2199 4th St., White Bear Lake, MN 55110
651-429-1039

Monday, July 17, 2017

Thursday Is The Day!

First big reason to shop at Bear Patch on Thursday, July 20:
This is a day that requires you to play hooky from whatever else you are supposed to be doing!  Your presence is requested at Bear Patch!  20 is that magic number signaling another anniversary gift from us to you!  This month, we have called on the resources of a very talented local designer--Gudrun Erla!  You might already know Gudrun and her company, GE Designs.  She designs quilt patterns and fabric, too.  And lately, she has been busy designing rulers through Creative Grids Rulers.  Her Stripology and Stripology Squared Rulers have been big hits with many quilters, and she has a full range of books and patterns to support those rulers.  In addition to that support, she has another product - GEasy Ruler Stickers - which come in oh-so-handy on my cutting table!  I did write a product review on this blog last May, which you can refer to if you would like to see how I make use of the Ruler Stickers.  But better yet, watch this video to help you understand why you really need these stickers!



For our anniversary celebration, Gudrun has packaged single sheets of stickers for us to give away!  You will receive 64 colored arrow stickers just for being our very best customers!  They will be 1 of the 3 colors in her usual package, and if you want the full assortment they will be available to purchase.  No purchase necessary, available 1 per customer while supply lasts.
2nd big reason to shop at Bear Patch on Thursday, July 20:
Our summer sale starts!  25% off in-stock fabric, books and patterns!  Many kits will be included for past projects, too.  And here's something we have never done before-- all fat quarters are $1!  And our little Bear Cubs (12" x 10") are 3-for-a-dollar!  We have been very busy reducing our stock, marking reductions, and preparing for our 5 day super sale!  Here are the dates:
Thursday, July 20, 9-5
Friday, July 21, 9-5
Saturday, July 22, 9-5
Sunday, July 23, 12-4
Monday, July 24, 9-9
I promise it will be worth the drive, unless you're coming from Alaska!  Or depending on your thinking, it might even be worth that drive just for the fun of it!  I think if I look real hard at the horizon, I can just barely see a convoy of quilters speeding southeast to Bear Patch!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Sneak Peek At My New Quilt MN Pattern

I've been spending lots of hours designing and making a new quilt for the fabric from the 2017 Quilt MN group.  Here's a little look at some of the quilting that I'm putting on it--


It's a medallion style quilt, and incorporates the Bear Paw block that is part of our store logo.  Medallion quilts are based on some type of center square, then bordered on all 4 sides.  I know that a lot of quilters would much prefer to make a rectangular quilt than a square one, so I have added some inches on the top and bottom sides to make it "un-square", yet keeping the look of the medallion.

We will be selling the pattern and kits at Bear Patch starting July 28, and requests for orders can be placed prior to that.  I haven't settled on a name yet, and the directions aren't finished.  They will need to be proofread more than once before any printing is done.  I can show you a diagram of what the quilt looks like but not the real thing yet:


It measures 54" x 64".
If you really want to make it square, it would be easy to modify, and I will probably include something about that in the directions.

Some info about my machine:
I quilt on an A-1 Elite machine purchased 10 years ago.  It is all hand-guided, no computer attached, just me!  It does have a stitch regulator, which I always use.  I have a 14' table, so can do up to about 150" wide quilt.  Probably more like 140" to allow for enough room to have the backing and batting extend a bit beyond the quilt top edges.  I like to have 5" all around for better freedom of movement.  I use an extended base on my machine whenever I need to use rulers, and if I don't have that 5" cushion, the base bumps into the clamps for the sides.  That makes a nasty little bobble in the stitching.  I also do free-hand without that base, as well as some pantograms.  I haven't been using my longarm much during the past 2 years, before that I did quilt for customers, but I found that I was taking on way too much.  Having too much on my plate does not make me a happy quilter!
The thread I use is a real hodge-podge of what color and weight works best.  The blue thread in the video is actually Isacord (by OESD) and is normally used for machine embroidery.  It's lightweight, yet sturdy enough to run on this type of machine.  I used another thread, usually cotton, on the bobbin.  For most of the rest of this quilt, I used King Tut, Sew Fine and Omni (Superior Threads).
I never really keep track of the time I put into quilting something like this.  I never can work for long periods, needing to stop for a break often and then spending time thinking over what design I'm going to do next!  And my neck and shoulders ache when I overdo it, so that doesn't help.  It's just not something that I can dedicate more than about 2 hours at a time to.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Our Multi-Talented Employees

Full disclosure:  I love the people I work with, so my opinions might be a little bit biased about the things they make!
I asked my co-workers to bring me something to display at the store for our own little gallery.  It took a bit of wheedling, but I got some great results!  It took even more wheedling (and some threats!) to get them to write a little something about the stories "behind scenes".
But they have some humorous, moving and compelling stories to share.  I'm not going to put them all here, but if you are stepping into the store, just take a minute to admire and appreciate and read what compelled them to make what they did.

Kristina made this cross quilt with some improvisational piecing from scraps.  She even worked a few inspirational words into the blocks, and she dedicates the quilt to the nurses she knows.  The nurse of my previous life appreciates that!


