Quilt Shop: Thimble Towne

Thimble Town, Visalia
Thimble Town, Visalia

The other day I wrote about the Calico Mermaid. The second shop we visited was Thimble Towne. It was closer to the hotel, but we went to it second. I think SIL #2 was right in going to Porterville first. It was a long drive and I might not have done it if we had visited Thimble Towne first.

Thimble Town, Visalia
Thimble Town, Visalia

Thimble Towne is a large shop. They sell BabyLock sewing machines, have a large amount of fabric, embroidery designs and projects as well as notions and tools for both quiltmaking and embroidery.

It is nice to see shops with lots of fabric. Again, I didn’t buy anything, but I was tempted by some Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics.

Thimble Town, Visalia
Thimble Town, Visalia

I did like the embroidery patterns and projects. They had a number of ‘in the hoop’ patterns. I no longer have an embroidery machine, but I like the idea of embroidering something that can be immediately made into a project. The projects were small like key chains and change purses. I might like to have an embroidery machine available to me to make projects like this whenever I felt like it. I don’t want to invest in a machine, though.

The shop had a fair number of batiks. They didn’t have as many solids as I would expect, but, perhaps, they are not following trends like the Bay Area shops do. I saw a wide variety of fabrics and think that they do a good job catering to different types of quiltmakers.

Travel Tote, Thimble Town, Visalia
Travel Tote, Thimble Town, Visalia

The shop had a class sample for a travel notions tote. There was no pattern with it, but I am hunting for one, because it looked like a super useful bag.

I asked about a pattern and the shop owner (worker bee?) said that there was no pattern for sale, but that someone taught a class regularly on making the tote. This is not a convenient option for me, but I might try to collaborate with Lynette to make a pattern of our own. It might be a good bag to give to officers.

I worry that I just like the challenge of making the bag and don’t really want the bag. After all, I have the Tool Tote waiting to be filled. The tote at Thimble Towne has some very useful features, however, including a small pressing mat, many zipper pockets, slip pockets and mesh pockets. It might work well as small project tote – or a tote for various small projects. The tote has features that other bags I have made have. I think the construction may be similar to the All Rolled Up Tote, in part. The slip pockets and other pockets could be customized, but I have made similar ones before.

Thimble Town Classroom, Visalia
Thimble Town Classroom, Visalia

Thimble Towne also had a large classroom (sorry about the vacuum cleaner! I didn’t notice it until we were already gone). Not only is the classroom large, but it includes high quality chairs. I also saw cutting and ironing stations set at a good ergonomic height. The shop really takes good advantage of the space they have.

Thimble Towne has two locations and I recommend a visit.

Visalia Location:
400 West Caldwell, Suite F
Visalia, CA 93277
Ph: (559) 627-5778

Bakersfield Location:
2841 Unicorn Road, Suite 103
Bakersfield, Ca 93308
Ph: (661) 399-5778

Visit to Calico Mermaid

I recently returned from a week in the beautiful Central Valley where I attended the Native Sons of the Golden West Grand Parlor. Grand Parlor is the organization’s statewide convention. As you may remember, my DH was Grand President in 2016-2017, so he is now a Past Grand President. He has a lifetime vote, which is one reason he enjoys attending. I enjoy seeing some of the ladies I have met in the past. Mostly, I go because DH and I get to spend a dedicated week together. I have gotten him interested in audiobooks, so we listen and have book discussions on the drives.

Calico Mermaid outside
Calico Mermaid outside

What I enjoy when I go on these trips with him is visiting quilt shops. While I didn’t buy anything (shocking, I know), I did visit two shops. Somehow I missed the outside sign in this photo. Not sure what I was doing.

The Calico Mermaid is in downtown Porterville. It was about 45 minutes from where we were staying in Visalia. Google Maps got us there, though some of the roads seemed a little odd. Also, not all of the roads have street signs so we had to go on faith a little bit.

The Calico Mermaid - inside from back to front
The Calico Mermaid – inside from back to front

The shop is very bright and cheerful. I think it was all painted white and the shelves were see through metal. The wooden shelves were white. The local area was very bright, but the decor and furnishings of the store made it light-filled.

In the photo, left, you can see the umbrella, which I thought was a unique and fun touch.

The Calico Mermaid - inside from back to front, left side
The Calico Mermaid – inside from back to front, left side

There was a lot that I liked in the store. I was particularly drawn to the area with violets this time. I am not sure why. That isn’t a color I use particularly, but I saw some fabrics I would have purchased. I didn’t feel like I was in the mood. I was also thinking of my fabric spreadsheet and how much I have used recently.

