Upper Peninsula Quilt Shop

While visiting relatives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula for the past few days, I was able to go to Marquette. I knew Alley Kat's Quilt Shop was in Marquette. 

However, my first stop was the Marquette Regional History Center where an exhibit in the lobby included costumed narrators sharing history about the Civil War--one of which was a quilter, Judy Parlato. Before the local students arrived, Judy and I were able to discuss quilting. She is very knowledgeable about historical quilting; but she is an art quilter at heart. She told me exactly where to find Alley Kat's Quilt Shop.

What a nice, fun shop. The website is under construction HERE. The changing banner on the home page shows much of what the shop offers.The Facebook page HERE. The staff was very friendly and Kat, the owner, so bubbly. I was happy to be allowed to take photos so I could share with you a little of what this shop is all about. 

They offer a variety of sewing supplies for all interests: quilting, home decor, doll making, art quilting, garments. 

They have a longarm quilter who works in a room (with two large windows) 
off the main entrance.

They sell Elna machines, Handi Quilter and Horn Cabinets.

At the checkout items could be purchased for one's self or gifts. 
They carry Siesta Silver Jewelry (some of my favorite jewelry) by Karla Piper!

Of course, the bright, fun fabrics drew me in for a closer look.
There were books and patterns for every interest, too. 

The art quilting area included fabric paints, Lutrador, everything an art quilter would need. 

Just inside the classroom area I found wools and patterns for projects.

The Children's Fabric Room was set up in a very cute manner with fun fabrics, 
cute samples and many, many patterns!

I just love to collect hedgehogs. 
Here is the finger puppet I bought at the History Center that day:

I found a cute hedgehog fabric 

that I will use to border this Hazel Hedgehog pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.  

I like little panels that can be made into quilts 
with the addition of fabric from my stash, so I bought this alphabet panel. 

I look forward to my next visit to the relatives as well as the chance to return to Alley Kat's Quilt Shop. I hope you are able to visit the shop as well. 

I will add that we had lunch at Donker's, and later in the day had a snack at Babycakes Muffin Factory. Both eateries were pleasant to dine in and had good food. 

What new quilt shop(s) have you visited?


Purple Petals Quilt Completed

For such a small quilt, there was a great amount of time taken to finish it. 
And a great lesson learned!

It measures 25.5" x 25.5" and I really think it is beautiful!


This project is my "Live and Learn Project". 

It began when I saw the Electric Quilt Scrap Challenge on May 1st. 
The submissions were due by May 31.
Yes, a way to use my scraps (I have scraps!), and submit one of my creations for the quilting world to see (well, atleast the EQ world)!
Taking into consideration a week for my mother-in-laws memorial 
with people staying at our house in the middle of May, 
working at the store a once a week 
and a wedding last weekend -- Yes! I was sure I could get it done.

I chose the Scrappier 25.5" x 25.5" quilt design.

EQ asked us:  "Like this one best? Download and open it in EQ7. Then, click the “View Sketchbook” button to view this quilt. Remember: You can print the blocks, rotary cutting instructions, foundation patterns and templates right from EQ7!"

I downloaded it...BUT...I did not want to use foundation patterns or use a template. 

This is how the block is sewn in the EQ file. How would I make those blocks quick and easy?

I decided to use the Creative Grids 2-1/2" Trapezoid Strip Ruler.
I knew I would have to trim the blocks down, but I thought that would be easier than tearing paper off the blocks or trying to use the rotary cutter with a template.

I figured I could make the quilt with blocks that were sewn this way:

And the Trapezoid tool really did work well. I will post about how I did it next week.

The design wall would aide me in the arrangement of the blocks.
Away I went. And things were going very well indeed. 
I used up many scraps of purple fabrics and greens. 
(I know it didn't made a dent in my scrap bins!)

I enjoyed the quilting process. It went easily. 
Of course after I made the first pass with the swirls, 
I realized I could have quilted more blocks in fewer passes
by using a different path with my free motion movement.

I got it done with time to spare! It looks lovely, wouldn't you say?  

Ready for submission!

