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3/25/20

IMPORTANT: COVID-19 & Temporary Shop Closure

In the future, before noting that "life has been crazy," I will be using the past few weeks as the basis of comparison to determine whether is just busy or actually crazy. 

That being said, these are indeed some crazy times we are in. Whoever told 2020 to "just bring it" needs to apologize.

On Monday the Executive Order came out from Gov. Kate Brown, and without getting into the various sections and paragraphs to the letter, the end result is that we have temporarily closed the shop to walk-in business effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 1pm.  We do not have a realistic or reasonable way to guarantee or enforce the 6ft. social distancing requirement when multiple people are in the store.  Our #1 priority is the safety and health of our staff and our quilters.  Closing for a bit is simply the right thing to do.

You may noticed I emphasized "temporary" and "walk-in business."  Why, and what does that mean for all our quilters? 

  1. We view this closure as 100% temporary. While we don't know, and have no control over, how long the Executive Order will be in effect and closing our shop, we WILL reopen.  And, just because our doors are closed to walk-in business, doesn't mean we aren't still hard at work! As a matter of fact, today we received a LARGE shipment from Benartex - large enough we will be rearranging some of the store to fit it all in!  We have other shipments coming in the next few weeks.  When we reopen there will be a lot of great new fabric and samples ready for you!
  2. We are absolutely still accepting and shipping internet ordersGo to our website HERE to place an order. 
  3.  Need something you can't find online?  Send us an email (thecottonpatch@msn.com) or send us a Facebook message (www.facebook.com/keizercottonpatch) with what you're looking for and a phone number we can call to reach you - we will do a phone order and ship you what you need!
  4. We will open for single shoppers on a by-appointment-only basisThis is the only way we can enforce the required social distance.  Contact us by email (thecottonpatch@msn.com) to arrange a date and time, and one of us will meet you at the store.  We will only allow one single person at a time during the scheduled shopping time. 
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All that said, please indulge me a moment to speak to something near and dear to our hearts.  While Oregon may not be as hard-hit by the pandemic by other states, the measures in place while necessary at this time are extremely impactful to all local businesses, not just ours.

If you have talked about supporting your local businesses, or have thought about doing more business with them - whether we're talking restaurants, grocery stores, corner stores, hobby shops, book stores, pet supply store, or quilt shops - THE TIME IS NOW. 

During these large scale closures, big box and chain stores, rest assured, will be fine.  Your local businesses, however, will be in greater jeopardy. These are the livelihoods of your friends and peers, and cornerstones of communities.  It's hard to imagine a fixture like Powell's Bookstore in Portland going out, or not being able to go to Konditerei here in Salem anymore - I'm not saying those businesses are in danger - they're merely examples of some great local hallmarks, but this is the economic reality local businesses face that the chain stores simply do not.  

Instead of running through the drive thru, consider getting takeout from one of the many wonderful local restaurants 
Instead of hitting up Walmart for pet food and groceries, consider calling one of the local groceries or pet supply stores for curbside pickup
Instead of Hobby Lobby or Joann's, think about your local craft and quilt shops. 

The only way to get through this is to get through it together.  

2/28/20

A Note About Points and Gift Cards

This week I think is a good opportunity to address a few reminders and clarify some questions and concerns we've recently had about our points system and our gift cards.

What points system do you use?
We use Five Stars, which is a nationally recognized and widely used system. It allows us and you to manage points so much easier by tying them to your phone number of choice (which you key in yourself on the tablet at the counter when you sign up) instead of trying to keep track of a physical card. It also sends you intermittent benefits by text or email generated directly from the system. I'll get to that in a moment!

How do I earn points?
Points are given dollar-for-dollar on all regular priced purchases. When you reach 250 points ($250 spent) you earn $25 off your next regular priced purchase should to choose to use it. If you choose to save it, and reach 450 points ($450 spent) you receive 25% off your next regular priced purchase

Do my points expire?
Any points you are given from a purchase you make never expire - the points are there until you use them and they stay attached to the phone number provided when you signed up for the system. If you only make it our way a couple times a year for shop hops, or see us a couple times a week, it doesn't matter; your earned points will stay secure.

Can the benefits be split out or combined?
No. If you have both discounts earned from points ($25 or 25%), you can only use one of them, and on regular priced purchases only. If you have one of the system generated benefits, it cannot be combined with your earned points discount or any sale prices. When you use the $25, you must use it in its entirety in a single purchase. We cannot give you cash or credit change for the difference, or award the leftover points back. This is pretty typical of most points/benefits systems.

