Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Excitement -- and More Nebraska Quilt Shops

Most people don't like Mondays much.  But this Monday is shaping up to be a a Very Good Day!

First, I won!  I won one of the Fat Quarter Bundles from Maureen Cracknell's Handmade Cocoon Giveaway, sponsored by Fat Quarter Shop.  I even won the colorway I like best, how's that for lucky?  I'll post photos as soon as I receive my wonderful prize.

Second, I quilted my first real quilt on Meggie, the Mega Quilter:

My husband (and photographer) said, "But you won't be able to see the quilting in a photo."  DUH.  Actually, I think it turned out pretty good for a first try!  I used the ubiquitous "meander stitch" and a new poly thread from Superior Threads I got at the Cincinnati Quilt Festival.  The thread has a lovely sheen and it worked like a dream.

I pieced this quilt yesterday at Brown Bag Surprise at Ruth's Stitchery.  Do you recognize the pattern?  Yep, it's Yellow Brick Road.  My go-to pattern for quick and easy, and Ruth's fabric choices never disappoint.  I made it for a friend from church who recently underwent heart surgery.

This photo shows the fabric colors better, but isn't very flattering to me -- that's why I'm usually behind the camera!

Now, for the final "Nebraska Shop Hop 2012" report.

After departing Lincoln, I headed west to Seward and The Udder Store.  The sister store to The Cosmic Cow, the owner warned me that it is "a work in progress."  I was delighted with the selection at The Udder Store, although I had bought everything I wanted at the Lincoln store.

Once again, I took Highway 34 west, avoiding I-80's springtime construction.  The Quilt Basket in York was hosting an in-house quilt show, but I was hurrying to hit one more shop before closing time.  I foolishly returned to I-80 for the last leg to Aurora. The Picket Fence specializes in BOMs and kits -- and it was an even 100 degrees Fahrenheit when I arrived in Aurora!

Having learned my lesson, I kept to Highway 34 and arrived in Grand Island just in time for a quick turn through Material Girl before they closed.  Once again, I took a recommendation from the quilt shop owners and had dinner at a local Italian restaurant.  The shop opened early the next morning and I scored a great collection of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons.  Material Girl offers a huge selection of Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler and other contemporary fabrics.

A second shop in Grand Island, Nana's Country Quilt Shop, is a haven for Reproduction fabric lovers.  They were hosting a Schnibbles quilt show, it is always fun to see the fabrics different quilters choose for quilts I've made myself.

Next up was The Quilters Cottage in Kearney.  Not a big shop, but a big selection.  By now, I was starting to flag, so I don't remember much about Kearney!

I do remember the next shop, because I was surprised at how contemporary a shop Prairie Point Junction turned out to be.  I guess I thought "Prairie Point Junction" sounded like a "Kansas Troubles" and "Thimbleberries"-type shop, but they really have a great selection of contemporary fabrics and a huge selection of wool felt.  I will definitely turn away from the Interstate to visit Cozad next trip East!

The Quilt Rack in North Platte is one of those shops that looks like it won't be much from the outside -- but is wonderful inside.  Row after row of color-sorted fabrics, the newest 30s repros and lots and lots of pre-cuts make this shop worth turning off the Interstate for.

My last stop in Nebraska was The Silver Thimble in Ogalalla.  This is one of those smallish shops stuffed chock-full of fabric.  I finally found the light blue polka dot fabric I'd searched for in every shop from Colorado Springs to Cincinnati and back again!  I visited enough shops to earn 27 points on my "Official Stamp Card."  Not sure what that means, but I had fun and found some new (to me) shops.

Because of the time zone change, I made it to Fort Morgan just in time to visit Inspirations Quilt Shop before they closed for the day.  I love this shop, but it's a long drive to Fort Morgan from the Springs, so I don't get out there often.  Inspirations has lots of kits  and beautiful samples quilted in their own shop.

Whew!  I count 30 shops visited in two weeks!  No wonder I might be a little fuzzy on the details of some!

Remember to go to here to sign up for my giveaway.

From the desk of your

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Sunday is for Scraps -- and Nebraska Quilt Shop Hop

Today is Brown Bag Surprise at Ruth's Stitchery, so I won't make much progress on my scrappy quilt for this week.

Not only is this my week's scrap quilt, it is this month's UFO.  I drew #10 UFO, and it is another oldie but goodie, a Split Nine Patch I started years and years (and years!) ago.  I started this quilt before I even thought about managing my scraps -- the magazine that has the pattern is dated 2000.

This Split Nine Patch starts with 3" squares of light and dark fabrics, and 3" light-dark half square triangles.

Some of these fabrics are from a P&B Textiles fat quarter bundle I bought when a shop here in the Springs went out of business -- 10+ years ago!  Which just goes to show, fabric doesn't go bad.

