Monday, June 29, 2009

Sewing Room Almost Set Up

So my sewing room is almost completely set up. YAY! Unfortunately, I won't be able to do much sewing in there until around July 13th-ish since my in laws are coming up and at least one of the kids will be staying in my room. We haven't seen them since our wedding last year, so it will be nice spending time with them. Here are a few pics prior to putting a bunch of stuff away.
I did take a little time out of putting things away to cut out my fabric for the Fire & Ice class that I'm taking with Carol Doak at the beginning of August. Here are my fabric choices. The purple on the top is going to be the outer border. It's a few years old and is from Timeless Treasure's Jacobean Arbor line. In the close up picture, you can really see where I pulled all the colors from. I think it's going to look awesome!And I also finished cutting all the pieces for the second part of the first step in the McCall's Mystery Quilt.
I can't wait to start piecing again and get some of my tops quilted. I have one that's all layered and basted, just waiting to go too.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My favorite Local Quilt Stores

So we moved into our new home this weekend! Yay!!! Now for all of the unpacking. :-P My quilting room will hopefully be semi-unpacked by the end of the week. I CAN'T WAIT!!!

I thought I'd share with you some of my favorite quilt stores since I don't have any quilting progress to blog about because of the move...

Quilters Way - Concord, MA
This is probably my favorite local quilt shop. It holds a special spot in my quilting heart because it's where I really learned to quilt. I took my first quilting class here 6 or 7 years ago. Since then, I've taken probably another half dozen classes here. They always have a great selection of fabric, with much more of a contemporary feel and less of a traditional feel. That's totally me (if you haven't noticed). The people here are wonderful. I've always had a great experience here. I love their New Years sale and always stock up on some great goodies then. They make their own jelly rolls and jelly roll patterns here too. So much fun! I'd highly recommend a visit here if you're heading to MA.

Emma's Quilt Cupboard - Franklin, MA
I discovered this store about a year ago because it's close to my work. It's a pretty big store with lots of great fabrics. This is where I went for the Mark Lapinski visit that I blogged about a few months ago. They do a great job of displaying fabrics here. They also have a pretty big selection of batiks and novelty fabrics. They have lots of classes here, although I've never taken one. I've been so busy since I learned about this store between the wedding and our move that I haven't had the time. They have a passport program where you pay a flat fee and you can attend any participating class during that session period (3 months I think). It's a great deal if you attend more than one class. Another quilt store worth a visit when you come to MA.

Wayside Sewing - Marlborough, MA
This store opened about 3 miles from my old apartment. It was deadly to have a quilt store so close. At first, I found their fabrics to be too traditional, but lately I've found that they're breaking out into more modern fabrics. They also don't carry a lot of pre-cuts or fat quarters. The best thing about this store is the staff though. They do a great job of helping plan out a quilt top if you'd like. I was stumped on picking out some fabric for a blooming nine patch I'm going to make for my cousin's wedding next year, and a fresh set of eyes really helped. They're very knowledgeable and friendly. They have a lot of nice Asian fabrics and a TON of notions.

Bits 'n Pieces - Pelham, NH
I bring this quilt shop up because it's the first place where I used a long arm. The best thing about this store is that you can rent time on their HQ and quilt your own quilt yourself for a very reasonable price. I quilted a top that was probably a full size there, and for instructions on how to use the machine, thread, and usage of the machine, they charged me $40. I couldn't believe it only cost that much. They have a ton of fabrics and some great sales, but it's a fairly cluttered store. They just moved into a bigger location, and I haven't been to the new store yet, so I can't comment on if it's neater now. If you're ever in the area and want to try using a long arm to quilt one of your quilts, I'd definitely recommend heading here to give it a try.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Lots of UFOs/Projects

As you know, we're in the middle of moving into our new house. Our official move date is the 20th, but we're slowly moving things over to our new house everytime we go over to clean. We're painting this weekend and installing a water heater so that we can just unpack and enjoy the new house once we get there.

