Saturday, July 30, 2011

Show and Tell

Linda Kay held her class on the Christmas Tote last Tuesday and took a photo of the finished projects!
Linda Williams and Barbara Moore

Tote Club is a fun monthly class that offers a new "tote" each time.

Next month's project will be a small sewing notion "tote" that holds your marking tools, small scissors, ripping stick, you know.... all the small things that tend to get lost in the shuffle or under a pile of fabric on your cutting table.

Kay Guillot came in for Applique Society and brought with her this terrific Show and Tell:

Her 11 year old granddaughter was in town for a visit and together they held their own "quilt camp". Sarah Duley pieced and quilted this beautiful batik 9 patch. I am told she also chose the fabric selection as well. It looks like another quilter has embraced the craft. Welcome, Sarah, to the club.

Now for a fun and silly parody, please read this article: The First Rule of the Quilting Society

If you need a tidbit to sample:

You don't cut more than four layers of fabric at the same time. You keep an eye out for cuts containing fabric fibers, as this is a sign of a worn-out blade. You keep your blade covered when not in use and out of the reach of little hands at all times, because safety is paramount. And you don't talk about the quilting society.

Ah, good stuff!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Here's a Tip!

I'm fairly certain other people have done this but again, good ideas should be widely distributed, no?

Linda Kay does this to her books and I find it to be a terrific use.

When you get home and thumb through a new paperback quilting book, you will find (probably) several designs you want to make, but the book closes and you prop it open with whatever you have handy, right?

Take that book over to Office Depot or Kinko's and have them trim off the binding and spiral bind it for you.

How easy is this and what a great idea!!! The book is then happy to stay open and you can easily photocopy any patterns that you need for projects without that awful distortion we get from that bend in the middle.

Thank you , LK!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Shop Hop 2011 Quilt Ta-DAH!!!!!

I couldn't wait til Thursday to reveal to our readers this sample of our Shop Hop Quilt.

Each shop is selling a kit to make one of each of the blocks, along with the pattern. Ours is the bright blue block in the middle!

And then each participating shop will be creating their own unique setting..... this one being ours. It measures 66" x 90".

We will be selling what we call Finishing Kits and instructions for this "on point" setting and binding.

I do hope you will be "hop" on in and see how beautifully Anne Uhry quilted it in fleur de lis patterns.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Meet the Staff - Mona

As a run-up to our 8 Anniversary, I am posting questionnaires of the good women who work at Bright Hopes. This week we have our......

Interview with Mona Lowe

1.When did you start quilting and how did it come to happen?
I started quilting when we lived in Saudi Arabia. I belonged to the Women’s Group and they had a rather larger quilt guild. My mother-in-law, Tica, was also a quilter and she, along with my husband, Roger, got me started on my first quilt.

2. Do you still have your first quilt?
My first quilt was an 8 pointed star with jeweled insets and yes, I still have it and it is still one of my favorites.

3. When did you arrive in Mandeville, and what brought you here?
I arrived in August, 1996 (for the second time). We repatriated from Saudi Arabia back to Mandeville for Roger’s work.

4. How long have you worked for Bright Hopes Quilting and what do you do there?
I have worked at Bright Hopes since the first day Pearl opened her doors. My responsibilities involve just about everything from daily bookkeeping, waiting on customers to teaching classes. I also have the honor of accompanying Pearl to Market in Houston.

5. You are know as an accomplished appliquer. Is this your favorite technique or do you have even have a favorite? Is there a style of quilting you would NEVER do?
I do love appliqué. I would have to say it is my favorite form of quilting. I also enjoy hand-quilting. I enjoy anything that is done by hand. I can’t say there is a style I would never try - I like to try most things at least once.

6. You have a collection of antique quilts. Is there a favorite in the collection?
Yes, I have quite a collection of antique quilts and I love them all. I can’t say I have a favorite one.

7. Do you have on your bed right now a quilt YOU made?
Yes, I have a snowball / nine patch quilt on my bed no that is one of the first quilts I ever made.

8. If your fairy quiltmother could grant you one wish, what would it be?
To live to be 170 years and still be able to quilt so I could finish all the projects I have already started or planned.

Ok, back to me..... Mona never toots her horn so please allow me ..... she and Roger designed this beautiful and complicated spiral quilt as a Challenge Quilt (from I think Moda...... approximately 2004). It made it through several levels and is one of the most unique quilts I have ever seen. I wanted to include for your viewing pleasure:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stash Busting 101

First off, there is nothing you are about to read that you don't already know or haven't read before but perhaps it bears repeating.

