Quilt Shops

Quilter’s Coop, Temecula California

Last week I went for a little field trip and visited this shop in downtown Temecula California.  It’s Quilter’s Coop, and I had a great time there.

Joann, shown here helping a customer, is the owner and I had a great time chatting with her about different aspects of her shop.  She proved to me again that most of the shop owners I’ve encountered, as well as people who work there, are friendly and helpful.  And cheerful.  And probably brave and thrifty, too, but I don’t really know about that.

When you walk in the front door, you enter what I came to think of as The Americana Room: full of primitives and reds, whites, and blues and flag quilts and all sort of things to get you in a patriotic mood.  I loved the flag quilt on their deacon’s bench up front, with the use of the different colors for the flag blocks.

Cutting table in the Americana room.

Her table displays are inventive and have a mini-quilt or two, along with some fun antiques.  This fits in with the general tone of downtown Temecula–that of a frontier Western town, with lots of cute shops and antiques.  One of my favorite shops in Temecula is the soda place–with tons of different kinds of soda to choose from (I do like the Route 66 root beer). But I digress.

Here’s the Christmas room, which they were getting ready for the Southern California Quilters’ Run, happening this coming weekend (and next, too). Click on the link to see a map, as well as information about the run on the weekends of June 18th and 25th.

This quilt, titled “The Reason,” is designed by Laural of Simply PutPlus Patterns, who works at Quilter’s Coop (and who cut my fabric for me).  I saw quite a few other patterns I wanted as well.

Next to that was this display of Lighthouse Fabrics, as well as the ironing board.  I must have ironing board covers on my mind, but I picked up a pattern to make myself a new cover.  I’m sure you know by know (after looking at all my pictures of my ironing board cover) that I am in serious need of a new one.  Or maybe I just shouldn’t take anymore pictures of my ironing board.  Either one. . .

Quilter’s Coop has just about everything: holiday fabrics (Halloween, above), a few novelties, a wall of 1930s, a sale room, a room dedicated to creams and white, a corner for batiks–as I was shooting pictures I kept thinking of how to write about this shop.  How about this: they have something for every style of quilter.  Here are the photos to prove it:

I had a great time shopping here, the attitude personified by this sign that hung over the doorway to their classroom.

I loved the look of this–stacks of colorful fabrics, pins hanging from hooks, and the orange cutting mat.

Here’s my takeaway: the ironing board cover, a selection of brights, and fun prints–including a lovely fabric from Japan.  If you go there, they are on the corner of 3rd and Old Town Front Street, across from the market.  They have a parking lot next to their store.


Quilt Label

What am I working on today? Quilt Labels!

I used to be very diligent about getting labels on all my quilts, but somewhere between the last child getting off to college and grad school and beginning teaching, I sort of forgot to keep doing this.  So this summer, one of my Works In Progress is to get labels on all my quilts.  I thought I’d share with you my favorite method.  Come back Friday for Finishing School Friday to see what I’ve completed this week.

I’m completely in love with Jaybird’s labels, printed up at Spoonflower, but it you want a personalized label for each quilt, you’ll have to make each one individually.  There are tons of ways to do this, but here’s one I use and am comfortable with (because it’s easy). The printer method works best for wallhangings that won’t be washed a lot.  I have an Epson inkjet, and have done test samples on both machines about what happens to the fabric in the laundry. The inkjet holds up better to washing, if you are not going to go to the trouble of using BubbleJet Set on your fabric.  If you really want the wording on the label to stick around on a quilt that will be washed a lot, I think that the Bubble Jet is mandatory.

Or, get out your pigma pens and WRITE the label.  I’ve done the latter several times.  This was a label for a quilt by our little quilting group: The Good Heart Quilters.

Here’s a more elaborate one (the lower part is a poem) which I bordered, then cut out the pansies and appliqued them around the border.  Both of these quilts have been washed a lot of times and the print is still fine and readable.  It’s just the photographer who is shaky!

