Quilt Shop: McKenna Ryan Designs

While I was perusing Facebook one day last week, I spied this:

Whoa! A new quilt shop in Portland? McKenna Ryan? Count me in! For as much as I complain about her patterns, I really love her work. Since I had a doctor's appointment downtown yesterday, it seemed a good day for venturing over to her side of the river to check it out. I told myself that if I was finished soon enough, I would pay her a visit. (I'll just say that I am not up for driving in rush hour traffic, and so I skedaddle out of town by 3:00 p.m. these days.)

I was finished in plenty of time, and so I punched her address into my navigation unit and drove right to it. It's in an industrial area on the east side of the Willamette River. This is the address. It sure doesn't look like a quilt shop, does it? Further, there was no place to park, which always puts me in a bad mood. 

I drove around the block twice. When I was nearly ready to give up, I found a spot. I had choice to take the long road around some other warehouse-style buildings, or I could take the shortcut that took me right along the railroad tracks. And I'm not talking no light rail here...I mean the real train tracks...with a real train that went by blowing its horn. It was deafening.

So I approached the building. Nothing aside from the number on the building would lead me to believe I was in the right place.

And this was a little daunting, but the main doors were open. 

There was a directory when I stepped inside the main doors. Ahhhhh...there it is. Fifth floor.

So, I stepped into the elevator just to the right of the directory, and I was surprised when my only choice of buttons to press were B, 1, and 2. Sure enough, when I went back out into the lobby, this elevator only goes to the 2nd floor. Hm.

I walked up a short flight of stairs and saw this sign. Okay. Walking....

Not there yet...

Keep walking...

Eventually, I came to the slowest elevators in humanity. When the doors opened, a woman walking backwards and typing something on her phone while dragging a cart of some precious cargo nearly walked into me. Good thing I was watching where I was going, because she was not. (Who does that?)

Then I took the elevator to the fifth floor. When the doors opened I was facing a blank wall. I stepped out of the elevator, and seeing nothing to direct me where I was going, I turned directly around. Surely there was a sign behind me to tell me which way to go. Silly me. Nothing. I looked to the left and saw this:

Then I looked to the right, and saw this:

I was starting to think I should be dropping bread crumbs. Since I was already looking in that direction, I decided to go that way. (I'm very efficient with my head turning.) I turned that corner, and then another corner and saw this:

When I approached the door there on the right, I saw this sign:

In other words, keep walking. Eventually, I approached this purple sign sitting on the floor:

Finally! I found it!

When I walked through the front door, I saw this:

Just to the left was the Wind in the Whiskers quilt. I took quite a few pictures of it because I wanted to see how it was quilted.

There was precious little quilting on it. She's done just what I was planning to do, which is to use the top-stitching on the applique as the quilting. There were a few little squiggles and curlicues, but not much else. Also, I was heartened to see that her cat shows through her boxer shorts

just like the one I made. The whiskers are cute though.

So, again, this is what you see from the front door.

Walk to the far side of the store, and you see this:

It isn't so much a fabric store as it is a pattern store. It's essentially a brick and mortar McKenna Ryan store. I saw patterns of hers that I'd never seen before, even though I visit her website on occasion. I loved the way this one was displayed.

The detail in her patterns is what makes them so amazing...and so difficult.

See the flip flops?

Cute baby quilt. Sigh.

There were a few bolts of fabric, and a large selection of fat quarters.

What you mostly see, however, are patterns. Very expensive patterns. It's a good place to visit to see how they are quilted if you happen to be making one.

I loved these bird houses. The price of the set was north of three figures. I set it down again, fearing I might break it. This is a place for slapping your own hands when you touch things that are too expensive to be handled.

I did find a few that I could afford. I loved the set of three cats, and the set of four coffee designs, and I ended up buying a set of each.

It was worth the visit, and I might go back again sometime. Now that I've found it, I think it will be less intimidating the next time around. 

