Thursday, September 30, 2010

Introducing Lonni Rossi of Lonni Rossi Fabrics!

To all of you on or near the Main Line and looking for something new, have I got a shop for you! Read on to learn more about this great little gem.

Tell me a bit about your shop:

70 Rittenhouse Place / Ardmore, PA 19003 (Just off Lancaster Avenue in The Main Line)
phone: 610.896.0500
Store Hours: Tuesday thru Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM

When did your shop first open its doors?
My first location was a few blocks away on County Line Road (about one block from Carlino’s) I was only there for about a year before moving to my present location on Rittenhouse Place, where I’ve been since August of 2003.
(“A Kiss in Time”The first quilt I did with my new “LITTLE LONNI’S” group, inspired by Gustav Klimt’s painting, “The Kiss.”)

What made you decide to start the shop?
I wanted an outlet for my commercially printed quilting fabric, as well as my custom designed artcloth and home decorating fabrics. I have licensed my designs to Andover Fabrics, Inc. of New York since 2001. I also wanted the space to offer classes in surface design and quilting.

Does your shop offer classes? If so, what types?
I offer beginner to advanced classes in silk screen printing on fabric, Thermofax screen making, printing on fabric with found objects, stencils, stamps, and a technique I developed using string-wrapped objects as printing tools.Very popular is the fabric painting class I teach at my warehouse in Broomall.
This Fall we are offering quilting classes for beginners, as well as some specialty classes in free-motion embroidery and quilting, free-hand machine embroidery (no computer designs here!) doll-making, and project oriented classes like tote bags, handbags, fabric flower making, and some art to wear.
I am also taking a bold step and starting a monthly “Art Quilt Techniques Support Group” which will meet in my shop/studio on the first Wednesday of every month from 7-8:30 PM. Group size is limited to the first 15 people who sign up. If it gets any larger, I’ll have to find another place for us to meet!

Do you have sewing machines in the shop?
Only the two Bernina’s that I use to make sample quilts with my commercial fabrics and my art quilts.

Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?
I really only carry Andover Fabrics (my stuff and a few other designers) plus some Sulky products.

What’s unique about your shop compared to others out there?
Well, it’s more of an open design studio with a small shop attached! Consequently, it is a “destination shop”…a place you don’t want to miss if you are a quilter visiting the Philadelphia area. I have busloads of quilters visit in the Spring and Fall from all over the US and even Germany and Spain!

What’s your vision for the shop in the next 2+ years?
The economy has made keeping the shop going a bit of a challenge…but somehow we are getting by. Our online store and my international and national reputation as a fabric designer keep people coming back for more! In the next two years I hope to build the class offerings, and produce and market more of my custom fabrics to local interior designers and customers.

Anything else you’d like to mention regarding the shop?
Most people who enter the shop for the first time have the same reaction: Wow…what a creative place! They seem at first, to be overwhelmed by the color and textures they see on display. But seeing me painting fabric, or working on a quilt seems to get them pretty jazzed and they end up asking about classes and how they can have fun too!
Now for questions a bit more personal...
Tell me a bit about you:
Lonni Rossi, Wynnewood, PA. Married, two (grown) children, one gorgeous Granddaughter!
Member of Heartstring Quilters / Bala Cynwyd, PA
Co-Founder of Art Quilt Elements (formerly Art Quilts at the Sedgwick)
Former Graphic Designer and Creative Director of GPA Marketing, Inc.
Former Teacher of Graphic Design & Typography (Moore College of Art & Design, and Drexel University )
Fabric Designer for Andover Fabrics, Inc. (2001-present)

Do you sew or quilt? How did you get started sewing/quilting?
Yes, yes and yes!

What do you like best about quilting?
All of it!

What is the hardest thing about quilting?
Not having enough time…

How much time do you sew or quilt during an average week?
It’s my job…so at least 30 hours a week!

Do you name your projects or label them?

(The Grass Quilt: A commissioned art quilt for a local physician. It started out as a piece of white fabric that I painted as layers of color in a landscape. The piece is 80” wide x 32” deep and is heavily quilted and thread painted over the entire surface. Completed May 2010.)

