Sunday, March 1, 2015

Was it Black and Blue or White and Gold?

Before you groan and stop reading, this post is not about that picture of the dress that went viral on the internet last week.Well, kind of...

Everyday we have shoppers come into the store looking for a "perfect" fabric they have identified by trolling manufacturer websites and online fabric retailers to match something they have in their stash.

We don't carry every fabric ever made, but we do boast a large in-house selection of fabrics. Often times we have "that" specific fabric the customer comes in looking for that they found online. The identifying manufacturer marks all match. We pull the bolt out of the shelves, and proudly present to the shopper. Just because we present the "right" fabric doesn't mean the shopper is happy. Often the fabric is not quite what they thought and even worse, sometimes a shopper thinks we don't have the right fabric and we are trying to sell them a different piece than what is in the picture.

Is it a dye lot variation? Maybe, but probably not.

Are we doing a bait and switch? Of course not!

Color and scale are so difficult to accurately represent in a digital image.

Technology is SOOO amazing. In seconds, a shopper can easily locate a fabric printed with cats, drinking martinis in Paris. (Ok, I exaggerate a little - I don't think that specific fabric exists.) If a fabric has been printed, it is increasingly easier for a shopper to have as much, if not more, knowledge of current fabrics available than the average shop owner.

When I shop for fabric for the store, I buy from fabric samples and some very high quality paper copies.

The paper copies are great for scale and style, but it is not perfect for color. It is near impossible for me to create a unique kit or candy bar from paper, much less digital images.

Recently we needed to fill in our Kansas Troubles backgrounds in the store. My sales rep visits often, but I didn't want to wait for our next appointment, so I just logged onto the MODA website. The Kansas Troubles palette is relatively controlled and pretty predictable. I ordered several bolts from the Favorites collection. All beautiful, but not one of the bolts we ordered ended up matching the exact tone we were trying to refill.

Let's look at a variety of pictures from this current  fabric line Bandana from Me & My Sister by MODA fabrics to better illustrate.

1. This picture is posted to our Facebook from a shot in our foyer.

2. This picture was taken at market from the Me & My Sister booth. Thanks Barb and Mary!

3. This picture is a professional product image from the MODA fabrics website.

4. A specific print image from the MODA website. 

5. A camera phone picture taken in our receiving area for Facebook.

Can you tell from the pictures you love the fabric line? ABSOLUTELY!

Can you tell from the pictures you want to make one of the quilts on the wall in the first picture? ABSOLUTELY!

Can you tell from the pictures the green will match your current work in progress? WELL, PROBABLY NOT... Scroll through each of the pictures again, even the green looks different in each of the pictures.

Is it exposure, is it your device, is it the quality of the camera, is it just perception? YES - likely all of the above. :-)

So am I saying you shouldn't buy fabric online? No, I'm not saying that.

If you are reading this blog, you probably don't buy fabric from any store but Patched Works anyway ;-).

What I am trying to say, use caution for relying on digital images to match color ESPECIALLY if you are matching something you have in stash. Shopping online is great for following very specific designers and theme fabrics. It is also great when you need to replenish a specific fabric when you need more and your local shop is out of stock. While we would love to buy everything from us (insert your LQS here), your local store couldn't possibly carry infinite yardage of every fabric released.

If you are fortunate to live near a local brick and mortar shop, nothing compares to matching colors in person!

BTW - I saw white and gold - Frank saw blue and black! ;-)

Hugs and quilts!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Importance of Show and Tell

We had another great club session today. My favorite part... Show and tell!

Why is show and tell so important?

For yourself: 
- The opportunity to be recognized by fellow makers who truly appreciate your work.
- Motivation to complete or make progress on your project.
- Solicit feedback from the group if you are stuck.

Showing your work for your own satisfaction is only a small part of the reason.

For others:
- Inpsire other members of the group. Someone may be looking for the right inspiration to stop petting and start cutting her fabric.
- Teach others a new technique. Show and tell sparks conversation. So many teaching discussions start from show and tell. 
- Provide courage to that student who is too shy or modest to show her work.

For the teacher:
- Your teacher glows with each piece of show and tell. This means she's inspired you or taught you something. 
- She loves seeing class progress.
- She loves seeing kits turned into quilts! 
- Sometimes you inspire her with something new. Maybe this sparks a new class or store sample. 

Students ask me all the time about bringing show and tell.

Question: Is my work good enough to show?

My response: Even the greatest quilters start somewhere. Most quilters do not recognize the quality of their own work. The classroom isn't a quilt show. Give yourself a break!

Question: I think I bring too much show and tell. I don't think I should bring any more.

My response: Your work is a gift. Unless you are boastful and braggy, the other students really enjoy seeing your work. Everyone has a different amount of time and skill to dedicate to the craft. You may have time to complete a quilt (or two) in the same time someone else can make a block. PLEASE continue to bring show and tell. Your work is so inspiring! 

Question: Can I bring the quilt if I didn't buy the fabric from the shop?

