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What a Non-Sewer Loves About Sewing

by John Williams (Claudia's husband) on September 20, 2015

         

With my wife off to Trends in Portland for 5 days shopping for her quilt shop, I have had some time to reflect on what I love about sewing and quilting. I’m not a sewer or a quilter. I’ve never even operated a sewing machine. Well, except when I accidentally stepped on something in Claudia’s sewing room and her sewing machine magically started to go. In fact, I have no desire to learn.

However, I do love to see all the beautiful projects that Claudia, her staff, and all of you make.

I love the enjoyment that it brings you all.

I love the way your eyes light up when you come into Patches and share your latest project.

I love the accomplishment that exudes from your face when you receive a ribbon from the County Fair.

I love knowing that my wife is safe in her quilting studio at wee hours of the morning when inspiration comes upon her.

And I love the soothing, rhythmic sound of her sewing machine and her poetic cussing, which helps me to fall back asleep.

I love being a soundboard and pretending that I know what the hell my wife is talking about.

I love the smell of Big Creek coffee 24/7; an apparent required “notion” for all serious quilters.


To be fair, there are a couple of things that could use improvement; such as…

It would be nice if my sewing wife would come to the table when called for breakfast and dinner, instead of hollering back from her basement quilting studio, “Just one more minute!” We all know that a sewing minute is NOT 60 seconds. Nope, not by a long shot!

There often is a lack of patience. For example, the boss and staff opening boxes of fabric and notions that just arrived before the UPS driver even walks out the door. Although I understand their Christmas morning anxiousness, trying to reorganize everything and find the associated packing slips and invoices when they are done drooling often becomes a nightmare for the person responsible for inputting and pricing – me.

Thanks to quilters at Patches, I now know what TMI means. And I thank them for that knowledge…I guess. A quilt shop is not a Man’s World. From my perspective, it is, and should be, a place where woman can congregate and talk about their physical ailments, Medicare, husbands, other women, and general gossip. Oh, yes, some sewing and quilting thrown in there too. Selective hearing has enabled me to successfully conduct my inventory duties at Patches in this predominantly female environment. I know nothing!


Claudia and her sister Annette

I’m excited to have my sewer/quilter wife back home tomorrow night. It has been way too quiet here. She worked hard during her Portland buying trip, but also had some well-deserved fun too.



First thing on Tuesday, I will begin adding the truckload of fabric and notions to our inventory so you can see all the treasures that Claudia picked up on her Trends trip.

Your Non-Sewing Admirer,

JOHN



Behind the Scenes at Patchwork Quilts

by John Williams (Claudia's husband) on February 8, 2015

As many of you are probably aware, owning and operating a small business is quite a venture. To financially survive, the owner(s) must put in significant overtime each week. There is always so much to do and never enough time to do it. We rarely calculate our hourly wage, as it would rarely even reach minimum wage. You’re probably asking then, “Why do you do it”? The answer is simple. Because we love what we are doing!

Take Patchwork Quilts for instance. Claudia absolutely loves being around you ladies; seeing your new projects and talking about quilting and sewing, and of course gossiping. She enjoys all of this just as much as she does her longtime passion and training in Clothing, Textiles, and Design.

Our home operates as an extension of the quilt shop. And given my vast experience with quilting and sewing (HA, HA), I am the one Claudia asks for advice. That’s because the dogs just look up at her with wrinkly foreheads. Although my facial expressions frequently mimic those of our dogs, my ability to talk apparently makes me qualified. Anyway, I often get pulled into her quilting studio to compare fabric, colors, or projects on her design wall. I have learned over the years that my opinion really does matter. God forbid though that I ever respond with an “I don’t know” “I can’t tell” or “They look the same to me.” That’s the equivalent of having to sit at the dinner table until all your vegetables are eaten! As a result, I an expect being lectured on color design, fabric types, and quilting techniques. Then I am presented with the dreaded question a second and final time. This time I very intently look over each example like I know what I’m doing. In my head my thoughts are bouncing around, “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe,…” Out it comes. Nope, wrong again! For some reason, I always seem to choose the wrong one. But, as I’m leaving her studio, she always shows her appreciation and tells me thank you for helping her out.

