Super Mom – No Cape!

One mother sharing her knowledge with others

Posts Tagged ‘quilt shops’

I Love Quilt Shops

Posted by supermom on September 27, 2011

Today, Dave and I made a trip down to Costco to pick up some basics that we were starting to run low on.   Costco is right off of Exit 269.  Since Red Hen Fabrics is just at little farther along at Exit 265, I decided we might as well make a stop there too.

I took along the Smiling Sunflower quilt top to see if I could find border fabric that would work with it.

I’m going to say right here and now… I love quilt shops!

Yes, you pay a little more per yard for fabric than when shopping at the big name craft stores but the quality of the fabric is correspondingly better.

However, that’s only part of the reason why I love quilt shops.  Quilt shops are happy places and for the most part, so are the people who work there.  And they go out of their way to help you.

Today, for example, I was wondering around Red Hen with my Smiling Sunflower quilt top draped over my arm when one of the shop’s sales ladies asked if she could help me.

I explained that I was looking for border fabric.  She proceeded to guide me from shelf to shelf around the shop; pulling bolts of fabric and helping me to decide which ones might work.  Then once we’d chosen several bolts, we took them over to the cutting table where she unrolled each bolt so that we could get a better idea of how each looked against my quilt.

It didn’t take long for me to decide which I liked best, but even if it had, there was no pressure for me to make a quick decision.  She seemed just as happy as I was to compare this fabric to that and discuss how each would give the quilt a different feel once completed.

Here’s the one I chose:

Another reason I love quilts shops are the unexpected little treasures that you come across while wondering around enjoying looking at all that fabricy goodness.   I was delighted to discover a display of little purse frames similiar to the one I bought while I was up in Canada.

They didn’t have any that were exactly the same size, so I bought three in a smaller size and one in a slightly larger size.  I’m sure I can adjust the pattern I have to fit these new ones.  Or perhaps, I’ll design an entirely different pattern to fit them.

While I was checking out, there was more discussion with the other shop ladies about my purchases and what my plans were for the little purse frames.

I’m not saying that I’ve stopped shopping at the big name craft stores.  In fact, right after I left the quilt shop, we headed over to Jo-ann’s to check to see if they sold purse making supplies.  Jo-ann’s only had two of the little sew-in purse frames though it did have a selection of different handles, rings, buckles and assorted other hardware that the quilt shop didn’t.

The price was $2 less per frame but once I got them home and could compare them side by side… the quality wasn’t quite as good nor did they have the intricate details the ones from the quilt shop had.   Still they’ll work for some ideas I have for purses made out of the scraps I have leftover from recovering the lawn chair cushions.

So while I’ll continue to shop at the big name craft stores, I definitely prefer shopping in quilt shops.


Posted in Quilting, Sewing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

My Trip Back to Georgia and WIP Wednesday

Posted by supermom on September 7, 2011

Bright and early Friday morning we checked out of our hotel.  A quick stop at Canadian Tire for flashlight batteries (the one thing we kept forgetting in all our trips to various stores) and then it was time to drop our son off at his new home.

Goodbyes were said.  A few tears (mine) were shed, a final long hug and I was on the road home to Dave in Georgia.

Our son’s landlady warned me not to leave so early because I’d just end up stuck in rush hour traffic but I know from experience that prolonged goodbyes just make them that much harder.

Traffic, however, was unusually light on Friday.  I think perhaps half the population of the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) must have taken an extra day off for the Labour Day weekend because once I hit the express lanes, it was smooth 100 km/hr driving all the way to the border.

Along the way, I did make a quick stop to pick up Timbits for Dave and let me tell you, those were hard to resist on the trip home… but they stayed in the cooler the whole way.  I didn’t even have one.  How’s that for resisting temptation… lol.

The little tourist center outside Niagara where I stopped had the wait times of the various border crossings listed.   We usually cross on the Peace Bridge and I knew that being the start of the long weekend it would be busy but I was surprized to see that the wait time was already listed as an hour and a half.  Wait time for the Rainbow Bridge however was listed as 15 minutes.  Guess which one I decided to cross at.

And I’m so glad I did.  The I-190 from the Rainbow Bridge takes you right by the Peace Bridge and the traffic was backed up as far along the bridge as I could see.

I had my stops all planned out.  First up… the Calico Patch Quilt Shop.

