I’ve been following Maureen Cracknell on Facebook and am interested in her Sew-Along program. It’s going to be difficult to keep up with a new block every week for 25 weeks, but I’d like to try to do a few of them. Her fabric choices are often modern and colors that I don’t usually use but are appealing when all put together. I’m sure I want to use fabric from my stash, but not sure yet which ones. Tonight is the first block reveal, so let’s see how it looks. Feel free to follow along with me!
The Westside Quilter’s Guild includes a group of members who get together to work on Charity Quilt projects. They donate to three or so agencies that provide the quilts to kids in crisis, cancer patients, or foster kids. I’ve been wanting to participate but hadn’t been able to make the day time meeting during the school year. July was the perfect month and it was great to spend a few hours with this kind group of women. They encouraged me to pick out 5″ squares and a bag of binding/sashing strips to put together a quilt using the reconstructed 9 patch pattern used for the spring Charity Quilt Olympics. All the fabrics were donated, and they’re not the usual colors I like to work with, but a good practice experience for me and rewarding to think about giving it away to someone who needs a warm cozy quilt.
I made some progress on creating the 9 patch blocks. I’ll use 12 different fabrics combined in pairs to create some organization, but still a scrappy look. It’s hard to tell from this picture, but most of the blocks are brown/pink/green colors and the sashing will be green.
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!
Then 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.
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?
Last 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!
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:
Next 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.
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.
For 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:
In April, I made this block — first time trying a log cabin!
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.