Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tooling Around the San Mateo Show

One day this week my husband and I went to the Quilt, Craft, and Sewing Festival in San Mateo, CA about an hour's drive from our home. We were going for more of an outing, certainly to browse, but with my goals being to see if there were some good show prices on a new Rowenta iron and some Bloc_Loc rulers. Since I am up to my ears in kits and fabrics, I told my husband, "No more kits! This is more of a tools-of-the-trade trip." As soon as we entered the pavilion, I pointed out a pre-packaged kit displayed on a wall rack and emphasized that I needed an intervention to discourage me from buying any more of these type things, please.

A few random fabric impulse were allowed though, of course, as shown in the next photo. The central Christmas print just called to me in a Norwegian/Swedish kind of way. My husband is a stamp collector and loves adirondack chairs, so I bought those fabrics on the left and right partly to please him. Since we are redecorating our master bedroom with a beach theme, I can sneak that chair print in somewhere. I have just a yard of each so I may make pillowcases.

I think my mood at this show was best described as a yearning for "the softer side of life". I have nothing against cheery and LOUD, but sometimes I appreciate happy and soft. These far-from-crisp animal prints appealed to me. Yes, I know. This is a cloth book and I swore I would stop stocking those for a while. But the images were so soft and alluring and cuddly.

The next photo made me think of "misty watercolored memories". Can't you just hear Barbra Streisand singing The Way We Were right now? These painted creatures were a pleasant change from all the jolting modern highly graphic fabric that has been around lately as part of the modern quilt movement.

This next animal panel was definitely an impulse purchase, but doesn't this leaping sheep just make you smile? He is really big! That is a full ~42" width of fabric in the photo.

It is ironic. I avoid buying kits but in a way, a novelty print that needs to be a focus, becomes in itself another project. At least I get to play with my stash to find fabrics to go with that novelty print or panel. Unless I make pillowcases... dozens of them.

Books and Patterns:
To compensate for buying these panels (I am now coughing lightly to hide my chagrin) I bought this great book, called Panel Play. It is filled with inspiration for fabric panels. The back cover says. "I bought it. Now what do I do with it?" Sooo true! I was so excited with its clever and innovative contents, that I bought it at the show and did not wait to see if it was cheaper on Amazon. (It was not.)

I also bought a pattern I had been eyeing at previous shows but had refrained from purchasing. I still like it, so I caved this time. After all, it was not fabric. I have googled it and seen it made up with a white rather than beige toned background and think I prefer it with the less brown background. But I think it would be cute in rosy pink, a medium blue, and soft cream for a baby's room, also. I really do not think I needed the pattern after learning to make components in quantities from my Patchwork Math Workshop, but somehow I feel guilty using someone's idea without compensating them in some way.

We never saw any steam iron vendors at the show, Rowenta or other, and we could not find anyone selling Bloc_Loc rulers either; so I could not meet my main show goals.

But, I did buy an ironing pad for travel and use in classes. Quite a while ago I'd bought a cover for my ironing board made from an Owens-Corning Fiberglass yarn that is guaranteed never to burn. It never scorches and it reflects about 95% of the heat so pressing takes much less time since the item heats from both sides at once. I just love how durable it is and how it gives me crisply pressed seams. I have had mine for years and bought one for my daughter as well. I'm anticipating that the traveling pad of the same materials that I just bought will also give many years of use. If you cannot find the covers and traveling pads at a show, they can be ordered from

I also bought this pattern and the inserts for The Beatle Bag from Abbey Lane Quilts. This does not count as a kit, does it? Not really. I thought it would be great for keeping a set of traveling tools for quilt classes. I liked that the four inserts, two zippered pockets each, have pre cut holes with sealed edges at the spine so you never have to sew through plastic. If it works up nicely, I will buy more inserts and make a second one for my daughter. Maybe eight pockets is a bit of overkill and I will make two bags out of one set of four inserts. The inserts are installed with Velcro so they are removable. I think the Abbey Lane Quilt blog may have more photos of these bags.

All in all it was a fun day. My husband wore his traditional shirt for accompanying me to shows with this scene embroidered at the pocket. His shirt is getting a little frayed around the neck. I guess he uses it a lot. He takes great pride in his role of CEO - Carries Everything Out.


  1. Those watercolor animal patterns remind me of Eric Carle artwork - and sure would be prefect for a baby boy (hint, hint). And I'd be super curious to look at that panel play book next time we are in the same geographic location, being such a panel addict myself. And, I love that shirt for dad. I really wish I could find something similar in a T-shirt for my husband!

    1. I already started playing with that water color animal panel. I will be sure to show you that panel play book when I visit. I will e-mail you some shirt links.