As I mentioned yesterday, there was something missing from the picture of my purchases.   On my stop there on the way up, I was excited to find one of those new Lil Twister rulers that I’ve been reading so much about in blogland.   Excited that is, until I had a chance to read the instructions which included a notation that there would be approximately 1/4  to 1/3 wastage.   I don’t care how cute the resulting quilt is (and they are cute), that is more wastage than I’m willing to accept.

The lady working that day wasn’t best pleased that I was returning it, but she did process the return which I quickly ended up spending on three more fat quarters.

Fabrics for an I-Spy Quilt

About 7 pm I called Dave, told him my location (as in what mile marker on the I-71 I was at) and that I was starting to feel like it was time to stop driving for the day.  A few minutes later, he called back saying he had a hotel room in Mason, OH booked and which exit I needed to take.  I was to call him back once I got to the hotel and he’d give me the reservation confirmation number.

After a great night’s sleep and a good breakfast I was back on the road.    On the way up, I’d purchased that cute fat quarter bundle to add to my bug jar quilt fabric collection.   The ladies at The Quilt Box had actually put that bundle together to make a Yellow Brick Road quilt.  And the more I thought about the sample quilt, the more I wanted to make one.   So my first stop on Saturday was back at The Quilt Box for another bundle of those fat quarters and the pattern.

And I don’t even have to count the two fat quarter bundles as added to stash because I’ve already used them (scroll down to the end of this post to see how far I’ve gotten but come back to finish reading about my next and final quilt shop stop.)

By the middle of the afternoon, I was ready for another break.

Mammaw’s Thimble Fabric and Quilt Shop is just off the I-40/1-75 and if you’re ever traveling through Knoxville, TN, I highly recommend that you stop by and check it out.  This little shop, by far, has the largest selection of fabric in any of the quilt shops I’ve visited.

If you like novelty prints, they’ve got lots in amongst the hundred and hundreds of bolts of fabric on display.  If you find a fabric on the bolt that you like, but only need/want a fat quarter, chances are if you look in the cubbies right above you’ll find one in just that fabric.

If you prefer buying quilt kits, they are displayed on racks and shelves throughout the shop.  There were so many different ones, it was really hard to resist the urge to buy a couple.  I had to keep reminding myself that I had added a quilt to my to-do list on this trip already.

They also have a great selection of quilt patterns and the usual rulers and notions.  There’s even a selection of Moda charm packs and jelly rolls.

An hour of browsing and making difficult choices and I came away with these:

See that adorable “Beach Diva” fat quarter I’ve spread out for the photo.   I picked up two to make a beach bag for myself but they are just so much fun that I picked out two more, plus a yard of the co-ordinating Beach Toys fabric.  Half a yard of that is for me and the other half, I’ve cut into two fat quarters.

I’ve added a fat quarter of the Beach Diva fabric and the Beach Toys fabric to each of the gift bags that I’m giving away.

Speaking of which, there’s still lots of time to enter the Gift Bag Giveaway by leaving a comment on this post.  I’ll be drawing a winner September 10th.

After that refreshing break, I was back on the road and by 7 pm was pulling into our garage.  Home Sweet Home!

Sunday, I spent just lazying around the house and enjoying the fact that I didn’t have anywhere I needed to go or anything that I needed to do.  I did however get those two fat quarter bundles washed and Monday morning I started pressing, cutting and sewing.

I just adore this fabric.  It makes me smile every time I look at it.

I did decide to “steal” a 6 ½” square from all the bug fabrics and so had to raid my stash of fat quarters plus cut into one I’d bought at Quilt a Bag in Canada to add back enough fabric so that those deletions and additions wouldn’t be glaringly noticeable.

If you’re looking for a quick easy, strip pieced quilt, Yellow Brick Road is a great one to try.  I really appreciate the time that the designer, Terry Atkinson of Atkinson Designs took to make sure that all the cuts maximized the use of the fat quarters.  There was very little wastage.

As of this morning, I have all the blocks sewn and now I’m trying to decide on the best layout.

It’s proving to be a challenge.  I’ll see a portion of the quilt with too much purple, so I rearrange squares only to discover a section with too much orange, so I rearrange those and so on.  I will eventually decide enough is enough and start sewing blocks together.

Then I’ll need to search my stash for border and binding fabric.

I do have four blocks leftover.  I would have had 5 left, but I changed the layout of 5 X 7 blocks that the pattern called for to a 6 X 6 block layout.   I might add those blocks to the quilt back or perhaps make a matching pillow out of them.

The pattern I used may be called Yellow Brick Road, but I’m calling mine Smiling Sunflowers.

