Monday, December 26, 2011

Last minute project - Cold Weather Ear Warmers

I know, I know...I should have worked on these a month ago, but the weather was so unseasonably warm that I was ignoring the fact that I'd need to break out gloves, hats, and ear warmers.  When I did open up the dusty boxes containing all of my cold weather wear I realized that nothing I owned matched my cute new jacket.  What to do?  Well of course I scoured the web for items I could purchase, when I came across something I could make myself....thanks Pintrest.  (If you're not on Pintrest yet, don't do it!  You'll never get anything done, you'll just sit around wondering "why didn't I think of that" and "I could make that".)

Through Pintrest I found a young woman's blog in which one of her posts explains how to make these fun and easy ear warmers.  You can find it here:

I'm not kidding you when I say that I made two in less than an hour.  You can buy the wool felt to match your own jacket and even make them for gifts.  Here's how mine went:

1.  My jacket is maroon and unfortunately we didn't have any maroon felt here at the quilt shop so I decided to match the colors to my scarf which is multi-colored with blue, yellow, maroon, and and mustard yellow were my favorites.

2.  Next I made a template out of freezer paper so that I could recreate the same design for another one later.  I also made templates for my flower layers (this will make more sense in a little bit).

 3.  I ironed the freezer paper onto my felt and started cutting.

4.  After my headband was cut out, I made a 1/4" seam around the entire thing.  This prevents it from stretching too much.  I also used the button hole setting on the machine to create buttons holes big enough for some fun wood buttons.

5.  I cut open the button holes and hand sewed a button on the opposite end.

5.  After I created the basic headband it came to the fun part....embellishments.  I decided to do layered flowers.  I also chose to use another button and make it the middle of my flower.  I hand sewed these embellishments on...and tad-ah a cold weather ear warmer.

6.  After I made the first one I wasn't sure how I felt about the width, so I made a smaller one.  I decided to do a bow embellishment for this one using both colors.

If you're interested in making these for yourself or others, I have the templates for the wide headband, narrow headband, and layer flowers saved on a PDF (the bow I kind of made up as I went along, just strips of felt folded into a bow).  Send me an email at and I'll email the PDF to you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

Usually I'm not a huge fan of the snow (unless, of course, I'm skiing or snowmobiling).  This year, however, I miss the snow.  It's two days before Christmas and there isn't any snow on the ground....almost unheard of in MN.  So, since there isn't any snow outside I thought I'd make it snow here.  So, when you're dreaming of a white Christmas just click on our blog. :)

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

EChatter - December 2011

At this month's Thrifty we talked a lot about whats happening in 2012.  We recapped what we published in the newsletter that was emailed this weekend.  Most of you have already read the newsletter, if you haven't, click here: .  There are a few things we want to specifically bring your attention to:

Holiday Hours/New Hours:  Don't forget that our new hours start Jan. 1st.  We will not be open on Christmas Eve, Monday the 26th, or New Years Eve

What's New - Our Thrifty weekends will be replaced by "What's New".  We realized that we have changed from the original concept of "Thrifty" and wanted to give it a name that reflected what the weekend is more about.  What's New we be on the 2nd weekend of every month.  (To see the calendar, click here  We want to invite you to bring show and tell, just like Thrifty, and you will get a special coupon you can use until the end of every month.  PLEASE NOTE:  There will not be a What's New in January because....

Inventory Reduction Sale - We need to make room for all of the fun stuff we have coming in 2012 from Fall Quilt Market.  We thought about adding on, but there's no room to grow.  :)  The sale will be January 12th - 14th with discounts on select merchandise.  Thursday will be 40% off, Friday 50% off, and Saturday 75% OFF!!!

Card Club - This is a BRAND NEW club that will be starting January 18th at 10am or 5:30pm.  It's not your traditional card club, we're not going to play Bridge.  If you like paper piecing, this is the club for you.  We will be using the "50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks" book to create greeting cards.  For more details about the club, including the cost, click here:

50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks: Full-Size Patterns to Mix & Match [Book]

Row by Row Club & Block of the Month - As most of your know, Darlene Zimmerman's Clothesline Club has ended.  We loved her work and wish her all the best in her future adventures.  We needed a club to take the place of one of our customer's favorites.  With the help of Ruth Gess we will have the Row by Row Club. Ruth designed the patterns that we will explore during the club.  For more information click here:

