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Changing Tides Fiber Art Shop

July 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Changing Tides in Juneau isn’t technically a hole-in-the-wall shop, since it’s on the second floor of a building full of shops. I found it via a street-level window display.

Changing Tides Street-Level Window Display

It’s also a little bigger than what I consider hole-in-the-wall. But as it caters to cross stitching and needlepoint as well as quilting, it’s plenty cramped for one.

For Quilters

Like The Quilted Raven in Anchorage, Changing Tides focuses mostly on Alaska-themed fabric prints and designs. It’s in downtown near the harbor, easily accessible to most tourists by foot. There’s quite a bit of overlap with what The Quilted Raven sells, too. As the owner admitted to me in conversation towards the end of my visit, she’s well acquainted with the owner of The Quilted Raven and they have similar tastes in fabric.

One difference I noticed, though, is that Changing Tides has a pretty good selection of non-Alaska prints. The blacks and whites were especially interesting, but there were a couple of batiques that really caught my eye. I found a pink batique with a red cherries pattern that I had to adopt in addition to the white and black abstract print I had selected, even though my budget was a little tight.

Changing Tides sells scraps by the ounce. I think the prices are perhaps a little high for scraps, but they have some really good scraps. It’s a great way to get a little bit of each of a bunch of Alaska-theme prints in one spot.

Changing Tide Purchases

For Cross-Stitch and Needlepoint Folk

The store carries an array of patterns for cross-stitch and needlepoint. Some are counted, but they have a bunch of patterns printed or hand-painted directly onto canvas hanging behind the counter on the left as you walk in. The hand-painted ones include unique originals by famous Alaskan artists. You pay for it, but it’s worth it if you can afford it. The one that caught my eye was $175, but I would have been happy to pay it if I could. (Though I might’ve been afraid to actually stitch it!)

They carry embroidery thread, too, but I paid little attention to that. You can get embroidery thread anywhere. I should have checked to see if any of it was locally made, but didn’t think about it. Sorry!

For Art Collectors

Changing Tides serves as a consignment shop for local artists in the Juneau area. In addition to the works of cross-stitch and needlepoint for sale on one wall, many of the quilts on display are for sale, too. All of the consignment art is Alaska-themed. There’s a lot of good stuff; I recommend checking it out even if you don’t intend to buy.

Because of this, picture-taking isn’t really welcome in Changing Tides. Some of the artists represented don’t want their work photographed. The owner also doesn’t like having her picture taken.

In fact, I rubbed the owner the wrong way by walking in with my camera out. I assume that being in the most touristy area of Juneau involves dealing with people who just want to walk in, take pictures, and leave. The owner was short and snappy with me at first, but warmed up to me once I put my camera away (as soon as she started getting irritated with me) and started shopping.

The few pictures I did take are up on Flickr.

RainTree Quilting

July 11, 2010 Leave a comment

While I was in Juneau for Kyle’s wedding, I visited two quilt shops. I wanted to visit at least one, so Ash pulled up the GPS app on his iPhone and we went to the first one on the list. That was RainTree Quilting.

RainTree Quilting

RainTree Quilting is located off of Mendenhall Loop Road. A few trees separate it from the street, but the store itself has enough front windows to give the place a light, airy feel. They have a show room and a class room, with completed quilts hanging in each. The fabric selection reminds me of what Quilt Tree carries here in Anchorage, in terms of color values and the types of patterns they carry, though there were fewer oriental fabrics.

The owner was in that day, with one employee. Both were friendly and helpful; we got to chatting a bit about Anchorage quilt stores and quilt tourism in general. I may be only starting quilt store touring, but they said that people come through from all over. They were fine with me taking pictures (though many of them came out poorly). I ended up cutting both the picture taking and the chatting short, though, because Ash and Patti were demonstrating signs of boredom, eventually retreating to the car.

I’ve decided that I will get a fat quarter of some green fabric and a yard of something else nifty from each quilt store I visit in my travels. From RainTree Quilting, I took away a bright green fat quarter with a scratchy/speckly pattern and a dark blue batique with a dog sledding pattern on it. It’s possible I could have gotten that same batique from The Quilted Raven in Anchorage, but I wasn’t sure and it really appealed to me while I was there.

Fabric Purchased at RainTree Quilting

I found my visit to RainTree Quilting a pleasant experience, and recommend the place highly. More pictures can be found on Flickr.

Work in Progress: My First Quilt (Top)

November 23, 2009 1 comment

I have completed my first patchwork quilt top! It’s actually been completed for a couple of weeks, but I didn’t get around to taking pictures of it very quickly.

Ta da!

