Monday, October 27, 2014

How To Take A Successful Class

We offer classes every week at Bright Hopes Quilting and hope our customers think the selection and teachers give them a variety of choices each month, from beginners to rather advanced techniques. There is something there for everyone and we love seeing the finished product, however long it takes. With quilt-making, there is no time constraint imposed. We think of it as a long-distant stroll as opposed to a sprint to the finish line.

So, okay, you have the list of classes and are fairly new to quilting. A natural question that comes to mind is "What can I expect from this class?" 

Our goal for each student is get them familiar enough for the pattern and how to construct the various elements so that when she goes back home with her supplies and blocks, she is prepared to continue until the quilt top is complete. We offer plenty of classes that can be 'done-in-a-day' and even some that require a 2-day attendance. Some of our classes, however, are made up of multiple blocks and lots of them so there is no way you can expect to drive home with a finished product.

When we map out a class, we take into account the complexity of the pattern as well as the skill-set of the student and try to allot enough time to get the student ready to leave the shop armed with knowledge and experience to comfortably continue at home, knowing that if they run into trouble we are more than happy to help at a time when there is no class going on or during our Friday Sit & Sew morning.

That being said, it is most helpful for both the teacher and the other attendees for you to have purchased all the supplies you need for the class and the pattern ahead of time so YOU can come ready to learn. If a student arrives to class with an assortment of fabrics but needs more to make the pattern, that means she is not ready to begin on time! If the first time you lay eyes on the actual pattern is five minutes after you walk in with your machine, you will not be prepared for class.

Bring every tool listed in the supply list. If you don't have that specific tool, but a close proximate, bring that and ask if it will work. Chances are, it will. If it can't, you can buy the tool or work around the problem. But, if you leave your tools at home, you will have an awfully hard time sewing!

Speaking of which, if you DO need to buy thread, tools or  an additional piece of fabric for a particular class, please get here when the doors open and shop. We usually begin classes at 10:00 (unless the schedule says 9:30), for this very reason!  We understand that there comes a time when you do need just this one or other thing for the class and you realize the night before you don't have it. However, that doesn't mean you have time to shop for all the fabric as well! It take time to choose fabric and we want you to really like the selection, not just settle because of time-restraints.

Get to class early enough to be set up and ready to go BEFORE the class begins. It takes 5 minutes to haul your stuff in, pick a spot and unload.


If you arrive as class is beginning, it is very distracting for the the teacher and other classmates.

Always, if humanly possible, buy your pattern so you can read through it the night before class. You will have a better idea of what you are going to learn if you know what is ahead. You don't have to understand it, even though, you probably will.

"Why should I take a class if I already read the pattern? I thought you were going to TEACH ME?" 

Good question! 1. Every class we teach has had a sample made so the teacher is familiar with construction and aware of issues or complications and knows short-cuts or better construction methods. With reading comprehension, anyone can take a pattern and work their way through it but why not take advantage of someone else's 'learning curve"?  2. What better way to meet new people and form friendships than doing something with others?  

And just like when we were in school, our teachers would say (repeatedly) "Read the chapter the night before!"  and we would wonder why. Well, the teacher, if she/he was a good one, would have much more to teach than just the words out of that book. The same is true in crafting classes. There is much more to learn in each class than just that pattern in front of us.

Deus ex machina........ 

We at the shop have A working knowledge of sewing machines, true, but there are some very specialized machines out there, expensive and delicate, so it is always best if the student is completely familiar with that machine before they take a class with it in order for the class itself to run smoothly. It's always a good idea to bring your manual, just in case.  Know how to adjust for a quarter inch seam allowance or have a quarter-inch foot.  Most, MOST, of our classes require a 1/4" seam.   And fresh needles and filled bobbins. If you know what thread you are going to use, take a few minutes the night before and fill your bobbins, ladies! It takes time out of the precious hours to sit there and spin that bobbin!

Stay together, now.  "If I understand what I am doing, why can't I just continue on ahead of the teacher?" We understand it can be frustrating waiting for others to finish a step while we are sitting there, cooling our heels. But resist, if you can, moving on ahead of the teacher without letting her know. It happens often that a student moves a head of the pack and then make a mistake which now takes the teacher time to instruct  to undo and now, look who's wasting the time of the class. If you think you are ready to move on, ask the teacher. Chances are good that you can move on but at least give the teacher a head's up! 

