Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blocks of the Month Programs

I don't know about you but January has just blasted past us in a flurry blur of activity! The Visit Your Local Quilt Shop day was a hoot across the country and I hope anyone reading this had the opportunity to do just that. We are independent quilt shops that do business in competition with the large franchise craft stores so we truly appreciate our loyal customers who make coming to work for us so much fun every day. We love to see what you do with your talents and time. (And speaking for myself, you invigorate me with what you bring in for show n tell. I just itch to get home and give it a try!)

The day after VYLQS we had the pleasure of a visit from a McCall's cruise ship leaving the port of New Orleans on a quilting adventure. Thank you for coming both to our Great State of Louisiana and to our store! We hope your cruise is exciting and productive. What a wonderful way to kick off a new year.

It's been quite a busy start to the New Year at the shop and now that a little of the dust has settled, we can focus on shipping out the 3 new Blocks of the Month that we have been working on.

We finally received the gorgeous batik that will feature in the beautiful Marti Michell Sampler quilt and Pearl made the first block to give you a preview of what is to come. (side note: I made two of these large quilts 9 years back when I was still learning to quilt and it is a fun one to make because the blocks are more than simple but easier than difficult so it challenges the sewer but doesn't make her pull her hair out and throw things)

So here you can see what I mean..... it's a 9 Patch, okay, but you've got Square in a Square, Half-Square triangles and Quarter-Square triangles all coming together to make one exciting block. The BOM uses the Marti Michell Set B templates for the most accurate cutting of the pieces and they really make this quilt practically fool-proof. This quilt is a 12 month BOM and costs $18.99 a month. This will cover all the fabric for the 79" x 98" quilt top, including borders and binding.

This is Noa's Garden, a lovely sofa-sized quilt which will feature the Victorian Modern fabric line. Mona is working on the samples of this fine pieced and appliqued quilt. As you can see, it has only a small amount of applique and has a very old-fashioned look to it.

 Some of the fabrics we're using, shown below, are from Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, and Andover Fabrics.  This quilt will measure 60" x 68" and lasts 13 months  for $14.99 per month. Mona is holding a class for BOMers on this quilt in early February. She does beautiful applique!

 This is Kaleidoscope, a huge (96" x 100") quilt that again is mostly pieced blocks with a scatter of applique on the outer border.  Mona made this sample and we're using the jewel-tone Shadow Play fabric line  for this 12 month BOM. It costs $18.99 per month. If you were yearning to make a quilt for your own bed this year, this is a good one! ("you mean, I get to keep one?"  "yes! This is a keeper!")

Okay, the kits are being assembled now and will be ready to mail anywhere in the US for those who don't live near-by. We do not charge a sign-up fee for our BOM programs and you can sign up by phone or in the store. (985) 845-9554.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day!

It's Back! It's Big! It's This Thursday!

I don't know about you but once I have stowed the Christmas decorations and cleared the decks of the holiday cheers, I am rarin' to go on something new, something forward-looking. Something, dare I say, challenging?

Something like the Hoffman Challenge.  Have you seen the fabric they chose for the focus? It is spectacular! Here, have an eyeful!

Right? Spectacular! Very inspired choice! 

If you have never ventured down this path before, let me tell you briefly what's what. You make a quilt, a piece of clothing, an accessory or a doll using an obvious piece of the challenge fabric itself and any other fabric (there's a nice selection of 'friends' that came with the "challenge" fabric)  and submit it to the jury. There are several additional categories like 'best use of Sulky Thread, first submission, best workmanship, etc as well as the usual 1st, 2nd, 3rd and Honorable Mentions.

So, some of us at Bright Hopes Quilting are going to challenge ourselves and make a project using this fabric. I have already seen something of Georgia's work and I can tell you this much: It's gorgeous!

I know what I am going to make but this has taken me 3 weeks since I purchased the fabric, hanging around on the design board and no, I have not even started. We have until mid- July to enter the contest but Pearl is going to hang our finished creations around the shop and she welcomes everyone to join, even those who do not intend to enter the contest. All the rules are at that Hoffman link above.

We have some of the Challenge Fabric left on the shelf so if this is something you'd like to do, Thursday would be a great day to drop in and grab a piece. 

Why Thursday?

It's Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day! Stop by for refreshments, demonstrations, door prizes and while you are at it, we encourage you bring along a quilt of yours that has a special place in your heart. This can be something you have made or one that has been handed down through generations. It does not have to be in mint condition, either! Like the velveteen rabbit, a worn quilt is a much-loved quilt. Bring it in and tell us about your quilt and see some of the quilts that have been with us in our homes.

I am the lucky duck who gets to work that day with Georgia, Mary and Celeste so I will be on hand with my camera. If you see me lurking, smile and wave!

 I want to make another fun video.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I Am So Excited! Kate Spain ~ Up-Dated!

This coming Tuesday, Kate Spain is paying paid us a visit at Bright Hopes Quilting!

Okay, as quilters, you are probably aware of her fabrics (Verna, Good Fortune) if not of the designer herself, but we have had her bolts on our shelves for several years and have seen some lovely quilts made with them.

We tried to meet up with her at the Houston Market in October, but weather conspired against that. As busy as people can get during those hectic days, it is probably better to have a few more uninterrupted minutes here in Louisiana instead.

Honey Honey is her latest line of luscious lovelies and we have a new sample or Perfect Ten up behind the register featuring all of them...

We eagerly anticipate the arrival of the bolts to accompany the layer cakes we already do have in stock.

Kate designed a unique pattern to showcase the fabric line, appropriately titled Apiary. You can download the PDF at that linked site. The honeybee alone is awesome!

Up-Date: Let me correct that... Kate SPAIN is AWESOME!