I felt like they had a lot of fabrics. In addition to the violets, there was a great shelf of dots that was very tempting.

The shop had a wide variety of notions and patterns. I didn’t see a lot of bag patterns, but, perhaps, I missed those? My SIL was my partner in crime on this outing and she was able to find some nice fabrics.

Calico Mermaid class
Calico Mermaid class

There was a class going on. It was some kind of finishing class or UFO class. The people were laughing a lot and it seemed like they were getting things done. I am a big fan of quilt shops using their classrooms. Finishing/UFO sew time are a really good way to get things done. Sometimes having people around really motivates me to make progress on my projects.


Visit the Calico Mermaid, Downtown Porterville’s Quality Quilt Fabric Shop
122 N. Main St
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10 – 6, Sunday 1 – 5

Portland Shop Hop: Sharon’s Attic

Sharon's Attic: front doorSharon’s was a surprise. We happened across it as we were preparing to go back to downtown Portland after visiting a few fabric stores. I wasn’t quite ready to stop looking for fabric. I was pleased that so many shops were open on a Sunday.

Sharon's Attic: Moda fabrics and precuts
Sharon’s Attic: Moda fabrics and precuts

The first thing we saw when we walked in was a display of Moda fabrics, precuts and gift items. Yes, I was tempted by the  V&Co ombre dots fat quarter pack and yard pack. I resisted, because I have some of the fabric at home already. The shop had quite a few fat quarter packs as well as jelly rolls. I walked around the display a couple of times even though I am not much of a fan of the Moda greige goods. I do like their designers.

The shop reminded me a bit of Always Quilting, except that it was tidier. Sharon’s was a really big store. There was a large classroom in the back and a space with two longarms, one of which was being used to quilt a quilt.

I saw a lot of possibilities for creativity, including a number of specialty rulers, embroidery supplies as well as a full selection of patterns, notions and, of course, fabric. There was also a well stocked book area. I was able to look at the new Kim Brackett book, Scrap Basket Bounty.

Sharon’s Attic Quilt Shop
2950 SW Cornelius
Pass Rd., Suite 100
Hillsboro, OR 97123
Ph: 503.259.3475
Email: ssrice991@integra.net
Web: http://www.sharonsatticquiltshop.com/

Random Portland

There were a number of things in Portland that I wanted to mention, but just didn’t fit in a post of their own.

Pittock Mansion, Portland
Pittock Mansion, Portland

Mom and I went to the Pittock Mansion on Monday as a foil to shopping. It was a blustery day, but we avoided the worst of the rain by looking at the mansion. They have a butler’s pantry that I would love to have. The rain had stopped when we went out to the garden. One of the things I love about Portland, which were in abundance at the mansion, are the leaves. They are a million different warm colors and wonderful shapes.

Pittock Mansion sewing table
Pittock Mansion sewing table

There was a sewing room at the mansion with an amazing table. I have never seen one before and think every sewist should have one. It would be great to have some of the sewing furniture companies makes small pieces like this. Some clever spaces for modern tools could be designed. Alternatively, the dividers could be reconfigurable.

Pittock Mansion Turkish smoking room ceiling
Pittock Mansion Turkish smoking room ceiling

I also enjoyed the ceiling of the smoking room. The smoking room looked like another foyer. The information provided said that there must not have been much smoking, because the wallpaper and paint wasn’t very dirty.

Fabric Depot closed. We heard the saga from an artist friend who would buy a lot of her floss there. Abby Glassenberg has a post about it.

I visited both Modern Domestic locations. I wish I had bought some of the V&Co ombre black dot I saw at the Lake Oswego location, but I didn’t. I stopped at the Portland location hoping they had the ombre there, but they didn’t. I bought a couple of fat quarters for the Ring Toss quilt I am contemplating. While I was there I saw a couple of political quilts. I wonder if they were part of the Threads of Resistance. I don’t remember seeing these particular quilts when I wrote the review, but they may not have stuck in my mind.

I bought a couple of pincushions from the artist friend. They were to go to an art sale, but now they will go to my sewing room and I will enjoy them there.

We also stopped at the Crafter’s Warehouse. I was surprised at how large it was and how much stuff they had. I think it had more for sale than Michael’s. The store about four rows of fabric and for the first time, I saw a roll of 2.5 inch batting strips. The lady thought I would need two for a Jelly Roll Rug (yes, I am slowly gathering the supplies), but I just bought one and think I will cut strips from leftover batting for the rest. CW has 40% off coupons. I didn’t sign up, but I found one on the web that I used.

