For the last two weeks, I (Teri) have had the privilege of visiting Alaska. Our primary draw was spending time with our son's family, but we've also had the opportunity to visit some lovely parts of the state. And throughout our travels, one thing I've learned is that quilting is alive and well in The Last Frontier!
Whenever we travel, my wonderful husband indulges my passion by driving me to any quilt shop I find in our general vicinity. (The deal is that he gets to pick a BBQ restaurant for every quilt shop we hit. On this trip, I'm way ahead.)
We spent the weekend with my son, his wife, and our adorable grandson, and then took a side trip north to a small tourist town called Talkeetna. We walked through the many shops, most of which featured local artisans' work. While there was no actual quilt shop, there was something quilty in nearly every shop we entered. And much of it was uniquely Alaskan.
|I was intrigued by these unusual thimbles, but I resisted the temptation to purchase one.|
|One gift shop had this small display of Alaska-themed fat quarters.|
|In another gift shop, we saw this lovely yarn display.|
On our way back to my son's home in Anchorage, we sought out our next shop: Sylvia's Quilt Depot in Wasilla. Our GPS took us in a wrong direction, but I called the shop, and a gracious employee talked me there. What a delightful shop! Racks of Alaskan patterns, displays of fabrics designed by local artists (like Barbara Lavallee and McKenna Ryan), and lots of friendly quilters. The shop has an "open sew" on Wednesdays and Fridays, when anyone can come and sew. Some days they have potluck lunches, and on some they order from a local deli. Not just a quilt shop, but a gathering place for fellow stitchers.
|A welcoming front-door view: so colorful! Great thread selection, as well as fabric.|
|The "sew-in" the day we were there was well-attended, and there was a lot of laughing with the sewing.|
A bit further south, in Eagle River, we found The Quilt Cache. Again, I was greeted with warmth and friendliness. The young lady, above, showed me around the shop, and told me about making the bear's claw wall-hanging with her grandmother. I met the owner, who ironically, has good friends who live in my home town. The quilt world is a small one!
|Patterns, wool, threads, rick rack: a bit of everything!|
|Alaskan fabrics, some designed by local artists.|
|The color wall, where fabrics go to make room for the newer bolts or collections in the center of the shop.|
|The quilts drew us in, and we admired his wood-turning skill . . .|
|. . . but my attention was grabbed by these needle holders: beautiful wood containers, which open to store needles or pins, secured by a magnet inside. Such pretty and distinctive pin holders.|
|But when I saw these, I knew he must have a quilter in the family. (Indeed, his niece is a quilter.)|
Perhaps unsewing would be less painful with such a beautiful tool. I may or may not have a lovely new awl and seam ripper.
If you're interested, you can email the artist, David Staeheli, by clicking here.
One of the local quilt shops in Anchorage, Seams Like Home, had a tent set up at the market. They had a display of many fabrics and prints unique to Alaska. I purchased a hand-painted raven panel and received a coupon for a free fat quarter. Guess we'll have to check out the shop!
|A good selection of hand-painted panels of prevalent Alaskan animals, including raven, bear, and moose|
After the Market, we took a walk through downtown Anchorage. I knew there was a quilt shop in the city and wanted to visit. The Quilted Raven is a lovely shop, with something for everyone who loves needles!
|Many Alaskan prints and panels; the wall on the left is full of panels by Alaskan artist Barbara Lavallee.|
|More Alaskan-themed patterns and stencils|
|A wonderful assortment of threads and wool fabrics|
|Talk about a color wall! A slice of rainbow heaven.|
There are four more quilts shops here in Anchorage to visit, but I think I've fought photos in Blogger enough for one vacation. Perhaps I'll share more about those visits in a later post, as I'm quite sure we will make the stops. Maybe it's because of the long, dark winters that quilting is so popular, but fortunately, quilters in Alaska don't have far to go to stock up on the supplies of their craft. What a blessing it's been to see such wonderful works of artistic quiltmaking that reflect the stunning beauty of this state.
I was texting with my friend, Barb, telling her about my personal "shop hop." She responded that she always thinks it fun to go to quilt shops, because it's like visiting friends. I have to agree. Quilters are all friends, even if we don't know each other. I felt welcomed and at home in each shop I visited. I may live on the other side of the continent, but when I'm in a quilt shop, even in Alaska, I am at home.