2199 4th St., White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Friday, August 26, 2016

Sampling Some Fresh Fabric

Our friends at MODA sent us a new load of fabric earlier this week, and we thought you might like to see them!  Some of these are very useful as a grouping, or as accents and support pieces for other fabric groupings.  In all of the groups pictured here, there are more coordinated prints in the line, but we select the pieces that we feel will be most useful and interesting to our customers.  It would be great to bring in the entire groupings, but that's not happening in our floorspace!  You can view the entire collections if you go to this page on the MODA website.  If you click on the designer name under the picture below, you will find out more about them.

Thicket by Gingiber

Grunge in some new colors

Hey Dot by Zen Chic

Hey Dot by Zen Chic

Sundrops by Corey Yoder

Monday, August 15, 2016

Quilt MN Shop Hop Ends for 2016

The Hop might be over, but there's still fabric to claim for your own!  On the final day of the Quilt Minnesota Shop Hop, these are the bolts we have remaining--

Still several to choose from.  As we've heard from many visitors, we are out of some of the same things that many shops are.  Namely:  Brown and Orange texture lines, turquoise dots, multi-colored theme stripe, colored fish and mosquitos.  Not a single mosquito left in the store!  You would think maybe the Mosquito Control people had visited Bear Patch!
Also, we still have 5" and 10" square packs remaining.

Since the shop hop rules explicitly state that the fabric group cannot be sold at a reduced price for 1 year after the shop hop, we have been holding onto some of the 2015 fabrics!  Starting today, whatever we have left is marked down to $7/yard and 5" square packs also $7 each.  Here's your chance to pick up some good deals on those fabrics!  As a reminder, here's what the theme fabric looked like last year.  Still very charming!

Are you wondering what 2017 will look like?  So are we!

We still have the Row By Row Experience continuing, with your free pattern available for the asking, through September 6.  We still have kits available for our row, too, in 2 colorways.  Shown below is the funky fabric colorway, and the other is black/white with primary colors.  These happy houses are paper pieced, and designed by Mary of MH Designs.  She's a master at paper piecing, so you know this pattern is done right!  She's also a loyal friend of Bear Patch, and we so appreciate her talent.

During our Row By Row period, because it is a national endeavor, we have a big map and ask people to pin their home location.  We have so many pins!

But here's the deal--we need a few more states to show up!  We need:  West Virginia, Delaware, Rhode Island, Mississippi, Louisiana, Maine, Vermont and New Mexico.  If you live in one of those states, we need you and you still have time to plan a trip to Bear Patch, so come on down!  You will make our map complete!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Floormat Again!

It's time for the floormat once again!
Debbie has become a pro at floorcloth design and production, 
 I think this is the 4th year in a row for this project.    
The directions are over here on a previous post.
The design ideas are unlimited.  This time she used 5" squares and letters about 4" high from cardstock, purchased at a craft store.  The RocLon Multipurpose cloth can be cut to any size you wish.  We do have it in stock in the 54" size.  The Mod Podge is also available at most craft stores, but don't get the small size.  I think Debbie used up one 32oz. bottle and had to start on another one to get all the coats done.  So look for the family size!

And a note about durability--we used the 2015 floormat on our floor right in front of the cash register counter all year long.  That's the spot that probably gets the most traffic in the entire store.  And it shows very little wear and tear after 12 months of heavy use.  And now it's time for a new look for another year!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Pattern Correction

If you have visited Bear Patch during the last 4 days, you might have purchased a pattern and/or kit for "Ten", our pattern for the Quilt MN fabric.  If so, please note 2 corrections:

Fabric requirements on pattern back should include 1 1/2 yards of border print fabric.
Page 1, Cutting Directions for Border Print, cross out 6 1/2" x 72" and change to 8 1/2" x 54".

