Sunday, November 19, 2017

Our 11th Celebration of our 20th Anniversary!

We just love to celebrate!  We find many occasions to celebrate our customers, our store, our employees, the fact that the sun was shining all day yesterday, etc.!
You know we have been celebrating our anniversary all year long, right?  So, November 20 is upon us!  And what better thing to share with you than one of our favorite pattern designers!  



Pat, of Villa Rosa Designs, is always producing plenty of inspiration!  I can't even tell you how many times we have used her patterns, sometimes repeatedly!  Her patterns are printed on heavy cardstock in glossy color.  One side of the card is a full picture of the quilt, with the very succinct directions on the reverse side.  This is the "no-frills" set of directions, very easy to understand.  Many of these patterns are good for a favorite print or panel that you don't want to cut up into little bits.  Others are just right for a pack of 5" charm squares or a 2 1/2" roll.  There's great diversity!  

Maybe a Prince tribute??

We call them Rosecards, from Villa Rosa.  The price ($2.25) makes them perfect to collect for yourself or a friend. 

And notice that one on top of the stack?  It was custom printed for Bear Patch and features the Quilt MN fabric from a couple years back.  It was used as an incentive prize for shop hoppers!

A few years ago, Pat visited Bear Patch and did a "bed turning" show of some of her quilts.  We really need to have her back!  Comparing the picture on the card to a sample made of different fabrics and colors can really bring on that "aha" moment.  We are displaying 2 or 3 hot-off-the-sewing-machine samples right now for our Christmas display, and that's a perfect example of how different the resulting quilt can appear from the picture.

So, Monday, November 20, from 9am-9pm, we will be handing out 1 Rosecard per customer!  No purchase required.  Just pick a card and get happy!  We have a lot of the newest designs to share, carried home from Quilt Market just for you.  And, of course, we have many on hand for purchase, if you want to expand your collection.


Friday, November 10, 2017

Last Call For Houston!

 We loved our trip to Houston!  If you don't follow us on Facebook, you should jump over there to see all of the pictures and fun that we shared.  Here are a couple happy endings for you!  We stayed at Le Meridien hotel, a very good home away from home for 4 nights.  It was an easy and safe walk to the Convention Center and since the weather was nice, we enjoyed the stroll.
I wanted to share this design on the wall in our room above the headboards. 
It's crafted to look like somewhere out in the galaxy! 
It really was a very cool statement wall.
And you know how we quilters can find quilt inspiration everywhere we go! 
This was the hallway carpet!

And how thoughtful that they put a hexie pillow in the room!  It was kismet!

And great graphic design in the hallway!
And then, there's the food!
Our favorite morning stop on the jaunt over to the
convention center is Phoenicia
It's a blend of market, deli, bar and restaurant. 
We stopped there for breakfasts and sandwiches or salads for our lunches. 
I love the tasty Mediterranean specialties that I don't see back at home.

Even the names of these salads are enticing!

And how about all the varieties of beans and legumes
on the never-ending shelves! 

Condiments, sauces, marinades, etc., etc.

A still life of fruit and olives!
Knowing that this city so recently suffered damages from Hurricane Irma, and that the same convention center was a temporary shelter, our experiences are all the more memorable.  Can't wait to go back!

Friday, November 3, 2017

It's All About The Pink!

 It's a Circle of Quilters Challenge!
The Bear Patch Circle of Quilters meets every other month to share design ideas, tutorials, product information and so much more!
For this challenge, participants were given a pack o' pink!
Not just any pink-- this is

There were very few rules.  Even though they were given a pack of 2 1/2" squares, they only had to use that color, in any amount, somewhere in their creation.

We are collecting votes for some prizes for Viewer's Choice.  Actually, 3 prizes will be given to the top vote-getters, 
plus 1 more from the employees.
Isn't that exciting!?
Customers can vote every time they come to the store 
between now and November 21.
I can't wait to see what happens, 
because there are 13 excellent choices.

I don't have pattern names or sources, so if you are dying to know those details, you can contact the store (651-429-1039) to leave a message.  When the names are revealed, we can put you in touch.
So, here we go!



