until 1 or so. We off loaded our stuff at the hotel then went looking for the quilt shop. Everything was within walking distance of our hotel so we were able to get our steps in as well.

Sugar Pine Quilt Shop, Grass Valley, Calif
Sugar Pine Quilt Shop, Grass Valley, Calif

We found Sugar Pine Quilt Shop fairly easily, especially after I figured out the correct address. Yes, DH came with, so he cramped my style a little bit.

Sugar Pine Quilt Shop, looking towards front door
Sugar Pine Quilt Shop, looking towards front door

Still, the people were friendly and the shop was stuffed with fabric, patterns, fat quarters, tools, notions and everything quilty.

Customers walk up to a patio and walk into the shop through French Doors. To the right, when you walk in, is the cash register/payment station (on the left in the photo – white counter). A bunch of other rooms are off of that room. If you turn left, you can make a U-turn into the room with repros, batting and a lot of books and the cutting counters. If you turn, also to the left, but not as sharply, you go into a room with Kaffe prints, notions and non-kid novelty prints. I saw a lot of Frida Kahlo related prints, Dia de las Muertos prints and Hawaiian shirt prints.

They told me that they try to keep fat quarters of all their fabrics on hand, but if I couldn’t find one, they would be happy to cut one for me. FQs were stuck in between the fabric and the bolt in many cases, which was awkward when I tried to carry a bolt around. They kept flapping around. They didn’t fall out, though, so that was good.

In the main room, aside from the cashier, I saw a good number of Fig Tree prints.

Sugar Pine Quilt Shop, Interior
Sugar Pine Quilt Shop, Interior

Behind the main room were two more rooms connected by a large opening. I couldn’t tell if this building used to be a house and, if so, how the rooms would have been laid out.

The shop mostly had fabrics that wouldn’t fit on shelves in baskets on the floor rather than just on the floor. This kept the bolts corralled, but made them a little hard to look at.

The place was STUFFED with patterns. Everywhere I looked there were patterns. They had a large selection of books, as well, most of which I did not recognize. One of the books I saw was More Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicki Lintott. I have to be sure and tell Frances. I didn’t look at it, sadly, because it was way up high on a shelf and DH was waiting… I’ll find it somewhere else.

Sugar Pine Quilts, Interior
Sugar Pine Quilts, Interior

That blue bag was full of walnuts. Not fabric walnuts, but real walnuts. Don’t ask me why, I didn’t ask and I don’t know. They might have been shelling them to make crushed walnuts for pincushion filling*?

There was a lot going on at this shop in terms of prep for sales. They were cutting kits for pattern packets, sorting patterns, putting away fabrics after cutting FQs. It was busy.

Not a ton of modern fabrics, but enough variety to keep me interested. I had never seen Marcus solids and had a chance to see them at Sugar Pine.

I would recommend a visit to Grass Valley. I took some time to look at the shops in their lively downtown streets. There are a lot of interesting shops that have things I might actually buy. It is a good place to visit in addition to having a quilt shop.

Sugar Pine Quilt Shop
452 S Auburn St
Grass Valley, CA 95945
(530) 272-5308






*Due to potential nut allergies, I use plastic pellets to give some heft to pincushions. I have never seen them at quilt shops, so I buy them at Beverly’s.

North Coast Inspiration pt.2

Misty scenery
Misty scenery

This post will make a lot more sense if you go and read part 1 first. That post has pretty pictures as well.

Down the street from the Humboldt Parlor Hall is the Clark Historical Museum. It is housed in an old Bank of Eureka/Crocker Bank building, which was purchased by Cecile Clark for her collection of items related to the area. The museum is small, but very well done. They had a special exhibit of 1960s fashion when we visited.

The museum also has one of the largest collections of Native American baskets in the US. I thought the designs on some of the baskets shared similarities with quiltmaking.

The museum also had a suite of rooms depicting a Victorian parlor and bedroom. Several vintage sewing machines were displayed along with a couple of quilts – two crazy quilts and a beautiful log cabin. I am concerned about the scrunched up display of the crazy quilts and hope they are replicas.

Eureka is a very nice city and there is a lot to do, wonderful restaurants and many historical sites. It is well worth a trip.

Part 1

Bunny Hop Quilt Shop Review

Stitch Quilt Shop Review

Ocean Waves Quilt Shop Review (previous review, not 2017)

North Coast Inspiration

The trip did not rest on my visits to Stitch and Bunny Hop. Eureka and the surrounding is beautiful. I found it to be especially beautiful on this trip because we have had enough rain to make the hills green and everything seem clean and fresh. Aside from the quilt shops, there is a lot of history and they have done a nice job making the downtown appealing, so it is well worth a visit.