Do you keep track of my phone number?
No. First of all we we do not track your phone number to use it in any other way than for you to access your points. The system uses it, and only if it is a cell phone number, to text you those intermittent discounts. Those are not generated by us. Secondly, we do not keep a list of what phone number you used when you signed up, and unfortunately, we don't have the bandwidth to stop and look this up for you in the office while we are at the counter. However, you can check it at any time on the Five Stars website. If you signed up with more than one phone number, you will need to choose which number you want to use; we cannot and do not decide that for you. It is up to you to decide which one you want to use. If time permits, I do try to add points if I can find a number or name through the Five Stars site. Sometimes this works, and other times it is only as good as the information given.

I had a freebie discount and/or birthday discount sent to me by Five Stars, but I can't see it anymore - is it still valid?
Unlike the points you earn through your purchases, there ARE time limits on all of the discounts Five Stars sends you through their system. They are good about displaying what that time limit is, but we will always know if it is still active if it pops up for us on the tablet when you check out. If it doesn't come up, it is expired. There is no way for us to alter this, because we did not send it. The point of these discounts from Five Stars is to get you to come in and use them.

If I pass the expiration date on one of the Five Star discounts I am sent, can I get it back in cash or store credit?
No. Those discounts are not equivalent to cash. Think of them more like a coupon - coupons expire, and so do these offers. If it is expired, we cannot honor it as it will not show up in the system anymore. So if you are sent one and want to use it, be sure to check on when your special expires so you can plan a trip to the shop to use it while it is active. Otherwise, you will have another opportunity to spend your Five Stars perk the next time they send one out. We try to be very fair with giving points - we accepted Greenbaums' points cards so no one lost out after they closed - but at the same time, we do have to consider the business too.

About gift cards:
We have changed to paper gift cards due to the high monthly cost of maintaining the system (and it is the ONLY thing we use it for). To prevent passing that cost on, we are changing back to paper gift cards. We will honor the plastic gift cards until June 30, 2020. If you have a plastic gift card in your possession today, please use it or convert it to a paper gift certificate by June 30, 2020. We cannot honor the plastic gift cards past June 30, 2020. New gift certificates will also have a one year expiration for use. As a business we have to keep track of those, although it is hard to imagine being able to hold on to a gift certificate for fabric for that long (I know it would sure burn a hole in my pocket)!

Each small business has to decide for themselves how to run their programs, and I hope this helps gives some insight to our punch cards and gift certificates. Most certainly you will run across other ways businesses manage these features - which is totally okay..there is no hard and fast way to do it. These are part of doing business, and we like doing them and will continue to do so, but we want to make sure that there is transparency and understanding so they continue to be a win-win for everyone!

2/23/20

Diane's Pick of the Week: Week of 2/23/20

What's Diane's favorite thing in the shop this week?

You know she has a soft spot for Jason Yenter's designs at In the Beginning, and this week is no different - Her pick is Cherry Lemonade! 



Why is Cherry Lemonade her pick?

  • The polka dot background
  • Clear, bright, primary colors without looking like a kids' fabric
  • It's a digital print, and only $11.75
What's your favorite thing in quilting this week?  


2/21/20

PSA

Been working on some show samples, and I don't know who needs to hear this right now, but...


Clean your machine!

2/11/20

Long Arm Quilting Services: LAQ Services & Tips for Helping Your LAQ


LAQ SERVICES AT THE COTTON PATCH
The Cotton Patch doesn't provide in-house LAQ (Long Arm Quilting) services, but instead acts as the connection point between independent LAQs (Long Arm Quilters) and their customers.  

Looking for a new LAQ?  Give us a call or stop by and we can make some recommendations to some local, independent LAQs who offer meandering, edge-to-edge pantograph, and custom quilting services.  We do not recommend anyone whose work we haven't seen or used ourselves!

Are you a LAQ and want to leave your card with us?  Stop by with some samples of your work and your cards, and ask for Diane (the owner) or Lauren ( the manager) to discuss the services you offer.  Please do not leave cards without seeing Diane or Lauren first - We do not display cards for quilters whose work we haven't seen - we must know about the services we recommend and we cannot do so without seeing samples.   