This is just one example of a common “Behind the Scenes” look at Patchwork Quilts. Another one involves Claudia preparing samples for upcoming classes. As she found out early on, there isn’t time during the day to work on samples at the shop. Between the telephone, waiting on customers, ordering, accounting, etc., it’s literally impossible. So, it’s off to our home (the other Patchwork Quilts) to prepare samples. Often, her quilting studio begins to overflow into the lower family room, and then to the upstairs living room and onto the kitchen table. It’s like the blob! It’s everywhere! Luckily, my video studio has not yet been encroached.



Many nights I wake up to find her absent from my bed. Was it because our three dogs took all her space? No, generally I know right where to look. Yep, the light is on in her quilting studio and the sewing machine is going full speed. “Gotta get these samples done for my customers”, she says.



This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to “Behind the Scenes” at Patchwork Quilts. We are like actors in costumes, playing many different roles. You may not see us or recognize us, but we’re there; doing everything possible to make your shopping and classroom experience the best it can be. If you are happy that means that Claudia is happy too. And most importantly, if Claudia is happy, I am also happy.

So thanks to all of you for making me so happy!

Claudia's Husband,

JOHN



NEWSPAPER ARTICLE - Patchwork: Hamilton Quilt Store Offers Supplies, Classes and a Friendly Smile.

by Michelle McConnah of the Ravalli Republic on November 26, 2014

Patchwork Quilts is a cheerful and creative small business in Hamilton featuring fabric, notions, patterns, gifts and expertise.

Claudia Williams opened her shop nearly five years ago...

CLICK HERE TO READ THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE


The Glue That Binds Us

by Claudia on May 25, 2014

I use this tool all the time and just love it!


As a child, my sister trimmed my bangs and the outcome was typical for an eight-year-old…very short and very angled!  My six-year-old solution was to glue my hair back on!  That started my love affair with glue and it continues today.  Sharon Schamber was the first national educator that told me it was okay to use glue while sewing.  The doors became open and I found lots of uses for glue since then.


The two types of glue used on fabric are permanent and water soluble.


CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

 



Half-Square Triangles

by Claudia on April 30, 2014

"Bears in the Bitterroot" is our Patchwork Quilts block for the 2014 Big Sky Shop Hop and we have had a lot of very positive feedback.  Another name for this block is Carpenter's Frame.  I found this interesting information on Block Fab HD, a free app that I downloaded onto my IPad.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

 



Our Journey

by Claudia on April 16, 2014

Yesterday was an interesting morning filled with super customers.  It made me reflect on what I love to do...interact with people.  It gave me hope for our future, which for everyone over the age of 50 wonders about at times.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

 



Clearly Perfect Angles

by Ruth Ann on March 12, 2014

I use this tool all the time and just love it!

This wonderful notion from New Leaf Stitches really makes my life so much easier by being able to attach 2-1/2” strips together when making binding for a quilt.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE



Fray Block and Fray Check

by Marilyn on March 5, 2014

Both of these are wonderful products for securing threads.  They work equally for securing threads and both dry clear.  Here is the difference.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE



Having Issues with Skipped Stitches?

by Claudia on February 26, 2014

We welcome customers who come in with problems and do our best to help solve them.  A few days ago we had a visit from someone who was experiences skipped stitches.  The first things I always recommend are changing the needle and rethreading both the top thread and the bobbin.  That is actually a great start for most problems.  However,

CLICK HERE TO READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

 


Sounds from a Quilt Shop

by John on February 5, 2014

What does a quilt shop sound like?  Do they all sound the same?  Well, I’m not an expert on quilt shops, but I have been dragged to a good many of them as we’ve travelled across the country.  Like most husbands, I would typically walk around the shop long enough to locate a chair.  Then I would read a magazine or daydream until I was tapped on the shoulder that it was okay to leave.  I can tell you all about the variety of chairs I have sat in and about their comfort level.  But, at the time I never really thought about what the quilt shops sounded like.  It wasn’t until I recently spent 20 consecutive days at Patchwork Quilts working on their POS system and inventory that I began experiencing these sounds.