Watercolor Sky
Watercolor Sky

The drive up (about 6 hours) was beautiful after we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge with blue sky and green hills. We were pleased and a bit relieved to see some blue sky after the crazy hard rain we had on Thursday. We stopped in Willits for lunch and then it rained on and off the rest of the way to Fortuna. The rain clouds make for some beautiful sky photos.

I thought the blue of the sky in the first photo (right, above) looked like a particularly good watercolor.

Trees and mist on Hwy 101
Trees and mist on Hwy 101

The area was known for logging at one time. There are tons of Redwoods that have grown back or been preserved. These trees with their mist also made for some nice views as well. As mentioned, the weather was rainy on Thursday at our house and the highway did not escape the pounding. there were a couple of places where we had to detour off the main highway to get around work being done.

On Saturday, DH dedicated Fire Station #6 on J Street. It is now a fire museum and the Friends are working on restoring the building and preserving fire equipment. It was a very nice ceremony, one of the best I have attended. Humboldt Parlor did a great job organizing the event and even had a TV reporter along side newspaper photographers.

Parlor Hall doorknob
Parlor Hall doorknob

After the dedication we were invited for lunch at the Parlor’s hall, which is in downtown Eureka. I always wish DH’s Parlor had a hall, but there are a lot of issues with owning property, not the least of which is buying it.

One of the things I noticed was the artistry of the doorknob plate. This could be a quilt design with a little reworking.

I love this kind of detail and, though I wouldn’t want this exact doorknob assembly, I do think the plate would be fabulous.

Building decoration, Eureka
Building decoration, Eureka

We walked around a little bit on Saturday after the dedication and I saw various details that made my brain spin with ideas. The photo left is an interesting version of a spiral. It is one of  many that decorated one part of the building. It made me think of Friend Julie, as she is my spiral girl.

I am not sure what it is made of, but it looks somewhat soft, in terms of stone being soft.

Check back for part 2 in a few days.

Shop Review: Bunny Hop – North Coast

Bunny Hop Quilt Shop
Bunny Hop Quilt Shop

It really was a beautiful day on Saturday, but that meant that my poor phone was having trouble taking photos – lots of glare.

Bunny Hop is located in an old Victorian. The inside does not appear to have been modified much, including the kitchen, which looked freshly painted and was decorated with a cherry theme. They made the inside work, which pleased me. I dislike it when historic buildings are chopped up without sensitivity. Eureka, Ferndale and Fortuna have some great Victorians.

Bunny Hop room 3
Bunny Hop room 3

In contrast to Stitch, this shop’s decor was in keeping with the Victorian style of the house. They had a fair amount of 1930s repros but they also had other bright and cheerful fabrics that I wouldn’t categorize as repro, but not Modern either. The fabric they had was similar to Scruffy Quilts (normal??). The decor definitely tended towards repro.

Bunny Hop: Room 2
Bunny Hop: Room 2

They had some precuts – mostly charm packs and mini-charms. On the ironing board were some Uppercase charm packs, which tempted me. I resisted. They had a great selection of dots and had they placed together. There were patterns and notions and samples everywhere. I realize now that I didn’t really get a good look at some of the notions they had away from the cash register (DH was waiting in the car).

Bunny Hop: Room 2 dots detail
Bunny Hop: Room 2 dots detail

The rooms were on the large side – or well laid out so the place didn’t feel crowded. The shop owner seemed to have a good FQ policy and they were placed near the like fabric on the bolt. I bought a couple of text fabric FQs for the Carpenter’s Wheel and one of the Studio E blue to which I am attracted.

Bunny Hop Main Room
Bunny Hop Main Room

They also had a nice selection of white on whites, which made me think of TFQ. I bought one called gingham for a background. It had a white printed (a la Blueberry Park) grid on it. Not sure what quilt I will use it for, but there is no shortage of options. Bright white is something that I find goes well with the bright colors I use.

The main room was also where they had notions, including a nice selection of scissors, Renaissance Ribbons and their blue fabrics.

Bunny Hop: Room 2 detail 2
Bunny Hop: Room 2 detail 2

The project on the wall of their workroom was appealing. I couldn’t get a closeup view. It was 16 patches set with lozenges so it looked like the 16 patches were Sawtooth Stars.

The photo, left, was taken in the same room as the dots (above). They had some kids prints along with the repros in this room.

Bunny Hop: Room 1
Bunny Hop: Room 1

In, probably what used to be, the Service Porch Bunny Hop had their interfacings, fusibles and a lot of Sullivan embroidery floss.  The floss was mostly in hanks rather than spools like the recent Sue Spargo and Aurifil purchases I have made. There were some in balls. I haven’t heard of this company and didn’t buy any. Isn’t that a GREAT cabinet?

