Friday, April 29, 2016

Twin Cities Shop Hop 2016

It's nearly May, so it must be time for Shop Hop, right?  Shop Hops in some parts of the country can happen all year round because they don't have to deal with winter weather and road conditions.  However, here in the tundra, we experience a big black Shop Hop hole over the winter.  Now that the weather is turning nice again, we have Shop Hoppers coming out of hibernation all over the place!

The annual Twin Cities Shop Hop started yesterday, April 28.  It runs through today and all day Saturday (4/30).  We are open 9-9 today (Friday) and 9-5 tomorrow.  We had such a great time yesterday, so many people visiting the store!  Everyone gets a little sample of a solid color from each store on the tour.  Our color is pink!  Laurel has designed and written directions for a pillow cover to help you use those solids!  Free for everyone with a passport.

Visitors also get a chance to draw for a door prize, and we had quite a few lucky winners yesterday!  You get to participate by having your passport stamped.  There's no charge for a passport!  But just don't try using it on your next trip over the border!

We are featuring a new ruler, the Corner Pop, for the Shop Hop by enlisting Laurel's great teaching skills to present ongoing demonstrations on how to use it.  She has samples made of 3 quilts that she made with the Corner Pop.

Laurel is so happy to have the chance to demonstrate the things that the
Corner Pop ruler can do for you!

This is one of 2 quilts by Me & My Sister that Laurel made with the Corner Pop ruler.
She explains how to bring the ruler into good use in patterns that
don't specifically call for the specialty ruler, just like this one.

The same pattern for the "jars on a shelf" quilt includes the directions
for the "spools on a shelf" quilt!  And better yet, just 1 charm pack of 5" squares
was needed for the pretty colored fabrics in both quilts!

But what if you can't make it in for the demo, but want to know what this ruler is all about?  Well, Deb Tucker, the brains behind the ruler, has an instructive video for you!

Partnered with the Shop Hop, we are collecting pillowcases for kids that will be donated to
  "Cases For Smiles" (formerly ConKerr Cancer).  For every pillowcase donated 
before 5PM Saturday, the maker's name is entered into a drawing for a new sewing machine, 
a Janome 7330 donated by Valley West Sewing.  
So you still have time to make up some cute pillowcases to help out some sweet kids!

And yet another feature for our Shop Hop visitors!  Local designer, world renowned and multi-talented Terry Atkinson has loaned us some samples for her 2 newest patterns, due to be released in the very near future!  You can be one of the first to own the patterns if you pre-order with us!

Marching Band by Atkinson Designs

  Bubbly Bags by Atkinson Designs.  
See those cute colored handles?  

Two more hot-off-the-press features:

Spring 2016 Block Magazine
The Trendy Table by Heather Peterson
And, of course, we have coffee, tea, bottled water, cookies and bars all waiting for you!  We feel a responsibility to keep you hydrated and fed with all of this work of Shop Hopping!

So hop on over to Bear Patch and join the fun!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Triangles Galore!

Looking for another way to make accurate half-square triangle blocks?  There are several ways to make this basic block, so it's good to try something that you might not have done before.  Using triangle paper is one method that I urge you to try if you haven't already.  There's not a big investment in a lot of supplies needed, so there's not much to lose even if you end up not liking it.  And there's always a chance you will really, really like it!

I find that even if the pattern doesn't call for triangle paper, I will often figure out how to cut and use it anyway, just because they turn out well.  If you have sewn with me, you would know that I like corners and points that match!   I posted some info about paper triangles on my own personal blog recently, so I'm just going to send you over to the "frayed edge" blog instead of duplicating everything.  Just use the link to find out more!  And let us know the results when you try it for yourself!

Monday, April 18, 2016

The (H)Appy Shopper

Yesterday I encountered a very smart shopper.  Let me tell you about why I think she was smart.

She is an avid quilter and collector of quilt-related things.  Like many of us, I, too, am a collector.  And collecting is all well and good until it crosses the line.  And just what is that line?  To me, when I purchase duplicates of patterns, books, notions, fabric, that is where I cross the line between sensible collecting and wayward shopping.

