Archive for August, 2008

Okay, I want you to picture your favorite quilt shop.  Got it? Now, imagine two inches of water on every floor with more cascading down the walls from a broken water pipe.  Awful, right? Well, that’s what happened to the shop where I teach art quilting, the Quilt Patch in Fairfax, Virginia.

The Batik Room at the Quilt Patch

The Batik Room at the Quilt Patch

I’m thrilled to report that the shop is back up and running after less than two weeks! The floors have been refinished, drywall has been replaced, walls have been painted, and the fabric and notions have been restocked. Wow! And not a single batik was lost…

Of course, not all the repairs are complete, but the shop is open for business. The classes are still being held next door (check www.quiltpatchva.com for details) and the upstairs office space leaves a lot to be desired, but the basics are in place. You can fondle fabric, choose thread, browse patterns and books, and take the Berninas for a test drive.
The Bernina room at the Quilt Patch
The Bernina Room at the Quilt Patch

The Berninas remained dry and the Bernina Room looks as if nothing unusual happened.  There it sits, waiting for the new 830s to arrive.

Leslie (the owner) and her crew have done an amazing job of pulling everything back together and reopening the store — brighter and better than ever.
No one ever expects major damage like this shop has seen. We take a lot for granted. We assume that we’ll get up every morning and things will be as we left them. We assume that we make plans and we’ll be able to keep them. I’m glad the shop was able to reopen so quickly. 
Welcome back, Quilt Patch! 

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Okay, pop quiz: what’s even better than going out of town to visit quilt shops? Answer: leaving town with a quilt buddy to celebrate a milestone birthday with another quilt buddy AND visiting quilt shops.

This weekend, my friend Kathy and I drove up to Connecticut to celebrate a birthday. Our friend Heidi hit a milestone and we wanted to celebrate appropriately — by visiting quilt shops and buying tons of fabric.  Centered in Farmington, we didn’t have to go too far to find some great shops.  Of the four shops we visited, two really stood out.

What a wonderful, bright, welcoming shop! So many quilt shops lack decent light and stuff themselves into such tight little niches. This shop escapes both of those pitfalls.

 It carries a wonderful range of fabrics, books, and notions without trying to be everything for everyone.  You can get reproduction fabrics, batiks, the newest Lonni Rossi (Have you seen the Paint Box series?!), and new designers I’d never heard of. I picked up a very cool book about silks, and I could have bought Paintstiks, and all kinds of other treasures.
A Look Inside

A Look Inside Sew Inspired

With all those choices, I found it hard to decide what to take home. I did a little damage in the batik section, finding some wonderful teals to replenish that part of my stash. I used a lot of my teals in Teal Beauty, a quilt that was sold at auction to raise money for cancer research.

I am absolutely enthralled with the Anna Griffin fabrics by Windham Fabrics. I bought yardage and I can’t wait to start using them. For those of you who want a headstart on a collaged look, these fabrics make great backgrounds and are super for fussy cutting motifs. Very, very cool. Get more information at www.SewInspiredQuilts.com/blog

From Sew Inspired in Simsbury, we traveled to The Country Quilter in Somers, New York. For me, this was like visiting the mother ship. I’m an art quilter and this was dangerous territory filled with temptations. For fans of the Art Quilt Workbook by Jane Davila and Elin Waterston, this is the shop to visit. The shop is owned by Claire Oehler, Jane’s mom.

On the day we visited, Jane (who is the manager) was on duty. Lucky for me, she had time to explain some of the products I found.

Jane Davila Inside the Country Quilter

Jane Davila Inside the Country Quilter

For example, did you know there’s a Foiling Pen? Yup! It works like the regular foil glue, but you can write with it. Oh, my. And I bought Leafing Pens.  Have you ever heard of them?  I asked Jane about applying opaque metallic color to dark fabrics and she recommended these.  I had to get one in every color! Paints? Un-huh. And Angelina, foil, Paintstiks, Tsukineko Inks, and everything else you can imagine. Oh, and fabric. And the largest selection of books I’ve seen in a quilt shop.

Check out their website and click on the “Flourish” link for art quilters. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
View from the top

View from the top

Back to the birthday. We ate, we sewed, we ate, we shopped for fabric, we ate, and we hiked.  Yes, we hiked. At some point, you have to work off some of the amazing food Heidi’s husband made for us. This is the view from the trail at Talcott Mountain State Park. We continued a little farther and then climbed to the top of Heublein Tower.

All in all, this was a great way to celebrate a milestone birthday.  Which one? Um, I shouldn’t say. I will tell you there was a “5” and a “0” on the cake.
And so, Happy Birthday, Heidi!

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100 Tips from Award Winning Quilters

100 Tips from Award Winning Quilters

I’ve never been a fan of the whole “Happy Dance” thing, but here I am — doing the happy dance. Today’s mail brought me a brand new book from AQS: 100 Tips from Award Winning Quilters by Ann Hazelwood. It’s a tiny thing, no larger than a travel postcard.  But somehow, it’s huge. And there, on page 9, is my tip!

When Ann first contacted me to participate, I was excited and skeptical. In fact, I didn’t actually believe my tip would show up until I opened the book and saw it for myself!  Woo hoo!

If you buy the book, check out Mary Kerr’s tip on page 39. Lots and lots of good stuff by lots and lots of amazing quilters. 

Okay, I’ll stop dancing now. But I’m still smiling…

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Hubby & His Bike

Hubby & His Bike

What was I thinking?! I love this shot, but I’m having heartburn trying to figure out how to get from a tired old green Grandma’s Flower Garden fragment to the quilt I have in my head that features this picture of my husband. This morning at 3:15, I had a few ideas and so I thought I would blog a little about the process and try to get your feedback.

Step 1
Rip the block apart. I still haven’t done that, but I have a meeting tomorrow and I’ll take the block with me.  I never have much mobile handwork and this should keep me busy and let me pay attention to the meeting.

Step 2
Plan the construction.  Okay, that’s my current speed bump. How do I construct this? Well, how would I do it if I were able to choose my own fabric and not be tied down to the vintage block? I’d probably blow up the photo, make a cartoon, and cut pieces to fuse together.

Okay, now how do I do it given that I have only bits that are about one and a half inches across? Do I sew them together to make a bigger piece? No, not the effect I’m going for. What if I put fusible on the back of each one and fused them all down? Okay, that’s faster and that’s good for this deadline. Do I fuse them all on a black fabric base, leaving a little bit around each piece for a stained glass effect?  Um, no.  What if I cut them into perfectly identical shapes and sizes? That’s what I did for Cheap Sunglasses, the quilt that’s in the header of my blog. Circles won’t work for this, though.  Maybe squares? Would it look too much like a counted cross stitch pattern on graph paper?

Oooo, how’s this?! What if I started in the orange corner with the little shapes intact and worked my way down to the bike wheel corner replacing the vintage fabric with my own fabric in shapes that work with the subject matter? I like that. To make the construction work, I could create the overall quilt top (Remember, it’s only 24″ square.) in my own fabrics and style and then fuse the little bits up in the corner.

This could work! Or, as a friend of a friend says, “It sounds like a P-L-N-A.” Yup, that’s a plan. Stay tuned for pictures and some process discussion about the next steps.

Oh, and I’m taking suggestions. I know you’re out there reading this.  I see you on my blog stats…

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