The Quilted Life with Carolyn — quilting for beginners


Grieving a Local Quilt Shop 0

Readers, we all love Quilter’s Mart. Amiright?! We’ve got you covered here at good ole QM. But today we’re going to talk about your favorite local brick and mortar quilt shops. Or actually - correction - we’re going to talk about one of mine.

I’m sure you all will understand when I say that there are certain fabric stores that you walk into and you just feel at home. You immediately feel inspired, and there are a million things you could turn into a project just glancing around. And when you’re starting a new quilt, you think of that special place right away.
It might be a cute little boutique shop in town, or maybe you really love a good chain. For me? It was a big superstore. You see, I live in Portland, Oregon. And we were spoiled for years with Fabric Depot.
I almost never went anywhere else. Fabric Depot had everything. Batting, notions, a whole rainbow of thread, upholstery fabric, flannel, lace, ribbon, and more quilting cotton than you could ever dream of using. They even had Stroopwafels right up by the checkout counter!
I could always count on Fabric Depot for good deals, inspiration, basics, “extras”, and snacks!
Notice I’m referring to Fabric Depot in the past tense. They shuttered their doors suddenly and forever a few months back, and I’m still grieving! I thought my business alone was going to keep them afloat forever.

But alas, Fabric Depot went the way of so many local shops. Now, when I begin a new project and need to go see and feel fabrics in-person, I find myself without a brick and mortar quilting home! Has anyone else gone through this? I feel a bit adrift in my quilting creativity without my trusty local store!

So, my dear friends, in addition to your Quilter’s Mart patronage, please don’t forget to support local quilt shops! And please, tell us about your personal favorite shops in the comments below!

Quilts with a Deadline 8

Hello, readers! This week I’m coming at you with a problem.

In the past, I’ve written about where to find inspiration. But alas! I find myself without any! Or, perhaps it isn’t a lack of inspiration, but a lack of motivation. A project paralysis of sorts.

You see, I find myself up against deadlines for the two baby quilts I have underway. I like the patterns and the fabrics, and I love the families who will be receiving them (because they are my family!). But for some reason, I look at the tidy piles of pieces and I think, “nope. I don’t want to”.

I would liken it to a writer’s block, but for quilting. (Pun alert!) A “quilt block” if you will.

I find “quilt blocks” often happen when I am working against deadlines for my quilt projects. And when the proverbial “quilt block” takes over, not a lot of actual quilt blocks are made!

Sewing Area


The worst part is, the longer I wait and the closer the deadline is, the bigger my “quilt block” becomes! The problem just snowballs on itself. Yikes!

In regards to baby quilts, specifically, Nancy the Quilting Goddess has always lived by the philosophy that as long as the baby gets the quilt before they turn 1, your job is done.

I try so very, very hard to subscribe to this school of thought, too. But for some reason, I always require myself to finish by the baby shower. I don’t even give myself until the birth! What am I doing to myself?!

This project paralysis steals some of the joy from quilting for me, and just like cooking, I think a quilt is better when it is made with joy (and love!). The love isn’t lacking, but I worry that these deadline-quilts will not have the joy they deserve, and it will show.

I already have a full-time day job. And I have my sweet family, a house, a yard, cars, a social life, etc. that also pull me a million directions. So when a deadline makes a quilt project feel like a job, it is hard for me to find the desire to set aside the time. I’m working hard enough, so quilting can’t feel like work, or I just won’t do it!

I am sure that I will get these quilts done (probably with Nancy the Quilting Goddess’ help) as I always do. But maybe you all can help me not just “get them done”, but also enjoy doing it!

Does anyone else struggle with “quilt block” when up against a (possibly unnecessary, self-imposed) deadline? What do you do about it? Leave a comment below!

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