Welcome to one our newest Sponsors, Jean from the fabric store, Clever Quilter!
Jean has dropped my FQ HQ today to tell us a little about her store and more!
FQ: Tell us a little about how ‘Clever Quilter‘ came to open its virtual doors.
CQ: Before I become ?one of us? I was ?one of them?. My life involved cubicles, ?business attire?, financial reports, board meetings, and worse yet, a bunch of ?suits? with little imagination! When the company I was with merged, I had the opportunity to re-prioritize my life goals and really think about what I truly enjoyed. It took about a year for me to transition to ?one of us?. Business, computers and fabric: I just added a bit of chocolate and voila! CleverQuilter.com was born.
FQ : Do you have a team of helpers at your store who are clever quilters?
CQ: I believe *everyone* is a Clever Quilter. Our goal is to help quilters realize their ?Clever? potential through offering easy but lovely patterns, kits and ideas. The projects are fast, portable and totally doable. You can stop in our shop here or read about various projects I?ve got going on at the Clever Quilter blog. We also gab a lot on facebook ? look for us and friend us as at Clever Quilter.
FQ: You are also the creator of the intriguing & interactive site, ?Quilting Is Murder?. Can you describe to us what it?s all about?
CQ: Certainly. Imagine a fun murder mystery mini-series for quilters complete with prizes and a search for clues. That?s the general idea of the project. Readers can simply enjoy the story a it unfolds over an 8 week period or join in the fun by registering as a ?Quilt Detective?. We?re working with Killer Shops (quilt shops) and Deadly Sponsors who provide specials and prizes our detectives learn about throughout the promotion. Quilting Is Murder runs through 3/4/2011 with two new stories planned later in 2011. Come & join in the fun here! Catch up on our blog for updates! We?ve lined up a half dozen *real life* mystery authors to blog as the mystery unfolds. Cool!!
FQ: With 2 busy websites to maintain and all this mystery solving, do you find time to sew for yourself? If so, what?s your favorite item to sew?
CQ: I?ve been doing a lot of fusible appliqu? work recently. The Last Rose and Guy the Giraffe are two projects you can read about on our blog. Fusible appliqu? is fun, fast and oh so satisfying! I can start and finish a project (except final quilting) in a few evenings. Creating art quilts like this, is my chocolate fix: I grab one, work on it and am instantly gratified. We?ve been focusing on kitting more art quilts in the shop so I?ve been in heaven lately!! Oh and I can?t forget to mention these kits usually involve BATIKS. Lovely BATIKS. I purr when boxes of them arrive in the shop?..
FQ: Do you plan to start more interactive websites in the future? Can you give us any clues as to what those plans might entail??
CQ: Yes, I can tell you but then I?d have to kill you? My uncle was an intelligence officer in the army and I remember he?d use that line all the time when he didn?t want to answer a question. It wasn?t until I was older that I realized, hey, he might just be serous? LOLOL!! Anyway, you?ll just have to sit tight and wait and see. Keep on eye on Quilting Is Murder?s Facebook page, CleverQuilter.com and QuiltingIsMurder.com are keeping me on my toes right now. What?s up next is a ?.mystery!
Thanks so much Jean for joining us today!
Jean has generously offered to give away a fat quarter pack of Thimbleberries fabric in Dark to one lucky reader! For a chance to win tell us about a sewing mystery you’ve experienced (missing fabric, ufo’s that mysteriously pile up in the corner of your sewing room, baffling techniques you just can’t work out…….you get the idea ) & please go and like Clever Quilter on facebook!
We’ll randomly select a winner & announce them here on 5th Feb. Good luck!
Maya from Aunt Bea’s Fabric has popped in today for a chat….
FQ:Do you have a team of helpers?
FQ: You stock a wonderful array of both quilting and apparel fabrics ~ is it hard deciding which lines to stock?
FQ: It must be sew tempting being surrounded by so much fabric yumminess – do you find time to sew for yourself?
FQ: Does your passion lay in garment sewing, small project sewing (like bags & pillows for example) or quilts? or everything!?
FQ: Aunt Bea’s Blog ‘Make It Sew’ is full of helpful tips, techniques and tutes – what do you enjoy most about blogging?
The team at So Fun Fabrics are generously offering up at $20 gift voucher to one lucky reader!
All you need to do is leave a comment on this post to go into the draw. A winner will be drawn on Thursday 18th November.
But that’s not all! So Fun Fabrics have set up an exclusive offer for Fat Quarterly readers.