We've decided to use Ruth's designs for our Common Threads Block of the Month.  You will receive the patterns each month...what you do with them is completely up to your creativity....make them into a sampler, recreate the block for a quilt, use them for a wall hanging...the possibilities are endless!  For more information about the Row by Row Block of the Month click here:

Cattails in the Meadow ClassJudy and Brad Niemeyer designed the Cattails in the Meadow for foundation paper piecing. A collection of fabrics designed by Hoffman Fabrics were used to make the quilt and we have the exact fabrics for this class. The class will be taught by a certified Judy Niemeyer teacher, Catherine Erickson. We need at least 8 people to sign up.  For more information, click here:


Click here for details about any of our events:

Super Sew for Super Bowl - The first Sunday of February every year is reserved for beer, food, and football.....but not this year!!!  We invite you to join us sewing AND watching the Super Bowl.  There will be games and giveaways including a $50 gift certificate.
Leap Year Sales Event - It only comes once every 4 years, so we're gonna make the best of it.  Join us for open sewing and Leap Year discounts including 29% off or double punches on your card.  Play Leap Frog and get even more of a discount.
Relay for Life Auction - We have officially started our own Relay for Life team.  Our team name is "The Polka Dots" in honor of our father/grandpa who passed away from pancreatic cancer....he LOVED Polka music!  To help raise money we are having an auction in March.  The reason we are telling you about it so soon is because for every dollar you spend at the quilt shop between January 18 and March 23 you get 2 Quilt Bucks you can use during the auction.  You can also use real money, but your Quilt Bucks are just a valuable.  PLEASE invite everyone you know because we're not just going to be auctioning quilt stuff but gift certificates to area businesses and other fun things.  More details to come!


Enough of the "public service announcements"...on to the new stuff!  If you're interested in purchasing any of the following items, go our online store.  (We apologize, the fabrics are not available through the online store yet.  If you are interested in purchasing them please call us at 320-834-2563.)  Click here for the online store:

We know we're getting quite close to Christmas, but we couldn't help but show at least one Christmas project.  Using the Square-agonals technique (featured in last month's Teaching Thursday) we created kits for a table runner out of the Countdown to Christmas line.  We used the Accu Quilt to cut each piece so there's not much cutting needed, just sit down and start sewing!  The kit is only $14.99 (you will need to purchase the book as well - $24.95).

Using the same technique we created one with Hometown by Sweetwater so you can make one to display all year round!

Curio uses the Kaleido-Ruler (our only new notion this month - $17.00) to create the illusion of circles in this pretty quilt that reminds us of Paris, France.  Holly used the Statler to create individual patterns for each block and the borders, it was her first time trying this intense technique and it turned out beautifully, she can do it for you too!
Cut 1

We added some more pieces to our color was looking kinda sad.  We filled it with "Tic Tac" and "Dimple" by Andover Fabrics.

Hoffman has some new, rich Batiks so we had to show some of them as well.

Holly Taylor is back to designing with "Birch Bark Lodge".  The line has patterned pieces and Batiks.  Mix and match for a modern rustic look.


Square-agonals is a new method of creating diagonal set quilts without the complications of sewing setting corners and triangles.  The method is based on a well-known branch of mathematics called dissection. $27.95

Jelly Roll Quilt Magic introduces an entirely new design sense for Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, and Turnovers.  It really is a magical approach to using precuts.  She also introduces a 'shopping' list concept to make prepping for sewing a snap.  13 colorful projects give readers the opportunity to grasp her vision. $26.95

Reasons for Quilts by Edyta Sitar-Reasons for Quilts showcases incredible quilts and touching stories about the inspiration of quilt making.  Edyta Sitar opens he personal trunk of handmade heirlooms.  This album goes from coverlets that capture childhood innocence to quilts that embrace the love of family.  It includes a disk for your home computer that can be used to print nine of the featured quilt patterns. $27.95

Modern Blocks: 99 Quilt Blocks from Your Favorite DesignersThe new kids on the block!  Today's most talented modern quilts put a fresh and fun spin on 99 traditional block designs in Modern Blocks.  Chock full of step-by-step instructions, how-to photographs and helpful hints, this collection of inspiring projects makes it easy for any sewer, no matter what level of expertise, to quilt in a modern style with impressive results.  $24.95  (Katie will be writing up a pattern to enlarge one of her favorite blocks, we will post it here first!)

