Win on Wednesday!

This is the last week of our anniversary celebration and I have something to give away that I hope you like. What is it? It’s the book, Bits and Pieces, that I used to do the May doll quilt for the swap that I’m involved in through Doll Quilters Monthly. This little quilt called Sweet Pea was fun and easy to make but did get a bit tedious when it came time to bury threads. You see, I had this bright idea. Don’t start laughing now!!! Instead of stitching around all those leaves I stitched down the center thinking that it would look like a vein and save me a lot of pivoting time. Well, it did look like a vein in a leaf, and it did save me time where pivoting is concerned, BUT it caused me to have to tie off and bury threads 96 times just for the leaves. It didn’t help any that I tried to be slick and not waste thread resulting in bobbin thread that was too short for tying and burying. Lessons learned: Don’t try shortcuts more than one time without checking to see if it works, and be sure that you have long enough thread tails to knot and bury with ease. Wasting a little thread is nothing compared to the frustration of trying to thread a one-inch piece of thread through a needle. You can bet I won’t make that mistake again.

I was told that this book is on the list to be retired by Martingale. At the time I was told this, at least three weeks ago now, there were only 200 copies left in their stock. If you don’t have this book already, and if you don’t win this copy, you will want to make sure you get a copy before they’re all gone. There are 18 great little quilts designed by Karen Costello Soltys that will not only use up lots of bits and pieces in your scrap basket but will allow you to have a sweet project done in a fraction of the time it takes to make a full sized quilt. They call that instant gratification I do believe. If you win the book you might want to consider joining the doll quilt swap. If you don’t win the book you might still consider joining because it’s fun and you get to meet people you wouldn’t even know existed otherwise. You might even get a quilt from Australia, Germany, or Sweden! Wouldn’t that be cool?!!!

Here’s the quilt that my May swap partner, Judee from California, made and sent to me. It’s 24” square and has some of those ‘30s prints I love so much. She used ric-rack for the stems on the tulips. How fun is that?!

I love this little quilt and see it every day when I walk into the office. I haven’t had a chance to test a theory that I have, but I bet that even on a gloomy and rainy day that little quilt is going to make the day brighter just because it’s so bright and cheery already.

Oh yes, here’s the quilt that I sent to Judee. Thankfully, she was a very patient swap partner because I was late in getting it to her. Of course, if she knew me like you do that wouldn’t have surprised her at all. I was late partly because of all that tying and burying I had to do but mostly because I couldn’t find my Kaffe fabrics that I’d bought from Kat. Judee loves Kaffe fabrics, and I’d planned on using those in her quilt. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, and I finally decided that if I didn’t back up and punt she’d never get her little quilt from me. I was worried that she wouldn’t like the fabrics because they are nothing like Kaffe fabrics, but after receiving it she assured me she did like it and had found a place on her coffee table for it to live. Now there’s a bit of me in California and another bit of me up in Washington state. And I claim not to get out much…

OK…back to the book and how to win it. Leave a comment, or send me an e-mail, answering this question. Is there a quilting technique that you would like to learn? If so, what would that be? I will draw a name from those who answer that question NEXT Wednesday, which just happens to be the Fourth of July. We can pretend all those fireworks that you see going off are in honor of the winner of this great book. Works for me!

We’ll be closed July 4th because you’ll probably want to be out on the lake or having a family picnic. If you don’t already have something like that planned you might want to look into the parade and celebration up in Sewanee, TN. It’s a lovely area and the architecture of the campus is what college buildings are supposed to look like, churches too for that matter. Well, at least in my world they are.

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Show-n-Tell Sunday — Take 1!

I’ve wanted to have a special day to do show-n-tell for a while now but just could never get around to getting it done on Sunday. Now, with Victoria safely (I hope) away at music camp for the next four weeks I can use the time we would have had as our family night, complete with popcorn, chocolate, and a movie, to show off some of the projects our talented visitors have shared with us.

We’ll start with Ellen’s Farmer’s Wife Sampler quilt that she hand quilted. She and I discussed the merits of hand quilting this project over machine quilting and the hand quilting won out. She said she told herself she was absolutely crazy when she started, but once she got in to it she picked up speed. She does such a great job at hand quilting and it didn’t seem to take her as long as it would have taken me.

I have another Farmer’s Wife quilt made by Michele to share but for some reason I can’t get the photos to go from my phone to my e-mail account. I’ll keep working on it and maybe I can show it next Sunday. It’s only a top in the photo, but it was all hand-pieced! Impressive!

Next we have Pam’s finished, quilted, bound, and everything, project from our Thimbleberries Club. Club was structured a little differently this year, but our club members seem to like it just fine. Instead of making one big quilt we will be making four smaller projects. This quilt is the project for the first quarter. Pam used one of her dinner plates to give her project rounded corners. I asked if she used bias binding since she had round corners and she said she did not. The curve is gentle enough that straight binding worked just fine. She did a super job of machine quilting it herself, and yes, she does do quilting for the public. She did a table runner for me once so if you want to see her work just drop in and I’ll gladly show it off, the table runner and her quilting.