Call your LAQ before dropping off your quilt at the shop.  This sounds like a no-brainer, but life gets busy! Your quilter will not know to come pick up your quilt at the shop if they don't know it's here.  While we are happy to let you use the phone if you need to, you will need to communicate with them directly instead of through shop staff.  

Leaving your Quilt. We have a cabinet in front of the register where you can leave your quilt.  Be sure to have the bag your quilt is in clearly labelled with your name and contact information.  If your quilter requires paperwork to be filled out at the time of drop off, please make sure it is done and gets in the bag.  

Picking up your Quilt. Your LAQ will call you when your quilt is ready to be paid for and picked up.  If you haven't heard from your LAQ and are curious when it will be ready, give your LAQ a call directly; since the LAQs we recommend are their own businesses, shop staff don't have visibility into quilts' statuses.  

Paying for your Quilt.  You will work out payment with your LAQ directly, and they set their own prices for services.  However, as a pick up point we can accept payments for some LAQs.  If you want to leave payment with us, come prepared with exact change or a personal/cashier's checkWe cannot make change or run credit cards through our system on their behalf.  


TIPS FOR HELPING YOUR LAQ
Communication is key - talk to your LAQ before providing the quilt.  Make sure you have mutual understanding of the services provided, costs, the quilt dimensions, how you expect the quilting to look, thread needs, batting needs, binding needs, turnaround time, etc. 
The Girl Scout motto applies - Be Prepared!  Have the quilt 100% ready for your LAQ to quilt.  That means the quilt top is completely finished with no pins holding things together, stray threads are snipped, the backing is ready (pieces as needed), and the top/backing are pressed.  When you provide your quilt, make sure it is clean.  Use a lint roller to remove any pet hair, and if there are any stains (iron spit ups happen!) be sure to take note of those and let your quilter know.

A note about border assembly: To ensure your quilt is square and that the borders don't flare/wave, measure for your borders through the middle of the quilt before cutting/sewing them on.  If borders flare/wave, it means they are bigger than the quilt center.  If the borders are severely flared, it may mean the quilt cannot be quilted until the issue is corrected.  If they are flared, but the quilt can conceivably be quilted, the result may not come out as expected.  It is best to make sure this is attended to before turning in the quilt for quilting.  

Don't trim the backing to fit the quilt top.  Long arm machines need something on the quilt to grasp onto in the frame, and the backing is how that is accomplished.  The backing must be minimally 3" larger than the quilt top all the way around (so, a total of 6" longer and wider than the top in all) to get into the frame adequately and to allow for any shrinkage (a natural part of the quilting process) 

Pieced backings are fine, but be aware of the challenges.  If you provide a pieced backing (or intended to have a reversible quilt), it is difficult to keep the top and backing moving that the identical rate during the quilting process.  This is just the nature of the process and how LAQ machines are designed - the top and back go on different poles in the frame, which may move at slightly different rates of speed.  The back may not be as straight as the top.  It is recommended, that if you do a pieced backing, keep it simple.  If you are doing a reversible quilt scenario, then the more intricate side should be treated as the top.  

Hold off on making that quilt sandwich!  It sounds like a very helpful thing to do, and certaintly it's well-intentioned, but your LAQ has a way of making the backing, batting, and quilt top fit onto their machine.  If the quilt sandwich is already made, it is much more challenging for them to get the whole thing into their machine how they need it to be.  Just provide the top, batting, and backing ready to go and they'll take it from there. 
To tip, or not to tip?  This is a question we get a lot.  Bare bones answer, no, tipping is not required.  HOWEVER, it is something to consider that LAQs provide a skilled service.  Think about other service providers - hair stylists, nail technicians, waiters/waitresses, etc.  In general, we tip them for the quality of their work or the quality of service experience they provide.  It isn't weird to tip your LAQ - it is a show of appreciation for their work. 

2/5/20

COMING SOON! Simply Starry Sew Along

Join us on our latest block of the week and sew along, Simply Starry!  
This program is a little different than anything we've done before:  there's no class, no sign up, and nothing to pick up.  It's all on the blog!  This program will start Sunday, April 5, 2020 through June 28, 2020, and features 12 weeks' of 12" finished star blocks.

What makes this a Sew Along?  We will be making the blocks with you, so every week you'll see our version of the block made up.  Here's an example of what the quilt looks like, but keep in mind, the colors will be your own choice!


