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The Gentleman Quilter opens in CWE

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

CWEnder K2 (Kristine) Kelley, above, opened The Gentleman Quilter at 4814 Washington Avenue in mid-August. The shop provides finishing services for quilters and custom-made quilts for any occasion.

K2, who retired last year after 26 years at Boeing, earned her nickname from her boss who kept mixing Kristen’s name up with Christina, another woman in the same department. To make it easier on himself, he started calling her K2. The nickname stuck.

The Gentleman Quilter is another unusual name, this one for a business traditionally dominated by women. The business website defines the term as a well-to-do man who runs a quilting service for pleasure. K2 decided that the name, which was suggested by her sister-in-law, would set her new business apart from others. Like her nickname, it’s also hard to forget.

Last year, while visiting a quilt shop on a trip to Colorado with her husband John, K2 saw a long-arm quilting machine which caused her to imagine that she could capitalize on a passion for quilting by opening her own business now that she was retired. At first she planned on operating the business in her dining room, but changed her plans when she found a studio space within walking distance of her CWE condo. Everything fell into place very quickly and, as K2 said, “When a door opens, you should walk through it.”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

The photo above shows the shop’s twelve-foot long Gamill Statler 30″ long-arm quilter, an impressive looking machine made in Missouri by an 80-year-old inventor from West Plains. He saw a long-arm quilter at a state fair and realized he could make it better by adding a computer.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

The screen on Gamill’s computerized quilter shows one of the patterns that’s ready to be stitched onto the quilt that has been placed on the bed of the machine. Pattern design possibilities are endless. Examples of some of the different types available are shown on a sample quilt below.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

K2, who grew up in O’Fallon, IL,  learned to sew when she was 8-years-old. She traces her love of sewing to her great-grandmother, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the 1880s. Her great-grandmother was a quilter at a time when quilting was a necessity, not a hobby. K2’s late mother, Evelyn Riebold (photo above left), loved sewing, tailoring and embroidery. Her 1948 Elna machine, right, which K2 used until recently, is prominently displayed in the shop. Her mother became a “strip quilter” in the 1990s when the rotary cutter was invented.  That made the tedious task of cutting out squares of fabric with scissors unnecessary and a quilt top could be made in a day.

As K2 looked around her studio during the interview, she said she wished her mother could see The Gentleman Quilter, she would be so amazed and proud to see how her daughter has turned a skill that was passed on into a business.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

Most of The Gentleman Quilter’s business, which to K2’s surprise took off almost immediately, has come by word of mouth. Her first customer was a referral who brought in a Mariner’s quilt to be finished. Amazingly, this intricate pattern was the 1st quilt she had ever made.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

On a design wall in the studio, K2 is in the process of laying out “a road less traveled” quilt patterned after one she made for a girlfriend as a thank you after a 2-week trip touring New Zealand in a camper van years ago. The quilt is being recreated with remnants of 12 different Australian prints used in the original quilt.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

One of K2’s sons-in-law is a big Marvel comic book fan, which inspired her to start making quilts featuring The Hulk, Captain America, Spider Man, Thor, and Iron Man, shown above and below. Quilts are the size of a throw,  50″ by 55,” and are backed with fabric depicting vintage comic book covers, see below, $145. To order or for more information visit the website.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End    Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Handmade Services Shop News  The Gentleman Quilter St. Louis MO quilt finishing K2 Kelley Central West End

photo above courtesy of The Gentleman Quilter

The cost of finishing a quilt depends on how much work needs to be done. For example, queen-size quilts including batting, quilting, and finishing edges range from $200 t0 $275. Turnaround time is usually a couple of weeks.

For information on custom-made quilts—baby quilts range from $85 to $100 (see boy and girl owl quilts above as examples)—to wedding or “any occasion” quilts, contact K2 for pricing information. The shop stocks some fabrics, or customers can provide their own.

The Gentleman Quilter, 4814 Washington Avenue, Suite 120, (314) 478-9777. Hours are 10 t0 5 Monday through Saturday, though please call or set up an appointment via the website or via email first, thegentlemanquilter@gmail.com. Since K2 lives in the neighborhood, she’s happy to schedule appointments on Sundays too.