Here is the first finished block (made when I started the quilt):

Clearly, I wasn't as precise in my piecing back then.  I will have to see if the new blocks come out the same size, now that I know what 1/4" seams look like.

And now, a review of some of the many shops I visited on the Nebraska Shop Hop 2012

I started hopping in Fremont, which is about 30 minutes northwest of Omaha.

I Love Sewing may become my second-favorite shop in the state.  They have an outstanding collection of contemporary fabrics, and really, their staff is the friendliest I met during the entire two days I spent in Nebraska.  I snapped up some International Harvester (tractor) fabric -- because crops are green, tractors are red!

I also visited Sunshine Stitches, whose staff told me where I could find my own elusive "Shop Hop" bag.  Another Omaha shop I visited is The Quilt Studio.  The location seems unlikely (it's right next door to an auto repair shop) but the selection is out of this world!  I would swear they have every fabric in the Kaffe Fassett line, and many many other contemporary fabrics as well.

From Omaha I headed to Plattsmouth and Seams to Be:

 My GPS had a little trouble finding downtown Plattsmouth.  Beatriz (the wife of Ferdinand Magellan, and the name of my GPS) tried to send me down one way alleys and dead end streets.  But I persevered and found quite possibly the largest quilt shop in Nebraska next to Material Girls in Grand Island!  They have a very wide selection and their helpful staff advised me how to get to Lincoln without driving on the Interstate.  Highway 34 is a scenic two lane highway with minimal traffic through beautiful Nebraska farmland -- much better than struggling through construction zones on I-80.

My first stop in Lincoln was a shop that was not part of the shop hop, but which I've wanted to visit since my first trip to Lincoln two years ago.  The Quilted Kitty doesn't have a lot of contemporary fabrics, and I didn't get to meet the kitty, but they have an extensive display of Cat's Meow wooden plaques.  I got the Nebraska plaque and may have started a new collection.

Aaahh -- The Cosmic Cow.  I first discovered my favorite shop in the world two years ago when I visited the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.  I only had time to visit one shop, so I asked the clerk in the museum's gift shop where I should go.  She asked "What kind of quilts do you like to make?," and I replied "I'm really into the modern quilts right now, Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler."  She instantly answered, "You HAVE to go to The Cosmic Cow."  Who could resist a shop with a name like that?

I had seen a collection of fabrics I loved on someone's blog the night before.  It was Sarah Fielke's "From Little Things," and I thought I'd never find it in a shop.  Imagine my delight when they had the complete collection at The Cosmic Cow!  This trip, they came through for me again when they had the solid grey-green of Malka Dubrawsky's "A Stitch in Color."  Woot woot!!

Tomorrow:  More Nebraska quilt shops and my Brown Bag Surprise quilt. 

Remember to comment to enter my giveaway here!

From the desk of your

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Stash

Would you believe Columbus, Ohio has some of the best quilt shops East of the Mississippi?  I would.  Holly and I visited six in one day, and still had time for a delicious "ladies who lunch" lunch!

We kicked off our personal shop hop at Red Rooster Quilts in Dublin, on the northwest side of Columbus.  The last time I was in Ohio, I almost didn't visit Red Rooster because I thought they only carried traditional fabrics and Civil War reproductions.  But I had an extra hour to kill before heading back to Beavercreek, so I stopped in.  I am so glad I did!  The first thing I saw upon entering the store was the complete collection of Kate Spain's "Central Park."  This trip, I fell in love with a wonderful all solids quilt from "All People Quilt."

americana wall hanging

This lively fat quarter bundle of Stockholm by Robin Zingone for Robert Kaufman fabrics came from Quilt Beginnings.  There are two Quilt Beginnings locations, one in Dublin and one closer to downtown Columbus.  The Sawmill Road location is paradise for the modern quilter -- complete lines of the newest fabrics in a bright, sunny -- and big! -- store.  Quilt Beginnings East isn't as large, but the selection is excellent.

Clever shoppers know to ask at a quilt or yarn shop for lunch recommendations, and the staff at Quilt Beginnings recommended a unique lunch spot, The Morgan House.  The Morgan House was erected from the original log cabin named after a famous Civil War veteran, John Hunt Morgan.  The Morgan House calls itself "a virtual mini mall boutiques, shops and stores within a building that spans over 18,000 square feet."  Too true!

(image from

Another shop that specializes in modern fabrics is Quilt Trends.  QT has an outstanding selection of Kaffe Fassett fabrics, plus this is where I found the complete collection of Anna Maria Horner's "Innocent Crush" last trip.

A new shop for me is Sew to Speak, a really cute shop that reminds me of Crafty Laine, a sewing boutique here in Colorado.  I found a beautiful cotton/linen blend that I planned to use for the Zakka Sew Along, but instead it became the background for the quilt I'm making with that great FQ bundle pictured above. The pattern is "Brioche & Baguette" from Modern Quilt Relish.  Details to follow on WIP Wednesday.

