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

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!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Our Quilted Inspirations!

 We recently enjoyed the pleasure of hosting Nina McVeigh, a Bernina Educator, for 2 classes in the store.  We were so please and gratified to have a full house for her presentations!  We all enjoyed and learned from her topic, "Quilted Inspiration".

Nina travels the country for Bernina as an sewing expert and teacher.  She shared her own experience of a trip to the Bernina headquarters in Switzerland, and the inspired quilts that came to be.  It was eye-opening to see the pictures of places and things on that trip which she turned into quilt designs.

Along the journey, she highlighted many special features and functions of the Bernina machines that helped make those quilts a reality.  She demonstrated several products that helped create the quilts and projects she displayed.  A very talented woman!

What a great group of customers!  All enjoying Nina's story!

And, of course, there were refreshments and treats for everyone!
The event wouldn't be complete without that!

Thank you, Nina, and we hope to see you again in the shop!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Celebrating 20 Years!

We are ready for another 20th Anniversary gift to you!
Seems like we just finished the last one, time really does fly when you're having fun!

We have a fun notepad for you, not just plain old paper.  This one is graphed and ready for your next creative masterpiece design!  Last week we enjoyed a fun seminar by Nina, a Bernina educator.  She showed examples of quilt designs she has made derived from photos.  This little notepad would be so helpful with that!  Sketch out a block, or a whole quilt!

Often, we work with customers to change the size of a quilt to something larger or smaller than the original pattern.  I've wished I had some graph paper to help them visualize what it will be like, and now I have it!  Keep your pad handy when shopping or dreaming!

We have plenty of these to help you on the way to creative success!  So come to the store this Thursday, April 20, to celebrate our 20 years of business, and receive your design pad.  No purchase necessary!  We are open from 9-5!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Lunch Box Quilts Trunk Show

If you are familiar with Lunch Box Quilts, you might already have used one of their designs for machine embroidery and applique.  If not, we have a special treat for you!

Lunch Box Quilts has loaned us large collection of their samples, and we have them on display during April.  We have already been re-ordering some of the design CD's, they are just that popular!  Some of our talented Bernina employees have already used these designs for samples displayed in the Sew Center.  But this trunk show is wonderful because there are a lot of designs that we just don't have time to complete.  And seeing these stitched out and sewn into quilts and wallhangings gives such a better idea of the quality of the design composition.

Many of the pictures in our slide show are small sections of a much larger quilt, illustrating how you can pick and choose which portions of a design you want to use and tailor it to the size you need.  We hope you enjoy this little glimpse of the Lunch Box Quilts.  If you want to see more complete pictures of the designs, plus many more that we don't have in this slide show, please visit Lunch Box Quilts website.  We can order any of the designs that you might want to request.  These embroidery design files are in all of the usual formats for many brands of machines.  Don't have an embroidery machine?  We can help you with that!  We are ready to demonstrate the functions of the Bernina embroidery machines whenever you visit the store.  Plus we have quite a few classes and the supplies that will help you on the way to success with machine embroidery.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

It's Almost the 20th of March!

Here we are, creepin' up on the 20th again!  
Remember, the 20th of each month is a special day at Bear Patch.  
Because we are turning 20 this year!  

Were you around the store 20 years ago?!  There's a few folks who have been true blue fabric friends since Day 1, back in 1997, and still love to pop back in to Bear Patch for a good fabric and friend fix. 

I, personally, shopped at Bear Patch when it was still very new.  I had occasionally been to Reed's Drug Store in White Bear Lake, where the basement was a fabric shop, and I even remember taking a class to make a doll of some kind.  That was a pretty popular idea back then, and it carried over to the new Bear Patch Quilting Co.  Some of the people working at Reed's when it closed decided to join forces for a new quilt shop.

Yes, we had dolls and "Folke Painting" in 1997!
I apologize for the quality of the snapshots from 1997, but we have to work with what we have!  The oh-so-popular glossy prints make it hard to get a digital picture without glare!  But the impression is still the same--starting from ground zero!  Lots of open space, working on card tables and folding chairs to order the first bolts of fabric!  The faces are tiny, but you might recognize some of them--
from the left:  Laurel, JoAnne, Jerry (standing), Debbie and Terry
Gradually, the space started filling up--

You might remember when it looked like this.  

