Quilting websites

I’m participating in an online shop hop called “Fab Shop Hop”.  With a regular shop hop, you get into your car and drive to a bunch of different participating shops.  Each shop will stamp your passport, you go shopping, and you can win prizes.  The online shop hop is a similar idea, except you do it from the comfort of your own home.

So far I’ve visited 49 of the 120 quilting shop websites that I have to visit.  I’ve seen a huge difference in the production value of many of the sites.  Some are visually cluttered with lots of photos, moving fonts, weird colors and a (really) long first page.  It’s hard to tell where to look, let alone where to click.  With those sites, I usually want to find the bunny for the shop hop and get the heck out.

Then there are others that are clean with pleasing colors and simple design.  Their search toolbar works well, there’s a FAQ… in short it all makes sense.  It tends to be easy to see where to go and where to look.  It’s nice.  Those are the ones I usually dive into and explore.  If their products tickle my fancy, I’ll even bookmark them to come back to later.

I wonder how many of these shops understand how important production value and simple design matter to potential online customers.  I wonder how many online shoppers understand why they like one site over another.  It would be interesting to see a study of some kind on how much online sales at quilting websites are affected by production value. 

Quilter’s March Madness Shop Hop

It’s been a few days since I last posted, mostly because I’ve been on the road!  I know I could have scheduled posts to magically show up, and you folks wouldn’t have been the wiser…  but it felt like cheating, ya know?  What was I doing that was so important that I couldn’t blog?  Shop Hopping!

For those of you who aren’t in the know, a shop hop is this thing that crazy people do.  Well not crazy, exactly.  Just people who want an excuse to go to multiple quilt stores over the course of a few days and hang out with fellow quilters.  There are chances to win prizes along the way too!  I love shop hops.  They’re something my sister and I can do together while reinforcing creativity and creation.  But shop hops are not all fun and games.  They require lots of planning, timing, and dedication.  After all, you only have a few days to visit a lot of shops!  This particular shop hop had 22 stores spread across northern California.  We visited Antioch, Brentwood, Ceres, Concord, Danville, Fairfield, Fremont (2 stores), Gilroy, Hollister (my favorite!), Livermore, Manteca, Martinez, Morgan Hill (2 stores), Oakdale, San Carlos, San Mateo, Tracy, Turlock, Vacaville, and Winters.  I’ll write another post later to tell you about the stores individually.

I’m sure you’re all dying to know what I bought.  I’m so excited to show you!

Us Quilt

Us Quilt

The fabric above is for something called an “us quilt.”  A lot of people make quilts that are about a specific person.  They typically include things that the person collects, does for a living, hobbies, etc.  This one is an us quilt, so it includes things that DH and I enjoy, do, work at and value.  They’re along the outside and are full of crazy colors.  For DH there’s rain, Pez, conversation hearts, a computer, coffee and bbq.  For me there’s books, ice cream, sewing, cocktails, pinup girl and family values.  What usually ends up happening is that all the crazy colors/fabrics end up working together to form one cohesive style/color value.  With ours… not so much.  It was actually pretty challenging to find five fabrics that worked with everything (those are in the middle).  I know it looks a bit insane, but it’ll work.  I’ll show you when I’m done!  I didn’t buy any backing because I think I’m going to use Minkee fabric and make it cozy instead.  It would be nice for cuddling under that way.

Superman!

Superman!

I also found some of the most awesome fabric ever – Superman!  I was so excited that I was dancing in the quilt store.  You see: Superman is my boyfriend and has been since I was 5 years old.  DH and I have an understanding 😉

The plan for this fabric is to “fussy cut” squares around the Superman figures on the bottom left fabric, use the logo fabric as a wide border and the comic book fabric as the backing.  The other fabrics will be used as borders around the fussy cut Superman figures.  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this quilt!

Oh yeah!  And I also got the backing for my African/giraffe quilt that’s almost done.  All I have to do with that one is piece the backing, make sure I have the right amount of batting, and then get it quilted.  I’m tempted to try the quilting myself, but I’m scared I’ll wreck my awesome quilt top.  What do you think I should do?  Get it quilted or try to machine quilt it myself?  My attention span won’t allow for hand quilting.

County Fair and Birthdayness

Yesterday was my birthday.  I had a party with Warp Core Breaches and Borg Spheres (very alcoholic beverages), BBQ, and friends.  Maybe it’s a sign of me getting older, but I was ready for the party to end about 2 hours before it did.  It was nice though.

My sister and I successfully completed the Shop Hop.  I got all 14 of my charms for the charm bracelet and some awesome fabric for 2 quilt tops.  Once those are done I’ll pick out the backing fabric.  I spent way more than I really wanted to but I had so much fun!  We’re already talking about going on the March Madness Shop Hop next year.

Today my hunny and I went to the Alameda County Fair.  Even when it’s hot, I like to go.  It’s an excuse to see all kinds of quilts, crafts, animals and a few interesting vendors.  I was disappointed though.  Instead of using the Young California building for the quilts and crafts, they smooshed it all into the science building.  The end result was fewer quilts displayed, no crocheted/quilted projects, and a lot of disappointment on my end.

Tomorrow’s plan is to shop for my hunny’s wedding band.  I have an idea of what it might look like but he needs to be happy with it.  After all, he’ll be the one wearing it.  I also have to get my engagement ring cleaned, and my set sized down a little.  Even though I haven’t lost any more weight, my ring has gotten looser and I’m afraid it might fall off.

That’s about it over here.  I think we’re going to try to watch an episode of The 4400… so far it hasn’t lived up to its pilot’s potential.

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