A Visit to Missouri Star Quilt Company

missouristarquilt_1

This past week I accompanied my husband on a long weekend, when he went to a scientific conference in Kansas City, Missouri.  I’ve been going to this conference with him for many years, and have a close friendship with Beth, the wife of another scientist.  When she found out the meeting was in Kansas City (the venue changes every year), she looked up on the map how far it was to Missouri Star Quilt Company (about an hour from the city center). Tuesday morning I hopped in her car and we were off to see the Wizard Missouri Star Quilt Company.missouristarquilt_1a

Missouri Star Quilt Company is in Hamilton, Missouri, a small one-blinking-stoplight town in the rolling plains of the Midwest.  I snapped this photo while walking in the crosswalk underneath the blinking red light.missouristarquilt_1b

It does have other shops than the Missouri Star Quilt company, such as the grocery store above (pronounce the name out loud), as well as a bank and a park, which notes it is the site of the boyhood home James Cash Penny, the man who started the J.C. Penny stores.missouristarquilt_guide1Here is the merchandise bag, when you buy a T-shirt or other such souvenirs at the main shop.  They also hand you a brochure, and you fill out a badge that you let them scan in every shop, saving you the hassle of giving them your email every time, and also helps you acrue their quilt bucks, or whatever they call it; every time I made a purchase, I’d gathered a bit more savings, which I applied to my purchase.  I didn’t get all this until the third shop we stopped in, but I put it here to give you an overview.missouristarquilt_guide2missouristarquilt_guide3We parked in front of Shop #24, and walked across the street to begin our fun.missouristarquilt_2 We start with Florals.missouristarquilt_3Nearly every shop is like the one above, long and narrow, as shops were back in the day.  The fabrics are in slightly tilted shelves along each wall, with bins/buckets/containers in the center, near the cutting tables.  All the quilts that you’ve seen in Block Magazine are lining the walls, which made me feel like I was in quilt heaven–and that I needed to add about 20 more quilts to the Get These Made Before You Die list.missouri-star-fabric-collageWe soon realized that we could be in serious financial danger if we bought as we went, so we decided to browse, then buy.  To keep track of what I was interested in the first time through all the shops, I started snapping photos.
missouristarquilt_4

Next up is what we called Vintage, but looks like on the map is Mercantile.  It was filled with lots of Civil War, reproductions and 1930s prints.missouristarquilt_5

I don’t think this character is part of the Missouri Star Quilt displays, but I loved his look.missouristarquilt_6

I was consistently impressed with the little touches–like these fabric butterflies in the Main Shop window.
missouristarquilt_6a

Sometimes I kind of felt this was like a cross between a quilt shop and Pottery Barn, which is really fun.  Lots of light, well-curated extra touches (like the seating area up above by the woman in the pink) and great displays with lots of charm.  In the Main Shop, we picked up our badges, looked at all the merch (see below) and noticed that around the edge of this shop were sections of fabrics that matched the shops around on the street: florals, baby, primitives, modern, etc.missouristarquilt_6b missouristarquilt_6c missouristarquilt_6d

Quilts are everywhere…even under the cutting tables.missouristarquilt_6e missouristarquilt_7

Moving on, we enjoyed the murals on three of the buildings.  The first is above, and I laughed when I saw them painting the side of this building (below) with BRUSHES!missouristarquilt_7a missouristarquilt_8

We were headed to Penny’s.missouristarquilt_9

Store front window, because this place is filled with solids, or near-solids, of every kind (just not my favorite solids: Paintbrush Studios).missouristarquilt_9a

Again, there are lots of small vignettes of color, and lots and lots of quilts and quilt tops.  The big crime was that because my plane was leaving that night, we only had a few hours to spend here, but I could see that a quilter could save up all their money and stay for a long day or two.  You’d better drive, though, because you’ll be hauling a lot home.  Since both Beth and I had small suitcases, we limited our purchases (another crime), which was hard to do, because everything is so beautiful and well-displayed.missouristarquilt_9b missouristarquilt_9c

Above each section of shelves is a small round blackboard, with the name of the manufacturer written in chalkboard paint, and framed by a small embroidery hoop.missouristarquilt_10

We peeked into the Man Cave, or as they call it, Man’s Land.  It is equipped with big recliners, wide screen TVs, and a pool table.missouristarquilt_10a missouristarquilt_10b missouristarquilt_11

Upstairs, above the row of shops on the Penny’s side, are four side-by-side upstairs quilt shops: Kids & Baby, Backing and Trims, Sew Seasonal, and Modern.missouristarquilt_11a missouristarquilt_12 missouristarquilt_12a missouristarquilt_12b

