Sunday, May 25, 2014

Just in Time for Summer Trips

This is the season for road trips for vacations, reunions, campouts, etc.  Perfect timing for the brand new edition of The Quilter's Travel Companion!  The 2014-2016 edition.  This guide has served me well on more than one trip, helping locate new shops to explore.  Very much worth the purchase.  To make it even better, I suggest you take it to Kinko's (or other print shop) and have it spiral bound.  Makes it so much easier to handle when you are bouncing along in the back seat!

In addition to having your guide book spiral bound, I have some additional tips to share, learned from my extensive research on finding quilt shops wherever I go!  My husband swears I can sniff them out!  No sniffing required, just the Quilters' Travel Companion!  
  • ALWAYS call the store you are going to visit just to make sure the hours are correct!  No fun going out of your way only to find the "Closed" sign posted due to a change since the book was printed.  It will also help you weed out any shops that have had to close, sadly.
  • Make some notes in the book about the shops visited, for future reference.  Or devise your own rating system.  My own rating system is pretty simple: shops that I will go out of my way in order to return vs. shops that I will only see in my rearview mirror!
  • Bring your own shopping bags!  Helps to keep your needful things separate and safe.  And eliminates one more piece of garbage from our world.
  • Take pictures both inside and out of the store, with your travel companions or shop owner or a total stranger!  Make a file for your "Quilting on the Road" pictures, with the name of the shop either in the picture or as a label.
There are so many quilt shops to visit and so little time!  Last winter in Sedona, AZ, I really hit the jackpot--a quilt shop and yarn shop almost directly across the street from one another!
  I hope that you will enjoy your "research" as much as I do!  
And make sure your travels always bring you 
to the doors of Bear Patch!

Friday, May 23, 2014

24 and More

A few more of those rectangle blocks for you today--

The blocks in the City Sampler present some interesting challenges for fabric choices.  You might notice that solids work great in a lot of these blocks.  And you will see a good example of mixing batik fabrics with our regular quilting cottons.  There is no rule that says they must stay segregated!  The floral fabric in the lower left block is a great mix with the 3 different batiks.  We do get questions from our customers about inter-mixing batiks and printed cottons, and we like to encourage people to go with their gut feeling and make the quilt their own.  If there is a perfect shade of blue in a batik, go ahead and pop it into your quilt.  We do recommend pre-washing the batiks due to the fact that there can be more dye run.  It relates to the way that they are made, and if you watch this video you will get a better understanding.  And we try to keep some Retayne in stock, since it helps to set the dyes.

And now, another sewing room reveal for you!
Debbie, co-owner of Bear Patch, has been involved in some renovating and room swaps in her house.  She has enough done to share these photos of her haven.  She is a collector of quilting-related items, and has such a pretty setup for displays.  

And she likes to collect sayings and thoughts to be displayed around her room as good reminders of good attitudes.

Antique machines hold a special spot in her heart, above is just one of her collectibles.  Maybe she will share more of them?
And don't forget the modern day machine (below) and gadget boxes to contain all the needful things for machines!

 And lastly, here is a beautiful picture on a wall of her sewing room.  I love it!

Thank you so much for letting us into your room, Debbie!  And start taking pictures of your machine collection.  And teapot collection.  And teacup collection.  And anything else you collect! Didn't see any of the fabric collection in these pictures, probably would need a fish eye lens to take it all in!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

20, 21, 22, 23

 First of all, my apologies for getting the mustaches upside down!  Oops!
Some more great fabric choices by Kristina.  
We are now into the section of blocks classified as rectangles.
Lotsa rectangles!

And today's sewing room!
Tammy is looking pretty comfortable in her tidy room that makes many of us envious!
Truth be told, she has had plenty of time to make the place neat while she has been healing up from a broken foot.  She is back to walking with only a hint of a limp, so she will soon be ready to get back in the swing of things at the store.  In spite of her injury, she still has found time to take care of our flower boxes and flower beds.  She has the greenest thumb around!  The dirt in the back of the store is bad stuff, cement-like, and full of weeds.  Last summer Tammy started working her magic back there, and now we have some success with some hardy perennials to beautify the back of the Patch.  Thank you!

Tammy is a collector of The Ghoulies, as you can see in the project on the right on the design wall.  To the left, you can see one of her original works, a fabric portrait of one of her beautiful daughters.
Thank you for inviting us into your sewing haven, Tammy.

Our next block posting will include a special peek behind the scenes at Debbie's sewing room.
You will want to see this!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Solid Story

We are excited to be able to offer you a 
new line of solid fabrics that are special.  
Special because they are grown, produced, dyed and finished right here in the USA!  This is a rarity in the fabric world.  
Most of our fabrics come from across an ocean.  
Clothworks has devoted a lot of time and resources in bringing this product to you in your sewing room.  Why not give them a try!