Bunny Hop Project Area
Bunny Hop Project Area

Finally, of course, throughout the shop, they had samples and projects. This area was particularly cheerful. You can see the red, yellow, green and white theme they had going. This was another area with a number of books and patterns, which I did not take the time to explore in depth. 🙁

There was a pincushion made from selvedges in a small bread loaf tin (second shelf under the bag and to the left) that was fun. I am not sure how it would be to put pins in, but it would make a cute decoration for someone who enjoys selvedge projects. It is also another way to use up those selvedges.

Bunny Hop selvedge pincushion idea
Bunny Hop selvedge pincushion idea

I enjoyed this shop, not only because it was new, but because of the cheerful quality of the projects and the fabric. I was also pleased when the cashier told me about Stitch. It is well worth a visit, especially if you are in town visiting a number of quilt shops.

Visit Bunny Hop Quilt Shop
Address: 1809 Albee Street, Eureka, CA 95501
Phone: 707-497-6356

Shop Review: Stitch – North Coast

Fun Stitch sign
Fun Stitch sign

This is a fantastic shop. I wanted everything and bought more than I had planned. I am so glad I went and wish this shop was in my neighborhood. I am probably lucky it isn’t.

Stitch: view from the street
Stitch: view from the street

I was directed to Stitch by the kind lady at Bunny Hop Quilt Shop, another shop I missed last year. Stitch opened in January 2016 and I didn’t visit last year. DH reminded me that we spent the day wandering around Fortuna trying to get a library card. I don’t remember anything about quilt shops last year and I can’t find anything on the blog so perhaps I didn’t visit quilt shops last year? I must not have been feeling well. 😉

Stitch: view from the street
Stitch: view from the street

The outside of the building isn’t anything to write home about. It needs a good coat of paint and some glossy white trim. The inside of the quilt shop is a paradise. It is small, but has a great feel, wonderful fabric, lovely displays and a general air of things happening. The fabrics were all modern and current. I never liked light blue, but after seeing it on the walls of this shop, I might change my mind. The shop had the feel I want for my bedroom.

Stitch: View towards the street
Stitch: View towards the street

While I was there two ladies were in the small classroom making modern Dresden Plate type blocks that made me want to sit down and make one as well. The owner was calling out encouragement to them while she helped me.

The shop is compromised of one large room (photos left and above) along with a small room behind the cutting counter that had a design wall with interesting blocks on it. As mentioned, there was also a small classroom. In the classroom was a wall of sale fabrics.

Stitch: Apron idea
Stitch: Apron idea

The displays were also wonderful. Why didn’t I ever think of using a border print for an apron? Genius.

The whole front corner made me think of Friend Julie as it was grey and yellow themed. In addition to the tea toweling, of course. The apron pattern is the Church Ladies apron that I made, but shorter. And better looking. The fabric is great.

Stitch display detail
Stitch display detail

Also in that corner was a display that included a tote bag and a Sew Together Bag. The kits are for the quilt on the wall in the photo above.

I saw the crab fabric on the Hawthorne Threads site and almost bought it. I think it is interesting, but, after seeing it, am glad I didn’t.

Stitch: Poolside Tote
Stitch: Poolside Tote

Finally, they had an example of the Noodlehead Poolside Tote (sorry, slightly blurry). I LOVE the grey dot straps and the bold print. I bought some of that grey and am thinking of making something similar with one of my man Phil’s (Philip Jacobs) flower prints. I think a larger bag might be better, but we will see. I need another tote (and project, for that matter) like I need another hole in my head. Still, the idea of using that grey with a bold print is very appealing. I really, REALLY need some serious sewing time.

The cherry on top of the ice cream sundae was the Sue Spargo AND Auriful embroidery threads. They didn’t have as much Sue Spargo as Thistle Dew, but they had enough to keep me happy.

I really wish this shop well. I also wish it were in San Francisco. It is an incentive for me to go to this Native Sons event again.

Visit Stitch!
385 Main St
Ferndale, CA 95540
(707) 786-5007


Stitch Envy
Stitch Envy

This is a funny view of the front of the shop.

Fabric Garden Visit

Fabric Garden, Marconi Ave, Sacramento
Fabric Garden, Marconi Ave, Sacramento

The other weekend, in addition to Runs with Scissors and Thistle Dew, I also visited the Fabric Garden for a second time.

I didn’t take photos the second time around. I think I got distracted, so these photos are from my first visit, which was last Fall for the Admission Day Celebration. The skies were bluer and the air warmer.

I went to look for the Hansel and Gretel kit, which I have decided to make for my little niece to keep Red and Coral company. The very nice shop ladies were successful in selling me a multitude of fabrics (for dresses, probably) and a charm pack of Poppy Mae by Robin Pickens for Moda. Yes, Moda fabrics. I loved the motifs too much to think about the fraying I would have to worry about.

