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2136 NE Alberta St
Portland, OR 97211

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Clarity Quilt

by Adrianna

One of the many great things about Bolt is that we cater to all levels and areas of the sewing world, from applique to zakka style embroidery. All of us who work here are here to help you advance or begin in your adventures through this wonderful art, and we are also just like you in that we need help sometimes in areas we aren’t so familiar with. I had the pleasure recently (well, about 6 months ago) of inquiring the advice of my fellow fabulous coworkers on quilting; something I have never done before! Starting a project can be a little overwhelming in itself, and starting a project in an entirely new field can be even more so. Quilting had always been one of those sewing things that intimidated me from early on. Older generations in my family have been quilters, and some of my earliest memories are watching my mom and grandmother take over their living room floors, literally making a floor plan of tiny shapes to piece together. As a tiny person this bombarded me, a room full of tiny fabrics that have to be tediously pieced together! That would take forever! With so much patience! From then on, I never thought about trying it. That is, until working at Bolt.

I love all the customers that come into Bolt, how eclectic and creative you all are, and it has been so inspiring for us as well on the other side of the cutting table. Coming up to my one year of working at Bolt, and during that time encouraging many customers to embark on their first quilt voyages, I had decided to turn the tables on myself. A goal of mine that I have been slowly but surely crossing off my list is making gifts for loved ones in my life, for holidays and birthdays, etc. I may be several months late with things, but they are made with love and care, so that’s fine right? Last spring, we got in a collection of fabrics that just screamed my mother. Her birthday was in April, and I thought hey, I’ll make her a quilt with all these great pieces! But what would I quilt? And the anxiety slowly began…

As I mentioned earlier, we cater to all levels of sewing, and I must say we have great projects for beginners, especially quilt wise. The quilt pattern company Zen Chic has caught my eye several times because of the simple, yet elegant designs they have in a wide range of styles. The names of the patterns are clever as well. Taking a closer look at these patterns, you’ll see they are ideal for the beginner quilter. Most of the patterns are whole cloth quilts, with appliqued pieces on them! That’s how they get the cool sporadic piece designs. The one that caught my eye was the Clarity quilt. Using the golden ratio rule, this quilt is just cut circles of prints aligned in different sized circle rows to create a visually pleasing piece.

This pattern is great in experimenting with different fabrics that appeal to you. I found it was great for my project because I fell in love with a whole collection of cotton prints, and this way I was able to use a little bit of each bolt and combine them into one quilt. To apply the circles to the front of the quilt I used wonder-under, a great applique and craft tool! The quilted stitched lines secure the applique pieces even more, so you don’t have to individually sew the pieces on. Easy peasy!

I will humbly admit this quilt wasn’t so easy peasy to me, as for anyone the very first project usually isn’t. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, this took me about 6 months to complete :p. Sandwiching the quilt was a hilariously complicated task for me, as well as quilting. Please admire the great wiggles that hold this quilt together (that should be straight lines). Regardless, it was such a fun project, and being able to get help, advice, and encouragement from my coworkers was a great experience as well.

So to all you fabulous customers who would like to venture into a journey of the once unknown, know we are here to guide you! With great advice, and wonderful projects for all areas to help get you started. See you soon, and happy sewing!!

Just In: sock monkeys, stars and books

by Gina

We’ve been busy doing some redecorating around the store. We’re excited to be finding new ways of organizing many of our goodies to make shopping easier. Stop in soon and see what we’re up to! In the meantime, here are the latest arrivals:

Those well loved Moda sock monkeys, back in time for holiday PJs.

Simple stars, in great colors from Andover.

You may have noticed the uptick in posts lately. We’re working hard to offer up all sorts of gift ideas for the holiday season. Here’s a great option for those who don’t sew and have a crafter/ sewist on their gift list: books. We just received four new titles that offer a wide range of topics and approaches.

Essential Sewing by Tessa Evelegh includes projects for men, women, the home and more. It comes with a CD full of instruction for projects making sure you learn a very broad range of techniques.

The Beginner’s Guide to Dressmaking by Wendy Ward. Wendy’s designs will allow to supplement or create an entire wardrobe you’ll love to wear. Easy, stylish, and creative.

An example of Wendy Ward’s creative alterationsThe Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, by Carrie Bloomston and Improvising Tradition by Alexandra Ledgerwood.

From “The Little Spark”From “The Little Spark”From “Improvising TraditionSee you soon!

Gift Ideas - In The Kitchen and at the Table

By Cameron

I love to make kitchen and dining items as gifts because I’ll know they’ll be useful and constantly in rotation, even if they’re slightly less than perfect. I’ve put together a few ideas to help get your holiday making jump started.


There are two types of people in the world - people that use cloth napkins at home, and people that shun them as too fancy for an everyday meal. A gift of handmade napkins that you can throw in the washer and dryer will bring even the most passionate napkin avoiding, pants-wiping person in to the napkin fold (pun intended).

Napkins are a great opportunity to use fabric that you adore too much to chop up. You can make napkins up in almost any fabric from quilting cottons to canvas.

We have lots of great napkin inspiration on the blog. Check out the links below for some ideas!

Dish Towels

It doesn’t get any easier, or more useful, than dish towels. We do offer a variety of already finished dish cloths, including the charming Oregon-Washington tea towels that I plan on sending out to most of the people on my list.

We have a big selection of cotton dish towelling by the yard right now. Below is just small sampling - our fruit themed toweling and a line up of stripes.

My favorite is our beautiful French-inspired, cotton-linen blend dish towelling that would be perfect for the serious bread baker or Francophile in your life. The texture and durability of the linen are ideal for working with sticky dough and the rustic charm will brighten up any kitchen. I also think these would make lovely napkins.

We have a couple of dish towel embroidery patterns for dedicated Northwesterner. We also have floursack tea towels perfect for using with the many awesome Sublime Stitching patterns we stock or your own original design!

Finally, huck towelling is a simple and very absorbent 100% cotton towelling. Hannah shares a few great ways to add some color to your huck towelling here.

Table Runners and Place Mats

Table runners and placemats add some color to your meals and can make clean up easier, which is always appreciated. I even been working on a log cabin table runner using the American Made Brand solids. I love the bright and cheery colors so much that I may need to make another for my own table.

Here are a few more ideas to get you started.

  • A long cut of dish towelling can make a cute, quick, and easy table runner.
  • Pieced placemats by Amy.
  • Burlap can be a lovely and oh so fast, homespun table runner option. Cut to your desired size and pull out three to four threads on each side to create a little fringe.
  • Follow Amy’s fringed napkin tutorial for either placemats or a table runner - just use more fabric!

If you’re looking for more inspiration for your holiday gift giving, I can recommend Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing and Lena Corwin’s Printing by Hand. Both have simple, useful, and lovely projects for the kitchen and table which would make perfect hand made gifts. Come on in and take a look!

 P.S. Be sure to check out Hannah’s recent tutorial on pot holders for another idea!