Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dry-Erase Board, Your New Friend in the Sewing Room

LuAnn Kessi wrote a blog-post some time back that I had the great good fortune to stumble upon and she opened me up to a new idea I want to pass along!

I do my own machine quilting on a Tin Lizzie 18 (love my machine!) and am constantly on the lookout for exciting new quilting lines to try.  I love to free-hand with the thread and don't care to use pantograms although I do think they are useful on the right quilt-top.

Coming up with new repetitive motifs is always something of a challenge and when I can't come up with something new, I tend to revert back to my same-ol' same-ol'.  So doodling is a natural way to explore, letting the mind go free and see where the pen takes me. I also end up with a lot of wasted paper....... and that is where LuAnn Kessi comes in.

She showed photos of her dry-erase board and images of how she creates her lovely flowing lines of a fiddlehead fern as a quilting motif and my mind went "boing!!!!! Why didn't I think of that!?"

Not only is this a tool to practice your hand movements before you start stitching, it is great to have hanging close by as a reminder of various lines you plan to use as you travel from top to bottom.  Thank you, LuAnn!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chez Moi "Sophie" by Moda

A few weeks ago, a friend on Facebook posted this handy chart she found by Benartex and I thought, how nifty is that! 

So I promptly saved it in for future reference. Go ahead and print it out..... I'll wait!

As a FQ fan, I tend to collect them, (lots of them!) and when I want to make a pattern or come up with one myself, I have to stop and do the math..... Not Any More. With that chart, I can quickly determine what I can get out of what I have on hand. It is amazing what you can cut out of a yard or two of fabric. 

Which brings me to this:

"Sophie" by Chez Moi at Moda

Here is a bundle that's hard to resist....... 6 fat quarters and 1 1/2 yard length of the beautiful bouquets...  The colors are clean and perfect for a simple quilt for just about anyone.   It would a great sleep-over quilt for a young girl or with enough blue, it can even be a sweet baby boy's crib quilt. 

Well, what can you make with 3 yards of fabric?  Slice up the FQs into half square triangles, make them spin in pinwheels and throw the outer border on for a fast lap-quilt. 

Need it bigger? Add a splash of Moda Marble blue as sashing and inner border.  

Need it even bigger? Add your own neutral or dark chocolate as a background color for the pinwheels and double the size of the finished quilt. 

What can make it even better? How about 30% off  as a FlashStashSale? 

Regularly priced at $29.99, this 3 yard bundle is available at $20.99 for a short time only while supplies last!

Call us at 985-845-9554 or email us at:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

What About That!

I just posted a message about the Louisiana Shop Hop 2012 taking place next month and ran through a list of the participating quilt shops.

Each store has it's very own and unique personality, one which reflects it's owner and staff. We are Bright Hopes Quilting; I've worked there since the doors opened and have watched the shelves fill and empty,  furniture move around the floor, the samples come and go and I have to say the name truly reflects the store on multiple levels.

The first thing a shopper will notice about us is the light that floods in through all the windows which allows one to see the fabric clearly. All along the perimeter, you will find more examples of quilt patterns, from stand-alone designs to those which come from recently published books. Lots of customers tell us that this feature of our shop helps them get a better idea of what to expect when they are shopping for a new quilt to make and they like it that someone took the time to construct one. We have so many samples hanging all around and even more in the back and since Pearl likes to keep things fresh, we often remake the samples in new fabrics and sell the previous sample in the back of the shop. Check out the back room when you are looking to give a quilt as a gift but don't have time to make one yourself!

 Oh and the fabric! We have some of the brightest and happiest bolts out there. And lots of them. Pearl has what I think of as our "wall of colors"; these are blenders  and tone-on-tones that run the gamut of every color and shade under the sun. In the center of the room is the cutting table and surrounding it in various directions you will find our asian and batiks, all the regional motifs like music, food and local sports teams (LSU and Saints), a terrific selection of baby fabrics, Black & Whites, and back to Brights and finally Christmas. We carry bolts with Dr. Seuss and Peanuts and halloween designs and have shelves of Kaffe Fassetts. When new groups come in, we showcase them as a set and always try to think of good patterns to use with them. Do you need a length of wide fabric for backing? We got you covered.

