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5/3/22

Stash Management (and Why I'm Refolding...)

I recently attended a presentation by Kim Smith Soper of Leland Ave Studios and it really got my gears going.  The talk was about stash and scrap management, which is something I'm always interested in because, well, scraps. I have 'em.  And frankly, they're out of control.  I'm pretty organized in my work spaces so if I'm saying it's a dang mess, you know it's bad news bears.  So this presentation was SUPER timely. 

She brought up a lot of really good points and tips.  One I already knew - using a ruler to fold your fabric uniformly so you can maximize your shelf space.  Admittedly, I have for years poo-pooed this one as being just too much effort.  I have for years folded my own fabric exactly how I fold it at the shop.  But as she talked (don't worry, it was a Zoom call and as usual my camera was off) , I started to fold using my 6.5"x 24" ruler.  FINE, OKAY?! It's neat. It's tidy.  But most importantly...THE SPACE SAVINGS.  

She went on to talk about how we can better manage our stashes and part of that means getting rid of things that are no longer serve your quilting style.  And it's true.  Think back to when you first started out...are you drawn to the same fabrics now as you were then?  I sure the heck am not.  I used a lot of jewel tones, rusts, browns, lots of international themed prints, matchy-matchy lines.  Now not so much.  I very much found my niche with scraps, brights, and wild prints.  So as I folded, I started to pull out the pieces I knew that realistically I wasn't in love with anymore and that have just become fixtures on my shelf. More space saved.  She talked about de-stashing groups online and how to go through that process to distribute your unwanted pieces to folks who want them beyond donations. 

She also talked about how sometimes having a lot of options is more limiting than having fewer, more focused options.  This too, is true.  I can tell that especially when I started out I definitely came from the school of thought that if one yard of something is good, then a few more yards of similar pieces must be better!  Having a lot of choices seemed like a good problem to have.  Heck, it felt like just being well prepared...and other justifications.  But as it turns out, as many quilters can attest - you can have thirty different types of blue but you never have the one you need. Or...you like something so much you buy it twice.  Guilty!  Do I really need two cuts of the same thing?  If we're being honest here, and in the spirit of trying to get things under control, it's time to get real.  I still have a lot to go, but it feels really good to narrow it down to things I know I will use and that better serve me in my quilting journey now. 

She also touched on the difficulty of letting go and some of the feelings we experience when we get rid of things - like guilt - that makes us hang on to things we don't need.  Maybe we feel like we're being wasteful and that we should save it for a rainy day or for someone specific.  Or maybe it was gifted to us and we feel bad getting rid of it even though we know we probably won't use it, or because of who gave it to us. 

That last bit? Wow. 

As I have been diligently refolding my fabric like a little psychopath, I have really enjoyed looking at all the pieces and thinking about where they came from and why I have them.  I forgot about some things, and got re-inspired.  Looked at some, and chose to move them on.  But yet others, I think of that last thing - about how they were gifted to me by people I know.  I suppose for me, that's one piece of advice that, while I appreciate where it comes from, I simply won't be taking on board.  I have come across several pieces that as soon as I see time, I think of the person who gave it to me.  

Like this one.  This batik was one of several given to me by one of our late customers; she used them in a project but as one does, got sick of looking at them.  She was a regular with whom I had a bit of a rocky start, but eventually we came to really understand and like one another.  She passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly.  I never thought that the last time I saw her would be the last time I saw her. Every time I see these on my shelf, I think of her and reminisce on some of the conversations we had - I have never before or since met someone with quite her brand of humor and I came to really appreciate her for it.

I have several pieces from our late friend, Ardith, who many of you have met when she worked behind the counter at the shop.  Every time I look at those pieces I think of her, and I can just hear her voice in my head.  She and Mom were quite close, and even after she stopped working behind the counter she was in frequently with her projects.  I have never met someone who got as excited as she did about fabric and playing with color.  That's where she and I had a lot in common - playing with color is so much FUN.  She would always tell us about her "hare brained ideas" (her words) that she would come up with for different fabrics - and they were always cool ideas.

Years ago Mom purged her stash and she gave me BAGS of fabric.  Like.  The big black trash bags.  There are so many things I remember from when I was a little kid, and a lot of things that I remember she really loved but no longer fit her current style.  Will I use all of those pieces?  Nope.  But they're important and sentimental to me and I know if I ever got rid of them I would always regret it.  There's an international flag print and a frog print from the early 90's that my brother had shorts made from when he was a toddler.  There's some foundation piecing patterns she bought when we lived in Virginia at the quilt shop that used to be in Luray (might still be there, I don't know).  