Last, but definitly not least, we have a quilt made by Caitlyn who is only 12 years old if I remember correctly. She comes to our Thimbleberries meetings with her grandmother (see her hiding behind the quilt!). She did a great job on her quilt which I believe was her very first one. It is made with 5″ pre-cut squares making it an easy and safe way to begin to learn how to piece a quilt. In addition to quilting, Caitlyn is a lovely ballerina. She’s busy, busy, busy and might even be at a dance camp right now.

So much talent and skill! We love seeing all that you do so don’t be shy about sharing with us. Who knows, you might be in our next Sunday Show-n-Tell!

Oh Yes…the Prize!

Looks like I forgot to include a photo of the prize that you could win just by leaving a comment in answer to the question I asked at the end of the posting on June 11. There’s still time to leave a comment and when you do you just might win this pack of 5″ squares from the 2012 Clubhouse Weekend Collection by Michael Miller.

There are navy fabrics, red fabrics, whites and neutrals. There are florals, stripes, plaids, and dots. This will be a great set of fabrics to have on hand during the hot summer months. Just looking through them will leave you cool, refreshed, and ready to jump into a new project. With all the patterns and books that have projects using 5″ squares you won’t lack for inspiration. I just hope you’re a better decision maker than I am about which project to use these in or else summer will be long gone before you even get started.

One Down…Three to Go!

It’s hard to believe how quickly time passes. For instance, I just looked at the date of my last post and it was a month ago! It seems like it was only a day or two ago that I was being thrilled over my first little quilt from the Doll Quilt Swap, but like I said, it was a whole month ago. By the way, we did some rearranging upstairs and I now have a larger sewing space. YEAH!!! I hung my little quilt just to the left of my desk and straight ahead as you walk into the room so I can see it each time I enter the room and often as I’m working. It’s like it was just made for the space it now occupies.

Back to the issue of time…the first week of our anniversary celebration ended at 5:00 on Saturday, but not to worry if you missed it. We still have three more weeks to go. I’ve updated the shop calendar with the sales for this week so take a minute to look that over. The first part of the week we have the 58/60″ wide Children’s Clothing Fabrics which includes linen, thin-wale corduroy, plaids, and florals, as well as the plush fabrics that are in the baby bed.

The second part of the week Thimbleberries fabrics will be on sale to coincide with our club meeting day. As with last week there are two days that overlap in case you want fabrics from both categories. If you visit each week you’ll have a very well rounded stash! Not to mention some new freebies to enjoy!

Speaking of a well rounded stash…I read an article a year or so ago in a magazine that addressed the issue of stash maintenance. The author of the article, I wish I could remember her name, talked about how she had a great stash, but every time she went to pull together a quilt she was lacking the filler fabrics. She had tons of WOW! fabrics, don’t we all, but not much in the way of neutrals and other fabrics that would compliment those WOW! fabrics without going to the store and buying them. The need to go buy the filler fabrics would cause her collection of WOW! fabrics to grow even larger, plus it would cost her in time that she could have been spending on her new project. Not that she minded going to the quilt shop mind but she saw a pattern in her behaviour that needed changing in order to maximize the amount of time she had to sew and correct her stash issue.

Her solution was to divide her budget into an 80/20 split. She would spend 80% of her fabric budget on buying filler fabrics and 20% on the WOW! fabrics. As she noted you can’t go totally without buying the fabrics that call your name or else you’d be like a dieter who is deprived of their favorite foods during the diet. Eventually, you’d go berserk and wreck your diet, in this case a fabric diet. It took her two years to get her stash to where she could pull a complete quilt project any time, day or night, without the need to run to the quilt shop. If she used a lot of one colour in her quilt then she’d replace that colour on her next shopping excursion. The other bonus, in addition to having what she needed when she needed it, was that her fabrics were always changing over and stayed current with fabric trends.

As a shop owner I have to try to do the same thing with the shop’s “stash” each time a salesperson visits. Buying the WOW! fabrics is just as easy for me as it is for you, but buying the fabrics that will make your quilt a WOW! quilt isn’t always quite as much fun. Take neutrals for example, they’re kinda plain by comparison to their colorful fabric counterparts, but without them those WOW! fabrics you love so much wouldn’t shine as they’re designed to do. Yes, those filler fabrics are just as important, maybe even moreso, as those WOW! fabrics we like to collect. You may not love ‘em but you gotta have ‘em.

Be sure to take advantage of our sales this month so that you can increase the diversity of your fabric stash. That way, when you feel the urge to create at 3:00 in the morning you’ll have everything you need on hand and at the ready.

Now how about a give away!? I tried to figure out how to use a random number generator to pick a winner for this prize but have yet to figure it out. Maybe WordPress doesn’t even support that option. Anyhow, where there’s a will there’s a way so what we’ll do is put your name in a hat and draw on Sunday evening for a nice prize. All you need to do is leave a comment here on what fabrics you’d like to see in the shop that we night not already carry. It can be a particular style, homespun for example, or a particular brand, maybe Art Gallery or Northcott. Maybe it’s a style of fabric you’ve been looking for locally and cannot find anywhere. Or, if we have it and you want to see more of it you can tell us that too. Just leave a comment and let us know what fabrics you want to see in a quilt shop. Good luck!

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