Threadbenders Quilt Shop

Threadbenders Quilt Shop
Threadbenders Quilt Shop

Friday, January 31, 2014

Triangles: A Million Blocks from One Block

Most beginning quilters are somewhat daunted by the huge array of quilt blocks out there. It seems somewhat endless because it truly is. 
Most beginning quilters look at the array and say,
"I think I'll make a nine patch."
That's not a bad decision. 

 But at a certain point it becomes a bit boring. When you find yourself ready to stretch out of square quilting, the next step is  the triangle. Many quilt blocks with straight lines can be made from 45 degree triangles.
Half Triangle squares can be used simply,
Combined with squares to make other patterns,
Or used in contemporary ways.

Moda bake shop has called them turnovers, which is fun. But precuts are only one way to make half triangles. 

Thangles are a foolproof easy way to make half square blocks and there are some sew and cut techniques that also make them super easy. For the next few weeks, we'll explore blocks made of half triangles and different ways to construct them.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snowy Blow Out Fabric Sale Saturday February 1

It's that time of year. Time for the new to come in.Time for the old to leave.
So we're having a blow out sale of all our fabric in spite of the snow.
We'll have our lowest prices on every bolt.
30 % off on all fabrics
40% if you finish the bolt.

Plan that new quilt! Fill in the holes in your color stash. Buy the fabric you've been lusting after. Have what you need to make your New Year's Quilt resolutions happen. Now isn't that worth going out in the cold?

 Even our demo long arm is on sale.
Come brave the snow and stash up!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

What Makes a Quilt a Modern Quilt?

We've talked a little on our Facebook page about what makes a quilt a "modern quilt."

Modern quilts have taken the quilt world by storm. The Modern Quilt Guild community is the fastest growing segment of the quilt world right now.

Why is that?

Because it's got some great ideas and attitudes about quilting. Here's some of what makes modern quilting special.

Keep it simple. 
Modern quilts tend towards simple easily achievable patterns. But make no mistake. They're lovely without being complicated

Make it big.
It's really fun to take an ordinary quilt square and blow it up into a whole big quilt. And it's showy as get out.

Don't be afraid to go wonky.
Straight seams are not a necessity. Nor are squared corners, even sides or straight sashing. It get's much more exciting to see things out of line.

Use wild colors.
Wild bold colors are all OK and experimentation is in.

Don't be stuck on rules.
If you walk out side the box there are so many cool things you can try.

Are these rules new? Sorry. No, they're not. The quilt world has it's stiff upper lip quilt police but there are always those of us who have resisted that nonsense. We make rules about life and death things like traffic control. Not about what is "right or wrong about a quilt."Breaking rules is how quilting has always grown.

But the fresh air  from the modern quilt movement is a delight.  And a very fun approach to quilting.

Threadbenders sponsers the Michiana Modern Quilt Guild every 1st Thursday of the month for an evening meeting. Come join them and see what modern quilting is all about.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Come Sew with Us!

I remember when sewing was a social occasion. You had your quilt group and you all brought a hand project and worked together, either on separate projects of your own or on a group effort.There were several names for it. It was the Quilting Bee, or the Sit and Sew, or the Stitch and Bitch. They were all really a way to be together and work with our hands.

Somehow that went away with working women and the suburbs, and machine sewing. It was somehow just too hard to get together.

But we really all need it. It's a fabulous connection with other women like ourselves. We teach. We learn. We share. We share brownies. It's vital.

The really great things in the world don't really go away. They do, but they come back because they're essential. Sooner or later we realize we're missing something and we manage to put it back into our lives.

The Sit and Sew connection still goes on at quilt guilds and at classes. But that's only one day a month. How could that be enough?

Which is why we invite you to come and stitch with us. We're always working on something. But the table is huge and we've got room for your machine and your friend's too. And we're happy to help you with the part that didn't work out right, or a ripping moment, or to share kid or dog stories. You're a part of our community. And we love it when you come and stitch with us.

Anita Miller came in on the day her first great granddaughter was born to work on that baby's quilt. It was also her first quilt. How much fun! We loved watching her find her wings and fly.

