Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Birthday Goodies

I know that everyone is busy getting ready for the big turkey dinner tomorrow. Some of you are probably plotting your attack for the sales on "Black" Friday! I on the other hand am busy getting ready to celebrate the shops 15th birthday on Wednesday, December 3rd! (Lots of time for planning, my daughter is cooking the turkey this year!)

We have a special way for you to join in the birthday celebrating fun! Click on the "comment" button below this post, the one right next to the cute little pencil. Leave a comment about our store, the staff, a memory or mention a favorite class, teacher or project and you will have the chance to win a $15 Gift Certificate! We are looking forward to hearing from you. 15 years has garnered us an amazing amount of memories, warm customer friendships and more than our fair share of crazy stories!
You have from now until midnight December 3rd to leave a comment, which servers as your entry into the drawing for the prize. On December 4th we will use a random number generator to select the winner and post the winning name here on the blog. Don't forget to check back here on the 4th to see if you are the winner and provide contact information so that we can issue your gift certificate!
Those of you that shop our brick and mortar store will want to make plans to stop by in person. We have lots of surprises in store for you! Mark your calendar, Wednesday, December 3rd!
Happy Turkey Day!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Fifteen years.
December 3 The Quilt Company will be celebrating our 15th birthday!

How is that possible? How did a divisible by 5 birthday/anniversary sneak up on me with so little planning? You can't possibly imagine how fast time flies when you absolutely love to go to work each day. But, fifteen YEARS? You would think I would have noticed.

Bad planning. That is the excuse I am using. The original plan was to open the store in September. That would have been perfect. Nice weather, no conflicting holidays, quilters are back in the swing of things after taking the summer off. A perfect time to hold a birthday/anniversary celebration. That didn't work out. We built the building that houses the shop from the ground up. If you know anything about construction I don't need to tell you why our birthday is in December instead of September.

No wonder our birthday gets overlooked. Sandwiched in between a "late" Thanksgiving and full blown Christmas festivities, squeezed between holiday concerts and cookie baking and hot on the heels of our annual Holiday Open House, we need to find a way to make it jump out and grab your attention! - without giving the entire store away!

Planning, planning, planning....... Hmmm. We really need to show our appreciation to those of you that support the store, subscribe to our email lists, read the blog and keep us in business. After all, if it weren't for you, we wouldn't be here! What better way to let you know about the promotion than right where you like to communicate - your e-mail!

If you are one of our in-store customers, make sure you are signed-up for our "Local" e-updates. Those messages are intended for people that can walk in the door of our "brick-and-mortar" store, feel the fabric, see the displays and take advantage of our programs and classes. If you are a long distance customer, log on to the website and sign-up to receive The Quilt Company updates. These email messages are intended for those of you that shop our web store and want to be informed when new patterns are published, my fabrics are released or featured in magazines or when we introduce a new block of the month program.

Sign-up soon and watch your mailbox for details of our birthday celebration and special saving, just for YOU!


Monday, November 17, 2008

I've been busy!

Last week was one of those weeks where I barely had time to breathe, let alone take the time to compose a coherent blog post. No matter how hard I try to plan, everything seems to happen at the same time around here.

A week ago (on Sunday) we had our Santa Bucks auction here at the store. Customers had been earning "funny money" along with their purchases for several months. The top 40 "earners" were invited to a live auction to spend their bucks on everything from stationary sets designed by Deb Strain, a Moda designer to fat quarter bundles and even a queen size quilt! Many thanks to Jim, our Store Managers husband who did a stellar job as our auctioneer and managed to keep everyone bidding and having a good time. It was great fun - lots of work, but we love our customers!

Tuesday and Wednesday I was in New York to present artwork for my next fabric lines. I spent Monday finishing up the details and left for the airport at 4:30am Tuesday to catch a 6am flight. Believe it or not, I had a collision with a deer on Greentree hill. We live in wooded suburbia and I manage to collide with a deer who decides to cross a 6 lane highway with cars traveling at 60+ miles per hour. Three cars were crunched by that deer. For the record, the deer hit me, but that made very little difference to my husband who pointed out that the deer does not have auto insurance. I made it to the airport and my gate, plopped my overnight bag on the floor, and was turning off my cell phone when the woman standing next to me drop her entire cup of coffee right into my laptop case! Deer ping pong and a soggy hard drive are NOT the best way to start a business trip.

Back in the shop for the weekend and our Holiday Open House. This year we kicked off our series of Holiday Demos at the annual event. It's always a fun time and I love sharing quick and easy ideas with the crowd and watching the "lightbulb" go off in their head when they realize "I can DO that - and GET IT DONE!". You can see the details of a few of those items on the joint blog where I work with other shop owners at While you are there, post a comment on the site and you will have a chance to win one of our Old Man Winter button pillow kits! It is THAT easy! Just post a comment! You need to hurry, the comment has to be posted before midnight Nov. 20 to be eligible for the drawing.

To put a cap on my weekend, we hosted the cast party for our daughters Drama Club production of "Front Page". If you have ever wondered what your house looks like with 84 teenagers inside, here is a shot of just our entry hall.
The kids are great fun. They eat us out of house and home, like their music VERY loud and have more energy than I can ever remember having after midnight, but we really enjoy having them at our house. Lindsay is a senior and will be off to college out of state next year. It is going to be very quiet at our house.
Last night I was the featured speaker at The Quilt Company East Guild meeting. What a delightful group of men and women. Their meetings are well run and very welcoming. They have an excellent plan to include beginner quilters into the fold and an amazing success with community service both through the guild and by individual members. My favorite part is always Show-and-Tell and they didn't let me down! Kudos to the hardworking members of The Quilt Company East Guild!

