Latest Event Updates

Quilting to help memory loss

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As I was eating breakfast and getting ready to leave for the shop this morning, I had the Today Show on in the background. They mentioned something about coping with a loved ones’ memory loss. My interest was piqued, so I plopped myself down on the couch with my oatmeal and watched.

Dr. Dale Atkins, a psychologist, was on the show to discuss ways we can help, as well as ways we can do harm, while caring for and interacting with a loved one with memory loss. You can watch the video of her interview here. One of the things that Dr. Atkins said is helpful for those with memory loss is doing things that engage the mind and require concentration and sequencing because the more we use our brains, the more oxygen that is sent there.

Activities that Dr. Atkins mentioned included planning a garden as well as quilting. As soon as she mentioned quilting, I perked up. She has an excellent point. Deciding to make a quilt requires planning as well as concentration throughout the execution of the project. We have to think about the pattern we want to use or design a quilt. Then we need to concentrate on the colors we want to use and choose those fabrics. The actual process of making the quilt requires concentration and patience. It is an activity that demands our full attention, or we’ll end up with something not terribly pretty.

So next time you’re trying to come up with an activity to share with your mother, father, grandmother, brother, neighbor, or anyone else with memory loss, consider teaching them about quilting. It will be a fun activity for you to do together and it will help to keep both of your brains engaged and active.

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Tips for quilt care

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Have you ever given a quilt as a gift, then months later received a call from the recipient asking “How do I clean this thing?” We have! Perhaps you are new to the quilting world and are unsure of the proper steps to care for your finished projects.

Quilt care is not a science, but caution must be taken, or you can easily ruin an expensive item that had hours of love and labor poured into it. Below are some tips that will help you properly care for your quilts so they will last many, many years. Keep a print-out of these tips with your quilts, or type up a nice, decorated sheet and include it with each quilt you give as a gift!

Quilts less than 30 years old

All quilts less than 30 years old should be washed individually in a front-loading washer, or washer without a center agitator. You can also use a very clean bathtub with no bleach or other chemical residues. If cleaning in a washer, use the gentle/delicates cycle with cool water and a mild soap – we carry Quilt Care liquid wash by Fairfield. Soap is preferable to detergent, although Barb has been known to use a very small amount of Tide powder detergent, mainly because it is formulated to preserve color in cottons. She uses about 1/2 of the detergent she would use for a normal load of clothing. In the case of quilts, more is definitely NOT better. Depending on the colors in the quilt and the size of the quilt, Barb will also use anywhere from 1 to 3 Shout Color Catcher Sheets to keep colors from bleeding and having excess dye deposit in areas where it doesn’t belong. These sheets can be found near the laundry detergent in your local super store. The sheets are simply placed in the washer at the beginning of the cycle, then removed and thrown away once the cycle is over.

If cleaning your quilt in your bathtub, fill it with luke-warm water, add soap/detergent (see previous paragraph), and mix it all together. Gently put your quilt in the bathtub, spread out as much as possible (in other words, don’t place it in the bathtub in a wadded up ball), and agitate with your hands. Drain the bathtub and gently squeeze the water out of the quilt. Do NOT wring out the quilt to remove water – squeeze, don’t twist.

To dry your quilt, place a sheet on the grass in the shade, lay the wet quilt on it and let it air-dry. You can also spread the quilt over 2 or 3 clotheslines and let it air-dry. Make sure the weight of the quilt is spread out. In the non-perfect world, the quilt can be placed in the dryer on the lowest heat setting. Remove the quilt every so often and rearrange it in the dryer, then restart the drying process. After the dryer has removed the majority of the liquid from the quilt, air-dry the quilt.