The sounds I heard at Patchwork Quilts reminded me of a family reunion or holiday gathering.  The customers and staff at Patches greeted each other with warm, genuine smiles, frequent hugs, and caring words.  These ladies regularly laughed and giggled too.  The oohing and awing was commonplace whenever someone pulled a completed project from their bag.  It was as if Grandma Strope just showed the family her new choppers or Claudia showed off a recent photograph of her granddaughter Violet.

You know, I would have thought that a quilting or sewing class would be pretty quiet and mundane.  Wrong!  The laughter that came from the classroom was startling.  I would often have to stop what I was doing, wait for the ladies to get it out of their system, and then try to refocus again.  Perhaps I should have taken the day off and sat in on those classes – just for the fun of it.

But oh, the classroom laughter was nothing compared to what I witnessed on that second Wednesday of January.  The roar was deafening!  After the second outburst, I had to find out what was happening and make sure the erotic dancing Chippendales hadn’t mistakenly entered Patchwork Quilts and gotten hog tied by some quilters.  It turned out that it was Fat Quarter Bunco day and the ladies were throwing dice and having an absolute blast.  Arthritis definitely didn’t slow down the velocity of those dice.  These ladies were definitely going to need Advil the next morning.  Well, my work continued with speed and accuracy that day, as my eyes were lit up and my smile was full; all from the frequent sounds of those quilters having fun.

Now, when I think back to the other quilt shops I’ve been to, I did not hear these same sounds.  Generally, I only heard normal conversation as it related to a customer’s inquiry or purchase.  In hindsight, it reminded me of a grocery store or any other retail business.

I prefer being around the family at Patchwork Quilts – how about you?

 



Scanners, and Fabric, and Thread!  Oh, my!

by John on January 22, 2014

I spent the last 3 weeks getting everything in Patchwork Quilts put on a Point of Sale (POS) system.  That probably doesn’t seem unrealistic to many of you, but when we initially estimated it would only take 4 days, the task immediately became overwhelming and seemingly unattainable.

Initially, we figured we could speedily go around the shop pointing our scanner at the UPCs, SKUs, and other barcodes on the products, just about as fast as we could pull the trigger, and all the required information would be instantly collected.  We soon found out that this wasn’t going to be the case.  Our POS system requires the following information (at a minimum) for every item in the shop; most of which had to be entered by hand, one piece of data at a time:

UPC and manufacturer’s number (other barcodes if these aren’t available); product name; description; retail price; wholesale cost; quantity; department; category; subcategory; unit type; whether it will be available on the website, POS, or both; the preferred vendor; reorder point; reorder amount; and image (if available).  Many of the products did not have barcodes.  For those, we had to assign unique numbers and print individual barcodes for them.  We ended up printing nearly 2,000 additional labels! 

Marilyn and Ruth Ann were lifesavers, as they went around the shop ahead of us counting all the fabric.  To do this, they had to count the number of folds on each bolt, calculate the yardage, and write the number on the end of each bolt.  They also counted other large quantity items, like fat quarters and thread.
 


Initially, Claudia was assisting with the process – determining the wholesale costs, telling me the type of fabric and what category it belonged in, etc.  However, after several days we determined that it was faster for me to continue by myself, and more productive for Claudia to get back to her other shop duties.

After about a week of data entry, my frazzled brain became a bit more numbed to the routine process. Halfway through the job I finally quit dreaming about scanners, and fabric, and thread!  Oh, my!  I saw light at the end of the tunnel and knew that this monumental project would produce significant benefits to the shop and to its customers.  That kept me going.

Now that the POS is up and running I will be focusing my time getting products on our website to sell.

Thank you all for your patients, understanding, and support during our POS adventure.



Fat Quarter Bunco

by Marilyn on December 18, 2013

Whew!  My sewing machine is still humming - Christmas is next week and gifts still need to be made.  Why do I do this to myself?  I know one reason.  I had a quilt I'd been wanting to make for myself, so I put Christmas sewing on the back burner and did something just for me.  My quilt is now at the quilters and I am getting gifts completed.