What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?
I think I really need to learn how to relax…

What is your motto?
When in doubt, LIME GREEN!

I am a fiber artist. With fabric and thread, design, color, texture and form,
I strive to tell stories about the possibility of beauty. I love that feeling I get when reading a book: letting the story become my momentary reality, knowing that someone else’s imagination has taken me to another place, another time, another life, where I can become involved with that for a while and forget about my own life. I hope that my original (as well as my commercial) fabrics and my art quilts do that for people who view them. My goal is to help the viewer imagine something out of the realm of their own reality and allow them the opportunity to dream about beautiful things.

(Teachers Left to right: Leslie Bellamy, Eileen Belmont Wischnia, Lynn Spiller and Susan Osborne)

Some of my Techniques: Fusing, fabric and thread layering, machine embroidery, fused and stitched-over Angelina fibers, and machine quilting.
Scanning man-made or natural found objects, or my own drawings, helps to create most of my silk-screened and painted images. I manipulate these scans into patterns using a combination of computer drawing software, and sometimes add bits of text, handwriting, calligraphy or symbols. I also take digital pictures and manipulate those in Photoshop to create line art that will later be printed as a silk-screened image on fabric.

Some Lonni Rossi History: I’ve been an art quilter for about 16 years. I became interested in quilting in the late 70’s, but didn’t make my first “art quilt” until 1994. I won my first award in 1999 in the Paducah AQS show: a first place in the wall quilt category, titled “Cabins in the Cosmos.” The quilt still hangs in AQS Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, USA.

My professional life as a graphic designer led me to explore many different mediums and cultural expressions, and in the late 70’s I discovered Amish quilts. I loved the simplicity and graphic nature of the Amish designs, and was intrigued by their use of color. In contrast to the “mass media” approach of my day-to-day life as a graphic designer, the process of making something one-of-a kind and the tactile nature of working with textiles was the creative boost I was missing! This discovery ultimately led me to designing and painting my own fabrics for use in my art quilts.

I have always been interested in photography and typography. My work often begins with one or both of these disciplines, whether I am designing a quilt or a motif
for fabric design.

Every one of my quilts in the past five years has had a little something “new” incorporated into it. Fusible elements, couching with unusual fibers, felting, Angelina fibers, metallic threads, found objects, and obsessive threadwork usually cover the surface of my quilts. I am always looking for new things to achieve textural surprises, not only in my quilts but also in the images and textures I create for fabric design.

My style is… somewhat… like Abstract Impressionism.
Abstract Impressionism is a form of art where the artist expresses herself through the use of form and color, with no objective representations. In creating painted background textures for my fabrics, my fabric painting style is similar to that of the painter, Jackson Pollock, that is, until I start adding my layered silk-screened images. Layers add depth, as well as gradations of color and meaning.

There is always a story involved in my work; the image has to mean something, if only to me. It is usually something that reminds me of a time or place, a feeling that has been left unresolved, or something I feel deeply about. But, I am not political, attached to any particular cause, or trying to make a particular comment. My images and motifs are abstract –actually quite random things that catch my attention--they are beautiful, graphic, colorful, mysterious and sometimes obscure. Nevertheless, I want to get a reaction from the viewer…to catch their attention and make them come in closer to see the details! I want the viewer to feel rewarded and happy that they came closer to see something interesting and uplifting.

What I’m working on right now:
  • Art Quilts: Work in progress includes a commission for an art quilt featuring exotic grasses featuring my hand-painted fabrics, and two quilts using my hand-painted fabric to express attachments to found anthropological artifacts.
  • Upcoming shows:

I’m also preparing work for a one-woman show at the Gallery at Waverly Heights, in Gladwyne, PA to be on display from December 18, 2010 until January 18, 2011.