Ask questions! If something doesn't seem right, or doesn't seem to make sense, speak up! Keep in mind, you might not be the only one who doesn't understand but the only who says something! 

Bring appropriate snacks and drink. If you need a mid morning break, do not be afraid to speak up. Low blood-sugar is not your friend. 

We hope you had eaten a good breakfast and have plenty of energy when the class begins. Also, if the class is more than 3 hours long, bring a lunch. If you have to leave and pick something up, do your very best to be back within 30 minutes.

Lastly, shopping.
Who doesn't like to take a moment and look around a shop to see new things. There is usually time left over at the end of the day for shopping. But if your schedule does not allow for this and you really need to grab a few things before you head out the door, let us know and we can have a 'held receipt' on the register for you so as you start packing up, we can check you out quickly. 

So to recap:

1. Have the pattern and supplies before the class.
2. BE ON TIME and READY.  If you need to grab something extra, get there early.
3. READ the pattern and familiarize yourself with the contents.
4. Have a working sewing machine you know and bring the manual, just in case!
5. Pre-wind your bobbins, ladies! (you too, guys!)
6. Stay with the class as it moves through the lesson.
7. Ask questions! 
8. Bring snacks and drinks or a lunch as well. Stay energized all the way through.
9. Let us be your personal shopper and have your check-out waiting at the register if you have to dash out.

We want everyone to have an enjoyable day sewing and learning. Our time is limited and precious so let's make the very most of what we have!

Schedule of Classes Nov - Dec. 2014

Okay, Linda Kay just finished our new Newsletter/Schedule of classes... 
here it is, hot off the presses!

 As before, we are using two formats; PDF for those on standard computers and screenshots for you on iPads or iPhones.....

We have some great new classes being offered for the first time as well as some old favorites in case you missed it before. Please come in to sign up and get the class supply list. Some classes require patterns and prep-work before class so it's always a good idea to be familiar with what you can expect during the class in order to get the most out of your hours here.

Remember, Bright Hopes Quilting has the incredible $60.00 Class Coupon which happens to be the Best Deal In Town. For $60.00 flat you can take as many classes as you wish in a continual 6 month period. You can't beat this!

The ONLY THING we ask of you is for you to notify us in a timely fashion if you are unable to attend any class for any reason so someone on the waiting list can take your reserved seat.  What do we mean by 'Timely Fashion"?  Please don't call us the morning of the class and say you have a flat a tire or are not feeling well.  If there is a chance you can't make it, let us know at least by the afternoon before so we can call another customer. We don't run this like the airlines and overbook. It's only fair to let someone use their coupon if you can't make a class.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

September and October Classes

Okay, it's been just a week since the 2014 Shop Hop and we hope you've had a chance to rest because here is the new calendar of classes for September and October.

Don't forget! September is also our Anniversary Month and Pearl has some fun brewing for our customers..... keep reading the weekly newsletter for upcoming information.

For you who can view the PDF Format...

Powered by Upload PDF

And for those who are unable to view the PDF.......

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler!!!!

It's that time again, all you quilt enthusiasts out there! Time to gear up and get ready for the 2014 Southeast Louisiana Shop Hop.

This year, we have 10 shops participating in the 2 weekend blow-out.

That means 10 chances to win the Shop Baskets valued at $250.00 each & 10 beautiful original quilts to view and choose from & make.

There will also be a GRAND PRIZE beautiful Baby Lock Sophia 2 sewing machine and 1st, 2nd & 3rd place prizes given away so that makes 14 prizes to shoot for in total.  But you have to have a passport to be entered to win.

While you are not required to have a passport to attend, by buying a PASSPORT at any one of the 10 shops for $5.00, you will also have a $5.00 off coupon at EACH shop for purchases of regularly priced items totaling over $25.00.  The coupons are only good during the Shop Hop.

At each store, fill out a chance to win that shop's basket and get your passport stamped. Do this at ALL participating shops and you will be entered to win this great sewing machine or one of the 3 big baskets. Whoo-Hoo!!!!