I cut three 2.5″ squares from each of 40 different fabrics, which I put in a bag. I shook the bag until they were thoroughly mixed, then pulled them out, stacked them, and proceeded to make rows of ten squares each by just pulling them off the stack. I didn’t count how many fabrics I used, so I’m lucky it came out in a number easily divisible by ten — I had no squares left over. I then took my mish-mash to The Quilt Tree and picked out the border fabric (thank you, Shannon, for advice about the color).

It’s sewn by hand, and I eyeballed all the seams (’cause who wants to mark that many pieces of fabric?), so… some of the squares came out a bit rectangular, but I’m pleased with it, overall. It’s just for me and my learning experience, so it doesn’t have to be perfect. I was more interested in how the colors would look together. This was a modified version of the first “lesson” in the book Color from the Heart: Seven Great Ways to Make Quilts with Colors You Love; the book wanted me to do that, but instead of just sewing them together randomly, I was supposed to put the whole thing on a design board first. That book, like most I’ve found today, assumed I was going to be machine quilting in a work area, not hand sewing on a bus.

 

All of my corners came out nice and sharp... but they didn't always match up perfectly.

 

I learned much in the course of sewing this together. I’m sure I have more to learn, since I haven’t quilted it yet. And probably won’t before the new year… I have multiple craft projects in the works that are to be given as gifts. When I do, though, my plan is something like the following picture — though less crazy in color. Though honestly, if hand-quilting thread came in crazy colors, that would be different. I want to get the hang of doing this in the first place before I experiment with using weaker thread, though.

 

The actual quilting will also drape with the cloth instead of looking retarded in terms of perspective.

 

Although no two adjacent squares in the quilt top are made of identical fabric, there are several spots that have two of the same fabric flanking a second fabric. Quilting it with the plan above will help hide that. I love the little sandwiches, but I also like the idea of being able to blur their existence with a little bit of thread. (Muahaha!) The quilting I do on the border should show nicely, since my hand-quilting thread is light in color.

The border’s not planned as much as the middle. I want to outline the corners to cover up a mistake I made trying to set in the last little bit. I don’t know what I’ll put in the corners, though. I’m toying around with ideas like sakura blossoms, goombas, and wedges of cheese. Not all together, of course, I mean to pick one and use it in all four corners. The center of the top, bottom, and sides, are going to get the kanji for north, south, east, and west. East and west will be backwards on purpose; it was a suggestion of my brother’s that amused me. I can never remember which way is which anyway, so why not? That’s So Raven Lena! I haven’t decided what to fill the rest in with.

The Birth of a Quilt Log

November 11, 2009 2 comments

I went to the Loussac Library‘s fall book sale last weekend. I was hoping to find good Japanese reading material, but they were pretty much cleaned out on that. I did find some quilt books, though. I only ended up with one because this one lady snapped up every quilt book but the one I was holding while I was flipping through it to decide if I actually wanted it or not. I’m very happy with my one book, though.

nqandpd

The copyright on this book is over twenty years old, and there doesn't seem to be a newer edition. What would you call it, anyway -- The New New Quilting and Patchwork Dictionary?

The New Quilting and Patchwork Dictionary by Rhoda Ochser Goldberg is a nice quilting resource book. The first third or so of the book is information on different quilting supplies and techniques. Concise introductions all around. The rest of the book is quilt block patterns built on grids to make drawing them out at any size for templates a piece of cake. There are pre-drawn templates for basic geometric shapes at the back, right before the quilt block index.

The real gem in this book, though, is page 1, which I’m sharing with you.

quiltlog

Click for legible size. It's worth the read.

A quilt log! Plans for quilts to make in the near future and others to make eventually when I have the appropriate skill have been circling around my head and scattered through text files on my desktop since I first bought cloth. A quilt log gives me a single place to keep all that information, in addition to the above-mentioned benefits. You’d think something as simple as a quilt log wouldn’t be that important for posterity, but between my recent world history class and having a genealogist for a friend-sister, I’ve come to realize just how important such things are to really understanding the people of a given era and area. I’m not exactly representative of the average, I don’t think (one of the pages going into my quilt log is for a fussy-cut Super Mario Bros. quilt I’m planning for the distant future, for instance), but maybe that’ll make my quilt log more interesting to anyone who bothers to read it later.

Like the author of the book, I’ve opted to keep a three-ring binder. I will (hopefully) fill it to overflowing at some point in the future and have to split my log into multiple binders and/or transfer it to a bigger binder. For now, however, I’m using one of my ridiculously old binders that I’ve been keeping since middle school — or maybe earlier — simply because it’s a shame to throw away a good one.

logouter

The shark and headless horseman stickers glow in the dark.

loginner

Behold the power of adolescent doodles!

Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters 2009 Quilt Show

September 13, 2009 Leave a comment

The local quilters guild, the Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters, runs a quilt show every September. This years started yesterday and ends today, running from 10 AM to 4 PM with their silent small quilt auction ending at two and a raffle quilt being given away at 3:30.

