Online Quilt Shop -The Coffee Pot is On!

 

Did you know that more than half of all Americans either own or work for a small business, and they create about two out of every three new jobs in the U.S. each year?

smallbusinesslogoAs part of National Small Business Week, coming May 4-8, 2015, the U.S. Small Business Administration takes the opportunity to highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories. Every day, they’re working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.

My father owned a small flower shop in our little town of Flushing, Michigan.  The shop was called the “Caron Lee Flower Shop;” Yes, it was named after me.   My Mother-in-Law owned an antique shop downtown (Trudy’s Antiques), my husband owns and operates Mosey’s Woodworks, and as you may know, HandQuiltingSupplies.com is my online baby. 

 

Caron Lee Flower Shop

 

A small business needs a few things to help make it successful:  a good product, a commitment to quality, dedication to good service, and…customers.  Honesty, integrity and a good work ethic are critical qualities in a small business person.  Without those qualities, the business will not last.                                     

As quilters, we love going into a quilt shop where we can pet the fabric, use all of our senses to see, touch, hear, and yes, SMELL the fabric and atmosphere around us.  Quilt shops have been known to have cookies and coffee on hand (taste!), and I think any quilt shop I have ever walked into had a bell on the door. Most shops I frequent also have a cat or dog somewhere on the premises.

Caron2

 

HandQuiltingSupplies.com may not have a door for you to walk through, but we do have Stormie the (furry) Quilt Inspector here to monitor traffic.  There is usually a coffee pot running and munchies on the counter.  Our shop is continually adding products that YOU have requested.  If you have quilting questions, you’re always welcome to send an email and you will receive a response from a hand quilter with 40 years’ experience… not someone behind the counter who has never made a quilt. 

 

I can honestly say that since the business opened in June of 2014, I have had the most wonderful customers!  This has been a learning process for me…and you have all been fantastic about sharing ideas, suggestions, and caring support.  If I had to name just one thing that I wish I could change, that would be the cost to ship your goodies to you. It’s out of my control.  But my husband enjoys building remote control vehicles, so who knows… maybe ours will be the first online quilt shop with a drone to bring you your packages!

drone


www.HandQuiltingSupplies.com

Hand Quilting Supplies

205 Brookside Drive. Flushing, MI U.S.A. 48433

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Quilt Like the Pros

 

  • Top tennis professionals: sisters Venus and Serena Williams.
  • For golf lessons, Billy Casper used to be the man… but sadly, he passed away recently. Now, the golf pros to watch are Jason Day, J.B. Holmes or Harris English.
  • How about fashion design? Gabrielle “Coco” Bonheur Chanel rocks the scene in France. Donna Karen in New York, Giorgio Armani is an outstanding Italian fashion designer. I could go on and list more, but so could you.
  • Auto racing: Michael Schumacher is a German Formula One race car driver who has a net worth of $800 million. Guess he did something right. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is an American NASCAR driver and media personality who has a net worth of $300 million.
  • Airline Pilot: Chesley BurnettSullySullenberger, III (born January 23, 1951) is a retired airline captain, aviation safety expert and accident investigator, best-selling author, speaker and consultant. He was hailed as a national hero in the United States when he successfully executed an emergency water landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River off Manhattan, New York City, after the aircraft was disabled by striking a flock of Canada geese during its initial climb out of LaGuardia Airport on January 15, 2009. All of the 155 passengers and crew aboard the aircraft survived.
  • A few of the top chefs in the world include Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Gordon James Ramsay. You know you would get a great meal from any of them.If I needed financial advice, Dave Ramsey would be my man. David L. “Dave” Ramsey III is an American financial author, radio host, television personality, and motivational speaker.


So why is all this information on a quilting blog? That’s an easy question to answer. Bear with me for a minute.

All of the individuals listed above are considered to have an extensive body of knowledge stored in their head. Once upon a time, they started at the beginning. Over considerable time, they experimented, studied and practiced. They took some hard knocks, and with time and practice, their muscles were fine-tuned for their area of expertise. Some of them went back to the beginning and started over. They developed skills and learned what works best. They became successful through hard work. I am sure all of them had a mentor that they followed diligently. And, when their mentor taught them something, they listened. They did not hesitate to take good advice from someone who knew what they were talking about. And if they struggled with that advice for a while, they didn’t stop and think to themselves, “No, I’m not doing it that way. My neighbor knows better.” Or “No, I’m not doing it that way, that makes no sense, and I’m new to this thing but I can figure it out my way.”

