Monday, August 19, 2013

Boston Trip and Fabric Finds

My husband and I just got back from nine day trip back east to the Boston area and a bit of New Hampshire. We went to visit college friends and share memories of the good old days. Of course I managed to weasel quilting into the trip.

Lowell, Massachusetts was a major textile manufacturing town that grew up and peaked during the Industrial Revolution. On Friday we went to the Lowell Quilt Festival with college friends John and Sue.  They are both novices to the world of quilting and this was their first quilt show. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how impressed they were with the quilts shown and how surprised they were viewing the changes from the quilts they remember on the beds of their grandmothers. Many displays did not allow photography but this one did and I captured this beauty that caught my eye for color, workmanship, and detail.

I know that with the advent of the internet most fabrics are available online and so geographic location is not a real constraint.  However, going to shows in another part of the country tends to feature the tastes of that area and so you do see more fabric variety when you are out and about. Of course there were vendors at the show and I want to showcase my purchases from the Boston area.

These are Kaffe Fasset prints that I bought from Waterwheel House.  They packaged their fat quarters in a very enticing manner and had the many bright colors and the polka dots that I gravitate to.

And with a ten-month old granddaughter, whooo could pass up these three color ways of mini-print OWL FAT quarters; or should I say mini-print FAT OWL quarters? Either fits, they are so chubby and adorable, especially with those big, round, pin-dot pupil eyes!

Waterwheel House also had these adorable fox prints but only in a prepackaged bundle of fat quarters.  They agreed to ship a yard of each to my home in California directly from their shop and did not charge me shipping.  Not only did I save money but I saved weight.  After this trip I brought back 15 pounds of fabric combined from this quilt Festival and a visit to Keepsake Quilting in New Hampshire a fews day later!

Also at the Lowell Quilt Festival I bought a yard each of these quirky stripes at $5 / yard at clearance because the store was changing its image and re-prioritizing the product lines it carried. I think they were changing their store to feature more sedate heritage and somber civil war era tones. These wavy bands definitely would not have fit in. The store owners probably think they were lucky to find a crazy Californian to buy them. I, on the other hand, think they will make hecka-cute cute bindings or filler blocks in a baby quilt. Definitely a win-win situation...

I thought these prints were just plain cute and intend them possibly for little girls dresses or pinafores.

I also bought this three yard combo for $15 and just love the whimsy of the dotted/striped birds/pumpkins and the jaunty curli-qued hats on the cute spooks.

After the quilt show we went on to the American Textile History Museum located in Lowell, Massachusetts. I was fascinated with the way flax, cotton, wool, and silk are processed into the thread that is woven or knitted into the cloth we buy today. Considering all that goes into getting the fibers from the plant or animal, and not even counting the weaving and dying and printing, I began to appreciate that maybe the price we pay for fabric these days is not so bad after all.

And for you knitters out there, there is a very well dressed scarecrow in the American Textile History Museum.  The children from school tours there had named him Oz.

Later in the week we toured other museums in Lowell, Massachusetts where they weave and print the cloth. We did this with college friends Joe and Margaret. We also drove up north to visit Keepsake Quilting on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and met up with other college friends Linda and Richard. To me Keepsake Quilting represents an icon in the quilting world. I wanted to visit it just like one wants to read a classic novel. Our Lowell and Lake Winnipesaukee visits are a tale for another post.

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