  • Sampler Quilts: Completed for 2010 Spring Quilt Market:
Three Quilts using “Viviana Collection”
  • New fabric collections printing now for Andover Fabrics:

“LITTLE LONNI’S” August 2010

“URBAN SHADES” Fall 2010


Thanks so much, Lonni, for answering all my questions! I hope everyone in the area gets a chance to stop by her shop!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Introducing Angela of Quilter's Corner!

This round we're heading to the suburbs for an interview with Angela at Quilter's Corner in Chadds Ford. Be sure to check out their website which is chock full of information!

Tell me a bit about your shop:

Quilter’s Corner

Olde Ridge Village

100 Ridge Road, Suite 8

Chadds Ford, PA 19317

(610) 459-8993

When did your shop first open its doors? June 4, 2007. It took so much longer to be in a position to open than we anticipated! Quilter’s Corner opened even though we were not completely ready, but fortunately customers were tolerant and patient!

What made you decide to start the shop?

I had wanted to open a small retail shop for
years – specifically one focusing on a creative activity, and one where developing relationships with customers was integral to the business. A local quilt shop closed at the beginning of 2007, and suddenly I knew what I wanted to do: A quilt shop was the perfect business for me. I don’t believe I’ve ever felt so certain or driven about anything else I’ve pursued!

Does your shop offer classes? If so, what types? (Feel free to include a link to your class listing if you have one!)

Yes, we offer a variety of classes, including classes for beginning quilters as well as classes for those wanting to explore more advanced techniques: We have some terrific instructors, and I’m always on the look out for new and different class offerings. I’ll soon be incorporating some basic sewing classes and home dec classes, as the up and coming generation of quilters are all about personalization. And, in addition to offering classes to make “useful” quilts, I’m hoping to offer more classes focusing on quilting purely as an art. There are so many gorgeous fabrics available today – why not use them to their full potential?!

Do you have sewing machines in the shop? Long arm quilters?
Quilter’s Corner is an authorized Pfaff machine dealer, and we carry the full line of Pfaff machines – including mid- and long-arm quilting machines. I’ve always been partial to Pfaff, and feel certain that someday, after I’ve sewn for as of yet an unspecified number of hours on my Pfaffs, I’ll begin resemble the beautiful models Pfaff incorporates in their sales literature! (One can hope!)

Quilter’s Corner also offers long-arm quilting services – and we have a steady stream of quilt tops coming in to be quilted using pantograph (all-over) quilting designs. All of our quilting is done using a computer (via a Statler Stitcher®); we don’t offer hand-guided quilting services. For those who have an interest in developing their own long-arm quilting skills so they can truly customize their quilts, we sell the Pfaff mid- and long-arm quilting machines. It’s amazing the creativity that a “can do” attitude unleashes!

Is there any particular supplier you’re partial to?

I suppose if we could have only one supplier, I’d choose Robert Kaufman because of the variety of fabrics they offer. All of our suppliers provide high-quality fabrics, and each tends to have their own specialty.

What’s unique about your shop compared to others out there?

As much as we’d love to carry all different fabric types, we’re a small shop and need to be selective in our fabric offerings. Our focus is on batiks, contemporary prints, and Asian prints. We have a fairly good collection of novelties as well. Almost no “traditional” quilting fabrics such as florals and traditional baby prints.

What’s your vision for the shop in the next 2+ years?
Quilter’s Corner will continue on its journey toward becoming an increasingly dynamic and fun place to be, with more demos and hands-on interactions, especially focusing on cool tools, techniques, and machine capabilities. We’ll also be a place where the younger generation of sewers and quilters will want to spend time. We’ll have an online presence – where we’ll offer kits, patterns, select fabrics, and more. (Note – you
did say 2 PLUS years, right?!)

Anything else you’d like to mention regarding the shop?

Quilter’s Corner is fortunate to have some of the friendliest, most helpful, and most dedicated staff around. And, we all enjoy living vicariously through our customers, as we can’t possibly incorporate all of the beautiful fabrics into our own creations! We have a lot of fun exploring the possibilities with, and learning from, our customers.

