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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
“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.
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:
whole display ‘rooms’ of furniture
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.
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.
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. 😉
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
I was on a roll after yesterday’s finishing of the Red Dot Cell Phone Wallet. As a result, I decided to add to my fabric usage report by finishing the Habitat Cell Phone Wallet.
I forgot to mention that this goes with the other pattern by Valorie Wells called Little Wallet. I have made a few of these as they are really useful when giving gift cards and don’t take very along.
This goes with the same dress pattern as the Red Dot version. No pockets in a dress or tunic is something I will avoid at all costs in the future.
This fabric is an older one by Jay Carroll and I had enough scraps from the dress to make this. You can see the details of this version much better because of the asymmetricality of the fabric motifs. The piece has four pockets (one of which is in the back and you can see in the last photo), all with graduated sizes.
I did not put a closure on the flap, though the pattern calls for one, because I wanted easy access and wasn’t expecting to keep anything of great value in it.
I find that I do not need to interface all but the covers. The rounded corners are quite bulky and difficult to turn. I did not topstitch the bottom part of the piece. I stuck to the flaps as my needle would not go through those corners no matter what.
I have a black one I want to make and may try the fabric strap. I also have a green one in pieces. I need to find the pieces and sew that one together.
I decided to wear my red dot dress to Easter, despite the rain. That meant no pockets so I needed to finish the Red Dot Cell Phone Wallet. It had been languishing for months and only needed some topstitching. I sewed the topstitching and sank the threads really quick Easter morning before we left for the party.
My SIL noticed right away and I was pleased to have finished the bag. It was very useful for its intended purpose.
The pattern calls for a strap made from fabric, but SIL gave me the idea of an interchangeable strap. I bought those small rectangular ‘rings’ and a long chain, which I use for this one and two others I have. There are two things I don’t like about the chain. First, it stands out from the dress when I wear it. Second, it is of a sufficiently intricate nature as to get caught in my hair when I am not careful or needing a haircut. If I make more, I may make straps. We will see.
It is a pretty easy pattern and useful for the purpose of providing a pocket in a dress whose pattern does not lend itself to pockets. There are several pockets for cards, though I only use it for a hotel key and cell phone. I have put my keys in there, but my car keys are too bulky because of the clicker for DH’s car. I toss them in and they ruin the slim line of the bag.
After wearing the dress, I think I will bring it with me to Grand Parlor to wear at one of the less official events.
After not cutting for a long time, I am on a jag. Here is the most recent group. They are clear and cheerful. I am pleased that I finally have so many of the mini Pearl bracelets washed finally. I am thinking of making another Sew Together Bag with them.
I am working on the next Creative Spark, but am not quite finished. I thought I would give you a preview with today’s ColorPlay Inspiration photo.
Once again the default was a disappointment. More neutrals. This is a colorful photo and all I get are neutrals.
I wonder what the algorithm has against colors? Of course, it could be that the algorithm clusters together towards the top automatically. I noticed that the circles don’t go towards the bottom in the default.
The second option was much better. Of course, I moved the circles around and picked the colors that I like and moved the circles around and came up with a very nice palette. I want to just stop and rest on my laurels.
Look at those pinks and the turquoise! The Kona Wasabi is an added bonus.
With the third palette, I tried to get different shades and tones of the same hues as in the second palette. I was moderately successful.
The Sage and Cactus are a good combination, though the Cactus looks a bit yellow in the lower part of the picture. I also like the combination of Deep Rose, shadow and Blush Pink. I like the three of them together.
I made some minor adjustments to the fourth palette. The colors are a little dustier than I normally like, but I think this might be my favorite palette. the Regatta blue is a very good addition.
It occurs to me that I could make a palette out of many or all of the colors from all of these palettes.
The Palette Builder is a great and fun tool. Try it out! Let me know if you make anything with any of these palettes.
I finally made the pillow I intended to make from the panel Mrs. K sent me.
I feel like such a slacker. This panel has been hanging around since …. I don’t know…. months? I do keep sewing, so I can’t be that much of a slacker, right?
We do not have to raise money this year at Grand Parlor, so I made this pillow for one of our friends who does not get support from his Parlor to attend Grand Parlor. He is running for Grand 3rd VP and needs all the help he can get.
