A Great Little Shop!

I love to visit quilt shops when we travel. Different shops are a great source of ideas and, of course, fabric 😀

We recently travelled through Northern Maine, where we lived early in our careers, and were very pleasantly surprised to find the Majestic Touch Quilt Shop in St. Agatha. The owner, Sandra Bosse, agreed to let me her picture.

Sandra Bosse with one of her long-arm machines

Sandra told me she made her first quilt about 20 years ago. She was unhappy with the quilting done on it by someone else, so she bought a long-arm machine and learned to use it–just like that! I was amazed to hear this for reasons most of you probably understand. Clearly this lady is willing to take on a challenge!

Sandra’s business has changed over the years. She now does quilting for others and sells both long-arm machines and fabric. Her quilting is very much in demand and she is currently scheduling about 3 months out!

We talked about running a quilt shop 4 hours from the nearest “city” (Bangor, Maine, with a population of under 32,000). On the plus side, hers is the only quilt shop for miles around AND she is close to the Canadian border, so customers come a fair distance to shop and take classes. St. Agatha had a population of 730 in the 2020 census, but people in Northern Maine are accustomed to driving to little shops in little towns when they want something.

On the minus side, it’s expensive to get merchandise shipped to her and the fabric reps won’t come that far from the city! Sandra says they send her catalogs, and that’s the way she has to order.

In the photo above you can see just a bit of Sandra’s fabric shop. She has a lovely selection of batiks, and says they are especially popular with her Canadian customers. She also has so many beautiful printed fabrics from the major companies that I had a hard time sticking to my budget 🙂

Here are a couple of fabrics I was “forced” to buy. I haven’t seen them anywhere else, though maybe I just don’t visit enough shops 😉  She had both prints in many colors, with coordinating fabrics as well, and I had a difficult time choosing!

Sandra doesn’t have an online shop, but you can find her on Facebook here.  (The internet tells me that 6-8 yards of fabric can fit in a USPS flat rate envelope, and I expect Sandra would send you pictures if you want to shop with her.) BTW, her prices were lower than those in the bit city.

PS: Hurricane Ian came this far into North Carolina, so I am writing this with the generator powering the house and my computer. We had a neighbor’s tree come down in the yard. It took out our weather station, but that was the only real damage. Steve has left for the hardware store to get supplies for the chain saw, and I am getting geared up to use some beautiful fabric!

I hope all of you are safe and stitching along happily!

 

A Village

I made a lot of little improvised houses and related blocks during COVID and decided to combine them into a quilt for our builder, since we love our house!

Here are a few of my favorite blocks from the quilt.

First, this is a watermelon canning factory. I told the builder it really needs to be re-purposed to make garage doors, since those are in short supply and nobody eats canned watermelon.

Really it’s just my idea of whimsy.

Then there are several little houses that came pre-made from some fabric I’ve had on hand for a long time. I enjoyed placing them in various locations.

My husband especially likes the stars in the sky on this block, not to mention the car pulled up to the house 😀

I made a number of wonky houses of my own.

And even one modern house.

 

Quilt Stats

Name: It Takes a Village to Build a House (because it really did)

Finished size: 45″ x 53″

Designed and made by me

Quilted by Linda

I still have a number of quilts to be bound and blogged, but there is progress!

 

Sidetracked Again

Every once in a while I come to the surface after being inundated by quilts, scraps, binding, etc. Most recently I took a class at Studio Stitch to make this little clutch.

Of course I’ve made lots of bags, pouches, etc, etc, but I’d never used a frame closure, so I wanted somebody to show me how it’s done. Hint: It was a lot easier than it looks!

Also recently I dug up the pattern for the Celeste Dress, bought close to a year ago.

Celeste Dress, courtesy of Itch to Stitch

I figured the pattern had waited long enough so I made the dress. I studied the size charts carefully, and the fit is perfect (well on me, maybe not on the hanger)!

Pockets! That’s what sold me on this pattern!

I recommend the pattern for those who have some garment construction experience.  It’s a nice pattern and turned out well. I bought the pattern through PatternReview.com for two reasons: first, I could read about how it worked for other people before deciding, and second, I was able to order it already printed on full-size paper so I didn’t have to print at home and the tape the pattern together! (Been there, done that.)

Caveat: rayon probably wasn’t the easiest fabric to make it from.

Now back to the quilting…

 

Scrap HSTs

HSTs (half square triangles) are the basis of lots of dynamic quilt designs, so of course they’re even better if they’re scrappy. For those who may not know, here’s a half-square triangle block. Each half of the square is a triangle, and of course it helps that they contrast.

Block drawn in EQ8

So after I had made a whole bunch of scrappy squares, I decided to cut them in half diagonally to make scrappy HSTs. I had the perfect white fabric with metallic gold oriental writing to use as contrast.

Of course I tried numerous layouts for the blocks and consulted friends about which to use.

This arrangement was voted out

Eventually I chose the arrangement below because I like the “double twist” effect you get in the center if you look from a distance.

The finished quilt

Quilt Stats

Name: Ziggy Scraps

Designed and made by me

Finished size: 58″ x 78″

Quilted by: Linda

I’m developing a talk about making successful scrap quilts. If you have any ideas I should include, let me know!

A Visit to the Mint Museum Uptown

Several years ago my husband and I visited the Mint Museum of Craft + Design in downtown Charlotte (N.C.) and were very impressed. The museum has since constructed a new building (now called the “Uptown Charlotte” branch of the Mint Museum) so we were eager to visit.

