Friday, June 24, 2016

Shop Hop Purchases and Memories

I went with a fellow guild member on the opening day of a Shop Hop by the Bay, that was running June 22-26, 2016. We were on the same page strategy-wise for buying. We each planned to buy something only if it strongly caught our eye. If we had to debate "yes or no", then we would leave it behind. A purchase was also permitted if it fit a prescribed purpose and not slip into a "maybe someday" category. My only trepidation in this respect was one of my 2016 quilting resolutions. I had a self-imposed limit that I could buy no more than two quilt kits in 2016 in an effort to reduce my inventory of kits in my stash. I had reached that limit in April. My daughter had suggested a work-around to that by adding the corollary that for every two kits I completed, I could allow myself to buy one. Last week, in anticipation of this trip, I toyed with the idea of attempting to sew up two kits in three days on the off chance I might see one I really, really, liked. But I didn't sew up two kits. What if I saw a kit that was too good to pass up? Would I be sorely tempted to break this "no more kits in 2016" resolution?

A Shop Hop by the Bay map cited the locations and distances between participating shops. We visited shops in farthest to nearest order from our homes. I picked up my friend and drove about 75 miles and 1 hour and 20 minutes south to start shopping at San Juan Bautista. We worked our way north, in the map order FT, NT, SBI, QT, GSQ, G, ESB. We had no pre-allotted time limit in each shop but uncannily we were on the same wavelength as to when we approached the checkout register and were ready to move onward. Between these shops totaled about 50 miles. We collected seven stamps in our passport but ran out of time due to traffic in the final leg and had to skip the two shops in Fremont, NJQ and CMQ. Energy was beginning to lag as well – just a bit. It had been a great day, from initial pickup at 8:00 am to final drop-off after 6:00 pm, and we had a blast.

Each shop had snacking goodies and a small give away just for coming. These were some of the freebies. There was a 2½"wide batik strip at each shop and a pattern to sew them all into a tote bag. Also I picked up a ruler, a tape measure, a retracting tape measure, and a block of thread conditioner. But not everything is free! I did make purchases I will show and describe in the following photos. I combined purchases for two shops in one photo; so the accompanying text does not flow in visiting order. I took the photos before I started writing this post.

In the next photo, I've shown my purchases from Family Threads in San Juan Bautista, CA and Quilts and Things in Morgan Hill, CA.  First stop of the day was Family Threads in San Juan Bautista. I've shown my purchases there in the bottom row. I love that their license plate reads Squirrel Moment. I really feel that way sometimes as my head whips around when a piece of fabric catches my eye, like the dog in the Disney move Up. At Family Threads I bought a ¼ yard of a blue and white pin stripe. I was looking for a broader blue and white cabana style stripe to use as a accent strip on two pillowcases but no luck at this shop. The day was yet young. The wild, almost obnoxiously bright, stripe came from the 50% off section as did the buttons and the EZpiecing star pattern. The stripe will add to my collection I reserve for quilt bindings. The buttons are earmarked for a sweater for on of my granddaughters. The pattern came preprinted on light weight interfacing so there is no paper removal after sewing. Maybe that is why it is named EZpiecing and not paper piecing even though it is the same technique. I had opened the pattern to check it out and, when my shopping partner spotted the convenience, she bought one also. The black and white book was 50% off too and the quilts inside are absolutely adorable. That says a lot for me who is a color fan and usually uses black and white in only small amounts. Wow – I had a lot to say about only the first shop! Fourth stop of the day was Quilts and Things in Morgan Hill, CA, and right before we ate lunch. In the upper row are purchases from there. From left to right is the commemorative license plate, appropriately named Joy of Quilting. Next are four flannels to help replenish my burp cloth stash and an adorable stripe by Debbie Mumm earmarked for grandkid pillowcases.

In the second store, The Nimble Thimble, in quaint downtown Gilroy, there was this awesome blast from the past up at the checkout register. It was an old fashioned yardage measuring device from a JC Penney store. I remember standing at my mom's side when I was a child as the store clerk would insert a selvedge side of the fabric into the slot of the machine and pass the yardage through a pair of rollers. The dial on the meter would spin around like the hand of a clock counting out the requested yardage. The lever on the right was depressed to cut a nick in the edge of the fabric. Then the clerk slid the cloth out from the machine and r-i-p-p-e-d it across the grain to give the customer the length she had requested. Nimble Thimble was not using the  fabric meter for their sales but it sure was nostalgic to see it.

I was not tall enough back then to see the numbered face on top that the clerk was watching as she drew the fabric through the metering rollers. As a counter height kid I remember instead watching that front dial spin around. I was enthralled when the lady bore down on that lever with a resounding klunk, then violently tore that length of fabric right off the bolt. And my mother bought it anyway - rips, mini-frayed edge, and all!

