Cornerstones Newsletter

Content, Context and Contacts for Quilters Everywhere

October 2019
Dear Friends,

It literally seems like I was just writing the last newsletter, and now we're already in October. My Septemeber calendar was very active, and the best part of being out and about so much is that I got to meet so many of you along the way.

One thing that hasn't happened yet - and this will be a surprise to some of you who know me - I haven't been to the Downton Abbey movie yet. I have plans to go tonight night with friends, and I can't wait. Carson, please bring me some new Dowager moments!

I am welcoming a very large chunk of quilters to this month's newsletter. If you're a first time reader for Cornerstones, I am happy to have you here, and to share this really really crazy journey called quilting with me.

The links at the top of my newsletter will take you to my website as well as my social media channels. My website is currently undergoing a rebuild, and it should be done later this month. I'm very excited about the changes in format and layout that are coming. You are welcome to click on the links above to take you directly to my social media channels.

Last month, I asked for some help with my latest project as testers - and I have a group of testers who have come forward from around the US to volunteer. THANK YOU ! My table at the Squanicook show in mid-September allowed me to talk to quilters about ways to use my electronic cutter to help you bring personality to your quilts, and I got a lot of really great feedback. The testing will continue this month, and I look forward to using the feedback to tweak the idea before rolling it out later this year.

This month's Spotlight Interview is one I'm very happy to share with you. I am lucky enough to live less than 5 miles from Quilting Away in Amherst, and I wanted to share with you a story about how a shop is thriving...

All my best...

Over on the Blog...

I try to use my blogging platform from the website as a way to share some of my creative projects in more detail than a social media post.

This month's schedule has proved to be a blogging challenge, and one of my ongoing goals is to become more prolific on this front. That goal is being backed up with schedules, calendars, and time blocking to make that a reality.

I used my planner...pictured left. This is a customized (some from this one, some from that one) product that got a facelift this month when I found this amazing cork in a shop.

Click on the planner in the photo to go to the blog post.

Are you interested in working with cork? I've added it to my video filming list - yes, something else for the to do list. I will keep you posted.
Guild Programs - One Quilting Circle

Did you ever wonder how we came to have all the wonderful tools and materials to work with that we have? This lecture is designed to highlight the changes in modern American quilt making in the past 30 years.

Read more
A Tale of Two Quilts - Teal Mini Swap 2019
It sometimes seems to me that I don't have as many finished items to show you as I would like to be able to, but this one is very special to me.

I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Dean Myers of Georgia, who was my swap partner in this year's Teal Mini Swap 2019. If you're not familiar with it, it's an annual online swap run by EvaPaige Quilt Designs to provide funds for a cure for Ovarian Cancer. It's a 1:1 swap, and our private FB group pulls quilters in from all over the US and Canada in a common goal...stamp this monster out. I've been part of it since the beginning, and it's always a very supportive group.

Dean's quilt to me is on the's calming, very well made, and has pride of place in my room. We've had a number of very nice along the way, and I'm pleased to welcome her here.

My quilt to Dean is on the right - Dean makes a lot of quilts for her local animal shelter, and (like me, she's a cat person). This was fun to make, and we received.

Quilting Away to a Pieceful Life has been open in in Amherst NH for just over 7 years, and in that time it has expanded its' footprint twice. I am lucky enough to live within a few miles of the shop, and those that know me know that I operate the Facebook page on behalf of the shop as one of my side gigs.

I asked Bette Belanger to be the Spotlight this month because, in what is a very precarious business environment for local quilt shops, I think that what she has accomplished is amazing, and it needs to be celebrated.

Late last year, Bette broke through the wall into the adjacent empty unit next door, and upgraded her longarm machine so that she could offer her longarm rental customers a more state of the art machine. A significant part of the expansion centered around an expanded classroom space, where she regularly hosts quilt teachers such as David Sirota and Kathie Beltz , in addition to the block of the month programs and classes taught by herself and her staff.

One of the things which Bette attributes her success to is her customer base, which cuts across all quilting genres. Her calendar regularly includes projects for the traditional quilter, the modern quilter, the new quilter, machine applique projects, handwork and special requests. This year, Bette participated in the Row by Row Experience for the first time in several years, participating in a collaborative quilt within the program with several local shops. When I sat down to ask her about her year, I asked her where the furthest Row by Rower came from, and without missing a beat, she said Tennessee.

At that same meeting, a young man (on a mission for mom) poked his head into the shop, and asked tentatively, "Row by Row?"....that was funny.

Later this month, Quilting Away will participate in the Halloween Spooktacular Shop , one of its' signature shop hop events, and plans are already underway to make that a fun, worthwhile adventure. Come and join in the fun.

Bette has often attributed her success to the kindness and generosity of her customers, her guilds and her staff. Everyone is welcome, from the most experienced quilter, to my own Little Quilter, who loves a trip to Ms Bette's. It's a wonderful shop to introduce children to quilting.

Bette can't control market forces, and she has had to contend with the increased costs of goods like any other shop owner. She does have a number of loyalty programs in the shop...whether it's the birthday club, Fat Quarter Fridays (reduced prices on pre cut fat quarters), shop gift certificates drawing for those customers who pay cash, and a permanent 25% off books sold in the shop. So far, the formula is working.

Earlier this year, Bette continued her improvements by upgrading her website and cash system, and she's making plans for a POS system later this year.

Quilting Away is a warm, friendly place where you can come and stitch on your project, take a class to learn something new, or just come and breathe. Those are all things which you can't find in a thumbnail online.

To find out more about Quilting Away (hours, directions), please visit their website.

Fun Fact - Marcia Brady is a Real Life Quilter...
Like many of you, I am a child of the late 60s/70s...which means that I have watched my share of episodes of the Brady Bunch on TV.
Yes, it's a bit hokey to admit...I did.

These days, I don't watch much TV, but one of my favorite channels is watching HGTV. There is a Brady Bunch renovation (I'm not kidding you) with the original cast kids taking on real life (?) renovation of the house that was the facade of the show. HGTV has filmed a number of behind the scenes videos for the series, and I admit to not being quite awake when I scrolled past this one.

I literally stopped and asked myself, "What's Marcia doing in a quilt shop?'...

It's worth a watch, IMHO...
The Quilter's Calendar is now online...

Calendar submissions are very quiet at the moment, but I'm always updating it.

If your guild has an upcoming event you'd like to have listed, please click on the link on the page and submit it.

October is Jam packed...

Please click on each link for the details for their show.

October 4/5/6

October 12/13

October 18/19/20

Question from Linda -
is this a more helpful format for you?