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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Patchwork By Paula- Specializing in T-shirt/Memory Quilts.

This past weekend at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival  in Hampton, VA, our roving reporter, Jackie O'Brien was hard at work in the Studio 180 Design Booth. If you were there, most likely you couldn't miss her bubbly personality and infectious laugh!  While there, Jackie was able to catch up with a friend. In this blog, she shares her friendship with Paula Harr and some of her quilting accomplishments. 

 I met Paula Harr about 5 years ago through the Tidewater Quilt Guild in Virginia Beach, VA.  I liked her immediately. She has a wicked sense of humor and a sparkle in her eyes that can light up a room.  Paula was raised by her grandmother and as a child played under the quilt frame as quilts were made by hand.  Paula has been quilting since the 1980’s. She owned a quilt shop in Fairmont, West Virginia called “Uncle Bertie’s”!  I asked questioningly “Uncle Bertie’s”????  Paula replied that for some unknown reason her children called their Great Grandmother “Uncle Bertie” and there you have it!

Paula was a Psychiatric Nurse for 47 years; I think that explains the twinkle in her eyes!  She retired on a Friday the 13th in 2014 just for luck!  Several years ago, Paula was approached by the Neptune Festival Committee in Virginia Beach, and asked if she would make them a T-shirt quilt to raffle as a fund raiser in exchange for a free booth at the fair. She said yes and a new business was born.  Below is the gorgeous quilt she made for the festival.

The Neptune quilt was fabulous, and Paula enjoyed making it.  I say that because for anyone who has made a T-Shirt quilt and you ask if they will make another, usually the answer is a resounding “NO”!  But, Paula began answering “yes” to those who wanted a T-Shirt quilt made for them.  Paula only uses Quilters Dream Batting when making her quilts. Her favorite is the Select Loft (Mid-loft) for all its versatility.

Paula says “every quilt tells a story”, and she so enjoys meeting the people, hearing their story, creating a T-Shirt Quilt that captures their story and their most cherished memories.  She has made so many that she now has one hour quilt guild presentation on making T-shirt and Memory quilts.

If you would like to have a T-Shirt or Memory quilt made for especially for you or if you would like Paula to visit your guild and share her informative presentation please contact her at:


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Friday, February 20, 2015

Our Facebook fans tell us who inspired their LOVE for quilting.

In honor of Valentine's Day, we posed the question to our Facebook fans: Who inspired your love for quilting?  Today I finally finished reading all 753 comments! 

I have to say, I was truly touched by many of the responses.  Along the way I would stop to read them aloud to the office ladies, and sometimes I would giggle, but some of the responses brought tears to my eyes.  Many times it was a family member who inspired a love of quilting, whether by teaching or by leaving behind beautiful and inspirational quilts. Other times quilting brought someone through difficult times and served as physical or mental therapy.  A few times it was just a pure love for fabric that inspired the making of a quilt! Many of the stories I read brought with them a bit of history that should not ever be lost.

I would not expect any of our fans to read all the comments we received, but I did want to share with you a few that I found interesting ( I started out with 7 pages, but managed to narrow my list down to these).  I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have:

Marilyn C. My dear sweet grandmother would lower her quilt frame that hung from the ceiling then she, my mother and great aunt would quilt away. My sister and I would crawl around their feet and play. This is my earliest memory of quilting. My mother continued piecing quilts throughout my growing up

Michele M.-C. my dad who survived the Holocaust by sewing the uniforms for the Third Reich in a concentration camp!

Peg B. My neighbor Jo Guilliano . It was 1996 and my mom passed away from lung cancer. She knew how devastated I was . She called and said I'm picking you up in 25 min,we are going to a quilt shop. Had no Idea what that truly entailed but picked myself up and got ready. When we entered the shop I saw someone from my high school past,she was the shop owner!  I didn't have a machine and didn't know how to sew but between the two of them my life was changed forever! I am a quilter!

Marsha G. S. My grandmother inspired my love of quilting! She made many quilts from clothing scraps, all hand pieced and hand quilted! I have one of her quilts & pull it out occasionally to get a "hug from grandma"! I have been sewing all my life & learned to sew from my mother. I did not make my first quilt until later in life because I was "afraid" I could not do justice to what grandmother did! Silly me! All that quilting that I missed out on!  Grandma made mostly traditional quilts, yet many of the things I see being done in the modern quilt movement remind me of grandma. Fpr example, she often pieced her quilt backs mainly out of necessity to create enough backing fabric. I now love to incorporate a fun pieced backing into my quilts & always think of grandma! 