Yes, we are a quilt shop and indeed we sell fabric but a day doesn't go by without one of us either hearing or muttering to ourselves, "I have too much fabric! I don't know what to do with it all!" And then another fabulous shipment arrives and we drive home with yardage...

So, and speaking for myself, when confronted with what appears overwhelming, the tendency is to do a Scarlett O and just say, "Fiddle de de, I'll just think about that tomorrow!"

M' dears, tomorrow has arrived for this quilter. I had a good chin wag with Pearl yesterday and she gave me some good advice. I pass it on to you in the hopes that if tomorrow arrived today in your home, you will find this useful.

It's daunting to look at the spread you've got tucked here and there and know where to begin. So break down the difficult into manageable pieces. The rest will follow. (they're not going anywhere without you, you know!) And remember..... it took you years to get to this point; it's not going to unravel itself in a day, unless you are really motivated by something, (like moving).

a. In an effort to not overwhelm your senses and space, Open one drawer or tote box and go through it. Just one. Did you love the fabric then and wonder 'why?' today? Go with your gut and put it in a one of two stacks. If you love it still, keep it. If you reaction is "meh.." let it go. Give it up. That one goes in a non see-thru box so you won't be tempted to pull it out again. When you have plowed through that first stack of fabrics, give yourself a break. If you have the strength to continue....
b. Repeat this with another box or shelf of fabric. Now stop.
c. After you have culled, put the "To Go" box out of sight and organize what you intend to keep. Chances are you have fabric you haven't looked at in a long time and already your mind is swirling with possibilities. Group that together and write down what you are thinking. Put it in a ziplock bag or grocery bag together with the notation. This is important because with the passage of time comes memory loss. My best ideas are gone before I can finish thinking them throu..... what was I saying?

If you don't have any bright plan and or still have fabric orphans, organize what you are keeping in some manner that appeals to your method of quilting. I would make 3 piles and organize by size first. Scraps (yes.... I keep everything!!!!! groan), less than half a yard cut and yardage. Stay with me here..... Then box up the scraps so you don't get distracted. Put them aside. (There are ways to break even those down further but that's for another day.)

With the larger pieces, you need some form of organizing. Big chunks of yardage are easy to stow all together and then easier to find when it isn't jumbled in amongst the bits n bobs. They can be folded neatly and placed on end in a large clear container and if you are really good about this, you can measure each piece and place a sticky note like a file tab so in the future, when you have a pattern in mind, you don't have to drag it out completely to see if there's enough of that for the project.

There! The small pieces are done, the large chunks are out of the way..... It's the smaller, less than half-yard cuts that are most cumbersome. And probably account for half the battle.

We love to buy fat quarters but then they pile up and we want to use them so we just shuffle them around until they get mixed up and lost. So begin by deciding how you want to find them in the future. By color? All reds, all greens, etc. By brand? mmmmmm maybe not. By motif? all Asians, all polka dots, all baby, all batiks. (I have two boxes all Christmas! Who knew?)

Once you decide that, how are you going to stack them? In boxes, or on a shelf? Measure the intended space and fold the fabric to fit neatly in or on it. And stack it so you can see what you have without picking up what sits on top. If you have a label maker, stick a reminder on the outside of the box or on the shelf so you will know what is there without having to open it. Then, when they are all tucked in and you stand back, you will be amazed that you didn't do this before.

There! In less than a few hours you will have gotten some handle on your problem and probably are feeling less stressed as a result. You have taken the first step toward stash busting and I hope will feel enthusiastic about continuing with the remaining piles and closets and under-the-bed bundles of fabric.... (I hide them too... like a squirrel with nuts)(It's an illness.) until every piece is both accounted for and dealt with. Nothing left untouched or forgotten. And if this takes a week, that's okay. The point is you did it. You know what you have and you are in control again. (I'm not, yet, but I'm working on it....I'm working on it!)

Repeat this with your collection of books, magazines and patterns. Oh NO!!! Oh Yes. Have a pattern swap. Thin out the herd of magazines by tearing out the patterns you want to keep or cut just the photo of that especially pretty quilt you admire and get a 3-ring notebook instead. Why do I keep old advertisements on my shelf in some musty old magazine from 1996? OUT!

But what about the cast-aways? Don't toss it in the garbage!
If you belong to a club, propose a swap. Or make a scrappy fast quilt and give it away. Give it a good home. It came from one!

I read once that "clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions" and I think there is wisdom there. I know I feel better about what I am doing when I know where I have my stuff.

Now! You know all that stuff you kept? If you are ready to actually use some of it and want ideas, look for our little happy stars we have placed on patterns and samples throughout the store.

Scrappy quilts are awesome!

