With the fabrics of the Outback and the feel of Mayberry, Not Just Quiltz should be added to everyone’s itinerary!
Our family Thanksgiving trip out to California definitely didn’t disappoint. I found a great little shop called Not Just Quiltz located in Niles. Be sure, even though the address shows Fremont, the residents of Niles will be quick to correct you. They are very proud of their little piece of the state with great reason.
Meet the Purple Cat Gang
Nancy and Norman own Not Just Quiltz and they couldn’t be more welcoming. Nancy is an award winning Quilter and designer as well as teacher and certified judge. Norman runs the business side of things and, as a veteran himself, is very involved in the Quilts of Honor program. Along with their son Kent and their ‘Purple Cat Gang’ mascot Willy, the shop felt warm and very inviting.
As I said, every store has their niche and this gem of a store is the place to go if you love aboriginal and batik fabrics as Not Just Quiltz has the largest collection of aboriginals in the country. They travel to several large quilt shows and expos throughout the year sharing their love of quilts and fabrics. Not Just Quiltz also specializes in Longarming and Embroidery services as well as custom memory quilts!
I asked them why aboriginals? The answer was fairly simple. The bright colors and the quality of the fabric. You see, Nancy is all about purple (it’s one of my favorites as well). Even their long arm is purple! Norman, being a Shriner for many years (entertaining Red Skelton and was a guest ring master for Ringling Brothers!), “never met a lime green, bright orange, bright red” that he wasn’t enamored with.
About those Fabrics…
After a visit to Quilt Market one year they came across Pattern Poole designs. A mother/daughter team of pattern designers from Australia that specializes in patterns of all kinds. From quilting to applique and clothing to handbags, these ladies bring a unique and fun layer to our quilting community!
Being that Norm and Nancy offer such a spectacular collection of fabrics, their aboriginals and batiks are a perfect pair for these amazing patterns. So, a natural bond was formed and the store now carries a wide variety of Pattern Poole’s animal patterns. I, of course, could not pass up the opportunity to pick up “Freddy the Frog” and a couple Fat Quarter sets to go with them! I haven’t decided if I want to make him into a bag or a pillow. Either way, he’ll make a fantastic addition to my collection!
Not Just Quiltz began as most Quilt shops do, out of Nancy and Norman’s home until they bought the longarm and needed a bigger space. After a few ups and downs with locations they finally found the perfect spot in Niles. They’ve been in this location now for about 10 years with no end in sight.
If you are ever around the Fremont, California area I highly recommend stopping in not just to see Nancy and Norman, but to stay for a spell and experience the town of Niles. It very much has that Mayberry feel with the history to match.
All About Niles
Niles was the sight of some pretty famous movies. Anyone remember the great Charlie Chaplin? Oh yes, he filmed there. And for all you western fans, this was also the home of Bronco Billy! Walking through town you might even recognize the same buildings from the films.
As the oldest of 5 districts in Fremont, Niles has definitely kept it’s character. The towns folk are all very proud of their little slice of California and support each other in ways that you don’t see much anymore.
For instance, the local little league team won the opportunity to play at the Little League World Series on ESPN. However, they didn’t have enough money for the trip. So, the local ‘Florence’ guys came to the rescue and helped the little ones raise enough to make the trip. With a large banner thanking “Florence” for their trip the locals got a kick out of how many times the ESPN announcers mentioned that ‘Florence’ and how nice of a lady she must be to support the kids. Little did they know, ‘Florence’ is a biker bar in Niles with some pretty kind hearted bikers. I do have a soft spot for bikers. I should, I married one. 😊
What to do in Niles
While you’re in town, personally recommended by the ‘Purple Cat Gang’ be sure to check out Frederico’s restaurant across the street from Not Just Quiltz. They may not look like much but have some of the best Mediterranean food around. And if you happen to be in the area around Christmas time, they have a wonderful train that becomes the “Train of Lights.” I’m just sorry we weren’t able to stay long enough to check it out. Maybe next year!
Some other fun attractions in Niles is the Essanay Silent Film museum. They play old silent movies on the weekends. The movies are free but they do ask for donations so don’t be stingy. Help keep the fun going for many years to come. There is also the Depot museum and if you’re in town in May, check out their annual Wildflower, Art Garden and Quilt Show. I would surely add that to my calendar but I’ll be in Ireland next May. More on that later.
So, all in all, the trip was fabulous and a high recommendation from Ribbit. Not Just Quiltz and their amazing town of Niles are definitely worth the trip. Be sure to tell Nancy and Norman I said hello!
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