In late April, I taught at the Goshen County Quilt Guild in Torrington, WY. This is a small farming community with a population of under 6,000, but the quilt group is thriving and active. I had a huge class of 22 students for my Bargello Quilts with a Twist class. I was concerned about teaching such a big group, but they were wonderful and all did really well. I loved teaching this as a two day class and snowy weather didn’t deter anyone from showing up on the second day. Having the second day allowed everyone enough time to complete a good number of blocks and to play with the orientation to design their quilt tops. There were so many options and a great variety of different fabrics. Here’s a sampling.
For the purple one, the large squares in the blocks were cut separately so that the little mountain scenes and trees could be fussy-cut and their orientation manipulated to the right way up. The striped fabric in the other one adds to the secondary patterns created when the blocks are put together. Both of these have 16 blocks.
The elongated pattern made from 16 blocks is an interesting design. On the right, this lady made 32 blocks and this was her first ever quilt!
These last two are made from the larger 9-1/2″ block size. On the left, we were auditioning different sashing fabrics to see which ones worked best. On the right, the large squares were cut separately, creating a lovey kaleidoscope design in the center.
In late April, I taught at the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters’ Guild in Cheyenne, WY. It was a large class of 19 ladies and each designed their own unique Kaleidoscope Puzzle quilt. It’s always fun to see the patterns emerging and the variety of fabrics that the students bring to class. They learn a great deal by looking at the fabric combinations used by their fellow students and also the importance of choosing a variety of values, (contrast between the different fabrics), so that the patterns they create are easily visible. They could design squarely set or on-point quilts. Here’s a sampling of their work.
In late of April, I taught in Cheyenne, WY and visited The Quilted Corner quilt store at 309 W Lincolnway, in the heart of downtown.
The store is inviting, with over 2,500 bolts of quilting cottons and many lovely quilt samples hanging on the walls. I particularly liked the striking Snail Trail pattern in combination with the stars.
The local specialty fabrics have the Wyoming W and the bucking bronco motifs. These are produced especially for retailers in WY and aren’t available anywhere else. The quilt behind the lamp is made with one of these bucking bronco fabrics.
The store offers a large selection of Accuquilt cutting dies and has a club that meets one a month to offer tips on using these. There is a classroom in the back and they teach a variety of quilting classes.
If you are in Cheyenne, pop in and check out this store. As well as fabric, they are well stocked with notions, books and patterns.
When I was teaching recently at the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters in WY, one of my students had these nifty wrist band pin cushions. The original one, with the cream flower-head pins, came from Stretch & Sew over 35 years ago. She found the new one at the Creative Needle, a quilt store in Littleton, CO. I like this design. The plastic base under the felted area prevents pins from going all the way through and pricking the wrist, and the pins are all vertical, so are easy to access.
New ones are also available on Amazon here.
Ann Person founded the Stitch and Sew company in the late 60’s. Sewing was taught in home economics classes in schools, but the curriculum rarely included sewing with knits. Ann taught home sewers how to create a multitude of knit garments through her classes, patterns, and instructional materials. Her novel technique, “Stretch and Sew”, employed a straight stitch or zigzag stitch so was easy to execute using a home sewing machine. She opened her first store in Burns, Oregon, in 1967, where she sold patterns and fabric and gave sewing lessons. Franchising was becoming popular in the United States at that time, and she took advantage of the trend. In the mid-’70s, there were 353 Stretch & Sew stores worldwide, as far away as Canada and New Zealand. She wrote dozens of instructional books, most of which can still be found on Amazon, eBay and other online sites; created over 200 patterns; and even developed her own sewing machine. Ann passed away at 90 years of age in August 2015, leaving an amazing legacy.
I was delighted to revisit the quilting store, One Quilt Place, in Fredericksburg in March when I was teaching in the area. I first went there three years ago, when my host at the New Braunfels Area Quilt Guild took me sightseeing in the Hill Country. It was fun to reconnect with Beverly Allen, the owner, and to see how the store has expanded with a 1000 square feet addition making more space for inventory, and accommodating two long-arm quilting machines. They offer classes in long-arm quilting and rental of the machines, and are also dealers for Handi-Quilt machines.
I was impressed with the variety of fabrics in this lovely light and spacious store. Special areas were devoted to holiday fabrics, patriotic, batiks, solids, 30s-40’s reproduction, Civil War reproduction, TX wildflowers and more. There was a nice area especially for wool. In addition to the fabrics, they had a great selection of books, patterns and notions.
This store is definitely worth a visit if you are in the Hill Country. If you are lucky, like me, you will see swaths of bluebonnets outside too!