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F is for Folding

The family that folds together........Folding, mostly paper, but in more recent years fabric as well, has somehow been a theme that has wound its way through the months and years of our family life. We have always, since the beginning of our lives together, more than 35 years ago now, owned a small business. First my husband's auto parts store, purchased from his parents - for a while a quilt shop as well, and now just the quilt shop. But somehow, each business seems to have involved folding and handling lots of paper on a regular basis.

The parts store had statements that went out every month, each one folded and stuffed in an envelope and stamped. Can still remember the excitement the first month that we had computer generated statements, my mother-in-law who was still working at the store as the head bookkeeper came to watch the miracle, but all of those statements, still had to be folded and stuffed and stamped - each and every month!

As our daughters grew, so did their involvement in the process - at first we paid them to put postage on (I can't remember exactly, but I think it was a penny a stamp) and then they graduated to folding and stuffing, all around the dining room table - for, of course, little more in the way of compensation.

And then there was inventory at the parts store - a yearly event - thousands of parts - for years done by hand, on hundreds of sheets of paper. Our daughters started by counting nuts and bolts, then we hired their middle school friends to help, and in their high school years, inventory was pretty much their gig. When they were in high school and college, our inventory became computerized, but still required paper and pencil - reams of computer print out - to check the accuracy of the computer.


And then the quilt store came along - no monthly statements, but newsletters, flyers and shop hop patterns - all needed to be folded. And the new family tradition evolved - the daughters coming home to help at shop hop, and somehow, in those first years, we always needed more shop hop kits, and Saturday nights would find us all again, folding paper at the table together!  However, I got better at guestimating how many shop hop kits we would need - and for a whole stretch of years, no family folding was necessary. Until this year, Friday evening of the Western Washington Shop Hop found the family folding once again.





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E is for Everything is not Perfect

Struggled this past few weeks getting a very simple row of blocks finished. First did not like my original idea, then when everything clicked into place, life got in the way and I had a difficult time getting the little bit of applique and piecing done required to finish.  I was however determined to hand applique these nine little blocks. Not only because I don't care for the pressed flat look of fusible web applique and knew I would not have any machine applique time, but also because I love the little imperfections that come with the handwork process.

One of my favorite pieces of furniture is an old, handmade, wardrobe. The shelves are kind of rough, the doors don't close quite right and the maker occasionally used a couple of different kinds of wood - but that is what I like about it. Someone's hands made it, labored over the construction and shaped each piece individually. Look hard and you can tell that the curves on the doors are not quite the same shape. Love it!



The nine little simple blocks I labored over are for Quilted Strait's 2015 Row by Row Experience. The 2015 theme is water, and our row is inspired by the trees along Port Gamble Bay, that we are so fortunate to see every time we go outside the shop and look down the street. The trees shapes were made by drawing around a freezer paper template, but the trunk portions I cut freehand, to give the row just a little variety. One or two trees got appliqued on the ferry between Kingston and Edmonds, several more in waiting rooms and a few at 2 am in the morning when sleep was hard to come by. But now they are done - all lined up in a row, each tree, just a little different - each tree handmade.



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D is for Decorator Bags

We try to be responsible paper stewards here at Quilted Strait - we are careful cardboard recyclers, reuse our old flyers and paperwork for scratch paper and reward our customers for bringing their own bags to the shop.

All that said, we still have a need for a supply of bags for customers who need a bag for one reason or another.



I love that I have found a company to supply our bags that has that same reuse, recycle ethic. Our bags (except for our giant sized batting bags) are a mix of lovely prints and textures - all because Nashville Wraps uses the paper from textile mills that is left over after the fabric runs. All is good, we get great looking bags that are pretty enough to use again for gift giving or wrapping paper and they are made from paper that would have otherwise been in the landfill.


You can read a little more about the bags here.
In the 70’s our Dad and my husband Charles were apparel reps traveling Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. One of their customers had a textile business in Mountain City, Tennessee. Proud of the beautifully-printed polyester fabrics, the owner showed Dad around the facility. During the tour Dad asked about the 8-foot rolls of paper stacked high out behind the building. The owner explained, “It’s the paper left over after the fabric printing process and it’s becoming a problem. It’s filling up the landfill so fast the city wants us to find another way to dispose of it.” The rolls were beautiful florals and other patterns, but the printed side was on the inside of the roll. - See more at: http://www.nashvillewrapscommunity.com/blog/2012/08/nashville-wraps-from-recycled-beginnings/#sthash.VQ4P72Wk.dpuf
In the 70’s our Dad and my husband Charles were apparel reps traveling Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. One of their customers had a textile business in Mountain City, Tennessee. Proud of the beautifully-printed polyester fabrics, the owner showed Dad around the facility. During the tour Dad asked about the 8-foot rolls of paper stacked high out behind the building. The owner explained, “It’s the paper left over after the fabric printing process and it’s becoming a problem. It’s filling up the landfill so fast the city wants us to find another way to dispose of it.” The rolls were beautiful florals and other patterns, but the printed side was on the inside of the roll. - See more at: http://www.nashvillewrapscommunity.com/blog/2012/08/nashville-wraps-from-recycled-beginnings/#sthash.VQ4P72Wk.dpuf
In the 70’s our Dad and my husband Charles were apparel reps traveling Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina. One of their customers had a textile business in Mountain City, Tennessee. Proud of the beautifully-printed polyester fabrics, the owner showed Dad around the facility. During the tour Dad asked about the 8-foot rolls of paper stacked high out behind the building. The owner explained, “It’s the paper left over after the fabric printing process and it’s becoming a problem. It’s filling up the landfill so fast the city wants us to find another way to dispose of it.” The rolls were beautiful florals and other patterns, but the printed side was on the inside of the roll. - See more at: http://www.nashvillewrapscommunity.com/blog/2012/08/nashville-wraps-from-recycled-beginnings/#sthash.VQ4P72Wk.dpuf
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C is for Cluck Cluck Sew