This post has been added to WIP Wednesday #43 over at Freshly Pieced.

Posted in Quilting, Sew easy projects, Sewing | Tagged: , , , , | 9 Comments »

My Trip to Canada

Posted by supermom on September 6, 2011

No sewing or homemaking stuff got done last week because our youngest and I traveled up to Canada to get him settled into his second year of college.  Due to unforeseen circumstances, we hadn’t been able to make a trip earlier this summer to secure him accommodations so we trusted to the Universe to provide and provide it did.

He had contacted several people offering rooms to rent or house shares and we had two confirmed appointments for Sunday, August 28th with others possibilities to view on Monday.   But they weren’t needed because he got the room he wanted in the basement of a really nice home that was our second appointment on Sunday.

He has a master suite type room; large furnished bedroom, his own private bathroom and walk-in closet.  He also has the use of half of a fridge in another room in the basement, some shelves for storing non-perishable food as well as a fully furnished common area/rec room.  And not the usual rec room furniture of other people’s cast-offs, but really nice, comfy furniture, TV, etc.

He’ll be cooking his own meals upstairs in the family’s kitchen who, I might add from our brief acquaintance seem to be very nice people.

We feel so blessed and grateful everything fell into place for us.

One more example of that was… while we had hoped since it was so close to the first of the month, our son would be able to move right in… it turned out the room wasn’t available until the 1st because the other tenant had decided to stay on a few more days than he told the landlords he would be.   The other tenant was paid up until the end of the month, so they could hardly ask him to leave.  But even that proved to be the Universe providing.

You see, our original plan (such as it was), was to find him a place and get him moved in Monday and Tuesday, shop for groceries and essentials on Wednesday and then take care of the getting him his new student ID, etc on Thursday.    I had also planned to set aside time to meet up with friends (more on that later. )

Instead we spent Monday morning getting his student ID and doing banking.   On Thursday, all the college support workers in Ontario went on strike.  Many of our son’s friends and classmates were and have been standing in line for hours to get their student IDs and get registered and moved into residence.

While I drove home, our son spent the weekend organizing his room and exploring his new home area on the bus.  What we had first thought of as a disappointment turned out to be the Universe arranging our days to our best advantage.

The trip wasn’t all college related.   I did indulge in a little (okay, a lot) of fabric shopping.  I’ve discovered that while driving 15 hours a day the way I used to, just isn’t fun anymore, I can make a 10 hour driving day fun by stopping at intervals to check out quilt shops.

On the way up, we stopped at The Quilt Box in Dry Ridge, Kentucky.    I had first stopped there on the way up to Canada back in April on our trip to bring our son home for the summer.

Then on the second day of our trip up… just before the Pensylvannia/New York stateline, we stopped into Calico Patch Quilt Shop in the little town of North East.  (Yes, it’s really called North East.)

There's an item missing from the above photo but I'll explain that in tomorrow's post.

During my stay in Canada, I had the opportunity to meet two internet blogging friends; Nancy from Heaven is Handmaid and Sandra from Sandra Sews : ).

I was quite nervous before meeting them, wondering what they’d think of this Canadian Ex-Pat who thinks of herself as Hawaiian even if she is currently living in Georgia.  However, from the moment we met, it didn’t feel like I was meeting strangers at all, but dear friends that I somehow hadn’t seen in a while and we were simply spending time catching up on all that had happened in the intervening years.

I had so much fun that afternoon and from the write-ups on their blogs here and here, I’d say they did too.

Before we went for lunch, they introduced me to this wonderful little shop called Quilt A Bag in Markham, where I indulged by buying a few fat quarters as well as some bag handles.

After shopping, we stopped at Tim Horton’s for a quick bite to eat. We also had a gift exchange.  Let me tell you, Nancy and Sandra thoroughly spoiled me.  Just check out the photos below.

This is the gift bag from Nancy. Aren't those the cutest little scissors!

And inside was all this... a quilt book, a tin of pins, candy and lip gloss which is just the yummiest lip gloss ever.

When I stopped at Nancy’s place to pick her up, she invited me in to freshen up a bit after driving through morning traffic on Hwy 401 and 404.   I noticed one of the bags she’d written about on her blog and mentioned to her how much I loved the fabric she’d used.  Nancy surprized me by giving me the fabric she had leftover, saying that she’d had so much trouble making that particular bag that she couldn’t stand to even look at the fabric anymore.

Sandra had made me this darling gift bag with matching card.

