The trees are turning spectacular shades of orange, red and yellow. Moulton Farm’s field and farm stand is filled with pumpkins. Weekends are spent apple picking at local orchards or going to the fairs. Columbus weekend in Keepsake Quilting country means the Sandwich Fair. A local autumn tradition since 1910, the Sandwich Fair used to be just on Columbus Day, now it’s a three-day event.
There’s so much to see and do at the fair. There are the animals, the parade, the rides, the tractor pulls, the entertainment, the food and the crafts, both for sale and on display. We’re proud to say that, over the years, many a Keepsake Quilting employee has won ribbons for outstanding pickles, pumpkins, jelly, cakes and quilts. This year Keepsake Quilting is pleased to be sponsoring the Quilts & Fiber display. For generations, the quilt display has been a favorite at the fair.
If you’re in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire the weekend before the fair, September 29 and 30, you’ll also be seeing some wonderful quilts at the Belknap Mill Quilters Guild annual quilt show at the Gilford Community Center in Gilford. The hours are Saturday 10–5 and Sunday 11–4. If you’re at the show, be sure to stop by the Keepsake Quilting table to say hello.
We’d love to have you drop into the quilt shop if you’re out and about New Hampshire’s Lakes region this fall. Of course we’d welcome you any time of the year. If you’d like to arrange a group or bus-tour visit with your quilting pals, contact Dawn Carlson (603-250-6645 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’d be pleased to help you with the details.
“I saw it across the floor at Quilt Market and felt like running to it. I knew it would be perfect for our customers!” That’s what Cheryl, our buyer, said happened when she first spotted the All Through the House quilt that’s now featured on the cover of our Holiday 2018 catalog. When the quilt arrived in the office for photography, the staff fell in love with this wonderful quilt, too. It looked so clean and fresh in solids.
Patty styles the cover shot
Roxie and Joe Wood of ThimbleCreek designed that cover quilt. Cheryl loved their style so much that she chose two of their other designs for our fall and holiday catalogs. Anyone who likes their All Through the House quilt (#1009351) is bound to like their Readin’ and Writin’ and ‘Rithmetic quilt (#1009345). It’s so classic with a Schoolhouse block in the ever-popular two-color combination of red and white. Not so classic, but just as wonderful, is the Creature Features quilt (#1009348), which Cheryl chose for the back cover of the fall catalog. A two-color palette takes a spooky turn in this fun quilt that pays tribute to the horror movies shown on Bob Wilkins’s popular 1970’s Saturday-night TV show in Northern California.
Readin’ and Writin’ and ‘Rithmetic quilt
Cheryl considers a trip to Quilt Market a success when she finds talented people like Roxie and Joe Wood who are creating quilts that are sure to be a big hit with our customers. It’s how we manage to make every catalog fun, fresh and new.
Our annual June Summer Sale at the shop has always been our big event of the year, so we asked ourselves, if we did a three-day warehouse sale in August, would anyone come? Well we got our answer last Thursday, the 23rd, when customers were lined up in the warehouse parking lot waiting to see what goodies we had in store underneath three big tents. One tent was all fabric. We took all the skinny bolts of fabric from the warehouse, pulled out the cardboard centers, and laid the fabric on the tables. There was no cutting of yardage. The fabric was purchased as is. But not all the fabric was in large pieces. There were smaller cuts of fabric from discontinued kits and collections. And there were boxes and boxes of scraps. There was a fabric size for everyone. Shoppers just piled up all the fabrics they wanted on a scale and paid the bargain price of $5.00 per pound. The other two tents held kits, patterns and prepackaged collections, all at great bargain prices.
Every day there was new merchandise brought into the tents. By the end of the first day, lots of fabric tables were bare, but, the next morning, shoppers again had a whole tent full of fabric from which to choose. During the day, when shoppers heard the metal carts clanking down the parking lot with fabrics and boxes of merchandise for replenishing the tents, they rushed to the carts unloading the boxes for us. Much of the merchandise never made it to the tables. It went right from metal cart to checkout line.
It really was a fun time, and the weather was certainly on our side—bright and sunny all three days, yet not too hot. Parking was at a premium, so Mark shuttled shoppers from the Keepsake Quilting shop up to the warehouse. On Thursday he was so busy going back and forth that he was afraid of running out of gas. So his van passengers gladly accompanied him to the gas station. Everyone was just so accommodating and cheerful throughout the whole sale. Without a doubt, our first warehouse sale was a great success. Will we do it again? We’ll just have to see.