Just a Quilt? is a delightful story about six-year-old Chase and his imaginative uses of his prized quilt.  This tale celebrates the wonderful creativity of children.  In this story, his quilt is so much more than a quilt.  Whether his quilt is a superhero cape, a dark cave, or a magic carpet, it still provides the security of home.  Share this beautifully illustrated book with your child and imagine the possibilities. $16.00

Shenandoah is a pattern designed by Deanne Quill of Creative Solutions.  It is a great pattern for fabrics in which you want to showcase the design of the fabric and don't want to cut up too much.  The finished quilt measures 54" x 70".

Big, beautiful flying geese weave a whimsical trail through this simple striated quilt top in Come Fly With Me.  The great contemporary look is equally effective with and without borders.  Size options: 55" a 75" without outer borders (large throw) and 69" x 89" with outer borders (twin).

Short Circuit Pattern Large ImageShort Circuit certainly isn't short on style or pizzazz that's for sure.  The only "short" in sight is the short amount of time it'll take to make the blocks.  Use craps, charm packs, jelly rolls, anything goes in this fun bright quilt.  Finished siza 49" x 49".

The Potato Chip Bag Pattern Large ImageJust throw the Potato Chip Bag over your shoulder and you're out the door.  With pockets on the outside and lined with pockets on the inside too.  Named because they're small and addictive, bet you can't make just one.  Finished size 6" x 7" x 2".

025.JPG017.JPGThe Little Twister Tool is a lot of fun and when your projects are complete it looks as though you've spent hours working on these small projects.  "Patriotic Twist" and "Twisted Christmas".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas time is here again

Tis the season to deck the halls and trim the tree.  We've been busy putting together stocking stuffers for the quilters on your list.  Our favorite new products this year are the Frixion pens - $2.65 (ink disappears with heat) and the Handi Iron - $35 (great for retreats).

 If the quilter on your list has everything or you just don't know what they like you can get a gift certificate.  Check out today's Echo Press for a gift certificate coupon.  If you buy a $25 gift card you get $5 free!

We have gifts for everyone on your list, not just the quilters.  Shannon Cuddle will no longer be making the Cuddle Critters - $8, so come in and get one for the little one on your list before they're all gone!  You can even make an attachable blankie.  This project can be finished in a couple hours.

We love the idea of giving a gift inside a gift by "wrapping" your presents in a's also green friendly, no wasted wrapping paper here!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Web Store Update: What's New

Everything that you saw from November Thrifty is now available for purchase online.  The "What's New" section of the website will be updated after every monthly What's New meeting (previously Thrifty).  You will be able to purchase all fabrics, notions, book/patterns, and kits that you see from What's New.  Check it out:

Monday, November 28, 2011

We're Taking the Plunge

The Polar Bear Plunge that is.

"The Polar Bear Plunge — presented by Minnesota law enforcement as part of the year-round Law Enforcement Torch Run® events to benefit Special Olympics — is a unique opportunity for individuals, organizations and businesses to support Special Olympics athletes by jumping into frigid Minnesota waters. It consists of 15 different events that take place across Minnesota during the coldest months of the year. From January through March, our Plunge crew will be traveling around the state to 15 different communities with one goal in mind: raise funds for Special Olympics Minnesota!"  (quoted from the Polar Bear Plunge website)

Holly and I, along with a friend, are excited (and nervous) to be the crazy girls that make up team Ice Angels.  Common Threads has offered to be our main sponsor.  We need at least $75 a person to participate, but our team goal is $400.  If you would like to help us out and donate, click here:

Plunge icon image

Click on the plunger (not the bathroom that you want to donate to and follow the steps from there.  If you would like to participate in the insanity and become an Ice Angel, click on the "Join Our Team!" button from the same link above.

If you know of any businesses that would like to sponsor us, please email me at

Thank you everyone for your support.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Small Business Saturday, November 26th

As we all prepare for visiting relatives, huge turkey dinners, and of course the busiest shopping day of the year we hope that you will take a moment to support a local business.  In cooperation with American Express we, along with thousands of other small businesses, are participating in Small Business Saturday on November 26th.

Of course you've all heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday but this is only the second year for Small Business Saturday.  As a small business it is impossible to compete with the big box names and well established online retailers.  We are excited to be a part of a special day dedicated to us...a small local business.