Each store will be selling a kit to make their particular block and each store will have their own unique finished quilt on display and kits for purchase to make that quilt. You can see photographs of the other quilts as well at the shops.

Now, OUR quilt has 12 squares so our finishing kit will include 2 bonus blocks and patterns along with the sashing and binding and instructions. We love our quilt..... it just sparkles!

We also have these beautiful enameled pins for sale. $5.00

So, mark your calendars; the dates for the Shop  Hop are:

Friday and Saturday, August 8 & 9
Thursday, Friday & Saturday, August 14, 15 & 16

We will all be open extended hours, 9:00 - 6:00 to help everyone make it from one end of our Great State to the other. .

To help facilitate this further, Pearl is organizing a bus once again to drive Hoppers to 3 shops and back to Bright Hopes, including a box lunch and snack for the return trip. 

Riders will be picked up here in Mandeville and transported first to The Borne Quilter in Lafayette, then over to The Quilt Cupboard in Morgan City and up to Cottage Creations in St. Gabriel. You should arrive back at Bright Hopes no later than 6:00 pm and probably a little earlier.

The bus is limited to 25 riders and the cost this year is $80.00.

Quilters who have traveled this way in the past few years have enjoyed the ease and fun of sitting back, arriving rested at each store and visiting with friends and showing off what they found

. Give us a call at 985-845-9554 to reserve your seat.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Surprise Yourself Mystery

In anticipation of our 11th Anniversary this September, we are offering a free mystery to our customers. Here is a list of requirements for those who are interested.

Surprise Yourself Mystery

Before you begin: This is a mystery quilt which will measure 40” square as a wall-hanging or table topper IF it is assembled as we have done at the ‘reveal’.

 However, this also makes a terrific size to become the center of a medallion quilt. So, keeping this in mind, below you will find the fabric requirements to make this mystery with enough spare in case you make a cutting mistake. If you cut perfectly, you will have plenty of fabric left-over. If you want to make a larger quilt, you may want to buy extra fabrics.


Background  (BG) 1 1/8 yard total

Focus Fabric  (FF)  5/8’ If your fabric is meant for fussy-cutting, go with a full yard.


A -       1/4’ WOF                                                       F -       1/3’  WOF

B -       1/4’ WOF                                                       G -       1/8’  WOF

C -       1/8’ WOF                                                       H -      1/4’  WOF

D -       1/8’ WOF                                                       I   -       1/4  WOF      

E -       1/4’  WOF

Once again, the yardage I have written is a minimum cut. If you think you might consider making a larger quilt, you should buy more fabric to keep your options open.

Some suggestions for fabric selection:

Focus Fabric:  Choose this based on a pleasant mix of colors.  Anything monochromatic will not give you much contrast from which to pick the rest,  It should NOT be a large print because the pieces will be too broken-up in the blocks.   Now, using the FF as a guide, pull 6* distinct colors from this choice. These can be blenders or solids but should not be large print or blotchy.  From those 6 colors, choose one ‘color and find 4 hues of it: 1 light, 1 med, 1 med dark and 1 very dark of that color. These are now to be labeled, from light to dark, A, B, C, and D.

Now of the remaining 5 colors, choose 1 fabric of each. Label each of these E, F, G, H and I

Finally, choose a background that offers strong contrast to everything you have.

Although it is NOT required, you might like to buy the book that inspired this Mystery, Surprise Yourself.  It is written by two very creative and different quilting personalities, Charlotte Angotti and Debbie Caffrey and is filled with ideas and piecing instructions that offer a variety of methods to create each of the blocks you will be making in this multipart mystery.

* 6 colors!!!!! How busy does the focus fabric have to be!!?? Well, think Kaffe Fassett, or a floral, or oriental. Anything that has a rainbow of colors will be suitable but the design itself should not be a large print.

If you would like to participate, come to Bright Hopes on July 11 to pick up your first page of instructions.

Every two weeks thereafter, you may pick up the next page until you have received a total of 6.

At our Annivesary in September, we will do the Big Reveal! At that time you will receive our instructions to put your quilt together.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

July - August Calendar of Classes

It's that time again!

Here is the new roster of classes. We have lots of new projects to make the most of your summer in the cool of the air-conditioning.