Fabric Garden Interior View
Fabric Garden Interior View

The shop is light and airy and clean, though it is also stuffed to the gills and there is plenty to look at. I also think they have a nice variety of fabrics that suit many desires. They do only have a small section of repros, e.g. Civil War. I didn’t notice whether they had any 1930s prints. The wide variety of other fabrics from tone-on-tones to modern was really pleasing. They had a lot of pre-cuts, especially charm packs, though they were all packaged to it was hard to look at all the prints. I was able to look at the mini-charms to get an idea of what the Poppy Mae looked like and that worked for me.

I also liked their section of embroidery patterns and supplies. There were tea towel type projects as well as wool felt designs and patterns.

The people at this shop are very friendly and helpful, though they don’t hover. Between this shop and Thistle Dew, it is worth a trip to Sacramento. The other shops I have visited make it a quiltmaking haven and a weekend’s good quilt fun.

Fabric Garden Purchases -1/2017
Fabric Garden Purchases -1/2017


Retreat Work

Final City Sampler blocks
Final City Sampler blocks

As mentioned briefly yesterday I was on Retreat over the weekend. CQFA had their annual retreat in Half Moon Bay. My big huge accomplishment was that I finished the last 41 blocks for the City Sampler.


I started in on them on Friday right after I arrived. I worked until about 9pm with breaks for food and water. Then I worked on them all day until 10pm Saturday with breaks for food and water, but no breaks for other projects. I finished the last block after 10. Angela stayed and kept me company for the last few minutes so I wouldn’t be alone, which was really sweet of her.

City Sampler block n.59
City Sampler block n.59

I had the idea that I would photograph each block as I finished, but the quantity was too great and after the first few, I gave up and focused on my work. I have cleared off my small design wall and will put the blocks up there and take a photo. The one shown (left) is number 59 and one of the few I think have potential in a larger quilt.

I feel like this is a real achievement and coupled with the finished Peacock top is good work towards getting me over the slog through the quilt mire I have been in. After thinking about this project for awhile, I have decided that I wouldn’t do it again if I had a do-over. I was coming off of the excitement of the A-B-C Challenge when I started this one. I thought this one would be a similar experience, but it didn’t turn out to be as collaborative. Also, the blocks are fiddly and, in most cases, not terribly interesting. As a group, I think they will be interesting, but singly, with very few exceptions, they are uninteresting and, as I said, fiddly. If I do such a project again, I will look more carefully at the blocks before I start.

It wasn’t all peaches and roses, though, I as I am really having trouble with the seam allowance on both machines. ERRGH!!! I can deal with putting different sized blocks together. I don’t want to be seen as an amateur or a poor quiltmaker when I work on collaborative projects (like the donation blocks). The DC5100 is going to the shop. I have to figure this out so I don’t worry about it.

Runs with Scissors Quilt Shop

Runs with Scissors Motto
Runs with Scissors Motto

I made a circuit of the shops, mostly driving on surface streets. The second shop I visited during my #politicalwifery weekend was Runs with Scissors. Great name, huh? Runs with Scissors was a lot smaller and had fewer items than Thistle Dew. Still, I found some nice things.

I had some trouble locating this shop once I found the address/mall in which it resided. It is tucked below and behind a sidewalk, but is truly net to Goodwill as the online resources say. I don’t think I could see it from the street. The mall looks a little seedy, but the shop is bright and clean and has new and modern fabric and supplies.

One thing in which I was interested was the Scottie Dog patterns. You might remember that DH and I went looking for Scottie Dog quilt shop on our 2015 visit to the North Coast and found that it was permanently closed. I think that is their new home. I ended up buying the Modern Meteor pattern because I have an idea for a quilt for one of the nephews and the pattern reminded me of my Star Sampler quilt, an idea with which I am not yet finished.

I also bought an apron pattern called the Chatterbox Apron because I liked the shape. After I got back to the hotel, I thought that it might be by the same designer as my Church Ladies apron. Not a good sign since I needed a translator for that one. Clearly, however, I like the designer’s style. I have an idea to make aprons as gifts. I hope not to need a translator now that I have made one of the line’s patterns.

Runs with Scissors motto
Runs with Scissors motto

The shop was filled with people making a group project or taking a class, so the place had a cheerful feel. I really liked the decorations they had including the mottos/sayings. I have been told it is slightly modified from a Molly Ivins poem or essay, however, I found it listed as a saying from Hunter S. Thompson. The above is slightly revised.