American Express is giving all of their card holders a bonus for participating too!  Just simply register your American Express card online, click here: .  When you spend at least $25 at a participating small business, you will get a one-time $25 credit on your American Express.

Along with the American Express special, we are offering 25% off notions (under $25) and 10% off any cut of fabric (not including sale fabric).  Also, if your family is looking for the perfect gift for you, have them stop in and purchase a gift certificate.  For every $20 gift certificate they purchase they will get $5 free!!!  On top of all of that you will be registered to win a $50 gift certificate with any purchase made on Saturday.  All specials are available in store only.  Store hours are 9am - 5pm.

Whether you choose to shop with us on Saturday or another small local business, we really hope you participate in Small Business Saturday.  We will be waiting with hot coffee and cookies.  Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!

EChatter - November 2011

We were amazed by the attendance for this months Thrifty weekend, obviously everyone wants to know what is going on here at Common Threads.  If you weren't able to attend here's a review of some of the new things we introduced from Quilt Market.  We did talk a little about the changes we are making in the store, but all of the information we talked about you can find in the blog.

One of our favorite products from Quilt Market was the Handi Iron.  If you were at the retreat you saw them in use.  These stow-able irons get very hot for a tiny iron.  They do not have a steam feature, so if that's something you must have this iron might not be your best choice.  However, if you do a lot of little piecing this iron is perfect.  Retail $39.95.  Our special price $35.00.

My personal favorite find from Quilt Market are the Bloc Loc Rulers.  I saw them in a demo during the Minnesota Shop Hop and have been on a search for them ever since.  We purchased the ones that help square up half square triangles, but they have others like the flying geese and diamond rulers.  The ruler features a beveled edge that literally locks onto your seam for perfect trimming.  We have them in a three pack for $44.00 (6.5", 4.5", and 2.5")

My mom's favorite find was the Primitive Quilt magazine.  This magazine is $10, but has close to $50 worth of patterns in it every month.  Not only that, but it is wonderful and it's not overflowing with ads (as some other quilt magazines are).  This magazine is only available in quilt stores and we are proud to be a new carrier.

We have just a few new kits to share.  Just in time for Christmas is "Flight North" and matching pillowcase.  We used the Wing Clipper tool for this project (feature in a previous Thrifty).  The flying geese go around the entire project, the focus fabric is a fun winter-time fabric with black labs, sleds, and snowmen.

This super cute bag is created from a Wallet and Grommet pattern so that is what we call it.  Its the perfect size for keeping your most important things in one place.  It can also hold books, a nook, or iPad.

Bella Flora is a "finish in a weekend" project.  Great for first time sewers or maybe a project with the grandchildren.  The fabrics are from the Bella Flora line (featured in last months EChatter) and are pretty and giddy just to keep Spring in your mind.

A last, but not least...we did the Celtic Wave as a class last year and ended up with a couple extra kits.  If you're a Judy Niemeyer fan, this ones for you!

Happy Thanksgiving, have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Web Store Update: Sulky Thread

As we continue to add more and more to our web store we will update here when things are available.  As of today all of our Sulky Thread is available for purchase online.  Next goal: rulers. :)

(click on the picture of the web store to go directly there)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Cereal Tower

We had great turnout for our two retreat weekends and most of the ladies brought cereal to donate.  I am proud to announce that we donated 100 boxes of cereal to the Douglas County Food Bank.  Holly and I had some fun at the retreat and built the "Cereal Tower"...modeled after the building with a similar name, the Sears Tower.

We hope that all of our retreaters had as much fun as we did.  We can't wait for our next retreat in the spring.  Thanks to everyone that attended and The Lake Geneva Christian Center for another successful retreat.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A New Adventure Begins

"Do what you love, and love what you do".  This is the quote that everyone should live by and is a continuous motivation in everything we do at Common Threads.  The sign on our building says Common Threads Quilt Shop and Design Studio, in the spirit of doing what we love we are excited to be making the "design studio" part of our name a reality.  The economy and peoples immersion into the internet and technology has created a very different quilt shop for now and into the future.  It is our desire to not fall into a "have to change" but a "want to change" mentality.  Now don't think for a second that we are going out of business or leaving the quilt world - in fact, that is totally the opposite of what we are doing.  We are offering a new and exciting quilting experience!

