Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We have some winners!

We have some winners--Congratulations to Melissa from Ohio, QuiltingDiva and Renegade Quilter who each won a copy of the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine and Deserae who won our Sugar Plum batik fat quarter bundle. I've emailed all of you except QuiltingDiva so be sure to send us your address!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To Market, to market

Be sure to read all of this post, because we have news about Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks giveaways!

If you’ve been following Sarah’s Facebook postings you’ve had a glimpse of some of our adventures at market. In fact, the whole experience was rather bewitching!

As you can see in the background, the new Civil War Chronicles has cast quite a spell. We enjoyed welcoming a steady stream of folks anxious to see Chronicles in person, and eager to share their progress with Tribute. What a treat to hear your tales! And how we enjoyed all of the pictures of grandbabies and delightful dogs—although it made us a tad “home lonesome” for our own pets and people.

Although it is a bit late for trick-or-treat, we do have some Civil War Chronicles treats we’d like to share with you:
• Chronicles contains NO partial seams.
• Chronicles contains NO 1/16th inch measurements.
• Chronicles patterns DO contain vivid, full-color diagrams with simplified piecing.
• Chronicles patterns DO show finished sizes of units.
• Chronicles patterns DO contain stories of wives of Civil War generals.
• Chronicles DOES feature Judie Rothermel’s designs and Marcus fabrics.
• Chronicles DOES finish at 108” x 108.”
• Chronicles openings WILL come to an end, so be sure to reserve your place!

Just in case you were wondering, Ty Pennington was not the only celebrity at market. Just down the aisle from our slot Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims joined forces to thrill the crowd while promoting a new product.

The Statue of Liberty made an appearance and even had time in her schedule for a photo-op.

Whether celebrity…

Or one of the regular folks…

Everyone was looking for a good time.

And there were plenty of folks ready to help you find your way.

Once our shopping was done…

We were ready to leave Houston behind…

and head back to Homestead Hearth and simpler times because we really had to get back in time to be part of the blog hop for Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks magazine premiere. Volume 2 of this great magazine should be out on your local newsstands any day now and we will have it on our site to order as soon as it arrives.

So, in order to be eligible to win a copy of the magazine, just leave a comment here on our blog. To add to the fun, we'll give away a fat quarter bundle of the new Sugar Plum batiks to another lucky person who comments on this post by 12:01 am Friday, November 12.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'll get to it . . . someday

This week we’re going to take a little survey. Ready? How many of you finish one project before starting another? I see a few hands out there. Next, how many of you buy supplies for one project at a time? I see a few more hands. Last, could those of you who raised your hands find something else to do while we distracted procrastinators have a chat?

If you’re anything like me, you have a lifetime of projects strung throughout the house. Tucked under the sewing table is a quilt that’s finished except for the binding. In a basket in the living room there are two sets of embroidery blocks meant for babies who are graduating from college. A closet holds stacks of never-been-used pizza boxes filled with blocks from past swaps. And the dresser? Top drawer my things, second drawer Grandma’s things, and bottom drawer is relegated to the Great-grandparents’ leavings.

Sound familiar? Pitiful, isn’t it? Every single one of these abandoned objects started out as a fabulous idea. Fabulous until one special ingredient disappeared. Motivation.

Long, long ago in a faraway land—well, actually 14 years ago when I thought I wanted to be a quilt instructor—I led a little class. One of my students loved the design so much she decided to supersize it from crib size to queen. Fast forward to Summer 2010 when I invited her unfinished project to my house. The stack of completed blocks brought back vague memories, but what had we planned to do with the rest of the cloth?

Procrastinator’s Tip #1:
Before you set a project aside, label each fabric with its intended use. Make notes detailing the finished size of your quilt, total number of blocks needed, setting style, and borders. Think of this as a time capsule—someone WILL find it someday. How can you help future archeologists finish what you’ve started?

After fussing, fuming, calculating, and worrying the mystery solved itself—with the help of a photo. I’d completed a similar quilt for a favorite aunt, so I dug out the picture and counted rows and blocks. A little math, a little measuring, and soon solution to the mystery became clear.

