Friday, March 10, 2017

Custom Shop Hop

Mid-week a quilting friend and I went on a mini shop hop to a few quilt stores that we had wanted to check out and had never visited. They were Stonemountain & Daughter in Berkeley, New Pieces in Berkeley, and Bay Quilts in Richmond. The first one was just under an hour's drive from my house. It took us a little longer, not because of traffic, but rather because we were yacking so much I missed our exit – twice on two different roads – and we had to depend on Siri to patiently reroute us.

We'd both heard folks describe Stonemountain & Daughter as being a huge shop that we just had to see. Well, it was big with several rooms and two floors but it was not exclusively quilting cottons. It had a lot of knits and blends and suiting materials for the garment industry. The store did not excite either of us to any great extent. Street parking in the city was also a bear. We agreed we were both suburbanites – neither city nor country gals. We were glad we had come so we knew we were not missing out an anything but would not be in any great hurry to return. I did buy two short yardages, ½ yard and ¾ yard each of roughly ½" wide stripes to stockpile for bindings; but, other than that, nothing much appealed.

We moved on to New Pieces Quilt Shop and loved, positively loved, the place! It was bright and cheery and pretty extensive with some unique cotton fabrics we had not encountered before. I selected with restraint fearing that with my "fabricaholic" tendencies, my purchase of that one fabric over the previous weekend at the Manteca Quilters' Show could propel me down that slippery slope of impulse fabric buying. Initially I stuck pretty  close to my potential purchase plan of only blenders. I got ½ yard each of these three selections - a mesh look, a wavy stripe and a texture-look solid. That bright green at the bottom does not have the rough feel of linen but it sure looks that way. And its color saturation...? Intense!

Then this cheery print with its lively dashes of green caught my eye. It is called Rooftop Gardens. Again I did not overdo it. I bought enough for a simple pillow, ¾ yard - sufficient to satisfy my yen and still be able to use it up soon.

Rooftop Gardens comes from the City Life line by Alicia Jacobs for Ink & Arrow Fabrics. This was a new company to me. I checked out their website and they do have a fair share of cute novelty fabrics. This is one place I need to steer clear of for casual browsing but definitely keep in mind when I want a print from a specific niche. The site claims there is a hidden motif in each design. What fun!

On a similar vein, I bought this black and white house print. I am collecting fat quarters for a black and white quilt and thought this would be a unique accent for a featuring a few larger blocks throughout. I got ¾ yard instead of  ½ yard because the scale of the print is a bit bigger. The metal Bolt Buddy in the upper left is about ½" wide. So far so good for my travel purchases at this point in the trip. I have only bought some binding fabric, some flexible blenders, and an accent piece, each ¾ yard or less.

Then something striped and twiggy caught my eye. I liked this birch tree twig fabric. It was haunting me as being very familiar. It reminded me of some bird fabric at home that I thought it would go with. It was the end of the bolt. I did not just buy a little. I bought what was left, all 2½+ yards.

As soon as I got home, after our third and final shop, I ran upstairs to find my bird fabric. Alas, it was not as I remembered it and did not really go. It had birch trees alright but the scale and blue were all wrong. I was a little bummed that I had compromised one of my 2017 reduced-buying goals for no really good reason. I came back downstairs and as I walked past the RUG in my family room I had an epiphany.

That is what the twiggy fabric made me think of! That is why I liked it. I love the rug in our family room. It is called Passion Flower and is from Company C. The fabric coloration looked like it was made for that rug. The taupe, the navy, the aqua - all perfect!

I now will make two decent size pillows out of this twig fabric. I am debating pinch pleating one side of the pillow parallel to the twigs to give it texture and leaving the other side smooth. Here is the fabric close up, draped over the blue leather ottoman and rounded as it would be as a pillow. Now I am excited to do this!

On to the last shop of our hop! Bay Quilts a relatively new – less than one year old – shop in Richmond. It became a new affiliate of our quilt guild this year. The shop is in a warehouse/business park area, with easy access from the freeway and lots of parking. It was painted white inside, very airy with high beams wrapped in mini-lights for a festive fun feel. Bay Quilts hosts an artist's display that changes monthly. They had a huge supply of organic cottons in rich colors and blender patterns. I definitely know where to come back to when I have a more well-formed need in my mind. Here I broke my rule of no impulse novelty fabric purchases. (I self-imposed this rule because after all, every novelty fabric is another quilt.) But I saw selections in this shop that I had not seen other places.

I bought 2½ yards of timepiece fabric for a quilt backing for a quilt for my husband. The depth and detail in the fabric drew me in. He is into clocks and I am into fabric. What a match! Hmm. Now I need to make a quilt to match the backing fabric. That is a new approach. I am afraid this impulse buy will linger a bit in my stash.

I also bought this vibrant orange and black check by Julie Cairns for Quilting Treasures ©2016. It does not quite speak Halloween and the coordinating print was tending toward African animals but I liked it. I did refrain from buying other coordinating prints in the line. Perhaps this cloth could be clothes for grandkids? I do not know yet. I bought 1¼ yards. This was another non-dedicated impulse buy. But just looking at it makes me happy. I hope my tune does not change when I try to cram it into my closet. I know the solution – I will not try to fit it in. I will leave it out to look at and enjoy. Maybe it is my penchant for stripes and polka dots that draws me to this piece. I do love it though and have no buyer's remorse.

My final purchase was a striking panel – the lion and the lamb. It is called The Four Seasons - Spring by Julie Paschkis for In the Beginning Fabrics © 2017. It just begs to be machine quilted in some way. Look at all those swirls and curls! March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. Note the swirling wind at the upper left of the lion.

Notice the bright sunshine and profusely blooming flowers with the lamb. I can't wait to quilt squiggles on that hillside.

This mini-custom shop hop was a great deal of fun – both the company and the fabrics. We will do it again sometime. But it is almost as much fun revisiting my purchases and writing about them. Let's see how much I sew up before a replenishment repeat trip.


  1. I love that twiggy print! and it really is an inspired choice to go with the family room. I am not particularly nuts about the animal fabric, but that lion/lamb stuff definitely has a neat aesthetic and would make a fun centerpiece to a wall hanging or a pillow. I love the use of blues, purples and greens on the lamb panel.

    I too have recently picked up some "village" fabrics like you mention: they must be "in," but that rooftop garden is definitely my favorite of the ones I've seen. I look forward to seeing what you pair it with!

    1. I think I may pair that rooftop garden fabric with nothing and let it stand on its own. If anything at all, I may spike it with that vibrant green solid I bought at the same time. Perhaps an edge piping or flange on a pillow...?

  2. It sounds like you had a really pleasant day with great company. I'm glad that you were able to spend the day doing something you enjoy so much (and not sorting bins - ha!).

    1. Yes. It was fun to get away from it all (fabric excepted).