Now for questions a bit more personal:
Tell me a bit about you:
My name is Angela and I live in West Chester. I’m married and have 5 wonderful children (1 girl, 4 boys) ranging in age from 28 years old to 12 years old. I also have two of the cutest grandchildren on earth! In addition to the quilt shop, I have a full-time “paying” job, from which I expect to retire in the not-too-distant future.

Do you sew or quilt?
I both sew and quilt, although now I do much more quilting than sewing.

How did you get started sewing/quilting?
My mom taught me to sew when I was probably about ten years old, and for many years I made clothing and curtains, and occasionally drapes and table covers. About 15 years ago my mom took up quilting, and when she proudly showed me her early efforts I distinctly remembered thinking, “Why, on earth, would anyone want to quilt? What possible use is that?!” Fortunately, I never uttered those words out loud! And it didn’t take long for me to become hooked!

What do you like best about quilting?
The community of quilters! Yes, there are fiercely competitive quilters, but regardless – quilters tend to make up an inclusive community. We speak the same language, enjoy helping each other, and enjoy our peers’ successes as well as our own.

What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?
I’m a jack of all trades, master of none! I’ve dabbled in drawing, oil painting, jewelry making, beading, cross-stitching, and probably a few other crafts. I envision having a wonderful studio of sorts some day where I’ll have designated spots for all of my crafty interests, because I’m really not yet willing to say, “I don’t do that anymore!” Growing up I played piano and expect to pick that up again, and would dearly love to learn the violin.

What is your motto?
My motto is well recognized and certainly not original, as I’ve borrowed it from Nike, the shoe and sports apparel company. As you’ve probably just guessed, my motto is, Just Do It!

Thanks so much for answering all our questions, Angela! Hopefully some of your newest customers are from the PMQG! :)
Until next week...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Project Pure!

We had our September meeting last night & showed off our Project Pure results!

The quilts & projects are amazing... and so varied in style!
It really shows that you can do some many different things with the same fabric.

Janet... our event coordinator even surprised everyone with a blue ribbon!

I have lots more photos to share... and I'll do a full recap post soon!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Introducing Laura Singewald of Spool

Have you heard about Spool yet? This shop has been in the news lately, along with their sister shop, Loop. Read on to learn about this little city gem.

Tell me a bit about your shop:

Spool is located in Center City, Philadelphia at 1912 South St. You can visit us online as well at My business partner, Craig Rosenfeld owns Loop, the yarn shop right next door, which we consider to be our sister store.

When did your shop first open its doors? What made you decide to start the shop?

March, 2008. I was working for Craig at Loop, and we had been scheming to open a fabric shop together for a couple of years. Center City really didn't have anything specifically for quilt & craft sewing sewing, and we wanted something! The space next door to Loop became available and the rest is history!

Does your shop offer classes? If so, what types?

We offer a wide range of classes on quilts, bags, garments and home decorating. You can see see our full schedule here.

Do you have sewing machines in the shop? Long arm quilters?

We do have Baby Locks and Singers in the shop. No long arm quilters...yet!

Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?

I love my Clover leather coin thimble for hand quilting. It fits perfectly and is pretty!

What’s unique about your shop compared to others out there?

We have a bright, modern shop with a collection of carefully curated fabrics. I love each and every fabric in my shop, and my customers appreciate my culling out the best pieces for them. My staff is friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We love color and we love fabric!

Anything else you’d like to mention regarding the shop?

We have the best customers, who have really helped get the word out about the shop in the last 2 years. As a result, we are thrilled to have just received Philadelphia Magazine's Best of Philly 2010 award for Best Way to Get Crafty!

Now for questions a bit more personal...

Tell me a bit about you:

My name is Laura Singewald and I live in Center City, Philadelphia. I grew up in Rhode Island, and made my my way here after getting my BFA in painting in Baltimore. I have been here for 10 years, now. Time sure does fly! I love Philly, and the crafty community I have met here.

Do you sew or quilt? How did you get started sewing/quilting?

Both. I always sewed a bit here and there growing up. I got serious about it shortly after college, when I was burnt out on painting and looking for something new to get into. Sewing and knitting became my most favorite things to do!