In the top row of the next photo are my purchases at the Nimble Thimble. The shop's commemorative license plate reminds quilters that Gilroy is nicknamed the garlic capital of the world. To the right of the plate is my replacement notion of silicone thermal thimbles. Do not ask me how, but I misplaced one thimble, but since doing so I have repeatedly singed my finger. I guess since I started using this handy-dandy notion I have diminished my skill of instantaneous retraction of my hand when I hear the first hint of steam whooshing out from beneath the sole plate of my iron. Next are some luggage tags and a second option for accent blue on those pillowcases instead of a stripe. The fabric panel of color chips I plan to hang a s a decoration accent. Maybe I will border it and quilt it, or I may merely put it on stretcher bars. The fifth stop of the day was Golden State Quilting in Campbell, CA. Their commemorative plate reads Quilt Crazy. Here I bought a pattern for a pillow out of prairie points and a pattern for called Typography which gives me a nice alphabet selection for flexible use in future projects.

At Golden State Quilting I also picked up a couple fat quarters, black leaves on a red background, dubbed "low-fat quarters" because they were on sale. They are the rubber-banded rolls in the previous photo. They look enough like feathers that I will use them with fabrics I have been accumulating for a yellow, red, black, and white chicken quilt. In the next photo those two low-fat feathered fat quarters are shown centrally nestled in among those chicken fabrics I have been collecting. I still need to find or decide upon the appropriate pattern or layout to showcase these perky, quirky novelties. The cheery green one may be out of place but I am reserving judgment about its use – maybe as a surprise backing?

Our sixth and seventh stops of the day were Eddie's Quilting Bee and The Granary both in Sunnyvale, CA. The number of purchased items have definitely become fewer. We had plastic ware so I think it was more a matter of visual saturation than funding. At EQB (upper row) I bought some tape measure fabric I plan to interspersed as strips in a log cabin block patter. To the right of it is a third and last stab at the best blue accent fabric for those pillowcases. I also  got myself a new thread snip with cushy ergonomic grips. Mine that I have used for many, many years were dull. Two or three snips to cut a thread can be annoying. I'd bought a pair of orange Fiskars to replace them and although they worked fine, I did not like the feel of them in my hand. Hopefully these yellow snips will be more comfortable – and sharper. At The Granary I bought some 50% off fire engine novelty fabric destined to become pillowcases for my grandson. I will draw the accent and band fabric from my stash. Hey, I just noticed the zig-zig blue above is a good candidate to go with that blue background Dalmatian stripe. At each of these shops I also picked up a commemorative license plate.

For thoroughness, I will add that the third stop of the day was Sew Bee It in Morgan Hill but we made no purchases there. Well, I did get a license plate and a stamp to say I had been there but that is not in any of the photos. I also bought a magazine at one of shops. Which shop? I don't know and the magazine is not shown.

All in all, I bought ¼ yard three times over for the blue accent strip on those two pillowcases. The bathing beauties are the main body and the orange is the band at the opening. Here is the comparison of all three candidates for accent. I never did find a wide blue and white stripe like I had in mind. The pinstripe seems too wimpy to me but I do like the mini-triangles on the far right. They have a sort of wave motion. The blue triangle print has a periwinkle tint to it also and not so clearly royal as the far left candidate. The far right fabric it will be. I am glad I kept an open mind.

I play a game with myself when I go on quilting outings or shows where I generally make several purchases. Soon after I get home, before I open any of the bags or empty any of my tote bags to admire my treasures, I sit down and attempt to write a list, from memory, without peeking, of all that I bought. Only then do I take it out and look at it. I informally grade myself on how much I remember. This is not a test of my brain but rather a measure of how many of the purchases were impulse lust at first sight and not a true everlasting love. If I can not remember it, I ask myself how much did I really want it. My performance this trip was that I remembered 27 items out of 30 for a score of 90%. Not too shabby. The items I forgot were a magazine, the typography pattern, and the color chip panel and none of them was a high ticket item. Would I have had regrets had I left any of those behind? Probably not. My count test is a reasonable indicator of my restraint. An even better indicator is that I bought NO kits.


  1. Oh, that sounds like a blast! You got some really fun fabrics. Way to go on the self restraint!

  2. I loved reading about your Shop Hop Experience! I think the buying 3 different fabrics for the same part of the pillowcase is something that many of us do, even if we don't admit it. Right now I have a lot of novelty fabrics with dogs, they were all bought to be part of a quilt for my dog loving son. Do they all work? No. So I guess there will be some other things made with those fabrics...bibs? Thanks again for taking us with you on the Hop. Torry

  3. TSQ just announced they got their license plates... hopefully we can pick one up while you're here! That sounds like a super-fun day, and WOW at the 90% recall rate - I don't think I've ever managed that at a quilt show. I especially love that racoon-and-mushroom strip, and the "squirrel moment" plate just cracks me up.

    1. Oh, and double-yay at the self control (or just plain luck) that had you resisting all the kits! I still think you should work under the "net gain" philosophy and try to get some of those kits knocked out soon, though!