This is the center of a longer tablerunner, with strategic placement of the pink.

One section of a tablerunner, with just a little pink in the butterflies to tie it together.

Finding the perfect fabrics to go with the strong pink could be an additional challenge!

Hotpad, trivet, coaster for a very large latte?  It all works!

Don't bikes just make you happy! 
This is done by machine embroidery, using just the right colors of pink and turquoise.

Someone was very clever here with the Bear Paw block!
How can we not love that?!

Some skilled paper piecing went into these blocks! 
This does look like summer!

This is a section of a tablerunner with some great
whimsical flowers with button embellishments!

The pink triangles really shine in this quilt!

A color wheel of Aurifil thread spools, plus the perfect quilter's mantra, are wonderful! 
There's lots of stitching on those spools to show the thread wraps!

Perfect hand embroidery, embellished with crayon shading, makes a colorful pillow cover! 
Can you spot the pink fabric?

This quilter took the Pink Flamingo fabric literally! 
We really do have the most creative people around!

These coordinates really blend nicely, and tone down that bright pink!
And a big round of applause for a job well done!
Maybe you will join us for the announcement of the winners at our next Circle meeting at 9:30 on December 9!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

More Goodies For Our Anniversary Celebration!

 We are happy to have you back again for one more reason to celebrate Bear Patch's 20 years of fabric fun!
Come to the store on Friday, October 20, from 9am - 5pm.
You will be rewarded with one of these mighty fine glass nail files!
This type of file is so nice to use, it doesn't bend or peel apart, and lasts a very long time.

According to a Sally Hansen nail ambassador (I didn't know that was a real thing!), these glass files are better for your nails.  "Glass files, also known as crystal files, regardless of how they are used, seal the keratin layers together at the edge of the nail, preventing peeling and chipping."

Yes, we are always looking out for you, right down to the best personal care possible!  Because, those snaggly nails can be rough on our precious fabric, right?! 
 File those nails and save some fabric!

So come to Bear Patch October 20 to pick up your own fine glass file!  No purchase is necessary, but you must pick up your own!  Offer good while supply lasts.

I think it's an early Halloween treat!
Know any witches who could use a good file?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Calling All Thread Heads!

We have something very new and very special to share with you!


Cotton+Steel Thread by Sulky is a 50 wt. cotton thread made from 100% Egyptian grown cotton, spun in Egypt and dyed in Italy. The Cotton+Steel designers worked closely with Sulky to develop this thread from the ground up, creating a high-quality thread in 100 vibrant shades. It is glossy, luscious and perfect for everything from piecing to quilting to garment sewing.

I am a lover of good thread, and Aurifil has been my go-to best thread for years.  So when I got a couple of sample spools of this new thread, I was pretty sure it would be a waste of my time.  But I'm dedicated to bringing the honest truth to you, so I gave it a try.
I thought about doing something like a blind taste test, but didn't think that sewing blindfolded was a very good idea!  Instead, I just sewed right through a whole spool over a period of time, just to make sure that I was using it fairly.
Whoa!  I can't believe I'm saying this, but it's pretty much a toss-up with Aurifil!  I would gladly pick up a spool of this for my sewing. It has the same fine and strong qualities that Aurifil has, and is also very low on the lint scale.  
There are 660 yards per spool, which is less than a spool of Aurifil (1422 yds).  The price is $8.99 per spool, compared to $13.50 for Aurifil.  Just admiring the color selection in the unique round rotating rack is fascinating.  The colors fit very well with the vibrant colors of the Cotton+Steel fabrics.

But I haven't even said anything yet about the cute spools!  The spools themselves are multicolored, and have a groove to secure the thread end when not in use.  Plus, they spread love and good cheer wherever they go, with cute little designs and sayings!  I think I might have to collect them all just so I have the spool ends!  They could be kind of like merit badges!  Here are pictures to show you what I'm talking about-- 






 Is there anyone out there who wouldn't love to sew with "Splendid Thread"?


So give yourself a treat and try this newest addition to our collection of sewing necessities!  We also have some boxed collections that would be a great way to start!

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
Supplies:
 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

Directions:
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.