Quilty Pleasures

Textile arts celebrated in Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour

By Misty Hall

Quilting: it ain’t just granny’s game anymore.

I mean, sure, there are plenty of quilters who happen to be grandmothers. But they are also soccer coaches, motorcycle riders, pre-teens, and scientists. And they are no longer “just” quilters, weavers, or knitters, either — collectively, they are becoming known as fiber and textile artists. And increasingly, these arts are entering the mainstream art world, stretching perceptions, pushing boundaries, and expanding definitions with every stitch.

Granny’s game is going global.

The beauty of this art form is that it encompasses so much. Textile artists sell wall hangings for tens of thousands of dollars in Europe, but they also make cute little tote bags for the Ojai Farmer’s Market. They craft elaborate abstract pieces four stories high — and funky quilts made of old concert T-shirts, too. They are professional artists and weekend warriors alike, united by their love of fibers, texture, and the need to create.

For textile artists — of all kinds, both novice and pro — there’s a string of shops along the Central Coast that are a must-see. Together, they are the Central Coast Quilt Shop Owner’s Association, a group of 10 shops in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo counties. Each has its own specialty — and each is cooking up something fun for the Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour, set for May 29 to 31.

From fabric to infinity

Roxanne Barbieri is a biologist by training, but a quilter at heart. The owner of Roxanne’s A Wish and A Dream in Carpinteria, Roxanne loves challenging the traditional definition of quilter. “They are people who love art and creating,” she said, “people who love texture and design.”

The drive to create — and the variety of products and tools available — gives quilters and other textile artists lots of options. Aside from dress patterns and fabric rolls, there are ready-made kits with all the gear and directions you need to make blankets, macramé wall hangings, and even sassy purses made from seatbelts.

And each of the Central Coast shops offers something different, Roxanne pointed out. “You’re not going to find all the same things in most of the stores,” she said. “We each have a different focus, and specialize in different things. It’s amazing — there’s so many different kinds of fabrics and different kinds of art you can do with fabric!”

Roxanne’s 4,000-square-foot retail space includes 1,200 bolts of Kaffe Fassett’s designs. “He has a huge following,” Roxanne said. “People come from all over to see our collection of his fabrics.” Superbuzzy, in Ventura, has a collection of Japanese fabrics, with prints featuring whimsical cartoon critters, cherry blossoms, geishas, and even old newspaper advertisements. At the Cotton Ball in Morro Bay, you’ll find locally-designed batik fabric featuring the iconic Morro Rock, and at Quilter’s Cupboard in Atascadero you can find Civil War and 1930s reproduction fabrics. San Luis Obispo’s Picking Daisies was named one of the country’s top 10 quilt shops by Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Sampler Magazine.

Tour time

The camaraderie between textile artists extends to each of the Central Coast shops. “We recommend each others’ shops all the time,” Roxanne said. “If someone is looking for a particular type of thing, we know where to send them.”
The Central Coast Quilt Shop Owner’s Association are a tight-knit group (get it?).

Their enthusiasm for the textile arts and for the products they all sell is part of the reason they’ve organized the Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour. The last weekend in May, the shops will pull out all the stops. Along with special sales and giveaways, they’re transforming their stores into art galleries as well, offering plenty of scope for the imagination.

To encourage folks to go to every shop, they have a “passport” to be stamped. Get all 10 spots stamped to be entered to win some incredible gifts — like a Fuschia Featherweight 221 Sewing Machine, a Janome Skyline 7 Sewing Machine, a Pfaff Quilt Ambition 630 Sewing Machine, or a $1,250 gift certificate for use in any of the 10 shops on the tour. Ten dollars gets you a premium passport, which comes with a cute tote bag and a custom enamel pin from each shop.

But don’t rush through, Roxanne said. “We’re trying to encourage people to take three days and enjoy the Central Coast,” Roxanne said. There are quilt runs all over the country, as she pointed out, but the Central Coast shops didn’t like the idea of a “run.”
“We wanted people to enjoy the journey,” she said. They want folks to visit their shops, but also go wine tasting or to a day spa, play a round of golf, take a glass blowing class, grab a bite to eat, go horseback riding, or even do a little gambling. “There are so many great things to do in this area!” she enthused.

The tour runs Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, so you’ll have plenty of daylight leftover to

explore the many cute towns along the way. Find more information at www.quiltshopsofthecentralcoast.com.

