Snowflakes and Stitches Shop Hop

I’ve participated in shop hops before, but I usually happen upon them on accident or I can only visit a few shops on the listing.  Also, whenever I travel, I love exploring new shops and how there’s such a variety of different shops.  Some are well established and others fairly new.  Some in old historic buildings and others in strip malls.  Many have a style of fabric or projects that their owners enjoy most which is reflected in what they sell such as civil war, modern, novelty, flannel, reproduction, or pre-cut fabric collections. In Cannon Beach, you can often find beach-themed fabric projects that wouldn’t be available among the mountain-themed quilt patters outside of Denver.  Some shops sell machines and others specialize in classes, most have samples of projects for you to get inspired.  How a store displays their fabrics and sample quilts also really varies and can create an atmosphere of creativity or feeling cramped and overwhelmed in the space.  Usually for shop hops, I can’t visit all the shops because of time involved to travel everywhere.  This time, the shops are within two general areas and I have a long weekend off work, so time to explore!  Also, it’s my birthday soon, so I asked Aaron to be my shop hop chauffeur as part of my birthday weekend.  He even gave me a Groupon for $20 to spend at one of the shops…yea!

For the Snowflakes and Stitches Shop Hop, I first visited two shops after work.  Tea Time Calicos in Beaverton gave shop hoppers a great Fast Track Place Mat pattern including fabric.  A generous project provided by a shop with lots of fabric options crammed into a small space in a strip mall store.  The shopkeepers just let you browse and have machines also for sale, but not many sample quilts to see.

Second stop, Sharon’s Quilt Attic in Hillsboro. Sharon and her friends who help out at the shop are always friendly and generous with ideas about color, pattern, and techniques to make your quilt project look great.  Steve does an amazing job on the long arm quilting machine and you can usually see some of his recently completed projects as inspiration. They have a wide range of fabrics, embroidery patters, and lots of sample quilts taught in classes.  For the shop hop, Sharon is providing an Antique Tile Block pattern and miniature pieces of fabric to give it a try. I also picked up a few random fat quarters that needed to come home to my stash!

fat quartersThen on Saturday, the big trip began…a loop to include six shops in one trip.  In McMinnville, Boersma’s Sewing Center is being remodeled but it’s open with lots of fabric available, including some reminiscent of Ohio.  Unfortunately, the staff weren’t particularly friendly, but maybe they weren’t expecting a younger quilter or were feeling busy getting ready for all the other shop hoppers. Their display of antique sewing machines was really cool!

Next stop was in Dallas at Grandma’s Attic.  This was my favorite shop of the trip!  They had lots of different types of fabrics, great packages of fat quarters, sale items, and project ideas including a free block (which came with a piece of chocolate.)  My chauffeur sat in a rocking chair to read his book next to quilt books.  The staff were all incredibly friendly, explaining the shop hop, the sample quilts, and talking with all the customers.  I wish this shop was closer to my house so I could visit more often!

After lunch at my favorite Salem restaurant, Casa Baez, we went to Greenbaum’s.  Usually I find lots of things there that I really like, but just browsed this time.  They have friendly staff and a standard poodle who wanders around to greet guests also. This time they seemed to have an especially good collection of modern fabrics and some great sample quilts.

North of Salem, in Keizer, we found two shops within a few blocks of each other.  The Cotton Patch is small but spacious with bright white fixtures and high ceilings.  They had creative displays of fat quarters and a few nice samples of finished quilts. The sample block was colorful and simple, shown as a quilt with some other block styles to finish the project.

 fat quarter display

Just up the road at Bernina Stretch and Sew, you can get your sewing machine serviced, find a small variety of specialty fabrics for clothing, and browse a small selection of quilting cotton.  For the shop hop, they offer you a choice from few different free block patterns.  The best part in this store was an enthusiastic friendly clerk who was happy to have people stopping by on the shop hop and had come up with a game for people who purchase items.  Once I picked out my fabrics and was ready to pay, I was given a ball to toss over the counter onto a cardboard game area on the floor.  Whatever amount the ball fell onto was my percentage of sale on that purchase.  I luckily got 29%…what fun!  What will you get?

shop hop gameLast stop for the day was at A Common Thread in south Portland.  Again, an unlikely location in an industrial park type area, but many friendly staff helping customers, a class going on where you could practice quilting on their machines, and fabrics of a few different styles (canvas, modern cotton, batik, flannel) to inspire projects.  They even had a great selection of clearance ($5.99/yd) fabrics.  The shop hop block looked like a stained glass window and for $3 you could buy the other three blocks to fill out the pattern.  They also gave a free bag, convenient to collect all the other treasures from the day of shop hopping.

Made it out to Sandra’s Stitches in Hillsboro.  Glad my map found it since it’s tucked away in what looks like an apartment complex and happy I had the day off since their hours are a little more limited than some of the other nearby shops.

