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.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Finish Your Projects - 2011 Fall Retreat

Today is the official beginning of our FYP - Finish Your Projects Fall Retreat.  We hold it every Fall at the Lake Geneva Christian Center (  We went out yesterday to set up, it was my first time out there and it is gorgeous!  It's a wonderful place to hold retreats of any kind, but perfect for quilting.  We utilize the front room of the dining hall which overlooks beautiful Lake Geneva.  All of the retreaters stay in hotel-like accommodations and all of the meals are included.  Who could ask for more?  If you missed out signing up this year, don't worry...we have a spring retreat too!  Check back to our website for more information after this winter.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall Quilt Market - Houston, TX

Mom and I were fortunate enough to be able to attend the Fall Quilt Market in Houston, TX.  I was super pumped because I had never been to Houston before and I was done with helping Dad on the farm.  I had no idea what to expect, I was nervous and excited.  We drove down to Minneapolis the night before and ate at one of my favorite restaurants, Chino Latino.  I even convinced Mom to try eating with chopsticks and she dared to try sushi.  She decided it wasn't so bad and that she was wrong in assuming all sushi was bad after trying it on a cruise ship.....TIP: Don't eat sushi that's not fresh.  We both tossed and turned all night in anticipation of flying to Houston the next morning...we were too excited to sleep!

We saw a friendly face while waiting for our plane to board.  Roseann Meeham Kermes of Rosebud's Cottage in White Bear Lake (check out her blog, it's awesome...  She's always on the cutting edge of whats new so we had fun tossing around some ideas with her.  We also met up with the ladies of Eagle Creek Quilt Shop in Shakopee ( after landing in Houston.  Stepping outside, the weather was almost the same as back home...maybe a little warmer.

We checked into the brand new Embassy Suites hotel in downtown Houston and were VERY pleasantly surprised to find that it was half a block from the convention center.  We used the night to compare notes of things we needed to look for at market and reviewed our market booklet for interesting classes and booths.  We did treat ourselves to a night out at McCormick & Schmick's (best Lobster Bisque EVER) and a couple drinks at Pete's Dueling Pianos (I requested Lady Gaga and the GUY played a compilation of a few of her songs!).

The first day of Market is dedicated to business building classes and product demos, they call it schoolhouse. We started at 8am, took a short break for lunch, and continued until 6pm.  It was mind numbing, but a lot of fun.  The classes with Kizer and Bender ( were the most valuable for me.  That night we went to Sample Spree.  We decided to show up fashionably late because we didn't want to get run over by everyone looking for a good deal.  Don't worry, we did pick up some goodies for you!

Saturday was when the real fun started...they opened the doors to the HUGE exhibition hall and let us ladies go nuts.  It wasn't like the running of the bulls or anything, but I'm sure you can imagine hundreds of quilt shop owners rushing in to see all of the vendors.

We spent Saturday and Sunday meeting with fabric reps and checking out each of the booths.  It was extremely overwhelming for me, I didn't know where to the rich batik projects, the ornate applique patterns, the time saving tool demos...and then I saw him....the Cat in the Hat!  I had to take a picture with him and my heart skipped a beat when he handed me a flyer that said that Shannon would be making Cat in the Hat cuddle.

It was amazing to see some of the designers including the famous Ty Pennington from Extreme Makeover....yes, if you didn't know, he designs fabric (that's his booth to the right).  I also talked with Amy Butler and her husband (who now has is own fabric line)...more on them in another post.  I met pattern designers as well, like the ladies that wrote Sweetwater's Simple Home Quilt Book (we featured it during August Thrifty).  Mom met Carol Doak (picture on the right) and got a signed copy of her 50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks book.

We found so many treasures that we filled our suitcases full and had to ship two boxes full of things.  While waiting to ship our finds, Mom talked with Julie Stewart of Keepsake Cottage Fabrics in Bothell, Washington (  They attended a retreat together.  It's so much fun to see other quilt shop owners that are as excited as we are about the profession!

Before we knew it, it was time to head home.  I was sad for Quilt Market to be over, but the most rewarding part hasn't even started yet...sharing all of our finds with you!  Over the next few months we will overload you will all of the things we found....are you ready?

Pieced love and comfy-ness,

EChatter - October 2011

Welcome to our new blog and the new home of EChatter.  Our blog will be updated weekly (maybe more) with the goings-on at the shop and new products.  We are gearing up for some changes at Common Threads and this is just a small step in the right direction.  With this blog we will be able to share more photos with you, create online demos, and provide links to some of our favorite quilt related blogs and videos.  This blog also allows you to comment directly on what you see...and please do!  This blog is for you and we want to know what you want to see.

We apologize for the delay in posting the latest EChatter with all of the new and fun things we talked about in Thrifty last month.  Harvest took up most of our time and then we went to Quilt Market in Houston (look for the next blog with photos from that adventure).  Without further adieu, here is what you missed at from October Thrifty...

We only have a couple kits to show from I said early, harvest kept us quite busy this year.

<---- Blossoms comes in three different batik color ways and is a really simple and fun quilt.

<---- Boardwalk used the Wonky Block technique and comes in beautiful blue and yellow batiks.

<---- Jovial uses a gorgeous cream background with three dimensional trees and pinwheels.  This is a quilt that really must be seen in the shop, the picture does no justice.  Come check it out and see why this is one of our favorite Christmas quilts.

We added three new printed Shannon Cuddle Prints to our collection...monkeys, cows, and dinosaurs.  If you're looking for a cute backing to your kids quilts these are PERFECT!

We also added some fun modern/floral prints.  The line is called Bella Flora.  We are working on a kit with these fabrics that will be introduced during the next Thrifty.  These fabrics are great for bags too!

Not pictured - We added some more batiks and 30s to our collections.

Slash Your Stash - Choose from 16 attractive pieced and appliqued designs from the pages of McCallas Quilting.

Spotlight on Neutrals - If you think neutral fabrics are only for backgrounds and blending, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. See what can happen when sophisticated taupes, warm browns, rich creams, and contemporary grays take center stage. 

Urban Country Quilts - You’ll be thrilled to find quilts and other comforts in the chunky, funky appliqué style for decorating all year long! 

Inspirational Appliqué - This book contains 11 designs that inspire and encourage. The projects include wall hangings, table runners, a table topper and a pillow. 

Sew the Perfect Gift - Quilters and sewists alike will enjoy this fabulous—and amazingly varied—collection of stitched and quilted projects. 

Another Bite of Schnibbles - Quilters will find 12 beautiful pairs of small and large quilts made from convenient precut 5" and 10" squares. 

Patchwork Among Friends - Patchwork Among Friends by Judy Martin is a book of patterns, recipes, and ideas for enjoying your quilt making more--among friends. The book has 10 original quilt patterns, each in 2 sizes, and 12 recipes for potluck supper dishes. 

Stellar Quilts - Complete patterns for 13 star quilts. Each quilt is an original Judy Martin design.