Yes, I pulled out some Pointillist Palette fabric, after being inspired by my SIL. I can’t hoard it. I have to get the 4th Pointillist Palette quilt done and use this great fabric. Since I had it out to use for Kelly’s Color My Quilt piece, I decided this pillow would work as another effort at using it.
The back is pretty plain, but I do like that blue. I wish I had written down what it was (usually I write the brand and color on the selvedge) as I could look for more. I didn’t so, it will be a mystery.
The guild meeting was Saturday. It was a good time, but I wasn’t really in the mood for some reason. Last week was busy and I had a lot of people to deal with in stressful situations, so I might have just been overloaded with external stimulus. Still, I was glad I went.
I always feel like I am offloading a truck when I go to a BAM meeting. I hand off donation quilts, pet beds, donation blocks, free table items. At the meeting last weekend I also had a Color My Quilt piece to show and give.
It was Kelly‘s month and she she had an interesting idea. The responses were very cohesive, I thought, which was great. Some others seem to think we weren’t doing the challenge right, but I like cohesion in a quilt, so I thought this group was very successful.
My piece is at the top and I was pretty happy with it. It was one of the largest, as you can see. As someone pointed out, I don’t make small quilts. 😉
I learned this technique when I took my second quiltmaking class at Fort Mason from Sonya Lee Barrington back in the Dark Ages. I really had fun using it this time. It was nice to make swooping curves. I didn’t want to use black and didn’t have the Pepper that Kelly suggested on her sheet, so I stayed with brights.
There was some discussion about ‘chunks’ at the meeting.I have used free form piecing on two of the pieces. I thought I used that technique on all of them, but I made a checkerboard for Cheryl’s. This has led me to think about what could be a chunk besides free form piecing. I know a strip of Flying Geese could be a chunk, but blocks seem to be out of favor in terms of chunks. If I get a month, it probably won’t be until next year, so I have a long time to think about it.
Kelly seemed pretty happy with her chunks. I talked with her about her thoughts regarding putting them together. Obviously, it is too soon to really know what she will do. In the course of the discussion, it occurred to me that I could make chunks to intersperse among those from friends and that could help to bring the different pieces together.
I bought some flannel cupcake fabric to make a pillowcase.
Then I saw some great flannel cupcake fabric at another shop and bought it to make a pillowcase. It turns out the two pieces were the same. If someone had bought it for me, I would have said “great minds think alike.” Since I just bought both pieces, apparently forgetting I bought it the first time, I have to wonder. I guess I really liked that fabric.
I have been on a near-frenzy lately washing fabric. The pieces of flannel got caught in the madness. Since I am trying to stay in the black in terms of fabric usage, I decided to make some pillowcases. They are a quick and easy yard of usage.
I thought I would give these to a niece who has recently become engaged. I am not sure she would like the colors, though, so I may give them to someone else.
I saw a reference to improvisational hashtag blocks on Carol’s blog and took a look. At first I didn’t read ‘improvisational’ correctly. I read it as a weird word related to improving something. Somehow stitching words on a hashtag block as a way of improving something (society??) makes sense to me. What if we made blocks with words on them and sent them….somewhere…to Congress? 45? They probably wouldn’t know what to do with them, but aren’t allowed to throw them out, so we could blanket the Capitol with hashtag blocks. Remember how many quilts and blocks Orlando MQG got? I am sure such a project would be a success.
Do you need the Milliefiori 1 & 2 (EPP) books by Willyne Hammerstein? Scruffy Quilts (no affilliation) has them on their website. They aren’t cheap, but essential if you are making La Passacaglia.
Events & Exhibits
WWI will be the topic for this summer’s symposium, July 27-29, 2017. at the Virginia Quilt Museum, Harrisonburg, VA. Speakers such as Madelyn Shaw and well-known quilt collector Sue Reich will present programs on the pacifists, Red Cross (quilts) & Jr. Red Cross efforts, and what folks at home did to “do your bit.” Tours will include Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and the ORIGINAL Air Force One which is being renovated nearby. Thanks to the American Quilt Study Group for the info.