What do you like best about quilting?

Selecting fabrics and the actual quilting. I love handwork, so finishing a binding and hand quilting are my faves!

What is the hardest thing about quilting?

Cutting! Sometimes it just takes too long for me!

How much time do you sew or quilt during an average week?

I sew everyday, but with running the business I don't get to do it for as long as I'd like. I try to get in as much as possible!

Do you name your projects or label them?

I never do. I'm not really sure why, although when I was getting my painting degree, I never named or signed my work either. Must be left over from then!

What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?

I am an avid knitter, and would love to try weaving & screen printing!

Thanks so much, Laura! Good luck to the shop - I hope you continue winning awards!
Until next week...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Introducing Mary Ellen of Country Quiltworks

Welcome to another round of shop interviews! This one isn't nearly as upbeat as the others since Country Quiltworks is struggling to stay in business. So if you're anywhere near this shop - please stop by! It would be such a shame to lose this wonderful hub of quilting. Read on to learn more about Mary Ellen & Peter's labor of love - Country Quiltworks.

  • Tell me a bit about your shop:
Country Quiltworks
515 Stump Road
Montgomeryville, PA 18936.
Located in North Wales/Montgomeryville.

  • When did your shop first open its doors?

Mary Ellen & Peter Wagner purchased the shop which had previously been open about twenty years. They’ve run the shop now for about five years.

  • Does your shop offer classes? If so, what types?

Yes, there will be a new fall class schedule out soon which will include the Butterfly quilt and the Dog Gone Scrappy quilt (photos included in this article!). In the past the shop has offered classes on placemats, table runners, Perkiomen Valley quilt, and paper piecing.

  • Do you have sewing machines in the shop? Long arm quilters?

At this time all classes are Bring Your Own. There are some long arm quilters associated with the shop and Mary Ellen will gladly produce some recommendations based on the quilter’s location.
  • Is there any particular supply you’re partial to?
Not a supply, but Mary Ellen enjoys Kaffe Fassett and Amy Butler fabrics.

  • What’s your vision for the shop in the next 2+ years?

Unfortunately, Mary Ellen is looking into a new arrangement for the shop or else she expects that they will be closing soon.

  • Do you sew or quilt?

Mary Ellen does both while her husband has been known to sew a thing or two as well.

  • How did you get started sewing/quilting?

Mary Ellen has been sewing since fifth grade and began quilting while she was in nursing school. At one point in her life, she was custom quilting for interior decorators in the area.

  • What do you like best about quilting?

Everything! Mary Ellen has had the opportunity to try most quilting techniques over the years. She enjoys subdued quilts and has tons throughout her house, some on display and some tucked away.

  • How much time do you sew or quilt during an average week?

Mary Ellen is lucky enough to sew every day!

  • Do you name your projects or label them?

Yes! She’s been labeling her projects for years, even before it was the “in” thing to do. She worked with the National Quilting Association

  • What other crafts do you indulge in or hope to learn?

Mary Ellen admits that she’s probably tried them all but weaving which she’d love to learn. Though right now she has no room for a big loom and she’s not interested in a little one!

Mary Ellen has also worked with the National Quilting Association for teaching certificates from 1988-1990. She traveled around and certified quilt teachers. She's also helped to round up the organizational history of quilting.

Mary Ellen & Peter both helped to start the Fall Fabric Frenzy Shop Hop which consists of 10 shops in our area (SE PA). Buy your passport from any of the shops now and when you visit each shop they will stamp your passport. You then have a chance to win all kinds of prizes!!

Mark your calendars - this year's Fall Fabric Frenzy Shop Hop is November 12 - 15, 2010. The Shop Hop will be comprised of the same ten shops as last year.
******Passport sales begin September 1st.******

Stop by Country Quiltworks (or Chester County Quilting) for more information!!

Thanks so much, Mary Ellen and Peter, for sharing your shop with me!! Good luck and I hope to see you in business for years to come!