Monthly Archives: June 2009

Kids Memory Pillows

Once again, I’m on the handprint theme.  Thinking of introducing it to Etsy…please tell me what you think!

Handprint Pillows

Handprint Pillows

I’ve been experimenting with pictures so please excuse the quality.  Here’s the idea:

I place the pillow on Etsy.  You purchase a special order, picking paint color, fabric and animal or other “thing”.  I send you the paint, fabric and detailed instructions.  You do the handprint and send the fabric back to me.  I then embellish and make the pillow then you get the finished project in the mail.

Octopus

Octopus

Yesterday one of the children picked up his pillow and he was so excited.  He didn’t want to let go of it!  And can you blame him?  Isn’t this octopus adorable?  You’ll even get a fabric pen, that needs to be returned, so your child can sign his/her name on the project.

Fish

Fish

There’s another variation on the theme.  It’s a wallhanging…

Sea Anemone

Sea Anemone

I love this idea more than the pillows.  Imagine for a moment getting the handprint of each of your children and having a wallhanging made for a grandparent.  Or a thank you gift for a teacher…the options are endless…so please leave a message and tell me what you think!

Shop Hop Hopping ~ 17 Total!

We finished our shop hopping!  There are some wonderful shops here in Western Washington.  I would’ve loved to get to all 57!  Here’s the additional 7 that we visited:

Bayside Quilting ~ Located in Olympia.  This shop is the longarm half of Bayside Quilting.  They had pantographs, stencils, batting, wide-back fabrics…all sorts of wonderful things.  Being a longarm quilter I controlled myself, but I must say it was very hard!

Baside Quilting 2 ~ Located in Olympia…four blocks from the first shop!  The girls and I decided to walk and it was a very short walk.  The shop was filled with fabric!  I loved it!!  The girls enjoyed looking at all the pretty fabrics.  The best part:  They were having a prize drawing and I won!!  I never win anything so it was even more fun!

Pfaff Creative Sewing Center ~ Located in Lacy.  I’m not sure what was going on in this shop.  It is a sewing machine shop but it felt as if the fabric was an afterthought…and not even a very good one at that.  Small selection of faric a lot of sewing machines!

Shibori Dragon ~ Located in Lakewood.  I love Shibori.  Anything Asian you can certainly get it here.  Plus they’ve got beads, crystals, stencils, thread…and so much more.  Great place to go for that Asian influence!

Trains, Fabrics, Etc. ~ Located in Tacoma.  Banana anyone?  If you can’t find a fabric anywhere else, check Trains!  Always friendly, a great place for advice or stop in for a chat.  During Shop Hop you even get a banana!

Harbor Quilts ~ Located in Gig Harbor.  This shop feels a lot like Wild Rose Quilts in Orting.  A lot of Moda, florals, brights and I love the novelty question.  If I could I would pick a corner and move in!

After awhile the quilt shops all start to look the same.  Then you jump onto the ferry and head to Island Quilters on Vashon Island.

Island Quilters ~ Located on Vashon Island.  On a hot day you get a breezy trip on the ferry.  Once you get off there is a pleasant 20 or so minute drive into the little town center on Vashon.  Don’t blink or you’ll drive right by Island Quilters!  Be sure to call ahead if there are quite a lot of you travelling together.  They’ll phone the restaurant on the corner and make reservations for you.  There will also be a 10% discount on lunch!  I loved this shop.  It was a breathe of fresh air in the set-up.  A lot of fabric (4200+ bolts) but the way it is displayed is far from overwhelming.  Surprisingly short on finished quilts but it doesn’t deter from the overall quiltie feeling of the shop.  The owners are lovely and pleasant, the lighting is fantastic and, if you can’t find something in this shop I would be very surprised.  Be sure to stop by if you vacationing in Washington…you won’t want to miss it!

So concludes the Western Washington Shop Hop of 2009.  I enjoyed myself.  My daughters enjoyed themselves and, hopefully, you’ll come by next year and enjoy it too!

Happy Quilting!

Three More Shops Today!

The girls were up for it and my husband was happy to have some time at home so away we went!

Parkland Parish Quilt Co. ~ located in Parkland.  I love the ambience of this shop.  It is an old church, or parish, hence the name.  They’ve got bolts of fabric standing on end in the old pews and all sorts of fun bits and pieces laying around.  We went into the basement where they’ve a wonderful selection of sale fabrics.