Are you following this?

I am constantly surprised when I hear quilters talk (or read what quilters have written) about quilting. For example, someone may be brand new to quilting and their instructor tells them they need to use a thimble. So they try one thimble for a few times, decide it feels awkward, and because they know somebody who knows somebody who has made a quilt and doesn’t use a thimble, so brush off their instructor’s thimble suggestion.

Or, several of the top quilters in the country will tell Jillian (or Mary or Louise or David) that they should baste the three layers of the quilt sandwich together before they hand quilt. Jillian, Mary, Louise and David find out that basting takes time, and they are anxious to get to the hand quilting. So they decide that these top quilters must not know what they are talking about, and they skip the basting stage. Later on when the quilt is complete, they wonder how the puckers on the back came to be.

And a quilt hoop or frame? What a STUPID idea! Whoever would use such a thing?
Prewash fabric? Why bother? It looks good enough when you bring it home from the store. Why would you go to all that trouble to wash it and iron it (excuse me, PRESS it)?

If I have a choice of airline pilots and Sully is one of my choices, I’m riding with him. He knows his stuff.

I’ve been in a financial mess before. I know and trust Dave Ramsey’s expertise, and would gladly do whatever he told me to do. He knows his stuff, and won’t steer me wrong.
If I ever need heart surgery, I’m hoping my family will get me to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. The track record there is outstanding and the Clinic has proven to be highly respected around the world.

When my grandchildren are ready to learn how to drive, it would be fantastic if their next door neighbor were Dale Earnhart, Jr. I would feel much more at ease if they learned how to drive from a pro.

lead.learn
I have been quilting since 1975ish… I know quite a bit and I have won my share of blue ribbons around the country. But I don’t know it all. Not even close. That’s why I still turn to the experts in whatever I want to learn. I can use their expertise to get better. It might be tough at first; No, it might be downright hard! But if I want to learn something, I want to learn it right from someone who knows what they are doing.
I hope you do, too.

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If you are interested in learning more about how to make a quilt, please attend a high quality quilt show in your area and take a class from someone who has been quilting for quite awhile.
  Here are a few links to shows in 2015:

Let There Be Vines!

On November 24, 2014, I showed you this peek of my baskets set on point.  I kept adding baskets until I had a panel of 5 baskets.  Then I sewed a solid strip down the center.  Eventually, there will be one more solid strip and one more basket panel. 

basket.collection2 panel1.12.31.2014 IMG_5566

The quilt will be called “Baskets of Honeysuckle, ” but it needs the honeysuckle in order to make it complete.  I am at the point where I am itching to applique’.

Before I go any further, you should know that I like to work in a pretty free-form style.  I make templates out of plastic and cardboard, but determining where I want them to go has no specific pattern.  I add things as I want to, move them around, etc..

12.31.2014Over the last week, I added some vines, and then made some templates for the leaves and flowers.  Some of the templates are based upon the beautiful quilt in this book.  Others are free-form drawings by me.  This is the stage that I LOVE!

As I teach quilting classes, my students often will ask me if they can get a copy of the pattern for my quilts.  The answer is usually “NO,” because I’m not a pattern kind of gal. 

The photo below shows you where I am right now.  The vines that you see are basted down.  More will be added to this panel.  What you probably can’t see is the blue wash out marker lines where I have plans to add some applique’ leaves and flowers.

 

vine_1

Remember, this is a work in progress.  It might look entirely different in two weeks.  Things might be moved around, or things might be added.  Who knows how it will turn out?  I’m playing.  That’s what happens when you play!

What have YOU played with lately?

Baskets Set on Point

Wow!    I just had a weekend that was WAY too full of things to do… Taking care of my Father-In-Law, getting groceries in two different trips to the store (preparing for thanksgiving plus getting groceries for the regular week’s meals) at two different stores, doing chores around the house, running errands, Charge Conference at church on Sunday, plus attending morning service, etc.  But I did manage to squeeze in a tiny bit of sewing!

Baskets.on.point

 

I put two of the baskets on point so that I could see how I like that, and yes, this is how they will look.  I will have a total of 18 blocks – 6 in each column.  Each scrappy basket will finish at approximately 15 inches square.  So three columns of 6 baskets (no two are alike), and two columns of neutral fabric in between the baskets.  The two columns will have the applique work on them, which has yet to be designed.  Oh, I know how it will look, but you can’t see it yet because it is stuck inside my head.  One of these days I will let it out… it will leave my head, flow down my arm into my right hand, and release itself via mechanical pencil onto paper. 