We have made corrections to the patterns that have not been sold, but there were a lot of happy shoppers in the store Friday, Saturday and Sunday that would be affected.  I apologize for this, and take full responsibility for any problems caused.  I have also written in these corrections on my own blog for Emmaline Design.  Please contact me directly for any questions or complaints.  612-750-1085 or myemmalinedesign@gmail.com


Hot Pot

Looking for a quick and easy pattern for a handy hotpad?  During Quilt MN, we like to tuck a little bonus into the bag given to all shop hoppers.  The bag contains directions for the block that Laurel put together, each store has a different block so you can collect them at each store and use them any way that you like.  Each bag also contains a 5" square of one of the limited edition shop hop fabrics.

This year, I made up this nice hotpad with directions for everyone.  I had to squeeze all the directions into a small space, which limits how much can be included.  So, I've taken pictures of the steps and have them organized here for you!  Please use a walking foot for this entire project!  It makes a world of difference.  If you don't have a walking foot, please make sure you get one.  It is irreplaceable for sewing multiple layers, as in straight line quilting.  I also don't do a binding without it.

It starts with a 4 1/2" square, centered on a piece of heavyweight cotton batting.  I recommend Quilter's Dream Cotton Deluxe batting.  Mark an "X" from corner to corner of the 10 1/2" batting square.  This gives you a place to center that 4 1/2" square.  Each corner of the square should be positioned right on the lines:

Lay a 1 1/2" strip on the side of the square, right sides together, and sew the 4 1/2" length through the 2 fabrics and the batting, using 1/4" seam allowance.  No need to backstitch:

Trim off the long tail of the strip in line with the edge of the square:

Finger press the strip open:

Continue sewing strips around all 4 sides of the square:

This is a good time to do just a little planning.  Although random is a good idea for something like this, if you do have a limited amount of strips, think about what 4 fabrics you will want in the last row because they have to be the longest.  Or, if you don't have any long strips left when you get to that stage, just sew some shorter ones together and use them that way.

Continue with another round on all 4 sides:

And then one more round!  You will have reached the edge of the batting, maybe a little more, maybe a little less.  

Make a little loop of cord or ribbon or fabric, about a 6" piece.  Position as shown below at the upper left edge of the potholder, about 1" away from the left corner.  Pin or baste in place:

Layer the quilted square with the insulbrite batting and the backing fabric, all about 10 1/2" square.  If they aren't all the same size, trim as needed to make them the same.  The makers of insulbrite state that there is no right or wrong side of the batting.  Layer the insulbrite on the bottom, then the quilted square right side up, and finally the backing right side down:

Sew around the square, using 3/8" - 1/2" seam allowance.  Leave an opening about 6" long in one side for turning.  Trim the bulk away from the 4 corners as shown below:

Now, turn right side out.  Poke out the corners to look neat and as close to square as you can manage.  Hand sew the opening closed.  Machine stitch around the outside edge about 3/8" from the outer seam.  Stitch in the ditch around the 3 rows of strips.  

Now go cook something!

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Sewing Tips for Ten!

There are some tips and information that I want to share with you regarding my new quilt pattern, Ten.  This is kind of an add-on bonus to the printed directions for Ten.  The Ten pattern is available for purchase at Bear Patch
Ten by Emmaline Design
Quilt MN 10th Anniversary
The blocks in Ten used quite a few of the "corner squares", AKA "snowball", or "cheater corners".  I re-named them because in my opinion, it's not cheating to build a better block and improve on techniques!
When I first learned quilting, in 1980, things were mostly done by hand.  So I learned that to make a piece that looks like this:

I would use a triangle template and a matching strip that was cut at a 45 degree angle on both ends.  Simply hand stitch on the seamline, and you've got it!

Then came the sewing machine revolution!  We discovered that our sewing machines could stitch together quilt block pieces in a fraction of the time of hand sewing!  We went through a period of adjustment and acceptance before this machine work was viewed as legitimate.  When I started attending my local quilting group, Ham Lake Piecemakers, the majority of the group did entirely handwork.  Or maybe they were learning to piece by machine, but always quilted by hand.  Thanks to a few friendly and open-minded members, they took me in anyway!  Now the tables have turned, and those who do hand piecing and hand quilting are few and far between.  I still dabble in the art of hand quilting a bit, but I love my machines!