Kathleen  M.r Mrs. Pardee (I never knew her first name) inspired my love of quilting. She was a next door neighbor when I was a little girl--the warmest, loving lady. She belonged to church group of quilters that my grandmother quilted with. (My dad used play with his little toys under the quilt frame surrounded by the busy ladies when he was a little boy' I) She quilted way into her 90's, doing it the hard way. With a little cardboard square template, she would sit every day in her chair by the window and hand sew all the precisely cut tiny squares of fabric together. She had a little end table with her color coded squares arranged in order. Mrs. Pardee's choice of pattern was the Trip Around the World. The finished product was always hand quilted on the wooden quilt frame that was always set up in her front parlor. She always used a backing of beautiful solid green fabric. Perhaps, the most spectacular quilts were the ones she made for a local dairy farmer. They were completely made with his prize winning cattle ribbons. Our family moved away but we always stayed in contact with the Pardees. When I was 18, I'll never forget the package that came in the mail one day--two Round the World quilts with green backs, one for me and one for my sister. How did she get them so perfectly square?! I had to try it. I had to be able to do that to provide that gift of love and warmth.

Melissa B. Quilting for Dummies. No lie!!!

Debbie S. I'm not the quilter but my husband David is, he started sewing when he was in the military sewing on his patches and altering his uniforms. After completing his tour of duty he was sharing with his grandmother how he taught himself how to sew she then presented him with two feed sacks one full of guilt blocks and incomplete quilt tops the other full of scrap fabric, all dating from the 1930's and 40's. she passed shortly thereafter leaving David with a passion to learn quilting and pass some of his grandmothers legacy to his children and grandchildren. For our two oldest grandchildren their graduation gift was their great grandmothers quilt completed by their grandfather.

Tricia L. I always love the scrappy quilts that we had. I think I remember my parents telling me they were done by Miss Annie. I loved to trace the different shapes and feel the fabrics, especially the few small pieces of velvet she included. I finally started learning after my kids were grown. I love it.

Genita S. My great grandma Lamons! She cut little squares to let me organize colors! She was teaching me! I was only 4 then & she was 94! She was married to a Cherokee Indian!

Donnette W. My great Grandma Laura Pilgrim Claborn. She was born in yelleville Arkansas in 1908. She later moved in a covered wagon with her family to California, as did many families during that time. As I was Growing up she lived right next door and she had the old wooden frame hanging from her ceiling. She sat around it and quilted every single day. My dad would lift me over the little picket fence that separated our back yard from hers. I would spend hours sitting next to her learning to take little stitches. My great granddad passed before I was born, due to lung issues from mustard gas during the war. She never remarried and this is how she supplemented her income. I was always drawn to it and she gladly taught me by letting me sit alongside her. I am 45 years old and opened my own little quilt shop in 2013. Unfortunately she never got to see me live my dream, and what I imagine was probably hers. I miss her everyday and I know she smiles down on me for continuing the love of quilting!

Sonia K. When my husband was killed suddenly, my doctor told me I had to get something to take my mind off things. I signed up for a quilting class. My instructor was Pam. She really made it fun. I credit her with my continuing to quilt.

Dwynette V. My great-grandmother, while bedridden, coaxed me up onto her bed and taught me how to make yo-yo's and yarn flowers. It is my earliest memory of doing anything craft-related, and crafting led to quilting for me.

Lisa V. My old roommate has been creating quilts, bags and throws for years. Having that creative vibe in my living space really engendered a love in me of beautiful fabrics and quilts.

Donna R. my Daughter, she came home from school one day and asked me if I had any left over material so she could make a quilt, I asked her how she was going to do that, she said her teacher is showing them , so I gave her the Material she made a quilt and thats how I got started.

Sharon J. This is going to sound strange--but I think it was my uncle because when my grandma died he burned all of the handmade quilts that my great-grandmother made--such beautiful quilts that I had grown up with my whole life. I was crushed. Started making handmade quilts back then and later moved on to machine quilting.

Sharon P. My Grandmother inspired me years ago as a child and she taught me to sew. I have a family top that has had 6 generations work on it, some sewed by hand, some by machine (treadle and electric both). My granddaughter will make it 7 when she is old enough. And maybe then I will complete the quilt.

Donna L. An antique quilt exhibit at the Newark Museum in Newark NJ in 1969 inspired me. I we t back a dozen times, trying to figure out how anyone could fit together those thousands of little pieces. A curator noticed me and took me in the back room, showed me an unfinished Log Cabin quilt top, explained how it was built by sewing from the center and working outward. Volia. Light bulb moment, followed by years of creativity, contentment and joy. Thank you, Ms. Case.

Lori K. C. My Grandma Dorothea Skeen! She made me a quilt one year for my birthday when I probably was 6 and I still have. I remember going to the church on the corner and watching her and her friends quilting on a Hugh frame, crawling underneath and watching the needles coming up and down and listening to them chit chat about everything and everyone!!