Thistle Dew Quilt Shop

I had a #politicalwifery event over the weekend. While DH was in meetings, I went to 3 quilt shops, Thistle Dew Quilt Shop, runs with Scissors and I made a second visit to the Fabric Garden.

Thistle Dew Quilt Shop - outside
Thistle Dew Quilt Shop – outside

The name “Thistle Dew” made me think of Laura Ashley prints, so I didn’t have high hopes. I was VERY pleasantly surprised to find an awesome quilt shop experience. It was light, bright and cheerful. The people were friendly and helpful, but didn’t hover. It was that hard to find and though information said parking would be difficult, I found a spot right in front.

Sue Spargo Embroidery Thread Display
Sue Spargo Embroidery Thread Display

When I walked in, the first thing I saw was 4 large cases of Sue Spargo embroidery threads. I almost swooned! I love embroidery floss. I love Sue Spargo’s work and have been admiring her book, Stitches to Savor: A Celebration of Designs by Sue Spargo. It is a kind of coffee table book where you can see the stitching. I have been drooling over the designs for awhile. I didn’t even know she had come out with a line of embroidery threads. The threads were different weights. Yes, I bought several. I was pleased to restrain myself, because I wanted ALL THE THREAD.

Cosmo Embroidery Thread Case
Cosmo Embroidery Thread Case

I was already in heaven when I turned and found an entire case of Cosmo embroidery thread. I really couldn’t believe my luck. I remember seeing a big case of this thread at QuiltCon last year. I don’t know for sure, but it looks like they have all the colors. I didn’t buy any then. I love the way they arranged the colors in this case as well. Again, I wanted ALL THE THREAD.

I was also pleased to find that one their instructors filled in for Sue Spargo last year when she was sick. I don’t know if the woman is certified, but with the threads and the high level instructor, I would say that they have classes in Sue’s stitches and techniques and are within driving distance.

After selecting several spools and hanks, I went to look at fabric, which they did have. Lots of it. Bright cheerful prints, lots of text and low volume fabrics, many dots, plenty of solid. Generally, they had a great selection.

I was also pleased at the selection of notions. Theirs was not the standard selection of Dritz notions that new store often have. This was 10+ feet of very special notions, including so many needles my head was spinning.

As soon as I got hope and saw SIL, I told her we had to make a trip to Sacramento to visit quilt shops. There are several worth visiting. I guess I had better make some finishes. I told my mom about the store and will definitely visit again.

Thistle Dew Quilt Shoppe
10127 Fair Oaks Blvd
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

Grand Parlor Quilt

At Grand Parlor the candidates for the Executive Board have Hospitality Rooms. The rooms open up at a certain time, people walk around and chat with the candidate and other members of the Parlor. Food and drink is offered and the Parlors vie with each other for the best food. Another thing they do as a fundraiser for their Charitable Foundation is to raffle off stuff. You have seen the pillows SIL2 and I have made. DH’s Parlor also usually has raffle baskets. Other parlors have other things, both big and small. anything from commemorative coins to TVs.

Bidwell Parlor Raffle Quilt
Bidwell Parlor Raffle Quilt

The Parlor across the hall from us had a quilt! It was simple, but pretty amazing. The motifs were made with some kind of commercial silkscreen. The quilt has been washed and doesn’t look faded, so the process seems to be colorfast, at least after the first washing.

This is the second quilt this Parlor has raffled, so they do have some quiltmakers associated with the Parlor. I am not sure I would make a quilt like this, but the gentleman who won was thrilled and the Parlor made over $500, so that is good.

NSGW Pillows

NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor Pillows
NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor Pillows

We skipped last year, but are back in the saddle this year with more pillows.

NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor Fancy Pillow
NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor Fancy Pillow

I have to admit that SIL2 did most of the work. I did a little cutting, supplied some fabric, then, was out of time. I had so much to do to get ready for Grand Parlor. I couldn’t get this done. SIL2 stepped in and did the rest. The pillow above looks REALLY elegant. The gold fabric isn’t too showy. It will go well in a really decorated living room.

NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor California Fabric Pillow
NSGW 2016 Grand Parlor California Fabric Pillow

This year we decided to put years on them so they would be more special — limited editions. We used leftover fabric from the shirts we made for DH and BIL3.

NSGW Grand Parlor 2016 Pillows - backs
NSGW Grand Parlor 2016 Pillows – backs

As in previous years, these pillows will be raffled off to raise money to support kids needing surgery for craniofacial anomalies. You can make a donation to the Cleft Palate Foundation directly (tax deductible) without being at Grand Parlor. Sorry, no pillows for a straight donation.


Bolt - front of shop
Bolt – front of shop

The other shop I visited in Portland was Bolt. It is near a really nice neighborhood that reminded me of Berkeley.

