Way up north – for some people. There is always somebody else living further north. But Fort St. John, BC was home for many years and so we have many friends and family living there, and it’s always good to go back.
Let me rephrase that – it’s good to go back and visit, and avoid those long winters. We have a saying up there: There’s eight months of winter and four months of tough sledding.
As soon as we hit the Pine Pass, the air starts to smell like pine and poplar. Closer to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John where there’s more farming, it smells like clover. Fort St. John is the heart of the oilpatch in British Columbia, so there are pumpjacks dotting most of the farms, put there by the oil and gas companies. When we lived in Taylor, we could often smell byproducts of the natural gas being refined there. We called it “that million dollar smell” because the taxes from those companies keep that town going. They also fill up the provincial coffers.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t a quilter when I lived there. My partner bought me a Janome L-344 as a Christmas present in 1993 and I thought he was insane. We’d been together about six years by then and I’m sure he’d never seen me in the same room with a sewing machine. It wasn’t until 2009 when I started learning how to quilt that it actually came out of its box. That store is no longer around, but there is a cute little quilt store downtown near my in-laws that I visit now whenever I’m in town.
Piece by Peace Quilts has a Facebook page, but no website that I can find. I took one of their business cards while I was there two weeks ago, but can’t find it now. They have a very friendly staff, a great selection of fabrics, lots and lots of books for sale, patterns, and so much more. I love that little shop, I think, more than any other quilt shop I’ve been in.
I found some Catkin and Oceanica prints from In The Beginning fabrics that are a couple of years old, but no less beautiful. One of the prints was half price, so I had to buy the others to complement it in whatever I decide to make out of it! I used to stick to very small prints for quilt blocks, but I’m finding that as I become interested in bags and other things, I’m expanding my interest into larger prints. Interesting, eh? I also bought Easy Japanese Quilt Style by Julia Davis and Anne Muxworthy with some intriguing looking bag patterns in it. And a pattern for Whistlepig Creek's Little Sister bag that I’ve been admiring for a while now. Lastly, I picked up a spool of linen thread. It just looked so beautiful that I know I’ll find a use for it.
We left Fort St. John and headed out to Terrace on Hwy 16. I’ve also been to the Cotton Pickin' Quilt Patch before. It’s easily located downtown. They have machines, long arm quilting, lots of quality fabric, patterns and kits. Unfortunately, it’s so crammed into such a small space, with lots of other things in the way. You have to move aside boxes of doodads and other things to see what’s behind them, including the fabric. It was more spread out the first time I was there, but the other half of the shop has a big table in it and looks like it’s used for classes.. However, still worth stopping in.
I picked up another bag pattern (sigh), Twin Pocket Tango by Tiger Lily Press, some Byzantium fabric line from Makower, two meters of beautiful batik green, blue and yellow!!! and a package of clam shell forms for bags from Clover. I like to support our local quilt shops – wherever they are.
Unfortunately, I missed the Quilters Nook in Vanderhoof and Beerda’s Drygoods in Smithers as it was a statuatory holiday when we drove past and neither were open.
In my next blog, I’ll write about what I found on Vancouver Island!
Until next time,