Wild Rose Quilt Shop ~ located in Orting.  By far one of my favorite shops hands down.  The owners are fantastic and friendly.  The shop is inviting and smells wonderful (instead of sizing).  I love the fabrics, too!

Creative Quilter ~ located in Graham.  Once you get past Puyallup (can we say ‘boo’ to Meridian traffic?) you hit Graham.  Then you get to Creative Quilter.  I wasn’t too keen on the set-up.  Little backroom where they were doing the stamping, plus the sale fabrics, plus the sale kits, plus refreshments…impossible to navigate let alone look at anything.  It’s one redeeming quality was they had two fabrics that I figured were long gone.  My general assessment…not worth the drive but if I needed more of the fabric I would be happy to call and have them mail it to me.

I worked at Evergreen Quilting this afternoon.  It was busy with men, women and children coming and going but a lot of fun catching up with friends.  Shop Hop is such a unique time!

Shop Hop hopping

The girls and I were able to get a little bit of shop hopping in yesterday afternoon.  My regular Thursday committment was cancelled and the sitter came down with strep so we had a little free time!

The Western Washington Shop Hop started on Wednesday (June 24th) and runs through Sunday the 18th.  I’m constantly amazed at the amount of women (and men, for that matter) get into cars, vans and buses to drive from shop to shop over 5 days.  Last year I did 8 or 9 with Abi, the littlest.  This year we will make it to 8, unless I can sneak a few in here and there over the next couple of days.  Highly unlikely though.

My assessment thus far:

The Quilting Loft ~ located in Ballard/Seattle is a great shop.  A lot of wonderful quilts up and the fabrics were fantastic.  A lot of Moda, lines I haven’t seen in other local shops, and contemporary (Amy Butler, Valori Wells, etc).  I loved that it was smallish but not overwhelmingly packed.  Great selection of patterns too.

Quiltworks Northwest ~ located in downtown Bellevue.  A huge shop with a massive selection of beads!  They had a special get one free fat quarter when you spend over $25.  Easy to do, I found two fabrics I’ve been looking for.  A wonderful area for children to play in and the girls made a friend there.  Classrooms were very spacious.  Great location and easy to get to!

Pieces Quilt Shop ~ located in Renton.  Surprisingly short on fabric!  As a matter of fact every time I go in there they seem to have less and less.  A lot of quilts on the walls and, as always, a very generous selection of books.

Carriage Country Quilts ~ located in Des Moines.  I love going into this shop.  The very wide variety of fabrics makes for a good time to wander look, touch and dream.  But, when short on time, it is quickly and easily overwhelming.  My favorite feature of this shop is the fantastic use of the shop.  The shop is an old house and every room has different fabrics: 30’s repros in the bathroom, novelty and flannel in the back bedroom, etc.

Calico Cat and Bernina ~ located in Auburn.  I have mixed feelings about this shop.  A wonderful selection of fabrics and patterns, plus notions (my youngest liked playing in the buttons) but it was crammed with stuff…or at least feels that way because the ceiling is so low.  The prices are expensive…$11 per yard for some fabrics!!  I was astounded as that is more expensive then the shop in Bellevue.

Quilt Barn ~ located in Puyallup.  Our last stop for the day.  The girls said they love The Quilt Barn and I tend to concur.  Great selection of fabrics, a little more expensive then a couple of other shops I frequent but they’ve got a wide selection so I’m happy to pay the little extra.  Plus their new location is bigger, brighter and easy to get to off of Hwy 410.

Undercover Quilts ~ located in Pike Place Market, downtown Seattle.  Fun locations, definitely a destination shop (I certainly wouldn’t say, “I need _______.  Let’s go to Undercover Quilts!”)  It is small, crammed BUT the beautiful quilts they have for sale are a definite up-side.  They have a wonderful selection of novelty fabrics too.  Parking’s a bear but if you’re patient and are willing to pay and walk then you’re in for a treat.

The other two shops I anticipate getting to are Evergreen Quilting and Trains & Fabrics, Etc but I’m in those shops all the time and could write a bit about them.  However, my darling natives are getting restless and I need a shower so off I go!

Same Quilting Design ~ Different Quilt

As a teacher and quilter I often get asked, “How do I pick a quilting design for a quilt?”

