Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Promise of Good Things To Come!

Hello friends!  We had a very enjoyable day Saturday with so many of you stopping in to shop, have a cupcake, and, of course, meet Diana as she gets ready to start her own new quilt shop, Affinity For Quilts.  So much promise of things to come! 

Now just 4 days remaining of the Bear Patch Quilting Co. that you have known for close to 22 years!  Yes, we do still have fabric, and we still have the good stuff, too!  The picture below was taken today, 1/27.  Good stuff!

During these last 4 days, we will take those prices down one more little notch to 60% off!
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 9-5:30, Thursday 9-5 and then done!
We have had so many fun interactions with you, our customers and friends.  It has been a period of adjustment, with time for me and my co-workers to embrace the concept of life without Bear Patch.  We have a great work crew, and we are already setting up plans for sewing days and retreats in the future.  A lot of you have asked, so we'll tell you a little about what the future holds for us:

Nancy T. - continues with her full time job at the League of MN Cities for now but still could work evenings and/or weekends for Diana
Diane H. - thought she was going to be a bank teller, but when she found out that they don't pay in fabric she lost interest quickly!  Diane and her husband have a little Skamp trailer, and they will be out camping whenever possible, especially up north.
Sharon L. - has agreed to stay on to share her hand embroidery expertise, and will take more trips to new destinations!
Kristina T. - might show up working for Diana, and otherwise she's knitting, dying yarn and cleaning her sewing room.  Good luck with that!
Pam H. - planning to travel, along with soon-retired husband, in our new Airstream trailer.  First we are going to Charlotte, NC, for a month with our grandsons.  A Singer Featherweight will be safely stowed for travel.  I'm getting back into knitting, and I might even use my longarm to quilt one of the many quilts of my own that have never been finished!
Carol F. - planning a 6 week road trip to AZ, FL & NC.  Is serving on the Senior Advisory Committee at the White Bear Lake Senior Center.  And always doing something good with the Lions Club.
Tammy B. - you might see Tammy back at the store with rotary cutter in hand.  And dirt under her fingernails once the ground thaws out!
Linda P. - simply looking forward to no schedule!
Debbie E. - would like to just Breathe!  And then she will organize her sewing room, knit, read, take classes, go on retreats, cook and become much more familiar with her grandkids!  Doesn't seem like there's much time left for to Breathe!
Linda E. - will continue with her full-time work for the DNR, involved with the state park campground department.  In the past, she has been a good resource for people looking for some help with making quilts or fixing problems.  If she decides to continue doing that, she will leave her contact info for Diana.
Marlene M. - already down in AZ, smart girl!
Sophie V. - plans to be using her new EMT status, so you might see her smiling face at your next emergency!  That would be very reassuring to me!
Sue S. - Will be camping and traveling. And quilting a lot. Possibly teaching classes for the new boss.
Laurel R. - is starting off her retirement with a trip to Belize with husband, George.  After that, she has "many, many, many quilting projects planned" and might work some teaching into her schedule.

Karen L. - will still be working fulltime as Business Office Manager at Ecumen Seasons at Maplewood and Lakeview Commons in Maplewood.

So, you can see that many good things await us!  I have always embraced the idea that change is good because the next new thing might be even better than the old.  And it keeps the old brain cells working!  I hope to see some of you on my shopping trips to Affinity For Quilts!    Pam

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Way Back in 2018

On last November 18, we held a Retirement Dinner for both Laurel and Debbie.  The hard part was making sure that Debbie could maintain a "hands off" position and leave all the planning to someone else!  We held it at Tria Restaurant in North Oaks.  They specialize in banquets and events, it would be a beautiful place for a wedding reception.  We had a private dining room with beverages and a buffet dinner.  It was delicious!  We had a little entertainment in the form of many pictures of the past years at the store, thoughtful tributes from our group, and a special exclusive reading of an ode to Bear Patch written by our own Linda P.!

I sharing this today because I glanced through pictures and found these from the table decorations that Linda and Tammy designed.  What a great centerpiece, different for each table!  Each square glass vase was wrapped with colorful tape measures and a tape measure bow was added to the bouquets.  Tammy used some seasonal decorations of little pumpkins and gourds and seed pods to mix with the flowers.  The small quilts in the center were made by a couple people from a class in the past.  Little fairy lights and votives were added to complete the scene.  

A great idea for a way to incorporate quiltyness into your next gathering?