My point is...decluttering and destashing every now and then to keep your sewing space under control and working for you the best it can whatever your quilting approach is, is a very good thing.  Change isn't necessarily bad.  Recognizing that things you bought ten years ago no longer serve you and getting rid of them isn't bad either (even if you feel a little guilty).  Lots of really helpful and good/healthy takeways to be had! But for me, some of those pieces are as much about filling my heart as they are about filling my fabric stash. 

I'll do (almost) anything to organize my work space...


How do you keep your stash under control?  Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments!

4/28/22

Backing Day is Saturday, April 30th!

Here's a reminder from your friendly neighborhood Cotton Patch that Backing Day is this Saturday, April 30th!  

If you're new here and don't know what Backing Day is...

Bring in your finished quilt tops (100% complete, no more borders to add, done) on the last day of the month and receive 25% off your backing of choice, even Clearance!

The usual rules apply:

  • If the last day of the month falls on a Sunday when we're closed, then Backing Day is the day before (Saturday). 
  • Discount valid on single-fabric backings only.  Sorry, this is not valid on several cuts of different fabrics for a pieced backing.  
  • Sale prices not combinable with any other offer (this includes deals from Five Stars, redeeming points, and coupons)
  • Sale prices good in-store only on the sale day and limited to stock on-hand. 
We can't wait to see what you've created - see you on the 30th!

3/31/22

The Underground Shop Hop Starts Tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the day!  Grab your quilting friends and come visit eight wonderful Willamette Valley shops on the Underground Shop Hop!  Grab your passport from any participating shop:

Yankee Dutch Quilting & Dry Goods (Brownsville)
Finally Together Quilts (Lebanon)
Quilt Loft (Albany)
The Purple Frog (Jefferson)
The Cotton Patch (Keizer)
Will N Beez Quilts & Coffee (Salem)
Grandma's Attic (Dallas)
Sew It Seams (Philomath)

REMINDERS:
All shops will be open minimally Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm - stores may choose to be open on Sundays but it is not required, so check with them on their Sunday hours in advance.

During the shop hop each shop will stamp your passport and give you one free kit for a 12.5" block.  Turn your completed tickets in at the end of the Shop Hop and get a chance to win a $200 shopping spree ($25 for each shop).

Pay close attention to the Underground Shop Hop Facebook Page every day during the Shop Hop - there will be a "secret code" posted daily for you to tell each shop for a special deal or freebie!  Each shop will have something different, so it pays to play!  If you don't personally have a Facebook page, it is a public page you can view (but not comment on), or grab a friend to help you out!

There's more yet!  Create a quilt of your own design using all eight blocks from the shops and send a picture in to the Underground Shop Hop Facebook Page (hosted in October) for a chance to win two additional prizes - one $200 shopping spree ($25 for each shop) and one $600 shopping spree ($75 for each shop)!  This year some shops will be featuring bonus blocks (optional and for purchase) to help make designing a little easier.  

3/29/22

Backing Day is Thursday, March 31st!

Here's a reminder from your friendly neighborhood Cotton Patch that Backing Day is this Thursday, March 31st!  

If you're new here and don't know what Backing Day is...

Bring in your finished quilt tops (100% complete, no more borders to add, done) on the last day of the month and receive 25% off your backing of choice, even Clearance!

The usual rules apply:

  • If the last day of the month falls on a Sunday when we're closed, then Backing Day is the day before (Saturday). 
  • Discount valid on single-fabric backings only.  Sorry, this is not valid on several cuts of different fabrics for a pieced backing.  
  • Sale prices not combinable with any other offer (this includes deals from Five Stars, redeeming points, and coupons)
  • Sale prices good in-store only on the sale day and limited to stock on-hand. 
We can't wait to see what you've created - see you on the 31st!

3/10/22

Coming August 2022: UFO Challenge!


We're not talking about that kind of UFO sighting (if so, we have some questions)

If you're a quilter, odds are good you have some UFOs (Un-Finished Objects) lurking around your sewing space somewhere.  Diane was in her sewing room recently and observed an unfinished project that is so old the fabrics are being reprinted.  Heck, I have some UFOs from WELL before I graduated college...in 2010...UFOs.  All the cool kids have them, and beginners will have them eventually.  

But why though?  Why do we stop working on projects we once started with gusto?  Maybe we fall out of love with the colors or prints.  Maybe we bit off more than we could chew at the time.  Maybe life got busy or weird and we had no choice but to set it aside.  Maybe we got the top done but lose motivation when it comes to getting it quilted and bound. There's as many reasons as there are leaves on trees.  

