Road Trip Reads: “This Long Thread” by Jen Hewett

I heard about This Long Thread: Women of Color on Craft, Community, and Connection late last year and have been looking for it at quilt shops ever since we hit the road, but it wasn’t until I got the opportunity to visit Gather Here in Cambridge, Mass. that I finally found it. (They also have Jen’s Print, Pattern, Sew book!)

This Long Thread is the compilation of survey responses and essays from women of color about a variety of topics–some I can totally relate to and others that are a brand new perspective for me. The book is broken down into sections relating to the politics and history of crafting, the business and teaching side of it, the personal why of crafting and more. Each provides insight by women of a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and professions.

The way the book is divided up makes it a great road trip read since chapters aren’t long and are self-contained (though they flow from one to another beautifully).

If you’re interested in hearing more from Jen Hewett directly, both about this book and her other pursuits (including a new collection with Ruby Star Society!), check out these podcasts:

The Lisa Congdon Sessions
On Taking Small Actions and Exercising Boundaries with Jen Hewett

Seamwork Radio
This Long Thread with Jen Hewett

Beyond the Studio – A Podcast for Artists
Jen Hewett talks Pivoting Your Business, Staying Small and Sustainable, and Setting Boundaries

Check it out and give her book a read, even if, like me, you don’t find yourself in the target audience. There’s a lot to learn from listening to others’ perspectives and this book is just one of many ways to expand your understanding of the world of craft and how it affects all of us.

Happy reading,

Self Binding the Glam Clam Quilt

Several years ago, I got a stack of fat quarters from the then-newly-released Grafic collection by Latifah Saafir. Immediately I decided I was going to finally put that Clammy ruler to use and make myself a clamshell quilt. First I made a few patchwork squares, then cut those and the rest of the 10” square pack into clamshells.Then I stacked them neatly and put them on a shelf…where they would live for the next five years.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who planned to do a Glam Clam quilt and never actually finished it because in 2021, Latifah started a Glam Clam Finish Along. Brilliant! Lots of folks signed up to cheer each other on and it was just the push I needed to start putting it together.

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Sew Together Tuesday: Conversation Hearts

If you’re anything like me, you grew up with those candy hearts as a part of every February. I not-so-secretly still love them, so when the idea was tossed around to make our own conversation hearts for Sew Together Tuesday, I jumped at the idea. And I’m so glad I did, they turned out so great!

I worked on this in between classes at Road to California and wasn’t quite sure I’d be able to pull it off, but with the help of Hawke, Mary (my friends and fellow Shannon Fabrics Brand Ambassador) and Shannon Fabrics pattern writer, Rose, it all came together the morning of the show. Phew!

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Sew Together Tuesday: Pete the Pup

Several years ago I visited Cozy Creative Center, so when I pulled up and this was the storefront I was confused. This isn’t how I’d remembered it at all and I’m usually really good at remembering that sort of thing. Turns out, they moved down the street, so it was the same street name, different storefront. LOL! Not only is a different building, it’s bigger and better than before.

Located just 20 minutes from downtown San Diego, Cozy Creative Center is packed with just about everything you could need including hundreds of Cozy Quilt Designs patterns!

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Parents, Paper Piecing and KC Maker Studio & Fabrics

After a nice weekend in southern Kansas, we made our way up to Kansas City on Sunday afternoon. I knew it was going to be a special Sew Together Tuesday for a couple of reasons: we were using my friend Sam Hunter’s “Bloomin’ Too” pattern and we were visiting a brand new shop: KC Maker Studio & Fabrics.

We’d worked together with Hunter’s Design Studio to get her patterns in stock for the event, plus she had all the Sweet Strips and a nice variety of Cuddle® fabrics in stock, ready to go. I felt pretty good about it, despite not having as much prep time as I would have wished.