Often times we get so caught up in the construction of quilt top, the time that we put into making it, the love for the person we are giving it too (because, let’s be honest, do we ever keep our own quilts?) that we want it to be “just right” and everything to work.  Fair enough!

The quilting is singly the most important part of the quilt.  Without it you’d just have fabric sewn together.  It would provide very little warmth and would be near uselessness.  But, once a top is quilted there’s suddenly a useful blanket!

So…how do you choose the right quilting design for your quilt?

It’s not as hard as you think.  When choosing designs I think of the person it is for and what the quilts use will be.

If it’s an every day quilt for the couch or bed then fancy quilting is not necessary.  If the quilt is soft and you want it to remain so you’ll want a design that isn’t too dense so that the quilt remains flexible.

Quilt by Nancy Boyd ~ Quilting by Heather Spence

Quilt by Nancy Boyd ~ Quilting by Heather Spence

My customer, Nancy, brought me this quilt on Friday.  She chose Bamboo Batting because her friend is highly allergic (she didn’t say what to).  The batting is soft and the fabrics are flannel so she chose a design that complemented the feel (texturally and emotionally) of the quilt.

The back of the quilt.

The back of the quilt.

The thread was easy.  Sure, we could’ve gone with a solid color but the variegated color brings out all the colors on the front and it really stands out on the back!  Here’s a close-up:

Close-Up of the back

Close-Up of the back

This is the same quilting design as the previous quilt I posted about.  (Only this is a bit better as I had more practice.)  As a quilter I try to listen to my customer, find out what she’s looking for, provide examples then let her (or him) know that she (or he) can trust me to do what they want.

So…how do I know what’s going to look good on a quilt?  :o)  Ah…that’s the quilters secret.  (Not really, but doesn’t it sound nice?)  Practice and experience!  If you’re a quilter too my greatest suggestion is to keep learning and practicing.  If you prefer to pay someone to quilt for you then my suggestion is to keep ask the quilter if they have samples, what have they been working on lately and could you see their work.  If they don’t have samples available then ask if they’ve got pictures or references so you can talk to someone they trust.

As I tell my customers, “The quality of my work is proof in the pudding.”

Happy Quilting!

Freehand Quilting

Freehand quilting is by far, hands down, my favorite method of quilting.  It allows me to take something that I see and reproduce it with my own twist.  One of my customers, Pat, called me late last month and asked me to quilt a queen size quilt for her.  It’s a wedding gift for her sons’ friend.

Pat's Quilt

Pat's Quilt

She did such a fantastic job on the quilting!  My littlest darling is in the picture for perspective but what you may not be able to tell is my husband (who measures in at 6′) is holding the quilt up above his head while standing on the little deck over our patio.  Queen size is quite large!

The back of Pat's quilt.

The back of Pat's quilt.

The texture is wonderful and you can see it in this pictures.  What amazes me about quilting is that it gives the quilt top a completely different look.  Between thread color (believe me it really makes a difference) and the stitching designs the quilt can change.  Many customers have told me that they didn’t really like the quilt when they brought it to me but when they got it back they loved it!

Quilting close-up

Quilting close-up

Freehand quilting is like drawing with a pen on paper.  Except my “pen” is the sewing machine and the “paper” is the quilt.  Everything done on this quilt is with one line!  The question I get is, “How do you do that?”  Honestly, I don’t know.  Choosing a design is easy and usually done in consultation with the customer.  If the customer says, “I don’t know…you choose,” (I call that ‘Quilters Choice) then I wait for the quilt to talk to me.  In my mind I “try a pattern on”, usually by running my finger along the imagined quilting line.  If that doesn’t seem to work then I go away and come back later when I have another idea.

Sometimes a quilt is screaming something but I’m unsure as to whether it will work or not.  That’s when I trust my gut and go for it.  So far no one has told me that the quilting was a bad choice!

So there you go…my version of freehand quilting.  I’ll talk more about Pantograph quilting later.  Unless my mind is changed at some point in the future I need to let you know that I’ve never done nor intend to do quilting with a computer.  The work is very precise and is “perfect”.  It takes a lot of skill to work a computerized quilting machine.  However, it’s just not my cup of tea!  Who knows…maybe…

Pictures from Kindergarten Graduation

My Darling and Her Friends

My Darling and Her Friends

Singing

Singing

And one more for the road!

More singing

More singing

So there you have it!  They are so cute up there fidgeting away!!