We also stopped at a place called Quilter’s Corner. It was a tiny shop, perhaps in Hillsboro, but it was closed (Sunday, I think) and had a sign on the door saying it was closing for good. Sad.

One of the things I do when I am in Portland is eat like a pig. There are two restaurants I can walk into and order anything I like without worrying I might get sick. I went to both. Amanda told me about a third, but I didn’t visit. Kyra’s Bake Shop in Lake Oswego is my favorite and I bought a supply of cinnamon rolls for my freezer. I ate a BLT on the spot followed by a maple glazed donut. The BLT was amazingly good. I also visited Petunia’s Pies and Pastries. It is a very cute cafe that makes gluten free and vegan food and baked goods. I shared a piece of the sour cherry peach pie and that was delicious. I also tried the rhubarb berry pie, which wasn’t as good.

Church on 12th in downtown Portland
Church on 12th in downtown Portland

Remember I said the leaves were gorgeous? They were.

Portland Shop Hop: Mill End Store

Yep, I was in Portland last week to go with the YM to doctor appointment. While I was there I saw friends and family, went hiking, bought a pincushion, saw some artists, ate a lot of good gluten free food and visited a few quilt and fabric shops.

Mill End shop: quilting fabrics
Mill End shop: quilting fabrics

The Mill End store is an all purpose sewing store. It is the size of grocery store, not small and cosy. There are two Mill End shops in Portland and we went to the one near Beaverton. It was big and focused mostly on fabrics for people making garments and household decor, I think. They had a big quiltmaking section, but the fabrics were not like the ones at quilt shops. Lots of novelty prints and not many familiar lines. Still, if you need Mickey Mouse or Spiderman fabric for a quilt, they had some. The people were very friendly and the atmosphere seemed to be good.

Mill End shop: cork grocery bag
Mill End shop: cork grocery bag

There was quite a bit of non-quilt fabric. We all have to make some things with other fabrics (Halloween costumes, anyone?) and Mill End store has all sorts of garment and costume fabrics as well as upholstery fabrics and some scary looking machines that I assume cut upholstery. I was interested to see a cork grocery bag sample along with several different types of cork on bolts. I have only heard about cork from people who make Sew Sweetness bags. I have never actually seen bolts of cork in person. I didn’t buy any (have you seen my project list?), but I was sorely tempted.

Mill End shop: notions
Mill End shop: notions

There was a huge wall of notions, but nothing really special. I’d like to see a really nice display of zippers – lots of colors and sizes all in one place and organized. This shop had a lot of zippers, but I found them hard to access and gave up.

Mill End store entrance
Mill End store entrance

The cashier area was large and well decorated for Halloween. I was there the few days after Halloween, but the decorations were still lingering. I did not feel crowded in this store.

Attached to the Mill End store was a Monte Villa Sewing Center. This is part of chain, Amanda explained to me, where they sell sewing machines, accessories, embroidery thread and, in this case, Accuquilt accessories. I assume they sold the machines, too, but I didn’t see any. I bought a new mat for my 2.5 inch die as well as a pick to get the threads out from between the blades. I also picked up some bobbins.

Mill End Store
4955 S.W. Western Ave.
Beaverton, Oregon 97005
(503) 646-3000
Fax (503)786-2022
OPEN 7 DAYS • Mon-Fri 10-5:30
Sat 9:30-5:30 • Sun 12-5:00

Bend Shop Hop: BJ’s Quilt Basket

I couldn’t go to Sisters without visiting local quilt shops. It’s what I do.

BJ's Quilt Basket
BJ’s Quilt Basket

The second one we visited was BJ’s Quilt Basket in Bend. Don’t worry, I’ll get to the Stitchin’ Post.

BJ's Quilt Basket Interior 1
BJ’s Quilt Basket Interior 1

The shops in the area are LARGE and have a lot of fabric. BJ’s was no exception. The shops in the area were benefiting from the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and all the related events, so they had extra staff and specials going on. They also had a cooler out front full of free water, which was nice. It was fairly warm, so it was a nice gesture.

BJ's Quilt Basket Interior 2
BJ’s Quilt Basket Interior 2

I am not used to such large shops, so it felt a bit overwhelming. BJ’s had a section of repro fabrics, a section of 1930s prints, a few aisles of batiks, blenders (tone-on-tone) plus a lot of new stuff right up front. It was kind of shocking to see so much fabric in one place. Delightful also.

BJ's Quilt Basket Interior 3
BJ’s Quilt Basket Interior 3

I was pleased to see a lot of batiks in the area. Near me, people eschew batiks even though they are lovely. BJ’s was no exception. The shop had tons.

