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The Good, the Bad, and the Quilter

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I love to make things and for a couple of years now I have been hooked on quilting. It is easier than it sounds. And my journey started when my mother bought me a quilt set when we were expecting out first child.

I used kits for the first couple of projects and I will say, I've had both good experiences an bad experiences.

One thing I've learned over the years is that if the kit uses a pattern from a designer I don't recognize, I always ask to see the pattern first, and I ask if the place I'm buying the kit from has actually made a sample. There have been times when the patterns have had mistakes, and the shop didn't catch it because they never made the quilt themselves. This goes double for fabric company free patterns.

But for designers I already know, or from shops that I know have made a sample and have included any corrections in with the kit, I actually love doing kits.

There are times when I don't want to spend days picking out fabrics for a quilt, and just want to get one done. There are also times when I just simply love the fabric combinations that the designer or shop employees have chosen, and want that exact quilt with no changes.

A lot of people don't like doing kits because they want their quilt to be completely unique. That's not something that matters to me. As long as I like the quilt, I don't care if 200 other people made it, too. Yet, even if I use a kit, sometimes I vary it up a bit.

When you have doubts about a kit, or the instructions, be sure and read all the comments about the kit. Here is where online can really help.

Google the kit name, look at comments and what other people have noted about the kit or pattern.

Slso you should note if the Kit has a "level" notation: beginner, intermediate, etc. Some quilts look complicated for a reason, and some look complicated, and are not.

If you are absolutely brand new then I wouldn't pick a kit as your first project. My mother didn't know that, and my first attempt didn't turn out that great. The directions are quite short and assume you already know the basics.

Looking At Quilting Software

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That's right EQ7, I am looking at you! I like that EQ7 includes a lot of common blocks just with the program itself. Like a couple thousand?

It looks like you have to pay for the digital fabric collections, which some quilting software programs give you sample for free.

ANother plus for me is the learning curve. I don't feel like the learning curve is that high with EQ though I have heard it is going to take me a couple of days.

I'm getting excited, because this would be a huge upgrade for me.

I'll keep you posted on what I decide!

Edit: I opted for EQ7!

The Scraps

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I feel that one of the biggest expenses when it comes to quilting is buying the fabric. And this feels silly to me since a lot of what quilting is about is using old fabric.

Now I am looking for people that sell left over fabric scrap regularly. You know, somebody that destashes their stockpile. Friends have suggested I look at Facebook as there's a lot of buy/sell sites. Right now I have been using etsy and ebay. I buy leftovers and pretty regularly on etsy and ebay, and I look for vintage in particular but the price has started to go up over the years. I also buy unfinished quilt tops because it's fun to puzzle out completing them.

If you have any suggestions let me know.

Barton Heights

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I've never lived there, but I can hardly imagine a worse place in Richmond to buy a house. Still, I've seen a lot of positive change in the last few years.

A friend of ours who moved here from out of state loved the look of the homes. And they have had a so-so experience there.

When you watch the news it appears like day-to-day living is quiet. The feel of the neighborhood can change dramatically from one block to the next, so I would recommend that your brother get to know the locational nuances of the neighborhood before signing a contract.

Some blocks are as nice as any in Battery Park, but others can be intimidating.

Chances are, at some point after he moves in someone will knock on his door with a story about a broken down car or furnace in an attempt to fleece him for a few bucks. On rare occasions, he may even hear gunshots.

I think because of that and proximity to downtown, it will turn around like some parts of Northside are right now.

But not for another 20 years.

Brunch in Richmond

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There used to be this great place in the old Stony Point Shopping Center called Kelly's that had a fantastic brunch buffet. However, I have never seen a better one since.

Right now we have been enjoying the American Tap Room:

1601 Willow Lawn Drive,
St. 840 Richmond, VA 23230 804-308-9013

If we want a good brunch, we go to O'Toole's over off Forest Hill Ave. John O'Toole has flirted with the idea of doing a Breakfast Brunch, but he's not ever put into action.

They even make whatever you want since it's so classy.

Make A Meal

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Make a person a meal when they are going through hard times is something we do here. But I understand that it is more a community thing.

This will vary depending on the type of area you live in. In a bedroom community of a city people often move in and out. They may not even know of a death since there isn't a network.

In the community I live in lots of people grew up here and still live here as retired people so they have real roots in the town. The mother goes to the town beauty shop or they go to church together, see each other at the only restaurant in town, etc. The mailman even knows everything that is going on.

So here - it happens.

Not because people are different but just because of the circumstances.

Giving people food is just a nice gesture and saying you care with out actually using words. In my family when we did this, we also went out and bought disposable casserole dishes like these, the thinking always being that wanting them to not have to worry about cooking also extended to prep and clean-up.

Whenever someone hit hard times or just needed some help, people at my church will organize meal plans for said person/family. Community and friendship groups are very powerful. Say someone has a newborn and was just released from the hospital, 1-5 different families would bring dinner every day for a month or so.

Today, I think a lot of this has moved into online spaces.

These little things are what make up the fabric of society at the most basic level. You bring your friends food when they are suffering. It is one less thing for them to have to do.