We’ve got a quilt to crow about. We liked it so much that we put it on the cover of our fall catalog. Cheryl, our amazing buyer, has a knack for knowing just what quilts our Keepsake Quilting customers will love. She’s been choosing our products for years and deciding the one quilt that will go on the cover. See it here
It’s always a big day when Evelyn, our photographer, and Patty, our stylist, go on location to photograph the cover quilt. They knew the perfect location for the “And So It Crows” quilt, this fall’s cover quilt. They loaded up Patty’s car with camera equipment, props and the featured quilt and headed up the road to Harold Cook’s Windover Farm in Tamworth, New Hampshire. Evelyn loves shooting quilts at the Cook’s farm, because the light is so gorgeous and the Cooks are so gracious. Harold tells the gals to pop in any time they want to use his farm for a photo shoot. The Cook’s garden shed provided the perfect backdrop for this fall’s cover quilt, which is filled with country charm.
Country charm isn’t the only thing that “And So It Crows” has going for itself. It’s designed by Karen Walker of Laugh Yourself Into Stitch who did a fabulous job of making this totally pieced quilt easy to do. Those flowers and crows are just squares, rectangles, half-square triangles and corner triangles. Cheryl and Vonnie, who chooses fabrics for our kits, did a great job of selecting a scrappy mix of fabrics for this fun quilt.
We thought you’d enjoy hearing the story behind our “And So It Crows” cover quilt (Item #1009369). If you decide to make this special quilt, then you’ll have a story to tell, too, because, as we all know, every quilt has a story.
As the kids start thinking about going back to school, we’ve got school on our minds, too. We’re talking quilt school where there are no tests and no grades, and every class is sure to be fun. We’ve got a terrific class schedule in the works that both locals and visitors to the shop are going to love.
We plan to do something special every week. The first Monday of the month will be Make-and-Take-It Monday, with projects such as ornaments, potholders or holiday items that can be finished in just a few hours. The second Tuesday of the month will be Table-Setting Tuesday, with projects such as table runners, place mats and napkins. The third Wednesday will be Wooly Wednesday with handmade wool and embroidery projects such as candle mats and mug rugs. The fourth Thursday will be Pineapple Day. We’ll provide a pattern from the Pineapple Fabric store next door, and students will purchase their choice of fabric packs from Pineapple Fabrics. Projects will include bags, throw quilts and home-décor items. You can just drop in on any of these Monday through Thursday classes, which will start at 9am and run until 12 or 1pm. There’s no need to sign up in advance, and all the supplies you’ll need can be purchased at the shops the day of the class.
We’re especially excited about our Fun Fridays. Our classroom will be open every Friday, all day long, and staff members will be available to help you with your projects and give you tips and encouragement for finishing those UFO’s that have piling up in your closet. It will be a great opportunity to sit and chat with old and new quilting friends.
Our weekly classes aren’t the only classes we’ll be offering. We’ve scheduled three all-day Saturday classes, starting with the Simply a Pleasure Table Runner on September 8, the Lemoyne Star Wall Hanging on September 22 and the Desert Sky Throw on October 13. See the Visit KQ Shop page for details.
Gloria will be teaching these Saturday classes. Remember that special grade-school teacher that was always so sweet, patient and encouraging? That’s what you’ll find in Gloria. As a matter of fact, Gloria spent 28 years as a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher in Rhode Island before retiring to New Hampshire. We’ve been lucky to have her at the quilt shop for the last 18 years. She has years of quilting experience, beginning with an Eleanor Burns Quilt in a Day project back in 1989, and she especially enjoys hand and machine applique. You’re sure to be seeing Gloria in the classroom on Wooly Wednesdays as well as for other classes during the week. She’s always prepared, always organized and always as nice as can be. And you’ll receive lots of individual attention. What more could you want from a teacher.
When you drop into our classroom on Fridays, you’ll meet “Make-Do Mary.” If you come into the shop with a stack of quilt blocks that were originally destined for a bed quilt, and you know that’s never going to happen, Mary is the gal for you. She’ll have you turning those blocks into table runners or some other project that will make you proud. Mary is a “finisher,” and she wants others to be “finishers” too, so they can experience that sense of accomplishment and positive attitude that comes with seeing a project through to completion. It may not be the project that it originally started out to be, but that’s where Mary’s enthusiastic “make-do” approach and her 40 years of quilting experience come into play. You won’t have to wait until Fridays to experience this fun teacher. She’ll be doing some of the other weekly classes, too.