Kathy Brown is hosting a one-day class on Saturday, July 12,  in making a cute wool-on-cotton wall hanging to decorate for Christmas, called Wee Woolies.

If you have been hoping to take a class on paper-piecing a Christmas tree, now is your chance and we have the fun Lil Bits patterns in 3 great sizes, one to fit whatever space you'd like to fill.

Don't forget to mark your calendar for our Annual Shop Hop extravaganza, this time covering two weekends to help with the distance between all of us participating shops. You can buy your passports starting next week! We also have the beautiful collector enamel pins.

You can reach us by phone at 985-845-9554!

We have been putting up photos of the 8 pages of our calendar to accommodate our customers who can't open pdf files on their devices but as you can see farther below, the images can appear slightly fuzzy. So, we have decided to also post the original method of viewing as well, in hopes that this will help everyone be able to read the schedule one way or the other. 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Quilt Shop Fabric vs Chain Store Fabric

We have had customers ask us why chain stores are able to charge less for what appears to be the same fabric and we are posting this article from a long-time representative at Moda Fabrics to help clear the issue.

The Difference Between Chain Store Fabrics and Quilters’ Grade Fabrics

 by Jim Salinas
I’m often asked, “Is there really any difference between the printed cottons found in chain stores for $2.99 to $5.99 per yard and those found in quilt shops and the best mail order catalogs for $7.99 to $9.99?” You bet there is!

 Premium brands start with high quality greige (gray) goods. Premium greige goods have a thread count of at least 60 by 60 threads, and most have thread counts higher than “60 square.” Higher thread counts produce a silkier hand, less bearding when quilted, longer fabric life and better printing definition.

Most chain store cotton prints are made from less expensive greige goods that have 60 square construction or less. In chain stores, 60 square construction is considered to be the benchmark of high quality. In addition to thread count, fabric quality is also determined by the diameter of the yarns used, the size of the cotton filaments and the length of the cotton staple. Although premium raw materials are more expensive and add to the final price you pay, you get a far superior finished product.

Premium brands typically make use of a higher number of screens (the number of colors used in the print) and more complex and sophisticated engravings. High screen counts and complex engravings require using slower and more exacting flat bed presses than the high speed rotary presses used by domestic printers for most chain store fabrics.

Once the greige goods are printed, they have to be “finished.” The printed fabric is placed in a chemical bath that sets the dye into the cotton fibers. Unfinished or poorly-finished goods bleed badly and have a very coarse, “boardy” hand. Premium brands are finished using more time-consuming and expensive processes that create the silken hand of quilters’ grade fabric in addition to superior colorfastness.

It is, of course, an over-simplification to divide the cotton print industry into chain store brands and quilt shop/mail order catalog brands. Indeed, chain stores often carry a limited range of premium brands. But, generally speaking, chain store offerings are price driven. They cannot easily sell the higher priced fabrics to their clientele.

As a result, chain stores tend to carry the lower priced (and therefore lower quality) cotton fabrics.
Consider also the element of design. Premier designers tend to design for premium fabric companies. The technical aspects of the use of premium greige goods, printing many screens with fine definition, creating a silken hand through more sophisticated finishing processes – all these elements enhance a designer’s efforts. World-class design brings a unique dimension to premium quality fabric. It comes with a price, but it adds immeasurably to the special nature of quilters’ grade fabric.

There is one more point that should be addressed. That is the issue of service and expertise.  Most quilt shops and mail order quilting catalogs, the prime sources of premium fabrics, are well staffed with knowledgeable, friendly, quilting experts. Most shops provide classes and expertise unmatched by the chains. Quilt shops and mail order catalogs generally do not sell jobber goods. They offer only first quality, premium brands at fair prices. These firms deserve your support.

In conclusion, there is most definitely a difference in fabrics. You get what you pay for. Premium brands offer a vast quality advantage over cheaper alternatives for just a modest increase in cost, especially when you consider the effort, skill and love that will go into your use of the fabric.   -Jim Salinas

We at Bright Hopes Quilting appreciate our customers whose continued support help keep the doors open and our shelves stocked with the top-quality fabrics that make your work last a lifetime.