Get started — and get better

Can’t make the tour? Check out each shop’s website for their list of classes!
Whether you’re just beginning your foray into the world of textile arts or have been at it for decades, the Central Coast quilt shop group has you covered.

Here’s a few to get you started:

Quilt classes at Quilter’s Cupboard: April 11, quilters will learn to make Bonnie Hunter’s Pineapple Blossoms Quilt together. The next week, April 18, learn to make an Ombre Weave Quilt. Both classes run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.quilterscupboard.com/classes for more information and to sign up.

Brown Bag Retreats at The Creation Station: Nancy Hamilton hosts these three-day retreats throughout the year. Bring your projects and sewing machines, socialize, create, and enjoy group events like potlucks together. These often sell out months in advance, so plan ahead and check out www.thecreationstation.com/classes.

Macramé and Driftwood Plant Hanger Workshop at Picking Daisies: Head to this SLO shop May 9 and learn this beautiful and hip craft. All supplies included. See www.superbuzzy.com/classeshttp://www.superbuzzy.com/classes to register.

Knitting, crochet and sewing classes at Roxanne’s A Wish and a Dream: Learn to knit and crochet at free classes, Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Or come work on your own projects and make new friends at the Open Sew Workshops for $5 per class! Ranell will be there to help with any questions you might have. Workshops are Mondays from 6 to 8:30 p.m, and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m.

Craft Night at Superbuzzy: Have a project and want some advice or company? Check out Craft night at Superbuzzy, held on the third Thursday of each month, through the end of the year. Free. For more information and to register, see www.superbuzzy.com/classes.

Old Town Quilt Shop retreats: Bring your projects and sew your heart out at these popular three-day retreats. Also at Old Town Quilt Shop: learn to make a dish cover with matching runner and placemats in OTQS’s Breakfast Club, a beginning sewing class, May 16 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Breakfast Club happens every month, with a new project each time. Classes and retreats fill quickly;

visit www.oldtownquiltshoporcutt.com/classes for more and to register.

Members of the Central Coast Quilt Shop Owner’s Association participating in this year’s Central Coast Quilt Shop Tour include:

The Quiltery: 1413 Riverside Ave. Suite B, Paso Robles. Specializing in: Long arm services, reproduction fabrics.                                  For more: (805) 227-4561; www.thequiltery.net.

Quilters Cupboard: 5275 El Camino Real, Atascadero. Specializing in: Reproduction fabrics, classes.                                                     For more: (805) 466-6996; www.quilterscupboard.com.

Sew Fun: 8775 El Camino Real, Atascadero. Specializing in: Batiks, machine sales & service, gifts, cabinets, classes, patterns.           For more: (805) 462-9739; www.mysewfun.com.

The Cotton Ball: 2830 Main St, Morro Bay. Specializing in: Fun quilting cottons, Kona Cotton, notions and long arm quilting services.    For more: (805) 772-2646; www.thecottonball.com.

Picking Daisies: 570 Higuera St. # 120, San Luis Obispo. Specializing in: Modern quilting, embroidery, patterns, gifts.                            For more: (805) 783-2434; www.pickingdaisiesinslo.com.

Old Town Quilt Shop: 165-A W. Clark Ave, Orcutt. Specializing in: Contemporary fabrics, classes, retreat center.                                    For more: (805) 938-5870; www.oldtownquiltshoporcutt.com.

Creation Station: 252 East Hwy. 246, Unit A, Buellton. Specializing in: Patterns, vintage machines, books, kits, fabric.                            For more: (805) 693-0174; www.thecreationstation.com.

Grant House Sewing Machines: 36-B E. Cota St, Santa Barbara. Specializing in: Pfaff, Brother, Bernina, thread, machine accoutrements. For more: (805) 962-0929; www.granthousesewingmachines.com.

Roxanne’s A Wish and A Dream: 919 Maple St, Carpinteria. Specializing in: Quilting, knitting, needlework, fabrics, gifts, yarns, books, and classes. For more: (805) 566-1250; www.roxannequilts.com.

Superbuzzy: 1794 E. Main St, Ventura. Specializing in: Japanese & modern fabrics, Kona cotton solids, yarn, craft supplies, gifts, and classes. For more: (805) 643-4143; www.superbuzzy.com.