Quilt Shopping Out & About


Did you know that the month of March is National Quilting Month?

In honor of that, (yeah, that’s it…)

I went shopping yesterday.Shopping black fabrics

I took in a few quilt shops;

three to be exact.

I didn’t shop with a theme in mind,

but as you can see I ended up with one!

Since my college days I’ve had a thing for black.

The plaid pieces in front are actually cotton towels, not yardage.

I think they’ll look great with the Christmas fabrics that I’m currently working with.

They do look really nice with the rest of the day’s haul don’t you think?

I also did a little shopping while in central Illinois a couple of weeks ago,

Shopping in Urbana

I saw on another blog, this fusible bias tape maker.

I have the typical bias tape maker in various sizes,

but this one allows you to make 3/8″ bias tape,

while attaching a thin strip of fusible web at the same time.

So, your bias tape ends up being fusible.

I saw it used to make little basket block handles, cool right?

Recently I made the little basket handles on block #28, remember?

Day 2-block 28 Bunny Hill

Afterwards I saw this tool and thought it would be fun to try.

It allows you to fuse your bias strips in place before you sew them; no more pinning!

As for the rest of that haul, well,

I also have recently had a thing for Thangles.

I bought a kit a year ago that had very small half square triangles in the pattern.

The kit included enough Thangles to make the quilt.

It was so much fun that I wanted to make more tiny half square triangles just because I enjoyed the process.

So, I’ve bought a few different sizes to play with since then and here are two more,

just in case.

Did I ever tell you that I enjoy the word “quilt” in verb form even more than the noun?

Meaning, I enjoying the process of quilting even more than owning the finished quilt.

Weird, I KNOW

Anyway, back to my National Quilting Day story.

It’s important that we support our local quilt shops if we want them to survive,

especially in this economy.

In the St. Louis area there are four quilt shops either going or have gone out of business in 2013 alone!

It’s sad to realize that one of them  is where I bought my very first quilt pattern.

Patches Quilt Shop St Charles

Patches, St. Charles, MO.

This shop sent out a monthly newsletter that first introduced me to the world of quilt guilds.

It was a very elaborate mini newspaper that among other quilt things,

listed all the quilt guilds in the area .

As I read the list one day I was curious about what a quilt guild was then read there was one in my area.

The rest as they say, is history!

Another shop that is closing is responsible for selling my very first quilt patterns.

The Quilted Garden

The Quilted Garden, Edwardsville, IL.

One thing I have learned since being in business and  talking to MANY quilt shop owners these past 10 years, either going into quilt shops or talking to them at market, is that much of their pay is measured in passion, not dollars.

I can’t tell you how many times fellow quilters have stated that shop owners must make a fortune selling fabric for $10 and now $12 a yard.

If you stop & think about it,

they do not get $10 for each yard of fabric that they sell.

First of all they have to buy that fabric, usually a minimum of 15 yards at a time.

Like any retail store, typically their cost is half of what they sell it for.

Take for instance a yard of fabric selling for $10,

(good luck finding that these days, but it makes the math easy)

the shop owner probably paid $5, plus shipping, which is going up almost every day.

So they might have $6 a yard into it.

So with 15 yards of fabric that bolt cost $90.

If they sell it at $10 a yard they have to sell the first 9 yards to pay their cost for the fabric.

That is to break even.

They then have to sell the remaining 6 yards of fabric to actually MAKE money.

So, when they sell the remaining 6 yards, they will have made $60.

If you take a look around a quilt shop,

how many bolts do you see???

If it’s a shop that I want to shop in, probably a minimum of 2,000 and that’s not a very large shop by comparison.

Next, think about all the bills you have around your house,

rent, electricity, phone (much more expensive as a business), computer, internet, water, trash pick-up, toilet paper…

The list goes on and on.

Oh yes, I forgot PAYCHECKS!!!

Not only do their employees expect them, owners would like them every once in a while too!

Then remember they have to advertise.

That $60 is crucial to paying those bills.

When you see the cost of our fabric going up, you must realize that shop owners don’t want to see that either.

They know we only have so much money to spend, just like them.

Moral of the story: if shops aren’t selling that whole bolt of fabric at retail,

they are probably not making the money they need to pay rent and all their other expenses required to stay in business.

I will step off my soap box now.

In case you’ve been taking your local quilt shop for granted,

please keep in mind without quilt shops,

there would be no quilting industry!

Tomorrow our guild is sponsoring its bi-annual Spring Workshop.

I will be spending the day with the best kind of friends,

friends of quilting!

Enjoy your day and maybe go and visit your local quilt shop(s).

Until next time,

Susan

Isn’t it pretty?

Full of color!

It will look cute hanging in my booth with my coordinating quilts.

I can’t wait to put it all together.

So, what are you up to?

Been out at the quilt shops?

Seen the new “Odds and Ends” by Julie Comstock for Moda???

Have I at least enticed you to check your nearest quilt shop the next time you’re there???

I hope you look,

 I hope you find it,

and I really hope you pick some up so you can make some of my new patterns with it!

Until next time,

Susan

#89!

Rachel B. please email me with your mailing info so I can see that you receive a free copy:

Thanks to all of you who joined Quiltmaker and all of us to introduce the newest 100 Blocks Volume 4! A special thank you to those of you who commented on my blog and those of you that became subscribers.