So what happens then when we get a pile/box/cabinet of stuff we haven't finished?  Designate it as someone's inheritance?  Probably not.  But what we can do is reimagine it.  Just because you start a project a certain way or with certain fabrics doesn't mean it has to stay that way until you get the will to finish it. Consider changing it up - consider swapping the pieces you're not wild about with something you like more, changing how you arrange your blocks, and changing the finished size.  Start a California King and lost your want to?  Finish it as a lap quilt.  Don't like the fabrics anymore and wonder what on earth you were thinking?  There's no shame at all in breaking that project apart and putting the fabric back into your stash to live another day.  

2022 is all about making use of what we have and taking new approaches to familiar things.  So here's our  challenge to you (yes, you!):

UFO Challenge at The Cotton Patch
August 13, 2022
Finish your UFOs - as many as you want - and bring them for Show and Tell! 

Let's celebrate our creativity, ingenuity, and resourcefulness in reimaging our UFOs with some good eats and prizes (not more fabric, Promise!  Think tools and useful notions to help get through that Stash)!  

Don't worry - we'll be walking our talk too...Diane and Lauren will be working on their own UFOs to share! 


3/7/22

The Underground Shop Hop is Back!

After a couple long years, it's time to get hopping.  Join us and seven other Willamette Valley Shops on a much needed and overdue shop hop starting April 1 through April 9, 2022.  

All shops will be open minimally Monday-Saturday from 10am-5pm - stores may choose to be open on Sundays but it is not required, so check with them on their Sunday hours in advance.

As usual we have a color theme, and this time we're Back in Black, baby!  During the shop hop each Station (shop) will stamp your Ticket (passport) and give each passenger one free kit for a 12.5" block.  Turn your completed tickets in at the end of the Shop Hop and get a chance to win a $200 shopping spree ($25 for each shop).

Pay close attention to the Underground Shop Hop Facebook Page every day during the Shop Hop - there will be a "secret code" posted daily for you to tell each shop for a special deal or freebie!  Each shop will have something different, so it pays to play!  If you don't personally have a Facebook page, it is a public page you can view (but not comment on), or grab a friend to help you out!

There's more yet!  Create a quilt of your own design using all eight blocks from the shops and send a picture in to the Underground Shop Hop Facebook Page (hosted in October) for a chance to win two additional prizes - one $200 shopping spree ($25 for each shop) and one $600 shopping spree ($75 for each shop)!  This year some shops will be featuring bonus blocks (optional and for purchase) to help make designing a little easier.  

Passports will be out soon!  Keep an eye to our Facebook page and to the Underground Shop Hop Facebook Page for updates.  We're so excited to be hopping again!

3/4/22

Last Call! Freestyle Block of the Month Starts Tomorrow!

How It Works
1. Come to the shop on the First Saturday of the Month for class at 10:30am
2. Stop by the register to buy your pattern for $3.50 (or one regular priced, pre-cut Fat Quarter if you prefer.  You'll get a ticket for door prizes.  This is not a grab and go type of program - class is free and lasts about an hour. If you can't make it on class day, the block is $5
3. Grab a seat in the classroom - class starts at 10:30! 
4. We'll go over what's new and then how to do the block.  We'll go over anything that might be a new skill or something you'll want to be attentive to.  Then, it's time for Show and Tell, and door prizes!
5. Go forth and be creative...and get your block done before the next class! 
6. Bring you finished block back to class for Show and Tell the following month and get entered into the drawing for a free backing and other cool prizes.  But you have to bring your finished block to class to get entered in the drawing!

Things to Know
- There are nine total blocks.  You may do as many or as few as you want.  
- There will be a free chain block provided at the end of the program to help you make the quilt bigger if you choose to. 
- Class will have door prizes as always! However, you will only get entry into the bigger drawing if you bring in your finished block from the previous month for Show and Tell.  Blocks are available for pickup on the First Saturday during class for $3.50, and $5 after class.  We understand this may not be convenient for all, but this program doesn't operate on sign ups or larger fees so it helps us stay organized.  

This is a great opportunity to dive into a Block of the Month and use your stash at the same time.  We're excited to see how this new approach comes to fruition - no two quilts will be the same and all of the different interpretations will be awesome to see!  Plus... have we ever mentioned we love fabric?! Seeing a little bit of everyone's stashes is going to be very cool.  We hope you join us! 

See you tomorrow!  

EDITOR'S NOTE:  This information originally went out on 3/2/22 via our Newsletter.  Over the last couple years, we have had some really unkind messages come our way.  While the vast majority of feedback we get is positive or constructive, we have had some really hateful comments thrown in there.  We are always completely fine with constructive feedback (I mean, hey, we're human and humans are imperfect), but we received a couple responses to the Block of the Month information that went far beyond constructive criticism and went right into blatant mean spiritedness.  That is absolutely unacceptable, and we will not tolerate that behavior towards any of our staff for any reason.  Our goal for the shop has always been to make quilting accessible and affordable for anyone who wants to join in, and that is what we will continue to strive for.