Access is via these steps, or another set of wide ones (with a bright yellow wall–the colors here are really fun and bright) in the Licensed to Sew Shop, or via an elevator.  They’ll get you up there every way they can.  About this point, I asked about all the charms I was seeing: different ones in every shop.  If you spent more than $50 (pre-tax) in any one of their shops (you can’t carry the total forward between shops), you get a free charm.  I ended up buying a few, instead of qualifying (I told you I had a small suitcase).  They give you the little bracelet at the Main Shop, when you print out your badge.
missouristarquilt_13

Okay, lunchtime!  J’s Burger Dive was highly recommended for great burgers, but we went with Mama Hawk’s Kitchen, where we each got a salad.missouristarquilt_13a

Another mural and a couple of locals.missouristarquilt_14

We circled back around through the shops, picking up the fabrics we wanted, where I snapped this last picture at the “Machine Shed,” where they had notions and machines.  One other place is the Sewing Center, but they had a retreat, so we couldn’t go in (but we peeked through the window–it was packed!) I also heard that Rob Apell was around somewhere, but I didn’t spot him.  Beth and I tucked our goodies and ourselves back into our car and headed back to Kansas City, happy to have stolen a few hours to browse Hamilton and visit the Missouri Star Quilt Company!

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚
My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free.  
I do not know about, nor choose the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

Rosette #6 for the New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-A-Long

rosette-6_whitebckgrnd

Here’s my rosette #6 for The New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt-Along.

marek-rosette-6

And here is the original.

Why did I change it?  I started looking at all the composite views of the rosette and just thought the star was too prominent, that it started a new conversation in the middle of the living room when the party around it was already having a nice chat, thank you very much.  While I thought the original design was very clever, I needed it to change.

rosette-6_opquilt-com

Here are the changes I made:

In the black Circle #1, I created a new piece — that of two tall 30-60-90 triangles merged into one equilateral triangle.  I studied my friend Laurel’s rosette (she is all finished with her quilt top) and noticed that in hers, as well as in many others, the right triangles of 30-60-90, when placed back to back with another, create a third pattern.  It does the same thing in the original block, above.  But I wanted to use this bargello/flame fabric and I only had a little bit, so that made my decision for me.

In the dark pink Circle #2, I looked at other blocks that I’d sewn in my previous rosettes, because I wanted to nab their papers and re-use them.  I found this shape in an earlier rosette, figured out that it would work, and am happy with the “ribbon” the multi-colored light-green fabric made.

I had to sew on my equilateral triangles on the center section first, then the next inner row of partial hexies, in order to make it fit (the ones with the bold radiating circle design).  Then it was add the last round, alternating the birds and the citrus fruit hexies.

all-rosettes_opquilt

Here it is, laid out in Photoshop, which isn’t really the greatest approximation of how it looks in real life, but I’m not yet to the sewing-it-together phase. I’m still not 100% sure about the colors of Number Six, but I will try to bring in one more yellow spot somewhere — maybe in 10a — so I can balance those brights.

Stay tuned.

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚
My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free.  
I do not know about, nor choose the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

Roxanne’s Quilt Shop in Carpinteria, California

roxanne_1

Roxanne’s Quilt Shop in Carpenteria, California is filled to the brim with colorful, quirky, to-die-for fabrics, yarns, threads and painted Featherweight sewing machines. I spent quite a bit of time looking at everything they had, including this banner which greets you as you are in the shop: Live the Creative Life.  Can I just move in here for about a year or two? roxanne_3j roxanne_3g

Main fabric room, with a clever roof-line on the back wall behind the cutting table.

roxanne_3

They are renowned for their cutting table.  Detail shots, next two.roxanne_3c roxanne_3d roxanne_3b

The Kaffe Fasset corner is currently anchored by this bright quilt, made of triangles. Info, next.

fullsizerender

roxanne_3f

Cute displays everywhere, including their collection of repainted Featherweights.roxanne_4

Three of us brought home signs made of strips of license plates.  I won’t make you guess whose is whose.
roxanne_2

Out front is an old-fashioned sign, so of course, I made everyone pose.  After you stagger out of there with your bags and bags of goodies, you’ll see some more of Carpinteria’s fun quirkiness:roxanne_1b

Mary says John Wayne, on the middle upstairs balcony, has been there like “forever.”  I’d like to be here, too!

