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

Monday, September 18, 2017

September 20!

It's a challenge to pick what's the next fun anniversary treat each month!  So many good things to choose from - we want something fun, unique, handy to have.
When we saw these little cork coasters, it seemed like a natural choice.  Because it's a natural product!
It fits in the bottom of the cup holders in your cars, trucks, boats, strollers, RV, and probably even in your private plane!  We'll have to try that in our corporate jet.

It catches any drips from your cups and bottles.  It keeps the cup holder clean, and can be removed easily with a little notched edge.

And here's an action shot of my corkie coaster in my cup holder, ready to welcome the bottom of my cup or water bottle on the way to work!  
(And my quarter for an Aldi cart and a charger cord, also essentials!)

We will be handing our a Bear Patch cork coaster to anyone who comes in the store on Wednesday, September 20.  One per person, while supply lasts.

But wait!  That's not all!
(I feel like I'm selling Ginsu knives at the State Fair!)

We have a plethora of pretty pre-cut prints for Christmas!
Now you can benefit from our enthusiasm for ordering beyond our usual supply!
We will give you 20% off any of the Halloween or Christmas pre-cut packages -- this includes packs of  2.5" squares, 5" squares, 10" squares, 2.5" strip rolls, and bundles of fat eigths and fat quarters packaged by the manufacturer.
Plus, any of the panel prints from 2017 Christmas fabrics!

You probably know a little about pre-cut fabrics, but if you are wondering what all the fuss is about, here's the info:  these are die-cut fabric pieces of a line of fabric by a specific designer.  They are cut at the factory, wrapped and labeled and shipped.  So you get a range of coordinated fabrics to work with in a pack.  

This is some of our stock, we have more squirreled away in the storeroom.
Please note, this is not a sale on fabric yardage.
We do have an assortment of books and patterns that are written for these pre-cut sizes, so we can help you find a reason why you must take advantage of this sale!
Those little 2.5" squares are like candy to me!  Very hard to resist and just as fun.  
Unless we're talking about M&M's!  

If you are possibly looking for more inspiration for quilt patterns specific to pre-cuts, then you should hop on over to the website for the Moda Bake Shop.  You can even search their files according to the size of the pre-cut pack.

So mark your calendars for next Wednesday, September 20, from 9am - 9pm.
See you then!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Back To Quilt School!

It's back to school time!  And we have some Grade A classes for you!  We are always looking for new ideas, techniques, rulers, tools, etc., to add to the curriculum and give you chances to become a better educated quilter!  Plus, there are some classes that are all about the fun and social experience of sitting down with friends and soon-to-be-friends!  We have watched many people form friendships with the other people they meet through Bear Patch, which makes it much more fun!

I have prepared a new slideshow with pictures of some of the class offerings.  Please watch it for inspiration and ideas!  Then, go to bearpatchquilting.com and read the details for each class under the "Classes" tab.  Click on anything that catches your eye to read the full details.  Another good way to look for classes is via the "Calendar" tab, which is great if you are looking for something during a particular period of time.

Sign-up day is next Saturday, 9/9, which is always like a party at the store!  We also have provisions for you to register separately from that day, and it's all explained on the website.

Enjoy this tail end of the summer, and join us for a great class (or classes) this fall!

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Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Fab Floor Cloth

One of the most frequent questions we get is about our floor cloths.  We think they are a unique and fun way to display and use special fabrics.  Debbie makes a new one every year for the MN Shop Hop.  We keep it on the floor right in front of our cash register counter, a place that gets lots of traffic.  It gets walked on all the time, and lasts through wet shoes, sandy shoes, slushy shoes and salty shoes.

We've shared the instructions on this blog before so I will reprint them here.  We also hand out those instructions to anyone in the store who is interested.  You can make your own floor cloth to the size that you want, from big all the way down to coaster size!  The multi-purpose cloth (by Roclon) that is the foundation for our floor cloths is 54" wide. That would be the max width of a floor cloth but the length could be longer than that because we buy it on a roll and sell it by the yard.
If you are planning to make your own floor cloth, the usual size container of Mod Podge is not enough.  You are better off to watch for it on sale at a craft store and buy the big container.

