Guildcrafters Quilt Shop, Berkley, Michigan

I was fortunate to visit the Guildcrafters Quilt Shop in Berkley on my way to the Detroit Metro Quilt Guild from Ann Arbor. The store carries over 6,000 bolts of batiks, traditionals, reproductions, designer, novelties, wool, minkee and hundreds of flannels. I loved the character of this place with inviting displays and colorful quilt samples. It was inspiring and I’m sure that if I lived in this area, I would be a regular here. Here’s a pictorial tour.

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There was a spacious notions, books and patterns area and a section of wool. These woolly creations are wonderful and I especially liked the hedgehog.

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A whole section of the store was devoted to babies and children with attractive quilts, toys, clothing, fun accessories and appropriate fabrics. This was great to see all these beautiful samples to entice and inspire, such as the elephant pillow and the Dr. Seuss quilt.

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Studio Tour

My new house is 1,250 square feet and has a single car garage. While I was in away teaching in April and May, the landscapers removed two enormous bushes from my front garden and extended the retaining wall. I’ve enjoyed planting my choice of shrubs and flowers,


My studio is the upstairs room with the large window above the front door. The room won’t stay this tidy for long! As soon as I have caught up with my administration, I’ll start quilting again and the surfaces will become covered with fabric and new projects. This half of the room, (left picture), shows my cutting table, office area and on the right hand side you can see my work wall. The IKEA shelves for storing part of my stash fit nicely on the back wall. In the bottom left of the picture is the corner of my sewing table.

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The sewing table occupies the other half of the room. This large piece was custom made for me about 15 years ago by the cabinet-making husband of a quilting friend. He also made my cutting table. In my house search, a pre-requisite was a room large enough to accommodate these two bits of furniture and my desk. I have the lovely big north-facing window so there is plenty of natural light, but no direct sunlight which is perfect. The view looks out onto the other town houses and a stand of tall Douglas Firs. Right across the street is a cherry tree that was loaded with beautiful blossoms when I moved in. It’s very quiet as the main road is over on the other side of the house.

Another important feature is having adequate storage space. Here’s part of the closet behind the sewing table. I have more fabric and metal shelves housing my plastic bins of patterns. This cupboard extends much further to the left and I have a smaller set of IKEA shelves and a more plastic storage bins. The bathroom off my studio is another storage area. I have a tall skinny bookcase in there for all my files, my two travelling suitcases, and I use the tub for miscellaneous items.

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I’ve been used to having a spare bedroom with a bed to store all of my quilts flat. My new house has two rooms upstairs – my bedroom and my studio, so I no longer have this luxury. I have two quilt racks which I use for large quilts, one in my bedroom and one in the living room downstairs. The dilemma was how to store the many quilts that I haul in and out for my lectures and workshops. Several months ago one of the speakers at my local quilt guild, Kitsap Quilters Guild, brought their quilts rolled on Styrofoam swim noodles. This is my solution and so far it is working well. I have eight or nine noodles and the quilts are rolled by topic, e.g. Bargello block quilts, template-free Kaleidoscope quilts. These rolls are stored in a lower section of my large built-in bedroom closet. They are easy to access and I can unroll them or roll them back up again on the bed.

Quilt Shop Tour of Calico Creations, Mount Vernon, WA

When I lectured for the Northwest Quilting Connection in September, I had the opportunity to visit Calico Creations, a quilting store located on Main Street in downtown Mount Vernon. The store is attractively laid out with a good selection of fabric and quilt samples adorning the high walls. There were several eye-catching modern style quilts with a fresh bright look as well as a sampling of more traditional patterns. It’s worth stopping by there if you are in the vicinity and only a a few minutes detour from Interstate 5. Here’s the pictorial tour.

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Here’s the Seahawks fabric! (Local American football team for those of you who are uninitiated!).


Northern California Inspirations at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Continuing from the last blog on my visit to the San Jose museum, here’s a small sampling from another exhibit entitled North California Inspirations. The exhibit reflected the visions of twenty Northern California textile artists inspired and influenced by the diverse and visually rich region where they live. Here are four of the quilts that particularly resonated with me.

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Urban Reflections by Ann Sanderson is on the left. Ann hand-dyes her own fabric and likes collecting just the right fabrics to express her ideas. The piece seemed to shimmer and I could see the lights reflecting on a wet surface. On the right, Turbulence by Pat Durban. This mosaic of fabric is covered with tulle overlay and embellished with rocks from the beach, beads, and tiny marbles. One of Pat’s favorite places is Agate Beach in Northern California, where the waves crash against the rocks. She likes to capture this mood in her work.

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The three dimensional effect of Morning Mist, San Joaquin Valley by Sue Siefkin was stunning and Sue’s quilt really captured the atmosphere perfectly. She used hand-dyed and commercial fabrics, and textile paint to create this raw edge, fused collage. Breeze II by Jenny K. Lyon was beautifully composed and executed to create the feeling of the gentle motion of the grass. Jenny used cotton and silk thread for the machine quilting on cotton sateen.