Procrastinator’s Tip #2:
Take pictures of your completed projects, but be sure to get a view of the entire quilt. This will help you (or future archeologists) reproduce the original size and layout.

Isn’t it surprising how we can do something for others that we can’t do for ourselves? Finishing my friend’s quilt top was just the kick in the seat that I needed. After I dropped off her project, I came home with renewed vigor and determination to finish my own.

The first artifact to emerge from the catacombs of my sewing room was a project intended to celebrate our son’s high school graduation eight years ago. Pieces had been cut, blocks had been finished, so why had this project been abandoned?

Procrastinator’s Tip #3:
Before spending time and money creating a gift, investigate the recipient’s style and taste.
The graduation quilt was well under way by the time our son got his first glimpse. I could tell by his expression that something was wrong and eventually he admitted he preferred scrappy quilts.
“No problem,” I said, and Plan A joined a crowd of others in the closet while I moved on to Plan B.

Whether you are driven to finish one project at a time or spontaneously leap from idea to idea with abandon, Homestead Hearth has something for you. Our kits and block-of-the-month programs come pre-labeled, so if your attention strays or your intentions falter you will always have a road map to guide you back to simpler times.

Sue & the gang at Homestead Hearth

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


As customers roam through the store we can’t help but overhear snippets of conversation. Sometimes we pick up names of destinations. Other times we listen in on where lunch will be served. But last week we heard something we hadn’t heard before. This time we were treated to a lesson in quality.

“I just don’t know why someone would work so hard on a quilt top, and then put something cheap on the back!” a voice declared.

A long-arm quilter, in town to find a wide backing to finish a project for a friend, shared a bit of her wisdom as she shopped. Having stitched on the work of many other hands, she’d discovered an area that could be improved.

“Your quilt is only as good as the chintziest fabric in it,” she stated.
Her comment brought back memories of a quilt I stitched many years ago. It was a fun project made of simple piecing that produced a complicated result. The colors I’d selected included deep purples, amazing turquoises, and an accent of pure white. That winter we were holed up for several days due to a record-breaking blizzard, so my masterpiece was completed in record time.

Our son loved the quilt as much as I did, and soon he’d adopted it as his own. It traveled with him to college and back, and kept him warm on multiple ski trips. The quilt covered his bed in one state, and then made the move with him when a job opportunity brought him to another. And although I’d enjoyed our son’s visits many times, it was over a decade before I saw the quilt again.

Despite the constant use, the purples were as deep and rich as ever. The turquoises still shone like a winter sky, but the white? What white? The white had dissolved--completely disappeared--causing the batting to hang raggedly where the white used to be.

I must admit, when I created this quilt I had no idea the brutal (but loving) beating it would take. My cloth selections were based on the design effect I wished to create. Had I thought more carefully about the quality of the weave, I might have included a different white. As it is, the beauty of the original quilt is only preserved through photographs.

Quality. As you select patterns and fabrics, think about where your finished project is destined. Will it hang on a wall or a display rack to be touched with eyes only? Or will it be rough-housed and toted from hither to yon? Is your goal to produce something of elegance? Or are you working under the premise of constant use that endures?

This past summer our travels took us to Nantucket Island where tidy rows of houses and shops kept our eyes and feet busy for hours. As we strolled around a corner I was shocked to see a quilt stretched on a clothesline along the outside of a building.

“That’s an antique store!” I sputtered. “They should know better!”
And apparently they did. The quilt was serving an important function. It was an attention getter. Its simple design of squares and flying geese brought attention to the store—and perhaps shoppers through the door!

Quality? Perhaps not what the maker had intended, but a joyful quality all the same.
Whether you are busily creating something that will be passed down to generations to come, or stitching a cover that is sure to take a beating, come visit us. We have lots of quality items ready to be used in your next project. Check out these great brown & pink prints that just arrived:

Share your dreams. Share your inspiration. Share the quality that comes with simpler times.

