Yesterday I went on a road trip with some friends to the Quilt Box in Dry Ridge, Kentucky. The Quilt Box is something of legend among quilters around here, but this was my very first visit. (Unfortunately, the shop doesn't appear to have a website; however, if you Google the shop name with the town name, you'll find it.) Getting there is certainly interesting. You turn off the main road and drive a while, up hill and down dale. Then, when you see the little "Quilt Box" sign, which is very easy to miss, you turn into a gravel road and drive some more. At the end of that road on the top of a ridge is the shop.
That part of Kentucky is, I think, among the prettiest sections of the state. There are steep ridges with narrow little hollows and tiny towns nestled here and there. It's a beautiful drive along the country roads, especially on a bright, sunny, not-too-humid day like yesterday. When you get to the top of one of the ridges, you feel as though you are on top of the world. A bit of heaven, really.
The Quilt Box specializes in reproduction fabrics. Specializes. In my favorite fabrics. Oh my.
Some serious shopping ensued...
I'm leaning toward a pattern I saw in the August 2010 American Patchwork & Quilting magazine called Blue Jeans and Bubble Gum. It's based on a quilt in Pam Buda's collection. For that I need more blues, lots of blues.
And I have half-started another little hand sewing project using a block I saw somewhere or other that is going to need some reproduction blues:
I also needed some reds for the outer rings around the blue stars, because I really like this color set and I think I'm going to keep it pretty uniform for the rest of the blocks. I haven't decided yet how many more blocks--I'll just keep on until I get tired of making them.
On the drive back we got into a discussion about prewashing fabrics, and it turned out that all four of us prewash. I know some don't. I prewash because cotton fabric shrinks. It really does, I promise you. And there is the chance that, even with high quality fabric, the dyes will run. I always put my fabrics through the washing machine with a Color Catcher* strip, and sometimes the strip comes out of the wash unchanged and sometimes not. After putting in all the work to sew a quilt together, I don't like the idea that it could be ruined by running dyes in just one wash.
Take a look from the Color Catcher for the blue fabrics:
That last strip is nearly white, although to be safe, I think I might put the blues through one more time.
And the reds:
The weather here has turned glorious for the day. Temperatures are in the mid-70's, no humidity, clear skies, and sunshine. All the windows are open and there is a breeze shifting the curtains now and then. I hope this keeps up for another day or two!
*Color Catchers are available in most grocery stores in the laundry section. I believe they come from the same company that makes Shout, the stain product. They "catch" any loose dye in the wash water and trap it. I certainly don't own any stock in the company, but I think they are well worth the small expense.