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What's New at CQ 5/3/18

"Nobody phrases it this way, but I think that artificial intelligence is almost a humanities discipline. It's really an attempt to understand human intelligence and human cognition." Sebastian Thrun

Dear Trekkies and Others,

Are you old enough to remember Data on the TV show “Star Trek: The Next Generation”? Data was an android, a robot that looked and sounded like a human being, except that he had weird eyes, a pasty complexion, and a secret door in his head that gave access to his neural network. Nerdy, I know. Today we call would Data “Artificial Intelligence”, or AI, and it is getting closer to moving from a TV show writer’s imagination to reality.

AI as a matter of science, not just science fiction, began in June, 1956 with a workshop at Dartmouth College, where a few dozen scientists and mathematicians gathered to discuss building a machine that could think. 60 years later, we have Roombas that vacuum our floors and give rides to our cats, robots that do everything from build cars to help surgeons in the operating room to play the stock market, cars that do the driving for us, trains that operate without a human engineer aboard, and social media that track our searches and purchases and send us advertisements for products we might be tempted to buy. Sofitel Hotel in Singapore has two robots, Sofie and Xavier; when an order for room service is placed, one of them trundles to the kitchen to pick it up, rolls to the other side of the hotel to summon an elevator, rides up to the appropriate floor, delivers the food to the appropriate room, and returns to its charging station in the lobby, all without human interference. If someone steps in front of it, it stops; if the person doesn’t move, it tries to go around. These are all “narrow AIs”. “But the ultimate goal is artificial general intelligence, a self-teaching system that can outperform humans across a wide range of disciplines.” (Smithsonian, April, 2018).

Computers are now training themselves on massive data sets without the aid of programmers. At some point, maybe in a few decades, maybe centuries from now, AI will likely become on a par with human intelligence and then shoot right on by. This raises all sorts of questions about our relationship with AI beings. Remember HAL in “2001: A Space Odyssey”?

The Smithsonian article cited above is a fascinating exploration of AI and what it means for humanity. I highly recommend it. I am also going to reread Isaac Asimov’s Robot series. He was thinking about this in the 1940s and 1950s. It’s important to think about AI; it is having a profound effect on our society, an effect that will continue to grow ever more quickly.

Well, there is no artificial intelligence here at CQ (yet), only the real thing. Come take a class at Capital Quilts and share the wealth of knowledge offered by our teachers! Learn how to make a tote bag on Tuesday, May 8, or a knit top on Thursday and Friday, the 10th and 11th. Come to grips with your serger on Tuesday, May 15. Expand your computer knowledge to use EQ8 software to plan your quilts on Saturday, May 26. Visit our website to view the class calendar and see all that is available.

Did you know that there is a wonderful app by Robert Kaufman that tells you how much fabric you need for various things, like backs batting and sashing? Download it to your phone for quick reference when you are in the quilt shop and don’t know how much to buy! It’s the RK Fabric Calculator and it is free in the App Store. Many of the Capital Quilts staffers use it, right here in the shop.

Be sure to visit our Gallery and see the quilts made by members of the Friendship Star Quilt Guild. The quilts are part of a “Panel-to-Quilt” service challenge and will eventually be donated to those in need.

FOR SALE: Handi Quilter Amara floor model with ProStitcher. The full retail price is $21,995. I am selling mine for $15,396.50, a savings of $6,598.50. It is practically new, and it has been gently used. It has Art & Stitch, which you can activate, for a fee, with Art & Stitch. Delivery is free within a 50 mile radius of the shop. Receive two free "Getting Started" classes, one for the Amara and one for ProStitcher. Includes a bobbin winder and a box of goodies (bobbins, oil, tools, thread). If you are interested, please contact me at or 301-527-0598.
FOR SALE: brand new, still-in-the-box HQ Amara, with or without ProStitcher. Art & Stitch is not included. Price for the Amara: $9,595. 10’ or 12’ frame, your choice. Price for the Amara ProStitcher: $7,995. Amara and ProStitcher package: $17,495. If you live within 50 miles of the shop, you’ll save up to $415 in shipping and handling costs. Free “Getting Started” class(es), a bobbin winder, and a box of goodies (bobbins, oil, tools, thread) included. If you are interested, please contact me at or 301-527-0598.

Go ‘n’ Piece,


Janome: Sewing machine acting its age? Need a lightweight model for classes and retreats? Now is a perfect time to get a new Janome sewing machine! The Janome Spring Sale is underway, through May 31, 2018. Save up to $1000 on the most popular models. Savings vary according to the model. Special Value on the Skyline 5: usually $1,499, the Spring Sale price is $999, a savings of $500. The Skyline 5 is one of our best sellers with great features like an automatic thread cutter, speed control, and memorized needle up/needle down. Hurry to take advantage of these prices.


Melba from the Textile Pantry is inspired by the 1920's, an era of elegance, class and style. These prints feature design elements from early 1900's architecture, interior design and textiles. We offer the Nouveau colorway, with rich shades of burgundy, dusky pinks, mint and leaf greens with highlights in soft cream and metallic silver. $12.99/yard

Peacock Paradise from Corrine Haig for Free Spirit Fabrics is three bolts of beautifully coordinated peacocks, plumage, and flowers.  The pinks range from all shades of pink, to magenta and burgundy. These colorful patterns can be mixed and matched into endless combinations and we are excited to see the many beautiful and creative ways you design your projects with them! $12.50/yard.

