Scruffy Quilts, San Mateo

Another day, another quilt shop and, especially for me, another batik specialist! Welcome to ScruffyQuilts, San Mateo, home to entire shelves of fabric that you just want to take home.

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One of the first things I noticed, from a rather eye-catching apron in the window, is that ScruffyQuilts is a place that doesn’t just sell reams and reams and reams of beautiful, dazzling batiks to litter your cupboards, floors, sofas and boxes. It also gives you loads of ideas and inspiration for what you can use your batiks for. There are plenty of gorgeous example quilts and pieces on the wall and many of the patterns for sale are also made with batiks.

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I picked one up for a ‘Thread Catcher Plus’ by Marlous Designs (they sell online patterns too) and one in the sale by Scruffy Quilt’s ‘Traveling Jewellery Tray’. Ever since I saw this design of thread catcher when I visited Old World Designs, I’ve really wanted one, obviously in a flashy combination of batiks. Both patterns have nice equipment lists, with suggested brands and the Marlous Designs pattern has good photos, though I wish they were a little bigger. The ScruffyQuilts one, even though the item is super simple, is just text with two drawn diagrams and a little hard to follow. I really like to be babysat when I buy patterns, regardless of the difficult of the project, so this wasn’t ideal for me but it’s definitely a cool idea. I’ll let you know how it goes when I try making it. There are a lot of patterns for small projects that are stylish rather than ‘why on earth would I spend the time making something that hideous and kitsch’ territory, which is another bonus!

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When I wasn’t mesmerised by the rows and rows of glorious, blindingly bright batiks, I was equally fascinated by some of their speciality fabrics, which are really something unusual and a little special. Not something I’d seen anywhere else on the grand quilt tour either. The collection of Japanese fabrics has some really great fabrics, but isn’t as extensive as somewhere like New Pieces Quilt Shop if you’re chasing a bigger range.

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All the quilting accessory usual are there, along with a good range of wadding and fusible. The collection of quilting templates is particular good, if you’re like me and like to use all the technological help you can to compensate for your lack of patience and cutting skills! If you’re after souvenirs for your British friends, ScruffyQuilts also has some charming mugs with quilting motifs, perfect for the person who prefers their tea in sizeable portions.

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The workshop space looks nice and spacious (I have been on so many patchwork classes where I have been crammed in attics…) and I definitely recommend taking a look at their blog, where they share some of fantastic quilts made there but their very talented students. Then you can resume staring at those lovely, colourful shelves of batiks…

If ScruffyQuilts alone isn’t enough to tempt you, just a few minutes walk away, there’s another quilt store, Always Quilting, which, despite the rather retro website, claims to be just as awesome but was unfortunately closed for a one-day course when I was there. Maybe one for next year!

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