Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Amy's Memories

714 Main Street, Nov 1997
Amy's memories of opening Quilting Bits & Pieces–

Dave the UPS man
The best memory I have of opening a quilt store was that every night after I came home from work and after supper, Christy and I would head down to quilt store.  There we would open the boxes that Dave the UPS man had brought that day.   Those were the days when we hand wrote an inventory number and price on top of the bolts which would fade off.  That was before we got fancy and got the pricing gun that was originally fun to use.  We would turn on KUDL and listen to “Deliah” and I know you will find it hard to believe – but there was singing and silliness going on.  Christy’s husband, Bill, built the cabinets for us and we debated the exact construction of them.  We looked through every Quilt Sampler magazines saved over four or five years to see what other people were doing and tried to remember what we liked about all of those quilt stores Christy mentioned in her memories that I took her to.  We decided we had to have the little cubby holes for fat quarters and I think that was one of our better decisions to this date.  Although I don’t think cutting fat quarters is anyone’s favorite job.

1st day open
November 1, 1997
The quilt store has literally changed my life and has brought many godly women into my life for me to learn from.  We decided our business cards would have Bible verses on the back and we debated those special verses also.  We wanted to be a witness for Christ while we did something we loved.  I started going to the Baldwin quilt guild and this lady there asked if I ever went on blind dates because she knew this nice young farmer.  I said yes because that is usually the easiest way to never hear about it again.  Turns out the lady was his Aunt Mary.  She had come into the quilt store with her sister from Texas and the young farmer’s mother to check me out – was I friendly, have a nice quilt store, etc.   I must have passed the mother and two aunts test as the nice young farmer called me and we started dating in September 1998.   I was teaching a Conway Album class at the time to about 10 to 15 woman and they wanted to know all about how the dating was going every class and gave me advice.  Many of those same women attended the wedding also – and some the baby shower 21 months later.

Amy's baby shower
 October 2001
I love the quilt store and that it brought my husband and consequently my children into my life.  It was great getting to do something I loved with my sister.  Unfortunately, I also needed to return to the real work world with paid benefits – such as health insurance, so I went back to the world of banking and left the everyday running of the store to my sister and some wonderful partners that God brought into our lives (that Baldwin quilt guild is responsible for meeting Eula and me telling Christy that there was this amazing lady that we needed to come teach at the quilt store and the rest is history).  They occasionally let me crash trips to quilt market, do a block of the month quilt, and always find room for me at late night or quilt camp when I make it at the last minute (along with my daughter Katie).  I remember wanting to drop out of college at the end of my freshman year and going back to talk to a teacher from high school.  She convinced me to stay in school and just transfer into accounting at KU.  It wasn’t my burning desire to be an accountant, but God knows his plans for you.  I took the job in Minnesota being a bank examiner because it was where Christy lived and sounded fun.  All I really wanted was to get married, have kids, and stay at home with my kids.  I couldn’t figure out why it was taking God so long to bring that special man into my life.  However, he was still building the life skills in me that I would need to open a quilt store and then be able to work at home in a challenging, fulfilling career while taking care of my kids.  I don’t get to be in the quilt store every day, but I get to visit frequently and enjoy the life God made for me with my husband and children, Jacob and Katie. 
Amy Deay

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Christina's Comments

While growing up, I never dreamed of owning a quilt shop or even quilting.  I was a tomboy and never cooked or sewed until after I was married.  I did have sisters who liked to do these “domestic things”.  I met my husband while attending the University of Kansas and got married after my sophomore year.   My sister Amy made us a double wedding ring quilt for our wedding, however, I was too busy to appreciate the work she was putting into it.  She decided she liked it a lot more than I did (which was correct), so she purchased a very nice bedspread for us for a wedding gift and kept the quilt for herself.    
Christina  and kids in 1997
Back row, niece Megan & Brianne
Front row, Mark, Christina & Timothy
    After my husband graduated, we moved to Minnesota where we ending up living for sixteen years.  While living there, I took some quilting classes from the local community education program and fell in love with quilting.  Amy would visit (and even lived with us for a couple of years) and we would go visit quilt shops.  She moved back to Kansas after a few years when she decided it was tooooooo cold for her in Minnesota.  Everytime I came home to visit, we immediately went to visit quilt shops and even our vacations turned into quilt shop excursions.  It was always Amy’s dream for us to open a quilt shop and she said multiple times, “When you move back to Kansas, we are going to open a quilt shop”.   Well, the Lord did lead my family back to Kansas to live in August of 1997 and we decided to open our own quilt shop.  Amy quit her full time job and we started talking to sales representatives from various fabric companies to order fabric for our new quilt shop.  We found a vacant building on Main St across from the post office and opened Quilting Bits & Pieces on Nov 1, 1997.  We had several sales reps try to talk us out of opening a quilt shop.  They said Eudora was too small to support one and we would never make it.  Well, I think they were wrong.  The Lord has truly blessed us and we have witnessed many miracles as we watched Him work in our lives and in the lives of many of our customers. 
P.S.  -  Amy has since made many quilts I love.  A few years ago she gave me a hand appliqu├ęd Hawaiian style pineapple quilt for Christmas.  It is coral colored which is my favorite color and I cherish it. 
QB&P at 714 Main Street

