Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where do I get my quilting stencils?

I had typed a paragraph in my last post about my source for Destiny's deb quilt stencils and somehow it got omitted. I am still new at this and words that I had typed -- actually, whole paragraphs -- just seem to evaporate with the mere touch of a key! (I can hear you chuckling, fellow bloggers!) And I can't seem to find the "UNDO" key on the posting page!

I buy stencils wherever I happen to see them -- quilt shows, quilt shops, flea markets, online -- I mean anywhere! Whenever I walk into a quilt shop that is new to me, the first thing I do is start poking through their stencils to see what's new!
For years one of my favorite sources has been The Stencil Company in Cheektowaga NY. You can find them online at http://www.quiltingstencils.com/. The catalog #s referenced in my last post all were TSC's stencils and they are who you should contact to purchase those particular stencils. Cindy and crew also show up at the larger quilt shows and it is fun to get lost for hours looking at what's new and pondering all the possibilities! When you stop by their booth, you can also pick up one of their newsprint catalogs. The catalog has pictures of all of their stencils as well as the sizing and pricing info.

Except for the small feather pattern, all of the stencils that I used on Destiny's quilt were continuous designs. So they are definitely achievable by a beginning level free motion quilter. A beginner might want to substitute an easier design for that small feather, however, as it does require some "overstitching" to execute the design.
My collection of stencils numbers in the hundreds, maybe even more than a thousand, so I had to find a way to be able to find what I wanted in a reasonable amount of time. My stencils are sorted by size on binder rings and hung from a rack in size order. So all of the block designs are sorted by size: 4" and under, 5", 6", etc. Border stencils are sorted by width, starting with those 1-1/2" and under, 2", 2-1/2", etc.

All of the rings are hung on a rack system that my husband mounted on a wall in my sewing room above the fixtures that hold all of my thread. They're easily within my reach and I just have to grab the ring of the size I need and then browse through them to make my choice.

Here's a closer look. The rings are arranged so that the shorter borders and smaller block sizes are to the front with the longer/larger toward the back. Yes, sometimes I have to take off a couple of rings of stencils before I get to the size I want, but I haven't yet come up with a better way to store them. When I first started collecting them, I filed them by size in folders, but I outgrew that system pretty soon!

To totally switch topics, I was at a big, beautiful quilt show the last weekend in Long Beach CA. It was put on by Quilts, Inc., the same group that has brought us Houston for more years than I have been a quilter. The show was awesome and I took some great pictures that I will be posting over the next few days. But here's a peek:

Wow - is my picture crooked! This work of art is called "Nature Vivante" and was made by Leslie Gabrielse, a well knowm quilt artist from the Netherlands. He teaches at conferences in the United States occasionally. I also got a closeup from this quilt which I'll post next time......

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