Shop Tour

SIL is in town from back East. As I have said before, she likes to quilt also, so we spent the day driving to some quilt shops. These quilt shops are across a bridge from me, so I don’t go and visit them very often. We were planning to do this on our way (as my excuse?) to pick up the Young Man, but he got sick and didn’t end up going to visit his grandparents. We went shopping anyway. πŸ˜‰

Preponderance of Dots
Preponderance of Dots

Yes, I bought some stuff, including fabric. I looked hard at the notions and I have to say that the stores don’t, in general, have good selections of notions. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I really wanted to see a large number and variety of rulers and pins and other notions. I did find a few things I was looking for including a teflon pressing sheet.

Cotton Patch

Cotton Patch Back Door
Cotton Patch Back Door

The first stop was the Cotton Patch, a long time favorite. I bought fabric for my first quilt there . At that time I bought mostly solids and the day we went they had lots of dots in the room where solids used to be. They recently bought my Janome dealer, which used to be across the street. I was eager to see how they crammed the Janome machines in with the Berninas, fabric, notions, cutting tables, etc into their limited space.

The shop used to be a house and they did expand upwards at one point, but the shop is still really small. They gave up some fabric in order to fit the Janomes. I used to like seeing all the feet displayed and I didn’t see that this time. Now they are also closing out the Madeira thread, which is a shame. I don’t do much embroidery, but when I do I always liked the Madeira thread. My SIL has a dedicated embroidery machine, so I will have to talk with her further about thread. Until I get back on the embroidery saddle, I don’t think I will be buying much more thread. They also don’t have as many Janome machines on display. Perhaps, if I wanted to look at the 11K, they would bring it out for me to try. Patty, the lady I liked who worked at the Janome dealer is still there and that makes me happy.

Simplify Book
Simplify Book

I saw this book, which had some interesting projects. I’ll have to see if they have it at the library.

I was really influenced by the way they had the fabric arranged, which is why you see the different red dots. I could see using those dots all in one project, perhaps the Anna Maria Horner Multi-tasker Tote? Yes, I think I have some of them already. Oh well, you can never have too many dots, right?

I bought the Martha Negley Grapes fabric, though it looks like Cherries to me, that I talked about in Thursday Misc. The one I bought is very red and the one I posted looks much more pink. There is another colorway called Plum that I think I should have bought.

Cotton Patch Mural detail
Cotton Patch Mural detail

The mural on the back wall is new and I like it. It has similar impressionistic brushwork to what Monet et al did. I think it is a nice touch.

Next, we went to lunch, because I hadn’t really had much breakfast and it was lunch time. I really enjoyed my tostada salad. My stomach is feeling much better after the treatment I did at the beginning of the holidays, so I could actually eat a salad! We ate at a place in Danville called Father Nature’s. I liked the service, and the room was light filled and open. It would make a great workroom.

Wooden Gate Quilts

Wooden Gate Quilts
Wooden Gate Quilts

Thus fortified we headed off to the next shop. Wooden Gate Quilts was formerly Quilters Inn. Bari J talks a little about the switch on her blog. I had never been to either shop, but we mapped it using Quilters Inn and then had a little bit of trouble finding the actual place when we got there, because it seemed to me from the outside that the shop was selling quilts. It is also on the side of a larger building and we couldn’t see directly into the shop. The area has a lot of historical buildings that look nice, so it was pleasant.

The shop was worth the wandering around. They didn’t have a lot of fabric, but the fabric they had was cheerful. Not too many ‘heirloom’ fabrics, as my SIL kindly phrased it. I saw the fabric line below at a couple of different shops. While I didn’t buy these particular fabrics, I did want to remember the color combination for future reference.

Fabric Combo
Fabric Combo

Most of the fabrics in this combination, Flower Sugar are from Lecien. One of the prints (not pictured in above photo) is a border stripe with big dots. The colorway I liked is made from a nice cherry red. I am not fond of the border stripe, but wish they had designed a companion print with those luscious pinky-cherry red dots (#30050-30). Oh well, as if I need more dots.

Lozenge
Lozenge

I loved this quilt. I love the colors (of course; see above) and the use of the little black pin dots. What I don’t love about the photograph is that the plus sign element of the piecing really stands out. It didn’t stand out as much when my eyes saw it. Yes, this is a pattern, though I didn’t notice which one. I have been thinking about that lozenge shape since my quilt adventure in July, so it was good to get a photo of another rendition.