I need to make the best use of my hard-earned money.  I can't just fritter away the family fortune on unnecessary purchases.  And you all know that books, patterns and fabric are generally not returnable, right?   The book and pattern returns relate to copyright law and the abundance of copy machines.  The fabric issue relates to the complication of cuts of fabric that become unusable, either because of size, laundering, pets, etc.

Anyway, the whole memory thing of what we already have at home does not become easier with time.  Know what I mean?  Oh wait, what was I talking about?  And if I could just remember the title of that book it would be so much easier, or the author, or even what it's about!

So, our friendly customer was facing this question while looking at some of the samples that are on display.  She had a couple patterns selected, but before purchasing, she consulted her phone.  Turns out she already had one of those patterns at home.  She was using an app called Craft Cabinet.  And she said it is a very valuable tool for her, with hobbies of quilting, knitting and scrapbooking.  This app costs a small drop in the bucket ($.99) and additional storage space can be purchased for $1.99.  I haven't used it myself, so I am only bringing this to your attention on the word of a fellow quilter, and there is no affiliation with the app developers.

You can set up drawers for all kinds of categories of items.  You can store a picture of the items, which is so convenient for quick recognition.  You can add notes about those items.  See the hibiscus rubber stamp below?  You know the size, where to find it in your home, even what ink colors work best and the size of the ink pad!  If you were doing this with fabric, you could note where and when it was purchased, cost, initial yardage, manufacturer, designer, what project it was used in, etc.

If you are a knitter, think how great this would be to have a category for needle styles, sizes, lengths, etc.  Sometimes it gets spendy to double up on needles that you already purchased.  Another item that usually can't be returned.  Same thing goes for any of your crafty passions.  Now, when you see needles on sale, you can look very cool by popping out your phone and checking your inventory!

You can search by any word in the title, or name of designer, etc.  Now, this does take some interaction on your own part to set this up and keep it updated.  Maybe you could hire an organizer to come to your home and log in your stuff!  I'm still waiting for the app that will let me place my phone on the bookshelf and it will identify everything on that shelf!

Bernina has a great app, too, for keeping track of your Bernina accessories.  It even links to videos showing how those mysterious thing-a-ma-jigs work!  This app is entirely free.  And we have employees who use it and that can tell you more or answer questions you might have.

It is full of useful information!  And look at that Wish List category!  Just keep your list going, and send it over to someone who loves you!  You know, Mother's Day is fast approaching!  Maybe this year you will use your Wish List on the app, and get something really useful!

There might be other apps out there for other machine brands, but when I did a search I couldn't find them.  Guess that means we all need Bernina machines so we can use the app!  Or just get the app, put the machine model that you want on your wish list, and send it over to that special person who wants to shop for you!  Now that makes a (H)Appy Shopper!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

We have transformed our display window again!  Usually, in the spring, we plan a display of baby quilts.  It just seems like the right thing to do for the time of year!  So we have a slideshow to give you a taste of what we have been working on!

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And by the way, I found my fabric!  Actually, 2 of my co-workers, Sharon and Kristina, found that print in their sewing rooms, and now I have my diamonds!  It's good to have connections with people who will take the time to paw through their own fabrics to find a little bit for me!  It was from Robert Kaufman Fabrics, designed by Darlene Zimmerman.  She even looked for it for me, but didn't have the red color that I needed.  But my crisis has passed, and all is well in my sewing room once again!

Monday, April 4, 2016

I Need Your Help!

I am searching for a little bit of this fabric.  I just need 9 more of these diamonds to complete my project.  Can't find it anywhere in my own stash, and I don't know where it came from.  So unless I can scrounge up a 2 1/2" strip somewhere, I am going to be doing some ripping.  Ripping of hand stitches is especially painful!

The circles are pretty tiny, the sides of the diamond measure about 2 1/2".  Maybe you, or someone you know, has a scrap of this that I could purchase?  If you do, please email me at  Thank you!

4/29/16  News Flash!  I found my fabric!  Thanks to anyone who took the time to look!