Hippity Hippity Hop

I'm finishing the Northern Illinois Three Month Quilt Shop Hop. I went to about 8 shops in early August and wrote a long shop-by-shop discussion about each store with pictures. Well, 22 stores is a lot to blog about and I'm too pooped. Truly, I gave up on take pictures. The rest of the 14 shops deserve a better presentation, but I just didn't have it in me.

 On Tuesday, September 13th I hit the following shops: 1. Judy's quilt N Sew in Hampshire, Illinois. I've driven passed this store countless times and I'm glad I finally went in. They sell Bernina machines and were quite busy the day I visited. I would go back to this shop for the classes they hold. Also, full color newsletter. Glossy paper. Tres professional.

 2. The I headed north, way north ... so north the smell of autumn was in the air. It turns out the smell of wood burning was from a wildfire in northern Minnesota. Huh. Sawdust and Stitches in Elkhorn WI was a little far for me but you really never know when you'll need fabric, so it's good to know they're there. I remember seeing lots of wool there as well as more traditional fabrics. I thought the bolts of fabric looked like elephants feets, sort of scrunched.

3. Back south to All My Stitches in Belvidere, Illinois (link goes to a Facebook page). This is a sweet little store with lots of fresh fabrics. She has some beautiful 1930's reproduction fabrics. I'd go back to this store for the fabrics.

4. The next two stores were easy to get to. Quilter's General Store in Rockford, IL was worth the trip. You have to go to this store. It's in an old farmhouse and gorgeous. There are mostly traditional fabrics, but a whole porch of batiks. Wool. A room of wool / felt. Bolts of them. Upstairs are the more contemporary fabrics. They have classes. This store turned out to be one of my favorites in the hop.

5. Quilter's Haven was just down the block and also in Rockford. It's tucked in the back of a shared building. Cute. There's all kinds of fabrics there and I remember drooling over some bolts of chenille.

6. Yikes! I was hoping to be home before 5 but I really wanted to get to Basketcases in tiny Clare Illinois. It's located in a barn. A majority of the fabrics were upstairs and I really enjoyed this store. I liked the fabric selection. According to the websites, Basketcases has lots of crafting options. I just know I liked the relaxed feeling the women there presented. They were busy sewing and chatting and were very welcome. My husband (and dogs) joined me in the next leg of the Hop: Saturday, September 24

7. Leaf River Quilt Company is on the outskirts of Leaf River IL, which would be left of Byron. Does that help? Located on a farm, the store is warm and welcoming and filled with wonderful fabrics. She has a lot of those pre-cut bundles that are so popular. I enjoyed this store.

8. Not far from Leaf River is Pecatonica, Illinois. Watch your speed while driving through Peck-ah-tahn-ih-ka... on your way to Lucky 2-B Quilting... the police want your money. The shop is an interesting mixture of contemporary fabrics, 1930s reproductions, and the more traditional quilting fabrics.

9. Back to Rockford for Quilter's Haven. Quilter's Haven is also in an old farm house, and when I say this store is filled with fabrics would be an understatement. But the fabrics are lovely. I would like it if they had better lighting. QH also sells machines (I don't remember which one).

10. Acorn Quilts is on the northern side of Rockford. Oh, how I loved this store. They have beautiful fabrics. It's contemporary in style... chic really. Did I mention the fabrics? Yum. They had many pre-cuts. I even liked the manner in which they bundled their kits. Details matter. This was truly one of my favorites (way to go Rockford, 2 of the 4 stores there are on my Go-Back-To List)

Sunday, September 25
11. My husband (sans doggies) joined me again and we went to the Prairie Stitches Quilt Shop in Oswego,IL. My, my, what a year they're having. They're featured as a top ten quilt shop -- and their quilt is on the cover. They have oodles of fabrics -- from contemporary to Civil War reproductions to 1930's. Lots of fabrics. And wool. Wait til you see the wool wall they have. It's lovely and I want it. They also have a lovely wall of patterns. Nicely displayed.

Tuesday, September 27 Dave and the doggies again joined me. We had a road trip!

12. Phat Quarters in Galena. Galena had floods this summer and Phat 1/4s got hit. They are in a new location and still selling Berninas.