Come on in. Sit with us. Tell us a story. Sew a seam. Let off some steam. Sew with us.Get new ideas. Get someone else's opinions. We're a community and you're a part. Whenever we're at the store, you're welcome to come Sit and Sew.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Long Arm Business: An Investment in Yourself

We've talked a lot about long arms and quilting machines. What we haven't talked about is the long arm business. 

Many quilters are really toppers. They love to make tops. It's fun to see the pieces go together. But they get hung up on the quilting. If you're quilting either traditionally or by home machine, it can really take some time. Is the baby due? Is the wedding next week? Do you need it done now?

Like everything else, if you have the right tools, it's so much easier. A long arm makes it possible to quilt that babe in a day or less. 

You might want a long arm just for your own work. But many quilters have found it a lucrative way to help other quilters and make some money as well. Most people who quilt professionally have a back pile of quilts people need quilted. It's a nice way to make some money doing something  you truly love. 

The nicest thing about the long arm business is that there's room for everyone. Art quilters who need special hand guided quilting. Simple quilting for comfort quilts. Digitized quilting for people who want that quilt done now.Elegant feathers. Basic ditch quilting.  There's a whole range of skill levels and all of them are perfect for someone.

So if you were thinking about a long arm for your own work, that could translate into working with it for others as well. 
Threadbenders has a demo H Q Avante at a very special  discount price. It's not just a tool. It's an investment in yourself.

Call Peg for a price and/or a test drive.(219) 229-7845

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Art of Aging Fabric:Why We Need a Stash

Every so often someone stumbles into my sewing room and asks,"Do you need all this fabric? You can't possibly use it all"
I always think," Do you need your head? You're obviously not using that."

If we are artists (and I would argue that everyone alive has an artist soul within) and if we are quilters, our fabric is our paint. It's what we make our art out of.

This sounds like a sensible idea, that you plan a project, work on a project, finish the project and start another project. Enjoy it when it works that way.

But, that theory ignores the fire within. Inspiration happens when it happens. 

There is a moment where 

  • You know suddenly how that pattern went together.
  • You have to try those colors together
  • You sew because your intensely happy.
  • You sew because the rest of the day has been wretched.
  • You sew because it's your best comfort and companion.
None of this happens on command. It's just how sewing and quilting run through our lives. It is the stuff of our lives.

What happens if you don't have the fabric you need at the time?

Well if its 3 pm, you're just out of luck. You can use the thing that doesn't quite work, or stop what you're doing as the energy fritters away.

Aging fabric is a cure for this. If you love a fabric, you'll probably love it 3 months later, 6 months later, 12 years later. Fabric taste changes, but people's color choices usually stay constant. The fabric we have in our stashes is a promise for tomorrow that we'll give ourselves what we need for our joy.

And fabric changes so fast. If you love it now, buy it now because you never may see it again.

Can you make a mistake? I hope you make more than one or two. If you don't, you're not trying.

No one ever told Van Gogh, "No more cadmium yellow for you until you use up all the yellow ocher."

If you ever feel overwhelmed buying fabric, Henry is standing by to help. He is a highly trained fabric assistance dog. He'll help you pick out something lovely. Not necessarily for your next project. Maybe as a promise to yourself.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Buy a Legend Machine at a Legendery Price!

Special Sale!
Threadbenders is offering a demo Avante Long Arm Machine at a legendary price.

Every quilter dreams about long arms. Either owning one or getting your 78 finished tops to someone who will quilt the top for you.Long arms have changed quilting forever. It's now amazingly easy and astonishingly quick to quilt your quilt on a long arm. But they can be expensive.

The Avante is a legendary long arm machine. It's blindingly fast. It has a pro stitcher which means you can walk away and let it quilt for you. And we have a demo one we're selling as a steal.

Demo machines are one of the secrets of the sewing machine industry. It's the best way to get the very best price on a practically new machine.

Why is a demo machine a good bargain?

  • Because it's been gently broken in. All machines have a break in period. They need to be run moderately while their breaking in. Stores with a demo machine know that and will do that.
  • Because it's a demo machine it's practically new. 
  • Because it's a demo machine it's at a deeply discounted price.