 

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚
My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free.  
I do not know about, nor choose the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

Beachside Quilting Retreat

quiltretreat2016_Shortly after meeting Mary at QuiltCon, she texted me to say we ought to get together for a weekend at the beach, and suggested a date: September.

quiltretreat2016_1 quiltretreat2016_1aThat seemed so far away, but finally the weekend arrived and Lisa (L), Leisa (R) and I drove over to Carpinteria, where her beach house is located.  We were more than happy to spend time with her as we think she is the Cat’s Meow, besides being a great quilter.

quiltretreat2016_2quiltretreat2016_2aquiltretreat2016_2b

First up: exchange little gifts with each other.  I always like what Simone de Beauvoir said: something to the effect that if the universe were run by women, they would bestow little gifts upon each other all day long.  She certainly knew about quilters!  I had a package which contained socks, a candy bar brought from Denmark with funny words on them, and a few other trinkets.  We set up our machines and began sewing.

quiltretreat2016_3

View from the balcony towards Arco Island.  While the official name is Rincon Island, the locals call it after the oil company.  They also never call the city by its full name of Carpinteria, but rather, call it “Carp.”quiltretreat2016_4a

After sewing all afternoon, and after dinner, it was time to go and watch the sunset.  We adopted the rhythm established by Mary and her family, and were always happy to have a break out in nature before we tackled the evening’s sewing.quiltretreat2016_4b quiltretreat2016_4c quiltretreat2016_5

Leisa, Lisa and Maryquiltretreat2016_5a quiltretreat2016_5b

Many of the rocks on this area of beach have holes in them and through them.  We joked that all our suitcases were pounds heavier with our souvenirs from Carp.quiltretreat2016_5goodbye quiltretreat2016_6

Saturday morning, Mary told us all it was National Sewing Machine Day, so I documented us all at our machines.

quiltretreat2016_11a

Since Mary and I like to cook, I’ll give you an idea of the food we had all weekend, beginning with her shashito peppers from her garden, lightly heated with a bit of oil, then dipped in soy sauce.
quiltretreat2016_11b

We all contributed to this stack.quiltretreat2016_11c

Mary’s Tomato and Cheese Galette, served with fresh greens.quiltretreat2016_11d

Melon wrapped in proscuitto, tomatoes layered with fresh mozzarella.  I’d forgotten my vinegar, so Mary’s BIL lent some and it was amazing (the “good stuff” he said, and he was right).quiltretreat2016_11e

For lunch one day we were out at The Spot, where the ladies were photo-bombed:

quiltretreat2016_11f

summerlandcafe

Another day we went to Summerland Cafe, known for its breakfasts. . . so I had breakfast, while the other quilters had a lunch entree. quiltretreat2016_11g quiltretreat2016_11h

After finding two pumpkin-shaped Le Creuset pots in an antique store, Mary taught us all how to make her famous bread.  Link to the story and the recipe is *here.*  We also visited the famous Roxanne’s Quilt Shop; write-up with photos in the next post. I’m still recovering.quiltretreat2016_orchid1

We visited one of the local orchid farms, Westerlay Farms, where there were a gorgeous array of colorful orchids.quiltretreat2016_orchid1a quiltretreat2016_orchid1b quiltretreat2016_orchid1c quiltretreat2016_orchid1d

Westerly also had a planter of beautiful succulents out front.
quiltretreat2016_project1

So did we do more than eat and have field trips?  Yep, yep.  I brought my unfinished Traveling Threads Bee quilt, as it had languished too long.  After we taped up the design wall (see below), I slapped all my blocks up there and began moving them around.  And around.  And around.quiltretreat2016_project1a

I went downstairs early the first night to be the first in her jammies, and got quilt-bombed with Lisa’s batch of 50 nine-patches.  This was Lisa laughing with me in the morning, as it took me a minute to figure out why my quilt looked so great, but then she made me give them back.  Pity. They were sunny and bright in my quilt of fall colors.  She did this set of 50, and then another set of 50 three-inch nine-patches for a guilt swap she is participating in.quiltretreat2016_project1b

After noodling on this for a very long day (asking everyone what they thought of it about every time I moved something an inch — they were very patient), I finally got it sewed together.  Now to quilt it.  I took mine down and Lisa put hers up:

quiltretreat2016_project7

This is the photo at the end of the weekend, after she sewed and sewed and sewed. It’s a Lizzy House pattern.quiltretreat2016_project2 quiltretreat2016_project3

I completed two backs for quilts: Oh Christmas Tree, and Halloween 1904.  Sorry they are so wrinkled.
quiltretreat2016_project4

Mary had the actual First Finish, when she held up this appliquéd chicken, quilted and bound.  She used a special technique to appliqué the pieces down.
quiltretreat2016_project5

Leisa worked on several projects, but this is her quilt from a Road to California class using Little House on the Prarie fabrics. quiltretreat2016_project8 quiltretreat2016_project8a