The first change will be our shop hours.  We will be open every Wednesday from 9am to 7pm and every 2 and 4th Thursday (9am - 7pm), Friday (9am - 5pm), and Saturday (9am - 5pm).  See sample calendar:  (actual January calendar will be posted online with clubs, classes, and other events in the next few weeks)

We will also be open on days that we hold classes, these days will be marked on our calendar online and in our quarterly newsletter.  We will offer the opportunity to have a private shopping adventures for retreaters, quilting groups, or a group of friends that want a special shopping experience.  These will be based on availability and through reservations.

In addition to your shopping experience will be the expansion of our online shop to include every piece of fabric, sample, kit, book, pattern, and notion that our retail shop carries.  We know that many people love to "touch and fill" but remember our shop will be open.  The online shop will allow you to shop at your leisure 24/7 if desired....even in your PJs.

You may be a bit confused about this seemingly radical change, however we feel in our hearts that we are on the right track.  As we stated in the beginning, the quilting world has changed and we want to continue to be on the cutting edge and stay relevant.  We LOVE to share our passion of quilting with you and want to share it with the world not only through the internet, but by traveling.  We will be taking our shop on the road to shows and guilds as a "quilt shop on wheels"....look for us in your town!

Our passion of quilting will extend into creating fun events to celebrate quilting and fabric crafts, encourage our dreams of pattern and fabric designing, and compliment our clubs and classes with innovative and exciting new ideas for you to become a part of.

These are the things we promise to you:
*  Top quality quilting fabrics and supplies.
*  Computer guided machine quilting with literally thousands of patterns to choose from.
*  Existing clubs - Civil War, Buggy Barn, Stitchery
*  NEW clubs - English Paper Piecing, Traditional Paper Piecing, Wool Adventures, Quilt Circle, and Blossom Club (we will be releasing more information about each of these in the months to come)
*  Best for last....What's New - our new version of Thrifty.  By attending What's New you will be in the fore front of the latest and greatest that is on the market to excite you in quilt land.  We will share techniques in demo form before and after each What's New presentation.  You will have a hands-on idea of how the new products can work for you.  We will be having drawings for those who attend and giving gift certificates to those who bring show-n-tell.

In order to make these most wonderful things happen we need to clean up shop.  There are going to be items we will no longer carry and they need new homes.  These items will be on close-out at a 75% discount the weekend of January 12th -14th.  This will enable us to set up for our new shop.  We will continue to carry our favorite items including, but not limited to batiks, Civil War, cuddle, fresh new fabrics and MUCH MUCH MORE.

It is important that all of our customers know what is going on so please keep up to date with our blog and website.  We will email you the newsletter every quarter and let you know when the monthly chatter is posted, any other updates or blog posts are viewable at your own leisure.  We are thrilled for our new adventure and thank all of you, our customers for your support.

Cutest Tiny Buttons EVER

I love getting mail from other countries, the post marks are always so interesting.  Yesterday I received a package from Incomparable Buttons.

Incomparable Buttons provides jobs to woman in South Africa by creating clay buttons.  They are so adorable, I just had to share them with you!  Now I just have to figure out what we're going to do with them.  Any ideas?  Want some of your own?  Let me know!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fun with the Twister Tool and Betz White's New Fabric Line

I was able to hang out at the retreat for a little bit and get some things done last Saturday....ok, one thing done...and it was only for fun.  Don't judge. :)  I got a pack of 21/2 inch squares of a Betz White's fabric from Quilt Market and they were so cute I knew that I had to do SOMETHING with them.  Mom even got a picture with Betz.
(Her blog: ...... Her fabric:

As most of you know, I'm a new sewer/quilter so I polled the ladies for an idea.  The best one was using the Twister Tool to create a frame-able work of art.  First, I sewed each square together in even rows and columns and then sewed a 21/2 inch boarder around the entire thing.

Then I used the Twister Tool to cute out tiny 11/2 inch squares.  As I cut a row I sewed them together so that the pieces didn't get mixed up.

Here is the finished work of art.  I think I'm going to do a thin dark brown board and then boarder it again with the orange to fit inside a glass-less picture frame.  It will look so cute in my apartment!

P.S.  If you LOVE this fabric and want to see more of it, let us know....we haven't placed an order yet.