I love the holidays, the Merry Christmas and Happy New Year greetings.  We are so blessed to live in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley.  This is a time for counting blessings:  being healthy; family and friends; food on the table and a warm home to come back to at the end of the day; fabric to sew with; a wonderful pet with its unconditional love; and we cannot forget our wonderful sewing machines.
 
Enough of the serious stuff.  Have you ever played Bunco?  Would you like to learn?  Starting in January, on the 2nd Wed of the month, we are starting "Fat Quarter" Bunco.  The afternoon get together will start at 1:30 pm.  If there is enough interest we will also have an evening session.  This will be a monthly commitment.  The cost is $10.00 per month; this purchases 2 fat quarters monthly, puts $2.00 in another prize fund and the balance goes to cover the refreshment cost for half time.  We need 12 players.  We will also need subs.  This is a very simple dice game; great fun and a wonderful chance to meet new people and increase your fat quarter stash.

 

Please call Patches (363-5754) to sign up and join in the fun.  First day of play is January 8th.
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.  Keep those sewing machines humming!



Sharing Your Gifts

by Claudia on December 11, 2013

This week we have the pleasure of our cousin Patti visiting us.  We drove to Missoula in Monday's snow storm, laughing how she once thought of driving to Montana.  Patti is from Southern California and got off the plane with a big smile and a bigger coat.  She loves that she is finally able to wear it.

Yesterday, Patti went to work at the shop with me.  We merrily chatted and she brought a skirt pattern to make for her daughter.  She has never tried piecing a quilt, so we pushed her to make something from the shop.  John thought Uncle Chuck and Aunt Nancy (her aging parents) would love something for Christmas that was made by Patti.  After careful consideration, she found the perfect fishing fabric for her dad who loved to fish.  She sewed it right up and even stitched "I love you Dad" on the cuff.  Pillow cases are easy and fast to make.


The day was perfect!  We shared sewing techniques, fabric, love, laughter, and each other.  The gifts just keep right on going when she goes home too.  I hope you come in and enjoy the pleasure of sharing your gifts with us soon.



Silhouette Cameo

by Claudia on December 4, 2013

One of the coolest new “toys” in the quilting world is the Silhouette Cameo.  My sales representative told me the crowds were always around their booth at Houston Quilt Market.  Many of you were able to catch Ruth Ann’s demonstration this past weekend.  For those of you that missed it, the Silhouette Cameo is an electronic cutting machine that can cut a wide variety of materials including paper, vinyl, cardstock, fabric, heat transfer material, and so much more.  With the included Silhouette Studio® software, you're able to create and cut your own designs and use the fonts already installed on your computer.  There are also tens of thousands of great designs available through the Silhouette Online Store.  Ruth Ann loves the ability to change the size of the motifs and they are so affordable when purchased through the store.

We sell the Cameo as a bundle that includes 12” & 24” Cutting mats, $10 & $25 download cards, Cutting Blade, and 1 each Thick Craft and Thin Sewing Interfacing.  Santa thought it would be best to sell it with the extras so that they could enjoy the Cameo on Christmas Day.



Happy Thanksgiving

by Claudia on November 27, 2013

Many of my friends on Facebook have listed something they are thankful for each day in November.  I applaud them!  I would like to tell you all how very thankful I am for each and every one of you.  Thank you for coming in and purchasing the supplies for your next coolest project, for coming in and sharing the UFO you finally completed; for sewing with us; for teaching and learning with us; and just simply for stopping in to say hello.  You all are making my dream come true and I am so very thankful.

All of us at Patches wish  you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving.  We hope you are able to eat, drink, and be merry.  We also hope you recover enough to stop in for our Christmas Open House on November 29th and 30th.



Memories

by DeLis on November 20, 2013

What do we want our families and friends to remember about us when we pass on?  Your voice, personality and traits will only last in the memories of your closest family members.