I have heard about this shop, but I don’t remember where. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised.

This is a small shop and a number of my photos were blurry, so you’ll get a taste of the shop then you’ll have to go and visit yourself.

The shop has a respectable amount of quilting weight fabrics. They also have interesting garment fabrics including rayon, knits and non-garment fabrics like laminates.

I saw a lot of indie patterns as well. I think they were mostly garments, but I am sure there were a few bags and quilts as well.


I was thrilled to find that they had wool felt. Real wool felt. I have seen it online, but have never felt confident enough to buy any without feeling it and/or seeing it in person. I bought two pieces to make…something.

The shop also had a wool-rayon blend felt. I bought a number of pieces of that in order to make a kind of garden scene. I got an idea in my head and will run with it when I am done binding Flowerburst.


2136 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

Cool Cottons

Cool Cottons
Cool Cottons

Last week I sped up to Portland to pick up the YM from college. Yes, he has completed his freshman year of college. I can’t believe it! Time has flown. Stay tuned about whether he finished successfully. I am sure he did, but…. well, you know.

I drove up in two days, which is hard. It is about 700 miles and that is two full days of driving. Of course, I stopped at a couple of quilt shops along the route – Ocean Waves Quilt Shop in Eureka (always a favorite and reviewed previously) and Forget-Me-Knots in Bandon. I was in Bandon in August on my way back from dropping the YM off and reviewed the shop at that time. Both are great shops and I didn’t see anything that would turn me off from visiting again.

The Young Man had some errands on campus on Friday regarding his fall schedule and I needed to not turn right around and drive 350 miles, so we did his errands and then went our separate ways for a few hours. He needed a nap and I needed to see some quilt shops. I had to drive but it wasn’t flat out highway driving.

First stop: Cool Cottons. I had heard about this shop and tried to find it last time, but we missed the exit. I checked the directions again and found that the hotel we stayed in last time was farther south than the interchange we needed, which was the problem. As a result, mom and I got lost on our way there and gave up. I was determined this time and found my way.

Cool Cottons - front of the store
Cool Cottons – front of the store

I was a little scared by the owner when I arrived, but she turned out to be very nice and very chatty. We talked a little about the transformation of the house where the shop was located. Of course, we also talked about projects.

The store is the bottom floor of a Craftsman style house. The transformation was very well done. It was also sensitively done, which is nice for such an architecturally interesting house.

Cool Cottons - front room
Cool Cottons – front room

I loved their fabric and wanted almost EVERYTHING. I restrained myself and tried to buy things that I needed. I found some of the background fabric (see below) for the quilt I started in the Victoria Findlay Wolfe class. I wasn’t even looking for it, but when I saw it – well, what I think it the right color since I didn’t have a swatch, I bought enough for a background. If this isn’t the right color, I have enough for a background on another quilt. Buying this fabric means I have to actually work on that quilt! 😉

Cool Cottons - enclosed porch
Cool Cottons – enclosed porch

This shop has mostly modern fabrics, though not so many of them are the big prints. I saw lots of tone-on-tones / blender type fabrics as well as the various fabrics with motifs that come in lots of different colors like the Lizzy House Pearl Bracelets, the Timeless Treasures cross hatch fabrics, etc.

The shop had a lot of GREAT greys. I resisted, though I didn’t want to.

The selection of blues and turquoises was fantastic. They had a lot of in between colors, such as aqua, blue green, dark blue (like that StudioE blue I like so much) as well. Again, I was tempted to get one of each. Again, I restrained myself.

Cool Cottons - Stairs
Cool Cottons – Stairs

The stairs are used as display space for some of the solids, which was a great idea. In general, I thought the space was used very well for fabric. It was functional, appealing and very light.

The shop carried American Made Brands of solids. Yay! I didn’t see any Konas, but there could have been some.

I also saw an almost-full, if not full line of Peppered Cottons by Pepper Cory. Frances has talked about her and her fabric on the Off Kilter Quilt podcast. I hadn’t seen them in person before, so that was nice.

Cool Cottons - back room
Cool Cottons – back room

I would have bought more if they had had the fabrics I wanted in fat quarters. I know I go back and forth on fat quarters, but I am in restraint mode, so I am going with FQs some of the time lately. I am not complaining at all about the fat quarters at all. There were plenty of FQs in the shop, just not the ones I was considering. Also, I didn’t ask if they cut FQs, which I should have done to make this a complete review.

I was also pleased to see a really nice selection of sale fabrics. The two at the bottom of the photo below were both on sale. I will use the blue for the next food quilt and the pink was just interesting. There were also sale FQs.

Cool Cottons - back room
Cool Cottons – back room

Prices were $11-12 per yard, which I have found to be normal in urban areas.