C is for Cluck Cluck Sew, the design handle for the immensely talented Allison Harris. And, at the moment, we are Cluck Cluck Sew all over the shop.

Morning Glory, Quilt and pattern by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew
This gal does it all - she has a fun blog with a large following, a thriving pattern business, a book with C&T Publishing and she designs fabric for Windham fabrics. We recommend her patterns at the shop because the quilts are so cleverly designed and the actual patterns are so well written.

Vintage, Quilt and Pattern by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew
The printed patterns are an indication of her generosity as a quilter - they are full color and printed on heavy stock so that they will last as you use them again and again, (you will want to), and this generous quilter offers bunches of free patterns and tutorials on her website.

Suburbs, Quilt by Cindy J. and pattern by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew.




The strength of Allison's book with C&T publishing, Growing Up Modern, is that it is beginner friendly. A quilting newbie could pick up the book and make anything from it, and there are tons of ideas for the experienced quilter as well.

 
Playful, Quilt and pattern by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew
Allison has designed two lines of fabrics for Windham Fabrics - the second of which, Oh Clementine, is due in the shop in September. Wallflower, her first line of fabric, is featured in the quilt below.



Apple Jack, Quilt and Pattern by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew
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B is for Beautiful

We are loving the yellow in our little perennial garden right now - provided by among other blossoms, the rich yellow-gold of the Black-eyed Susans next to the front door. This fall we will be corralling the ground cover - removing the Autumn Joy sedums (they are not doing well in this spot) in preparation for the addition of some hollyhocks, delphiniums and perhaps a David Austin rose - a little more of a cottage garden look. Don't worry - I have a finally almost restored garden at my house (a year long project since we moved in last June) that has plenty of room for what we move from the shop.


Newest sample to hit the shop: Fabric group is Glimma, and pattern is Bird's Eye View by Valorie Wells and sample maker is the wonderful Carol Cap. Here is the pattern cover....

And here is our version..


Carol has done an amazing job with the quilting. When I quilt my own quilts, I rarely use an overall design, but in this case the effect of the tight, complex, allover design is a perfect compliment to the fabric and the quilt.



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A is for.........

For some reason, perhaps that mountain of filing I am still trying to catch up on - I have been mentally organizing things alphabetically lately. So of course in ABC order - first lets talk about  A......

Allison Harris -We are so fortunate at Quilted Strait to have a chance to meet some very talented people! Right now in the shop we are please to be featuring quilts from Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew. This talented quilter and designer is the author of numerous patterns, has a new book out from C&T Publishing and has a line of fabric from Windham due out at the end of the summer.



We are all in awe of her amazing sense of color and design and her ability to make traditionald block patterns look new and fresh and innovative. And best of all - Allison now lives in the Pacific Northwest - just a few miles drive from our shop!






Amy Ellis - We also have a small trunk show from Amy Ellis right now from her book Modern Neutrals. These four quilts have a unique graphic energy that owes more to contrasts in value rather than color. The book contains some unique quilt patterns and is also a great source of inspiration if you want to explore the neutrals palette with your own quilt designs.





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Ebb & Flow - Action & Reaction

Ebb and Flow, Action and Reaction - and Increasing Creative and technical confidence! That is the story of the Beginner's Sampler Class under the gentle guidance of teacher Celeste Alexander.

Quilts are birthed in our classroom almost everyday of the week - but especially in the Sampler class. These students are halfway through the 10 week class - with most of their handwork blocks done - and machine blocks underway.

Take note of the black and white print Sue has tucked in here and there - 6 blocks down 6 to go!



Be sure to take a look at the clever fussy cutting Farrell has used in the Grandmother's Fan Block and the center of the Dresden Plate block.
 


Beautiful - you have to love the dynamic that is created with the mix of textures in these blocks...dots and printed plaids along with the florals.




As Susan arranges her blocks - she will be able to make good use of the magenta highlights in her blocks to compel your eye to move around her quilt. Did you take note of the change she made in the four patch blocks? I hear a rumor she is remaking a couple of her blocks - can't wait to see what next weeks design wall looks like.




 Laurel Burch meets the Beginner Sampler blocks - look how the way the motifs in the fabrics in the 4-patch block make the inner edges of the block look more fluid - Serendipitous or by design?


More blocks to follow - and there are several more students in the class whose blocks I did not catch while they were on the design wall.  The truth is - even if it is not our day to work, we all find an excuse to drop by the shop and take a look at the evolution of these quilts - fabrics added, fabrics discarded and clever fussy cutting - these quilts always become more than their creators imagined in the beginning.