But for the printed label, write up what you want on your label in a word processing program on your computer.  My basic items are the name of the quilt, who made it and quilted it (sometimes there are different quilters and it’s only fair they should get some credit).  Then after that it varies.  I generally always put the date I finished and sometimes I put the date I began.  I learned also that having the size of the quilt was handy for when I wanted to enter it into quilt shows.  Sometimes I add the name of the city (I’ve moved a couple of times) as it all shows some of the quilt’s history. I like to write a little blurb of one or two lines about the quilt, but sometimes this blurb gets out of hand.  Then I’ll call it History of the The Quilt and break it out onto a separate label.

At any rate, when you finish that, print this out on your printer using regular paper (to check spelling, placement, etc.).  Cut a piece of fabric the size of your words, back it with freezer paper and place it right on that paper you just printed out.  Tape it down on three sides with masking/painter’s tape (Picture 1).  Run it through your printer, then peel off the tape (Picture 2).  You now have a printed label (Picture 3).

To “set” the label, get out a few more sheets of plain paper, lay over the top and press, with a bit of steam.  I do this several times with several sheets of paper until I see that there is no transfer of ink onto the blank paper.  I’m still cautious after that about laying my iron down on the laserjet printing, as it’s kind of “plastic-y” and you can melt it with a hot iron.

Trim up the label.  Use a gridded ruler to keep  the edges square to the printing.  On the label, I keep a 3/4″ margin all the way around.  On the History bit, I use a 1/2″ margin.


 I like to border my labels.  On the left, sewn.  On the right, sewn and ironed into shape.  Trim off extra fabric, leaving a 1/4″ inch edge to be ironed under.

Here it is pinned onto the quilt.  I like to place my labels so that, when facing the quilt and if the right hand lower corner was picked up, you would see the label.

Here’s one of my quilts from the back (I used a tea towel from France as the backing) and you can see the label placement. Here are some more examples:

I don’t know if you can tell, but I made a little flap (the upside-down people) for this quilt label.  When you enter a quilt show they like you to cover up your name (for judging purposes).

This was one of my favorite labels: an envelope on the back of the Valentine’s quilt about hearts being drawn together like “Twined Threads.”  And that was the name I gave to the quilt. A snap keeps the envelope shut.

And that’s what I’ve been working on–Quilt Labels! Click *here* to see what everyone else is doing.


Quilt Sleeve

Notice no computer on the computer desk, although my father’s painting of a valley in Utah is still there.  I’m computer-dependent.  I like the web–it’s my friend and occasionally my enemy (Time-Sucking Enemy) but I like reading everyone’s blogs and getting new ideas.  And I love reading newspapers online, even though we subscribe to two already. (I’m doing my part for print media, trust me.)  This morning all I saw was the spinning ball of death (I have a Mac).  So, since I was computerless today, I worked on getting a very old quilt finished.

I began it in February of 2005 and the quilt is appliqued, pieced and I had already quilted it.  HAND-quilted it. Here we are in June 2011.  Time flies.  First up–the quilt sleeve.  I hope to enter this in a local show, and they require a 4″ quilt sleeve.  There are many fancy ways to do this but here’s mine:

Cut a single strip of fabric the width of the top of your quilt, minus 2 inches.  For a 4″ sleeve, it should be 9″ wide.

I usually try to do this on the length of grain, but if you are doing cross-grain, and need extra width, it’s okay to piece this.  If your quilt is more than 70″ wide, some people like to make it in two parts just in case the want to put a hook in the middle to help hold up the rod and support the weight.  But I rarely hang that size of quilt so I’ve never done it.

Fold in the short ends and stitch down.  Then fold it lengthwise in half and align the raw edges with the top edge of your quilt.  Pin.

Stitch on the binding.

That brings us here.  The binding is stitched on, the corners folded into their miters and pinned down.  I used to use straight pins to pin down ALL the binding, then went to the clippie-thing.  My quilty friend Tracy convinced me to only do the corners and let the rest be.  So this is how I do it now–it’s much easier not having to fight all that equipment, and yes, the binding gets on straight, thank you very much.  Here’s the souped-up version of the above picture:

See how much work I’m getting done since I can’t surf the web?

Now, pin down the folded edge of the sleeve, placing pins 1/2″ away from the edge.  When you sew down that sleeve, LIFT UP the folded edge, and stitch 1/4″ from the fold on the lower (closest to the quilt) part of the sleeve, catching only one layer of the fabric.  You are tacking this into place.  You don’t want to sew more than this, otherwise the sleeve will be visible above the binding.