Home Stay in Puyallup

When I taught for the Crazy Quilters in Federal Way, I was fortunate to have a delightful overnight stay with one of the guild members, Eileen Peacher, in Puyallup. It’s always inspiring being with quilters and seeing their lovely quilts. Eileen has a long-arm business. Here she is in her long-arm room which was carved out of the back of her garage.


Her home was decorated with her vibrant quilts. This large quilt with funky whimsical house blocks hung on a really tall wall in her dining room and was such a bright and cheerful accent.

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The living room was decked with this rich Bargello quilt. I love how Eileen continued some of the Bargello piecing out to the sides adding fluidity to the design rather than just simply framing it with solid borders . Hanging in the upstairs hall was this rather more muted quilt with nice color and value transitions and the light and dark thin sliver stars giving contrast with the background fabrics.

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Thank you Eileen for a very enjoyable stay and for allowing me to share your beautiful quilts.

Teaching in Federal Way

I recently taught and lectured in Federal Way for the Crazy Quilters. We had a half-day Kaleidoscope Puzzle Quilts class and my students had enough time to cut out plenty of kites and wedges and then play with their design layouts.

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There was a large hall adjacent to the classroom, so when it came to designing, some of my students moved in and spread out their pieces on the floor.

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It was so much fun seeing the patterns come alive. The value placement and fabric make such a difference and we had a great variety. The students learnt a great deal and were inspired by looking at other student’s choices and making layout suggestions. These traditional Kaleidoscope blocks can take on quite a contemporary look like this black and orange on-point example.

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Studio tour

My apologies for the lack of a blog last week. The time is slipping away rapidly as I’m absorbed in getting our house ready to sell. Remodeling has been quite an education and I’ve had little time to spend in my quilting studio being creative and running my business. I love my studio and decided to give you a pictorial tour. I’m really going to miss it when house sells and I have to move. This has been my creative haven for over 13 years.

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I’m fortunate to have a magnificent sewing table custom made for my sewing machine with a big surface perfect for sewing large quilts and plenty of storage space underneath. There’s also a large cutting table. When I swivel my chair round from my machine, I’m at my desk and computer.

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The open fronted IKEA shelves are great for storing fabric and the double mirrored closet also houses fabric, thread and assorted supplies. The bookcase is full of inspiring quilting books and I’m constantly using my 72″ x 72″ work wall. I’m hoping that wherever I move, I’ll have the space for another set up such as this.


Kitsap Quilters Guild Mystery Quilt

At our recent Kitsap Quilters Guild show there was a display of mystery quilts. One of our members, Jaxine Anderson coordinated the Judy Hopkins mystery project. The instructions were provided in our monthly newsletter over a period of a few months. What’s fun is the great variety of colorful quilts generated. It’s inspiring to see the results from the different choices of fabrics when everyone used the same pattern. Here are ten examples:

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These quilts were made by guild members Nancy Cave, Jaxine Anderson, Jan King, Andrea Rudman, Charlie Peterson, Sherry Loomis, Keitha Unger, Linda Melcher, Nancy Parrott and MaryAnn Hooker. What a difference the background value makes as well as the use of busy prints versus more solid looking fabrics.

Center Diamond, Canon Beach, OR

After visiting the quilt shop in Wheeler, Nancy and I continued to drive north to Canon Beach. A friend had enthused about the wonderful selection of batiks at the quilt shop there, Center Diamond, and I wasn’t disappointed. We spent an enjoyable half hour just before closing, perusing the selection of fabrics and feeling inspired.

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As well as the wide variety of batiks, the store offered many contemporary looking prints and patterns in keeping with the Modern Quilting style.

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They also had some great patterns reflecting the local surroundings. I love this pelican and Haystack Rock.

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Once again, I was surprised by how much inventory a place that doesn’t appear very large from the outside can offer. This is definitely a fun stopping point if you are in the area.

Creative Quilting, Wheeler, OR

After Quilt Camp at Twin Rocks (OR), my friend Nancy Watts and I headed north up the coast to explore and enjoy the quilt shops. There is a delightful store in Wheeler, Creative Fabrics, housed in the Old Wheeler Hotel building complete with a Quilt Trail (see earlier blog) painted quilt block. Wheeler is a tiny seaside community of about 350 in a beautiful spot about 25 miles north of Tillamook.

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The staff were friendly and welcoming. They had an impressive selection of marine themed fabrics and unusual prints as well as a good number of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

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This lovely tree quilt was hanging in the back corridor leading to the restrooms and an adjacent store. The pattern was a free download from Moda with their Figgy Pudding fabric line. In addition to all the fabric, there was a good selection notions and patterns.


This store is definitely worth the stop and there are also eateries and nice gift shops in Wheeler too.