I saw the Tula Pink dots and stripes at The Stitchin’ Post, but I didn’t buy them. I couldn’t resist a few bits at BJ’s.

They also had lots of Kaffe prints. I bought a few at each of the shops at which we stopped.

BJ's Quilt Shop: purchases
BJ’s Quilt Shop: purchases

BJ’s Quilt Shop
Address: 20225 Badger Rd, Bend, OR 97702
Phone: +1-541-383-4310
Hours: 9:30am-5:30pm

Bend Shop Hop: The Stitchin’ Post

Julie and I did not have classes on Thursday. I highly recommend taking a day off from the intensity of learning when you are at an event like Sisters/Quilter’s Affair.

We got up at our normal 6:30 because of that crazy window, but had a leisurely breakfast, sat around a bit and then got ready before we left at 10:30 to go to some quilt shops.

The Stitchin' Post
The Stitchin’ Post

First stop was the Stitchin’ Post. It is a 7-8 minute drive from where we were staying. I would be thrilled if I had a quilt shop that close to my house. I’d be in trouble, but thrilled nonetheless.

Okay, the Stitchin’ Post is actually in Sisters, not in Bend, but I am calling this series of posts the Bend Shop Hop regardless. Bend “Area” is too long (take a look at that URL already!).

Stitchin' Post Interior 8
Stitchin’ Post Interior 8

We went into the Stitchin’ Post at least twice, but the Thursday visit was the day we planned to look around at everything. I think we might have been there closer to 4 times, but who’s counting?

Stitchin' Post Interior 1
Stitchin’ Post Interior 1

It is a gorgeous shop. Huge! High ceilings, bright paint, plenty of staff, lots of great fabric and samples. Prices were ‘normal’ – $12-13/yard. The stock was depleted early in the week and by Thursday, our shop hop day, it was hard to find things. Not horrific. It wasn’t like the shop was empty, but a lot of notions were sold out and their fat quarters were a bit thin on the ground. Still, I found plenty to buy.

Stitchin' Post: Kaffe prints
Stitchin’ Post: Kaffe prints

The Stitchin’ Post had a gorgeous Kaffe corner. I bought a lot of Kaffe on the trip, though not as much as I could have. I will use one of the pieces to make a nightshirt.

Stitchin' Post Interior 4
Stitchin’ Post Interior 4

This was the first shop at which I saw the Tula Pink Dots and Stripes. They are gorgeous. Nice sized dots and stripes and interesting colors. I really wanted all of them, but the lines for cutting were daunting at times when there was enough to cut 24 half yards. You can see them in the photo above behind the dress.

There was so much to look at in that shop! they had a lot of different fabrics, some of which I hadn’t seen before. I saw lots of batiks, which we don’t see here anymore very much.

There was a small section of household gifts – soaps, tea, mugs and some interesting pincushions. I wanted to get one for Julie, but I couldn’t while she was there and when I came back to get it, someone else had beaten me to it.

I looked at the yarn a lot on Sunday and, as mentioned, bought a couple of skeins to make another scarf. Since I didn’t bring needles with me, I had to buy needles as well.

First Stitchin' Post purchase
First Stitchin’ Post purchase

This shop is absolutely worth a visit. I had a great time. If you are in the area, head to Sisters and visit The Stitchin’ Post.

Stitchin' Post purchases
Stitchin’ Post purchases

The Stitchin’ Post is located at:
311 W. Cascade St. (Hwy 20/126)
in Sisters, Oregon

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 280, Sisters OR 97759
Phone: (541) 549-6061
eMail: stitchin@stitchinpost.com
Store Hours:
Monday – Saturday 9-5 (9 – 6 in the summer)
Sunday 10-4

Portland Shop Hop: Boermas Quilt Shop

Boermas was the last quilt shop we visited and it was amazing. It isn’t exactly in Portland. It is about an hour and a half away in a quaint town called McMinnville. That day it was pouring rain and I had Mom drop me off at the metro station. I took the metro to the end of the line so Amanda didn’t have to drive all the way into the city to fetch me. It is a quiet and clean system and it was easy to take some time to write while I was riding.

It was probably the largest shop we entered, though Pioneer Quilts was close if not the same size. I think it used to be a downtown department store at a time when all the major shops were on the main street to make shopping more convenient.

The store was three stories. The upper story seemed to be offices and staff areas. We didn’t go up there. The basement floor was all sale fabric. They had quite a lot, though their minimum was a yard, so I only bought a piece or two.