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Perfect Flying Geese

Kathleen works Thursdays 5-7 PM
Just like you, I'm a busy gal. There just isn't enough time in the day to focus on all the fun quilting projects I have in the works.

Just like you, I have tons of projects just floating around in my head, waiting to hit the top of my priority list.

I learned a long time ago that "it's all about having the right tool" to make a tough job easier.

I love traditional, scrappy quilts and could happily spend the rest of my life making reproduction quilts. The only problem is that they are usually made with a lot, and I mean a lot of small pieces that require a great deal of repetitious assembly. For instance, a long time ago I fell in love with a traditional scrappy flying geese quilt. After collecting Thirties fabrics, this quilt made it from daydream status to the production queue.

The patten called for 768 flying geese units 1 ½ " x  3". Pretty small and a lot of them. Plus, I wanted them to go together perfectly so the long strips would be even. This was no small job. 
Because I am so busy, just like you, it's important for me to find ways to streamline big jobs into a more efficient process. This is where having the right tool makes a huge difference. For this particular quilt I relied on the "Quilt in a Day Flying Geese Ruler". For a few dollars, it did the trick: I was able to create my 768 units in an assembly line fashion then trim them to perfection.

The flying geese ruler comes with easy to follow instructions but I thought I might include some photos here to show you what it’s all about.  

1. Instructions include two square sizes. The large square is the goose and the smaller square is the sky.

2. I love to use the hera tool to make a faint line rather than a pen or pencil. Stack the two squares on top of each other and draw a diagonal line down the center.

3. Sew 1/4" on either side of the line and then cut the block in half along the diagonal line.   

4. Press the seams open to the dark side and then stack them back on top with the bottom left corners lined up – yes, the seams with not be lined up.


5. Draw another diagonal line across the seams from corner to corner, sew again on either side of the hera line and do a final diagonal cut.

6. Snip a little cut in the center of the unit just up to the seam line. The center snip allows you to press to the dark on either end of the unit to produce two units.

 7. Here’s is where the flying geese ruler finishes the job. Line up the lines on the flying geese ruler with one side of a single unit and trim across the top and one side of the flying geese.

 8. Flip the ruler and line it up to trim the bottom and second side. Repeat this for the second geese in the first unit, then twice again for the second unit. The finished product is 4 perfect flying geese with only a little bit of waste.

To me, the waste was worth the tradeoff for perfect geese that made a fast stack of flying geese units that assembled beautifully into my strippy quilt .

I worked on these geese as "leaders and enders" (a strategy promoted by Bonnie K. Hunter ) while creating other quilts. From start to finish, it took about 6 months to make all the geese. As my stacks grew, I assembled them in units of 10 and then bundled them into groups of 50 to make for easier counting.  

As quilters, we aren’t supposed to admit our mistakes, but we do it anyways. Remember I said that I love traditional quilts. When I cut out all my squares, it wasn’t until I assembled my first unit that I had reversed my squares. My flying geese were reversed, where the goose was dark on a light sky. Oh, the horror! Go against tradition? Thank you Eula for calming my spirit and reminding me that traditional can have its variation. Besides, there was no turning back. So…deep breath…accept…and move on. Check out my traditional, flying geese quilt named, “Night Flight”.

My next favorite tool..."Triangle Trimmer by Quilt in a Day".

Until then, Happy Quilting,