The neighborhood is interesting. There weren’t a lot of traffic lights, so I got some steps in by walking a few blocks to a signal with a cross walk. There is a nice looking bakery for non-GF people, a couple of interesting vintage shops and some boutiques. I had coffee at a place called Coava after my fiber expedition.

This shop was stuffed with fabric, but didn’t come across as messy. There were shelves of fabric, nicely arranged, in almost every available space. This is a shop I will definitely visit again.

Coffee and Fabric
Coffee and Fabric

Above is my art shot of coffee and fabric. 😉

Cool Cottons
2417 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214

Monday: 10 – 6
Tuesday: 10 – 6
Wednesday: 10 – 6
Thursday: 12 – 8
Friday: 10 – 6
Saturday: 10 – 6
Sunday: 12 – 5

Random QuiltCon

I can’t seem to stop writing about QuiltCon. Different aspects of the event are in my mind often.

The thing about this conference was that it was more than a quilt show. It was like a conference I have attended for my professional organization. People knew each other; there were opportunities for learning aside from just quilt classes. Everyone was very focused on a shared set of …values or perceived values. [Actually, I am not sure if that is the right term, but it sort of gets at what I am trying to say.]  It was an event with aspects of a quilt show. I wonder if the AQS shows are the same way?

I know I have said before that there was an excited buzz in and around the whole conference. I really liked being in a place where everyone was excited about quiltmaking.

Yes, there were people walking around who looked miserable. Yes, there were people there who were so absorbed by their phones and tablets that they couldn’t talk with anyone. Yes, there were people who only wanted the free stuff. Beyond all that were those who were taking advantage of opportunities. I tried to be one of those people.

Northcott Solids Booth
Northcott Solids Booth

I was thrilled to see all the different solids in one place. I didn’t even know Northcott had solids until this show. It was wonderful to see vendors, albeit a small group, with the freshest, newest fabrics rather than the old junk that vendors feel ok with bringing to PIQF. I was thrilled to meet people I follow on Instagram. It was great to see manufacturers there! I was excited to talk with them, see what they brought and, on occasion, play their games. It was great that a few of the vendors brought donation quilt activities with them. It provided a good opportunity to sit and rest our feet while doing some good.

The quilt above was the Viewer’s Choice, Mr. Swirl E. Bones by Victoria Findlay Wolfe. I voted for another quilt, but there was a lot that I liked about this quilt. It is a very interesting use of a panel. I also liked the kaleidoscopic effect she created by putting the different parts of the panels together. I also like the diamonds and the way the piece looks like a flower from far away (upper right photo). You also can’t tell that it is a skeleton panel with just one glance.

Windham gave away pamphlets showcasing their newest fabric designers. The snippets were about half a small page (8.5″x11″ folded in half) and had a few of the forthcoming prints with a headshot of the designer. It was nice to be able to look at a few pieces of fabric that won’t be out for months.

Quilter’s Dream had a very boring looking booth. It looked like they had just curtains up and stack of samples. Samples are always nice. Somehow I ended up in the booth and found out that those boring looking curtains were batting samples! They had unrolled some batting and had hung it up so potential buyers could feel it. What a great idea!!! I liked the thinness of that batting and also the different content they had: silk, bamboo, polyester made from soda bottles and many more. I want to get some to try in a quilt.

I dropped my card off a Schiffer Publishing. I have been wanting to send publishers letters telling them that I write book reviews and post them here. As you may remember, I donate 90% of the books I receive to my local library. My library is part of consortium, so those books are available to people in other local libraries as well. I haven’t heard anything, but my fingers are crossed. Schiffer does a lot of interesting books.

I loved working with the Sizzix in Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s class. I have been looking through their catalog of designs over and over thinking of what I can make.

Lectures (QuiltCon post #5b)

As I said the other day, we attended lectures almost almost all day on Saturday. I am not sure why I signed up for such a marathon, but with one exception they were all very good.

Victoria Findlay Wolfe

My new hero. Have I said I want to be her new BFF? Actually I want to be her: tall, gorgeous, funny, kind and makes 14-20 quilt tops a week.

VFW’s lecture was called Creativity & Play/Process. This was a new lecture for her, so we were getting the unpracticed version. It wasn’t that she didn’t do a  good job; she did. She just wasn’t as familiar with the flow of the words. Any of you who speak frequently in front of a crowd know how it is to work out the kinks on a new lecture.

To her, process and play are the same. Process should not stifle your creativity or imagination. We are often trained out of using our intuition, which means that we don’t know how to use intuition in our work. She encouraged us to think about and document how we work, think about the colors we always buy then rip the process apart and see what comes from changing it up.

She encouraged the audience to put a story into the quilt in order to make a connection with the quilt.