Antique quilts or quilts more than 30 years old

Hand-wash ONLY. Fill a clean bathtub with cool water and mild soap (Barb does not recommend using a detergent, such as Tide, for older quilts). Mix the water and soap, then place the quilt in the tub spread out as much as possible (again, no wadded balls). Gently agitate the quilt – the less agitation, the better. Drain the water from the tub, then remove the quilt. Air-dry the quilt on a sheet on the grass in the shade. If you find your quilt is need of a good cleaning in the middle of winter, you can spread a sheet on a clean, carpeted surface and spread the quilt on top of that to air-dry. Be careful not to let any pets near the quilt. Do NOT place antique quilts in a dryer.

Other tips/problems that may arise

Barb does not recommend dry-cleaning quilts because they typically use harsher chemicals to clean them.

When making a quilt, be sure to follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding quilting distance so the batting doesn’t bunch. If a quilt is tied or minimally quilted, be more cautious when washing. Modern batting is generally very stable, but using caution is a good rule of thumb. It is possible for batting to bunch, and when that happens, it is generally required that the quilt be re-made. This is why erring on the side of caution is a good rule to live by.

If you receive a quilt as a gift and are unsure of what went into the construction, err on the side of caution and treat it gently. If you are unsure of whether or not the fabrics were pre-washed, assume that they were not and use Shout Color Catcher sheets to soak up and wandering dyes.

We hope these tips are helpful to you and answer any questions that you may have had regarding caring for your quilts. If you have further questions, never be afraid to ask. It is better to ask when you are unsure than to accidentally ruin a timeless piece of art. Do you have other tips for quilt care that we haven’t talked about? Post them in the comments!

Our New Class Schedule!

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If you are a subscriber to our e-mail newsletter, then you have already had a chance to see our class schedule for January through March 2011. We are now happy to present to our blog readers our new class schedule!

January – March 2011 Class Schedule

Please let us know if you have any questions. We are happy to sign you up for classes via phone or in-store. Please note that we require a full deposit at the time of registration.

We hope to see you in our classroom very soon!

Why choose flannel?

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Have you been lulled into a false sense of toasty comfort by the mild fall that Wisconsin has experienced?

Winter is rapidly approaching and we often have clients in the store who love the feel of flannel, but are simply unsure of how to use it, or are even scared to try to use it in a quilt. Have no fear! We are here to inform you of all the benefits of using flannel, as well as all the wonderful things that you can do with it.

Some people find that using flannel for the backing of a cotton top adds a nice coziness to the quilt. This is an easy and effective way to increase the weight and warmth of your quilts, especially for those of us who like the soft feel against our skin. It also makes for a toasty backing for baby quilts!

Want some warmth and weight to your quilt, but don’t want to get too warm at night, or don’t enjoy the feel of flannel against your skin? Try piecing a flannel top, then using a cotton sheeting for your backing! This is a wonderful way to cozy up in bed without breaking into a sweat (Hilary has a quilt with a flannel top and a cotton back that Barb made and it is one of her favorites – perfect for those chilly winter nights).

Some of us are apprehensive about using flannel for piecing. Flannel can be used in any of the same ways that cotton sheeting can be used for quilt piecing. It is generally a good idea to use flannel in larger blocks or pieces simply because of the nature of the fabric. It is thicker than regular cotton sheeting and a little more difficult to manipulate into tiny pieces, but it goes together wonderfully for large blocks.

Another benefit? Large blocks means the piecing is faster and the quilt top goes together quicker! This means you get to enjoy the warmth much faster! Flannel is also a favorite for rag quilts, which don’t require much finishing and provide stable blocks and a stable quilt, ready for use.

Traditionally thought of as a masculine fabric, many of the prints available today make the fabric an attractive option for men, women and children.

Quilter’s Compass carries a variety of premium flannel in varying prints, including 25 bolts of new prints that just arrived this week. If you are interested in trying a flannel project or have questions or concerns about using flannel for your next project, stop in today and we will assist you in any way we can. We must warn you, though: using flannel in your quilt will cause great struggles when morning comes and you have to leave your nice warm bed.

Happy quilting!

Too many UnFinished Objects hiding in your sewing room? If so, then read on!