Tisha from So Fun Fabric: ‘The code for your readers is ?FQ10? and it?s good for 10% off their order, excluding sale and clearance items, from 11/15-11/18. They can ?redeem? it a couple different ways. If they purchase existing listings, they can enter FQ10 in the Notes to Seller section and receive a refund. Or if they would like us to set up a custom listing with accurate charges, they just need to include the code in their request email to us.’
So, what are you waiting for! Get yourselves over to So Fun Fabrics and take advantage of the savings!
Cathy from ‘Wish Upon a Quilt‘ took some time out today to chat with us about her creative life.
FQ: Tell us a little bit about how you came to have a fabric store?
I have always loved fabric and sewing. A few years ago, while I was crazy busy traveling with my corporate job, I tried to take some time out of each trip to visit a local quilt shop. At the time, these visits felt like my only respite from a hectic life. I noticed that the people working in these stores seemed so relaxed and happy. Something I was definitely not at the time.
The fabric was definitely calling me, so I started taking a small cutting mat and fabric with me on my trips and cut out a king size quilt a little bit at a time. I spent my time at home sewing and realized how relaxed I was while I was sewing. I couldn?t get enough!
In 2007, I decided that I needed to do something different. As I was pondering this one day, I finally made it out to a local quilt shop, Wish Upon A Quilt. I walked in the door and was shocked that it had ALL of the fabrics that I loved! I was so impressed that I asked to speak to the owner to tell her how much I loved her store. I was told that she was allergic to the fabric and didn?t come into the store. Bummer! The thought clicked ?opportunity? and I sent an email to see if she was interested in selling the store. She was! I couldn?t believe my luck ?we struck a deal and the rest is history.
While the store was primarily an online store at the time, we were open to the public on a very limited basis. That has changed over the past couple of years, we are now a full service quilt shop both online and store front. I found that I really wanted to create a place for people to come in, relax and have fun. Just like I did on all those business trips!
Although I have been quilting for 11 years, I do not get much time these days to work on my own projects. I?m usually sewing samples for the store, and I?m not complaining! I get to work with the latest fabrics and hope to inspire people with the work I do.
FQ: What does a normal day entail?
Well, since I?m a go with the flow kind of person, I?m not sure I have a ?normal? day. I work in the store some days where I get to see customers and gorgeous quilts! I would do this all of the time if I could – this is my favorite part of the business. However, if I was in the store all of the time, the behind the scenes would not be done and we would not have much in the store!
I have a fantastic staff so I?m in the store a couple of days a week and spend the balance of the time at my home office. I order fabric, plan promotions, write the newsletter, research all of the new fabrics coming out and the worst part ? pay the bills.
FQ: What are the best parts about running the store?
The people! Both customers and staff are so energizing for me. I love to be in the store.
FQ: Tell us a little bit about how you came to have a fabric store? My shop is online only for now. I hope to eventually open a place where I can teach classes on a full time basis. The focus of the shop will be on learning and teaching.
Mostly the online shop started because I am a fabric-a-holic! I decided to open the shop and open some accounts with wholesale companies (such as Moda and
Michael Miller) and once I was able to buy wholesale I couldn’t go back to retail, but I’ve always wanted to provide high quality fabrics and patterns along with some information about them.
My blog is meant to support the website, if I get something new in the shop and I see a great idea online of what do make with our new items, I’m going to create a post about it and tell my blog readers. I don’t want people to just buy fabric to collect it, they should buy it to make beautiful children’s clothing and cute tote bags and gorgeous quilts.
Also, since I work full time in a day job, I’m busy so I really LOVE the pre-cut fabrics that Moda offers. Now there are a wide array of patterns to go with them. I also just added a large selection of PDF patterns that will be mailed to you within 12 hours of your payment.
FQ: What does a normal day entail? Usually get up to get ready for work, check my shop e-mail, work at my day job all day, go home, check shop, e-mail and cut fabric and get it ready to ship the next day. My wonderful mom is helping with the shipping department at the moment.
FQ: What are the best parts about running the store? Interacting with new people who love to sew and teaching new people to sew has been awesome. Of course, since I’m online it’s slightly difficult to reach through the screen and teach someone to sew but I’ve started a local group that meets once a month and I’m teaching them to make easy quilts we’re going to donate to a local shelter for homeless families. I get so inspired when seeing how people choose their fabrics and put them together.
FQ: Are there any aspects of the job that you don’t enjoy? Dealing with shipping problems is very difficult. Luckily we haven’t had too many but it’s always a debate if the post office loses something and it can’t be recovered. Now I’ve added the option to purchase insurance on your shipping so that should help in the future.