Having an idea in our heads doesn’t mean that the quilt will end up that way, which means we have to be open minded in our quiltmaking. You can always make them into something else by cutting them up or appliqueing on top or….?

Making creative decisions means you are an artist (NO arguing with me or her about that!), which, further, means we are all artists.

The next section of the talk was interesting. She discussed types of creative people. Her types were:

  • Creative Self Doubter
  • The Creative Starter Junkie
  • The Creative Rule Abider
  • The Creative Free Spirit

One of the things she asked after describing these creative types was which one we thought we were. As she described the types I kept thinking I was this one or that one, then I realized I had elements of all of them in me. I panicked a little until she said she had elements of all in her, too.

Some of the overarching themes I gleaned when she described the types were:

  • let go, there is always more fabric
  • If you aren’t having fun, find a new passion. Life is too short and we are all just doing our best.
  • Making mistakes is a learning experience.
  • We are all perfect in our imperfections.
  • Stand up and show your quilt at your guild meeting. That is the only way to find your tribe
  • Play like children play. They don’t know where the story is going, but they start playing anyway
  • Chaos and creating go together
  • Not all great ideas are great, but why not explore them?
  • Quilts don’t always happen on your timetable.
  • The more you work on a project and come back to it, the more it tightens up
  • Surround yourself with creative people
  • consider the following strategy for people who give unsolicited opinions:
    • You hear it
    • You decide if its accurate
    • Let it go
  • The more quilts you make the better you get at making them
  • Slow down. Sit with the pattern or your sketchbook awhile longer. Sitting in the process awhile longer helps you make more connections
  • Look for opportunities to learn
  • Repeat techniques you learn so you can really master it
  • think about what else you can do with a technique – something different than the teacher taught
  • Make time; break it down into little morsels of time
  • Every quilt is awesome. Your life will not end if the quilt isn’t awesome. Cut it up, change it, add something to it

I liked her advice and thinking about what she was saying. I realized that I did cut up a quilt once: the Renewed Jelly Roll Race. It was horrible and now it is actually a quilt I am not embarrassed to show people.

Gwen Marston


If you haven’t seen her speak, get there NOW! If you haven’t taken a workshop from her, do whatever it takes to get into her class. She is awesome.

You might remember that I took a 2 day workshop from her around 2003. I made the Women’s Work quilt, which is still part of a series that I haven’t worked on any further. I will do it; I just haven’t yet.

Gwen Marston is a funny, confident speaker. She engages with the audience very well. I felt mesmerized and riveted by her talk.

She will have a book out in August, A Common Thread, which will be retrospective of her work. [Pre-order now and support the blog by clicking on the title.]

She started making quilts when she saw a quilt show at a Mennonite church in Oregon.  After that she went to the quilt group every week the whole year her family spent in Oregon. She only stopped going after er husband;s sabbatical was over and they returned to Michigan. She left with the knowledge to make quilts.

After that she got together with Mary Schafer. They both liked the irregularity of antique quilts and thought newer quilts seemed too coordinated and matchy-matchy. Antique quilts seemed spontaneous. She decided to model her quilts after vintage quilts.

Gwen wants spontaneity in her quilts. She embraced possibilities. She thinks good technique is important, but that an overabundance of concern about precision stifles creativity. She wants her quilts to be square with no ruffly edges.

When she makes a new quilt, she thinks about it as making up a new recipe – she gives herself parameters. She works a lot in solids, but also works with prints.

Gwen also talked about ghost blocks. These are blocks, or pieces of fabric that have no value change, so they disappear. Also, this concept is related to fabrics running together. When fabrics in different blocks run together, because they are the same or have the similar colors and values,they can merge into a block or piece next to them, changing the shape. Add bits and pieces to add interest and create new shapes

She kind of rocked my world about bindings. First, Gwen talked about Amish bindings. Amish bindings are on the straight of the grain. They put the sides on first and then the top and bottom. They do not miter the corners. I have never heard of this and have not checked it out. I also can’t imagine how they would finish the ends of the top and bottoms. Something to contemplate.

Then, she talked about how she uses single fold straight of the grain binding. I have always used a double fold bias binding. That was how I learned and I was always told they wear better. I was justified because I have never had a binding wear out. Gwen’s point was that if the binding wears out aren’t you going to replace the whole binding anyway? <—- Hhmmm

Gwen’s words of wisdom:

  • Do your own work and don’t worry about what other people are doing
  • Different sized blocks in one quilt add interest
  • If you try stuff, some of it will not work. That is part of the game/process. Take a chance!
  • Think about the practical or smart way to do something not the ‘right’ way.

I think I have a couple of more posts in me about random QuiltCon things, so stay tuned for those.