Don't forget to post a comment at and oh yea, thaw that turkey!

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Quilting Family

News from the cooking sister.

I received an email from my sister Paula, who is trying to finish a quilt she started 10 years ago. She has managed to add an inner border and 3 of the 4 pieces of the outer border to her quilt top all on her own. I'm so proud. It has only taken her 2 weeks. OK, 10 years and 2 weeks.

Then I got to this part of her message:

"I have some questions on having it quilted, I am not sure how to have it quilted on the plate pattern? The woman who has the quilt store has a machine and does quilting but it is like giving your baby to a sitter for the first time."

Plate? Funny, I though she said they were blue and white stars? I think the "plate" reference means that she is finishing a Dresden Plate quilt! This sister had issues with piecing when she took a her first class with me 15 years ago. Later, when we introduced the Dresden Plate in our block-of-the-month, she decided that hand applique was oh-so-much easier than sewing all of those pieces together. Further illustrating the differences in our DNA.

The funniest part of her message is the comparison of giving your quilt to a quilter and leaving your baby with a sitter. When you think about it, you can always get a new sitter, but once that quilt is quilted - it is all grown up. Too late for major changes. Wait until she hears my lecture on batting. I feel pretty strongly that a batting can make or break the look of your quilt. There isn't a right or wrong, you just have to know how you want to use the finished quilt to make the right batting decision.
Paula's finishing quest was spurred by the desire to make her grandson a quilt. His room is decorated in dinosaurs. I packed up a fat quarter bundle of Dino prints, one of our 3-6-9 patterns and a quick note and shipped it off to her before I left town for Quilt Market. Our 3-6-9 is a perfect beginner pattern and I thought it was something she could get finished before Ryan is more interested in girls than dinosaurs!
Out of the blue:
My youngest daughter appeared in the family room last night proudly displaying a cute little purse that she had made herself using the sewing machine in our guest room. The workmanship was excellent. The purse is lined, has french seams on the bottom and is totally reversible. Adorable! She had cut-up some old t-shirts to use for fabric and drafted her own pattern. Wow! I was impressed!
Lindsay is my crafty kid, but she has been working in the kitchen of a restaurant for over a year and I was pretty sure she had an overdose of those cooking genes. Now that she was finished she had a zillion questions about the process she used. For some reason she refused to consult me at the time, some foolishness about wanting to figure it out for herself, but she took notes for her next project. We discussed options and I did mention that I knew where she could get some wonderful cotton fabric.... and a magnetic snap closure..... and some interfacing......
There may be hope for my fabric stash yet!
Now I want to get my hands on that bag and turn it into a pattern!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I should probably stop blabbering on about Quilt Market. It isn't really fair to keep talking about an industry show where unless you are part of the industry, you will never attend (nor should you). It's just that Market is such an important part of what makes our industry tick, that it is hard not to dwell upon it.

You don't need to feel completely left out, keep in mind that Quilts Inc hosts Quilt Festival in Houston each fall (following Market) a spring show in Chicago and another in California that are open to consumers. You could attend any of those and feel the same rush, the same excitement, and see the same products and people from the consumers viewpoint. If you have the opportunity – JUMP at the chance to attend. The energy in the air is enough to keep you excited about sewing for years!

I have snitched some photos from the websites of my friends to give you some idea of what the big deal is all about. This is a glimpse of the convention floor in Houston. This represents only a tiny fraction of the 26 aisles and 1000+ booths that we need to cover.
If you are going to be effective covering the sales floor, it helps to have extra sets of eyes and ears to help you find the treasures.

I always take Debby, my store manager with me. We work well together, but have different taste. Quite often one of us will point something out, only to be met with a totally confused look and all the other can say is "really"? At which point someone needs to take a second look!

In addition to Deb, I have a unique and talented group of friends that also own shops. They too are scouring booths to find the best-of-the-best. Luckily everyone in the group is willing to share all of their favorite finds.
Our stores are spread out all over the country and it is always fascinating to see what is attractive to quilters in different regions. This is Mary Wilberg checking things out in the American Jane booth. Mary owns Quilting Treasures in Rogers Minnesota. Mary's opinion helped me make a $1000 commitment to Aurofil thread. - what are friends for if they don't help you spend your money wisely?

Karen Snyder is another member of our group and her ears should be burning on a regular basis. I am using the International Mystery program she created in my BlockWatchers Club. We talk about her every month! She is a great friend and a fellow fabric designer. Karen specializes in 30's reproduction fabrics and I am thrilled to have her as part of the Timeless team.

Karen is in the process of closing her store in Long Beach, Washington and taking on the responsibility of being the spokesperson for Elna Sewing Machines. We are all getting a kick out of seeing "our" Karen's face plastered on posters, magazine ads and Elna's promotional materials.

We stopped by the Krause booth to support, .... ok, to harass her durring her book signings, but she was gracious enough to autograph a copy of her "Quilts From My Garden" book for us to use in our auction anyway.

Those of us that make up the stores at had a "town meeting" to do a little town planning, select a block of the month that will start in January and discuss the new - and exciting- editions to the site. I think you are going to want to check in on the village often, right now we are blogging every other day, and it is fun to track what each of us are doing.
Now it is time to get ready for Christmas.
Yes, Christmas.
It's time to plan demo's and projects, sample gift giving ideas, decorate.......... ho ho ho.