Sue & the gang at Homestead Hearth

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Word games

Are you in the mood for a little word association game? Just say the first word that comes to your mind when you read the following list. Ready?





Isn’t it interesting how one event can change our mental associations?

Whether the flight attendant on JetBlue was in the right—or the wrong—haven’t we all been there? Although most days we are able to slide smoothly through every crisis, sometimes we run across a day that is just too much! Too much to do. Too much going wrong. Too much unfinished. Too much of too much!

At times we even reach the breaking point with our quilting. The needle won’t stay threaded, or the thread keeps breaking. The directions don’t make sense, or we happen to read them wrong. There isn’t enough fabric, or we made a mistake while cutting. As our attitudes slip and our fists begin to clench it might be wise to tell ourselves, “Step away from the rotary cutter!”

Most of us have projects tucked away that have rubbed us the wrong way at one time or another. Rather than doing what we really wanted to do—rip it to pieces—we did what any mature quilter would do and put it away for a calmer, clearer moment. Will we ever finish them? Who knows? But what can you do when a project is pushing all of your buttons, and your only choice is to finish?

Frustration can be a tricky thing. Although sometimes it is possible to power through and finish a difficult project, sheer determination might also undermine our ability to look for help. As internal tension mounts it becomes more and more difficult for us to think clearly—and impossible to explain our problem to anyone else.

Every once in a while we hear from someone who has reached that tipping point. How do we know? THEIR EMAIL IS WRITTEN ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS AS THEY SHOUT AT US THROUGH CYBERSPACE. A phone call is focused on what we’ve done wrong rather than how we can make things right.

Make a mistake? Please let us know. We’ll try to track down the pattern you forgot to order, the cloth that you accidentally mis-cut, or the additional yardage you realized you need. When we make a mistake? Have a few facts ready to share such as: the name of the program or kit, the date the order was placed, what you received vs. what you expected.

Perhaps things would have gone more smoothly for the JetBlue flight attendant if everyone on the plane would have been living by the Golden Rule. “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” There is a real person behind each uniform, on the other end of the phone, and reading each email. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others.

And make plenty of time for the enjoyment of simpler times.

The gang at Homestead Hearth

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tricks for Half-square Triangles

If you’re like most of us, your quilting days began with straight seams. Remember how excited you were to complete your first block? Was it a four-patch? A nine-patch? Or perhaps you were an advanced student cutting your quilting teeth on appliqué? Wherever you began, your quilting journey eventually brought you to the land of triangles and the building block of quilting—the half-square triangle.

Unless you use templates and cut your triangles one-by-one, your half-square triangles (HSTs) will probably begin as squares. How do you take a square and turn it into a pair of triangles? The mystery is solved by using a little math, your ruler, and a quick swipe of the rotary cutter.

First the math:
To calculate the size square you will need to begin your process, just remember this rule of thumb: add 7/8” to the size of your finished HST.

3” finished HST (3 ½” w/seam allowance) = crosscut a 3 7/8” square
2 ½” finished HST (3” w/seam allowance) = crosscut a 3 1/8” square

Next the ruler and rotary cutter:
Once you have the measurements of your squares finalized, there are several ways to proceed in turning squares into triangles. When we create our quilts we prefer to use old-fashioned piecing methods. We crosscut each square on the diagonal, use a point trimmer to ensure accurate piecing, and then we stitch a scant ¼” from the bias edge being careful not to stretch the triangle out of shape.

Don’t want to crosscut until later? Prefer to stitch on a square rather than a triangle? Not a problem. Just mark the diagonal on each square. Some stitchers prefer to draw each diagonal, others choose to press and use the fold as their guide. Whichever marking method you choose, once the diagonal has been marked, stitch a scant ¼” on either side of the marking, and then crosscut on the marking.

Want an even faster method? Then you may want to choose one of the HST piecing products on the market today. There are several preprinted paper products to choose from, but what if your quilt takes a variety of sizes? Do you really want to buy a roll of foundation paper for each? No worries, we have just what you need!

