I’m sure the latest tour guides don’t include this tidbit about a particular stretch of coastal California, but did you know that the Monterey Peninsula is a quilter’s mecca? Five times a year the region hosts the incomparable Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar, attracting the brightest of the craft’s teaching talent. Beyond that, Pacific Grove, a bracing beach walk away from the Asilomar conference grounds, is the locale for Back Porch Fabrics, a dream of a quilt shop just a half-block off the town’s main drag on the Monterey Bay side.
Earlier this month I had the honor to strut my lecturing and trunk-show stuff at a meeting of the local guild, Monterey Peninsula Quilters Guild. (My most sincere thanks to a welcoming group of quilting women!) Bright and early the next morning, I stopped by Back Porch Fabrics for a look-see. Of course, I left later with a lighter wallet, but the purchases were sublime and exactly what I needed for the quilt I’m planning for my niece/goddaughter’s upcoming wedding.
Now I’ve been to plenty of guild shops across the country, for me though, Back Porch Fabrics is a real standout. Owner Gail Abeloe has impeccable fabric taste–always a plus–and she’s got a store layout that appeals mightily to the neat freak in me. (I only wish I could fulfill my tidy tendencies the way she can. Living with three adult sports-TV-watching males, two of whom zealously avoid chores, pretty much undermines my compulsion for order.)
The store’s natural light is bright, the rafters are tall, the walls are white, the floor is hardwood, and the display shelving is full of bolts stacked in color and style order. What a pleasure it is to browse! Plus, like any canny proprietor, Gail parks the flashy new fabric right inside the front door. Yes, I purchased from that selection. Could you doubt that?
Another standout feature of Back Porch Fabrics is the beguiling array of quilts tacked to the walls that delivers serious fodder for shopper creativity.
Back Porch Fabrics also hosts a Gallery where Gail invites artists to show their handiwork. Sometimes she features individuals, and at other times, thematic exhibitions.
To my delight I bought so much on that excursion, I earned a gift certificate. (I’ll take ANY excuse to drive to Pacific Grove!)
FYI: the See How We Sew gallery exhibition of African quilts is about to close. Get your views in as soon as you can. The good news for our readers is that you won’t have to wait long for a new exhibit–we will close out October with a peek at our weekend at Quilting in the Garden at Alden Lane, Livermore, CA.
Wishing you successful fabric shopping (possibly at Back Porch Fabrics)!