The street level floor was full of fabric. The aisles were narrow and full, but the place was scrupulously clean and did not seem disorganized. I could have bought a lot more than I did, but I made quite a dent in their stock. They had a wide selection of fabric styles – from Cotton and Steel to Civil War, etc repros. They had a large novelty fabric section, organized by theme, as well as about two aisles of batiks.

We had lunch at an American diner sort of place that uses historic buildings to house their eateries. The food is diner style and the building is historic. We also visited a yarn shop. I didn’t buy anything there though I sort of regret a couple skeins of a grey yarn variegated with turquoise. It was a fun day.

Portland Shop Hop: Pioneer Quilts

Pioneer Quilt Shop - Creepy View
Pioneer Quilt Shop – Creepy View

The Portland region has an amazing number of quilt shops. I thought Pioneer Quilt shop looked creepy from the outside. From the outside, I kept imagining an old lady held captive and mute in the upper floors of the tower. The inside, however, was filled with GREAT fabrics and fun employees. I think, despite the creepy Grandma prisoner in the tower 😉 , this was our favorite shop.

The inside did not give me the creeps at all. The shop was an old farmhouse that had been transformed into an event center at one point. There is a disco ball still hanging over, what was once, the dance floor in the main shop. The building had all the trappings of an old house: kitchen, dining room, etc.

I believe they used the dining rooms (perhaps one used to be an old parlor?) for retreats and classes, but there was nothing going on the day we were there.

We went right when we went in a saw no people, just the rooms above and the sale fabric. We dutifully looked through it all and must have not appeared in the actual shop for so long that one of the employees came looking for us.

Pioneer Quilts: main shop
Pioneer Quilts: main shop

We were kind of disappointed with just the sale fabric, but that was quickly remedied when we got into the actual shop. The shop was bright and airy, well organized, had high ceilings and had fabric for everyone. They had a lot of fabric, a lot of which I had never seen. Bright and cheerful, Civil War repros, solids, a lot of different things. Ann, our friend from BAM who now lives in Lake Oswego, was talking about Marcia Durst fabric and we saw some here.

Pioneer Quilts: main shop view 2
Pioneer Quilts: main shop view 2

One thing I liked was the wool felt. They had a ton of it. They teach classes, have really fine spools of embroidery floss and would allow me to switch out colors for brighter ones if I took a class. I checked out their website to look at their classes and they do something really interesting. They have sort of mini classes that teach just a few complicated stitches. One class includes Cast on stitches, Bullion, Drizzle and Double Cast on. These classes appear to focus on improving skills and really learning these complicated stitches. I would imagine students would have to take some sort of beginner class first. I’d like to see about taking a 1 day class there next time I visit.

I also found Renaissance Ribbons there. I bought a few yards to go with the pattern I bought at A Common Thread, Crafty Carriers. In stead of making a strap, I will use the Renaissance Ribbons instead. I had never seen these ribbons on spools in a shop before.

I would love to have a shop like this near where I live.

Pioneer Quilt Shop
3101 SE Courtney
Portland, OR 97222

Portland Shop Hop: Pine Needle

The third shop we visited was the Pine Needle Quilt Shop is in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The shop can be found in downtown Lake Oswego in what looks like a nice area in which to walk and shop. It is a large shop and had a lot of interesting fabric. It is also near Kyra’s Bakery, a completely gluten free bakery at which I could order ANYTHING off the menu without asking if it was gluten free. Fabulous!

Pine Needle Quilt Shop - front of store
Pine Needle Quilt Shop – front of store

The Pine Needle Quilt Shop is a large shop with lots of fabric. They could have crammed more in if they had tried even a little. I do know that inventory costs money. I was pleased to see a lot of fabric I hadn’t seen before. There were some large non-Philip Jacobs prints (see the blue watercolor print hanging up on the right of the photo?) that I really liked but restrained myself from buying.

Pine Needle Quilt Shop - middle of store
Pine Needle Quilt Shop – middle of store

Pine Needle also had a very large selection of batiks, which I hadn’t seen in a shop in a long time. (I really think the MQG has done a disservice to batiks) There were a LOT of sample quilts. Not so many small projects, such as bags and gifts.

Pine Needle Quilt Shop - middle of store 2
Pine Needle Quilt Shop – middle of store 2

The sample quilts were interesting. There were a variety of styles including easy, hard, different styles and colors. I thought the shop was a little dark, potentially from the chocolate wall behind the cash register, but there were a wide variety of colors of fabric. Yes, they had some of those Civil War repros, but a lot of other colors as well.