Doesn’t the school year sound like fun! We’ll be posting updates of our classes online and at the shop, so stay tuned for the best school year ever with Gloria, Mary and other Keepsake Quilting staff members.
New Hampshire gets lots of visitors in the summer. They head to the mountains, the lakes and the coast, and on the weekend of July 20–22, they head to the small New Hampshire town of Loudon. Loudon normally has a population of about 5,000 people, but on that particular weekend in July, that population explodes when race-car fans stream into town filling the 88,000 seats of New Hampshire Motor Speedway to watch their favorite NASCAR racers speed around the track.
The winner of Sunday’s race is awarded with the biggest lobster that can be found. That’s about 20 pounds or more. Now, here in New England, when we sit down to a lobster feed, those lobsters usually weigh 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds. So a 20 pounder is a real monster! The story goes that Denny Hamlin, last year’s race winner, was terrified of his giant-clawed prize. Locals certainly enjoyed a good laugh over his reaction. That big ol’ lobster ends up in a giant pot down the road at the Makris Lobster & Steak House to be cooked and enjoyed by the winning race team.
With a race as big as the NASCAR race in Loudon, it’s natural that there are lots of race-car fans in New Hampshire. We know about die-hard fans, since many of them have worked at Keepsake Quilting over the years. Cindy, who’s in merchandising, says she’s able to outfit herself from head to toe with gear from her favorite drivers. Her family have been NASCAR fans for years. Even when she was older, Cindy’s mother didn’t let a wheelchair hold her back from attending the races.
Just as New Hampshire Speedway caters to people who love speed, Keepsake Quilting, 28 miles up the road, caters to people who love speed too—quilting speed, that is. For those who like to finish a project in an afternoon, we have panel kits. For those who want to skip right over the cutting and start sewing, we offer all sorts of precut fabric collections. Now for those who are in no rush, and are happy to make a leisurely quilt that could take a year to finish, we have some beautiful block-of-the-month projects. You can find all these quick-as-a-wink and long-term projects online, in our catalog or at the shop. There’s a bonus, though, if you come to the shop in the summer. You can walk around the corner to Red Hill Dari where you can sit outside under an umbrella and enjoy a fresh lobster roll, one of New England’s true summertime delights. The lobster is all cooked, out of the shell, and ready to eat. So easy, so delicious, and not the least bit intimidating!
When we see the big sign on the edge of the field at Moulton Farm
announcing “Strawberries Are Ready,” we know that summer has
arrived in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Just a few weeks
ago, when we’d drop by the farm stand on the way home from work
to pick up fresh baked bread, fresh greens or rhubarb, we’d meet up
with a few locals. Now that school is over, the farm stand is filled with
summer folks taking in all that our beautiful region has to offer—from
fresh-from-the-farm delights to the boating and swimming on our
many lakes to a charming quilt shop that sits right across from Center
Harbor beach. That’s Keepsake Quilting we’re talking about, and,
yes, you can even come by boat! We’ll ship your order home for you,
so you can leave plenty of room in your boat for your picnic basket.
Summer in New England also means the Vermont Quilt Festival,
which celebrated 42 years in June. It had been years since Keepsake
Quilting had a booth at the festival, but we were thrilled to be back
this year. Dawn and Kim, who tended the Keepsake booth, had a
great time meeting all sorts of friendly quilters, including some who
they had just seen a couple of weeks before at our annual Summer
Tent Sale. Quilters do get around to all the best places.
If you’re traveling to, or through, New England this summer or fall,
why not make a detour to Center Harbor. You can stop at Moulton’s
Farm in Meredith to buy a picnic lunch, have your lunch at Center
Harbor beach, and then walk across the road to Keepsake Quilting
for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience. Hope to see you soon!
Last week was Laconia Bike Week in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. We’re not talking about pedal-powered bicycles here; we’re talking about motorcycles. And we mean lots of motorcycles, hundreds of thousands, in fact. Whether we’re at the Keepsake Quilting shop, in the offices or in our own homes, the normally quiet landscape is filled with a dull roar. The roads, restaurants, motels and shopping areas are filled with motorcycles. It takes us a little longer to get to where we’re going, but, frankly, most of us don’t mind a bit. After all, New Hampshire been hosting the world’s oldest motorcycle rally for 95 years.