All sewn.

Spool of Thread in her undercover work posing as a Quilt Rod.

 But by doing it this way, you leave a little slack in the sleeve tube, so that the quilt show rods won’t distort your quilt from the front.

My version of a label is in the next post, as I have to go and stitch this all down while I watch Foyle’s War (we’re on Season Five) with my husband.


The computer came home!
It was a faulty partition in the skizzy-dingbat area of the software, which only cost me $85 and the computer guy shared with me that the hard drive could go at any moment.
Or not.

Creating · Something to Think About

Sun, Falling Into Sea

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I happened on a book of Chinese Window Screen Designs. A fan of anything repetitive or gridded, I was hooked. But I wanted to make it into a quilt. A Chinese window lattice, turned into a quilt? Sun, Falling Into Sea is the result. I drew the block in my Quilt Program, then played and played and tweaked and worked the darks, lights and lines into something I could cut out of fabric, piece and stitch.

I had forgotten about Sun, Falling Into Sea, made for a guild challenge (“Patches of Blue Water” hosted by the Orange County Quilt Guild), finding it again when I decided to try and photograph all my quilts. And that was prompted by a desire to have a written record of all my quilts, which was prompted by a set of art journals that my father has made to chronicle his path from the time he first picked up paintbrushes until this day. He has four of these journals, and I was completely taken by their existence. I mean, I know they existed, but I’ve come to understand the work and history and their significance only lately. Since they have been promised to another one of my siblings, I decided that I should try and capture a little of his books by making onof my own.e

First thing to do was to sit down and make a list of the art output of my own. Certainly it wouldn’t be how many floors I’ve scrubbed or loads of dishes into the dishwasher, but something more tangible, something I could photograph. I have done some tole painting, some crafting (remember that I am a child of the 1970s and, yes, I’ve even done macrame) but it was quilting that came to mind. I made a list. Even considering the ones I have given away, I have made 75 quilts, as of this counting.

Somewhere in the early 1970s, I started quilting, and the quilt above, a whole cloth quilt with the little Holly Hobby girls outlined by thread, was where I began. I didn’t know even how to start or stop the stitching, so in some places, I simply did a few back stitches in place, the nub of thread hidden in the heel of one of the girls. I finished the edges with frilly eyelet lace. I would call it pathetic, but it’s kind of endearing in its naivete. My latest big effort was a quilt made of dotted fabrics with hundreds of pieces, chronicled on my quilty blog.

In the last two days I’ve put close to 50 quilts up on the wall, flipped them over, taken them down. Rinse, repeat. Dave helped me for the huge ones, as I had to borrow a quilt stand to get the full view. A few of the early ones I have never photographed, nor seen stretched up before me in all their glory. It was enlightening, and rewarding to regard a life’s work in cloth and thread. I’ve sent them all to Costco to be printed, and will be taking the borrowed quilt stand to Arizona when I travel to see two of my children, to photograph the quilts I’ve made and given to them.

I don’t quite know how to describe what I feel tonight, after this experience (besides tired). It’s not often that I take time to review my accomplishments, and to enjoy them. Rewarding? Humbling? Satisfying? Maybe. But all of this was prompted by my father’s books, of his journal built page by page, painting by painting, a few artful scrawls of information in his deft handwriting. I look forward to building m

Finishing School Friday · Something to Think About

Finishing School Friday

No, not THAT kind of finishing school, but the kind where you get something done–something that won’t be UN-done, and say “Yay!  I finished something!”

I told my husband that I needed to go to Finishing School today, and so I did.

You’ve heard of Northern Lights?  Well meet Southern Brights–as in the southwest section of our nation.  We like brights, and this bundle from Fabricworm was so fun and cheery that I couldn’t resist adding a few more to make a Bento Box quilt.

This fabric, Round Robin, reminds me of the digital game Angry Birds, with their little round birds flying through the air.

I took it to the quilter today, so I could say: I finished a quilt top, sewed up the back and got it to the quilter!

