Sew Expo Puyallup II – Decorative felt kits

A booth at Sew Expo that really captivated me was tucked away at the far end of one of the exhibition halls. Lumenaris is a family owned business based in Morgan Hill, CA, selling felt kits, sewing tools, puzzles and games. They distribute their goods wholesale to over 800 stores nationally. The felt kit products, all designed by Mary Fatula, were so attractive and appealing to me. These are wonderful hand sewn projects that are small and convenient for carrying around to work on when you are traveling or waiting for appointments.

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Check out the variety of items – mats, ornaments, Christmas stockings, garlands, coasters, tea-cozies, and even felt cakes and cookies. What fun! The felt pieces are very accurately cut using a computer guided laser cutter and the kits contain everything you need to complete the projects.

Sew Expo, Puyallup I – booth sampling

Last week, I gave a lecture to Quilters by the Bay in University Place. One of the guild members kindly hosted me for the night and since I was over half way from home to Puyallup, I decided to go to the Sew Expo. This is a huge biannual event held at the State Fairgrounds and lasting for four days. There were two enormous halls of vendors, many of whom traveled from out-of-State to be there to cater for every need of sewers and quilters.Judging by the numbers of people busy shopping, quilting and sewing are alive and well as hobbies and there were serious spenders making the most of having all these vendors in one place. Many of large quilt shops in our area had booths. Here’s a sampling. As you can see, it wasn’t just quilting supplies. There were sewing machines, yarn and more. It was fun to check out new sewing gadgets.

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There were colorful displays of quilts, plenty of fabric and sewing machines large and small.

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The lady at the machine in the QuiltWorks Northwest booth was demonstrating Grip and Stitch, two dish-sponge sized discs that are used to move a quilt around as you machine quilt. They sit on the surface of the quilt and you can gently put your hands on them as you quilt. They cling to the quilt, so that you don’t have to grip with your hands as you machine quilt. I had a go and it worked pretty well.

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This t-shirt amused me – “I have OQD – Obsessive Quilting Disorder Thank goodness there’s no cure!”

Rushin’ Tailor’s Quilt Alaska, Skagway, AK

During my quilting cruise to Alaska, we visited the Rushin’ Tailor’s Quilt Alaska store in Skagway. Oh my, what a treasure trove! If you are in Skagway, it’s well worth a visit. The store is located in downtown historic Skagway, an easy walk from the cruise ship dock, at 370 Third Avenue. Here’s a visual tour.

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The ceiling of the store is high and every space on the wall is covered in quilts, most of which are Alaska themed. The space is tight because there’s so much crammed in. There are Alaskan wild flowers and animals, scenes, Native American art style animal appliques to name a few, and a whole section of patterns. It was a bit of a zoo when all of us quilters descended!

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They are well-know for their Alaskan themed batiks. Here are some wonderful examples. How can you resist…..?!

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Rain Tree Quilting, Juneau, AK

Our first port of call on the cruise to Alaska was Juneau. Several of us opted for a whale-watching boat trip with a stop at the quilt shop on the way back into town. Rain Tree Quilting is on the outskirts of Juneau at 2213 Dunn Street (off Old Glacier Highway across from Frontier Streets). The premises are spacious including a large classroom. They are Bernina dealers and have a wide selection of quilting fabrics. They stayed open late for us and gave us a warm welcome including some nice refreshments much appreciated after the excitement of the hump-backed whales. Our group was eager to shop, so it was win win all round!

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The class room featured several colorful quilts made from Kaffe Fassett fabrics and there was nice little section with felt for those interested in wool applique. The store should be part of your bucket list if you make it to Juneau!

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Experience Quilts, Odessa, WA

At the end of September, I traveled from west to east across Washington State to Spokane where I taught. In Odessa on Highway 28, about an hour west of Spokane, I visited Experience Quilts located at 4 West 1st Avenue. The store is on the main street through town and is easy to find. Don’t be confused by the sign on the green awning – it was formerly known as The Quilt Crossing!

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I received a warm welcome and enjoyed looking around. They offer long-arm machine quilting services, and have a classroom area with tables. There was a good selection of fabrics, notions, patterns and books to provide for the quilters in this rural area of farmland and open countryside. If you are in the vicinity, its is worth taking the detour off Interstate 90.

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As you can see, they have a good quantity of fabric. The shop is well lit and the merchandise is nicely organized so that it is easy to find what you want.

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This quilt is a very simple pattern, but an attractive to way to use a variety of colorful prints or a charm pack. The store has a great selection of winter and Christmas themed fabrics too.