We recently drove down to Preston, Idaho to my husband’s Great-Aunt’s funeral.  I don’t suggest doing hand sewing in the car for those of you like me, who get car sick. Instead, look straight ahead and enjoy the scenery.  I didn’t know very much about Aunt Fran, but during the services I began to learn more about her.  When we returned from the cemetery to the church for the family feast, I walked past the photo albums...and there it was; her legacy and my connection to her...several beautiful quilts that she had made throughout her lifetime for all to see.  As her memories fade with time, those quilts will be around for years and years.  Simple and beautiful is what she leaves behind.

 





Finding the Time

by Claudia on November 13, 2013

My uncle once said to me, "If you love something, you will find the time."  I often tested this theory, especially when my children were young; I was managing a home, and working full time.  Over the years I have come to agree with Uncle Buster and here is why.

I find the time to do the things I love because it grounds me, it restores me, and/or I just feel better!  I did not (and still don't) have as much time to dedicate to my loves as I would like, but I find little snippets here and there.

In October I started to Promise Stitch.  Promise Stitch is a quilting technique in which everything is done by hand.  I have long admired the charm and comfort of the "shadow kiss", but by hand...really!!!!!  I don't have enough time!  However, I felt that I needed to try this.  Joan Manas was sweet enough to invite me to her group and now, NOTHING interrupts me on Friday afternoons.  I found the time!  I also found more wonderful women who stitch and support one another.

It is my wish for each of you, to carve out some time for yourself to do something you love.  Breathe deep and just enjoy!  I hope you come into Patches and share your experience with me.





Flipped Out

by Claudia on November 6, 2013

I read somewhere that rather than spring cleaning, fall cleaning is more efficient.  I am not sure if this is true or just a great excuse to put off cleaning so I can sew more.  Whatever the truth, I felt Patches needed to be freshened up and the stock “flipped”.  I came in early Sunday morning and thought I could be done by noon.  Well that was not the case and I am still putting the finishing touches on some displays.

What I learned from my experience, other than everything takes me twice as long as I plan for, is there are great things that were not on center stage.  There were some things I was surprised they have not sold, and others that just plain need to go.  Last year I went to Houston market and had a big two-day sale to get things ready for the new stuff I purchased.  This year I could not go to fall market, but I need to clear out some stuff anyway.  I have a plan!

For the entire month of November I will be featuring various fabric at just $6.00/yard and a 1 yard minimum cut.  The featured fabric will be on sale for the entire week so that it gives you more time to take advantage of the price break.


This week the featured fabric will have a Nursery Theme.


The fresh displays have inspired me as I continue to plan for the holidays.  I invite you all to come in and check them out.  I hope you will see some surprises and let me know what you think.





A Poem for Patches

by Claudia on October 30, 2013

I want to share this beautiful poem about Patchwork Quilts that was written by my very talented friend, Dominic Farrenkopf.  Thank you again Dominic!

A patchwork quilt has greater value

than the purest gold.

Generations cherish them

because of the stories they hold.

 

And to begin your story

Claudia will start you out.

She has all of the fabric, tools

and thread- there's no doubt!

 

If you're making a king size quilt

you might need a longarm.

You can rent one from “Patches”-

that will work like a charm!

 

Looking for fun in Hamilton

the second Friday night?

Come for a Pajama Party-

and quilt into the night!

 

Do you want to be part of an

old fashioned sewing bee?

Join us every Wednesday 

for Open Sewing- and it's free!

 

Ladies, check out our blog,

and be sure to sign up for classes.

“Patches” has so many

they're sure to please the masses!

 

There's only one place I know

that has everything you need-

assembly help to zig zag stitch-

it's Patchwork Quilts indeed!

 

Load up your needles and thread

it's down to "Patches" you go!

 

That's the best place for you ladies...

to Meet, Sew, Share, and Grow!


Here is a video that my husband, John, put together for the poem.