Now that you have all this fabric and are itching to get stitching, check out our great classes we offer every month. Some are old favorites and some are hot off the presses and we never go more than a few days without a class being held. Why do you need a class? Many of you don't but the teacher has made the class quilt and very possibly discovered something that makes the cutting or sewing easier the first time out. It's also a fun way to meet new people and try new things... you know, move a little out of your comfort zone and see where it takes you!

We have been receiving a steady stream of solids lately with more on the way, and are grouping them altogether for the Modernists, those new designers who are branching out in new directions in quilt-making.

This is a very exciting time in the world of quilt-making and encourage our friends to seek out new ideas and avenues in making their quilts and we enjoy helping to work out the plans to change a design to reflect the quilter and make the final piece a unique creation instead of a copy of the original. We think that is a very bright idea indeed.

Up-Dated!!!! Louisiana Shop Hop 2012 Passports!

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! 

It's time for our annual Louisiana Shop Hop and here is a quick run-down for you.

We have nine (count'em' 9!) shops participating this year which adds more potential $250.00 Prize Baskets to win. As before, passports include $5.00 off coupons to each of the stores when you purchase $25.00 of regularly priced items and the passports go on sale next week for the low price of only $5.00.

So, you say you've never done a Shop Hop? You don't know the wherefor and the why? Well, the point of it all is to become familiar with shops you might not otherwise ever visit, those which are farther-flung than your favorite. Some stores are fairly recently opened and you might not have had an opportunity to check it out. We still get customers at Bright Hopes Quilting who say they didn't know there was a quilt shop in Mandeville and we've been here for nearly 9 years!

So, starting from here, you have to our Northeast Sew This! in Abita Springs then head South across the Lake to Mes Amis on Spanish Fort in New Orleans.

Now, head to the bayous of Houma to the Quilting Niche then West to Quilt Cupboard in Morgan City to and over to The Borne Quilter in Lafayette.

Wheuw! Back on I-10 to the East in Baton Rouge to Fabric Crazy and pop down to St. Gabriel to Cottage Creations and Quilts. Last stop,  Mama's Quilt Shop in Independence.

Now that is a little too far to make in one day, we know, so we have spread the Hop to cover Thursday, Friday and Saturday, August 16, 17 and 18 and extended our hours to allow for more time to get to each shop and actually have time to relax and breath. And if you know me; food is a big draw so I like to have a calm meal somewhere along the road. That is never a hard thing to find in this great State of Louisiana.

Okay, so once you're in the shop, then what? Well, each store has goodies to share and fun things happening to keep you energized, not to mention our own quilts we make each year to celebrate the theme of the Shop Hop. This year, we went for Unique and each shop has made a totally different quilt reflecting what is happening at that particular shop. Each shop will also be handing out a free block pattern they used to make their individual quilt.

This is the one Pearl made and we think it's a real winner! Such happy bright fabrics an what a great block!  We will have kits available at Shop Hop for those of you interested in making this cheerful quilt.

Oh, and at each store, you get your passport stamped and enter your name into that shop's Prize Basket. If you have those pre-printed return address labels with you, this goes much faster. (And the Prize Baskets are not filled with stale stuff, either! Oh no, we get serious when Pearl fills hers and winners are happy when they trot home with their stash!)

Then, prowl around and see what's new at your favorite shop or if this one happens to be a store you've never visited before, see what they have on the shelves. You never know where inspiration will find and take you.

If you do get to all 9 stores, do not forget to leave that fully-stamped passport at the last shop. This enters you to win one of four major prizes and the Grand Prize this year is a Viking Sewing Machine!

I have participated in 2 Shop Hops as a customer and as staff through all of them and am witness to tell you it really is a lot of fun when you go with a group of friends. Someone always spies an interesting notion or lovely piece of fabric. It is rare to find the same fabric in three stores.


But you tell me, driving all that distance is just not your thing. Well, Pearl has that covered for those of you on this side of the State. If you want to Hop in style, leave the driving to the professionals and hop on our Shop Hop Bus to Lafayette, Morgan City and Houma. We leave from the Bright Hopes parking lot on Saturday early enough to get to Lafayette when the doors open, then swing down to Morgan City and then on to Houma with a lunch provided and a snack for the return to Bright Hopes. You will get back in time to shop with us and get your passport stamped and be home in time for dinner.

