Visiting the Back Porch

While in Monterey last week, I stopped in at the Back Porch quilt shop. They don’t allow photos inside, so no photos of the shop, the light filled space, the huge amount of books or the exhibit of  Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran quilts that were on display.

I have written about this shop before. Each time I go is a different experience. I always find something that I like and this time was no exception. There were a lot of books I wanted to snap up, new and fresh fabrics to fondle and different tools to consider.

Collaborate Again
Collaborate Again

Back Porch usually has an exhibit up in the back of their shop. This time I was fortunate to hit the quilts from Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston from their new-ish book, Collaborate Again.  The quilts I saw were bright, cheerful, full of checkerboards and dots. They look like Freddy and Gwen really had a good time making them. The exhibit brightened up an already airy and light space. The quilts which were shown had elements of Gwen Marston’s liberated quiltmaking techniques incorporated in them. They also include chickens, flowers, baskets and houses. The thing about the quilts which were on display is that the elements aren’t difficult. Any quiltmaker can make a house block or a basket block. The key to what made this exhibit special (and the book as well) is the combinations of fabrics and the fabric choices.

Late October 2009
Late October 2009

Yes, more fabrics. The dots (3rd from left, top row) are destined to be a bag, perhaps even this week. The pink and green leafy floral (5th from the left, top row) will also be a bag. The blacks and whites in the second and third rows towards the left are already mostly a bag. I worked on another  Multi-tasker tote yesterday for a friend from those fabrics. One thing I learned was that you can almost make a Multi-tasker tote from a fat quarter pack. I did it, but needed to piece some of the fabrics together in order to have a large enough enough piece to cut out the pattern piece.  I also brought a Jane Sassaman half yard with me and cut the straps from that fabric. Anna Maria Horner never claims you can make the tote from an FQ pack. A friend admired them and her birthday is coming so I thought I would make her a tote.  Pictures to follow.

The two bottom rows of fabric are all from Lonni Rossi’s new collection. I really like a lot of them. I have the ones I have, because they were in FQ packs and I was too lazy to have my friend, Jean, who works there, cut half yards. Now I wish I had bought some half yards. Perhaps I’ll see the ones I really like somewhere else.

The shop had some Philip Jacobs fabrics. His fabrics, by Westminster, are bright and cheerful florals. TFQ was madly choosing fabrics to make Jane Market totes last night and it occured to me that the Philip Jacobs fabrics would make fabulous Market totes.  The tote pattern is by Alicia Paulson and reasonably priced at $6. She also provides instant gratification with an instant download! TFQ is going to make sets of these totes as Christmas gifts. I imagine a day when everyone in the grocery store is carrying around a tote made from gorgeous quiltmaking fabric!

Finally, the book selection at Back Porch is fabulous! They have tons of books, many of which I had never seen at a quilt shop. First, there was the New Handmade by Cassie Barden. This book reminds me of the Lexis Barnes book, Sew What bags that I wrote about. Really great bags to make, including one that is similar to my handbag. I also found a new book by Sandra Meech, Connecting Art to Stitch.

Art to Stitch, Meech
Art to Stitch, Meech

I have always liked Sandra Meech’s books. They are not just about a step by step technique process. She talks about design and inspiration and all the things that take quiltmaking to the next level. I like her writing style as well. I don’t yet have this book, but will put it on my Amazon list.

I didn’t think there were great books out there, but recently I have found a number that I can’t wait to add to my collection.

I was shocked to find that Back Porch is offering a class in the Flowering Snowball pattern! They had a sample on the wall done exactly the way mine will be finished – using the self bordering technique. Sigh. I guess I am not so unique, after all.

Last time I went to Back Porch, I left with a bad taste in my mouth. I went back anyway, because I had heard a podcast interview with the owner, Gail Abeloe and they have a nice shop with great fabric. One thing I admired about Gail was her firm grasp that a quilt shop is a business.  Her philosophy is that you have to keep your stock fresh and your customers interested and that you have to sell fabric. As a former small business owner, I can appreciate that attitude.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

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