Looks can be deceiving though and right inside is a great supply of children’s themed fabric and panels.  Again, not super friendly staff, but worth going there if you’re looking for a particular novelty fabric or panel to make into a quick project (I got something for potholders).  They also have a great selection of coordinating fabrics (moda tone on tone).

At the start of this shop hop, I picked up my passport at the Quilter’s Corner Store and I planned ahead to turn it in there when completed.  Today was the day…the end of my first complete shop hop!  Lots of great ideas at her shop, including a table runner idea that would work with any 12″ center block, shown here with the extra pieces from the free crocus block as part of the shop hop.

Thanks again to Deb (from QCS) for coordinating this event.  I’m looking forward already to the summer version, Sunshine and Stitches!  Speaking of sunshine, look what I found outside her shop…breaking through the Snowflakes Raindrops…a rainbow!

rainbow

 

Baby Imogen’s Quilt

My college friend and his wife recently had a baby girl, and I had a great time making a baby quilt for them.  The idea of a jelly roll quilt was appealing because of the number of fabrics that could easily be included, to give an “I spy” type quality to the quilt top.  I used the Jelly Roll Inspirations book, Birthday Gift pattern and started with a Moda jelly roll that included circus theme (for one of the baby’s uncle who is in a circus), music theme (for another of the baby’s uncles who plays cello and piano), and modern bright colors perfect for a Portland couple.  Deb at Quilter’s Corner Store helped me pick out the fabric for the back, white tone-on-tone, and yellow/gray polka dots for binding.

Next step was to learn how to piece together the blocks using those 2.5″ jelly roll strips.  Friends helped me decide the placement of the blocks to be the most visually appealing and one friend helped me put hundred’s of pins in to hold it in place for quilting.

Since so far, I only feel confident quilting in straight lines, that’s what I did, using a gray thread so it wouldn’t show up.  Along the way, I found a “humility or truth block”, one of the white rectangles is sewn inside out, which proves it was done by human hands and indicates good luck for the recipient!

I put on the binding with Lucy’s company during the snow storm of 2014, and presented the quilt in mid-March to Imogen.  Hope she and her family enjoy it…I surely enjoyed the creative process of making it for her!

 

Taggie for Baby Shower

A friend asked me to make a baby shower gift and another friend at work is pregnant, so it’s the perfect opportunity to learn to make Taggie blankets.  Two colleagues at work said they’re invaluable for their newborns…soft, easy to tuck in the carseat or attach to a stroller, babies love playing with or sucking on the textured ribbons.  So my friend and I went shopping at Joanns and found these cute ribbons along with matching minky and flannel fabrics to make the Taggie blankets.

 taggie materials

On to find inspiration/information/patterns online.  For this project, I used a few sources.

  • Minky fabric is tricky to sew because it’s so stretchy.  This site gives great tips about sewing with Minky.
  • Taggie Blankets are popular so when you look on Etsy or Pinterest, you’ll find lots of inspiration.  I used this tutorial which shows each step of the process.

First taggie is for a friend who is a speech language pathologist (hence the letters on the fabric).  She’s having her first baby girl…congratulations! Second taggie is for a friend to take to a baby shower…and it’s a boy!

Free BOM at Quilt Guild

Each month at the Westside Quilt Guild meeting, there’s a free BOM (block of the month) pattern you can pick up to try.  If you make a block (or two or three) using the pattern and bring it back the next month, there’s a drawing and one person walks away with all the blocks.  I like participating when it’s either something I would like to win, would teach me a new technique or block style, or is a color scheme I already have in my stash.  My goal is to only use stash fabrics to complete these blocks.

At the Feb 2014 meeting, I picked up the Rocky Road to Dublin block, published by The Quilter’s Cache by Marcia Hohn.  Her website offers lots of free blocks that guilds and others can use to learn traditional block designs. We were asked to use dark green, light green, and white on white fabrics.  Here’s how my block turned out:

rocky road to dublinNext up is an Amish quilt block. Amish style quilts remind me of visiting my grandparents in Ohio who live near enough to an Amish community that we often visit the shops and restaurants there.  The plain bright colors contrasted with black background is a very traditional look. We were asked to use black background, bright yellow star, and another bright solid for the other parts. Thanks to Deb at Quilter’s Corner Store for the fabrics. I like the puzzle piece part…make the components and then line them up like in the picture before sewing into rows and rows together into the block.

amish star in process

For the June 2014 guild meeting, we’re making Scrappy Mountain Majesty blocks in white/cream/tan and blue/green/brown color palette.  Here’s how mine turned out (second try after a mistake measuring on the last step).  I like how easy the block was and only one matching seam.  Also, it’s fun to be able to find pieces from my stash to use for these blocks.  Wonder how they’d all look placed together in a quilt?  Looking at the pattern maker’s explanation, maybe I wasn’t supposed to sew the halves together.  I suppose whoever wins the batch can decide how they want to arrange all the blocks.

scrappy mountainFor July, it’s a 4th of July Star block in red white and blue (the photo doesn’t show well the tone on tone but the polka dots pop!) This one would be fun to put into a patriotic quilt or table-topper.  I ended up making two of them to add to the stack at the guild meeting (but I didn’t win yet.)

