Monday, March 16, 2015

A Quilt Surprise at the Arizona Capitol

We visited the Capitol building last week and as we drove up to the front of the building I was pleasantly surprised to see quilts hanging out front. Once we actually got out of the car and headed over I realized that these quilts where a mixture of happy and sad. The quilt blocks were done in memory of someone who had passed away and donated organs so that other might live. The signs on the stands are some of the recipients of those organs. I don't think I really need to write anything else. These quilts speak for themselves....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Tuscon Quilt Shopping

I was lucky this week to get to do some shopping in Tucson. My conversation in the morning went something like this...
Me: "What are you up to today?"
My husband's response "Just work unless you have another idea."
"Well" I said. "I was thinking of heading down to Tucson to do a little shopping."
"Is there a store that starts in Q and ends in T?"
Busted. I was able to get in three stores and if you follow me on instagram you'll know I had a bit of fun and did a little damage.

Here are the three shops I visited and my thoughts...

The Cactus Quilt Shop:

Nice shop sorta tucked away in a corner of a shopping center. They recently moved so I originally went to the wrong address that google maps gave me. In my experience, quilt shops move ALOT. So checking their website for a correct address is a good idea. I really need to take my own advice on this. Anyhow, back to it.

A pretty decent sized little shop with a good selection. Most of the fabrics weren't really my fancy but like any good fabric hoarder I was able to find some goodies in the fat quarter bins (not usually a fat quarter buyer). The staff was friendly and helpful. And the pricing was good $9-10 was what I saw - I didn't look extensively at the pricing in each store I just got a general idea from the bolts I grabbed to look at.

If you're looking for some real Arizona fabric they had a nice variety.

They also had a great notions wall and...

classroom area.

If you only have time for one shop this probably wouldn't be my recommendation but if you have a day and time to drive from one end of town to the other it's worth a stop.

The Quilt Basket

This is the shop the Tucson Modern Quilt Guild meets so obviously they have a nice selection of fabrics for modern quilting.

I do have to admit that I was a little annoyed with the bolts. Having them laying down made it difficult to grab stuff out. I like to pull stuff I like half way out so that I can see what I'm thinking and push it back in if I change my mind.  This was not possible at all. You had to pull the whole thing out and it was heavy to get stuff on the bottom. But don't worry, I made the effort and got some goodies.

If you are a Bernina person, they are attached to a retailer who has there own supply of goodies. They also have a nice classroom where I assume the Guild meets. Overall a good shop and definitely worth stopping in. The best part is that it is only ten minutes from my last shop so you can hit these two together really easily.

 Quilter's Market

If you have time for just one stop this is my choice! Sorta glad I went there last sorta not. Why? Because I may have held out and not bought as much not knowing what was to come if I had come here first. On the other hand. I probably would have rather spent a little more here than in the other stores. I really wish I had more pictures for you of this one but it was the end of the day, I was tired, and I was late getting back to pick up one of my sons and babysitter at the mall.

I wanted a ton in this shop and I bought a bunch. This was the most expensive of the three stores so I guess it's good I went there last. Bolts were in the $11-12 range. Also, they organize most everything by color and not by line. At the quilt basket I bought some fabric all from the same line because it was together and I could envision how I would use it. This shop had the same line but it was spread out by color and I would not have pulled it out because of that - it also was more expensive here. I think if a store has a lot of a certain line they should keep it together and when it starts to dwindle and not really look much like a line sorting it into color sections is better but that is just my opinion. I was also pretty happy when they pulled out a basket of toys for my son to play with (although they could have been a little cleaner). Overall great staff, huge store, and lots of GOOD stuff!

 Know any other good stores in the Tucson area? Feel free to add them in the comments below!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Big Bend and a Quilt Shop

After Austin we headed toward Big Bend which is where internet pretty much didn't exist for us and therefore I couldn't do any posting. We had to sit out a day in Terlingua, Texas before our spot in the park opened up. You know your husband loves you when he goes on a scouting mission and comes back to tell you he saw a sign for a quilt shop.