What have you finished, this fine Friday?  So often in our listing of Works in Progress (which I love reading, by the way), we focus on the incomplete, those tasks that still remain heaped around our shoulders like heavy stones.  And if you’re like me, you might tend to interpret every new fabric stash purchase as adding more weight to that burden.  So I think it’s nice to be able to say–DONE!–even if the quilt itself isn’t done, this part is.

Here is a page out of a terrific book I have that is not used enough.  (And yes, I know where it is.)  It has a column of little pink boxes along the left side of the page, lines in the middle and drawing space–blank space–on the right.  The pages are perforated in case the user wants to tear them out.  It’s called Project Planner and it is made by Pen-Tab.  I did a Google search on it (couldn’t find it), because while I am a totally digital sort of person and can make loads of computer-generated To Do Lists, there’s something so cathartic and lovely about writing down a list of steps to do next to cute little pink boxes.  And there’s also something so lovely about being to put checkmarks in those cute little pink boxes.  The above page is for my daughter and son-in-law’s quilt that I made them for Christmas a few years ago.  I like looking at this page on those days when I feel surrounded by the Undone and feel like The Undead as I try to muster up some energy to clear the desk.

So, what can you point to this Finishing School Friday (FSF)?  Decided on a quilt?  Chosen some fabric?  Completed a block?  Or two?  Stitched a few of them together? If you are so inclined, leave a comment with your blog address showing what you’ve finished, even if it is so little as “doodled up a quilt sketch during a meeting.” Celebrate the Completed.

Creating · Quilts · Sewing

Red & White Challenge

Yesterday I wrote about Temecula Quilt Co and how the owner has a Red and White Challenge going on. {Details are •here•}  Bring your Red and White Quilt into the shop by September 15th, or if you are too far away, send a photo.  Head to her page for more info.


Do you? While I was there I purchased six fat quarters of red and six of Kona Snow white from her (she graciously wrapped them up for me in cute little papers).  I’d like to share with you, so we can get started on a quilt to show in October.  Sheryl has more red and white available on her website, but if you live far away–or already have your own stash–any of the deep reds will work for this exchange.  And yes, I prewashed all the reds for you.

So, I’m organizing my own little way for you and I to play together, no matter where we live.  What I propose:
• leave a comment in order to get a free fat quarter of red and a free fat quarter of white.  By signing up, you agree to finish your block and get it back to me by August 1st.  Pinkie Swear you will do this–please don’t sign up if you won’t complete it by the first of August.
• make an 9″ block (should measure 9 1/2″ so as to include the seam allowances) using only red/white fabrics; you may select your block pattern from the blocks below.  I’ll include the pattern when I send it to you.
• make another block for yourself (if you want)
• send me my block by AUGUST 1ST!!
• And as a thank you, I will send you a block in return.  So you get two free blocks for making one–and for taking the red and white challenge with me.  This should get you started, so you can participate in the Quilt Challenge. I only bought six, so don’t waste time!

About the blocks: I looked through a lot of quilts that were hanging up in New York City, and chose a few.  I drafted them using my software (I use QuiltPro), and have printed them out, paper templates included.  Choose the block you want to make and it will be in your little package of fun that will be coming your way.  Be honest with yourself.  If you are just a beginning quilter, choose one of the easier blocks.  I don’t mind if we have duplicates.  If you want something fun (you only have to make two), try one of the more complex blocks.

I will be making a 9-patch based block for you–a surprise!–but it will coordinate with yours.  If I have no takers by June 20th (because you are all traveling, or having a baby, or don’t feel like a red and white, or just want to relax this summer), I’ll withdraw the challenge.

I’ve already had some replies:
First participant: Rhonda, making Jacob’s Ladder
Second participant: Sara, making Churn Dash
Third participant: Leisa, who hasn’t said yet which block she wants (Flying Geese Nines?)
Fourth quilter is Lisa G, who wants to make Swirling Star
Fifth quilter is Sue, who has her eye on Double-X
Sixth quilt is Katie H, who wants to make Shoofly.
Thanks all–looking forward to seeing your blocks in a couple of months.  I’ve got my design all planned out, and hope to start slicing into the red/white fabrics tomorrow.

I took the Swirling Star block from this quilt.  It looks amazing all made up and put together, doesn’t it?
P.S.  I’m sure most of these have other names; I looked them up in Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.