And inside the bag from Sandra was real Canadian Maple Syrup, one of her pretty zip bags with buttons, a covered notepad and a beaded bookmark with the cutest ladybug beads on each end.

Back at Sandra’s, I got to see her sewing room.  I had to marvel at how organized she is.  She has project kits all made up ready to sew.  Some by her sewing machine, others in baskets on a table opposite and even more kits in bins that she rotates in as she completes kits.  No wonder, she is so productive!

While there, Nancy had a browse through Sandra’s scrap bin and found that ladybug scrap for me.  I love ladybugs.  And Sandra gave me a flex bag frame and made copies for me of two of the patterns she uses for her bags.

See… I told you they spoiled me.

Thank you Nancy and Sandra for making my trip extra special!

Tomorrow, I’ll post pics of my quilt shop stops on the way back home.

Posted in Gift Ideas, Quilting, Sewing | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

Allowable Fabric Purchases

Posted by supermom on April 18, 2011

We just got back from a whirlwind five day trip up to Canada and back to pick up our youngest from college.  He’s home to stay for the summer!

It’s a good 15 to 16 hour drive each way and even just a few years ago, we would have driven straight through.  But now we divide the trip into two days; usually 10 hours the first day and then the rest on the second day.   This time, I also decided that we needed to take a break halfway through the first day.  And what better way to take a break than to check out a quilt shop or two along the way.

I got to browse through fabric and Dave got to put the seat back in the car and just relax for however long I was browsing.

On the way up we stopped at The Quilt Box located a few miles off Exit 159 in Dry Ridge, Kentucky.  When I started researching quilt shops that would be along our route, I’d read a glowing review of The Quilt Box and was really looking forward to checking it out.

I was not disappointed.

There were beautiful quilts in all different sizes displayed everywhere you looked.  Bolts and bolts of fabric and quilt patterns downstairs.  And then upstairs… more quilts, a small clearance section and batting.   I probably could have spent the entire afternoon there just going from section to section.

Now if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know from my previous posts here and here, that I’ve not been terribly successful in my attempt to destash in preparation for our possible upcoming move.   And once you read on, you may think I’ve failed again, but I’ve decided that these are all allowable purchases because most of them were bought either as fabric gifts or to make gifts with or to add to other fabrics that I’ve been collecting with specific projects in mind.   Most will to be used in the near future and won’t be added to my stash, except as scraps.

Skinny quarters of Oasis by 3 Sisters (left) & Buttercup by Fig Tree & Co (right). The green at the bottom of both piles is Deco Demure by Laura Berringer for Marcus Fabrics chosen because I thought it co-ordinated well with the others.

For example, I had those 1/4 yard pieces by Fig Tree & Co cut partly as a gift and partly with a specific project in mind.

The true blue fabric was purchased because the colour is a perfect match for the bluework snowman I embroidered and pictured in this post.   Now it can be made into a gift bag.  The dove fabric and flower fabric will be making appearances in gifts I have planned, not to mention, they were on clearance.

For the trip back home, half way the first day brings us to the Cleveland area.  When I googled quilt shops in and around Cleveland, I came across Abigayle’s Quiltery, just a few miles off I-71.   Abigayle’s too has bolts and bolts of fabric to browse through though perhaps not the 5000+ bolts advertised on their website.   And not nearly as many quilts on display as The Quilt Box.  They do however have an entire room of clearance fabric; some on bolts but most cut in 1, ½ and ¼ yard pieces.

The four fabrics on the right are 1 yard cuts from their clearance room.   These will be made into gifts.  The yellow butterfly fabric is a half yard piece I had cut to add to the fabric I’m collecting to make a Bug Jar Quilt.

Both stops were fun little detours to break up that long first day drive.   We will definitely be stopping back into The Quilt Box on our next trip up to Canada.  And I plan on checking out other quilt shops whenever we make a long trip somewhere because in stopping into those two shops, not only did I find some great fabrics I also discovered something else.

And that discovery is that I think if I’m not careful, I could quite easily become a quilt shop fabric snob.

All the fabrics I browsed through including those I bought have a completely different weight and feel to them than most of the fabrics I’ve been buying from the chain fabric stores.  The differences in some cases are quite subtle but still clearly discernable.   Add to that the personal attention that you receive when shopping in a quilt shop as opposed to the chain stores and it is perhaps a very good thing that we don’t make long trips very often and that the closest quilt shops to where we live are in Atlanta and not even the lure of a quilt shop could entice me to drive in Atlanta.

Posted in Gift Ideas, Quilting, Sewing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »