The Virtual Quilt, A
Newsletter for Computing Quilters

Number Sixteen * May 15, 1997

Classifieds | Table of Contents

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THE TRAVELING QUILTER: Three San Antonio Quilt Shops

By Lynn Holland

Like many of the rest of you, the first thing I do when I arrive in a new town is to check the Yellow Pages for the Quilts and Quilting Materials section. This was the case when I visited my parents' new residence in San Antonio for the first time last month. The places I enjoy the most are the ones that exhibit a sense of regionality and offer both in atmosphere and wares something I can't find at home or in the mailorder catalogs.

The three stores I visited in San Antonio all get As in my tourist book. Las Colchas is located in a quaint house in the shadow of several office buildings. Stepping onto the wooden front porch, you feel as though you have been welcomed into a residence rather than a business. Lots of lovely antique pieces serve as display cabinets and tables, and this shop shows many personal touches in displaying a style of its own. Recognizing us as non-regulars, the salesclerk invited my daughter to place a pin to indicate her hometown on a well-studded visitors map that hangs in the hallway.

In what appeared to be an informal classroom, a stitcher was working on applique blocks with assistance from store personnel. Fabric selection was good, although not as comprehensive as many stores we routinely visit. Surprisingly, everything was color grouped, as opposed to grouped according to manufacturers' lines. Since we were specifically looking for Aunt Grace's fabric, this complicated our search, but did give us the opportunity to examine lots of other beautiful fabrics in the process.

Plenty of display quilts and many lovely samples adorned the walls and furniture. Additionally, there are original designs exclusive to Las Colchas. I purchased the pattern for a San Antonio wall-hanging, which was also available in kit form. Since I have many NSPs (never started projects) in addition to the usual UFOs, I resisted the strong temptation to purchase the fabric kit. I did, however, fall in love with the Texas silk ribbon embroidery that is a Las Colchas original. This design features a Texas map with lovely wildflowers all over the surface. I was so inspired by their gorgeous embroidery samples that the minute I returned to Atlanta I signed up for a class at my local shop. Once I become proficient, I'm calling Las Colchas for the kit. One of the strengths of Las Colchas from my color-impaired perspective is the availablity of many kits. This saves the novice or perhaps the hurried quilter from the pain and time of fabric selection, particularly for those of us who do not have mega-stashes and/or suffer from the pain of even the smallest decision-making process.

I also am particularly fond of their charming newsletter. Although it folds down to the size of a postcard, the newsletter is hand written, hand illustrated and very visually appealing. Another "little difference" that distinguishes Las Colchas from your other quilt shops is that many of their classes are available by appointment, so that you won't have to miss the chance to make the quilt of your dreams due to work or family conflicts! Our only disappointment was that there was no Texas bluebonnet fabric in stock, but we were assured that it would be available soon.

With a name like Plain Jane's, I wasn't expecting metallic embroidery or serious art quilts. Nestled in a group of must-visit shops dubbed Artisan's Alley, Jane's features folk art, primitive pieces and just generally down-home handcrafts that you have to love. The store itself is very roughhewn and looks like someone's grandmother's log cabin inside. They sell (no surprise) mostly homespuns, flannels, feedsacks, and 30s reproductions as would befit the store name. They sell rughooking supplies, darling stuffed dolls, and unusual country items. Their strong suit from my perspective is a super collection of regional patterns. The "I Done My Best" samplers by Saundra White of Provo, Utah and the Hand Dids dolls were patterns I had not previously seen. Drawn to the I Done My Best Texas bluebonnet sampler, I felt this tea-dyed pattern would make a better souvenir of my visit than a Riverwalk thimble.(Although I bought one of those, too, at La Villita.) The feature that sticks in my mind about Jane's (besides its location next to the other super stores and terrific tearoom that make up the Artisans Alley complex) is their classroom. More like a neighbor's sewing room than the usual shop classroom, Jane's teaching area has a long narrow counter studded with sewing machines and a simple wooden chair at each station. No one could possibly be intimidated working here!

My final fabric foray in the San Antonio area was to Mission Valley Mill Outlet, whose praise I had read online. Actually, I had neglected to take directions with me and happened to see their billboard along the Interstate on our way to Gruene. At the risk of getting my truly patient father lost on the access roads, we turned off and started to hunt. If you happen to miss the wording on the sign yourself, the outlet is sort of back behind the Tanger Outlet Mall in . This outlet had so many beautiful homespun plaids and novelty wovens at such bargain prices that I could hardly decide what I wanted/needed. There were a few fat quarter and half yard cuts, but mostly bolts and bolts of fabric. One temptation was the huge wads of about 4-inch homespun charm squares at a bargain price.

I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted this fabric for since I'm not primarily into homespun stuff, so I was able to hold down my expenditure due to indecision. But at about $4.50 per yard for super homespun, this place is a true treasure. They have some other quilting stuff, real pillow ticking and many other basic fiber commodities that you would expect to find in a fabric store. Add charm squares.

All in all, the stores in the San Antonio vicinity get high marks for distinctiveness and regional flavor. I'm already planning my next trip, hoping to make it to "Seventh Heaven," one store I missed. Oh, and yes, Las Colchas does mean "The Quilts" in Spanish.



A new Quilting and Sewing Clipart collection is now available from SnippitS Graphics.

The set consists of over 120 clipart images for use in newsletters, stationery, address labels, business cards and web sites. Perfect for the Patchwork, Sewing or Craft enthusiast the clips include images of bears, animals, dividers, blocks, patchwork, sewing utensils, flowers and celebrations.

For enquiries please e-mail

Web site for Australian orders

For International orders


The MINI DUST-IT. Genuine sheepskin duster on a 6" stick that is perfect for picking up dust and lint from your sewing machine and serger. Soft, beautiful sheepskin won't scratch polished surfaces. Picks up the lint and tiny threads; doesn't spread them around. Prevents lint build-up. Inexpensive way to protect expensive sewing machines and sergers. Fun and handy to use.

Price: $3.50 each including mailing.

To order send check to Silver Dollar Sheep Station, 5020 Winding Way, Sacramento, CA 95841. 800-887-8742. SILVER DOLLAR SHEEP STATION


THREAD AND THIMBLE - your internet mail order quilt store!

This month's Stash Builder's Special is in fresh, clear colors of spring: yellow, pink and blue. Fabrics are by Moda, Rose & Hubble, Jinny Beyer, and Norcott Silk. 9 FQ's for $15.75 plus shipping. Come see the fabric at my web site: or e-mail for more information.


DESIGN PLUS - Labels designed with quilters in mind! web site:

FREE Thangles sample by e-mail request (write in subject line: Thangles): Buy one of each size of Thangles (3 packages total) and you will be eligible to purchase the "Scrappy Plaid Stars" Block-of-the-Month Club '97 Quilt Program, designed by Mary B. Hayes.


Hickory Hill Quilts is expanding! In addition to our complete line of include vintage American quilts, tops and related items, we now offer reproduction fabric and quilt heritage books - all at a discount! Visit our main catalog of quilts, tops, blocks and fabrics at and our other items at To order, call 518-875-6133 or E-mail to confirm availability and shipping costs. We will hold your item pending receipt of your check or you may charge your MasterCard, Visa or Discover. We also have a layaway plan. All items are 100% satisfaction guaranteed. We hope you enjoy owning your very own piece of American history!


Quilt Shop Service -- Discount Prices

Looking for discounted quilting supplies and books? Look to PineTree for discounts of 20%, accompanied by attentive customer service and prompt shipping! Don't forget to check out online catalog at for ***new, new, new*** items and a partial listing of books!

You'll find a huge selection of batting, from Quilter's Cotton fine cotton batts to the full lines of Hobbs' and Fairfield's cottons, blends, and polys. Look for tools to make applique easier and more fun; fabric and hand care products; pencils and markers; templates and template plastic; needlecraft gloves; rotary cutters and related supplies; rippers, clippers, snippers, and scissors; machine sewing needles; seven (!) brands of hand sewing needles -- including Jeana Kimball's renowned Foxglove Cottage needles; basting systems; thread, including Mettler and Gutermann cotton sewing and quilting, Tire silk sewing, and Sulky rayon, metallic, and sliver, and *new* Roxy 100% cotton thread on economical 1200-yard spools; patterns ... and more.

Check out the catalog on the web at, or request a hard copy by e-mailing snail mail info to If you are on AOL and prefer to contact someone there, Donna's address is PineTreeQW!

Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are all welcome. PineTree is online to answer questions about quilting products at


Check out our on-line catalog for our Monthly $pecial$!! Or, if that's not possible, just e-mail Schoolhouse Enterprises ( with your "snail mail" (post office) address for your FREE CATALOG and Sample of Gridded Geese(c)! Gridded Geese(c) is a unique paper foundation method for mass-producing Flying Geese units up to 24 at once (similar to the half-square triangle papers, which, BTW, are included in their catalog).

The Schoolhouse Enterprises catalog offers lots of Other Fun Stuff, too! We've added a few things we think you'll like, so if you haven't visited our web page lately, we think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Perfect Square, the REUSABLE (10+ times each) iron-on transfer, helps you make perfect half square triangles in almost any size. For those of you who like to work small, there is the Mini Pack with finished sizes from 1/4" to 1 1/2". Perfect Square also comes in real sizes for anyone intimidated by the small stuff. E-mail for more info or check out the Perfect Square web site at


ARTFABR!K now carries a Color Card for their extraordinary hand-dyed perle cotton threads available in sizes 3, 5, 8 and the finest, size 12. Please send $7 plus $1 for shipping to ARTFABR!K, Laura Wasilowski, 324 Vincent Place, Elgin, IL 60123. E-mail or see our web site at


Beautiful hand Dyed Fabric perfect for piecing, applique and pictorial quilts. Colors range from a sunrise spectrum of mauves, pinks, and golds to deep purples, blues and teals. Available in the following convenient packages:

8 step color progression- fat eighth cuts- 1 yard $25.00
12 step color wheel- 6"x22"cuts 1 yard $25.00
24 step color wheel- 6"x22" cuts 2 yards $45.00
  10" squares 1.5 yards $35.00

Send a self addressed, stamped envelope for free samples and full price list or to order send check or money order to:

Jay Dee Designs 18640 South Lowrie Loop Eagle River, Alaska 99577



Our advertisers, both here in the newsletter and at the Planet Patchwork website, have found TVQ to be an effective and economical way to reach thousands of online quilters. Ads in the newsletter are only $5 each (up to 100 words, inquire about longer ads) or 3 for $10, and there are also attractive packages available which combine newsletter and website ads. For more information e-mail or visit We specialize in helping small quilting-related businesses gain exposure on the internet.

In This Issue:

Following is a list of the rest of the stories in this issue of TVQ. In order to read them, you must be a subscriber. Subscribing online here and following up with the small subscription fee will entitle you to eight issues of TVQ, including this one. You will receive TVQ every six weeks by e-mail, and will be issued a password to access it here on the World Wide Quilting Page.

Subscribers: Please report any password problems to Rob Holland. Be sure to include your name & e-mail address. We will try to resolve all password problems within 24 hours. Thank you!

And here's what's inside!


Like any news publication, TVQ is always hungry for information about new developments in the area we are trying to cover. If you have an idea for a story, or want to tell the world about something you are doing which relates to computers and quilting, we'd like to hear about it.

We'd like news of new classes starting up to teach quilt design on computers, or new approaches to that teaching. New products, maillists, World Wide Web pages, etc., are all fair game, and we'd appreciate any tips you can provide. Send your tips by e-mail to

If you have a comment about an article, a complaint or a correction, we're glad to hear that, too, and may publish some comments as letters to the editor. Again, these may be sent to

Editor and Publisher: Robert Holland, Decatur, GA

1997 by Robert Holland. All rights reserved. This file may not be reproduced in any form except to be printed out for the personal use of its owner without the expressed, written consent of the copyright holder.


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