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Why I quilt — a post from Barb

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Why Do I Quilt?

Frequently I have been asked “Why do you like to quilt?”  That seems like a very simple question that should have a simple answer.  While it would be easiest to just give a simple answer, for me, the answer has to be pieced together – there is no one single reason why I quilt, there are many.

I quilt because, as a child, I loved quilts that my parents had stored that their grandmothers had made for them when they were children.  By the time I was 10 I had gotten those gorgeous quilts out of the linen cabinet and put them on my bed.  There was a double wedding ring quilt made with feed sacks, a lone star created using only solids, a hand embroidered and quilted yellow and white butterfly quilt just to name a few.  Each made an appearance on my bed at one point or another.  Those beautiful quilts didn’t belong shut up in a cabinet; they needed to be out and loved.  A purist may believe I “loved” them a bit too much. But today, even worn and retired from everyday use, they remain my first connection to important women from my past, women that I never had the opportunity to meet.  They are my first connection to a craft that has significantly influenced the course of my life.

I quilt because I love to sew.  For many years I was a garment seamstress.  I sewed many of my own clothes throughout high school and college, I sewed clothing for my children, I sewed custom wedding gowns and special occasion dresses.  As I got older and my skills continued to improve I came to the conclusion that sewing for myself was unsatisfying – I simply could not achieve the type of fit for myself that I could by altering clothing for someone else.  Being a selective perfectionist has its drawbacks (just ask my daughter about clothes shopping trips).  Being dissatisfied with the product you produce is a major disincentive to continuing the activity.   As my children got older, there were a limited number of things that they wanted me to make for them.  Working with brides was wonderful, working with the bride’s mother – well, not so much.  In each of these cases the primary reason for sewing the garments was to get exactly what you wanted, not to save money.  The reality was that you probably weren’t going to save money by doing it yourself.  Not to mention the philosophical internal debate I kept having with myself concerning the best use of time and money when it came to creating an expensive dress to be worn once for a few hours.  I am not saying that quilting is inexpensive, but when you compare the investment in both time and money versus the amount of use that a good quilt can be put to at least the cost per use is considerably more reasonable.

I quilt because it offers me a significant creative outlet.  I don’t draw or paint, but I do see how bits and pieces of shapes and colors can come together to be something so much more than the sum of its parts.  I enjoy the challenge of balancing warm and cool colors, of creating a piece of art that invites you to continue to look at it without growing tired or complacent.  I enjoy the puzzle of figuring out the most efficient way to put all of the pieces together.  I can put a little piece of myself into each of my quilts through the choices I make when creating it, through the colors, the fabrics, the pattern, and the quilting itself.

I quilt because it’s therapy.  When life gets too real and I want to shut out the world, forget my troubles, take a break from the challenges of the day, I can lose myself in the rhythm of the feed dogs pulling the layers through the sewing machine.  I must be in the here and now, I must pay attention to what I am doing or the sewing gods will not be happy.  We all know what the sewing gods say when you do not focus on the task at hand – “Rip it!”  But if you stay focused you are rewarded not only with functional artwork, but with relief from your troubles, even if only temporary.

Ultimately, there is one more reason that trumps all of the others.  I quilt because I love my family and I can always be there to give them a hug when they need it.  I quilt because, like my grandmothers before me, I can give them a piece of myself disguised as a blanket that they can wrap up tight in and stay warm and know I love them.  I quilt because I want to be able to give them a hug even when I can’t be there.  They will always be able to wrap up in their quilts and know that they are getting a hug from mom.

That’s why I quilt.


Who we are and what we do

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So who are the people behind Quilter’s Compass? What qualifications do they have? What are their ideals?

We’re hoping to answer some of these questions in our first ever joint blog post between Barb, the owner of Quilter’s Compass, and her daughter, Hilary, the Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator for Quilter’s Compass. We’re hoping that doing this combined post will allow our clients and blog readers to get the answers to the questions posted above.