I of course had to check it out. It was not what I expected. I wasn't expecting a modern shop at all but I did think it would be fabric store. Turns out the nice lady that owns the shop has about 22 people she sells things for. 10 of them are quilters.

The store had piles and piles of quilts for sale. So if you are looking for something this may just be the place to go.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Austin Quilt Shop Review

After Quiltcon I didn't get a chance to do much fabric shopping. The RV was parked only about 25 miles outside downtown Austin but a 45 minute drive. Being that my husband had the kids for five days I couldn't really say "hey, I think I'm gonna go do some more quilt shopping." That being said there was one shop right around the corner from the RV park and I was able to hop over there (kids and all).

Can I just say that I LOVED The Cotton Cupboard. While it really isn't in Austin, if you are up for a drive this store is well worth it!

I love any store that has a play area set up for kids. This makes shopping so much nicer! I know this only applies to those who have kids but it is great for me.

The store has lots of space which I love. I HATE being in a crowded shop where I can't really pull stuff out and have people always bumping into me!

Selection was great. This is seriously one of those stores you walk into and want to buy EVERYTHING. I mean come on how pretty is that wall!

And when you are done cutting up and putting all that pretty stuff back together you can get your quilt quilted here as well.

I definitely recommend making a trip out to this store. I wish I could tell you there is other stuff to do in the area but I really don't know. The staff where friendly and I enjoyed my time shopping.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Slashed Quilt Tutorial

Well I've been without internet almost the entire time since QuiltCon so I am finally getting up a tutorial about my Michael Miller Cotton Couture Challenge Quilt that was in the show.

Hopefully this Tutorial makes sense. It is the first one I've written so please please please let me know if it is confusing or if it needs more clarification.

It makes me really excited that my quilt was so well received and that people have asked about it! I had such a great time at QuiltCon and am so glad I got to meet so many great quilters and see such a wonderful show.

Step 1. Choose the size you would like your quilt to be. My quilt was approximately 45x45. My blocks were 7.5 inches finished (8-inches cut). 6 across and 6 down. Typically I aim for 60x60 and had intended on an additional two colors but was happy with this combination and decided to stop as the deadline for QuiltCon was approaching.

You can also alter the block size to fit your needs.

Step 2. Based on the size of your quilt and number of blocks choose you fabric. You can use any colors you want. My quilt had 11 colors + the background color. The colors of my quilt are all Michael Miller Cotton Couture Solids:
Soft White - Background
I needed about 1/8 of color and 1/8 of background to make 3 blocks. How much you need will be determined by how much you work the blocks. Each time you cut and sew you lose area.

Step 3. Iron and starch your fabric. This is a preference of mine. I starch my fabric pretty heavily. Since I started doing this I’ve been able to get better seams that meet better in the corners.

Step 4. Cut your strips. All my strips were 2-inches x 20 inches. You need an equal number of color and background. If you have 10 color you should have 10 background. If you are making smaller blocks I would cut thinner strips. 

Step 5. Sew strips together in groups of 2, 3, & 4 alternating color and background. I did mostly groups of 4 (color, background, color, background) with a few groups of 3 and 2.

Step 6. Iron (and starch) seams. You need to do this each time you sew. I ironed my seams open.

Step 7. Cut 1 of your strip sets at either 90 or 45 degrees. 

Step 8. Flip the pieces around until you like them and sew them back together.

Step 9. Iron, Trim and repeat cutting (45 or 90 degrees) rotating or adding strip sets as needed.

Step 10. Build up your block until it is the size you need. If you are making more than one block in the color you are using you can continue to build up the piece you are working on until you have a large enough area to cut all of your blocks. 

Step 11. Cut blocks to desired size.

Step 12. Layout your blocks. Shift and rotate blocks until you are happy with your layout.

Step 13. Sew together and finish as you would any quilt (back, quilting binding).

Step 14. Share your finished blocks and quilt on instagram @seasew.dana #slashedquilt