Leisa also finished up her Halloween 1904 quilt (on the right).  It was part of the Quilt-A-Long here on the blog this summer.quiltretreat2016_project9

Mary finishing up her Christmas Tree skirt, using the trick of a glue stick to hold the binding in place for top-stitching. quiltretreat2016_project9b

Here it is!quiltretreat2016_project9a

She also finished up a quilt-a-long with Bonnie Hunter, with stars and strips.
quiltretreat2016_project10

Lastly, Mary made two red Xs for the 70273project by Jeanne Hewell-Chambers, found *here,*  with Introductory Post *here.* Mary’s set is on top, mine’s on the bottom.  We had one more set by the time the weekend was finished.

quiltretreat2016_goodbye2Stuff ready to get packed into Lisa’s car.

quiltretreat2016_goodbye

Good-bye until next year!

Breaking up the Quilting Work: A Few Thoughts on Refueling While Working

shine-block_starburst1

In a recent article about taking restful breaks in 99U, written by Christian Jarrett, he talks about the need for “truly restful breaks” when working hard on a project–which are different that just taking a break.  He uses a modern analogy when he writes “Just as you need to refuel your car and recharge the batteries in your cell phone, it’s important to give yourself the chance to recoup your energy levels throughout the workday. In fact, the more demanding your day, and the less time you feel like you have to take any breaks, the more crucial it is that you make sure you do take regular breaks to prevent yourself from becoming exhausted.”

shine-block_quilting

Finally stepping away from the quilt late one night

good-heart-quilters_lisabday

celebrating Lisa’s birthday with our quilting group: The Good Heart Quilters

Jarrett notes that  “[N]ot just any kind of break will do. Psychologists and business scholars have recently started studying the most effective ways to relax during a workday – they call them ‘micro breaks’ – and their latest findings point to some simple rules of thumb to sustain and optimize your energy levels” which the article breaks down into a “three-step process.”
grandsons

One is to “get out of the office.”  For me, the office is my home, so I interpret that to mean to get out of the quilting room upstairs and away from those kinds of tasks.  So getting together with my long-time quilt group works for me, as well as entertaining my grandsons (above) when the come for a long Sunday afternoon.

morning-walk-pink-flower

The article relates that “Countless studies have shown how a green environment gives us a mental recharge, and what’s really encouraging is that recent work has shown that this doesn’t have to be a tropical rainforest. A modest urban park is all it takes.”
simply-moderne-fall16

Taking short breaks early and often is one of the ideas.  He quotes a study from Baylor University, highlighting this interesting detail: “[I]f you take frequent breaks, then they don’t need to be as long to be beneficial – a couple of minutes might be enough. On the other hand, if you deprive yourself of many breaks, then when you do take one, it’s going to be need to be longer to have any beneficial effect.”shine-block_sashing-tryout

I noticed all of this when I was working on my Shine quilt.  I started with the backgrounds: close quilting in the “white” areas with white thread, but then what?  Coming back to the quilt after a long break from my shoulder injury, I started with outlining the circle blocks.  Another break helped me see that more detail work was needed on each circle, with sometimes as many as four thread changes for different colors.

The next conundrum was how to quilt the small “sashing” in between each block.  I drew out many ideas, but ended up choosing what you see here: some modified geometrics.  Since I try to take frequent breaks to rest my arms/shoulders while I’m doing this project, I feel like I’ve avoided some of the burnout that can occur when we see the looming deadline and quilt our brains out late into the night.

If this is your Modus Operandi, or the way you work,  you might want to be aware of Jarrett’s final thoughts about taking breaks: “[Y]ou might have the view that you’ll push yourself relentlessly during the day, squeezing every minute for what it’s worth, and then completely flake out after dark. This strategy of extremes might work for a robot, but not a human. Psychology research from the University of Konstanz in German and Portland State University shows that over-exhaustion at the end of the day makes it even more difficult to recuperate after work hours. In other words allowing yourself proper breaks during the day will make your out-of-hours recovery more effective, ultimately boosting your productivity and creativity in the weeks and months ahead.”

I’m not talking to young mothers, who find that nighttime is the only time they have to work without little helpers (although that does explain why when the baby is sick and the toddler is a pest and you fall exhausted into bed at night, that the night’s sleep doesn’t seem to provide the needed rest).  I’m talking to myself, I guess, pushing to finish off a task, always reluctant to let go of a day’s work, hoping to get “one more thing done.”  I found Jarrett’s advice helpful as well, in allowing me to understand why sometimes I just have to push back from the machine — or the computer — and take a break.

I just need to make sure it’s the right kind.

˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚˚

The quilt shown is Shine: The Circles Quilt.  Free EPP patterns can be found by clicking on the link in the header of my blog.