Triangulations2.0 by Brenda Henning, allows you to print all of the sizes you need from your own computer. If your Mac or PC runs Adobe Acrobat Reader, then Triangulations 2.0 will soon have you printing foundations from ½” to 7 ½” on paper you already own. We sell Triangulations on our website here.

If you follow our designs, you know that many of our quilts are full of HSTs. Like you, we love the versatility and visual complexity of these simple units. Thanks to extensive piecing, our heirloom-quality projects such as Civil War Tribute and Civil War Chronicles require you to be persistent (and accurate!) in your piecing, and we believe the results are worth the challenges of the journey.

Ready for a new challenge? Excited about creating something generations after you will enjoy? Then brush up on your math, dust off your ruler, and put a new blade in your rotary cutter as you join us on the next installment of our Civil War series.

Civil War Chronicles features Judie Rothermel's outstanding fabrics and another heirloom-quality design. Pattern improvements include finished-unit sizes so you can easily select what size triangle to make if you want to use papers or Triangulations. And, we've included lots of quick piecing tricks too. You can sign up for this program that starts in January 2011 now.

We’re honored to have you join us in our travels to simpler times.

Sue & the gang at Homestead Hearth

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Learning styles . . .

Learning styles...

My friend is an accomplished quilter. On my walls hang several examples of her meticulously paper-pieced miniatures. As the seasons change her wool appliqué penny runners and candle mats are displayed throughout my home. Her perfectly pieced, full-sized quilts grace the beds of many who know her. But despite her years of experience, when I mailed her a pattern I knew she’d enjoy she asked me if we could work through it together. Why? That’s her learning style.

Do you ever turn the radio on (or off) so you can concentrate?

Are you prone to making practice squares before using the real fabric for your project? Do you read through the entire pattern first or dive right in? When you’re puzzled by the next step in your project do you reread the text or study the pictures? Do you ever ask for help and end up getting assistance that makes no sense? Welcome to the difference in learning styles.

After spending a quarter century in an elementary classroom, I can tell you that learning styles are a reality and not just an excuse to get out of completing assignments. Not everyone learns in the same way, and what is true for mathematics and science is also true for quilting.

Some people are blessed with a gift for words. Give them something to read, make sure it details every step, and leave them alone. They’ll be happier reading and comprehending on their own, so you might as well move on.Some patterns cater to this style. Take a look at some of the patterns on to see great written directions. Checkerboard Squares is a great example.

Other folks prefer to look at pictures. For them the words are distracting. Give them clear, precise illustrations and stand back. These learners live out the truth of a picture being worth a thousand words! Lots of patterns on the market now serve this style of learner with loads of graphics and very little written direction.

Then there are the talkers. They mutter to themselves. They mutter to their rotary cutters. They mutter to the ironing board. They mutter to their sewing machine. Don’t bother asking what they said—they’re not talking to you. Talking is how they process. Talking is how they make sense of their world. Talking is their learning style—just don’t bother them with talking to anyone else.

On the other hand, there are the social talkers. These are the social butterflies who revel in group projects. Invite them to a quilt retreat, and they are in hog heaven! For them working alone is torture. Give them a group setting and watch out!

These gregarious gals will stitch circles around you and barely stop to draw breath.

Have you found yourself yet? Can you tell which method brings you stitching bliss?

Then congratulations, you’re halfway there! What? There’s more? Absolutely! Knowing your own learning style is empowering, but knowing your pattern designer’s teaching style is the other half of success.

Don’t believe me? Think back to your last quilting frustration. Did it happen to have anything to do with the instructions? Could it have been because “this dumb pattern doesn’t even make sense?” Maybe, just maybe, the problem wasn’t the pattern itself, but the learning style it was written to. Were there pictures when you wanted words? Were there words when you wanted pictures? Could you move on from a dead stop once you read it out loud? Or were you stymied until you got help from a friend?

At Homestead Hearth we have been blessed with more and more opportunities to share our creations in magazines, books, and under our own pattern label. During this growth in exposure we’ve become acutely aware of the variance in learning styles. Humbling though it is, we have discovered that what makes perfect sense to us doesn’t always make things clear to anyone else. The challenge has become making our instructions clear enough for most.