Barb: I’ve wanted to do this forever. I started planning my first quilt shop in college, and I decline to comment as to how long ago that was. I’ve always loved quilts. My parents had baby quilts and quilts that they’d used as kids and they kept them in the closet and I thought they were beautiful and shouldn’t be in a closet, they should be on a bed.  I wanted to be able to create something that was beautiful and functional too. So, as a teenager I started to tie comforters using printed sheets.  It was a start.

Hilary: Mom taught me how to sew when I was young – maybe 7 or 8 years of age. I made a few throw pillows and a lap quilt for my dad for a gift. Mom also helped my Girl Scout troop make a quilt so we could earn our sewing badges. I just wasn’t as in to sewing and quilting as I think she had hoped I would be, but she never pressured me or pushed me to stick with it. If it wasn’t what I wanted to do, that was fine with her, but she did try! I think I was a like my mom in some ways as a teenager. I did (and still do) love the quilts she made. I was so happy and proud to display them on my bed and “love” them (we don’t say they look “used” or “worn”… they look “loved”!), but I didn’t want to make my own… I just wanted her to make more for me!

Barb: While planning Quilter’s Compass, I was lying awake one morning and thinking “Gee, I’m not sure I want to get up today.” and  just thinking about stuff. Thinking about my parents’ quilts, it occurred to me that women I’d never met, my great-grandmothers, had a huge influence on me and my life. Thinking about my great-grandmothers that way also reinforced the notion that the quilts I’m creating today may have that same kind of impact on my great-grandchildren and I wanted to be able to share the joy of creating that connection with other people.

Hilary: While my great-great-grandmothers didn’t have the same impact on my life as they did on my mothers’,I definitely enjoy looking at the works of art they made so many years ago! I hold my grandfather’s baby quilt and just think to myself, this is what Grandpa curled up with every night starting in 1918, and it amazes me. His quilt is almost 100 years old! We have others from my grandmother that are anywhere from 60 to 80 years old. I just think it’s so cool.

Barb: If you look at statistics and demographics, the largest or most common profile of a quilter today is a woman who is probably in her early- to mid-fifties or older. As someone who nearly became a home economics teacher, I realize that the place that a lot of kids learn to sew is just not available any more (sewing programs in home economics courses in school). As the current primary base of quilters continues to age, if we don’t find a way to help young people discover this traditional art form, we run the risk of losing out. In an effort to making quilting relevant to younger generations, I try to fuse the traditional with contemporary to acknowledge the past and look to the future. I do this by mixing – traditional techniques with more modern fabric colors and prints, contemporary quilt designs done up in more traditional fabrics. I also love helping quilters see that you don’t need to stay within one fabric line. I love showing people how to, and that you can, mix lines. I like to get people to think outside the box. After all, there are no quilt police! If you like something, go for it and have fun!

Hilary: Since opening the shop, my mom has tricked me into quilting a few things. I’ll see fabric or a pattern I like and ask her to make it for me and she has the nerve to tell me to make it myself! She always says something about being busy or something… like she has things to do these days! 😉 Anyway, so I decided to make myself my very first quilt. It’s a more contemporary design, but the fabrics I used are all over the place! I have Civil War Reproductions, fabric from a children’s collection, batiks, basics, as well as other contemporary and traditional lines of fabric. I’m really starting to see just how harmonious contemporary and traditional can be when put together in one quilt. It’s a beautiful thing!

Just for fun…

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We’ve been dealing with many different types of construction lately, so we thought we’d ask you which one you thought sounded like the most fun!

Fall Class Schedule

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Here it is, folks! Our Fall 2010 class schedule is attached to this post. Please note that at this time, we can only register students in person or over the phone and the full class fee is due at time of registration (except where noted).

We hope you will find something that interests you. We tried to keep our Fall schedule a little lighter since we are still so new and have a great deal going on at the shop. Expect things to pick up a bit after the first of the year. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask us!

September – December 2010 Class Schedule Calendar

September – December 2010 Class Schedule

Books and Patterns and Classes, oh my!