Except, I made a BIG error! 
I looked at the EQ quilt diagram and
I looked at my quilt and it hit me like a brick!

Follow the Rules: 

And Rule #1 is very clear!
You must follow the design exactly.

I changed the position of the blocks even with the diagram on my design wall. 
I wanted to focused so much on the flowers in this pattern,
that I didn't seem my mistake in the design! 
I did not follow the patterns given because I wanted to make blocks easier.

I learned a valuable lesson. 
And when this type of mistake happens, it is ingrained in the mind.
I will remember this! 
I will not be able to submit this quilt for the Scrap Challenge.
 I will send it to the EQ Gallery where it will be visible to the EQ World after all.

Note:  I have been inspired by the quilt photos that my friend Elizabeth, at OpQuilt.com  
posts on her website; so I gave it a try. 

Lupines and iris,

 hanging in nature, 

 and dappled by sunshine on my dining room floor.

Have a wonderful day and I hope a hobby is part of it.


Four-in-Art Reveal of Literature Mini Quilt

I have been working on a number of things lately, most are not quilting projects. However, I do have my Four-in-Art project done and ready for this reveal today. The on-line group I belong to has an overall theme each year. This year it is Literature. Each of us chose how we wanted to represent the theme in a 12" square quilt. Every 3 months we reveal a new piece.

I am continuing with the theme of children's literature incorporating fonts in each piece. Dr. Seuss came to mind for this challenge. I remember reading his books to my own daughters and the students in my kindergarten classes. I chose the book One fish two fish red fish blue fish for my quilt piece. (Dr. Seuss did not use commas in this book title.) This series of quilts is going to be donated to the local library for the Children's Room.

I purchased my Scan N Cut machine in July, 2014, but had not used it many times. In January, 2015, a demo class was held at the store where I purchased it. I learned many things that the machine could cut....but most importantly, tips and tricks to confidently use it. So, armed with my fused fabric and a brayer (which helps get all the fabric adhered to the tacky mat), I easily cut the letters and numerals for my Four-in-Art Challenge quilt. 

Here it is: Learning with Dr. Seuss.

I backed the fabric for the numbers and letters with fusible before I cut them. I remember watching Doreen Speckmann years ago make what she called Peaky and Spike blocks into fish. I wanted fish like hers and used the EZ Quilting templates from Wright Co. to cut the size fabric pieces I needed. Many manufacturers call these templates Tri-Recs.

I set the fish blocks into a skewed frame of fabric (something like paper piecing) for the background and trimmed it to 12-1/2" square. Then I played with the position of the numbers and letters finally fusing them when I had an arrangement I liked. 

I sewed the letters with a blanket stitch to make sure they stayed attached to the background over the years. 

It was time to decide on quilting. I printed a smaller photo of my quilt on 8-1/2" x 11" paper and slipped it into a plastic sheet protector. With an erasable marker I drew some designs to see what would work. (Thanks go to my fellow Four-in-Arter, Elizabeth, who passed this tip along in a post a while back.)

I did not like my first design--too much detail in my opinion. 

The second design looked better. I wanted bubbles from the fish.

 I wanted some movement of water so the design changed a bit as I quilted it.

I trimmed the quilt to size. The fish got button eyes and gills and mouths. I wanted to accentuate the bubbles and found some white plastic beads in my embellishment box. I think those added a good finishing touch. 

I sew double folded bindings on my quilts from the back, press them to the front and topstitch with my walking foot since carpel tunnel makes hand sewing difficult. I had the binding leftover from another project and thought it would brighten the quilt even more for the Children's Library Room. 

Do you think the backing is as fun as I do? I found it while traveling this winter and can't remember where.

Visit the others in the Four-in-Art group to see what they have done for the second reveal of their Literature themes. 

Betty at a Flickr site: http://www.flickr.com
Catherine  at Knotted Cotton
Elizabeth at OPQuilt.com 
Jennifer at Secondhand Dinosaur 
Nancy at  Patchwork Breeze
Rachel at The Life of Riley
Simone at Quiltalicious
Susan at PatchworknPlay