We quilters totally understand the bikers’ passion. Bikers walk up and down Weirs Boulevard on Lake Winnipesaukee, the center of the action, admiring and talking about each other’s bikes, just as we love to admire each other’s quilts at quilt shows. There are vendors galore showing their wares, just as there are at quilt shows. And just as quilters gather together to make quilts for charitable causes, bikers have special rides to raise money for worthy causes. There’s even a special Ladies Ride for charity. In recent years, Keepsake Quilting had its own booth at the Weirs where we raffled off pink bike quilts specially made to raise money for breast cancer awareness.
It’s wonderful to immerse yourself in a hobby. A hobby adds to life’s pleasures. We certainly understand that as quilters. Bikers understand that, too. Not that the two hobbies are mutually exclusive. Over the years, plenty of Keepsake Quilting employees have ridden their motorcycles to work. And we have no doubt, that once back home again, many of those Bike Week riders park their bikes, kick off their leather books and rev up their sewing machines.
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A week ago the local quilt guild, Country Village Quilters of Moultonborough invited three of us Keepsake Quilters to lunch. The guild also invited members of the Ladies of the Lakes Quilters’ Guild from Wolfeboro, a neighboring lakeside town. The delicious luncheon wasn’t the only treat we experienced that day.
Guest speaker, talented quilt designer and quiltmaker Linda Ramrath, treated us to an inspiring talk and trunk show. She wowed us with her incredible range of quilting styles and techniques.
When our shop manager, Rosemary, said a few words about the sale of Keepsake Quilting and plans for the future, the ladies were so kind and encouraging, with some great ideas for making the shop even more welcoming.
One of the best parts of attending a quilt-guild meeting is hearing the members talk about all the wonderful, caring projects that they do. The Country Village Quilters make quilts and pillowcases for Carroll County foster children, and cruiser quilts that the local police and fire departments carry to comfort children during traumatic times. In the spirit of sharing, the Ladies of the Lakes brought along 12″ quilt blocks to donate to the Country Village Quilters’ projects.
The Country Village Quilters also help out with the Ladies of the Lakes’ project of making quilts for David’s House, a low-cost temporary residence for the families of children being treated at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital. In 1986 the Ladies of the Lakes began making quilts for David’s House, and each child gets to take home their own quilt. For over 30 years, guild members have invested their hearts and souls in this wonderful project.
Just down the lake from Keepsake Quilting, members of the Belknap Mill Quilter’s Guild of Laconia make quilts for residential students at the Spaulding Youth Center in Northfield. The center is an intensive therapeutic setting for children with a range of challenges. Each child receives a quilt made specifically for them. The quilters say it’s like picking out fabrics and patterns to make a quilt for your own grandchild. The Belknap Mill guild also makes quilts for each woman who graduates from the CORE (Corrections Opportunity for Recovery and Education) program at the Belknap County Jail. Last Christmas, the guild also donated 87 quilts to the Inter-lakes Children’s Fund, an organization that helps families in need during the holidays.
Just think of all the children and adults who have been comforted by the quilts made by the Country Village Quilters, the Ladies of the Lakes and the Belknap Mill quilters. And that’s just the three closest guilds to Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. This generosity isn’t just happening in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire; it’s happening all over the country and around the world. It just goes to prove that quilters are truly caring people, and when they work together in groups, they can do amazing things.
What a delight to have a former Keepsake Quilting challenge winner teaching at the shop. We were first introduced to David Taylor back in the fall of 2000 when he entered our biannual Keepsake Quilting challenge contest. The judges awarded him second-place honors for his intricate foundation-pieced quilt. It was a remarkable piece of work on two counts. First it was only the quiltmaker’s third completed project, and, second, that quiltmaker was a man—our first gentleman challenge winner.
David, who now resides in New Hampshire, was living in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, at the time and working as a graphic designer. When we interviewed him, he told us he was working with a friend on a fund-raising quilt. He designed the quilt, and his friend was doing the applique. In the newsletter article, we wrote, ”He’s now learning to hand applique himself, and we can only imagine what wonderful quilts the future holds for David Taylor.” The next spring David took first place in Keepsake Quilting’s Bright Ideas challenge, and he was off and running.
David certainly lived up to our high expectations, because he now teaches his applique technique around the world. We’re so pleased that he brought his expertise to Keepsake Quilting this spring with his Master Class applique series. The ladies who attended his four-day pictorial-applique workshop, held over two consecutive weekends, had a ball learning David’s pattern-drawing and freezer-paper hand-applique techniques. David even helped the gals shop for fabrics. That’s one of the nice benefits of having classes at a quilt shop.