Monday, January 14, 2019

And now, it's 50%!

Yay Ayla!  You are dy-no-mite!  I bet it takes a lot of energy to keep up with this little ginger!  She makes a very good spokesperson for Bear Patch, unfortunately, she'll be out of a job soon! 
We are now going to require a minimum cut of 1 yard of fabric.  And we are no longer accepting any checks, all purchases must be cash or credit card only.  And, as always, all sales are final.  We will still honor old gift certificates if you have something left to spend.
We expect that our last day of business will be January 31.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Announcing New Ownership of Bear Patch!

It's great to be able to bring you some good news!  Pam here, reporting from the action spot in downtown White Bear Lake!  This has been a wild and crazy period in so many ways!  Deciding to close a business, and then going through everything involved with that, is not a job for the faint of heart!  We have listened to your many supportive comments and concerns and wishes for Bear Patch to continue.  It really means a lot to us, but didn't change the fact that some of us are just itching to move on to the rest of our personal stories after Bear Patch!  But we have been patient and diligent, and have been rewarded with the fact that we now know that there will be a quilt shop returning to 2199 4th St.!  

The new shop will be opened in 2019 by Dianna, who is very excited about the new possibilities!  There will be a pause in the business as things change hands, some physical changes are made, and then a new shop with a new name will proudly open its doors to quilters again!  I hope I can be a regular shopper!

I know a lot of you are curious about this new quilt shop owner.  We know that you will all give her the welcome and respect that she deserves, and that she will work hard to earn that.  But remember that this will be her place, her choices, and her dreams.  The address will remain the same, but expect everything else to be different.  We have a special opportunity for you to join us to meet and greet Dianna on Saturday, January 26, from 11 AM - 2 PM!  This date is National Local Quilt Shop Day.  Local Quilt Shop Day is a worldwide event designed to raise awareness of the importance of independent quilt shops to the local economy. It is a day for consumers and retailers to celebrate the creative pursuits of quilters, sewists, fabric enthusiasts, and crafters everywhere and to support the local quilt shops that make it all possible.  What better way for 
Dianna to take a leap into the quilt shop world!
Bear Patch will remain open for business through Thursday, January 31, at 5PM.  All of our merchandise continues to be reduced 40%!  We still have about 2500 bolts on the shelves, so there's something there for everyone!  There's a peak below of just a portion of our shelves and all those wonderful bolts!  We have had so many happy faces with heavy bags leaving the store!  There must be an wait list for professional quilters right now, because a lot of backing yardage has been sold!  So join us for some shopping and especially on the 26th!

Regular hours continue:  Mon-Tues-Wed 9-5:30   Thur-Fri-Sat 9-5  Sunday 12-4

 If you have any questions, please call (651-429-1039) or email (  See you soon!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Enjoy 40% off!

Hello Bear Patch Friends! 
Christmas Day is past, wrapping paper has overfilled the garbage can and pine needles are dropping as you read this!  Dinners have been made and consumed, and diets have resumed!  We hope at least one of your own gifts included something for your quilting and sewing projects!
There were no gift certificates from Bear Patch in your stocking this year, but we do want to remind you that any past gift certificates must be spent soon in the store.  After the store closes, any remaining dollars on gift certificates will be voided.

Please be aware we are closed on Wednesday, December 26.  We are open for the after-holiday shopping from December 27 through the 31st.  Your discount moves to 40% off nearly everything!  The only thing you might find in short supply is solid black and white, since that's like stocking up on water and peanut butter before a big storm, just blink and it's gone!  Who can't use some spare black and white in the stash?!

As we continue in this process of closing down, you can see some changes around the store.  We are all feeling various shades of joy and sadness.  And still finding some very interesting things to pull out of the nooks and crannies!  You have a chance to own a bit of Bear Patch history for cheap if you shop our "garage sale" table in the back corner!  And, by the way, there is no dickering and no further discounts on those items!

One big change for Bernina is that we will actually close the dealership.  The plans we had hoped for have changed.  We do have a few machines left to sell with good incentives on the prices.  Any machines in the repair department are being completed and will need to be picked up as soon as you are notified.  We are recommending that Bernina owners contact Jordan for service and repair through his own phone number, which we can give to you on request.  We are still running some classes in January for new owners, since there are people still needing that and we want to carry through with as much as we can.  And for future help and assistance, please check out Quilter's Haven in Rosemount.  They are an established Bernina dealership.