 

 




Organization

by Marilyn on October 23, 2013

Fall is here and winter is on its heels.  It’s time to spend as much time possible in our sewing rooms, letting our creative juices flow.  I don’t know if your sewing room is in need of a cleaning and organizing, but mine sure is.  I look at my cutting table and see a pile of scraps from last spring’s projects!  I need a plan – then time to follow through.  My fabric cupboard is a mess and bulging.  My fabric finds from the last year are piled in stacks on the floor and moving away from the walls.  Floor space is getting scarce and I have a decent sized room in which to work.

Now for a plan.  First, I will empty my fabric cupboard.  I will look at and fondle each piece of fabric.  Next, I will put fabric in piles according to color.  The pieces I’ve decided I no longer want will go in another pile.  Once I’ve sorted by color I will restack on the shelves.  Pieces that are less than ¼ yard I will keep separate for smaller projects.

Now, the fabric I no longer want to sew into a spectacular project, I will cut into 2-inch strips and do locker hooking projects or crochet into rugs.  I will put patterns with fabric for that project and store them together so when I’m ready to get started everything is in its place.  Next are the scrap containers!  We’ll get into that another day.

Now that our rooms are organized, let’s get sewing.

 




Sprinkle Pink

by Claudia on October 16, 2013

Once upon a time when we heard the "C" (cancer) word it meant get your affairs in order because your time was short.  In 1962 my great grandmother died of breast cancer.  The family never really talked about her condition; in fact it was not considered an appropriate topic in mixed company at all!  We have come a long way to our cute mammomen who work so hard to raise money. 

Our donations in the "cans" at so many cash registers, tender loving stitches made with love, hope, and well wishes, and so many other ways we have supported the cause have paid off.  Today we all know heroes who have bravely and gracefully fought the dreaded disease and won!  Cheers to them and cheers to all of you who supported them in various ways.

Patches will also help by matching the donations made by our customers to the can at our register.  Be sure to stop by and DONATE!  Let's show this town that we support the local Sprinkle Pink campaign.  By doing so we can make every woman's wish to defeat the ugly cancerous villain and live happily ever after.

 



Meet, Sew, Share, Grow!

by Claudia on October 9, 2013

One of my favorite "hats" as a shop owner is teaching.  Many times the demands of my other hats take over and I am not able to teach as much as I would like, or be a student.  This past weekend I was honored to travel over the hill to Grangeville, Idaho to teach the Personalities Purse and Table Charm Two placemats and table runner to the Sew-Ciety Quilters.

Everyone arrived early and soon there was the hum of excited chatter and busy movement.  Old friends began catching up and all of us helped one another to set up our sewing machines.  New friends also learned how interconnected we were and it is indeed a small world.  Soon, we were all happily sewing, sharing ideas, and experiences.  I was able to sneak in a few new products that they may not have (or have and never used) such as the Steady Betty and the Shape Cut.  I also introduced them to our favorite notion, Aunt Maggie's glue bottle.

These classes were a two-way street and I picked up some clever ideas from them too.  One from Mary Jo is a pin cushion on your sewing machine and I have included a picture below.

Thank you to all my new friends from Sew-Ciety.  You enabled me to escape from my everyday duties and enjoy some quality teaching and learning time.  Thank you also to my staff who took care of the homefront.  My wish for all of you is to take a class, enjoy the friendship, learn and share.

You can see our class schedule at our website, www.PatchworkQuiltsHamilton.com.  I will be teaching Table Charm Two here on Saturday, October 12th.  This is a great beginner class, but the more experienced have had a great time too.

Remember Patches motto "Meet, Sew, Share, Grow!"



A Quilter's Husband

by John on October 5, 2013

Even though we are not quilters, and have little desire to be, we are always treated by our spouses as if we were.

We are frequently asked for our advice on which color fabric goes best with another, what size triangles they should use, and so on.  It doesn’t matter when we respond with a shrug or say we don’t have a clue.  That only makes them become testy.  So, like all good quilter’s husbands, we just take a guess and respond in an authoritative way, knowing that the quilter’s final decision will rarely include our suggestion.

