Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My local: Cary Quilting Company

Cary Quilting Company, Cary NC

I am fortunate to have a few great local fabric shops here in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina. Located in an old house in a quaint little downtown area, Cary Quilting Company (Cary, NC) might just be the most unique shop in town, and also the most enjoyable to shop! (Cary Quilting company is on Facebook, too!)

Seeing that we're neighbors, I've had the pleasure of getting to know the shop's owner, Julianne Walther. It turns out that Julianne and I have quite a bit in common. Aside from a love of quilting, we are both parents of multiples (twins!) and spend the majority of our free time cheering our children along from the sidelines of a soccer field.

Julianne Walther and family

I wanted to showcase Julianne and her shop here on the blog, and she has been kind and generous enough to offer a discount to Cary Quilting Company for Quilt Dad readers as well as a fabric giveaway. Details on the offer & giveaway -- as well as a link to one of Julianne's free patterns -- are at the bottom of the post but, in the meantime, enjoy learning more about one of our community's local shop owners!


How did you get started with quilting?
My mother taught me to sew as a young child.  I made myself lots of clothing in high school in college, but I was often disappointed with the fit or drape.  In 1995, I decided that if I made a quilt, it would have to fit.  The bed wouldn’t gain or lose weight, and a two-dimensional quilt would have to be easier, right?  I bought myself a “make your own sampler quilt” book and I never looked back.

What made you decide to open a business?
In 2005, I had 4 kids aged 5 and younger, and I was a stay at home mom.  I don’t sit still very well, and needed something to do during naptimes and after the kids went to bed at night.  My husband created a little webpage for me, Patchwork Memories was born, and I started making t-shirt quilts for people.  Seven years later, Patchwork Memories had grown to a 10-person company in need of more space (that didn’t include 3 pets and a toilet that was used for aiming practice by three boys).  We moved the company into a beautiful historic house in downtown Cary.  The house had been empty for a couple of years and was was the prior home of Etc. Crafts, my local quilt shop.   Almost as soon as we had moved in, quilters were knocking on the door, wanting to know when we would be opening our quilt shop.  We got busy and a couple of months later, we opened a quilt shop!  Now, Cary Quilting Company operates from the first floor of the shop and Patchwork Memories operates from the second floor.  We also have a classroom and a long arm quilting machine on the second floor.
Cary Quilting Company runs a long arm quilting machine on its second floor

What are your favorite parts about owning a quilt shop?
I love shopping for new fabrics, and I really love when the boxes arrive!  It’s like Christmas day every time we get a new shipment of fabric.  It’s a little frustrating because I love everything that comes in (since I chose it!), and I want to make quilts and bags and projects with everything in the shop.  There’s just not enough time in the day.  I also love the people!  Seeing how proud people are when they bring in show-and-tell, seeing inspiration come to life, and helping people find just what they need for their quilts is so fun.
The wonderful staff of Cary Quilting Company & Patchwork Memories

What types of quilting do you enjoy?
I’m all over the map!  I love paper piecing, machine applique, traditional piecing, modern quilts, batiks, solids, prints, novelty, you name it!  I really love quirky fabrics.  Some of my recent favorites are Packmate Llamas by Michael Miller and Farm to Fork Bacon fabric.
An article about Julianne's business in our local newspaper

What do you do when you’re not at the shop?
My 4 little ones are now 4 bigger ones - aged 10 - 14.  I’m either in the car, at a soccer field, at the orthodontist (yes, all 4 are in braces!) or at gymanstics with the kids.  I also run half marathons and sometimes I even sew.  Don’t ask me to cook though - you’d regret that request pretty quickly! 


A fun bench pillow made from a mini charm pack and 1 yard of fabric.
Julianne's free pattern is featured on the Moda Bake Shop.

If you ever find yourself in the Raleigh area, make sure you carve out some time to go visit Julianne and the staff over at Cary Quilting Company. Oh, and be sure to contact me first -- I'm always happy to go fabric shopping, and I'll buy you a cup of coffee!

To receive a 15% discount off of all online orders, now through May 31st, simply enter the discount code QUILTDAD at checkout. (Local customers can use it, too -- simply choose "local pickup" as your shipping option and the order will be cut and ready for you upon pickup.)

Julianne also has some fat quarter bundles to give away! Want to win some free fabric? It's easy. Just do the following before April 30th:

  1. Like Cary Quilting Company on Facebook (if you don't already)
  2. Like the post on the Cary Quilting page with the Quilt Dad link on it
  3. Sign up for the Cary Quilting Company newsletter (link at the bottom of the Cary Quilting Company website)
A winner will be selected on Friday, May 1st. Good luck!

'Bathtime', Julianne's original pattern for the 2015 Row by Row Experience shop hop

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Your Story Begins at Home

Welcome to the Story party! I was so excited when Carrie (Bloomston, of Such Designs) asked me to make a project inspired by her new line for Windham Fabrics, Story, and I'm even more excited to be sharing it with you today. It turns out this quilt took on quite a story of its own. First, though, a bit about the fabric line.

Your Story Begins at Home

From Carrie's post: "Story is about community, connection and the essentials of life: home, family, love, garden, nature, stars, moon, sun, animals, friends. In Story, you’ll find archetypal building blocks of your personal narrative. What is your story? Tell us. Share it. Add to it. Make it yours. When we share ourselves with the world, we become whole."

Your Story Begins at Home

Not only did Carrie ask me to make a quilt with this beautiful line, but she invited it to be featured in her lookbook to help showcase the line. To be included, the quilt had to be back to Carrie in time for the photoshoot. I quickly sketched out my design and set myself a (very aggressive) timeline to get the quilt made and off to be longarm quilted in time to send back to Carrie before leaving for a 2.5 week business trip to Australia. It was going to be tight, but I was certain I could do it.

Your Story Begins at Home

With a fabric line so chock full of stories, I immediately knew that I wanted to make a sea of houses and build a patchwork town or city. Made from two very simple shapes -- rectangles and flying geese -- the quilt is abstract enough for anyone to inject stories of their own into this little patchwork town. I absolutely loved making it.

Your Story Begins at Home

Well, towards the end of construction, I was really down to the wire. The quilt top was (of course) taking longer to complete than I was anticipating, and the Saturday night before my business trip I settled down for a long night of sewing. As long as I got it to Mark and Suzan at Singing Stitches to work their quilting magic on Sunday, I could keep to my schedule.

Your Story Begins at Home

But at around 11PM I started having some pretty severe back pain. I've had back pain before, but this was like nothing I had ever felt before. And no matter how I moved or sat, there was no relief. To make a long story short, I ended up driving myself to the emergency room at 4AM to learn that I was experiencing my very first bout with kidney stones. It was NO FUN.

Your Story Begins at Home

Aside from the physical pain of the ordeal, there was no way I was getting the quilt done before leaving for Australia. I had to let Mark and Suzan know that I wouldn't be bringing them the quilt the next day. And I had to let Carrie know that the quilt would not be ready in time to be included in the lookbook photoshoot. I was really heartbroken, but also excited to complete the quilt once I was home without the stress and discomfort that I was beginning to associate with it.

Your Story Begins at Home

And so I present "Your Story Begins at Home". Like life, the story is both about the good and the bad. Though the story of this quilt so far has had more downs than ups, I am sure that will change as it makes its way to Quilt Market and does its part to showcase Carrie's beautiful new fabric line. And once it's home, we'll be sure this quilt is well used and well loved.

Be sure to check out all of the amazing Story projects, posted by your party hosts: