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!
It’s 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.
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.
Summer in New Hampshire is yard-sale season. If you’ve ever had a yard sale, you know it can be a lot of time and work. First you have to gather together everything you want to sell, stick on price tags, set up tables on the lawn, and then pray for good weather. But then when the cars start pulling over and the neighbors begin showing up on your front lawn, it’s all worth it.
If you’d like to come to a yard sale beyond compare, plan on heading to Center Harbor, New Hampshire, for the annual Keepsake Quilting Summer Tent Sale on May 31, June 1 and June 2. You’ll find loads of great bargains and all sorts of good fun. Rosemary, Libby and Heather have already begun getting things ready for the sale. As the time gets nearer, more and more Keepsake employees will be getting into the act. It’s Keepsake’s biggest event of the year, so it’s got to be special.
We’ll keep you posted on how the Summer Sale plans are progressing. In the meantime, maybe you should consider having your own little yard sale. Go through your fabric stash and weed out your old fabrics, so you can make room for all the new fabrics and kits you’ll be coming home with after your trip to the Keepsake Quilting Summer Sale.
That’s right: the latest top quality quilting fabrics–prints, solids, batiks, flannels, and whatever else fabric designers come up with in the future–will all be yours.
The Grand Prize winner will receive a 20-year supply of fabric from KeepsakeQuilting.com, valued at $11,440!
But wait, there’s more!
The First Place winner will receive a 350 PE Sewing Machine from BERNINA. The Second Place winner will receive a Reliable Velocity 200IR iron. Last but not least, 3rd place will receive will receive a Fabric Bundle from Paintbrush Studios.
Entering is easy: once a day, right here, from now through December 31, 2017, and you could win more fabric than you ever dreamed of!
For all the details, including eligibility and how to earn bonus entries, read our Rules, listed at the bottom of the entry page.
Remember, your life may change if you win. You’ll probably be more popular among your quilting buddies who want to see all your new quilting fabrics, you may need a bigger sewing room, and you’ll most definitely have to spend less time cleaning the house because you’re quilting all the time. But we have faith that you can handle these “problems.”
Labeling your quilt is an important–although often overlooked–step of making a quilt. When giving a quilt to a friend or family member, you might not think your quilts need labels. But they do! Quilt labels have helped quilt historians learn about a quilt’s origin long after the quilter was gone. They can also be a great way to make sure your quilt is never confused with someone else’s quilt. A label can also provide a personalized touch that makes a quilt that much more special for the lucky recipient.
Tips for Labeling Your Quilt
I asked expert quilters, staff from Fons & Porter and other prestigious publications, how they approach labeling their quilts. Here’s what they had to say:
“My nieces and nephews loved to look for the labels on quilts I made for them when they were little. Special messages just for them with nicknames, dates and what occasion it was given (Christmas, birthday, etc.). I always made the labels from leftover fabrics used in the quilt top and printed the wording in my handwriting. Funny thing was, they were so trained to look for the label, there were times they didn’t look at the design before they were searching out the label.”
~Colleen Tauke, Sewing Specialist, Fons & Porter
“To me, the important things to include on a quilt label are: maker, city/state, and date. Sometimes, I’ll personalize the label with who it is for. Including any care instructions is helpful as well, especially with a baby quilt that will be washed.”
~Carolyn Beam, Content Director, Quiltmaker, McCall’s Quilting and Quick Quilts
“Label all your quilts—even the ‘not important’ ones: simple labels for simple quilts (maybe just with fabric marker), more complex labels for fancier quilts.”
~Lori Baker, Acquisitions Editor, Golden Quilting Community, F+W Media
“Appliqué shapes—a flower, an apple, a child’s traced hand-print—can be a really sweet way to personalize a quilt label. Embellishing a quilt label with embroidery can also take something utilitarian and turn it into something special—it might even become your favorite part of the quilt!”
~Vanessa Lyman, Content Director, Fons & Porter group
“I always like to add something from the quilt design to the label. Since I do loads of appliqué, that isn’t usually too hard since I always have a spare flower laying around. When my quilts are pieced I make sure some of the fabric makes it on to the label.”
~Erin Russek, Associate Editor, Quiltmaker, McCall’s Quilting, Quilters Newsletter
“I like to add fun labels to the baby quilts that I make for friends and family. I usually free-motion my message and the date. I use a very tight stitch length and go for it. With a little bit of practice, it works great. A couple of times I’ve ‘written’ the message large and made it part of the design of the quilt or the border. Relax, don’t fret and have fun.”
~Kathryn Wright, Senior Graphic Designer, McCalls & Quick Quilts
“Quilt labels can come in all shapes and sizes. Spare quilt blocks not used on the front, or complementary appliqué shapes, make wonderful backgrounds for labels.”
~Caitlin Dickey, Video Content Strategist, Quilting Community, F+W Media
“I believe it’s a good idea to label a quilt, however, I don’t make separate labels. I like to write my name and date on the back of a quilt, in one corner, using a fine-point permanent marker. The signature cannot be removed, and it’s inconspicuous.”
~Deb Finan, Quilting Quickly Editor
“I’ll be honest — when it comes time to label a quilt, I’m usually so ready to be finished with it that I just write directly on the backing with a fine-tip permanent marker. In addition to being fast (if not particularly pretty), doing so offers me the reassurance that the label can’t be removed without leaving an actual hole in the quilt.”
~Mary Kate Karr-Petras, Associate Editor, Quilters Newsletter
“I always tell my quilting friends to sign their full names, not just Granny or Aunt Susie or SJM, because years from now, no one will know exactly which “Granny” it was that made that wonderful quilt. Your ancestors will thank you for signing the quilt that they cherish.” ~Bonnie Knott, Copywriter, Keepsake Quilting
Doesn’t all this talk about quilt labels make you want to finish a quilt, just to try out these tips? Here are some labels that are waiting for you to put your stamp (or stitches) on them. Find colorful labels, black and white labels, holiday labels – whatever you’re looking for, you should be able to find them here.