The new facility is lovely, but the craft exhibits were disappointing. For example, the previous venue had a large Chihuly piece hanging from the ceiling in the entrance. I know I didn’t dream this, because I was able to find it on Pinterest as shown below.

This photo was found on Pinterest, where it is attributed to “rtencati on flickr”

There was no evidence of the chandelier in the new building, though the lobby is still impressive with a huge colored window, shown below. It is 3 stories high!

There were many fine crafts, especially in glass and ceramics, but if there were quilts I somehow missed them. Here are a few things I did enjoy.

Acrylic chair by Patrick Norguet

Marimekko fabric designed by Maija Isola, 1964. 

Wolf Crest Hat (in glass) by Preston Singletary.

Threshold, by Danny Lane is a huge piece made of stacked glass. The wall of glass is lighted from behind, and there are a variety of objects behind the glass, providing interesting shapes and colors. This was one of my favorite pieces.

Unfortunately, the two pieces below were the closest the museum came to having quilts. These are pieced by Anna Buckner and mounted on small stretchers, but are not quilted.

I miss the old Mint Craft + Design museum, but there was still plenty of inspiration in the new version. 

P.S.–I’ve added a dragonfly to the “summer rain” quilt over the stairs.

This came from my jewelry box. Someone crocheted the wings and assembled the whole by hand.

Turning 20 Again

I’m a long-time fan of the Turning 20 quilts, in part because they make such efficient use of fat quarters. (And who can resist fat quarters?) The original patterns came out many years ago, and there are a number of new ones since. If you don’t know about them, you can find them here, at Tricia Cribbs’ website.

Anyway, I recently made my upteenth version of her Turning 20 Again pattern, in part because I just had to use this gold fabric.

The quilt is straight; my picture is not!

The quilter did some wonderful swirls on it.

I’m blogging about this many weeks after finishing it–that’s the way it goes some days! It’s a donation quilt.

Quilt Stats

Name: Turning 20 Again

Pattern by: Tricia Cribbs (available here)

Made by: me

Finished size: 55″ x 55″

Quilted by: Linda

Improv Quilt-Along Continued

I’ve already posted about the first week of the quilt-along, which was focused on strips. Here are my blocks again.

The second week’s suggestion was polygons but not triangles. I found it difficult to like most of my attempts for this, though I did finally use EQ to design a block that I paper pieced. I thought that many of the others lack focus, so there was a lot of cutting up and re-designing. Still not my faves, but here they are:

The third week focused on triangles. I still did much of my cutting without a ruler, but I stuck to simpler designs and I’m much happier with this collection of blocks.

The quilt-along is called “30 Days of Improv” so we’re only about half way through. Here’s a link to the first post for the QAL if you want to join in. I’m looking forward to next week’s prompts.

Why Does This New Quilt Count as Finishing a UFO?

I hate the recursive nature of most social media, including Pinterest. You don’t dare click on what looks like a good pie recipe, because you’ll be fed pie recipes for at least 6 months, probably longer. HOWEVER, I do remain a fan of Pinterest, where I still find a lot of fun quilt ideas. Recently I found this pattern via Pinterest and just had to have it:

The pattern is available on Etsy, here.

I had just the place for the quilt, having decided a while back I wanted to make a “summer rain” quilt to go over the stairs. We’ve had this lovely Japanese silk scarf over the stairs, but it was time for a change.

I got the blocks made. Oops, I got the blocks made following her directions and then made a number of my own design. Anyway, I liked the way they all looked together.

This is a small quilt, so I decided to use a sort of baste-as-you-go construction by sewing rows down to the batting and backing, sort of like you’d do if you were making a QAYG place mat using strips. Then I quilted it in vertical lines. Not my favorite thing to do, but it worked fine.

I think you can see the vertical quilting here. The lines were marked with blue painter’s tape, and are at pseudo-random distances apart.

Oh, and why does it count as finishing a UFO? Because I had started an improv quilt with this in mind but never finished it! I got out the blocks I had completed for that and combined them with blocks made using Maryline’s pattern, and got rid of another UFO 😀

Quilt Stats

Name: Summer Rain

Pattern: City Quilt by Maryline Collioud-Robert, plus some blocks I improvised

Made and quilted by me

Finished size: 39″ x 50″

And BTW, I recommend this pattern. It was a lot of fun!

 

An Improv Quilt-Along

My blogging friend Linda, over at Flourishing Palms, posted about an improv quilt-along and I got hooked in too! Here’s the link if you want to know more about it:

And here are the fabrics I selected.

The first week’s prompt is strips/stripes. I’ve already done a bunch of what Maria Shell calls “mat cut strips” when I took a class with her, so I tried this time to go beyond what I did with Maria.

Here are a few of the strips

And strip setsAnd some final blocks

To be continued…

Finish! A Really Old UFO

A number of years ago we had a guild program in which we made 3-dimensional fabric. I know I got this fabric wet and pushed it through a cake rack, but I don’t recall the details and can’t find instructions online. If you know how to do this, please tell me!

So this fabric (just the purple piece, with no beads yet), sat around for quite a while.

Then I layered it on batting and added all the rest of the stuff–beads, ribbon, side triangles, and quilting.

Then it sat around. OK, there was a lot going on in those years, but really, it just didn’t rise to the top of the “to-do” list.

Finally this week I got it out and applied binding.

Quilt Stats

Name: Shiny

Designed and made by: me

Quilted by: me

Finished size: 11″ x 11″

Whew! I’m guessing it took 5 years to make this quilt. Well, at least to get it finished 😀  What’s your oldest UFO?