Monday Musings: Good-bye to an Era

My favorite local quilting store is closing. (Cue the violins.)

Quilters Paradise in Old Town Clovis is where I took my quilting classes. I bought lots of fabric there. Which reminds me, I have some reward cards I better redeem quickly!

QPIt’s rare to find a shop so focused on customer service, quality products, and value.

The owners are always helpful. The dog hanging around the back classroom was calm and never demanding, but always grateful for an ear rub or tummy scratch.

 

Employees are knowledgeable. My first quilt top that I made in the Quilting 101 class turned out great, but I knew I would need help with the backing choice. So I toted in the Quilt toptop, laid it out and pleaded for advice. I walked out a few minutes later with the perfect fabric. (Don’t ask me if I’ve actually finished that quilt yet. Please.) I love the blue and gold with the cream, but I wasn’t sure if the backing should be dark or light. We ended up going with one of the medium golds for the backing fabric. I think it will look stunning when it is finished. Which I hope will be next year. I’m committed to not beginning a new project until I finish the three or four I have in progress.

There are a couple other quilt shops near me that I’ve never shopped at. And of course we have a Jo-Ann’s. So it looks like my quilting fabric loyalty is up for bids.

Do you have a local favorite shop? Or a favorite you make sure to visit on your travels?

 

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Monday Musings: Quilting Quandaries

Next week I’ll be on my way to Ireland and the UK. Trip of a lifetime, anniversary/birthday celebrations, and vacation all rolled into one.

For a knitter and quilter, this poses a problem.

Accessories for patchwork top view on a white surface

How much yarn and fabric should I buy?

Reasons for buying lots and lots of yardage and skeins:

  • I don’t know when or if I’ll ever return and have the opportunity to buy, so I want to have no regrets.
  • Fabric and yarn are fairly lightweight, and won’t add much bulk to my suitcase.
  • There might be patterns or colors not available here.

Reasons to forbear buying anything new and shiny and pretty:

  • With the internet, anything I see can probably be purchased later, just for more money and added shipping costs.
  • I have two completed quilt tops waiting to be finished and one partially pieced top waiting. I should not buy more fabric until those projects are completed.

See my problem?

But oh, the pretty pretty colors and patterns … Colorful balls of yarn on a wooden table

Monday Musings: Quilting as a Metaphor, Part II

I’m still musing about how quilting has so many life lessons, if only I would pay attention.

j-quilt

This is my second quilt.

It’s from a kit.

I purchased it more than a year before I finally put it together.

I thought it would be easy and quick. Which it was. Until it came to the satin patch just below the upper right.

 

While satin fabric is pretty to look at, it’s a pain to sew. It slips around. You can see I did a much better job on this quilt compared to last week’s. My seams are straight and even. Except for around those darn satin patches. I ended up have to zigzag them into place.

The extra stitches don’t really show. And they really don’t matter to darling Grand#2. She loves the quilt and still sleeps with it. I think you can tell from her expression how she feels about this quilt. She’s asked for a larger version because she’s growing and the quilt no longer fits on top of her. I’d love to fulfill her request, but I have two other grands who are still waiting for their quilts.

This quilt had a definite “make it work” moment. Instead of giving up when I had a problem with quirky fabric, I had to figure out a way around the problem. No one but me cares that the fabric is zigzagged instead of pieced traditionally. The quilt is warm and cozy and cuddles just the same. And the owner couldn’t be happier.

 

 

Monday Musing: Quilting as a Metaphor

I first quilted 30+ years ago. I wasn’t very good. I was still in the “close is good enough” phase of my sewing. I had crooked seams, strips that resembled a weird trapezium more
than a rectangle. I still have one of my early efforts and to prove that I have basically no pride, I’ll post a picture.

quiltYeah. See that strip on the left.

Yep. I sewed that. And more egregiously, I left it!

Oy vey.

Fast forward a couple of decades and my sewing skills (and standards) were considerably higher and I decided to try another quilt.

But a small one. An easy one.

So I bought a kit for an expected grand-daughter. I planned to have it done before she was born. I think I had it to her before her second birthday. Give or take.

 

I really enjoy the process of piecing the quilt top. I’m less enamored of the actual quilting. I have several quilt tops done and ready for the backing and batting step. I have the batting and the backing fabric. I just can’t seem to bring myself to pin them together.

It’s a symptom, I’m afraid, of a larger problem. And I know I’m not alone. Finishing a project. I think I caught it from Stud Muffin. We have many home projects that are thisclose to be done. My office threshold was duct tape for nearly two years until I insisted he finish it. Friends often comment that they have the same problem.

Why is this? Anyone know??

The next few Mondays will be spent on quilting. I’ll try to get a picture of that baby quilt. It has one off square (free hint: do not try to piece satin or silky fabrics. They slide all over the place and are very difficult to work with).

The current stories I’m working on are set in Harts Leap, a fictional cross of Paso Robles, Stars Hollow, and Bass Lake, located where the real Bass Lake sits. In story number one, a local quilt shop, Pieces of My Heart, has a large role. I get to use some of my quilting knowledge in the story. And even more fun, every quilt is beautiful! No crooked seams!

Do you quilt? If yes, what do you love about quilting? If no, why not? And do you have a problem finishing projects? If yes, why do you think that’s so?