These little guys are there for you to get inspired to use what you have and be excited to do so.

I hope this has been a useful read. Send in photos of your busted up stash and quilts made from the results. We love to see what you do!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Road Trip to SouthCentral Louisiana is Ready to Roll!

I mentioned in our email last week that the bus* is now scheduled to take Shop Hoppers from Mandeville early Saturday morning, August 20, and head straight to Lafayette to The Borne Quilter. Riders will have 1- 1/2 hours to shop and get passports stamped and fill out chances for the door prizes. Then back on the bus to go to Morgan City.

Lunch is supplied and after spending another 1 -1/2 hours at the Quilt Cupboard, you'll head to The Quilting Niche in Houma.

Once again, you'll have 1- 1/2 hours before you make your return trip to Mandeville with a snack to tide you over. The bus should arrive at Bright Hopes Quilting parking lot by 6:00pm and all you had to do was kick back and have fun. The bottom line? $65.00

If this sounds like your cup of tea, give us a call to book your seat. Space is limited and the weeks are passing swiftly.

Passports go on sale July 15 at participating stores and come with $5.00 coupons for every shop. If you have never gone on Shop Hop, it's a lot of fun and even more so when you go with a group of like-minded quilters.

I can give you a tip I see each year. Bring some of those return address stickers you get in the mail (endlessly). It saves you time at the table filling out 8 drawing prize registrations and DON'T FORGET TO GET YOUR PASSPORT STAMPED at EACH store to be eligible for the Grand Prize. Every year it's a good one and THIS year it's an AccuQuilt GO System!

* So you know, Pearl at Bright Hopes, Mona at Sew THIS! and Brenda at Mama's Quilt Shop are sponsoring this bus and you can sign up at any of these 3 stores.

We Approach Our 8th Anniversary in September

As a lead up, I thought I'd introduce some of our readers to the owner and staff of Bright Hopes Quilting. Those of you who cross our threshold on a regular basis know us all fairly intimately and would be able to pick us out of a line-up (and hopefully post bail, should we need it).

But, some of you are fairly far-flung and might be wondering, who are all these people she keeps mentioning?

I will start with the one who got this ball rolling for the rest of us, our boss and benefactress, Pearl Squires, who answered the call and throws open wide the door, Monday- Saturday. Take it away, Pearl!

Interview with Pearl

1.When did you start quilting and how did it come to happen?

1975 – Community classes

2. Do you still have your first quilt?

No, my daughter has it. (Chris here - gonna see if I can get a photo of it!) (GOT IT!!!)

3. When did you arrive in Mandeville, and what brought you here?

1996-Husband’s job transfer

(aside- now, I have known Pearl for many years, but I never knew she got here the year before we arrived! I thought she'd been here long before this!)

4. It’s been 7 years plus since the doors first opened at Bright Hopes Quilting.

A. How did you decide to open a quilt shop and

When I lived in California. I considered opening a quilt store. I found it frustrating having to drive to Albany or New Orleans for quilting supplies. Then, my son went off to college and I began to see opening a quilt store as a possibility. (Small business Development Unit at Southeastern, retail experience.)

B. what was your goal(s)?

To create a quilting version of “Cheers”.

C. Have they been achieved?

They have been somewhat achieved, although I’d like to have more gatherings and clubs.

D How did you come up with the name?

The store name is also a block name. The block is somewhat obscure, and I liked the idea of using a block that is not completely mainstream. I especially liked the philosophy that the name conveyed – as a life guidepost and representing who we are at the store. Unexpectedly, the physical set-up of the store also came to reflect the name - sunshine & bright fabrics.

5. Katrina struck 2 years after you opened and we lost a few shops in the Gulf Coast area either directly or as a result of the impact of the storm. Were there days after the storm when you thought to yourself….”hmmmmm I wonder if we’ll make it?”

Yes. The bills still had to be paid, I wondered if people’s interest in quilting would diminish & I wondered about the New Orleans/Metro economy.

6. You see lots of quilts come through the door. I hear one compliant about owning a shop is the loss of time to make quilts yourself. Have you found this to be the case?

What I do has changed. I make samples for BOMs, classes and to highlight fabric. The number of quilts I’ve made since the store opened is much more than before. Besides, I come across more exciting ideas and fabric – this is also reflected in the BHQ crew.

7. Do you have a favorite pattern or technique? A favorite fabric line? A favorite book?

Block – Sawtooth Star. Technique – Miniatures. Fabric – Free Spirit turned me on to brights. Book – Sally Collins

8. If your fairy quiltmother could grant you one wish, what would it be?

Time (true..... we all want that fairy quiltmother!)