Sunday, June 30, 2013

5th Saturday challenge reveal.

We had a great reveal for our 5th Saturday challenge. .  . we only had seven completed entries this time (our smallest number ever), but they were, as always, amazing.

The challenge this time was very different than it has been in the past.  We gave the contestants a concept, "celebration" . . . and nothing more.  They were free to develop the theme in any way, taking it wherever their minds wandered.  Several people connected the theme to celebrating family in a variety of ways:  remembering a recently deceased mother, recreating a loved childhood doll, recording events and dates (weddings, births, etc.), while others thought of celebrations of birth, life and nature.   

Voting by our customers will continue from now through Saturday, July 13th.  Hope you are able to stop by to see them close up, but for those who aren't local, here are some great pictures.  (There are no names attached to these because voting is anonymous, of course!  And, they are in no particular order, just posted in the order they came off the file in my computer.)

Birthday celebration banner

A celebration cake!

Celebrating nature & the outdoors

 a replica of a 1950's doll

the pattern is 4th of July by Judy Neimeyer

a wedding ring hanging celebrating 3 generations of marriages, including fabrics from each wedding

one of eleven (yes!) quilts made using mom's blouses and buttons, so that each family member could have a remembrance

Monday, June 3, 2013

We had a great turn out at our Post Market Demonstration Day events yesterday -- it was wonderful to see so many interested (and interesting) people in the shop!  For those of you who couldn't be there, here are a few highlights:

We showed these two cute wall hangings/table runners (you choose the way you use them) from the Snap Sack series that we're starting to carry.  The great thing about these kits (besides the price!) is that they include everything:  pattern, fabrics for the quilt AND backing and binding fabrics.  Grab some thread and you are ready to go.   They were quite a hit -- we were sold out of Liberty Bell by the end of the second session, more on order! (Snap Sacks are a product of Hummingbird Highway and are available only through independent quilt shops, so give us a call if you want one!)

Liberty Bell on the left; Picnic Pickin's  on the right

Martha demonstrated a great binding tool  that is a "must-have" tool for every quilter.  It makes it easy to create a perfect seam where the two ends of the binding come together on a quilt.  Two measurements, two cuts and you're on your way to a great finish.  Easy to follow instructions are printed on the tool. Yes, we sold out of them by the end of the day, but we already have more on order, and we expect this will be a standard item in the shop from now on.  Here's a picture, it doesn't look like much, but it works like magic!

We talked about the two new classes Martha's going to be teaching this summer, and already have a long list of interested students.  You'll want to sign up for one or both:

Radiant Landscapes
Saturday July 20th

Round and Round
Monday June 24th

Seeing and touching the bead boxes generated a lot of enthusiasm for Linda's upcoming classes . . . the Monday sessions are full but there is still room in the Saturday classes to be held in August.

Choose from a BUNCH of colorways; Linda has complete kits put together,
 you just pick one up and start beading (in class, that is!)
We had great fun sharing a slide show of some of the market highlights . . . and it's "sew" nice to be back home with our customers and friends.  We gave away four bags of goodies as door prizes, and we've got at least one customer who can no longer say "I never win anything" because she did!
As we usually do on Demonstration Day, we showed everyone a few new and fun items.  For instance, how about a flash drive (2GB storage) in the form of a tape measure or sewing machine!  They come complete with a small chain for handy carrying or attaching to a strap in your purse or laptop carrier.

How cute are these . . . for easy storing and transfer of all your sewing related information,
digitized files for an embroidery machine, photos or whatever strikes your fancy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Post Market . . . wow, we're home, tired and back at work.  Our heads were definitely spinning as we drove back to Wenatchee.  . . so many ideas, so little time! 

Martha's now planning for the post market demonstration day on May 31st.  She'll be showing a slide show with some of the market highlights, giving you a sneak preview of what's to come, and demonstrating a cool tool that makes easy work of joining the two end binding strips in finishing a quilt.

She's also working on putting together new classes based on what we saw at market.  Here are photos of two classes to look for in the next month or so:

This is a great and easy technique for creating quilts, pillows and table runners.  We'll have shop samples in a week or so of both a poinsettia pillow and a great seasonal (or year round) table runner.  Diane bought the starter kit so we could play with all the different options (which Martha will be doing at Spring Design Retreat starting Wednesday), so watch this space for more photos and details.  It really is EASY!

Here's a class that Martha's REALLY excited about teaching. As she says:  "I've been wanting to move towards doing landscapes for several years and have really struggled with both design and technique processes.  Gloria Loughman's technique was a real break through for me in being able to take that next step."  It's a simple technique for creating gorgeous backgrounds and foregrounds for small or large landscapes.  The picture is of the unfinished one -- created in less than 1-1/2 hours at a market class.  Martha will work on finishing it at retreat and post more pictures.  She's going to love teaching this class and you are going to love taking it!  Even if you think there is no artist in you, this technique will allow you to find that there is an inner artist just waiting to be plugged in.