 All this for only $65.00. But you have to act fast because Pearl has to confirm the reservation by mid-week, July 18. If this sounds like a good idea, give us a call at 985-845-9554. We must receive your check in order to confirm your set reservation. And if have any questions, give us a call!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pearl's Big Adventure

When Pearl announced the other week that she was going to take a road trip to Paducah, KY, I just wanted to smuggle myself into the back of her Toyota. I knew she was going to have a whale of a time going to the quilters' Mecca and she certainly did.

I still haven't heard the details of what she saw and did (or ate. That's another big deal for me on road trips) but I think when she returns next week I'll get a better run-down to share.

Along the way, Pearl visited locations from her childhood and was on the look-out for Barn Quilts.

Here are a few examples of fine signs she risked life, limb and bent bumpers to capture. (no shoulders to pull off on).    I don't know the exact location for these but the Amish buggies in the last shot might be a hint! Again, the photos may be a little fuzzy but you get a good idea of some great blocks.

Kinda makes you want to build a barn.....

Sunday, July 8, 2012

So Where Are We?

I have been remiss in posting due to the demands that summer puts on our shoulders and wanted to get another post up before August!

Which is our Shop Hop month; Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Can you believe it's now our eighth? Well, which ever number it is, it's always looked forward to with great anticipation from all of us who work at Bright Hopes. We love the excitement the quilters bring in with them, seeing old friends and enjoy meeting new people.

In the years past, each shop made individual quilts using the same theme; for example one year it was "Christmas!" and last year, Black and White with Crayons.

 This year, the participating shops have decided to create unique quilts with no unifying theme. Look for each on display and see what we came up with. Pearl's quilt is finished and beautiful! We'll be hanging it shortly and when that happens, I'll post a photo of it here on the blog.

Meanwhile, if you get our newsletters, you know the weekly happenings at the shop. You know we have shelves n bolts of Christmas fabric and some wonderful new books. We are focusing in on the Modern quilt and are seeing some fine examples come through the doors. While traditional quilts will remain a strong force, it cannot be denied that fabrics and quilt designs have been wandering off the reservation recently.

Additionally, more and more people are investing in their own quilting machine. No, not necessarily the huge Gammills but what I refer to as a modified long-arm. It's not impossible to quilt a large top with a standard sewing machine but it is far easier on one that is made especially for quilting.

However, once the machine is home and sitting there, the question comes up, "What design should I use?"

You've probably mastered the meandering line and loop-d-loops. Are you tentative about trying feathers and shapes?
Obviously, the answer is "One that complements the quilt itself." but then what? If you are stumped by this question, here are two books that might provide some answers.

Okay, simple feathers really are a lot of fun to quilt but starting off is beyond daunting. Once you get the hang of it, they are down-right addicting but eventually you will want to move to the next level and here is where this book by Peggy Holt comes in. She shows you how to look at the space which will be filled with a design and then create the feather-shapes that will live there. The feathers in this book are complicated and intriguing but very do-able, when you know how!

 She shows you how to fill borders and create mirror-images. As you can see from the cover above, she combines open airy feathers with dense filler to create a very sophisticated finish... a very good book for your collection.

Next, we have Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. This is a terrific book filled with quilting lines with the modern quilt in mind but don't let that dissuade you from checking it out. The designs inside this book are universal and, more importantly, actually do-able.

I can't tell you how many times I have stood in amazement staring at a quilt and wondering how the quilter made such straight lines or where she hid the thread and what inspired that particular motif. I get lots of ideas from quilt shows and am not ashamed to ask if I can steal this or that for my own future use.

But then, I struggle with the idea that each line must be perfect and not knowing how they do it. I guess I always will but this book helps me understand the how and then brings out the maverick in me.  It also inspires me to practice a new line and with each quilt behind me, I grow more confident in my ability.

 It kills me to see on Page 40 how she took the meandering motif to a whole new exciting look and I marvel at why I didn't think of that!! And the way she mixes up two totally separate designs to make a new one is eye-opening.
It is brilliant. If you have to choose only one book to reach for, give this one a flip-through and see for yourself. I can't wait to see what Ms. Walters comes up with next.