FQ: When do you fit in time to be creative/sew? I guess a lot of my creativity is expressed when I write a blog post or an e-mail newsletter. Unfortunately there aren’t enough hours right now to do all
that and sew! I get to sew at my Crafty Girls meeting occasionally. Usually I feel like I need to sew the project before the meeting to have something to show the class. I really want to work in more sewing time in the future though. Maybe when my personal life settles down a little.
FQ :Tell us a little bit about how you came to have a fabric store? ‘We are an online-only quilt shop, which allows us to connect with customers all around the globe. I?ve been crocheting and cross-stitching most of my life and got into sewing and quilting later on. Quilting became my big passion, and I started Fat Quarter Shop in 2003 as a part-time operation right out of my house while still working a corporate job.
So go check out the fantastic selection at The Fat Quarter Shop!
And what’s more from 18 August until the 25 August 2010 you can get 20% off your purchase (excluding club memberships) by entering the code ?FatQuarterly?. So quick – what are you waiting for? Go grab a bargain!
FQ: How did your creative journey start?
BB:’I was always a crafty kid, give me some crayons or glue and I would create a Picasso-
like masterpiece that my parents always displayed proudly about the house. I remember a turning point, however, about 18 years ago. A women my friends affectionately called ?Momma Albertsen? and I sat around stacks and stacks of fabric wondering how to make a quilt.
We scratched our heads, bickered over the instructions
and viewed the pattern from every conceivable angle yet still remained mystified. We painstaking and meticulously cut each piece with a plexi-glass template and a pair of scissors. Relentlessly hovering over a never ending pile of cotton, we completed our first quilt in a mere 3 years!
Fast forward several years and Momma Albertsen opened herself up a little quilt shop in Burlington, North Carolina. . Armed with a lot more knowledge of quilting and (thank goodness) ROTARY CUTTING skills she taught all those willing to learn! Admittedly, I was still a bit resistant bitterly recalling the amount of time it took to complete our first project, and didn?t quite have the fabric-fever for several more years!
By August of 2008, having developed said fever; I desperately wanted to design my own children?s bedding & quilt collections. With Momma A?s guidance, I ventured into the quilt e-commerce business to start paving my way. I will never forget Peggy; a Physician in Germany; was my first customer. I was immediately international! I even felt a little fancy! I have been so busy ever since that I hardly have time to sew!‘
FQ: What does a normal day entail?
BB: ‘My normal day starts about 4am! I tend to Burgundy Buttons for about 2 hours in the morning before getting ready for my day in Corporate America. When I get home, I am back at it for another 3 hours or so before hitting the sac. Needless to say, I haven?t watched TV in years!
Saturday mornings I have the limited luxury of spending time in my sewing room before getting out there and being active with my day. I have recently developed quite a fondness for potholders and pillows- as they are actually finish-able in the amount of time I have.’
FQ: What are the best parts about running the store?
BB: ‘The best parts are seeing the amazing fabric and ?meeting? so many talented people! Julie Herman, Tracey Jacobsen, Rachel Griffith, Vanessa Christensen, the Fat Quarterly Team and so many more never cease to inspire me with their creative ideas. I am so thankful for their blogging as they really have nice projects out there for all levels of quilting.’
FQ: Are there any aspects of the job that you don’t enjoy?
BB: ‘Owning an e-commerce business does take up an exorbitant amount of time. I do hope to one day make Burgundy Buttons a full time endeavor and put the 14 hour days behind me.’
FQ: Do you have a favorite designer?
BB: ‘Anyone who has read my blog knows that I am over-the-moon for Kate Spain. Being a scrapbook junkie as well, I can never go wrong with Basic Grey! I received an email once from Kate Spain thanking me for my support by carrying her collections. My friends still like to tell the story about how giddy I was when she signed her email with ?Hugs, Kate?! We now often end our emails, texts and IM?s with ?Hugs? in her honor.’
FQ: Are there any creative skills that you would like to learn.
BB:‘I am always a little embarrassed when people ask for my help with a (non quilting) sewing pattern. I am one of those who can see something and sew it- but put a traditional sewing pattern in front of me and it might as well be in Greek.‘
I am honored to have been sponsoring the Fat Quarterly from the beginning. To celebrate for the entire month of August, FatQuarterly readers can save an additional 10% off Burgundy Button’s already amazingly low prices. Use promotion code FQ at checkout to save!