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We have lost count of the number of clients who come into Quilter’s Compass and say something along the lines of, “I love this fabric, but I can’t buy anything for new projects until I finish at least 2 of the ones I have started!” or “My family members refuse to enter my sewing room because it is so cluttered with projects in grocery sacks!”

If you have ever said anything close to what we’ve posted above, then we have a program designed specifically for you! In an effort to assist our clients in finishing those UFOs (UnFinished Objects) or PIGS (Projects In Grocery Sacks), we at Quilter’s Compass are proud to introduce The Finishers Club!

In a nut shell, The Finishers Club is a free rewards club that clients of Quilter’s Compass can join. It combines a New Year’s Resolution to finish in-progress projects with an incentive program. The general rules are as follows: you register your project with us (at least ONE CUT must be made in order for it to be considered “in-progress”, we assign your projects a point value, you work on and finish your project (it must be ready for use to be considered “finished”), you show us your finished project and we issue you your points!

Each point is converted to a percentage point off of one purchase at Quilter’s Compass. For example: You finish that King sized quilt you’ve been working on for your mother-in-law. A King-sized quilt is worth 5 points. That’s 5% off a future purchase at Quilter’s Compass! This works all the way up to 15% off one purchase.

We will keep track of your points throughout the year and in December, we will have a Finishers Club party where we all share a photograph or the actual project that we are most proud of, or is our favorite. We will also enjoy snacks and exchanging tales of our adventures throughout the year. We will also have prizes for various accomplishments throughout the year.

Please read the attached document for more in-depth details concerning the Finishers Club. Barb will be taking part in the club and has agreed to share a photo of her with a stack of (some of) her UFOs that she plans to complete this year! Please feel free to take a photo of your stack of UFOs or your sewing room to share with us and your fellow FC members.

Barb can't believe how many UFOs she has to finish (and this isn't even all of them!). Her dog, Sophie, can't believe it, either.

We also encourage members of the FC to utilize our UFO Nights taking place every other Thursday evening. Watch for our full class schedule coming out soon to see the specifics on UFO Nights. We will let you know now that we have decided to get rid of the $5 fee, so UFO Nights are now FREE. You must still register ahead of time as space is limited, but UFO Nights are a good way to enjoy spending time with other quilters while getting your own projects finished. And who knows, maybe there will be snacks!

You may begin registering your projects any time, but work may not begin on them until January 1, 2011 (we trust that you won’t cheat).

We look forward to finishing projects with you in the new year!

The Finishers Club Rules and Regulations

The end of road construction, beginning of quilt construction

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Well, the road was officially finished last week! Lines were painted, people joyously walked in cross walks, and cars parked in newly-paved parking spaces. Ahh, what a happy occasion!

We know many of you were waiting for the construction to end to make a trip out to our store, and we completely understand! We certainly appreciate those who braved the madness and made their way throughout the whole ordeal, but we’re very excited to meet new friends as well!

That being said, our classes are underway, so now that the road construction is finished, it’s time to get going on the quilt construction! The cool evenings and nights are upon us; do you have enough quilts to stay warm and cozy this winter? Of course you don’t! Nobody does! 🙂

We thought we might include a few photos of the completed road and some of our classes. We think it’s always fun to see what others are working on, so we thought you might, too! Enjoy!

Here’s what you’ve missed…

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If you haven’t been in to Quilter’s Compass lately, you’ve been missing out on a lot! We’ve got many more bolts of fabric (over 110 in the last week, alone!), had our Grand Opening Celebration, gave away over $750 worth of goodies during our Grand Opening, enjoyed homemade cookies and bread, had a bus visit from Iowa, and rearranged (almost) our entire store! Whew! It’s been a busy start to the Fall Season! To include some of you whom weren’t able to make it to our grand opening, or to the store in general, we’re including a few photos in this blog post. Hopefully these photos will help portray all the fun we’re having with our clients! Come visit us so you can join in, too!