I warned you earlier in this post that this is a “do-as-I-go” project, so anything can happen.

Still, you need to Stay Tuned!

Honeysuckle Baskets Fabric Chosen

The fabric for the applique panels on the quilt “Honeysuckle Baskets” has been chosen and is in the hands of the United Postal Service via Priority Mail from eQuilter.com.

First, the beautiful fabric:  Rose & Retro Pink, Cherry & Watermelon Red
ombreSoft transitions of cloudy colors and the unique yet wonderful imperfections we have come to love from artistic hand-dyes have made this ombre a dream come true. Hand-dye, ombre gradient is darker on both selvedges moving towards lighter down the center of the fabric, from the ‘Ombre Hand Dyes’ collection by Marcus Fabrics. Made in India.

I love ombre fabrics for applique.  It affords me the option of creating a real, natural look with one fabric. 

Next for the stems and leaves: Windham Blendables – Speckled Yarn-Dye – Loden Green

green

Lt Olive, Moss & Loden Green
This woven cotton poplin is constructed from multi-colored threads in subtle shades of dusty greens. The slight shifts in color and natural irregularities make for an interesting woven that can stand all on its own. Yarn-dye, from the ‘Windham Blendables’ collection by Windham Fabrics.  I had looked at several other fabrics before deciding on this one, but this one spoke to me for some reason.  It’s always hard to determine the precise color, as every computer monitor is different.  But on my monitor, I fell in love with this. 

Stay tuned…

I love this shape!

quiltbookMy husband and I celebrated our 39th anniversary on November 15th, and as a special gift, he presented me with this AWESOME book!  I have seen a photo of the quilt that graces the cover many times over the past year, and that beautiful honeysuckle flower always catches my eye.  There is something about the shape of the petals that I find charming.  Do you have a particular shape that catches your eye?

Over the past year or so, I have been making basket blocks here and there.  The plan is to put them together in columns with an appliqued panel in between each column.  The panels will feature the honeysuckles draped on a vine, with a border around the outside also featuring applique.  What pattern am I following?  I don’t have a pattern.  Other than the shape of the petals, the design will be free-form in nature, much the way quilters long ago created their quilts. 

11.18.2014

 

These are the baskets that I have thus far. I have many more to make! They will finish at 10 inches square, however each basket will have a neutral background that they sit on, so each basket get four triangles (one per corner) to square them up.  Hope that makes sense.  The quilt will be scrappy in nature.

I plan to show the progress of this quilt as I go along so you can see how I work.  This is a “do-as-I-go” project, so anything can happen!

 

Stay tuned!

What is “Echo Quilting"?

Start with the word, “echo.”
An echo is:

  • a repetition of sound produced by the reflection of sound waves from a wall, mountain, or other obstructing surface.
  • a sound heard again near its source after being reflected.
  • any repetition or close imitation, as of the ideas or opinions of another.
  • a person who reflects or imitates another.

I think of echoes as being very similar to ripples in the water after you toss a pebble into it. 

ripples

Let’s translate that idea onto cloth or paper. Grab a piece of paper and draw a simple shape, like the blob shown here.
blob
Next, take your pencil and go around it one time following the shape of the blog. Don’t worry about absolute accuracy in width, just do it. Now do it again. And again. Now imagine doing that with a needle and thread! That would be echo quilting!

The fun part of echo quilting for me is that I don’t have to mark my lines in advance. The freedom that provides is delightful! I am echo quilting the quilt that is currently in my hoop right now. I quilted around the edge of each applique shape once, approximately an eighth of an inch away from the edge of each shape. Once that was completed, I began the process of going around again, this time about a quarter-inch away from the first stitching line. And again. And around again. 

echo14

There will come a time in some projects where you will work yourself into an area and wonder how you are going to get out of it. Take a close look at the area in the photo below. Can you see where that happened?

echo11

There are no hard and fast rules about how to tackle a situation like this. You just do it as you think it would look best for you. I try to stick to echoes that are about the same width as I go around, but again, I don’t really worry about absolute accuracy. When this quilt is all finished, you won’t look at it with a ruler in your hand, and it won’t be noticeable.

echo10


What are you working on that could use some echo quilting?

The quilting above is stitched with Presencia 40 wt. thread, color #207, available at www.HandQuiltingSupplies.com .