If you were not lucky enough to win one of the free issues, head to your local quilt shop or news stand next week to purchase a copy.  It’s full of lots of inspiration for just $6.99!

Until next time,

Susan

My mom’s birthday was this week.  Since she can buy whatever she needs and wants  she seems to enjoy receiving something that I made just for her.  For Mother’s Day this year I made her one of my “Mother” lap quilts.

It’s a pattern from my “Best Friends” book.

Speaking of my Best Friends book, guess what I found made up last weekend while on a trip to Branson with my family???

That will be my next post…

Anyway, after some family conferencing, I decided to take Chloe’s suggestion and make my mom some new kitchen towels.  I have not made her any in several years and thought they would be a nice gift.

Although it sounds like an easy task, and although I have a nice selection of cotton towels in my basement, the hardest part is trying to decide what to put on the towels.  If I make them too detailed mom will not use them.  I’ve made her so many towels it’s hard to think of something new…

After thumbing through some old sketches I decided to make these:

It actually took longer to decided what to make than to actually make them!  Ever have one of those days???

I used my favorite stitch (buttonhole by machine) with my favorite thread (Sulky’s 12 wt. cotton) in black, ahhh!

My mom loved them and I know she’ll use them too.

Do you have a favorite little gift to make?

Perhaps you can borrow my idea next time you need a little gift.

Happy birthday Mom!

Until next time,

Susan

The beginning of June you might remember me chatting about Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods coming to teach at our guild’s Quilt Away 2011.

While Celine was here we took in a few quilt shops and the Hearts & Hands Quilt Guild’s quilt show.  That was a very nice show with lots of vendors! While there we both fell in love with Betty Cummings’  (Village Mercantile in Booneville, IN) Itty Bitty Primitive Pinwheel quilt.  She was selling kits so we each bought one to sew the next day. I was lucky enough that Celine stayed a couple extra days and we got to have our own mini retreat. We see each other during International Quilt Market each year, but we’re always so busy we’ve never had a chance just to sew and visit for fun.

I finally got mine quilted this week and finished the binding too.

Isn’t it cute?  The pattern and template are by Primitive Gatherings.  I added some of my own civil war prints to the kit. It’s fun to do someone else’s patterns once in a while too!

Celine, is yours done yet???

Until next time,

Susan

 

I’ve been doing some re-stocking in the fabric department here at Suzn Quilts.  I used some fabric in my new pattern samples and I’ve been running a bit low.  A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, so…

I fell in love with some of the new Wild Rose Collection by Blackbird Designs last week.  Then Monday I fell in love with some Christmas photos that were full of nothing but reds & creams, so…

yesterday I stocked up on some much needed Glorious Reds, and a bit more of my new favorite Christmas background.  I can really get caught up in great backgrounds. To me thery’re kind of like a painter’s canvas.  They set the tone of your whole quilt. 

After I got home and checked messages from all my technical sources and got an order ready for shipping, I sat right down with my Sharpie and gave each piece of fabric their “selvage signature”.  Don’t want Mr. Murphy (Murphy’s law, you know it’s going to happen) dancing a jig when I run out of one of these and need a bit more.  This little exercise also gives me an excuse to refold and stack my new pretties.  I’m pretty sure the only reason I quilt is to use up some of the beautiful fabrics before the stacks fall over and smother my family members!

Until next time,

Susan

As promised, I’m giving you a brief peek at the three shops I was lucky enough to visit while in Tennessee with my family.  I would have liked to visit more, but as previously stated, I was there with my family and they can only take so much!  And I can only take so much of them taking so much, vicious cycle!

First I went to The Cherry Pit in Sevierville. 

What a nice shop. The owner, Jane Washington and her staff are so friendly. Jane told me her husband, George Washington, gets told all the time that he looks like the George Washington, hence the name, The Cherry Pit.  

I next visited Machine Quiltin’ by Iva also in Sevierville. (No photo available, & I wasn’t thinking about that at the time.)  Iva has the largest selection of pre-cuts that I’ve ever seen in one shop! 

Thirdly, I visited Mountain Stitches By Susan (love that name!) in Gatlinburg.

Susan’s shop is part of the Great Smoky Mountains Arts & Crafts Community.  So, not only does she sell fabrics, patterns & the like, but 52% of her sales have to be made by her own hands. She has a quilting machine in another shop across the boardwalk where she machine quilts the quilts she sells in her shop.

What a neat place to visit.  While I was in Susan’s shop, my family found a great little ice cream shop across the way from Susan and we had some fantastic hot fudge malts made with locally made ice cream, yum!! 

Also as previously stated, we used the GPS my brother, David, bought me for Christmas.  Thank goodness for that!  Not only did it simplify things A LOT, for instance it also took us around Gatlinburg to get to Susan’s shop.  That’s a cool little town, but the traffic is really heavy with walking traffic constantly crossing the street.  We ate there one night, went putt putt golfing one night and shopped there several times during the week we were in Tennessee.  Cool place to visit and people watch! 

If you get the chance to go to the area do it.  There are even more quilt shops really close by. Maybe next time!

Susan