How to Get the Blocks
All you have to do is stop by the blog every week and download the block of the week for free!  Blocks will be available starting each week on Sunday and will be available for free download until the following Sunday.

Use your scraps, use your stash, or buy new fabric - the choice is yours!  Downloads from the blog are free, but printed copies of the current week's block and any back-patterns will be available in-store for $3 each.

But Wait!  Who Doesn't Love a Little Challenge?

Be the first to bring in the your completed quilt top (just the finished top, borders required to be present and sewn on completely) at the end of the program, and get 50% off the single backing fabric of your choosing*!  We'll announce who the winner is here and on Facebook.
*clearance excluded, ineligible for additional discounts

Be the first to finish your quilt (top, quilting, and binding 100% completed) and win a gift basket valued at $100!  We'll announce who the winner is here and on Facebook.

We can't wait to get started, and hope you'll sew along with us!



2/2/20

Recap: Willamette Valley Quilt Festival

Whew, what a weekend!  Thank you for coming and making the show a success!  The Willamette Valley Quilt Festival just keeps getting better and better every year and we're excited to have been invited again to participate next year. 

Weren't able to make it?  That's okay!  Here's some pictures of the booth, and a selection of some of the quilts that were displayed...there were more than pictured here, but these are the ones Lauren was able to sneak away and see!






We ended up selling out of the Sew Cute Critters (the animals with glasses), the Fabulous Greek Felines (not pictured), Irony (the irons - hehehe!), and the Iron pincushion.  We WILL have these back in store, and if Lauren has you on the waiting list, you'll be called when they come in!

Now for the quilts...

Autumn Birch by JoAnna Rogers

Earth, Wind, and Water by Diana Finkenaur

Kodiak by JoAnna Rogers

Stonehenge Fabric Challenge by LuAnn Edmonds

The center block was cool!

Another Stonehenge Fabric Challenge by LuAnn Edmonds

State Birds of a Feather Together Forever by Wanda Wielgos



Love's Labor Found by Dawnell Tingey

There's metallic in there...which is notoriously hard to work with as an embroidery floss!

My Favorite Follies by Sally Marshall.  This was an old Block of the Month of ours, so it was cool to see again!

Tour de Firsts by Rebecca Ostergaard

The Dragon by Laurie Naemura


It's Interesting by Linda Glasscock


3654 Sampler by Cynthia Janes


Continuum by Patty Roberts-Hasenbalg


Untitled by Chris Harrsion 

Colorworks by Alice Grucza

Cross Stitch Calendar by Renee Gerlach


Tribute to Grandma Oda by Oda Pendergrass


Bee Mine by Gina Mercado


It's Interesting by Alice Gruzca


Sunflower by LuAnn Kessi


Broken Garden Path by Debbie Garvin

Carolina Lily by Rosalie Williams

Forest Abstractions by Renee McCord

Untitled by Elle Garvison

Inner City Splendor by Cynthia Shaw.  The center is all HAND PIECED.  Amazing!


Dear Jane by Carolan Pyron


Poinsettia by Anita Scott

Scrappy Hunter's Star by Cheryl Dolby

Untitled by Sandra Olson

Gravity by Jill Huntington


All Things Alaska by Cheryl Dolby.  I liked this one because it was an outdoorsy quilt that was more than brown and green.  

Star Storm Moonshadow by Ginger Cadwell


Midnight Stars by Gail Chapman

Zebra Portrait by Jill Huntington

Untitled by Keo Teghtmeyer

One of my favorite animals!

Oh look, another one of my favorites!!

Portland - City of Roses by Jill Huntington


My 30 60 90 Nightmare by Janna Curtis.  I thought the way the blocks were set was neat.

Red Rose for a Blue Girl by Jean Amundson

Komon Lattice by Karen Miller

Untitled by Diane Nordyke



Untitled by Naomi Wiedner

Two Sisters by Elnora Dyer

Untitled by Sharon Hoyer

Wild Thing by Teri Wells

Celtic Quilt by Ilona Haines




Untitled by Sharon Hoyer.  Holy tiny circles, Batman!

Finger for scale (NOTE: Finger did not touch quilt and was about an inch and a half away, promise!)

We hope everyone who attended had as great a time as we did, and that you'll come see us next year.  What's the next show for us?  A little birdie told me it'll be Expo in March...stay tuned for details!