We don't have any definite news to share about what might possibly follow Bear Patch in our space.  Whatever happens, please remember that we need to support our small businesses of all kinds.  Downtown White Bear Lake has so much to offer and things you just won't find anywhere else, and we are proud to have been a part of that.

We are no longer accepting donation blankets and quilts for Project Linus.  You can learn more about drop off locations at the website for the Greater Twin Cities chapter.

We are closed January 1-2-3.  That will give you plenty of time to begin to work on your resolutions for 2019!  If you're not a big football fan, please join us in thought as we spend January 1 barricaded in our sewing space!  It's a great day for the sisterhood of sewing!
Bear Patch Quilting Co.  2199 4th St., White Bear Lake, MN 55110

Friday, December 7, 2018

Fun Facts

One more milestone was recently accomplished in the closing of Bear Patch -- we had our final employee Christmas party!  I know, it's bittersweet, but I think it was possibly the most fun party we have had!  It was a potluck at the store after business hours.  Normally, we go out to eat, but since we had just had a fabulous dinner at our retirement party for Debbie and Laurel, we opted to just stay at the store and share our own specialities.  Wow!  Good food, too much to even fit on our cutting table buffet line!  Desserts had to occupy a separate space!  We were all seated at our classroom tables, which is a place of familiarity and good memories for us.  We had much more lively dinner conversation than if we were out in public at a real restaurant.  People clearly wanted to enjoy this last full gathering.
From left to right:  Jeanne T., Linda P., Sharon L., Barb E., Carol F., Pam H., Diane H., Kristina T.,
Laurel R., Sarah A., Linda E., Debbie E., Tammy B., Sophie V. and Karen L.
Missing: Beth H., Marlene M., Sue S.   Others attending but not pictured: Jordan F., Laurie L. and Bob E.
We all brought toys, food, toiletries, socks and underwear to donate to charity.  We have a customer donation spot for charity, too, and have already contributed more than 100 pounds of items to the local food shelf, plus cash donations, too!  And literally hundreds of toys, which are going to make
Christmas day a whole lot happier for some lucky little ones!  Thank you to our very generous customers who have already donated, and we are continuing to collect until December 14 so there is still time for you to participate!
We played a numbers game that really kept us all guessing.  Barb, our wonderful bookkeeper, had combed through some of the store records and challenged us all to put our brains to the test in a guessing game.  She separated some of the most frequently purchased items in our database and we were pretty surprised at the quantity of some of them!  Plus, these numbers are just for the past 5 years!  It would not have been possible to capture all of these items for 21 years because the early years were non-computerized.  So to keep it simple, she just captured the totals for 2014 to the present.  Here are a few of the stats:

Fat Quarters - this was the highest quantity of all items.  For the uninitiated, a fat quarter is not a body part.  It is a piece of fabric measuring 18" x 22" and is the equivalent of 1/4 yard of fabric.  Our total number sold isn't even a true total, because we do give away a lot of fat quarters for retreat groups, bus groups, shop hops, etc.  Our total sold was 44,416 fat quarters over 5 years!  That equals 11,104 yards of fabric!  I wanted to put that number into a quantity I could relate to, so I figured that many bolts have about 12 yards of fabric when they come to us.  Maybe more, maybe less, but I'm going with 12.  That equals 925 bolts of fabric used for fat quarters over 5 years!  That means there are a whole lot of fat quarters leaving Bear Patch every year!  Are any of them in your stash?

Cosmo floss - this item is a Japanese made embroidery floss.  The parent company is actually Lecien, and they make a lot more than embroidery floss.  It is called a 6-strand floss and is sold on a little skein wrapped with paper loops, much like the DMC brand of floss.  We have a large group of hand embroidery enthusiasts shopping and meeting at Bear Patch.  They love this floss and feel it is superior to DMC in the quality and feel of the product.  Over the last 5 years, we have sold 17,668 little skeins of Cosmo!  Each skein holds 8 meters (8.7 yards).  That equals 153,711 yards of floss!  To clarify just how much thread that is, imagine if you tied all that thread together.  And then tie one end to the goal post arm of a football field.  Now run to the other end 1,537 times.  That's how much Cosmo floss we have sold since 2014!  Amazing!  And think how short of breath we would be from just running the length of the field once!