Click on the links above to learn more of the story.  
And then come put it to the test!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer Classes 2014

We are loving all of our beautiful samples on display for the many classes offered this summer.  Summer can be a tough time to work in quilting classes around the many other activities planned.  That's why we try to do our best to increase the number of one-day classes and classes with fewer meetings in the series.  And it can be really fun to sneak in a class with some friends or family visiting!  We do have some machines that can be borrowed for the classes, so just let us know when you reserve your spot.  The pictures below are the actual samples so they vary somewhat from whatever the patterns might show.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

More Modern Blocks

Just to give credit where credit is due, I want to refresh your memory on where our ongoing block project started:

This is the book, full of blocks and quilts.  If you need one, just call us (651-429-1039) and we will take care of your order.

Today, we share blocks 16-19.
16, 17, 18, 19

Each little block is a show in itself, the fabrics and shapes have a story to tell.  If you are making any of these blocks, would you share your pictures?  You can contact us via the comments or the store email:

Our tour of sewing rooms continues!  Today we get a peek inside Anne's creative space at home.  Thanks for sharing, Anne!  And nice space for working and planning, and a good home for your machines!  I see you are also into the bright light game, there is just never enough light, especially when I am trying to rip out black thread from black fabric!

Once a few years ago, I visited an Amish woman, Mary, at her farmhouse.  Nothing electric inside.  Gas lights and wood burning stove.  She is a quilter, and has a treadle machine but does a lot by hand.  She showed her quilting frame, right by a window so she would get the best light that she could.  I wish I could find a gas-powered Ott light for her!  I think they did have a gas powered generator for some of the farm machines, but I don't think indoor lighting was a priority.  

So let's count ourselves lucky for having light, and lots of it!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

City Sampler Blocks 13, 14, 15

Today I have a perfect example of the importance of value of color in fabric and placement.  I got pictures of block 14 twice because at first glance they did not appear to be the same.  Here are more cross block variations:

Blocks 13, 14, 14, 15

For some added inspiration, I am suggesting some relevant links that you might like to investigate.

The Flickr website has several groups that are posting pictures of their City Sampler blocks. 
 Probably the biggest is The City Sampler Quilt Along.  There are finished quilts, 
as well as individual blocks, and even ideas on fabric selection.  
Many of the pictures in Flickr will give information about where to find the original picture, 
or a link to a blog where you can learn more about the picture and background 
of the person who shared it.  For example, there were a couple of photos
 of a collection of fabrics that were inspiration for the colors of the quilt.  
I could see the name of the screen name of the person who posted the photos,
 and I googled that name and followed the path to The Confused Quilter blog,
 back to the original photos and explanation.

The second site that I liked was 100 City Blocks.  
This is my way of telling you that you are part of a worldwide sew-along if you join in making the City Sampler blocks.  This is blog that follows the progress of a group of Swedish quilters, and although it is written in Swedish, the pictures need no translation.  Now, I have to let you in on a little-known fact about myself.  Way long ago, at the beginning of time, when I was 17 years old, I was an exchange student in Sweden.  The little town of Alingsas and the Sohlberg family became my 
home-away-from-home for a year.  I haven't retained the fluency of the language that I had at that time, but I do enjoy reading the 100 City Blocks blog and digging into the memory banks to translate it.  

And last, but definitely not least, is Tula Pink's own blog and website.  
Tula is a creative genius with a flair for the unusual.  
She designs fabric for Free Spirit Fabrics, 
and you have to look for some hidden design features in what she makes.  
You can listen to an interview with Tula by Pat Sloan on 
( I download these programs through iTunes to my iPhone, and then listen to them whenever I find the time.  And I usually learn something interesting or fun from each person interviewed.)  
Her fabric designs can even be purchased on the Gelaskins website as smart phone or 
laptop covers, or even fine art prints.

On another topic, we just experienced 3 wonderful days of the Twin Cities Shop Hop (last Thurs.-Sat.).  We had special guest designers every day, thank you, Debbie, for arranging all of that and making them feel welcome.  We had a continuous demonstration of how to use the Basix block ruler, thank you Laurel for selling everything we ordered and then some!  Thank you to the Patchwork Thursday group for volunteering to be greeters and stampers at the door.  And thanks to our wonderful customers for showing up and making it a celebration of quilting!

Darlene was busy stamping and answering questions
 when Barb showed up at the store.
Next up--blocks 16-19!!