I was always struck by the character name “Clare Quilty”. Believe me, this post has nothing to do with him.
Yesterday was a gorgeous, brilliant, warm, sunny Saturday. My parents were in town. We had been going to wander around the arts festival downtown, but Sparks had the brilliant idea that we take a road trip which the two of us had been talking about for some time, to Paris.
Now. If you ask for Google Maps instructions for how to drive to Paris from where we live… well, try it yourself. I’ll wait. Too lazy? Well, one of the instructions is “swim”.
So no, we weren’t going to that Paris, but rather a small town named Paris that is home to a highly recommended quilt shop. But first, to another quilt shop in another town, so that we could make a proper day of it.
The first shop we went to gets credit to its name for carrying some Kaffe Fassett, some Amy Butler, and some Moda. It is much better than my local quilt shop, which is never worth going to under any circumstances.
This antique quilt was hanging on its wall, and since I was at that point I was still steely-determined in my decision to not buy fabric, I spent my time ogling this antique quilt.
I am still both impressed and proud of the Prairie Star quilt that my great-aunt Madge made, but this one had it beat all hollow. It has a lovelier variety of colors, and the individual patches–in case you can’t tell from the first two photos–are this tiny:
Clearly, this is the kind of quilt that my mother would make, not me. Just looking at it made me feel so tired that I was obliged to partake of the complimentary cookies and sit down among the embroidery machines until the rest of the group re-convened (the boys had found a junk shop, where vinyl records and pocket watches were purchased).
Then on to Paris, which Sparks had enthusiastically recommended as a charming little town, and which did indeed have a peculiar, pleasant character all its own.
There were many pink brick buildings, as you see, including a pink brick Legion with a real-for-sure fighter aircraft mounted out front of it.
Also a number of large churches with very fine stained glass. We bought cold drinks at a convenience store, then picnicked in a park at the center of town, amid blooming snowdrops and dandelions. Then, on to the quilt shop.
Oh my. Oh my oh my oh my. I have been to many quilt shops in my life, some better than others, some at which I was even tempted into spurious and often foolish purchases. This shop however–Pins and Needles–was a different animal entirely.
I have always said that all I ask of a quilt shop is that it carry Moda, and lots of it. P&N does just that. Not just yardage, either–and not just yardage grouped by lines either. Not just a good variety of fat quarters of each line, grouped with the yardge of that line, either. I mean jelly rolls. Charm packs. Honey buns.
I hyperventilated a little. Then I bought a metric shload of fabric that I had been virtuously passing over on online stores for the past few months.
Neptune from Moda. Besides the jaw-dropping colors, this fabric is covered with coral, shells, seahorses, octopuses, submarines, chains, anchors, shipwrecks, life preservers… yes, I stood in the middle of the store and recited “Methought I saw a thousand fearful wracks, a thousand men the fishes gnawed upon”. Then I bought a jelly roll and six fat quarters.
Then I found their stash of Sultry from Moda. I had been holding off on this because I thought the multi-color prints were large scale and wouldn’t like right in a jelly roll or honey bun. I was wrong. So I bought a honey bun, and when the clerk asked me if I wanted her to take my stuff to the counter for me, I said no. I needed some time with my precious.
A charm pack of Aviary. Because, well, you know. At $8, I don’t need a because.
Squee-worth teatime fabric. Only a fat quarter of this, and the collection unknown because my quarter was cut from the wrong side of the bolt, sorry. Can we say… tea cozy? Oh yes, we can.
Finally, two yards of this irresistible mushroom print from Critter Jamboree. The rest of the collection is too twee for me, but this was just perfection. I’m going to sit on it, maybe for years, trying to decide if it would be better off as a kitchen apron or a little girl’s dress. I think it would be irresistible as either.
All in all, a profoundly successful Saturday, and all due to Sparks’ instincts and good taste. Thank you so much, sweetie. You found the best quilt shop I’ve ever been to, and hey… they even had a corner with chairs and issues of Popular Science to keep you busy while I squee’d and breathed hard. Wasn’t that thoughty of them?