Tag Archives: pioneer quilts

As the page turns… in the real Portlandia!

Go ahead and judge this book by its cover.

Go ahead and judge this book by its cover.

Grieving is hard. It’s long. It does you in. It doesn’t end. Some days getting out of bed is the most courageous act you can imagine. And accomplish.

I already know I will be grieving Blaine the rest of my life. You have no earthly idea how much I miss him. Just to exchange one more glance, I would give everything. To see him smile. The universe for one more hug. The chance to say goodbye.

In what now seems clearly a survival strategy, I actually managed to finish the book I was working on when Blaine left. I dove headfirst into a deep and consuming project. Not only were the words my responsibility, but also the design and layout. And know this: when the author does the layout, the words seem never to be finished. Catch that typo. Use a different turn of phrase. Put in that cool thing you forgot. So it takes longer than it takes. (Credit to an old friend, Paul Nyrczinski, for that aphorism: “Things always take longer than they take.”)

But it finally got printed. And delivered to us. You can see a video of Joyce and I opening the first copies here. And we have a real live website and everything, look here.

Since the shipment of three pallets with 2,500 books arrived, we have embarked on a marketing campaign so we can sell the books and recover our costs. Yes, we self-published. It’s our very own necks on the line.

So far, in addition to purchasing the book from our website, you can buy it in a growing number of retail locations. Powell’s Books, for example (all stores except the one at the airport)! Did you know you can order from Powell’s online and pick it up in a store without any shipping cost? Or you could buy two books and they would be shipped for free!

The book is also available at a number of New Seasons Markets. Multnomah County Library has it (OMG, all copies are checked out right now, they better order more!!). Other bookstores like Broadway Books, Reed College Bookstore. Quite a few quilt/fabric stores: Cool Cottons, Fabric Depot, Pioneer Quilts, The Pine Needle, A Common Thread, Greenbaum’s Quilted Forest, The Cotton Patch.

And soon it will be in Made in Oregon. And who knows where all. We are relentless in our marketing efforts. By the end of this, we should be able to write a book about marketing a book. Not that that’s never been done. 🙂

We are proud of our book. We think it will appeal to a whole lot of people:

  • people who live in Portland and want to discover what they don’t know about their home town
  • people who visit Portland (or want to) and want a tangible record of their experience that goes way beyond a phone full of selfies,
  • quilters who have always wanted to see quilts in a leading role, and
  • every person not in the above categories

So we think you might fit in there somewhere. Check it out!


2010 Sew Oregon Quilt Shop Hop: the journey continues


Having survived the Oregon Quilt Shop Hop last year, my mom and I were ready to hop aboard the bunny again in 2010. And after my rundown of last year’s hop, I’m totally sure you have been waiting breathlessly for me to dish on this year’s trip.

Sew Oregon fabric 2010

Fabric selected from Ravenswood collection from Andover

We seriously wondered if it was happening at all this year, as it seemed the website was empty until just a couple of weeks before it was underway. And I have to confess, I was not all that thrilled with the fabric selected as the feature fabric this year. Given my fondness for bright cheerful colors, this year’s fabric was, dare I say, a little drab and kinda boring for my taste.

But we soldiered on, visiting 10 stores over three days in geographic segments:  first day we headed west (King City, Yamhill), second day we went east (Happy Valley, Clackamas, Sandy) and third we traveled south (Lake Oswego, West Linn, Canby, Milwaukie).

I observed two trends this year over last: on the whole the blocks were way simpler (were there complaints that last year’s blocks were too difficult??) and there was way more applique, as you’ll see below.

A Common Thread

A Common Thread's 2010 Quilt Block

A tres simple block from A Common Thread

This place was pretty busy, but it didn’t appear many were there for the shop hop, more for the sale that was going on.. And I must say, this place had a great sale table the day we were there…except a kit for a baby blanket I bought was missing a crucial piece 😦

Just like last year, this shop had the feel of a project place…especially the kinds of projects where a celebration or kids and usually both are involved.  Its block was very very simple. Quilting for dummies kind of simple. Kind of ho-hum boring simple. A HUGE departure from this shop’s block last year that featured some complex paper piecing.

The Quilted Hill

View from Quilted Hill

From the front porch of the Quilted Hill

This was our first visit to this shop. What. a. view. I could not stop looking at the view. See what I mean…

This shop is, yes, on a hill and on a farm smack dab in the middle of a whole lot of other farms. You really have to know where to go to find it. It’s quite the idyllic scene all the way around.

Leave it to me to shatter the peace though. There was a very nice woman sitting on the porch demonstrating punching wool yarn into cloth so that it adheres without a stitch of sewing. Truly amazing. I decided to give it a go and on the third punch, I managed to embed the dagger needle deep into a finger on my other hand! How that is even possible to do, I cannot say. As far as I know, my other hand had no business being in the vicinity. But I found a way.