Mod Podge Floor Cloth
 Mod Podge   
Fine grit sandpaper or steel wool    
Multi Purpose Cloth    
Fabric for the front and back
   Foam Brush   
Plastic Drop Cloth to protect work surface

1.  Cut the main fabric and the backing one inch larger than the desired finished size of the floor cloth.
2.  Cut the Multi Purpose Cloth to the desired finished size.
3.  Apply Mod Podge to one side of the Multi Purpose Cloth. 
Immediately attach backing fabric to the Mod Podged surface, smoothing out wrinkles and bubbles.
4.  Apply Mod Podge to the backing fabric.  Let dry 1-2 hours.
5.  Trim backing fabric even with the Multi Purpose Cloth. Use your rotary cutter for an even trim.
6.  Turn the floor cloth over and apply Mod Podge to the other side of the floor cloth.  Center the main fabric on the floor cloth so that you will have fabric to wrap to the wrong side of the cloth.  Smooth out wrinkles and bubbles. Let dry.
7.  Sand lightly with steel wool or fine grit sand paper, if desired.
8.  Repeat so that you have 4-5 layers of Mod Podge on the front and 3-4 layers on the back, sanding between coats.
9.  Wrap excess front fabric to the back side and apply Mod Podge under the fabric to hold it to the floor cloth and over the fabric so that it will also be finished.  If desired, Mod Podge one inch strips of fabric  to cover the raw edges of the wrap around fabric for a more finished look.
10.  Apply Mod Podge to the back side one more time.

You can get as creative as you want with fabrics in assorted colors, shapes and sizes.  You can make it look like quilt blocks, or a collage, or a Van Gogh!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Favorite Thing for You

If you have been inside our doors very often, you might have noticed that we like to eat!  And how convenient that we have a deli just down the street named Eat!
When we have classes or events over lunchtime, you will find us fetching box lunches from Eat! for everyone.  They do a great job, and they are good people. It's a family business that the people of White Bear Lake love to support.

So it's only fitting that one of the favorite things that we want to share with you on our anniversary date is food from Eat!

Visit Bear Patch on Sunday, August 20, from 12 noon - 4PM.
Say "hi" and get your yummy cookie coupon, while supply lasts!
One per person, no purchase required.
Then stop at Eat! during their regular business hours (noted above) and redeem your coupon for a delicious cookie treat!
See you on Sunday!

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


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!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Magic Quilt Coach!

It's time to get the party started!
We are preparing samples using the new Quilt MN fabrics 
and taking orders for those fabrics.
A great bus trip opportunity!

You really can't go wrong for that low price -- no hassles with traffic, construction, parking, map reading or GPS following, re- fueling, timing stops, etc., etc.  And, you know we'll have some treats for your snacking pleasure!  Plus, we do have a bit of fabric and all kinds of patterns to tempt you!  We will have a great display of quilts and projects with patterns and kits for you, too!  And, as a bonus, you get a pack of 5" squares of Moda's Grunge fabric line, one of our most popular "blenders" 
that coordinate with so many things!

So don't miss the bus, call 651-429-1039 to reserve your seat on the Magic Quilt Coach!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Product Review - Ruler Stickers

I just tried out a new product, and I want to tell you about it.  It's G Easy Ruler Stickers from 
GE Designs, designed by Gudrun Erla.  It is a small pack of adhesive backed stickers to mount on the top of your rotary rulers.  The little arrows will easily show any landmark measurements on your ruler to help your eye fine tune on the important spots.  The pack is $7.99, and there are 192 re-useable stickers in the pack in 3 colors.  
They can be used more than once, so this pack should last you awhile!

I have used some little post-it note arrow stickers and omni tape before for doing the same thing, but these are a big improvement.  They stick better longer, and the bright colors are easier to see.  Let me show you how I used them:

I needed to cut 2" wide strips for binding from this black and white stripe.  I put 2 little blue arrows on the 2" ruler line close to me and then down at the other end.  I only use the ruler markings for nearly all of my cutting, not the markings on the mat.  So disregard any of the lines on the mat in the picture.  With those arrows in place, I can easily line up the 2" line on the straight raw edge of the fabric and make my next cut.  Then I leave the fabric in place and slide the ruler over to make the next cut.  Slick, right?!

Now, here's an "orphan block" that is perfect for showing you how these little stickers help you trim and center your blocks.  This measured about 9" square or something like that, and I decided it should be trimmed to 6 1/2" for this tutorial.

 Can you see where I put all of the bright pink arrows on my ruler?  A 6 1/2" ruler would be oh-so-convenient, but what if I don't have that size in my quiver of rulers?  Well, I can use any ruler larger than 6 1/2" x 6 1/2" to do the job.  Most of our square rulers have a corner that is what I call the "Zero Corner".  That's in the upper right corner, and the inches grow progressively larger away from that corner.  All the little arrows are on the lines that are 6 1/2" from that Zero Corner.  I have also put an arrow on the point that is 3 1/4" from both directions, and that is where the center point of the block needs to be positioned.
 Now I can slice off the right and top sides of the block

 After making those 2 cuts, lift the ruler but don't twist or turn it.
Turn the fabric 180 degrees.  The edges you just cut should now be 
on the left and bottom sides of the square.

Above, the center arrow (at the 3 1/4" cross hairs) goes right on the center of the block "X".