My response: *GASP* you shop somewhere else? - TOTALLY KIDDING! A shop can't possibly carry all the fabric in the world. As a shop owner I only ask that you don't start selling other wares. It's important to support your local shop, but you are not expected to spend all your quilting dollars there. 

Question: I made a really cool scarf. Can I bring that to show and tell? 

My response: We don't carry an inch of yarn, but we encourage makers. We encourage all kinds of creativity!

So the next time you think it doesn't matter, run back to your sewing room to grab something to share before you head to class or club! Who know, you might even win a prize! 

Hugs and Quilts! Julie 

Thursday, February 5, 2015


Recently we ordered a bright new shiny Aurifil cabinet for the store. If you have been following us on Facebook you might think we went a little ga-ga. 

It's *just* thread, right? 

You know, that is what I thought. 

Back in 2006, when we took over the shop, I was a Dual Duty girl. (Gasp!) I grew up on the stuff, like many of you. Why wasn't Dual Duty carried in the shop? I reluctantly experimented with the various offerings. I liked some, disliked others. At the end of the day, all threads can hold your seams together, but some thread performs better than others.

I soon caught the Aurifil bug. We have always proudly carried the brand, but the display has become a little old and dusty. 

No matter the display, here is some of what I learned.

Fast forward, at each passing Quilt Market, I visited the fancy new cabinets. 

Finally on a snowy January day, a giant semi pulled into our parking lot to drop off a pallet. We lovingly assembled and loaded out new Aurifil cabinet. 

We still need to upgrade our large spool 50 wt. fixture, but in the meantime, you can come in and hug, pet, or just shop the new fixture! 

Hugs and Quilts! 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Another winter day in Wisconsin

Another day tucked under a blanket in the comfort of my home. 

Seriously why does water taste so much better out of a straw? Maybe it is some magical essence from my cool Free Spirit cup or maybe Domo has been sneaking something into my drink. 

Thankfully I have my S'mores quilt keeping me cozy! 

Frank keeps trying to pat down my hair. I actually think the Heat Miser thing might be a good new look for me.

But enough about me... Stephanie has been preparing some really awesome photos of all the new arrivals at the shop! 

There is nothing better than looking at fabric on a cold winter day! 

Let's start with some amazing batiks! Which reminds me - have you signed up for Batik on February 24th yet?

Elementals: Landscape from Lunn Studios for Robert Kaufman 

Grove 2 Batik from Lunn Studios by Robert Kaufman.

Elementals: Boxed In by Lunn Studios for Robert Kaufman 

Love these new Prisma Element from Art Gallery Fabrics. The Navy has some silver metallic and the cream has gold metallic. We also restocked Pure Element Solids! 

Also tossed in some Square Elements in basic neutrals.

Adding to our Northcott Stonehenge range - the greens. We have almost completed our addition of the full Stonehenge collection!

Some Timeless Treasures Tonga Batiks. (I'm sensing a blue/green feel to this batch of recent deliveries.)

Poems from Pebbles - Malka Dubrasky's latest blue and greens for Moda Fabrics

Jennifer Sampou Studio Stash 2 from Robert Kaufman. Oh I can't wait to start a quilt with these. Toss in some Yarn Dyes, denims and chambrays and maybe a lime green corduroy - ahhh! 

On to lighter side we have some awesome new Star Wars! 

If you are still reading - I must toss in these awesome pinup men from Alexander Henry! "Feelin' Lucky" 

Always lots of great inspiration! Now.... what to do with those men? Did I hear you say, trapunto wallhanging of men in a garden of fourleaf clovers? That would be fabulous! When in doubt, the men are great for pillowcases! ;-) 

This is just a smattering of the goodies. Make sure to stop in soon! Let us know what you think of the latest finds! 

Happy Quilting! Julie 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Sew it's February already...

I have had the amazing opportunity to take a few days at home (cough, cough, sneeze). Not quite ready to head back to the store, but I thought this would be a fabulous opportunity to write a new post. 

Not the glamorous way I would like to spend some time off in the new year, but it did get me out of snow removal activities over the past few days! 😄

It has given me time to hone my mad Disco Bees skills - disappointing 94th place finish last night! 

and spend way too much time trolling Facebook and Instagram.

While "no sew" sick is not fun. It is awesome to see what the Quiltie Ladies have all done! 

Susie whipped together this awesome quilt for Strip Club on Saturday. 

Lisa and Stephanie put together an amazing display of the new Bandana fabric from Me & My Sister Designs. 

Jen has been chopping up a storm of kits and strip sets.

Everyone is going their part helping customers and making the store look pretty.

Of course Diane is keeping those Statler Stitchers purring along finishing your quilts! 

...and Frank keeps unpacking those boxes full of awesome new fabric! 

Whew! All that work makes me tired! Maybe it's time for another nap! 

Stay bundled up, keep taking your vitamin C and we will see you soon!

Happy Quilting! Julie