Another couple came into the store while I was there. "You don't get much walk-in business, do you?" That made me laugh. The place is very hard to find, and the parking situation is appalling. On the positive side, it is a good place to see her patterns made up, and I'm imagining you could ask questions if you're having trouble with something. I give the place four rotary cutters out of five.

As always when I rate a quilt shop, this: 

*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.

Even though I started leaving town before 3:00 p.m., the traffic was absolutely terrible. It wasn't terrible by Portland standards, mind you. It was just terrible. I drive into downtown Portland so infrequently any more that the traffic always takes me by surprise. After nearly 13 years of country-living, I guess I'm just a country girl. And that made this view from our ridge top even more appealing:

When I picked up the mail, I was delighted to find my January doll quilt from my partner Lorna in the UK. Thanks Lorna. So delightfully springy!

And with all that going on, I didn't get any sewing time yesterday. It's been a while since I've gone a whole day without sewing, and so I didn't mind taking a little break. Today I'm going to get out for a walk, and I'm going to start sewing together the Dream Machines. I think yesterday was all the excitement a country girl like me can stand.

17 comments from clever and witty friends:

Allison CB said...

Wow what an adventure to find that shop!!! Thanks for the info - willhave to go there next time I am in the area!

WoolenSails said...

Lucky you and so fun to go visit. I do love her designs and nice that you could see them all and in person.


Vroomans' Quilts said...

You are a brave soul - I would of skidaddled just with the sight and parking. And to walk a warehouse alone is so not me.

Jeanie said...

I think I would have given up, once I saw those empty hallways. Glad you got to see things up close and personal.

Vicki W said...

Imagine how many people just give up and never make it to the shop.

Julianne said...

Wow thats quite a store but yep, what a haul to find it! Beautiful things!

Junebug613 said...

What a weird location for a quilt store. I think many people would've given up long before finding it. Looks neat once you got in there, though. I look forward to future posts on the patterns you purchased. I know how much you adore alliteration. Ha ha!

Celtic Thistle said...

How strange that the store is so difficult to locate, looks like your dedication paid off though :)

Dana Gaffney said...

Beautiful patterns, hard to do. Beautiful shop, hard to find, maybe she's going for a theme just like her patterns.

KMSC said...

Thanks for the information; however, I know I will have to have my husband take me as I can get lost in a closet (and I've lived in the Portland area all of my life)! Your perseverance is admirable!

quiltzyx said...

Yeah, I would have been one to say "Never mind!" for all that trouble to find the shop. I like what Dana Gaffney said - she's going for a theme!! Ha! But thanks for showing us the pics of the gorgeous batiks & finished quilts & quiltlets. Sorry you got caught in traffic, but at least you got a fab photo out of it on the way home!!

Kirsty said...

Well done, you, for persevering! Then again, it was for a quilt shop...okay, I'd have done it too, and walked across hot coals and broken glass if they'd been in the way, too. Great photos! My friend, Maree, is doing the bird houses one (well, it's on her list, if you know what I mean) so I'll be sure and send her a link to your blog. She'll be rapt. Actually, she'll be rapt with all your posts and there are cats. Why didn't I think of doing that sooner (mental slap to my head). Heading to hers for lunch shortly so this will make her day. Thank you thank you thank you. Hugs. x

Dar said...

I found your adventure to McKenna Ryan shop interesting. Do you think she wants 'walk-ins'? We have a Fabric dealer here in St. Louis that has every Hoffman batik ever made along with all of McKenna's patterns and finished quilts hanging too. We are fortunate to be able to 'go shopping' whenever we want - as long as we call and alert the owner. It is not really a fabric store, but more of a warehouse and online business. I love her patterns, but have never made one ... yet.

Brown Family said...

Interesting that her shop is so hard to get to. I guess if you can follow the directions on her patterns, you can follow the directions to the shop!

Florence said...

Thank you for the "journey", sound like a treasure hunting !

Michele said...

You are right. There is no way they are going to get a lot of walk in business. Why advertise the opening if they don't put good signs there for finding it?

Kate said...

She has some gorgeous designs. I just have to watch you make them, I really don't like applique!