The poor woman helped me get my dripping with blood self into the bathroom and get a bandaid on, but I think it so rattled her and in this age of litigation downright scared her so much that next time we looked, she had packed up and gone. My finger is fine. My coordination? Not so much.

Anyway, this shop also has fabric. It’s small but the quality per square quantity is quite high. Suitably enough, I found some adorable chicken fabric that I just had to have. No earthly idea what I’ll do with it. Make a quilted egg gathering bag? Really?? For three chickens??!? I need to face the fact that at some point, the law of diminishing returns has to apply and one should not try to quilt something for every single activity of humankind. I guess.

Quilted Hill block 2010

No work required for the Quilted Hill block

I was immensely startled by this shop’s block for the shop hop. They did all the work. Seriously. They cut out the pieces, attached fusible web, so all we have to do is iron the pieces in place. Wow. Kinda felt like cheating. But it was the easiest block I’ve ever done, so I shouldn’t complain. If you look really closely, you’ll see I blanket stitched around the borders so I wouldn’t feel I had done absolutely nothing.

I would love to go back to this store every week and just sit on the porch and take in the view.

Pioneer Quilts

This place had moved since last year, when it was in Damascus. Now it’s in Happy
Valley, just across I-205 from Clackamas Town Center. Warning: the location is very obscure because it’s in one of those business park type deals where one is never entirely sure what is a street and what is a place to drive around and through parking lots. You really MUST get clear directions or you may not find it.  It is so worth it though.

Pioneer Quilts 2010 block

Pioneer Quilts used more intricate applique in its block

I love the fabric this shop carries. Well, I’m not so much into the civil war collection but I’m happy for those who are. One thing that makes Pioneer Quilts such a great place is the large number of creative and unique classes it offers. I’ve found that stores that offer classes from superb teachers are veritable founts of inspiration, they tend to have really great fabric choices and creative ideas hanging on the wall about what to do with them. One of those stores where you think you have everything you need to purchase then something on the wall catches your eye and you ask, what’s that, and they tell you about the class they teach to make it, and you find out there’s a book about it, but they’ve already rung you up, but you simply must have the book, so you have to do another transaction and then you run out of the store before you see something else.

Another thing I love about Pioneer Quilts is the large stash of luscious hand dyed wool. Yummy yum yum.

Their shop hop block even features acorns made from hand dyed wool. Like many others this year, the block is appliqued, but unique in it’s combination of fabrics and more intricate shapes.

Quilting Delights

Not too far away, close enough to also be found in business park land, is Quilting Delights.  It was also a little challenging to find.

This place has square footage to spare, so large there were security cameras. It has  lots of different classrooms, which were not in use when we were there. In fact, I think we may have been the only customers most of the time we were in the store.  Hint: Sundays are good days to go shop hopping if you don’t like crowds. Oops, I probably shouldn’t have revealed that, should I? There goes my serenity 🙂

Quilting Delights 2010 block

Variation on a traditional pattern for Quilting Delights

My mom has been making beautiful picnic cloths out of fruit and vegetable fabric and found some she didn’t have here, so we were quite happy.

Its block was straightforward, a variation on a traditional pattern and the directions made it quite easy to sew. It’s interesting to note, however, that modern techniques often involve wasting fabric. I don’t think Granny would have approved.

Paradise Quilts

Paradise Quilt's 2010 block

Paradise Quilts block had 49 pieces!!!

The drive from Clackamas to Sandy took us from the simple to the labyrinthian. This shop’s block had 49 pieces. Yes, that’s 49 pieces in a 9 inch block. More than half of them were 1-1/2 inch squares. Wow. It’s a pretty cool design though.

This store is the smallest we visited on the shop hop and I actually scored a fat quarter of Blazer fabric I’m going to incorporate into making a pair of boxers for Blaine, since he wore out the lucky Blazer boxers he’s been wearing to games for the last two years.

Quilter’s Corner

Again, we were the only shop hoppers during our visit to this store, located on west side of McLoughlin Blvd, where you put your life on the line crossing traffic when you exit the place if you need to head north to get home. I would not attempt it during rush hour if I were you.

Quilter's Corner 2010 block

The acorn from Quilter's Corner

But about the fabric. The store is small but it’s pretty packed, with lots of country charm. This store’s block was applique, as it was last year, with the outline of the pieces hand drawn on the back of the directions. At least  this year I traced the pieces on another sheet of paper, unlike last year when I cut the paper apart before I realized I had just annihilated the directions that told me what to do with the pieces I had just cut.

This year it was an acorn. Yes, one acorn, a body and a top. About as simple as you can get. Again, I fancied it up a bit by outlining it in blanket stitch. Still looks very simple though. Perhaps it’s intended to be a blank canvas on which you are supposed to do your own magic. We’ll see it I get around to that. 🙂

The Pine Needle

One step into the door tells me this is still my kind of place. The beautiful fabrics are BIG, BOLD, COLORFUL, you can almost hear them screaming: “HEY! LOOK AT ME! Let’s PARTY! Take me home with you!!!”