I have to say that the people were really friendly there – chatty, cheerful and they looked like they were enjoying themselves. The colors of the shop were nice and the samples were really wonderful. They had two renditions of the basket quilt pattern (Going to Market #146 from Diana McClun and Laura Nownes new company “From Me to You”) I bought at PIQF and it was fun to see the colors they had used. I am not fond of the Asian prints used in the pattern photo and thought I would make it in my collection of aqua and reds, but the examples at Wooden Gate gave me some other ideas for color combinations. I really appreciated that they took the time to make two quilts from one pattern.

They had some interesting notions. I bought some fusible piping cord to finish some pillows. They carry a small selection of Aurifil there as well. I was looking for some bright orange, but they didn’t have what I was imagining. Of course, Aurifil may not make what I was imagining. I may have to put an Aurifil color card on my birthday list. The Aurifil suitcase is on my list, but I am skeptical that that will actually show up in my birthday gifts. They had a magenta thread colorway I almost bought, but don’t have a project for magenta thread at the moment, so I passed.

I also found a product there, sold by the yard, called Soft Fuse. It is wide, too – about 54″ and it makes your machine applique very soft. Wooden Gate also carried sheets of it that can be run through the printer! I really could have used this when I was making the Tarts. It is paper backed fusible web for hand or machine applique’. I bought some and will have to applique’ something to try it out.

Shockingly, I bought some chocolatey brown fabric with cream dots on it. I sincerely dislike brown, but this fabric was calling me. It is much more chocolatey than ugly brown. I need to make something with it quick.

In Between Stitches

Our final stop was at In Between Stitches in Livermore. In Between Stitches is on the old (?) main street in Livermore and the shop’s architecture has great details – wide pine floors, wainscoting, high ceilings. I would love that shop to be my workroom. This is Alex Anderson’s home shop and she has spoken about it on her podcast.

I had never visited this shop, because it seemed so far away. Once I was in the boonies, however, it wasn’t that far. πŸ˜‰

In Between Stitches
In Between Stitches

The downtown area was very vibrant as well, which was gratifying. The retail space seemed full, the sidewalks were wide enough to encourage strolling and there was plenty of parking. Although traffic was busy, I had no trouble finding a spot right in front of the shop. Desiree has been very kind to me this December.

They had a pattern for a quilt by Verna Mosquera, which was very bright and cheerful. It is called Mon Ami and the colors really drew me in. They had cheerful fabrics (I bought the orange dots there), including the Lecien fabrics, but a lot of their fabric was of the reproduction/heirloom variety.

Basket Quilt
Basket Quilt

The basket design is a great pattern. I like the way they use the four patches for the middle of the basket. I might have to try a few. The fabrics are a good example of the fabrics they had at the shop.

They had a class going on where people were making the Plus sign quilt like TFQ is making. They were using horizontal strips and I am sure there was a method to the madness, but I couldn’t figure out how to make the quilt from just looking at their work. They classroom was nice and big.

I liked the patterns for the samples, but probably wouldn’t make them in the colors used by the shop staff. There was one star quilt (kit, I think) that I really liked. The fabrics were kind of French General looking colors, but it did inspire me to get off my duff for the Stars for San Bruno blocks.

In Between Stitches is where I bought the teflon pressing sheet. I am using it to make the Flea Market bag from Grand Revival Designs and I have to say it is interesting. The sheet looks like thick, slightly cloudy plastic. It seems to work as my fabric did not get scalded, but the sheet does get very hot, which is a bit deceiving because it doesn’t change color or anything.

I really like seeing new shops. I may not like everything about a shop, but I enjoy seeing the personality of the owner and the staff come out. I also like seeing the fabric in person. I just can’t tell the scarlets from the cherry reds by looking at a web photo. I would definitely visit all of these shops again. I am glad to see that new shops are hoping in the relative vicinity, even if ‘relative’ means 50 miles away!

I have to say I was fairly shocked at the prices. The regular price of all of the fabric I saw was $10.99/yard. I must be getting old, but I remember buying top of the line fabric for $5-$7/yard. I know I got my knickers in a twist at one shop during my summer fabric adventure because their fabric was $11/yard. I am buying larger pieces now, so the cost really adds up. I hope I don’t have to stop buying fabric.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

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