Our last stop was The Glass Thimble, which is a little more traditional in feel, but fascinating to visit.  The shop is inside two (maybe three?) old houses attached to each other.  Wandering from room to room is a treasure hunt!

Of course, no trip to Ohio would be complete without visiting the quilter's mecca, The Fabric Shack.  We hit this shop on our return from the Quilt Festival in Cincinnati.  An incredible stock of fabric, and Waynesville is a great place to have lunch!  [Hey, I think it's important to do what you're good at.  And I'm good at going out to lunch.]

Right in Beavercreek is a charming little shop with a good selection of Civil War repros, The Mason Jar Quilt Shoppe.  The staff is very friendly, even though that's not exactly my style of fabric.

Also close to the Dayton area is Sew-a-Lot in Centerville.  I was disappointed that they don't cut fat quarters, but they do have two sewing machine repairmen on site.

I know I promised reviews of the 15 Nebraska shops I visited -- and the reviews will appear next week, really!  In the meanwhile, have you entered my giveaway yet?  It's here

Ohmigoodness, I also promised a giveaway when I reached 100 followers, and I see there are now 101!  One hundred of something -- pins? charm squares? strips? chocolate kisses?  Stay tuned, I'll announce the Great 100 Followers Giveaway in May!

From the desk of your

Friday, April 27, 2012

Finish it up Friday

 I'm halfway to 52 quilts in 2012! 

Quilt #26 is for the 12th birthday of my great-niece, Katelinn.  She wanted a pink and brown quilt, and Sophie by Chez Moi for Moda Fabrics is the closest to pink and brown fabric I could find.

I pieced the blocks last week while I was in Ohio, but was short enough background fabric for the last block.  Since I had to make one more block when I got home, I added another row to make the quilt twin-size.  The pattern is "Smitten" by Rachel Griffith Designs.   This design calls for charm squares, two squares of each fabric.  Rachel's directions are very well written and I would have finished the quilt in one day if I had taken enough fabric with me!

If you missed yesterday's post, I am hosting a giveaway to celebrate my 100th blog post.  Go here to enter.

From the desk of your

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Road Trip -- and a Giveaway!

Finally, I'm home from my road trip to Ohio for the Cincinnati International Quilt Festival -- and my nephew's 17th birthday and prom!

First day of the trip -- Kansas.  Who knew, if you drive Highway 24 across Kansas, it's actually a beautiful state?  Plus, I got to visit:

All About Quilts in Manhattan, Kansas.  Definitely worth turning away from the Interstate -- a good selection of both traditional and modern fabrics.

And:  Sarah's Fabrics in Lawrence, Kansas.  Home to the University of Kansas, Lawrence is a town with a lively, diverse downtown.  Sarah's Fabrics is recommended by the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild, and boy howdy -- they are right!  Best selection of modern fabrics on my trip, plus the friendliest staff anywhere.
The day after arriving in Ohio, my courtesy sister and I drove down to Cincinnati to attend the Cincinnati International Quilt Festival

Here is the view from our room, right across the river from Cincinnati:

We enjoyed the most delicious dinner at:

My friends know I hate to read menus.  I always say "just bring me something."  If I wanted to decide what to eat, I'd be cooking at home.  Our waiter, Micheal (see Michael, I remember your name!)  selected Chilean Sea Bass for my dinner -- yum yum yum!

The Quilt Festival was overwhelming -- SOOO many wonderful quilts, hundreds of vendors, too much perfume on fellow attendees -- oh, sorry.  Got carried away there.  Other bloggers have posted many photos of the quilts, but I haven't seen this one.  I took the photo to show one of my commenters, Susan.  Susan, this was my favorite quilt at the show, and not just because it came from Australia!

Made by Eileen R. Campbell of Kew, Victoria, Australia, "Outback - Beyond Broken Hill" was inspired by the Australian Outback.  And look, it won a ribbon!

I also got to take photos of my courtesy nephew and his beautiful date before their Junior Prom at Beavercreek High School:

Not only is she a pretty girl, she is nice!

Oh?  You say I mentioned a giveaway? 

Right you are -- and here it is.  To celebrate my 100th blog post, I promised something fabulous from the Cincinnati Quilt Festival.  So I brought you:

A bag:

A 6" ruler:

TWO charm packs:

and some other goodies:

It's easy to win -- just leave a comment.   Tell me what you're sewing, tell me if you've been to a quilt festival, tell me a joke!  Remember, if you're a "no reply blogger," go here for a link to a tutorial on how to change that.

I'll choose a winner on Wednesday, May 1st!

Tomorrow, I have a Finish it up Friday project and review of 15 Nebraska quilt shops!

From the desk of your