Here’s the one for October’s meeting and check it out included in a charity quilt that the winner of all the blocks that month created:

For November, we’re making neckties:

neckties

In January, I made this block to contribute.

multiblockIn April, I made this block — first time trying a log cabin!

log cabin bom

Here’s the block for May. Not my favorite color combo, but using all fabrics from my stash.

 

And the pattern for the one for June is at this  link http://www.azpatch.com/bom/bom2002/08aug02/bom02aug.htm.  We’re to use white on white and a bunch of bright colors, so I’ll see if I can get that done in time for the June meeting.

Valentine’s Day 2014

I’ve been wanting to create some sort of Valentine’s day wall hanging for decoration and/or a table runner for the top of the piano.  Also, mom gave me the Lil Twister tool and book, so thought I’d give it a try and make the heart pattern.  Enjoy the pics!

Snowy Weekend

Friday was a snow day…got the day off work and the whole weekend at home, so I have time for sewing and cross country skiing in the neighborhood.

I’ve been wanting to make a lanyard for the name badge I wear at quilt guild meetings.  Picked up the findings at Joanns and some sewing themed fabric from my stash.  Here’s the online tutorial I used: http://www.genxquilters.com/2013/03/10-minute-sewing-project-how-to-sew.html

I think it turned out great!  I guess I could have figured out a way to make it adjustable, but it works as something simple for now.  Can I make one for you? Check out the Shop page for more details.

Here’s the view outside my window above the sewing table this afternoon.  So peaceful!

Snow DayHappy February Sewing everyone!

Night of Little Projects

A night of little projects.  I made this wine accessory bag to hold the wine bottle stopper set I got for Christmas.  Fun to use a scrap of a past wine related project and some ribbon to make a custom organizer.

20140130-192047.jpgAlso, finished customizing a package of baby burp cloths.  Again, using scraps, the trucks on a road and bilingual color/number fabric will be just right for a Spanish speaking mom expecting a little hijo.

diapers

Ghana Fabric Projects

A colleague at work purchased 12 yards of fabric from Ghana and wondered if I could make it into a duvet cover for her.  “Sure!  I’ll give it a try!”

Step 1: Fabric. She got the fabric from a family member who lives in Ghana and has this blog of handmade items. http://amaamina.wordpress.com/.  It was up to me to figure out how to wash/iron the indigo fabric, so I found directions on some fabric distributor websites. I also realized we didn’t have enough to do the whole thing in the Ghana fabric, so got a matching dark blue solid at Joann’s for the back of the duvet cover.

Step 2: How to Make a Duvet Cover.  The internet is amazing, truly.  Tutorials are helpful in showing the steps to make something new, so with a short lesson on some new techniques (learned to make a french seam so it looks really nice and finished on every side), I was ready to begin. http://www.designsponge.com/2010/03/sewing-101-making-a-duvet-cover.html

Step 3: Make Space.  If I do this again, I need to find a bigger space to lay out the fabric to cut evenly.  My living room just wasn’t quite as big as a queen duvet cover.  🙂  This picture doesn’t show the blue color, but it really turned out looking nice, with snaps as closures.

queen duvet cover made with fabric from Ghana
queen duvet cover made with fabric from Ghana

Step 4: Dog Cover.  After the duvet cover was finished, she asked for a matching sheet sized piece of the Ghana fabric to be made into a layer on top of the duvet so her two big dogs can lay on the bed but not get their hair all over the actual duvet cover.  Great idea since it’ll be easier to clean and still look really nice on the bed…plus the dogs will be happy to be still allowed on the bed sometimes!

close up Ghana fabricThanks so much, Amy, for encouraging me to try a new experience, for your patience in it getting completed over the course of many months, and for the payment and “tip” of a gift certificate to another great fabric store, Cool Cottons in SE Portland, OR. http://www.coolcottons.biz/

Patriotic quilt

A member of my quilt guild is looking for patriotic quilts to display at the North Plains Library this spring. I’m going to enter this table runner / small wall hanging.  It would be fun to see my work hanging up in a public display!

Home Decorating

Over the years, I’ve made simple curtains for my house and for a gathering room at church. The simplest versions can still be more personal than something purchased.  Here’s what I used to have in the “red room”, using fabric with a great print of salsa dancers!

Spring 2008 032 (Copy)

I’ve also made basic tablecloths and other table runners that are great on tables in and outside.  This is one of my favorite pics showing a picnic with my pup Lucy!tabecloth outdoor (Copy)

Here’s another project I’ve tried making before, but this time had a pattern to follow, so a much improved final product….a potato bag, for microwaving spuds (or tortillas).

potato bag