Call up Peg or come into Threadbenders to test drive the Avante and get more information about this amazing machine. 219-229-7845 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Henry's Find the Fabric Game

We don't often leave Henry alone. It's just not a good idea. Besides he likes having his people around and we love him.

But there are other reasons.

If you leave him for extended periods of time, he rearranges the store.  

We know Henry is a secret fabricaholic. And he has the best taste. He helps people with their fabric choices daily. But when he gets bored with nothing to do but look at snow....

Suffice it to say Henry rearranged the fabric completely over the last week. We're still looking for things. They're all there. They're just not where we left them.

So come over and help us find the fabric! Who knows. You might just discover your next quilt? And maybe you can get Henry to tell us where he put everything.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Warm Yourself with Colors

Today may be winter's worst. Heavy snow, freezing temperatures, impassible driving, and a prayer that the heat holds out.

What's a girl to do?

Warm yourself with color!

Grab those oranges, yellows, pinks, plums, reds, maroons and purples. Yes, they Do go together.Here's some quilts that should warm you up. Add it to a hot cup of coffee, an extra sweater, and you may work up a sweat.
Fruit Punch by Tonya at Lazy Gal Quilting

What a great x and o quilt!
modern bee - hive 14 by sewcraftyjess on Flickr

Even against a white background these pin wheels sizzle.

These Beehive Quilts makes me think of flowers in the sun.
Forget the snow. Go grab some really hot fabric and warm up. The snow can't stay forever.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Colors in the Cracks

Color Wheel
We've been talking about basic colors. But anyone can tell you, that's not all there is. When we look at a color wheel, especially one colored by computer, we know there are a lot of colors that are not being shown there.

It's really easy at that point to glaze over and ask, "Why do we use a color wheel if it doesn't show us everything? What good is that?"
People forget that the color wheel isn't science. Or really just on it's own, art. It's a theory. It has points where it works and points where, as a theory it falls apart. But it does show us a lot of information about the relationships between colors.If we can get past the fact that it's not perfect, it becomes a perfectly useful tool.
When we see a range of colors, we need to imagine not just those colors but all the colors in the cracks between.
The Tertiary colors are the colors in between. If you're using cheap crayons, you can always tell, because they have 2 color names.
 Each secondary and primary color have a color to either side that's a mix between them.

 So orange has red orange, yellow orange,and orange.What do the colors in between give us? Incredibly rich colors that slide into each other.

Orange Explains it All

Here's some quilts that slide between yellow orange, orange, and red orange.

Modern Quilt Guild Block
This free block from the Modern Quilt Guild, We Love Quilts takes us all the way through that range.

Snake Charmer by Denyse Schmidt

Start thinking about the colors in between the cracks. They're rich, ripe and lovely!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Gifts We Give Ourselves

Happy New Year!
Another year has come! Welcome 2014. We survived the Christmas Crunch and now that the last party dishes are washed and put away we get to contemplate the new year.With snow everywhere and a soft grey sky.

Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?  Maybe yes, and maybe no. But the best gifts we give to ourselves are the gift of something new tried, some new experiment or expression of who we are.

So what will you give yourself?

  • Will you try a new quilt block?
  • Learn a new skill?
  • Use a color you've never used before?
  • Try out a new machine?
  • Pull out an old machine?
  • Use up all your scraps?
  • Make a quilt that is totally planned as new?
All those possibilities await you. They'll blow away your winter blues in the hint of new things happening, new goals reached, new ideas brewing.
As always, we're here at Threadbenders to help you start. Our Friday Morning Block Party does a new block every week. 

We have a color blog series to help you think about colors in new ways.

We have mountains of fabric for you to pick something yummy from, and books full of inspiration, waiting to open new doors.

And most of all, we are quilters like you, who love to share our quilting with everyone who comes through the door.

We hope the year has a million new possibilities for you. We hope for happiness, joy and more fabric. We hope you'll make us part of your new year gift to yourself. Together we'll help blow the blues away.