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We just got a large shipment of new books and patterns from Checker Distributors. There are a lot of great items, including the “Six Halves Make a Whole” series (“Six Halves Make a Whole”, “Six Halves Make a Whole Lot More”, “Six Halves Make a Whole Christmas”, “Six Halves Make a Whole Sampler”, and “Six Halves Make a Whole Quilt”). We have kits available for these books and are looking forward to getting everything put together! We’re excited to get all of our new products priced and put out in the store. We’re getting new items every day!

We also received a shipment from Moda including Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls, and Layer Cakes from the “Hope” line (From Moda’s web site: “Proceeds from this collection, HOPE, will be donated to the ALS Association, whose vision is to care for and support all people living with Lou Gehrig’s Disease as they leave no stone unturned in their relentless search for a cure”) and the “Happy” line from Me and My Sister.

We are working on finalizing our class schedule for this fall. Hopefully it will be published within the next week or so, but we can tell you that it includes “UFO Nights”, beginner skills classes I, II and III, a special Block of the Month exclusive to Quilter’s Compass, and other fun classes. We’ll be sure to post the schedule here when it’s finished.

Be sure to stop in soon to see all the new fabric, books and patterns we’ve gotten in recently. We look forward to seeing you and helping you with your next project!

Exciting Times in Monticello!

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First of all, we’d like to thank the people of Monticello for being so warm and welcoming to us! We are very appreciative of the encouraging words and positive thoughts that we’ve been receiving throughout this journey.

On that note: WE ARE NOW OPEN! Please understand that we are in a “soft opening” period and are still getting shipments of fabric every day.

We are planning a Grand Opening Event for Thursday, September 23 through Saturday, September 25, 2010 during regular business hours (check Facebook or our web site for our hours!). We plan to have some snacks, a drawing for a gift basket, 20% off fabric (excluding fat quarters), free give-a-ways, and a general good time. Be sure to come out to see us!

The two signs for our building were installed yesterday (yes, we tried to make opening day as crazy as possible!). They look BEAUTIFUL and we are so proud to have them on the building.

Main Street in Monticello is torn up as they do some water and sewage pipe repairs and replacements. We overheard yesterday that they are currently a week ahead of schedule! They are supposed to be finished and have Main Street back to normal again in October, but we’ll see! Until then, we are open, as are the other wonderful businesses on Main Street. Take a walk downtown and visit us!

That’s the end of our update for now. We would like to take this opportunity, however, to let everyone in on our plans for this blog. We’re hoping to have some guest bloggers as time goes on (teachers writing blogs corresponding to classes we have going on), more general updates about the store (current promotions, fabric lines we’re expecting, etc), and blogs about various quilting projects and techniques. So make sure you check back as we expand our blog and grow as a business.

Happy quilting!

Making progress

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It’s been awhile since we’ve updated our blog. We’ve been very busy! Here’s a recap of our recent activity:

Barb received keys to the store on July 1st and we started moving in and arranging things including Barb’s longarm quilting machine, affectionately referred to as Luna. The interior of the building is complete, sans a few small details to finish. Check out our Facebook page for photos of the building and what we’ve been up to! While you’re there, take a look at the “Introduce Yourself” topic in our Discussions tab for an easy way to save $10 on your first purchase!

We’ve been receiving shipments of fabric and notions for a few weeks now. Barb and family have been busy arranging and labeling everything so it will be ready for opening day (August 2nd! Mark your calendars!).

We unloaded a semi-truck full of our shelving fixtures this past Monday. We also spent the morning assembling the fixtures and started putting fabric away! It’s really starting to take shape and look like a quilt shop!

Only 10 days until opening day and we still have lots to do. For quick updates on what’s going on, check our Facebook page, as that is the quickest and easiest way for us to keep in touch with you.

We hope to see you August 2nd! If you can’t make it out to the store on that day, don’t worry; we will be having a grand opening event sometime in early September. Stay tuned for details!

Thanks for all your support! We are really feeling the love here in Monticello 🙂