An early summer workshop with Mary Engelbreit and Charlotte Lyons

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

Earlier this summer Mary Engelbreit celebrated the 40th Anniversary of her 1st licensing agreement by hosting a crafting workshop with dear friend and former CWEnder Charlotte Lyons. Mary and Charlotte’s Studio Workshop sold out as soon as the event was posted on social media 9 months earlier, and on June 15 twenty-two women from around the country—Chicago, Santa Fe, New York, Seattle, Texas, California, and Indiana—arrived at Mary’s Studio in the Central West End.

There were 5 instructors, in addition to Mary and Charlotte— “super stars” in the crafting field—who taught a variety of classes over 3 1/2 jam-packed days. An important side-benefit to attending crafting weekends, which have become extremely popular over the past few years, is the friendships that are made. Many women were able to connect with friends made at other workshops, or became fast friends with people they’d never met. Mary added, “lots of instant friendships were formed.” Most of the attendees, who stayed at either the Chase or the Parkway Hotel, were new to St. Louis and in their spare time set out to explore Forest Park, the St. Louis Art Museum, and local restaurants and shops.

After classes in the studio there was a cocktail party at Mary’s home one evening (one of the perks for Mary’s fans), where I understand every nook and cranny was Instagrammed, a visit to the Mary Engelbreit warehouse on The Hill (where Mary’s products were available and vintage goods dealers set up tables showcasing their wares), and a luncheon and “fairy garden” terrarium workshop, using ME fairies as ornaments, at Bowood Farms, followed by a tour of CWE artists’ studios.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

Another highlight was Sunday morning’s demonstration on coloring and drawing by Mary Engelbreit, above.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater Events, Sightings Handmade  Vintage by Crystal Sheldon Johnson Mary Engelbreit Marlene Lewis Lyn Magee Jone Hallmark Jenn McGlon Crystal Sloane Charlotte Lyons Central West End Cathe Holden Carla Dawson Bowood Farms Barbara Holtz #maryandcharlottesstudioworkshop

Charlotte Lyons, a pioneer in the crafting-weekend phoenomenon, is Mary Engelbreit’s co-author for the Home Companion book series and has authored several craft books of her own. At the June workshop, she showed the group how to make an appliqué felt wallet (above), just one of many projects she’s demonstrated at crafting events in Los Angeles, New Hampshire, France, and currently around her new hometown of Bennington, Vermont. Here is a link to a recent workshop she co-hosted there. (more…)

Bonobos Guideshop to open on Maryland Plaza

Nicki's Central West End Guide Handmade Services Shop News Uncategorized  Suitsupply Sam Koplar Maryland Plaza Koplar Properties Central West End Bonobus Guideshop

Sam Koplar, president of Koplar Properties, announced today the latest news regarding upcoming changes in the retail scene on Maryland Plaza.  As previously posted here, Suitsupply, a Dutch menswear brand, will soon begin renovation of the 4400 s.f. two-level space at 44 Maryland Plaza. That location is currently home to 10denza, where proprietor Chris Lanter is, lamentably, wrapping up a 6-year run.

Koplar followed up today with word that Bonobos Guideshop, an online men’s custom clothing retailer, will open its 1st retail location in the St. Louis area at 52 Maryland Plaza in “the city’s historic Central West End neighborhood.” That 1,400 s.f.  space was until recently occupied by Scapegoat, a tavern, and before that Crepes, etc.

Customers at Bonobos Guideshop are paired one-on-one with a Guide who measures and assists with selecting individual pieces or an entire wardrobe.  Custom-made purchases are fabricated off-site and shipped directly to customers free of charge within 2 to 5 business days. Here is a link to Bonobos’ best sellers.

“The Bonobos model is the future of retail,” said Koplar, “and we’re excited to welcome them to the neighborhood.”

The online retailer started business in 2007 and opened its first Guideshop in 2012. Judging from the list of retail locations on the website, it appears that St. Louis may be the only major city in the U. S. currently without a Guideshop.

Neighborhood favorite Scape, located between the two new retailers at 48 Maryland Plaza, continues to thrive. The patio at the Backbar at Scape is a lovely spot to enjoy a summer cocktail and dinner al fresco.