East Dakota Quilter


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Exploring Quilt Shops Near Madison, Wisconsin

I had a fantastic weekend. My boyfriend and I decided to get out of the city. Since we didn’t want to spend the whole weekend driving, we settled on nearby Madison, Wisconsin. Most of our weekend activities don’t really relate to this blog: we ate at cute restaurants, went to a museum, walked through the capitol building and the university arboretum, etc. But I did squeeze in a few minutes at two of Madison’s fabric stores: the Sewcial Lounge and Mill House Quilts.

Madison_Medley by EastDakotaQuilter

I regularly check the blog In Color Order. The blog’s author teaches classes at the Sewcial Lounge, which is how I heard of the store. I was excited to visit a store specializing in modern fabrics. In fact, the shop doesn’t bother with any non-modern prints! It was nice not to sort through “filler fabrics.” I expected the store to contain a lot of fabrics with a small sewing space, but quite a large portion of the space was a dedicated sewing area/lounge. The small shop was bustling when I went in, so it seems I was not the only one who appreciated the fun colors! I especially liked a print with small houses and cats (which I thought they were foxes at first). I’m kicking myself for not getting at least a small piece since it’s not on their website and I haven’t been able to identify the fabric with Google since returning home. This might warrant a phone call at some point…

Comparatively, Mill House Quilts is enormous. I don’t know why I don’t remember seeing them at the Quilt Expo last September. Maybe their booth was so full of people that I decided not to stop, or maybe the fabric selection was so wide that I felt overwhelmed. Maybe I got distracted by coffee… In any case, I see the sign every time I drive from Chicago to visit my parents in South Dakota, only I don’t want to make the ten-and-a-half hour drive take longer than necessary. I was glad for a chance to stop without cutting into family time.

mill house snowman

The store was frankly even better than I’d expected. Again, I was expecting some kind of megastore the size of a warehouse. It wasn’t that. But it was still the biggest fabric store I’ve seen that wasn’t a Joann’s, and I would have been happy to receive as a gift almost any fabric in that store. There were dedicated areas for civil war prints, modern fabrics, batiks, etc. There was a whole room full of sale fabrics. I think the best part, though, was the variety of quilts hanging from the rafters of the store. There were many styles, many colors, and it SO made me want to go home and start a new project! I took a brochure with me and was a little awed by the large number of classes. I only wish I lived closer (and didn’t spend 3 hours a day in commuter traffic already) so I could attend some of them!

DMC floss at MillHouseQuilts by EastDakotaQuilter

modern brights at MillHouseQuilts by EastDakotaQuilter

MillHouseQuilts sample by EastDakotaQuilter

MillHouseQuilts civil war section by EastDakotaQuilter

EastDakotaQuilter purchases at MillHouseQuilts

Okay, so I broke down and bought a few red and white fabrics for an idea that’s been percolating–even though I’m not finished with the myriad other projects I’ve started. That’s me standing outside the store with my purchases!


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Sampler Quilt Progress

The official verdict is that a quilt is not properly called a Dear Jane quilt if it uses my method. Some creative license is permitted, so I won’t attempt to define what does qualify as a Dear Jane, but my design does not. Thanks to a recent trip to the Madison Quilt Expo, however, I figured out the appropriate classification for my quilt: a Sampler Quilt. This seems especially appropriate given my decision to quilt-as-I-go.

Most of the colored pieces for the front of my Sampler Quilt are cut. The exceptions are some square-in-square pieces and other oddballs. I pinned some tips in Pinterest and will get around to them when I have more patience. For now, I’m too excited to get started to do any more math!

The white pieces still need to be cut, but there are SO MANY of them! I don’t really like cutting, and I definitely get bored with the sewing. I like quilting because I love the designing part and then seeing how the pieces and colors come together. (I have about three other quilts designed right now and am in various stages of purchase for those projects.) Since I don’t have time to commute home between work hours and a late-night video conference tonight, I decided to do some “quilting” from the office. It consisted of listing out all the white pieces I need to cut and breaking them into size categories. Compulsive organization? Maybe. I have several dozen spreadsheets or printouts for any given project.

Since I will have a visitor over the weekend, I doubt I’ll have much progress to show next week. My attentions are also being diverted into a handful of other projects. I can’t believe how long I’ve already been working on this one! …especially given how little I have accomplished. No matter. It’s the process that is the fun part, anyway.