Sally Kelly's debut collection, Butterfly Dance, is a fresh and playful collection of prints inspired by a lazy, hazy summer day lying amongst the grasses of a country meadow in the English countryside. It is colored in bright, bold, uplifting hues to make you smile. The collection from Windham Fabrics sits together in a way to create any number of enchanting creations from quilts, cushions, bedding, children's clothing, beachwear, bags, and books. Whatever takes your fancy! $12.50/yard.

Kaufman has a new Fusions line!  Fusions Vibration is an energetic blender in 41 colors, and we've received our first shipment of 10.  $12.50/yard.

With their babushka scarves protecting them from the chilly winds, these charming Russian folk dolls are irresistible.  Make your own soft "nesting" dolls from the Little Kukla Dolls panel, $8.99 each.

Need a pattern for your lovely 10" squares?  Ferris Wheel by Margot Languedoc of The Pattern Basket might be just the thing!  $9.55 each.

Unless otherwise specified, all classes require registration.  Be sure to check our online calendar for the class supply list!

As of this writing, Bruce has one service appointment available for Sunday, 5/6.

Between Friends sports a very uniquely shaped design in the blocks. To me it looks like the blocks are holding hands. There is plenty of negative space for some fun quilting opportunities! Fat quarter friendly, or use 1/8 yards for a scrappier look. The pattern designer herself, Jennifer McClanahan, teaches on Sunday, May 6 at 12:30pm.

Join Cathy on Tuesday, 5/8 at noon to make The Basic Tote.  This is about as basic as a tote bag, but once you have made this tote, all other tote patterns will make sense to you. You will be able to start making variations and designing your own!

Rae Cumbie is back with another knits class!  In Knits: the Basics and Beyond, students will enjoy a trunk show of possibilities, then be guided to choose the appropriate size and pattern pieces from the Tabula Rasa Knit Tee & Tunic Pattern, cut their knit fabric, sew flexible seams, and smoothly finish the necklines and hems. The second day will allow for more sewing and an exploration of finishing techniques to add variety to your knit wardrobe. If you have already taken the basic knit class, spend these two days working on your knit variations, adding collars, cuffs and crossover styles to your knits.  This two-day workshop starts Thursday, 5/10 at 10am.

Getting Started:  The Handi Quilter Longarm Machine.  Learn the ins and outs of the longarm machine and the frame, how to set up for quilting a quilt, what proper tension is, and some basic quilting designs. Friday, 5/11 at 6pm.

If you don't have enough room in your house to easily sandwich a quilt, make an appointment to bring your top backing batting and supplies to CQ, and we will help you sandwich that quilt in no time!  One appointment is available for Friday, 5/11.

It's time for Night Owl Sewing!  Enjoy up to six blissful hours of distraction-free sewing and fun. It's almost a mini-retreat! Includes a $10 Gift Card, dinner, and beverages. Work on a new project or finish up an old one. Kat will stay with you as late as midnight on Saturday, 5/12.

On Sunday, 5/13, Marianne can clean and tune up your Janome sewing machine. It takes about an hour, and you get to take your machine home the same day!   Appointment required.


  • June 1-3: QU Quilt Show at the Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly, VA
  • June 9 & 10: Annapolis Quilt Show, Annapolis, MD
  • June 21 - September 4: Row by Row Experience
  • June 22 & 23: AccuQuilt GO! Event
  • July 14, 3-6, Northcott Lecture and Trunk Show, featuring the new FIGO line
  • September 14 & 15: Handi Quilter Education Event
  • October 5 & 6: "Around the Block" Needlechasers Quilt Show, Kensington, MD
  • October 19-28: Quilters' Quest
  • October 19-20: Capital Quilts' Quilters' Quest Bus I
  • October 22-23: Capital Quilts' Quilters' Quest Bus II


We are still accepting Kennel Quilts for animals affected by natural disasters. Small Kennel Quilt kits are available in the shop; just ask for one!

Friends of Montgomery County Animals invites you to join them at their Annual Kentucky Derby Dinner Party at the home of FMCA President Claire Proffitt on May 5th at 5:30pm. Sign up or donate online at


Congratulations to Johna, winner of the April prize!

The May prize is a Toscana Heather Chip Charm Pack from Northcott.  Toscana captures the subtle tones and elegant textures of an Italian fresco and it looks just like suede! The kaleidoscope of colors provides a comprehensive range in values from rich deep shades to delicate pales ideal for contrast in quilting.

To be entered in each month’s drawing, bring your Capital Quilts Blue Bag with you when you shop. Make sure you show it to the staffer at the register! Upon completion of your sales transaction, your name will be put in the jar for the drawing at the end of the month. The more you shop, the more chances you have to win. Don’t have a Blue Bag? Purchase one at the shop, by phone, or online for just $4.99. We save all of the entries for the year, and at the end of the year we draw a Grand Prize Winner from all the entries.

Sign up for our 5th Saturday Club! Purchase your Gold Tag for $10 and be able to participate in special sales on each of the four 5th Saturdays on 2018.

Our thanks to everybody who shops at Capital Quilts and who participates in the Blue Bag Bonanza.
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Capital Quilts website

Monday-Saturday, 11-5
Sunday 12-5


  • Tel: 301-527-0598
  • 15926 Luanne Drive
  • Gaithersburg, MD 20877