Pine Needle - Tuffet
Pine Needle – Tuffet

I did see that they were having a tuffet class and I liked their example very much. The bottom of this tuffet uses a border print. I still want to make covers for my tuffets to change the look at different times of the year. This tuffet gives me an idea. I have to get back to that project – so many projects so little time.

The one thing I thought was a waste was the two large tables in front of the cash registers. They had half yards and FQs laid out very neatly next to each other. I thought more fabric could have been displayed there, but I am sure they know best. It was very easy to see the choices.

I was glad to go there and probably would visit again.


The Pine Needle Quilt Shop
429 1st Street
Lake Oswego, OR 97034
P: (503) 635-1353
F: (503) 675-1226
Email: friends@thepineneedlequiltshop.com

Business Hours

Monday – Saturday 10a – 5p
Sunday 12p – 4p



Portland Shop Hop: A Common Thread

A Common Thread
A Common Thread

A Common Thread was next on our list after The Speckled Hen. This shop was definitely one of my favorites.

Things looked up when we saw this shop. Amanda had been here before and wasn’t impressed that time. Things had improved this time and we both found things we really liked.

The store is light and airy. The ceilings aren’t particularly high, but the shop feels large and open.

A Common Thread: bag displays
A Common Thread: bag displays

One thing I liked about the shop was that they had displays with the related products everywhere. Bag patterns were displayed near bag samples along with all of the hardware and supplies needed to make the bag.

Crafty Carrier by Ellie Mae
Crafty Carrier by Ellie Mae

As a result, I bought a bag pattern called the Crafty Carriers. I could see the design made up: the size, the height, everything. I thought it looked like a great design for carrying project materials around. Yes, I already have a bag for this purpose, but…

A Common Thread: machines
A Common Thread: machines

Yes, they had a lot of machines. In some shops this is annoying to me because it seems like machines take up more space than fabric.

I didn’t look very carefully at the machines, but saw that they had a big variety of machine accessories as well as the machines. I did look at the Janome feet. I was impressed by the selection. I almost bought a 1/4″ Acufeed foot with a needle plate. However, I looked back at things I had bought recently I switched to purchasing an ‘in the ditch’ Acufeed foot sans needle plate instead. It cost less and now I have a full compliment of Acufeed feet. I also now have no excuse not to get busy and quilt.

A Common Thread: longarm ruler display
A Common Thread: longarm ruler display

I noticed their Handi Quilter display, which includes machines, but also had longarm rulers nearby. Great marketing.

The machines did not impinge on the fabric and we had plenty of fabric choices to tempt us. I also liked it that the shop had put up different quilts and BOM examples near the machines, integrating the two parts of the shop somewhat.

They are dealers for Bernina, Janome, Miele, and Handi Quilter. All in all a good shop. I would go there again.





Contact info:
5495 SW Sequoia Parkway, Suite 140
Portland, OR 97224

Monday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm
Sunday: Noon – 4pm

Phone: (503) 624-7440
Email: acommonthread@comcast.net

Portland Shop Hop: Speckled Hen

I went to Portland last week and had a very quilty time with Amanda. We made our own shop hop. Amanda looked up a bunch of shops and we decided which ones to visit together.

I had planned to spend more time with the YM, but he told me at the last minute that he was going on tour with the Wind Symphony and wouldn’t return until after I left. As a result, I invited my mom to come along and we had a good trip.

Mom spent a lot of time with an artist she met so I was free to roam local quilt shops with Amanda.

The first shop we visited was Holly Hill. It was closed (on a Wednesday?!? WTH!?) so we were only able to look in the window. Someone in the shop kept waving at a us and finally came to the door and said they were closed. We knew that, being able to read the sign. She asked us if we had checked their FB page and we said no. We told her that we had checked the web page and it was not up to date. Later, when we looked, she had had someone update it. I never check FB pages, do you?

Speckled Hen, Ore
Speckled Hen, Ore

The first shop we were able to enter was The Speckled Hen. The decor fits in with the name of the shop. There are a lot of chicken themed decorations. It is a small shop, but really crammed with fabric and quilty items. Sadly, a lot of the fabric was brown and beige – Civil War and repro type stuff. They had a good selection of chicken fabrics as well. The shop also had a good selection of non-brown 1930s and 40s reproductions as well.

She Sews Sea Shells fabric panel by Janet Wecker-Frisch
She Sews Sea Shells fabric panel by Janet Wecker-Frisch

The shop did have a great line by Janet Wecker-Frisch called She Sews Sea Shells by Quilting Treasures. I liked (and Amanda did, too) the mermaid with the diving suit and would have bought a print with just that motif. Unfortunately, the diving suit was only on a panel.