And oh yes, we can’t forget the fun of traveling with a quilter.  No matter where the destination, vacations always include quilting.  On a recent trip to Alaska, I was in a state of awe, admiring the gorgeous scenery and searching for wildlife around the next bend.  Then suddenly, a scream from the passenger’s seat sent both my feet to the brake pedal.  I just knew I was going to hit a huge bull moose standing in the middle of the road awaiting his portrait.  When the tires quit squealing, I slowly opened my eyes.  There was no moose in the road to photograph.  There wasn’t even a moose to crash into.  But, within milliseconds, there was an iPad in front of my face and my wife screaming about a quilt shop she just located in the next town.

Speaking about relaxing, how many nights have you been in your comfortable bed dreaming of that monster cutthroat on the end of your line, when you are awakened by the sound of a sewing machine at 2:00 in the morning.  Even the soft, comfortable pillow over your head won’t drown out the annoying hum and reattach Joe’s Hopper to the fish’s lip.  Husbands of quilters soon learn to sleep through these nighttime episodes of quilting inspiration.

And lastly, there are the needles and pins.  Why do quilters need so many small, camouflaged, dangerous objects?  It seems like thousands of them, all over the house.  Finding one on the carpet gives me the willies, just like seeing a tick crawling up my leg.  From then on, I’m tip-toing around the house for days expecting my next step to be a painful one. 

When it comes to quilting, our wives are definitely possessed.  We husbands don’t understand the full extent of the chemical imbalance in their brains.  But, we have learned how to live with their special passion and love them unconditionally, just as they do us and our misunderstood hobbies.



Christmas... Already?

by Claudia on July 22, 2013

This last weekend we celebrated Christmas...EARLY!  We had our Flip Flop Christmas event and by the smiles on everyone's faces, it was a success!

The purpose was to introduce our new and lovely Christmas lines of fabric.  This year I ordered more than ever.  We have Grandma's Gingerbread Treats, Peppermint Lane, Santa's Journey, Here Comes Santa, as well as traditional and beautiful poinsettias.  Now is the time to start Christmas gift projects and who knows...maybe it will make you feel a little cooler.

We demonstrated Marti Michell's Long Skinny Sashing Stars Template to make those sashing strips or boarders just sparkle.  We also had a little tips and tricks demonstration on fabric storage and sewing spaces.  If you missed them we would be happy to show you when you come in!


Thank you to all of our special friends who came out to enjoy the fun, fabric, and savings.  A special thanks goes to Santa.  He took time out of his busy schedule at the North Pole to come down and barbeque hot dogs for us and maybe he was also checking to see if we are being naughty and nice!  We showed him Quilters/Sewers are always nice!

 


A Smashing Success!

by Claudia on July 2, 2013

Recently I had the honor of not only helping with my local quilt guild's show, but being the Co-chair.  The idea of having an outdoor quilt show sounded so lovely and the Margaret Daly Memorial Arboretum and Gardens was the perfect spot.  Pat Thompson (the other Co-chairman) and I put the idea to the membership.  They voted to give it a try and the 2013 quilt show was born.

 

In the nearly two years that followed I learned so much.  I experienced that the cliché, "You are only as good as the people that surround you" is so very, very true.  I witnessed all types of people come together and heard ideas being expressed and refined and compromises achieved.  It rather reminds me of a quilt.  It starts with an inspiration (mine was the beautiful gardens); techniques and designs must be worked out.  Sometimes we are surprised when beauty comes about when we least expect it.  Hours and hours of work are put into the piecing, applique, quilting, and finishing.  Finally you can bask in what was created. 

The Bitterroot Quilter's Guild 2013 Quilt Show, Copper Kings & Quilting Queens, is our quilt project that we can all bask in the success.  Not very much was done the way it was usually done...the Raffle Quilt was very different, the venue had changed to a ONE day outdoor quilt show, the set up was so different, the quilts had to be hung differently, the judging was different, the ribbons had turned into medals, and even the door prizes and demonstrations were handled differently.

 

Thank you to all the great people that volunteered to chair a committee; you did a fabulous job.  And thank you to all the "worker bees" (some were not even members) that showed up to work in the cafe, hanging quilts, cleaning up, etc.  The show was a smashing success.  The quilts hanging everywhere, the laughter and happy chatter of old friends visiting and the teamwork truly made it one of the best days of my life.  I thank you all for that.