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The Quilting Bee, Spokane Valley, WA

When I visited Spokane, I gave two lectures and taught two days of workshops for the Washington State Quilters, Spokane Chapter. My wonderful hostess took extremely good care of me providing for my every need. After one of the workshops, we walked around the downtown area of Spokane and had dinner, then headed out to The Quilting Bee, located at 12117 E Mission Blvd in Spokane Valley (just down the road from Spokane). The store was open until 8:00 p.m. and the day we went, they were having a “Sew-in” until 11:00 p.m.

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This large store can be a little overwhelming. Every space is jam packed with merchandise and all the wall surfaces are covered with quilts and signs. It can be a little hard to navigate in places as the passageways between the shelves are often narrow, but oh, there’s so much quilting stuff and samples to inspire!

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They are Bernina and Jenome sewing machine dealers and have on-site sewing machine mechanics. Downstairs, there is a machine repair shop, offices, a kit preparation and cutting room, and a large room for classes and meetings. And check this out – there’s a man-cave complete with a TV, games, and sports magazines! So, while the women are busy shopping, the guys can hang out and relax.

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The store has a busy schedule of classes. Here’s one of the classrooms with the evening sewers beavering away. It’s not just about quilting. Classes include all kinds of sewing lessons, including projects for kids. It’s definitely a happening place that you will want to visit!

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The Fabric Patch, Ephrata, WA

At the end of September, I traveled from west to east across Washington State to Spokane where I taught. I drove on Interstate 90 until just after I crossed the Columbia River, then I headed northwest to Ephrata and then went along Highway 28 instead of returning to the Interstate. This enabled to visit two quilt shops, one in Ephrata and one in Odessa, as well as to enjoy the interesting countryside which is so different from Western Washington. The Fabric Patch, located at 220 10th Avenue SW, was a wonderful surprise. From the outside, it didn’t look like anything special, but inside there was a treasure trove of more and more rooms filled with fabric and quilting supplies.

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It is the largest shop in North Central Washington with over 6,000 bolts of fabric and a wide selection of notions, books and patterns.

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There was a whole room dedicated to holiday fabrics and fun projects including wonderful pieces for Halloween and Christmas. Look at the charming pumpkin, owl and Christmas tree quilts.

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Then there was an abundance of theme fabrics, from sports to animals and more. Here are some great vegetable fabrics.


Ephrata is only a 10 miles away from Interstate 90 just north of Moses Lake so it is well worth the detour even if you decide not to opt for Highway 28 for the rest of the journey to Spokane.

Quilt Works, Houston, TX

When I taught at the West Houston Quilt Guild in September, my class was held at a large quilt shop, Quilt Works located at 9431 Jones Road and West Road in West Houston. In this store you can choose from over 4,000 bolts of fabric. They sell Pfaff sewing and embroidery machines and a huge selection of thread for both machine and hand embroidery. The space is large and well lit and there are beautiful class samples adorning the walls. They also have a large section of Accu-quilt cutting tools. Here’s the visual tour.

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With this amazing selection of quilting supplies, I know that this is a store that I would frequent if I lived in the Houston area.

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Pink Castle Fabrics, Ann Arbor, MI

During my teaching trip to Michigan in May, I visited a couple of quilt stores in the Ann Arbor area. Pink Castle Fabrics does much of its business on-line but has a brick and mortar store at 1915 Federal Boulevard, Ann Arbor. The outside of the building looks rather industrial, but the light and airy room is decorated with quilts and there are plenty of fabrics on the shelves.

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The store has a modern quilts flavor with bold designs and solid colors. They stock over 250 different colors of solids, the latest designs from modern designers and imported fabrics from Japan. In addition to quilting fabrics, they have linen blends, lawn, voile and knits. There are also plenty of notions. Stop by if you are in the area. Here’s a pictorial tour.

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Ann Arbor Sewing Center, MI

During my teaching trip to Michigan in May, I visited a couple of quilt stores in the Ann Arbor area. The Ann Arbor Sewing Center located at 5235 Jackson Avenue in Ann Arbor is the biggest store, (quite possibly in the state), boasting over 7,000 bolts of fabrics. If you are in area and only have time for one quilting store, this is it! They are are family owned and operated, running the business since 1968. The mural is painted above the lower entrance to the store around the back of the building where there is additional parking.

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The entrance is welcoming and the store is extremely well stocked with notions, embroidery supplies, patterns and quilting books. They sell and service Bernina, Pfaff, Viking and Singer sewing machines and also carry Horn and Koala sewing cabinets and furniture.

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They are well known for their wide selection of batiks and have a large area of the store devoted to this collection.

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There’s a spacious area for classes with plenty of inspiring quilts decorating the walls. Another section of the store is devoted to Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

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Then there are the novelty prints which are always fun!

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