Because I haven't been able to quilt much with all of my stuff packed up and split between the two places, I've really had the itch to quilt. I decided to put together a list of all of my UFOs and planned quilts. Here it is:

Planned Quilts:
  • Blooming 9-Patch Wedding Quilt for my cousin and his to-be-wife (they're getting married next May, so I want to start working on this now for when they have their shower.)
  • Fire & Ice Quilt for my class at the Lowell Quilt Festival with Carol Doak
  • Swanky Irish Chain Quilt - I got this honey bun on clearance and want to make the Irish Chain quilt pictured on the Moda Bake Shop blog


I guess I never realized how many quilt tops I had that needed to be quilted and bound. I guess I'm going to be busy once I get everything set up! Yay! I can't wait to have some finishes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Review: The Quilt Pattern Shoppe

Recently, I've had several suggestions to blog about some of my favorite products/stores quilting related since all of my quilting stuff is packed up for our move. (We closed on our new house on Monday... YAY!!!) Shortly after, I received a request from The Quilt Pattern Shoppe to do a review of their store on my blog. In full disclosure, I have been asked to write this, but the opinions are mine, and only mine. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this store as well.

The concept for The Quilt Pattern Shoppe is the immediate availability of quilting patterns via download instead of waiting for your pattern to ship and arrive at your door like when you typically order a pattern online. You also don't need to go to the store. I guess you could call this a "green pattern" since the only traveling this pattern does is through the busy cyber-highway.

With over 200 patterns, I was quite interested in seeing all of the patterns available. When I was searching through the website, I was interested to see what kind of patterns were available. I have been into exploring a lot of the pre-cut packages out there lately, so I searched for those first. I could search by charm pack, jelly roll, etc. which they classify under "technique." I wouldn't have thought to classify them that way, but that's where they were. I was a little disappointed in the lack of variety of quilts for pre-cuts.

One of the things that I liked was that for SOME of the patterns, it listed the required materials so that I could see if I had all of the necessary materials to make the quilt. I disliked that not all of the patterns had this. I imagine that I would use this type of service when I'm looking for a new project, at home, using the fabric from my stash. If they could add the fabric requirements to all of the patterns so that they're viewable prior to purchasing, I think many of the patterns would me much more useful and marketable. When purchasing a pattern in a store, I always have the ability to know the fabric requirements before I purchase the pattern.

Some of the things I liked about The Quilt Pattern Shoppe:
  • download for immediate use
  • "green" because no travel is required by you or a shipping company. You could even keep it on your computer and reference it from there (unless you need an applique template I guess) if you really wanted to be "green."
  • See the amount of fabric required for some patterns.
  • Several free patterns - who doesn't love a free pattern?
  • Over 200+ patterns, which is more variety than a lot of small quilt stores.
  • They have a blog. I actually really enjoy reading blogs from a store/manufacturer of quilting merchandise to get a different view than from a quilter's point-of-view (although they almost always are quilters anyway)
  • They have promotions occasionally. Who doesn't love a sale?
  • They easily tell pattern producers how to submit their patterns for sale at the store. As someone who has contemplated making their own patterns, I found this very interesting and helpful.

Some of the things that could be improved upon:

  • Not all patterns list the required materials like I mentioned before.
  • Their classification and search could use some improvement.
  • There seems to be a lot of applique and BOM patterns and not as many pieced patterns. I would have liked to have seen more pieced patterns, as I'm not big into applique and I'm already doing several BOMs right now.
  • You have to log-in to see reviews of the patterns. Every time I'd log in to read a review, I'd try and read it and it would tell me to log in. I work for a technology company and I'm very tech savvy, and I couldn't figure out how to stay logged in to read the reviews.
  • The website seems very basic, and could use some "modernizing" to feel less 1995 and more 2009.

All in all, The Quilt Pattern Shoppe offers a unique service of instantly downloadable quilt patterns. If you're bored one night and are looking for a new project, check The Quilt Pattern Shoppe out for an instantly downloadable quilt pattern that you can begin right then and there.

We're in the process of moving from our apartment to our house, and wont' have Internet hooked up until the 21st at the earliest, so I'm probably only going to be able to blog during my breaks at work. Happy Quilting.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My First Paper Pieced Quilt

Here's a picture of my first paper pieced quilt.  It's probably one of my favorite if not my absolute favorite quilt that I've made.  The blocks are from Carol Doak's 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars.  I took a class about 3-4 years ago at Quilter's Way in Concord, MA in learning how to paper piece.  We were only supposed to make one block, but I absolutely loved the colors and the block, so I made another 8 stars.  This was the first color combo that I made in the class.  You can see a close up of the border fabric, which was the inspiration for the colors that I used.  
After loving how everything was turning out, I made a block in this color combo. Two blocks turned into 3, then 4, then 5... I just couldn't stop I was loving how everything came out.