 


What's Your Style?

by Claudia on June 4, 2013

Yesterday, a customer stopped in Patches and told me what a wonderful shop we had and how it inspired her.  I thanked her and we started talking about how our vehicles tend to seek out every quilt shop wherever we travel.  We also both laughed as we shared that our husbands did not always understand and would say, "You have been to a million, how different can they be?"

One of the coolest things about quilt shops is that they all have their own style.  Some emphasize the shabby chic while others lean towards the bold colors and styles of the modern wave.  The inspirational samples may be the first impression, or the sheer volume of bolts could leave us with our heads spinning.

 



Here at Patches, we are proud of our store and the style it is developing in the three years we have been open.  Our motto is, "Meet, Sew, Share, Grow" and we strive to live it every day.  Patches is a place to MEET our friends.  Sew Wednesdays and Pajama Parties provide us opportunities to SEW with our friends.  We especially love it when our friends SHARE their beautiful projects with everyone.  All of these enable us to GROW as sewers and people. 

We would like to introduce to you our new web page that reflects more of our style.  This is just the beginning of the changes that we have been working on behind the scenes for you.  We try to keep our website and store fresh, exciting, and up-to-date for you, our treasured customers.

The coffee is always on and we hope you come visit us soon!

March Madness

by Claudia on March 6, 2013

March brings three things to mind for me. The first is March Madness, a basketball tradition that my family seems to really get into and I don’t. The second is birthdays. Me, my two sons, and my sister were all born in March. The third, but certainly not least, is Worldwide Quilting Day the third Saturday in March. “Sew” March is a month to celebrate for me!

Let’s ponder the title “quilter” for a moment. I once had a hard time calling myself a quilter because technically the verb quilt means to stitch through layers of cloth with padding in between. I rarely quilt my own pieces, and with good reason. Trying to wrangle a medium to large quilt through my domestic sewing machine is a challenge. Hand quilting is lovely, but I would like to finish before I die!

Long arm quilting machines to the rescue! Many of us support the local economy and artists by hiring someone to quilt our masterpieces. However, for those of us who want the satisfaction of creating a quilt start to finish, Patchwork Quilts has Lizzy, our professional 26” long arm quilting machine.

You can rent Lizzy for $15.00/hour with a 2-hour minimum, or $50.00 for the entire day. In celebration of March and Worldwide Quilting Day, we will give you a $10.00 discount on a daily rental! What a great way to discover the magic of Lizzy and when you are done, you will have no trouble claiming you are a QUILTER!



The Joy of Small Business

by charlie on November 16, 2012

We will soon celebrate Small Businesses on November 24th. My boss has planned a welcoming open house at Patches and we look forward to seeing all of you and in the spirit of business, hope you purchase something either on the 24th or the near future.


Small businesses are a big part of all of our lives. From small towns to big city neighborhoods, we knew the local merchants, their families and the services they provided. We remember the man who owned the gas station and he not only pumped your gas, but cleaned your windsheild. And Mr. Umpty-Up at the drugstore had the best diaper rash ointment he mixed up in the back and sold your mom. And there was the lady who made the bridesmaid’s dresses because your mama (or you) was too busy making your wedding dress. I bet right now you are seeing faces and places of your past and remembering them with great fondness. I am.

Small business is truly the backbone of America. Sometimes an idea takes off and it becomes big business, but small businesses give us the local resource of stuff we need like FABRIC and THREAD and BATTING and NEEDLES and all those fabulous PATTERNS and TRIMS and IDEAS and most of all, a personal relationship with the proprietor and her employees. A place where you know someone can help you and do her best to get it for you. We sincerely hope that place is Patchwork Quilts. We appreciate each and every one of you. We are glad to serve the Bitterroot and Missoula Valleys and provided the best supply of what you need and want to have a happy sewing life!

Thank you for your patronage and we look forward to seeing you soon at Patches where we “Meet, Sew, Share, Grow”