Debbie B.B. My aunts mother put me in a feather bed under a beautiful Sunbonnet Sue Quilt to take a nap when I was six years old. I can remember laying there thinking how beautiful all those little girls were. Then later in life I met a great uncle in Arkansas that learned to quilt in his Sixties and he became very well known for making and giving his Red White and blue Quilts away in Western Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma. I'm now sixty one and I have been making Quilts since I turned 22. And now I make Quilts of Valor. I will never forget all the people that have inspired me to become a Quilter.

Krista E. My dear friend Kim Newton who lifted me up during a period of isolation while recovering from a 2nd bone marrow transplant. I was in a bit of depression feeling lonely and just waiting so long to get better. She took me to Roxanne's Quilt Shop inCarpinteria, CA and I was overwhelmed with color, creativity and beauty! She told me to pick out a project to start with and all the fabric and everything I need to make it which she gifted me, and thus my love for quilting began AND my spirits were lifted. I'm still a beginner as it's not been a year yet and I've had quite a few setbacks in my recovery, but I can't wait to improve--both physically and in my quilting skills!

(Conversation Below) 
Linda S. M.  My mother who made quilts for 6 or 7 quilts for her children, even hand quilted them till she couldn't do it anymore because of arthritis in her hands. So only 6 or 7 out of 11 kids got one. I am lucky enough to be one of them!
Patty S. R. Yea the younger kids got shafted
Linda S. M. Didn't you get one made by Mom, just not hand quilted? Patty Smith Rucker
Patty S. R. Yes but it was machine stitched

Lynn B. Beautiful fabric - exciting textiles. No one in my family ever made quilts - I have always felt like the Lone Ranger and made my own path. Books, quilt groups, quilting for charity has been my University. Long journey.

Rosemary M. Nobody really! I wanted to make a quilt for our first child so I looked up quilting in some old McCalls magazines. I made a really cute whole cloth appliqué quilt BUT it fell apart in the washing machine the second time I washed it. Little did I know then that you don't use nylon quilting thread on a whole cloth polyester fabric!! Sooo, I had to learn the correct way to quilt. I signed up for a class at a local quilt store and haven't stop quilting since!

Rita H. My Grandmother on a snowy day at age 8 sat me down to peddle Singer Sewing machine and a stack of squares and I still have the quilt I am now 61 what a way to spend a snowy day. SO BLESSED

Tammy S. i got the love of quilting at a very young age when i watched my grandma and many other navy mothers making quilts to the guys in the military. all 3 of her sons were in the coast guard. they would meet once a week and i got to cut some of the squares but most of the time i cleaned up scraps off the floor and would try to make something out of them. every time there is a baby shower, wedding graduation, or any special occasion everyone knows they are getting a quilt. now that my son is in the army,and has been for 8 years, my chapter of blue star mothers makes lap quilts for the veterans in wheelchairs. for all they have done for us, it is the least we can do for them.every quilt is made with love no matter who gets it.

Lila T. S. After my Mom died I found a set of quilt blocks. They were signature blocks, signed by women in her neighborhood club. They were all farm women who met once a month in each other's homes. I was determined to make them into a quilt. I borrowed a book from the library (there were only two). This was my introduction to quilting. I never saw my mother ever make a quilt or quilt blocks. Finding those blocks started me on the wonderful journey of quilting 31 years ago. I thank my Mom for starting that path.

Dick C. My wife inspired me to become a skilled long arm quilter. her passion for creating beautiful quilts for our children and grandchildren resulted in a great team as we spent many hrs together doing what she truly loved. Evan though she has passed, her love is weaved into every quilt I Create in her memory. I know she is smiling as I continue on.

Kim S. It wasn't a person but a piece of fabric that inspired me. A gorgeous batik fabric with green, purple and teal.

Tammy W. I. I don't have a mom or a grandmother who quilted, but I've always been fascinated by the Amish and their way of life and quilts in particular. 
When my sister announced she was pregnant with her first baby, I wanted to make something special for my new nephew, so I took classes from one of my mom's friends who quilts and I was hooked! 
So I guess I was inspired by my nephew Oliver!  (Or the Amish...)
My Grandmother Long would sit at the kitchen table pulling scraps out of a bag a sew them together. I thought that was amazing! She would make crazy scrap quilts all day. I would love to sit and watch her, I would play with the beautiful pieces of fabric and day dream about what I could make with them, if only I could sew. I later found out that she had customers come from all around south central Pa. She was really well known. When she passed away there were several hundred quilts that had to be auctioned off. Even though i was only 13, i took my "piggy bank" and bid on one. No one bid against me! I still have that quilt, 37 years later. It is one of my most treasured possessions and I think of her every time I snuggle under it. Now I make the quilts that my loved ones snuggle under.

Patricia W. My grandson. He wanted a Batman quilt and I said to myself - "I can do that" I did and was hooked.