Diane made something wonderful out of the Deco State Flowers fabric by In The Beginning Fabrics, using the Night Light pattern by Villa Rosa.  Honestly, when I saw this fabric I wasn't sure what I would ever do with it.  It didn't grab my attention.  But now that I've seen Diane's quilt, I am re-thinking that!


Tammy's quilt (below) is a memento of a European trip with her daughters.  What a wonderful opportunity!  She worked a lot of little quilted designs into the blocks and it's like a scrapbook from that trip.  
Do you see Mona Lisa?


And arched windows, maybe Notre Dame?

"Alternative Tweets" is the name for Diane's whimsical quilt made from her collection of bird fabrics.  No tweets of questionable thoughts in this store!  The only tweets we have are the ones in this quilt!

She used the Creative Grids Wonky Trim Square to make her blocks.

Sharon is our hand embroidery master, and here's a close-up of the detail that goes into her stitching-- beautiful and what an heirloom for generations to come!


Debbie is in love with Art Gallery Fabrics (sorry, Bob!), and she makes sure our shelves are stacked high with their gorgeous prints and solids.  The quilt she made is from their large assortment of free online patterns.  It's called Falling and the fabric is from the Sketchbook collection.  This fabric has to be touched to fully appreciate it.  They have some of the best designers in the field working for the company, creating new temptations constantly.


Linda put together this little sewing apron, and even gave us a checklist for our To Do list!  I hope that she has completed the first task, so now she can make the KnitWit Clutch.  That will be a great home for her fancy pants knitting needles!


 The apron pattern and much more are from this Make It, Take It book:

There are several more items on display that aren't included here, so you will have to make a trip to White Bear Lake to view the full gallery!
It's great to be surrounded by such talent.  Did you know that we regularly meet after work for our own little Employee Sew Night?  And there's a lot more than sewing that's going on there!
Our Employee Gallery will be on display until July 27, so don't miss out!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Get The Write Stuff at Bear Patch on the 20th!

We're already back to the 20th of the month!  It's anniversary time!  Wow, time truly does fly especially when you don't want it to, right?!  The years have really flown by for everyone at Bear Patch, remembering the "early days" of the store and then realizing it seems like it just happened not too long ago!

And we are all set to see you at the store on Tuesday, June 20th, from 9AM to 9PM!  That's 12 full hours of opportunity to stop in and pick up a little gift from us!  No purchase required, just show us a smile and you'll be rewarded with a special limited edition ink pen from us!

Whether you use it for making notes about all the fine quilts that you make, or a grocery list, it's ready to do the job!

But now I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  I've been told that if you wave this special pen over your stack of unfinished projects like a magic wand, the quilt fairy will appear like magic and make them all finished for you!  Not guaranteed to work every time, but hey, why not try it?!



Monday, June 12, 2017

Boo!

We're ready for Tricks & Treats-- are you?
Fresh new Halloween fabric -- 

Trick or Treat by Penny Rose Fabrics
Fat Quarter bundles, 5" charm square packs and 2.5" strip packs available now.

Fright Night by Henry Glass
We don't have the entire group available, but this would be a great selection to mix and match with other Halloween choices.  There are 2 quilt patterns available featuring these fabrics, they can be downloaded free.
Stop in or call 651-429-1039 if you have any questions!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Let's Get Organized!

We are testing out some new products from Noble Notions.
These are components of storage "cubes" that can link together in a stack or be used individually.  They are designed specifically for sewing accessories.  Here's a description from their website

The Sew Stack is a modern storage system for bobbins, thread spools, tools, and machine feet .The bobbin tray holds up to 40 bobbins and the thread tray holds 16 small or medium sized spools including Aurifil, Mettler, Guttermann, Sulky, as well as many others. Our machine feet box holds up to 28 presser feet.  Add trays as needed, all Noble Notions Sew Stack items are designed to snap lock with each other. Latex free & Made in the USA.


Both styles of small Bernina bobbins fit the box.
A box for the larger Bernina bobbins is not yet available.

The Thread Box accommodates many brands and sizes of spools.

The Feet Box has a foam base to snug up all styles of machine feet
to protect your investment from damage during transport.

The Tool Box holds odds and ends and treats and trinkets.
We like the colors and size and even the feel of the plastic.  It's softer than the usual plastic containers, but not rubbery, either.  You will just have to feel it for yourself!
They are 6.5" square at the largest point.
They range in price from $22.99 - $39.99.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

English Paper Piecing Challenge!

Last January, our Paper Pizzazz group was issued a challenge.  And now we have the results to share with you!  Each person interested in participating was given a pack of little 2 1/2" squares of Flower Sugar by Lecien.  Lecien is a Japanese company whose designers have created some wonderful fabric lines.  I like the quote on the front of their website:  
"Make Stuff and Be Nice!"


Paper Pizzazz is our English Paper Piecing group that meets monthly for inspiration, learning, sharing and socializing.  It's the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 1PM.  The challenge rules explained that they needed to use at least one Flower Sugar square, and the projects needed to be something that would contain something else.  They could use original patterns/designs or published patterns, and add any fabrics they might need.

We have 7 challenge projects on display, with a wide range of ideas and styles!  What a creative bunch!  We are offering everyone a chance to vote for viewer's choice, and a prize will be awarded!  Voting ends on Monday, 6/12, so the days are counting down quickly!



Even if you can't be here to view and vote, we like to share the talents of our customers--thank you to everyone who participated in the challenge!