As we were getting set up and I was making a post on Facebook about the day’s show, Hawke told me I needed to help him get something in the RV, so I started heading that way, still typing away and he started recording…

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Cali Quilt Co. {Fair Oaks, CA}

In September, and again in November, I had the opportunity to teach for the Cuddle-centric shop yet–Cali Quilt Co. They’ve been selling online for a eight years, but in recent years they decided to open a physical location for local customers to browse and buy, in addition to their online store.

Their selection of Cuddle minky is amazing! They have all the solids and dozens and dozens of the Luxe Cuddles. They have really developed a following when it comes to the fabric, so they are on top of getting the newest and stocking the best-sellers. It’s a great place to go if you are looking for something very specific from Shannon Fabrics.

The shop doesn’t have a classroom space, so they rented out the Sit n Sew in nearby Carmichael and we got together with a few dozen women (and a handful of men!) for a trunk show on the first night and the second day was filled with Cuddle strip quilt making. It was a chill group, open to suggestions, new ideas and lots of hand-holding when needed.

You can find Cali Quilt Co the next time you are in the Sacramento area or visit them online; you’ll be amazed at the variety they stock.

Cali Quilt Co
7900 Winding Way
Fair Oaks, CA

www.etsy.com/shop/caliquiltco

Cupcake Quilts {Old Spring, TX}

In the northern suburbs of Texas is a small area known as Old Spring and on one corner, in an old red schoolhouse sits Cupcake Quilts. In mid-November I was lucky enough to spend two days teaching Cuddle quilt workshops there.  I’d just been in Houston a week before for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival, but this was a totally different experience. The shop is set in a shopping area with a variety of old homes converted into shops: bath soaps, candles, antiques, leather furnishings, Dutch candies and home goods, Texas memorabilia, CBD oils and more.  A friend had recommended that I check it out while I was there, neither of us knowing that I’d be teaching smack in the middle of it.

Cupcakes Quilts has two locations: Old Spring is their original location, the second being down the road in Humble.  I didn’t get a chance to visit, but I’m sure it’s just as lovely. The Old Spring location is an old building,As you wander between rooms, you’ll find all sorts of fabrics, precuts, kits, patterns and a nice selection of Cuddle, as well.

I picked up a variety of quilting cottons, both from the clearance and the main floor, with no particular project in mind. I’m just a sucker for cowboys and nursery rhyme prints.

You can visit them online at cupcakequilts.com or at either location:

Logo of thread-topped cupcake  for Cupcake Quilts in Texas.

Cupcake Quilts
219 Gentry Street
Spring, TX
281-528-2929

Humble
9574 FM 1960 Bypass
Humble, TX
281-446-4999

Cool Cottons {Portland, OR}

It took me a few years to notice Cool Cottons, tucked into a Craftsman-style house on SE Hawthorne, but once I did there was no ignoring it. Owned by Marie, a no-nonsense woman with an amazing eye for color, Cool Cottons is filled with quilting cottons, cotton canvas and notions.

The shop occupies the first floor (the upper floor is a separate apartment) and is divided up by color. As a quilter, I love this so very much. I don’t particularly care who designed the fabric or who the manufacturer is most of the time, I want to know if it coordinates with the rest of my fabric pull. And if you aren’t sure which fabric will look best, just ask Marie–she is amazing at finding the perfect coordinates.

The front room has a great selection of novelty prints, canvas, linens and kantha fabrics. I have a soft spot for all the Alexander Henry fabrics and apparently Marie does too, so if you’re looking for the hunky firemen or hula girls, this is the place to go.

One of the (many) things I love about this shop is how Portland it is. There isn’t a huge pattern selections, but they are almost all Portland designers: Hunter’s Design Studio, Elizabeth Hartman, Then Came June, and Violet Craft.

I stopped by on my last day in Portland to grab the license plates she did for Row by Row. Self-described as Rip City (a Portland Trailblazers reference from 1971), this was the perfect play on sewing terms for their license plate. Of course, I bought one and the other one, and a bit of the newest Portland-themed fabric as well. I had to bring a little hometown back to LA with me.

You can shop online or at the SE Portland location:

Cool Cottons
2417 SE Hawthorne Blvd
Portland, OR 97214