Also watch for some new purse and bag patterns coming to the shop soon!  Here's one of our favorites . . . Diane will be making it up in the new Hoffman Macchiato line of batiks so you'll be able to see both the bag and the fabrics!

The nice thing about this bag is that you may carry it with the flaps closed, then open it up for more room when you need to stash lots of stuff!

We also brought back a half dozen copies of the new Disa Designs table runner book.  This is the third book of designs by Asdis Erla Gudjonsdottir from Iceland, and we think it's one of our favorites.  We especially can't wait to make up this runner . . . now we just wish we still had some of the grey Christmas fabrics from Riley Blake (2011), but we'll find something else appropriate to the design!


This is such a great book -- stop by and pick up a copy before they're gone -- or call as to have one shipped to you!


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 4 International Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon.  This afternoon we are tired, but excited.  Yesterday, we were inspired by our classes but didn't find nearly as many new things on the vendor floor as we'd hoped for.  This morning was an entirely different day.  We each started with a great class (more about that later), and then found idea after idea as we went up and down the lanes.  By the end of the day, we had enough new and interesting projects to fuel our demonstration days through the end of the year, several new classes that we're excited about teaching, and at least two new Moda pattern lines that we can't wait to get our hands (and yours) on!

Martha's morning class was with Gloria Loughman . . . she was absolutely amazed at how easy Gloria made it for students to develop a gorgeous landscape quilt.  The class was only 1-1/2 hours long and by the end, Martha's creation was ready to quilt and finish.  The result -- watch for a class taught by Martha on this great technique coming in the next couple of months.  It is amazing!!! Start with a simple photo you like, she'll help you do the rest. 

Mohave Yuccas by Gloria Loughman

Jan took a class from Kathy Brown, designer of the Take Five series, using the relatively new Creative Grids Fat Quarter ruler.  Jan got lots of new ideas about how to use the ruler, so watch for a demonstration and maybe a class.  Kathy is printing a series of small patterns, called "chubbies", designed to use fat quarters and the ruler.  They are very cute!

Bread and Butter -- one of the new "chubbies" patterns, using, you guessed it, 5 fat quarters.
Diane took a class on back basting applique and loved it.  She received an advance copy of Barbara Eikmeier's book, and is already thinking about how to build a class around it.  

The book won't be out until June, we're happy to take pre-orders.  Stop by the shop and look at our signed copy!

And that was all before 9:30 this morning!  Over the course of the day we found lots of new patterns and gadgets.  During the next few months, just some of what you'll see (demos, new patterns, new classes):  

  • Embellished (or not) clam shells that may be used as sewing kits, small elegant purses, holiday ornaments, tooth fairy containers and much more.
  • Woven baskets (really easy!) that can be made with your leftover fabrics.
  • Painting fabric to embellish it (or make your own) using Shiva paint sticks (it's fun and addictive and you need NO artistic talent!)
  • The great picnic tote pictured below -- perfect for yourself or to give as a gift.
  • Your own carriers for sewing essentials from a needle caddy to a sewing machine carrier!
  •  Great purses and bags -- we know you've seen a lot, but we found some at Market that are just too wonderful not to bring in!  
  • A small tote with pin cushion just perfect for carrying your hand sewing or keeping it handy next to your chair.
  • and much more!

The designer promises us this is easy to construct -- we'll find out soon, as we bought the pattern to make a store sample as soon as we return.  We hope it's as easy as she says, because we just love the design and think it would make a great gift item.      

And here we are, hard at work!

We ended the evening with a two hour seminar presented by a well known shop owner, sharing her thoughts and ideas about customer service, events, promotions and more.  Tomorrow morning we go back to revisit a few vendors that we're still thinking about . . . then we'll head for home, tired but exhilarated!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Day 3 International Quilt Market in Portland:  Today and tomorrow are the slog days . . . over 2000 booths with vendors of all sorts.  All of the quilts we see are stunning, but by the end of  the day, we're so tired that nothing looks that good to us anymore. 

We each started at 8:00 a.m. with a class -- Diane went to a panel discussion on ideas for bringing fashion into the shop, Jan went to a piecing technique demonstration, and Martha went to a make and take session on beading on fabric.  All were worthwhile!  Then it was on to the vendors for the day, where we REALLY came to appreciate those who put down cork flooring over the cement. 

What were the highlights . . . hard to sort out, but here are few things we loved. 

One of the quilt entries from the Operation Homefront project.  Each of a number of quilt designers created an original design . . . the patterns will be available this summer/fall, with a portion of the proceeds going to Operation Homefront to help returning soldiers. So, we could use the patterns to make quilts for our local Quilts of Valor project.

This is one of the quilts in the special exhibition . . . the quilting is absolutely AMAZING!!!

Cling-Onz have some new styles . . . isn't this a cute display, a flower garden of Cling-Onz.