That was then, this is now, a few thousand bolts later--

But back to the ongoing anniversary party!  
If you can make it to the store on Monday, March 20, you will be rewarded with a "gem" of a gift!  Sorry, not handing out precious jewels!  But we are handing out one of our favorite things--
Best Press Gems-- a 2 oz. sample size.

If you aren't familiar with Best Press, here's what the good people over at Mary Ellen's Products have to say about it:

Best Press Spray Starch and Sizing Alternative --There hadn’t been a new product for ironing in years - and I got sick and tired of using that spray starch in an aerosol can! So now I bring to you Best Press, a clear, crisp spray starch with a lovely scent that makes ironing more enjoyable. It’s in a non-aerosol bottle, so it’s environmentally friendly and you can see how much is left, too.
With Best Press, there’s no flaking, clogging, or white residue on dark fabrics! And more! A special stain shield protects fabrics, and the product helps resist wrinkles. Best of all, it’s more effective than any starch you’ve ever used. Try Best Press today - you will never go back to ironing with ordinary spray starch!
Try all of my wonderful scents! Lavender Fields •Citrus Grove •Linen Fresh Caribbean Beach •Cherry Blossom •Tea Rose Garden •Peaches & Cream •Mint Splash and, for those who prefer no scent, try my •Scent Free!  

Mary Ellen's is a local company, and we like to shop local!  There's a story behind the company about the woman who started on a shoestring and built a successful business.  
Click on this link to learn more about it!

We love our Best Press, and we keep it handy to use at the store for our classes and projects.  It has become a staple in our inventory, and we are happy to be sharing a little bit of that love with you!

So don't be late, come to Bear Patch on Monday from 9am - 9pm.
No purchase necessary, just show up for the gift!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Quilting Inspiration Is All Around You!

We have a special event planned for you!  We know how enjoyable it can be to sit down with others who like learning about the same things that you like, too.  We have invited a special guest to join us for a chance to explore inspirational ideas that transform our quilting lives.  Where do you get your quilting inspiration?

Nina McVeigh, Bernina Educator, Quilting and Longarm Specialist, is spending time with us on Tuesday, April 11.  You can choose to attend either the 1PM - 4PM session OR the 6PM - 9PM session at Bear Patch.  

Nina turned Swiss inspiration into quilted art.  Let her guide you through the techniques for creating six inspired quilt projects.  Celebrate the best in quilting technology and Bernina accessories.  Discover how easily you can execute your own ideas.  Every quilt tells a story, and you will be inspired to tell yours!  Topics covered will include:  Bernina cutwork techniques, machine applique, double needle stitching techniques, Bernina stitch regulator, binding techniques, simple piecing with Bernina dual feed, and the Q20 sit down longarm machine.

We will have prizes and goodie bags ready for you, as well as refreshments.  There is a class fee of just $25, payable with registration.  This is not exclusively for Bernina owners -- inspiration can strike anyone, no matter your machine of choice!  
Our class size is limited, so make sure you sign up as soon as you know you want to attend!  We hope that you can join us! 
  • call: 651-429-1039 OR 651-429-6500
  • email: bearpqc@aol.com
  • register in-person at the store during regular business hours

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday and Celebration!

Please make a note that we will be 
closed on Sunday, February 19.  
We are using that time for our employees to work together 
and boost our creativity and have some fun!

On Monday, February 20, we will again be celebrating 20 years of Bear Patch fun!
All year, the 20th of the month means Party Time at the store! 

Back in grade school, we always looked forward to bringing cupcakes to school for our birthday.
So Bear Patch will have cupcakes for you on Monday (while they last)!
In addition, we will have another treat for you!  
This is for anyone who visits the store on Monday, no purchase required.

We will be handing out a cute little "KeeZee" for everyone!  This is a great little gadget that will help anytime you are sliding keys on or off your split-ring keyring!  
No longer a struggle with pinches and broken nails to change those keys!

And since Monday is an official holiday for so many of you, we hope to see many familiar faces!  We want to celebrate the holiday with you and pass along some rewards, too.  President Debbie has added a chance for you to get some reduced prices!  You can draw for a discount of 15% up to 40% off your purchase of fabric, patterns and books!  

Are you feeling lucky?!