There is something about the steampunk nature of the diving suit that was appealing. At this point in our adventure, I was trying to be reasonable about my purchases, so I didn’t buy any.


Decades of Style Flapper Apron
Decades of Style Flapper Apron

I didn’t buy any fabric, but I did buy a retro style apron pattern. I had never heard of the company before. I liked the style of the garment, though the pockets aren’t large enough. Also, the pattern uses really a clever layout for cutting. I can’t wait to try it and bought some fabric to make some gifts.

There were two ladies in the shop filling kits, I think. I am not sure the owner (I assume it was the owner) realized we weren’t retro fabric people, because every time we looked at a display, she told us the price and the designer, etc. It was kind of a hard sell that was somewhat useful, but also a little off-putting.

Speckled Hen, Ore
Speckled Hen, Ore

One of the things she mentioned was her sale on magazines. She mentioned Primitive Quilts, but also Simply Moderne. I was tempted, but I have a lot of magazines in my to-read pile, so I didn’t buy any.

I bought some gifts in addition to the pattern.



Contact info:

Speckled Hen Quilts
25455 NE Boones Ferry Rd
Aurora, OREGON 97002
TUES-SAT: 10am - 4pm
Closed Sunday & Monday


Found a New Fabric Store

I went with the YM and my mom to lunch on Wednesday. My lunch was a banana split! Yes, occasionally I indulge. It was A LOT of ice cream and I refused dessert at MIL’s in the evening.

Piedmont Fabric
Piedmont Fabric

After lunch we took a walk up and down the street. In the course of that wandering, we talked and caught up and FOUND A FABRIC STORE! I couldn’t believe I had never heard of or seen this store. I have been down that street a number of times and I am pretty sure it has been there awhile.

It wasn’t a quilt store, but they had fabric suitable for quiltmaking. I bought some fish fabric to make the YM more pillowcases.

The store is small and crowded. They have a lot of fine fabrics for garment making. I saw some Liberty of London quiltmaking cottons. They had ribbon including some Renaissance Ribbons. I almost bought the new zippers I need for my next Sew Together bag, but they didn’t have the sizes I wanted in the colors. I was able to determine that I want Raspberry zippers.

It was a lovely find, especially since there is a yarn store on the same street. What a bonanza!


Bay Quilts

Bay Quilts entrance
Bay Quilts entrance

I went with my mom on our monthly lunch date to Bay Quilts the other day. It is a new quilt shop in El Cerrito. I have been wanting to go there for awhile and this visit was the first chance I had gotten. I was really pleased that Mom didn’t mind driving all the way over there. We always have fun together. I love this shop! This is a really great shop.

They have a fabric shop, but also a workshop loft and art gallery. This shop is owned by Sally Davey, the woman who used to own New Pieces. There are similarities in the look, but also distinct differences.

Bay Quilts - large, open space
Bay Quilts – large, open space

The space is large and open. The ceiling is high and customers can see into the loft above. The displays are really great – fresh, new and not quilt-like at all. One display was a Wonder Woman dress made from a Simplicity pattern. I wanted to modify it into an apron. It was a great idea.

The thing that made me really laugh was the wagons. They will loan customers wagons to pull around the shop and fill up. I love this. I think it is dangerous to not have to carry 10 bolts around the shop, but I also think it is a great idea.

Bay Quilts - art dolls
Bay Quilts – art dolls

There were two gallery areas set up. One was a wall area with quilts hanging and the other was a rounder with art dolls displayed.  They were whimsical and detailed and gorgeous.

Bay Quilts - mermaid tail
Bay Quilts – mermaid tail

I really liked all of the dolls, but the mermaid was a special favorite. I might just be another girl in on the mermaid craze, but I really like that tail. Look at the curve in that tail!

If you have never made a doll, you will have no idea how hard it is to achieve. When I made Red and Coral for my niece I thought the straight legs and arms were difficult enough. I have a lot of respect for this artist.

Bay Quilts - art quilts
Bay Quilts – art quilts

The quilt gallery show was interesting as well. The quilts reflected some of the political news phenomena happening: Black Lives Matter, 45, terrorism and other things we all dislike seeing on the news right now.

The best part of the whole shop was the fabric. Hands down, no question. I loved the fabric. I saw fabric that I have not seen anywhere else. some of it I had heard about and some not. they had a good selection of super hero, Star Trek and Star Wars. I also saw the new Anna Maria Horner and a huge selection of Japanese fabric. The best of all was the huge, HUGE selection of Philip Jacobs prints. Yes, I bought some for another tunic or two.