13. Sew Generously in St. Charles. Another Bernina store... and this is the store that is giving away the Grand Prize... yep a sewing machine. In a strip mall, the store was bright and cheerful. They had a lovely quote on the wall:
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me'. Erma Bombeck
I really liked the variety of fabricss they had there. I was hoping for some 30s reproduction but they didn't have any. That's okay I found something else I really liked.

Wednesday, September 28

14.  My home shop. Prairie Stitches Quilt Shop in Batavia, IL. This is the shop where I learned about this hop. I took my one quilting class here.  It feels like home.  She has a good mix of contemporary and traditional fabrics.  On either side of the shop the walls are filled with goodies: one wall is almost exclusively patterns.  The other wall has doodads and notions.  There is a great space for classes as well, it's very open.

2011 is the year I am learning to quilt, that is, I'm exploring what it means to Quilt and be a quilter. The shop hop was a great experience. I'm learning fabrics. I'm getting lingos and meeting people who quilt. I've definitely refined my likes and dislikes. It's been a great experience and I got some great fabric (mostly fat quarters) in the process.

And now for my purchases from the last 14 shops of this hop (see previous post for those purchases):
 It's clear that I like those blues...

French General (most).  This is my next project.
I just want to swim in these colors.  My favorite from all 22 shops.

In summary: I'd highly recommend beginner quilters participating in something like this.  It's helped me immensely look at stores in a new way (i.e. not just looking at the fabric).  I think the next time I participate in something like this, I would have projects in mind... Look at those blues. If I knew then what I know now, I'd buy yards of those fabrics.

My favorite stores (in alpha order -- it's the librarian in me):

  • Acorn Quilts in Rockford, IL 
  • Material Girl in Crystal Lake, IL 
  • Prairie Shop Quilts in Batavia, IL
  • Quilter's General Store in Rockford, IL 


Words of Wisdom

I went on a Shop Hop this weekend and in more than one shopmI overheard someone say
[pick the fabrics you like], "it's your quilt."

It was a well placed quote as I was trying to pick perfectly. Also, my husband came along and I was tasking him to pick fabrics he liked. When he went with four FQs I was unsure of, including black (gasp!!), I rolled with it. I'm glad I did.

After all, it's my quilt.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Look, Ma, Whirligigs! (Project #2 Completed)

I started this project on 5/17/2011. I imagine four months is a long time to make a 36 block quilt. And I took my time. But, look! It's done!

If you were to go over this little throw (table topper?) with a fine-toothed comb you'd find errors. You might even be able to find the errors from this very picture. This was a learning process. The first thing I wanted to learn was to know if capital-q Quilting was something I wanted to pursue. The whole process. Looking and buying fabric and building a stash? That's the easy part. But I also found out that I liked the methodical process of cutting things out, then sewing things together, and finally building the rows. And ultimately creating things like this little throw.

Let me tell you a little bit about this part of the process: I fixed the little blip of gathered fabric from my previous post. I re-sewed that little bit. Next, I made the binding using Clover's Bias Tape Makers. (This is a miracle tool! Really, if you don't have one, get one.) After I finished machine sewing the binding, I noticed a few mistakes. I ripped some seams out and resewed it. Showing it to Dave, he noticed another section that needed to be re-sewn. Easy to fix. That's where the not-so-perfect comes in: binding cute, just less than perfect.

Somewhere along the way this summer someone asked me, almost with derision in her voice, "Why would you want to quilt?" Okay, there was derision in her voice. I've been thinking about that question and I can answer that:
I want to quilt because I've found I can express myself the most creatively with fabric. I'm not great. I won't write books about it, but I like it. Using a sewing machine inspires me to make more things. And make them pretty.

Here's a picture of the whirligig quilt's back. I find this fabric absolutely yummy.
I'm already thinking about my new project.... fabric I've collected from this shop hop I've been doing. Hopefully it won't take four months to complete -- I'm going small again.

I've been devouring quilt blogs for almost a year now and every blog entry on most blogs has the Folded Quilt Shot ... who am I to stop the tradition?


Advice, por favor.

Last night I quilted my first quilt. I used invisline thread (or some such thread) and had just one little oops.
See that pucker? It's the only glaring visible issue. So, what do I do? Do I rip out the seam and start again? Or is it "good enough"... an imperfection to prove it's homemade?
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Whiriligig Quilt Top

A month later (or so) ...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone