Quilt Shop: Highland Quilts

This is the first of the two quilt shops I have left to tell you about.  These two were bonuses since I only intended to visit one quilt shop on the trip.  But then, there's the iPhone app, and I can't help but look when we get to someplace new.  It was Sunday the day we visited these last two shops, and so I didn't expect either of them to be open.  I expected the shop in Pendleton to be the larger, better shop because Athena, Oregon, is a tiny little town.  The 2010 census pegged the population at just 1,126 souls.  It was originally established as a stage coach stop between Walla Walla, WA, and Pendleton, OR.

So, I called the Pendleton shop first and determined it was open.  Nevertheless, I decided to call the shop in Athena merely out of curiosity.  I was very surprised when a woman's voice answered "Hello".  I asked if it was the quilt shop, and indeed it was.  It embarrassed me a little because I hadn't really expected to be speaking to a live person.  I told her I was from out of town and that I liked to stop into quilt shops when I traveled.  She seemed sort of excited about the prospect of a customer, and so then, I felt almost obligated to stop in.  Even Mike said that it seemed cruel not to.  And I was so glad I did.

Here's how the shop looks from the outside. 

In the image below, you can see the entire shop along with the two women who were working there that day.  They just about charmed the socks right off of me.  They couldn't have been more friendly.  The woman with her back to you is the owner of the space, and therefore, sort of the designated owner of the shop.  After talking with them for a few minutes, it became clear that this tiny little town in the middle of nowhere was quite a community of quilters!

They said there was a group of about ten of them that sewed together and that, in fact, the shop is a co-op that their informal quilting group operates.  They told me that they couldn't possibly sustain a shop in such a small town, but that together, they kept it operational, and it allowed them to get quilting supplies and fabric at wholesale.  What a great idea!  I wonder how many more of these kinds of shops exist in small towns.

The main part of the store is in the front half of the space.  There was a work area in the back that could double as a classroom or a meeting space.  On the right side of the image, you can see a small shelf with bolts of fabric, and those were all 20% off, or 25% off if you took the end of a bolt.  The walls on the left and right were stocked with beautiful fabrics.  Their inventory was more limited than other shops I've seen, but what they had in stock was lovely.

They had some beautiful quilts hanging on the walls above the fabrics.  I asked if either of them had made them, and the owner proudly told me the story behind every one.  She made the cross you see below.  It was made from a pattern that she modified to get the cross design into it.

These next two were made by other ladies in their group.

And she designed the Irish Chain below so that the chains extended out into the border.  She told me it was the first pattern she'd made that had been published, and she was obviously very proud of it.  The Irish Chain is my favorite traditional design, and I liked it too.  It's hard to get an idea of the fabrics she used, but the fabric she used for center of the blocks was a pretty gold with purple leaves on it.  She still had some left on a bolt that she'd recently found in her basement.  (Can you tell we were chatting like old friends?  I love the immediacy of relationships that can be established just by having quilting in common.)

I would have taken more pictures of the shop, but the close quarters had me feeling a little self-conscious about snapping too many images.  I asked their permission, and they didn't seem to mind.  Still, I felt a need to be somewhat circumspect.

There was a lot in their store that I liked, but since I knew I was visiting the shop in Pendleton later in the day, I restrained myself from buying out the store.  I came away with these two.  The top one is called Holiday Pears, and it is intended to be a Christmas fabric.  I thought it could be used for anything, and I just liked it.

Of course this one on the bottom was irresistible to me, and it was on sale.  I mean cats!  On sale!  It was impossible to avert my gaze.  I bought a yard of that too, because if there's anything I need to make my life complete, it's more cat fabric.

So I really fell in love with this shop and the women working there.  It is a small shop, but I would still highly recommend stopping in if for no other reason than to meet these two lovely ladies.  It's also worth a stop just to see their beautiful quilts and fabrics and to experience the charm of small town America.  I give this shop five rotary cutters out of five.

In the next day or two, I'll tell you about the shop I visited in Pendleton.  I hit the jackpot with quilt shops this trip.  I loved every one of them.  Don't forget!  The May NewFO Challenge and Giveaway goes live tomorrow morning.

Disclaimer:  Cat Patches accepts no advertising, nor any sponsorships.  The opinions expressed on this blog are based on the personal impressions and perceptions of the author. They are formed  on the basis of one short visit, on one day, and may or may not reflect the experience of others visiting on a different day.  They are no more descriptive than a single snapshot image can be, and nothing written in a review of a quilt shop should be construed as objective fact.  The reviews are strictly the author's subjective opinion and should not be interpreted as anything more.


Quilting Babcia said...

That sounds like my kind of town and shop! Love those quilts, especially the cross and the triple Irish chain.

quiltzyx said...

What a fun quilt shop stop! The quilts on the walls are so lovely - I'm so proud of you for leaving them fabric to quilt with. :D

Kate said...

Such a cute shop and what a great idea for a group of quilters in a small town. Love your new acquisitions too!

Lyndsey said...

That looks a fascinating shop and such a good idea to set up as a cop-op. That cross quilt is amazing and I love the Irish chain.

Love the fabric you got here. That pear fabric is so cute and what can I say, a girl can never have too much cat fabric can she?

Sherry said...

Always enjoy reading about the shops you visit. What a great concept to provide fabric to a small community. Glad you were able to get kitty fabric as I am sure Smitty would have been a little disappointed if you had not brought some home.

Vickie said...

Cute rating system !

Brown Family said...

THat is an interesting concept! I do not think my small home town of 3000 could sustain a quilt shop!