Below, the lower left arrows on the 6 1/2" lines should be at those raw edges you just cut.  The diagonal arrow and the diagonal line running from that corner to the opposite corner should lay right on the seamline.

The 6 1/2" mark at the top of the ruler and at the bottom right side of the ruler should be right on the fabric edge and the diagonal seamline, as shown below.

Now, trim off the top and right sides of the block.  Ta-dah!  A nice square 6 1/2" block with the center of the X in the center of the block, and the diagonal seamlines right in the 4 corners.

So, there you go!  A very good way to use this handy new product from GE Designs!  If you would like to purchase the arrow pack, call us at 651-429-1039 and we can send it on it's way to you!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Summer School for Everyone!

Like the song says, "School's out for summer", unless you like to sew and quilt!  This is the perfect time to carve out a little time just for your own enjoyment.  Like a little mini-vacation in White Bear Lake!  Bring along a friend or 2 or 3 and make it "Girls' Day Out" as often as you can!  We try to focus on short-term classes in the summer, meeting fewer times for the most part, to work in around vacations and holidays.  And our monthly groups are the type that you can attend when you are home, and don't worry about missing out if you are away for a month.  Take a look at our website listings and this slide show for inspiration!

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Pillowcase Challenge!

We are hosting a special event on Saturday (May 6) and we need your help to make it work!  For several years, we have participated in the American Patchwork and Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge.  We've lost count of how many pillowcases we have passed on to charity, but it's in the thousands!  The APQ website states that they are about 3/4 of the way to their goal--they have 724,979 donated so far.  That's a lot of pillowcases!
The pillowcases that are made by customers and dropped off here at the store have been donated to the Harriet Tubman Women's Shelter.  
On Saturday, May 6, we are going to host a pillowcase work day for anyone who can attend.  From 10 AM - 4 PM, we will have serger machines set up and ready for you to use to make a pillowcase.  It's super simple, and don't worry if you have never used a serger before!  In fact, don't worry if you have never even sewn before!  We have stacks of pillowcase kits pressed, trimmed and waiting for you!
Even if you don't stop and sew with us, you can participate by donating a pillowcase from home (brand new, of course).
Here's one of our previous volunteers, doing her part to help the cause--

Thank you!
When you participate, we always appreciate your time and talent.  When you take a few minutes to sew with us Saturday, you will receive a valuable coupon!  The coupon is valid for both Saturday and Sunday, and you will receive a one-time discount of 20% off fabric, books and patterns that are in-stock.
There's good in doing good!

Monday, April 24, 2017

It's Magic!

If you have worked with textiles of any kind, you know all about that necessary but evil job of ironing.  It isn't a fun job, but somebody has to do it!
We have tested and approved a product that takes your everyday ironing up to the next level!
It's the Magic Pressing Mat by Pam Damour.

The mat is a compressed felted wool product, about 1/2" thick and 12" x 18".

 Just place it on top of your ironing board and proceed to iron.   In the picture below, I have it on my little travel ironing board.  It sits right next to my machine in the sewing room for any small iroining jobs and for keeping some necessities handy.  In most cases, I use steam with this but it can work with a dry iron, too.  The wool fibers trap and hold onto the heat and steam, multiplying the effect on the item being ironed.  I can really tell the difference when I tested it by putting my hand beneath the block right after ironing.  It's HOT!

Here's a little before and after of some curvey quilt blocks--

These arcs of the Mini Rings by Sew Kind of Wonderful don't always look so wonderful!
Even after pressing with my regular ironing method,
 they left me wondering if those ripples would "quilt out" and look better when finished.

Then I repressed them with the Magic Pressing Mat and there is a visible difference in the look.
Much closer to the flat blocks that I want to see.
I'm getting this small quilt ready to teach for a summer class!

 And the benefits are just for quilting, either!  The concept of pressing on wool isn't new, it's been a useful tool of garment and tailoring skills for a long time.  Remember the pressing ham?  It's a sort of football shaped form, one side covered in wool, to put beneath curves that need to be shaped to fit a person.  I have a simple denim shirt that I love to wear because it's stretchy and comfortable.  But I was alway bothered by the fact that the back hem edge always rolled up on itself.  I could ignore it pretty well because I didn't have to look at the back while I was wearing it, but I always knew it was there.  It never stayed down after ironing it flat.  Until the Magic Pressing Mat happened!  I steam pressed the heck out of it on the Magic Mat, and voila, it stays flat now after multiple wearings!

One thing that almost everyone comments on after using the mat is the fact that there is a bit of a smell.  That's the hot wool smell!  Not unpleasant at all, so much nicer than the actual sheep barn!

Call us at the store (651-429-1039) to purchase your own Magic Pressing Mat for $55!  We have been selling a bunch of them, but we keep re-ordering so we can have them in stock for you!