And if you like quilts, you should go.

The quilt show is divided into three sections. Along the right wall as you come in were a number of tables and displays set up showing off some of the things members of the ALCQ do — calendar quilts, quilts to match specific teddy bears, group projects, and the like.

One woman was also giving a demonstration of how to make ruched flowers, like the one shown below.

This flower was part of a quilt in the second section, which was devoted to the work of their featured quilter, Mary Lee. This woman has mad skills. I spent half an hour in front of one of her quilts, admiring the details. It’s one of my favorite quilts at the show, from the Alaska Railroad train near the top to the itty bitty hand-embroidered bees by the beehive near the bottom.

Her others, which appeal to my sense of aesthetics to varying degrees, all display skill I can only hope to match some day.

The third section of the show, which takes up almost the entire left hand side as you walk in and wraps around the edge of the balcony on the second floor, displays quilts from the rest of the guild. The range of size, color, and type is great. Some of the quilts displayed were in evidence at the state fair in Palmer, also, including the grand prize winner.

One of the largest quilts was also my absolute favorite at the fair. The woman who made it, Holly, was on hand to talk about it, too. I don’t remember the exact number of hours it took her to complete, but it was over 2,700. The finished product is 11’x13′ in size.

My favorite part is how she did the fletching on the arrows. The shaft and head of each arrow is done in colored quilt blocks, but the fletching has gray quilt blocks with colored embellishments added — flowers for the arrows pointing inward from the right and paisleys for the arrows pointing inward from the left.

The last thing the quilt show has to offer are a number of small quilts for auction. The small quilt auction is a fund raiser for the guild to sponsor the events and classes they hold over the year for their members.

I have more pictures uploaded to my Picasa web albums, linked below.

Anchorage Log Cabin Quilters Show 2009 Featured Quilter Mary Lee
Small Quilt Silent Auction

First Visit to Quilt Tree

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I finally got off my duff and walked over to Quilt Tree this evening. Up ’til today I had gone exclusively to Seams Like Home due to its extremely close proximity to my place of work. (Well, except for one after-hours fail attempt to hit the quilt shop in Eagle River with my sister.)

I didn’t realize before going there that Quilt Tree is a combined quilting and yarn crafts shop. And they don’t waste any space. They have bolts of cloth on top of shelves and leaning against shelves on the floor, leaving just enough space to peruse. I didn’t wander into the yarn section — though I probably should have, since I need some supplies for my Halloween costume — but it looked just as crammed as the cloth half of the store.

The color and pattern selection is perhaps a bit more muted at Quilt Tree than at Seams Like Home, on average. The two stores have some of the same fabrics available, but there’s really not too much overlap. Not outside the batiks section, anyway — I haven’t decided how much I want to get into batiks yet, so I didn’t really look at them.

Quilt Tree’s fabrics are a hair pricier than those at Seams Like Home. It’s really a negligible difference, though, generally $0.50 a yard. Their fat quarters are priced about the same, and like Seams Like Home they’re willing to cut a fat quarter off of just about any bolt for you. Exceptions to that at Quilt Tree are upholstery fabrics and their selection of imported Japanese fabrics.

The imported Japanese fabrics are wonderful. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill oriental designs; they’re the kind of fabrics Japanese crafters like to use for their patchwork. The cloth designs varied from simple prints to cute prints to a few bolts that seemed designed to be miniature fabric stashes on a single bolt (having several simple designs spanning the length of the fabric in stripes). The ones I looked at all ranged from $15-$20 per yard. They tended to fit in with the trend towards more muted colors I saw.

Overall, it’s very nice. I’ll definitely be hitting there more often as I seek to inflate my fabric stash.

Book Review: Quilting Makes the Quilt by Lee Cleland

July 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Quilting Makes the QuiltI found this book at the Loussac Library, and I am so glad I grabbed it. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in quilting.

Cleland wrote this book to illustrate how big an impact the quilting design itself has on the final look of a patchwork quilt. To this end, she made five identical copies of each of several quilt tops, then quilted each top to batting and backing in a very different way from its quintuplet siblings. Classic quilting techniques are featured on some quilts; others break outside the box a bit. Excellent pictures of both full views and close-ups of the quilts do a fantastic job of illustrating the author’s point.

Although the book was written by a machine quilter, the information contained within applies to both machine and hand quilting. This is more of a book about design than technique, though the author’s perspective as a machine quilter leaks out a bit.

Bottom Line: The book is worth owning, but I found the concepts clear and simple enough that I don’t plan to buy it. It’s great for sparking one’s imagination, but isn’t much of a reference book. Although definitely a great book for a beginning quilter to look at, experienced quilters may or may not find it useful.