I always find far too many things to buy here. I had two special scores this year: a panel of very fine fabric printed with Van Gogh paintings–I have no idea what I’ll do with but that never matters– and a fabulous collection of vivid blues/greens/purples that I just love love love! And I even know what kind of quilt I’m going to make with it. Imagine having a plan so soon!!

Pine Needle 2010 block

The PIne Needle block only used two colors

Unlike the other shops, this year the Pine Needle’s block had only two colors (the others all had three). Another nod to simplicity it seems. Easy to sew, in spite of the fact that the directions consisted of a hand drawn sketch of the square and a list of sizes of pieces to cut. I applied some of the neat tricks I’ve learned in Jolyn Buhl’s classes at Cool Cottons to sew the pieces together.

Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe

The people at the Pine Needle thought Hollyhill would not be open because they are closed on Mondays, so we called ahead to check. Yes, the woman who answered the phone said, we’re open because we have to be for the shop hop. She didn’t sound very happy about it, but there was only good cheer in evidence when we got there.

This shop is in the old Willamette part of West Linn, and it has a very damask, shabby chic, romantic Victorian, chintzy kind of vibe. I’m thinking all the people who decorate in those styles shop here for their fabric, as it seems it has a loyal following. There are also a lot of seasonal fabrics and lots and lots and lots of fabric of many many kinds.

Hollyhill's Maple Leaf block

Hollyhill's clever maple leaf block

My mom found some more fruits and vegetable fabrics here, I actually purchased some dainty and romantic fabrics, which is uncharacteristic for me… and already have a baby quilt top to show for it (inspired by friend Alicia Paulson’s amazing sewing, knitting and crocheting for a baby girl who will arrive one day, check out her amazing blog describing doing all these things).

I liked the block from this store a lot! It’s a maple leaf, with some fun fabric. It had good instructions, and it was especially fun to make the stem block (even though it caused more fabric wastage).

Canby Quilt and Fabric

Next we drove to Canby, it was getting quite warm so the shop provided a welcome respite from the hot sun. The store was quiet, I don’t remember any other customers while we were there.

It turns out this shop used the same block pattern as Quilting Delights this year, something I’d never seen before. It made me wonder if there are any rules or oversight of block patterns by Sew Oregon?

Canby Quilt's 2010 block

Canby Quilt's block that gave me fits

This block gave me a heap of trouble. I made it first, before I realized another store used essentially the same block. This one did not come with instructions, just a list of pieces to cut and a sketch so you could see where they went. While I could figure out where to put them, things just kept going wrong…I ended up not having enough fabric and had to substitute from my stash (my fault!), which reminds me to make a request on behalf of us less than perfect quilters out there:  please provide a bit of extra fabric in anticipation of our mistakes 🙂

In the end, I made a big mistake in this block, which is readily apparent in the photo, but my last nerve was too frayed to take it out and correct it. So there it lies.

Cool Cottons

Home sweet home. As you probably know, I happen to live just a stone’s throw from this wonderful place, and every year the shop hop experience reinforces my feeling that Pam and Marie created their store just for me. Thanks you two! 🙂

Per square inch, this store has the best selection of fabric in the whole Portland metro area. Lots of things you won’t see anywhere else.

cool cotton block

The cool Cool Cotton block

For example, I have been eyeing the Free Spirit Germania collection for some time now. The day we visited for the shop hop, I suddenly had to have some of every print in the line Cool Cottons carries. Just way too cool looking. Then, after I get home, I discovered it was designed by Jay McCarroll, the winner of the first season of Project Runway!!  My favorite show on TV!

And of course there were other must have finds among the new fabric that had come in since I last visited the store…

The Cool Cottons block has a real touch of cool, e.g., the border fabric and the fun opportunity for, guess what! Yes, applique.

The Bottom Line

Well, one bottom line is that I totally have enough fabric that if I started now and didn’t ever sleep or eat or go to work or take showers or feed the chickens or walk the dogs, I would still not have enough time to make things from all the fabric I have purchased that now occupies the closet of my office. I fear I am a fabric hoarder. But as far as I know, there are no dead cats buried beneath my stash.

Another bottom line is that I spent a total of $501.73 on our adventures. My own little stimulus package. If everybody was as free and loose with the cash as we were, I think these 10 quilt stores will be in business for another year.

I got a gift certificate for a western Washington shop hop for my birthday yesterday, so my mom and sister and me will be heading out together sometime in the fall. And then I just discovered on online shop hop… yikes. And then there’s Sew Oregon’s 2011 shop hop… What’s a quilter to do??!!