Civil War Chronicles will include adjustments based on many of the lessons we’ve acquired about learning styles. Visual learners will be pleased to see improved layouts and graphics. Word smiths will appreciate the well-crafted text created under the guidance of Vivian Ritter. Finished size measurements for individual units will appeal to the perfectionists. And when you contact us, we’ll be assisting you based on what we’ve learned about our own strengths.

Dolores is the wizard with illustrations. Jane can explain written instructions and visualize where you’ve gotten off track. Sarah will whip out an email with mathematical precision, and Sue will cheer you on or sympathize.

To adapt a phrase—it takes a whole village to make a quilt—and a whole lot of learning styles. Celebrate your strengths as you enjoy simpler times.

Sue & the gang at Homestead Hearth

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Where do you find your quilting inspiration? Books and magazines? Quilt shows and workshops? Visits to fabric stores and websites? What about a stroll around town?

This time of year many of our friends and neighbors celebrate their patriotism by flying the Stars and Stripes. Why not slip a little of the flag in your quilting? From sawtooth to feathered, stars are always a favorite, and who doesn’t love a quilt stitched from the red, white, and blue palette? Whether your creation is bright and bold, or pieced in grayed tones, the patriotic color-way is sure to be a winner.

Need a new challenge? Thinking about stepping out of your color box? Why not gather a little inspiration from Mother Nature? Summer is filled with flowers that fade with the seasons. Why not preserve those breath-taking color combinations in your quilts?

Do you have a quilt that is looking a little blah? Getting tired of the piecing the same old thing? Look closely and you’ll find a wonderland of embellishment assistance right under your nose.

Enjoy the accent of a bee on a blossom.

Savor the intertwining leaves and the texture of ripening blackberries.

Not ready for appliqué or venturing into the three-dimensional? The world around you still has plenty to challenge and inspire.

Ready to whip up something quick and straight-forward? What about building a quilt made of bricks? Stacked or staggered, they make a visual impact.

Whether you’re looking up…

Or down…

All roads lead to quilting…

and a summer full of simpler times.
Let us inspire you at
Happy July from Sue, Sarah, Dolores & the Homestead Hearth gang

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How 'bout some SUGAR?

Do you like sugar in your coffee? Your iced tea? On your cereal? How about with your quilts? Until this week we thought sugar was something to avoid—or at least limit--but then participants from the SUGAR (Statler Users Group and Reps) began stopping off at the store on their way home from this year’s conference, and we discovered SUGAR was a good thing!

With the energy and enthusiasm of the newly inspired, the SUGAR gang dropped by on their way back to their longarms. This bubbly bunch examined Connie Gresham’s quilting on our shop samples, put together exciting combinations of fabrics for their next projects, and took time to share a few stories before they got back on the road to head home.

Hughetta, a Homestead Hearth friend from a Nashville event, told her SUGAR tale of being in the right place at the right time. Thanks to an encounter with a man in charge of outfitting Disney World’s Cinderella’s Castle, Hughetta and her buddy Jewell’s ability to stitch more than straight lines earned them the opportunity to quilt 17 comforters. Isn’t that a fairy tale come true?

About the time the SUGAR folks wandered away a three-generation group of gals stepped into the store. Mothers, daughters, and a daughter of a daughter roamed the shop matching completed embroidery tops to border cloth, hand-picking colors for new projects, and browsing the books. One of the mothers in the clan, Connie, shared this creative idea during her time at the cutting table.

Take one son-in-law who works as an over-the-road trucker. Put him on the highway for weeks at a time. Stir in a little boredom and Connie’s inspiration (and determination) to find a cure. What do you get? A postage stamp (2x2”) quilt built from novelty fabrics accompanied by a printed Seek-and-Find guide. How much of the puzzle do you predict he’ll solve before his next trip home?