The pictures do not do justice to these new macchiato batiks we just ordered -- they are actually navy, mocha and a beautiful golden tan, yummy enough to eat (how could they not be with a name like macchiato)!  We got a set of six so they are going to be perfect for one of the 6 fat quarter bag patterns.

Just a couple of the mini hangings from the new Art to Heart book . . . we imagine Debby will be working on samples for the shop before long!

Blessings of Winter Block of the Month.  We've ordered the fabrics;  they are scheduled to be ready to ship in August.  It is so very cute, we can't wait!          

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day Two International Quilt Market:  Today was Schoolhouse for all three of us.  This is a whirlwind of sessions, some 15 minutes, some 1/2 hour.   It's a combination of designers and manufacturers showcasing their new books and products and an opportunity to pick up some new ideas for classes, demonstrations, and techniques.  The way it is always structured is that the schedule is available at 8:00 a.m. and the classes start at 10:20.  There are at least 10-15 classes to pick from for each time slot and almost none are repeated . . .lots of decisions to make and we often coordinate so that each of us goes to one of the classes we hope will bring ideas for our customers.  Five minutes between classes, eating on the fly or choosing to sit out one session to get some food . . . is it any wonder that we are exhausted at the end of the day.  However, we are also filled to the brim with new ideas we want to share with each other --- just not sure we have the energy to do so!  Hopefully, we've taken good enough notes so that, if nothing else, we'll be able to talk through everything we heard and saw during the long drive home.

Here are a few pictures, just to give you a small idea of what we saw:

Martha is very intrigued with this technique by Gloria Loughman -- she creates stunning backgrounds for landscape quilts using rectangle, square or diamond shaped "tiles", i.e. small shapes strung together w/ fusible web, then stitched down. It's perfect for sunsets, sunrises, anything with a lot of color variation in the background. Can't wait to try it in a make and take class Saturday morning!

Not everyone is fond of modern quilts, but this quilt was such a great opportunity to take all those scraps and stash fabrics and make something easy and beautiful with it.  This is by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle of Modern Quilt Studio made in part from their new Passport line of fab.
Here's a new design from Deb Tucker of Studio 180 Design.  This design uses several of her tools including the V Block Trimmer and the Corner Beam.  Deb is always coming up with new ideas and is an absolute kick to watch and listen to!
Terry Atkinson's design -- yes, we've seen the Ohio Star MANY times before, but for this pattern she made the blocks over sized with the points floating, then trimmed the blocks to size, so no matter what level of skill you have, you will never lose your points in the seam allowance, what a great idea  And, she's been working with solids, which many of us tend to shy away from, but look at the stunning contrast in this quilt.

The last thing of the day (night) is Sample Spree.  It's amazing to us that people start lining up at 6:00 p.m. when the event doesn't open until 8:00 p.m. (the three of us went to dinner, thank you!)  Sample Spree has 100 or more vendors and is often the first opportunity to see and purchase new things . . .mostly fat quarter bundles, jelly rolls, charm packs, patterns and thread samplers.  We did enjoy a bit of shopping, but didn't get into the frenzy that many do . . . it's impossible to even get near the Moda booth, customers are three, four and five deep!  We did see lots of great things, only a preview of what we'll be seeing tomorrow, both fun and exhausting.  Here are a few pictures of the crowds, both the line outside and what it looked like when we got inside.



Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 1 at International Quilt Market in Portland, Oregon.  The drive went smoothly (thanks to Diane!).  We had lunch at a great little restaurant in Goldendale called The Glass Onion . . . excellent food if you are in that area.  Arriving in Portland, we were pleased to see that directly across the street from our hotel entrance is a Starbucks, and we are diagonally across the street from the Convention Center entrance, ditto the Max light rail stop.  How very convenient.

We mastered (or at least figured out) the process for buying tickets and getting on and off the MAX line; it was much nicer to just take the light rail rather than to hassle with driving across the river in rush hour traffic, trying to figure out where to park, etc.  We spent the evening cruising the Willamette River on a stern wheel paddle boat.  This was a dinner cruise sponsored by Fabshop Network (an international network of locally owned independent quilt shops) and the three main sponsors, Exclusively Quilters, Quilting Treasures and Square in Square.  The scenery was gorgeous, the dinner was lovely, and there were tons of door prizes . . .of course, we were the lucky ones who won NOTHING!  Ah well, it was still fun and we each left with a bag of goodies, the best of which we will be passing on to our customers as door prizes in the coming weeks and months!

We were on the sternwheeler on the left -- it is powered solely by that paddle wheel.  It's amazing how much control the pilot has, we came into the dock sideways!

Here's Diane with Laurie Harsh, Executive Director of FabshopNet
Sorry it's not a better picture, but we did see a bunch of these "Dragon" boats out on the river -- looked like great fun!

Look at all these great door prizes . . . too bad none of them went home with us!