So now, there is a method to make those little triangle pieces on the corners of a larger strip or square or rectangle by machine.  By stitching a diagonal line across a square shape and the larger shape beneath it, we can mostly eliminate any problems with stretch on that bias edge.  But, we need to practice accuracy or else we get sloppy results.

There are 3 methods I am going to cover for this technique.

1.  Place a strip of masking tape on the bed and tabletop of your machine, in line with the foot.  It only needs to be about 4" long.  Mark a straight line down the tape.  Put the needle down and center the marked line with the needle.  Make sure it isn't slightly angled one way or another.  Don't let the tape come in contact with the feed dogs.  That would really screw things up!  Feed one corner of the little square to the needle.  Keep the opposite corner of the square on that center line as you continue to feed it into the needle.  No need to backstitch because these will be sewn into another seam later and prevent the ends from loosening.
Drawback:  this doesn't work with large pieces because you can't get a line of tape extending forward far enough to accommodate something like an 8" or 10" square.  Depending on the type of tape used and how long it's left in place, you could get some gummy residue.
Advantage:  it's cheap!

2.  There are several products that can be purchased to use instead of the masking tape.  These all afix to the bed and tabletop of your machine in some way.  Probably my favorite is Clearly Perfect Angles.  It is a "cling-on" sheet of plastic that has the markings for the diagonal seams, plus more.  There are directions for using the additional markings in other piecing.  Plus, if you are sewing garments, there's a 5/8" line printed on the plastic to guide your fabric.  Here's a link to a short video demonstrating some of the features of this product.
Drawback:  purchase required, and you have to remember where you put it!
Advantage:  it is easy to put in place and has the option to be left in place indefinitely (so you don't have to remember where you put it!).

3.  Draw a pencil line on the wrong side of the little squares from corner to corner.  Use a ruler that's small enough to be convenient and just a little longer than that diagonal line needs to be.  It's best to use a sheet of very fine grit sandpaper on the table top.  You can even purchase sandpaper boards.  The grit holds the fabric still but isn't rough enough to make a bumpy surface.  If you have the fabric on a smooth surface and apply much pressure to the pencil, you can get a little "wave" of fabric just ahead of the pencil, and that inevitably turns out crooked.  Use a mechanical pencil to keep a sharp point and fine line.
Drawback:  takes longer to prepare
Advantage:  very little expense required (sandpaper and mechanical pencil).

Now, let's talk about a pressing matter:
You might have noted that quite a few of the newer patterns call for pressing your seams open instead of to one side.  If you have made garments, pressing seams open is the norm.  For a long time, we have had it drilled into our quilting brains that we always press seam allowances to the side, usually the darker of the 2 fabrics.  I'm not 100% sure of why that was the absolute correct way to do it, but I have a theory!  When seams were hand stitched with a running stitch, there could be little gaps visible if the seams were pressed open and then stretched.  By pressing to one side, anything visible through a tiny gap in stitches would just show as ordinary fabric.
Flash forward to today, with machines that sew a neat and tidy seam, and there are no gaps!  So if that was the reasoning behind the pressing question, it now is invalid.  And we can press any direction we want!  When I have some bulk in the seam at points where seamlines cross, it can look much neater to press open.  And I have a handy little helper for that!

The Strip Stick!  It's a fabric covered stick, flat on one side and slightly curved on the other, and available to purchase at Bear Patch.  When I lay the seam on the curved side of the stick, it is easier to get the tip of the iron started on the seam correctly between the 2 layers, and continue the length of the seam.  There are several lengths available, I use the 18" size for all of my needs.  I can press one section, then slide and reposition for the next area.

Give it a try--you might just be surprised at how you like it!  

I hope that this is some help to you not only for your Ten quilt,
but many other sewing and quilting uses.   If you are interested in purchasing the Clearly Perfect Angles and/or Strip Stick, please contact the store at 651-429-1039.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Quilt MN 2016!

Enjoy our gallery of quilts and displays celebrating the 10th birthday of Quilt MN!

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