Donna J S. My "Aunt Mac"....In her final days with her, she had me pull out the "quilts" she had made. We "tagged" each with whom she wanted them to be passed on to when she was no longer with us! She told me why she used what she used in each of them and how she'd chosen that one to be passed on to her children and grand children. I was so impressed and wanted to do make "a comfort" for each of my children and grand children, I did... In doing this, my Mother, who has since passed, did it for each of us kids and all the grands and the great grands! They are wonderful memories we will all have for a very long time to come!

Crammer S. C. My husband spoke often of being under a quilt as a little boy passing the needle back up thru it for his Mama. It was the only memory he had of her- so we learned to quilt from my Mom and her sister: It was one of our favorite things to do together. So Jimmy Coley INSPIRED me.

Renee L. Eleanore Burns was my original inspiration and on-line teacher. Kathy Thompson gave my learned works wings through the ALS quilt challenges, which inspired and molded my "Most Creative --- Theme" talents. Who knew I even had talent! . From that launching point, my work has exploded in the "CREATIVE" direction. Thank you, Kathy Thompson.

Who would have thought our very own Kathy Thompson, owner of Quilters Dream Batting, helped to inspire a quilter!  Do you have an inspiration that you would like to share?

Check out our FACEBOOK page to see more quilting inspiration. 

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Featured #battgirls (January) If These Threads Could Talk/ Jackie O'Brien

Featured #battgirls (January)
 If These Threads Could Talk/ Jackie O'Brien

If you read our last blog, you'll know that Jackie O'Brien used to work with us at Quilters Dream. She took her quilting talents and spunk with her when she moved from Virginia to New York. 

Known as the "Quilt Ninja", Jackie has made over 200 quilts since her first in 2004. She has also quilted over 50 One Block Wonders and is proud to be a Studio 180 Design Certified Instructor.

 "I love taking something that has no form and giving it form. There is something about making a quilt that makes me feel as though I’ve created something special."

Jackie's statement rings true to us in the office as well. Knowing how much Neva loves Wizard Of Oz, Jackie surprised her with this adorable tote....just because! Neva loved that she added a famous line from the movie in embroidered letters too. 

 If you ask Jackie what her favorite Quilters Dream Batting product is, she will tell you...

"I’m a cotton girl so I would say my go to is Dream Select.  But if it is a special quilt I absolutely love, I'll use Dream Orient. It is so soft the quilt just drapes in your arms."

Read on to check out some of her amazing work. You can also click each title to read in more detail about each quilt on her blog!

The new year looks busy for Jackie. Waiting for a new frame for her quilt machine, she already has 7 quilt tops lined up to finish. 

Keep Up with If These Threads Could Talk/ Jackie O'Brien:

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Friday, January 16, 2015

Featured Quilt Shop: Sew Nice in Norwich, NY

Located in Norwich, NY, sits a fabulous quilt shop owned by Diane Marvin which she opened in June 2005. Jackie O'Brien, a former Quilters Dream employee (we miss you) recently moved to New York. She was sweet enough to stop by Sew Nice and ask Diane a few questions for us. We're pretty sure she got her shop on while she was there too- who wouldn't?

Diane’s career was in education. Her mother was a career woman that made her own stylish suits to wear to work.  Diane had no interest in sewing until she made her first quilt around 2000 – it was love at first stitch!

 Diane holding up her almost finished quilt top “Northern Neighbors”.
The quilters that gather at Sew Nice refer to it as their “Quilting Playhouse” and as a “Cheers” for quilters. Quilters lovingly refer to Diane as “The Pusher”, (quilt pusher that is). You go to see Diane at Sew Nice to get your quilt fix!  Diane gently pushes you to always keep learning and try new quilting techniques.

Diane is a Studio 180 Design certified instructor. As is Donna Hanley who also teaches there. 

Sew Nice is a “Certified Bernina Classroom Shop”.  They carry fabric lines from Moda, P&B, Marcus, Benartex, Timeless treasures, Kona, the list goes on.  I love that they have a whole aisle devoted to polka dot fabric.

Sew Nice offers a 24 seat classroom.  And if that is not enough, they also offer general sewing machine repair and maintenance.

Sew Nice only sells Quilters Dream Batting (QDB). When I asked why, Diane said:

     * It’s made in the USA
     * NO other batting can compare with QDB quality.
     *There is no minimum order.
     *Diane’s favorite is Dream Wool!
     *And last but not least “QDB Customer Service!" Diane could not    praise their customer service enough. She feels QDB is one of the    best companies she has dealt with. 

If you live in the area and are looking for a quilt home you will be so welcomed at “Sew Nice” because they are so nice!

Sew Nice 
6142 State Hwy 12 
Norwich, NY 13815
(607) 334-2477

Like Sew Nice on Facebook, Click HERE!

Thank you again Jackie for thinking of us and supporting your local quilt shop! 

Stay tuned for more about Jackie O'Brien in our upcoming Featured #battgirls January blog!  

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