Bay Quilts - signage
Bay Quilts – signage

I did like the way they described what was on each aisle as well. For example, there was a section of reproduction prints. The group looked really out of place IMO with all the other fabrics, but I know the owner is marketing to all segments – something for everyone. I thought ‘Vintage & Worldly’ was a great way to describe this aisle.

Bay Quilts - notions wall
Bay Quilts – notions wall

Clearly, the owner has thought about the business a lot. This is not just your stereotypical quilt store. There were a carefully selected group of notions, not just the same old Dritz items that quilt stores can get from distributors.

She has a lot of books, which I know is a hard path to travel with Amazon being so easy. The shop offers discounts on purchases, which is an incentive since you can have the book right then, even if you could get it in 2 days for cheaper from Amazon. Buy local!

Bay Quilts - silks
Bay Quilts – silks

There were a wide range of 108″ backs, different substrates and some absolutely luscious silks. If I had seen these a few months ago, I would have had more than my little black dress to choose from for NSGW events.

I bought a small pack of them just to have some of the colors. If I have ever make that silk quilt I planned, I will use them.

Bay Quilts - quilts for sale
Bay Quilts – quilts for sale

The shop also has quilts for sale! That is something I have never seen in the quantities at Bay Quilts. There was a lot of beautiful work at reasonable prices. If you need a gift, this is your savior.

Go visit!
Bay Quilts
5327 Jacuzzi St, Ste 3-C
Richmond, CA 94804
Tel: (510) 558-0218

Shop Review: Yoder’s Department Store

Yoder's Department Store
Yoder’s Department Store

Yoder’s Department Store is the place that is the main fabric store for the Shipshewana Quilt Festival. I never thought I would go to this place. It’s in Indiana. Do you know how far it is from my house? 5 hours on a plane, 3 hours on a bus, assuming your plane isn’t late and you don’t miss the bus, and about an hour in a car. We went to this store right after Zinck‘s and only had about an hour to look around. I was slightly jetlagged, so I had enough time, but I could have spent weeks in that store and not seen everything.

The other thing I noticed was that the store was scrupulously clean. Where Zinck’s was a little dark and slightly grubby – not dirty, just very basic – Yoder’s was spotless and bright.

Yoder's Soft Goods Section
Yoder’s Soft Goods Section
Yoder's large fabric area
Yoder’s large fabric area

For those of you who have not been to Yoder’s, it is a giant building with a few different and separate areas: fabric and clothing, housewares, hardware and a few others. We went into the fabric and clothing section, which also had shoes, table linens, baby clothes, and a few other things. The fabric section took up about half of that space. There was so much fabric that it was difficult to take it all in.

Yoder's Tula Pink & Friends
Yoder’s Tula Pink & Friends

Finally, I decided to do a circuit around the outside of the department to see what I saw. One of the first things I saw was some Tula Pink fabric.

This made me realize that I was in a different sort of store. The fabrics weren’t closeouts or remnants; they were the latest fabrics and a lot of them. I saw several lines of Thimbleblossoms fabrics, tons of Moda, all the American Made Brands solids, Kona solids, Bella solids.

I think I saw more of everything than I have ever seen anywhere. I think there was more fabric here than in Portland at the Fabric Depot. It would be close. If a person couldn’t take in all of the yardage and wanted to just pick some pre-cuts, the task would not be much easier. There were so many pre-cuts, I really couldn’t look at them all. Also, there were new ones. I saw Lulu Love by Cory Yoder (coincidence???) as well as Sunday Drive, which I had seen in Oregon and Washington.

Yoder's Notions
Yoder’s Notions

As with most quilt stores, there were quilts hanging everywhere with kits available for all of them. I found many of them to be quite appealing. Everywhere I went I saw notions, as well.

There was a whole large area with Creative Grids rulers. They had everyone I have ever seen including my favorite the 4.5″ x 8.5″ and the one on my list, the 20.5″ square. I bought a cut loose project sheet from this area to make a scarf hanger using a coat hanger, fabric and large WonderClips. Stay tuned for more on that project.

Indiana view
Indiana view

Outside Yoder’s was a farm and there was a great view of the barn. I love this view and would, theoretically, love to have my own version. I probably wouldn’t like the work, though and would need a superb farm manager like Patrick in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice.

My friend said there were at least 20 fabric stores within an hour drive from her house. I think I’ll have to come back. I am going to try and get a contract at her university so I’ll have a reason. 😉