We're open all day Monday, 2/20, from 9 AM to 9 PM!
Call us at 651-429-1039 if you have any questions!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

3 Yards Is Plenty!

We are loving the convenience of the 3 Yard Quilts by Fabric Cafe!
Take 1 yard each of 3 fabrics and any of the many assorted patterns we have, and voila!
A nice lap size or kid size quilt!
We have bundled up some of our favorite coordinates to help you get started.  They range from cute little kid theme prints, to cozy up-north flannel, to pretty florals that would make a great comfort quilt.  Or, we can help you pick your own style!

 We have 4 booklets full of 3-yard designs, plus about a dozen individual patterns.  There are probably 2 or 3 that will catch your interest!

And we have samples of some of the quilts on display.
Any of the 3 yard bundles will work with any of the patterns, so the possibilities are endless!

You can try to choose just one, but chances are good that there are several 3-yard quilts in your future!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Let's Get The Party Started!

We are kicking off our 20th Anniversary celebration on 
Friday, January 20!

It's time for little celebration of our years of business and our wonderful customers.
This is going to last all year long!  
Mark the 20th of each month on your calendar and 
plan to visit Bear Patch on those days.
Remember the saying "Measure twice, cut once"?
Wise advice, and now it will be easier 
with your new little blue Bear Patch ruler!

Everyone who comes to Bear Patch on 
Friday, January 20th, from 9am-5pm
can pick up a pretty new blue ruler.  
This is 1" x 6", the size of the ruler that 
I probably use more than any other.
So we hope to see you Friday!

One ruler per person, no purchase necessary!
Just show up and pick it up!
And stay tuned for our February surprise!

Call 651-429-1039 if you have any questions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Our Fancy Forest Saga

Once upon a time, a year or so ago, I saw the Fancy Forest quilt by Elizabeth Hartman on display at Quilt Market.  It drew me in like a magnet.  A really strong magnet, like you might find if you have an MRI!  The pattern book came home with me, and taunted me from my collection of "Things I would make if only I had more than 24 hours in the day!". 

But, we all know that there are only 24 hours in a day.  Many more pressing things take priority over whimsical quilts that have lots and lots of pieces in them.  But I knew that if only I could make it, my little grandsons would think I was the most fabulous grandma ever!  I even tried to coax my own mom into taking on the project, just so it would get done and I would have a little part in it!  She didn't bite.

Then, along came the kits from Robert Kaufman Fabric!  This was really, really hard to resist!  The fact that I could have all the right colors in all the right places was such a temptation.  I'm generally not a person who goes with a kit, although since I've been working at Bear Patch and picking and choosing for kits, my thoughts on buying a kit have changed.  In this particular case, a big part of the attraction of this quilt is the range and shading of color groups.  Having all of that worked out by the designer was very compelling!

Then, along came Laurel, who was determined to make this quilt for a Bear Patch class!  I could maybe even use the class as motivation to make my own!
But, fate intervened, and Laurel had a great fall.  Unlike the nursery rhyme, Laurel will eventually be put all together again.  But it will be awhile before Laurel can put the Fancy Forest all together!  
So, we put on our thinking caps and came up with an alternative plan--it takes a village to pick up the pieces for Laurel!  Now, 3 more people have been sewing little forest animals from Laurel's beginnings, and our Fancy Forest Family is making a quilt!

Laurel made the Fancy Foxes before she had her great fall!

I stitched the Frances Fireflies--not butterflies, because these have a little white light on the tail!

Marlene finished up the Bunnies that Laurel had started.

Linda put together Hazel Hedgehog blocks.

I worked on the Allie the Owl blocks.

And Marlene made the Thistles!
We are so happy to now have all the blocks sewn, and ready to be finished next week when I have some serious sewing time!  We are starting our class in a couple of weeks, and we have a few spots open in either the 1PM or 6:30PM sessions.  And, we have kits!  So, whether or not you are in the class, this kit is available for purchase.  It includes the pattern ($24), and is $230.  This includes all of the coordinated colored fabrics for the blocks, the black and white used for accents, the Robert Kaufman's Essex yarn-dyed linen blend for the background, and fabric for binding.  That's a total of 17 3/8 yards of goodness!  The number of kits available does have a limit, so don't procrastinate too long on this one!  Call 651-429-1039 or email info@bearpatchquilting.com for more information!

Update: 1/20/17
All of the animals have come together! Yay!