She and her delightful husband, Peter, arrived safely and we had an all-too-brief visit at the shop before heading over to our favorite lunch spot, Ponchartrain Po-Boys. As the best of luck would have, we had just an hour before received our bolts from her new line, Honey Honey.... and they were sitting brightly on the shelf.

I am so glad she met Georgia, who knocked out the sample of Perfect Ten, here behind them and using the fabric line.

So, while they reside up in the colder Northeast, I think the temps were colder still here in the South as they made their way through Atlanta and Alabama. A trip to Gee's Bend left a strong impression and they told us about the aging population of quilters in this small tight-knit community.  If you want to see the birth of the Modern quilter, hot-link over to the Auburn University's swell archive.

As we peppered them with questions between bites, we learned that Kate comes to fabric design by way of Rhode Island School of Design and Hello Kitty! (I kid you not!) and has been licensing her unique works with Moda from the start. We often hear about designers jumping from one manufacturer to another but Kate has an excellent rapport with Moda Fabrics (which is wonderful to hear because they produce exquisite fabrics and in such an outrageous diversity.)

Of course, we are curious to learn insights in the production of each line, how the colors and motifs are created but the real mystery to most of us is "How does Moda know how many yards of each line to produce?" This is a critical question because these manufacturers typically only make one printing and what is done is done! This can be so maddening to us quilters who perhaps didn't get quite enough of that border to finish and then the wild goose-chase begins!

The Answer Is: She doesn't know! They have asked this question themselves and still have no answer. She was able to give an insight into how many bolts are usual in each line (approx. 40) and these are what you will find in the pre-cuts. When there are fewer than 40, you will find repeats of several bolts in the rolls to make a total of 40 strips.

Kate IS a quilter, although her time is more limited now and she DID design the Apiary pattern, linked above.

I truly hope we meet again in this life..... they are super-good people and we would like to thank them for taking the time to visit. Road-trips are sprinkled with the unexpected, for sure, and those of us who stand stationery experience them vicariously through people like the Spains. 

(I really am a groupie at heart .... I could ask an endless stream of questions and sit there, rapt in attention and they were so gracious about it. I hope their sandwiches didn't cold as they answered)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Take Your Best Shot!

I love my quilt shop

January 24 is National Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day and leading up to it, we are encouraging our customers to bring in a quilt that has a special meaning to you, get photographed with the quilt and place it on their Facebook page.

Now, why would you want to do this? Good Question!

Because if YOUR photo gets the most votes, you can win $500.00  Shopping Spree at your favorite Quilt Shop! Or a Brother Sewing Machine. Or other great prizes! 

What a fun way to Kick-Start 2013!

 So stop in, Take Your Best Shot and be creative about it. Upload the photo and let's see if one of you are the Grand Prize Winner!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Solid Blocks

You may have noticed the blocks hanging from the ceiling at Bright Hopes Quilting lately. All the staff have been making them and as they come in, they go up and we hope to have the ceiling covered in a few weeks.

Each block is made entirely of solids. Only solids. The pure color allows the block to stand out and keeps things simplified. It has a rather Amish look to it. It is exciting for me to walk in and see new ones hanging.

Each block is at least 16" square. This is a great size because once the project comes down, people can turn the individual squares into sofa pillows or bags. With enough of them, a good sampler quilt is a definite possibility!

So, what are we doing this for?

Fun, mainly. Why not just have fun? Why have to make a whole huge quilt just to play around a little? I have my own personal favorite blocks: Dutchman's Puzzle, Variable Star, Card Trick, Rising Star (in fact I am almost finished with a huge scrappy batik in this block, I like it so much!) and I really like how they look all by their lonesome.

Challenge. Well.... let's face it, some people are skeptical of solids. "The heck!", you say.  

No, really! They are so bold and simple that they can intimate! 

Okay, here's a question for you: When was the last time you incorporated a solid into your quilt unless it was the background? hmmmmm?

These solids of ours started arriving last summer and I watched them float in, maybe 15-20 at a time. Gorgeous pure color. And I waited. After a few months, we had over 100 bolts of crayon-colors lining the shelves like soldiers and I just mentally malfunctioned.

They are so clean and strong and frightening! I mean.... part of what we do every day is attempt to match and pair colors with each other in a fabric line or for a pattern. With solids, it really is hit or miss and so very evident when you miss!

Here is an example: We got in the latest Kaffe Fassett's just before Christmas and I really like this bright, tropical floral. I knew the quilt I wanted to make, as well.

Gorgeous bold color and the antithesis of Winter. So, I picked up the bolt and waltzed over to the solids. With 100+ colors to choose from, matching these oranges and purples should be a breeze!

With two possible exceptions, none of the solids match the color exactly but they came together and played nicely with each other.

This is New York Beauty, a block I have wanted to make for quite a while. I knew I wanted to make the spikes in solids to really show them off!
 Everything else was negotiable.

I am showing below the blue I had chosen (originally) to use in this sample but as I was 'auditioning' the spikes in the New York Beauty to the prints and with the help of an honest friend (Thanks Kathy! You made it better!), I realized that this blue was never going to play nicely with the other colors. So I kicked him out. It was the closest blue to the Fassett print we had, so I took it. Didn't use it. That's okay too; it gave me a background color for a Solids Block.

What I find really interesting is those colors below, in this Little Sister block, are the same orange, purple and pink as you see above, but look how washed out the pink appears in the block! (I also want you to look at the tight points!)(another reason to make simple blocks... practice the points!)

Okay, all this being said, if you would like to join this project, make any square block you like (or multiples... we like participation!) using ONLY SOLIDS and make them at least 16" but no larger than 24". Pin your name to the back so we know who to return them to and drop them off at the shop.

There is no competition and no swap because the sizes would be confusing. Also, this is for fun!

We'll have them hanging on display for all to see.