Aurifil thread - we all knew this would be one of the top-selling items in the store.  We love our Aurifil thread, and we preach the wisdom of using the best thread you can afford to buy for your precious sewing projects.  This is an Italian-based company with a mission to make the best thread ever!  They have an American headquarters in Chicago, in addition to their original establishment in Milan, Italy.  Anyway, here are the stats:  7,049 spools of Aurifil sold in 5 years.  These are the large spools of thread, and this is a combination of the 2 most-used weights of thread, the 40 and 50 weight spools.  The 50 wt spool outruns the other by a long run, so I am using that spool as the basis for my calculations.  Those spools each hold a lot of thread, 1,300 meters (1,422 yards) to be exact.  Multiplied out, we have 10,023,678 yards of thread!  There are 1,760 yards of thread in 1 mile.  This equals 5,695 miles of thread that we have sold in 5 years!  Now, let's tie all of that thread together on a giant spool and go on an exotic vacation to Istanbul.  Fasten the giant spool to the plane (I'm sure we could duct tape it on there somehow but getting it through security might make the people behind us a little testy!) and string that along from the plane for the entire flight from MSP airport to Istanbul.  That is 5,489 miles (12-14 hours fly time with 1 stop to pee), and we will arrive with still 200 yards of thread to spare.  How about that!?  That kind of blows my mind!  Yes, we all really really love our Aurifil thread!

I could go on with more, but I won't because, although fascinating, this is enough numbers for today!  The next 2 most frequently sold items are our 14" zippers from Atkinson Designs (6,747) and Isacord thread (6,313 spools).  How many of all these items are at home in your stash?!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Storewide discount moves to 30% and the Bernina discounts are amazing!

Effective Wednesday, December 5, 
our storewide discount moves to 30%!  
The same rules apply as before, if you click this link you will get the full information.  We are still cutting lots of fabric and people are coming in prepared with measurements and colors to get big chunks for backings.  I keep discovering new fabric that catches my eye, like this one--
This is a panel print, it's about 40" square, and would make a wonderfully
creative piece of wall art on stretcher bars.  It really makes a statement! 

All of our notions, rulers, books and patterns are also discounted 30%. 
We just restocked these cute these cute Stash and Store items
that have been selling out and would make a great little Christmas gift idea.
Bernina floor models are still available to purchase at prices aimed to make you smile!  The elf on the shelf thinks you have been a very good girl or boy and should have a new machine under the tree!  First, we have "demo" machines which have been lightly used in the store, but almost like new!  All are discounted individually and our staff will show you how they work and answer any questions you might have.  If you would like to call ahead, the number is 651-429-6500 or visit the Bernina website.
B880 Plus, B790 Plus-AE, B770 (x2), B700, B500, Bernette Sew and Go, Bernette Chicago 7 and the Bernette B35
Sergers:  L450 (x2) and L460

In addition to the demo models, we have some new-in-the-box machines:  a 740 and a 770 SE, Bernette B38, Bernette Sew and Go, Bernette B35.  And new sergers:  L450 (x3) and L460 (x2)
These brand new machines are greatly discounted, but not quite as much as the demo models.

Also, in the Bernina department, we still have an ample supply of machine embroidery patterns and CD's.  Thread and stabilizers have been re-stocked as well.  These are all 30% off.

Another special opportunity is available to you for a limited time.  
If you have ever been in the store, you undoubtedly noticed the class tables and cutting tables up in the front.  The craftsman who makes those tables has several prototype cutting tables that we are selling for him.  They are very similar to the tables we have been using, but there are some bumps and bruises and unfinished wood.  But, the only cost $99!  They are a great height for cutting and the tabletop fits a cutting board easily.  I even assembled one yesterday, just to prove that I could.  It comes unassembled, but you only need the little wrench and bolts that are supplied.  If you've ever gone down the IKEA assembly rabbit hole, this will seem like a cinch!

Remember, our store hours have changed so we are not open evenings.  With these dark days, it's a good time to cocoon at home!  And, we are closed for 3 days (24-25-26) for Christmas.
Another important date to remember:  December 15 is the last day that we will accept sewing machines for service and repair.  That is also the final day that we will continue to hold any special requests, so if you haven't picked up your item(s) by then it will be placed in the store for purchase.  We still do not have a final closing date for Bear Patch, it will be sometime in January.  That's all I know for now!
Watch for future emails and follow us on Facebook for updates!

Bear Patch Quilting Co.