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If you want to lower your blood pressure and recharge your creative batteries, Las Colchas is the place for you. Even if you’ve never handled a needle and thread in your life, you’ll be welcomed and inspired by this quaint quilt shop tucked away in downtown San Antonio.

Francine and Toni opened Las Colchas, which means quilts in Spanish, more than 30 years ago after meeting as students at Our Lady of the Lake University. I can’t remember how I found their shop, but I’m glad I did. It’s always a joy just to walk in to see what’s on display. Plus, they always have coffee and treats set out for their guests. What’s not to like about that?!

Las Colchas has fabric to suit every taste: traditional (Civil War era), Tex Mex (Dia de Los Muertos), modern (Kaffee Fasset), international (Japanese) and more. Plus, they have ready-made kits for those who don’t have a clue how to get started.

I’ve taken three classes at Las Colchas: crazy quilt with Maria, vintage embroidery with Carol, and punched embroidery with Francine. In Maria’s class, I learned how to assemble a crazy quilt and embellish it with embroidery, including a Victorian spider’s web. She also taught us how to do silk embroidery, where I made a tiny hummingbird sipping nectar from a rose. In Carol’s class, we assembled vintage handkerchiefs, sheets and hand towels into a pillow top, and in Francine’s class, I learned how to do punched embroidery, the kissing cousin of hooked rugs but on a much smaller scale. I bought a kit for the heart displayed in the slideshow above to make for my mother-in-law whose birthday is near Valentine’s Day. Punched embroidery is MUCH easier than cross stitch, especially for anyone who has trouble seeing the teeny-tiny squares. The watermelon is another kit they sell.

This store is one of a dozen shops participating in the 15th annual Bluebonnet Shop Hop from April 11-14, 2013. If you visit all 12 shops during this 4-day period, you’ll be entered to win a Grand Prize or one of 12 prizes, all worth a total of more than $17,000.

Las Colchas, located at 110 Ogden Street in between McCullough and Main not far off of Interstate 35, is opened Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Treat yourself and go in. Better yet, sign up for a class! You’ll make something lasting to share with generations to come.

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