When the afternoon rolled around our Thrilling Thursday continued with an invasion from Burlington, Iowa. When the bright, red Trailways bus pulled up we were thrilled to welcome 37 enthusiastic quilters from across the border! While some of the gals holed up in the brights, others delved into the Civil War fabrics. The rest? They spread out throughout the store—and the other two fabric stores in town. We’re sure Bonnie at Mexico Sewing Center and Mona at Sticky Wicket enjoyed the Iowa gals as much as we did. Y’all come back now, you hear?

Don’t you love summer when you can get out and go? Whether passing through on the way home from a conference, making a special bus trip, or just out for the day, it is wonderful to have all of you filling the store with your excited voices and the opportunity to tap into your amazing ideas.

Lately many of our visits have been from folks traveling to family reunions. One couple, Quilter’s Travel Guide in hand, was making the journey from Utah to Quincy, Illinois, one shop at a time. Another day a multi-generational trio took time out from their adventures at Lakeview Park to wander into the store and pick a project for the campsite. Once in a while grandmothers and grandchildren stop by to select fabric for “Grandma Camp” projects. And of course there are always remembrances under construction for weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and soon-to-come babies.

Quilting is such a wonderful way to celebrate the milestones and connections in life, but as you create those projects remember to include labels with the Who, What, and Where. Nothing is sadder than digging through a box of lovingly made quilts or old family photos not knowing the hands, hearts, and faces behind them.
Labeling can be as simple or as complicated as you wish. Handwritten information can be done with a permanent pen, or some quilters prefer to write and then embroider over their lettering for more longevity. Whether you use your computer to print labels, the embroidery feature on your sewing machine, or your own best penmanship, we created the Family Album panel to help simplify the preservation of your family’s history.

Get your own Family Album panel by clicking here.

Loved enough for a quilt? Certainly loved enough for a label.

Summer is definitely here, so enjoy your travels, enjoy your families, and enjoy making memories of simpler times.

Happy 4th of July!
Sue, Sarah, Dolores & the Homestead Hearth gang

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Growing pains

Thanks to the internet, visitors from all over the globe make their way daily to Homestead Hearth. And sometimes our cyber friends even find their way to our brick and mortar store here in small town America.

This past week we enjoyed meeting Penny, staffer at Suzy’s Quilt Shop in Garland, Texas. Penny was making her annual pilgrimage to muggy Missouri to visit her dad for Father’s Day. Thankfully she also managed to squeeze in a bit of time for us. It was great seeing you and safe travels, Penny!

If you’re ever in the area we’d love to meet you face-to-face. We’re easy to find--just look for the building with the jeep over the door. The flock of flamingos from the back seat has flown the coop, but you’ll still recognize our store front. Some days you might get to meet Harvey, our unofficial mascot:

Our building was last used as a restaurant, and that owner was into recycling long before being “green” was in style. As you stroll through our store you’ll see:

chunks of airplanes,

walls made of old doors, a variety of floor tiles,

an old bathtub

and yellow duck prints leading straight to the restrooms.

Of course we also have hundreds of patterns, 1,000s of fabric bolts, a variety of notions, and a J.C. Penney catalog outlet desk.

Lori’s Penney catalog business (right inside the front door) always gets a second look from our quilt shop customers. Her catalog business represents the resources of a company with over 1,000 stores and 150,000 associates. The J.C. Penney distribution centers are spread throughout the nation and offer an inventory of millions of items. In comparison, our sole location serves all of the retail, wholesale, and internet needs of our worldwide customers.

Our staff of less than ten employees stays busy cutting kits, taking orders, packaging, and shipping. They answer phone calls, pull orders, bundle fat quarters, and give stitching advice over the phone and in person. Despite our small number of staff members, life at the shop was going pretty smoothly. Then came your overwhelming response to the Civil War Tribute block of the month (BOM) program.

Partnering with Judie Rothermel and Marcus Brothers to present this BOM project was a dream come true. We worked for months preparing ourselves for the changes and challenges we knew would come. What we hadn’t foreseen was the exponential enthusiasm for the project—and the growing pains such rapid growth would mean.

It didn’t take us long to realize that our original printing arrangements weren’t going to be adequate for the increasing requests from our customers. The search for a reliable printer with appropriate capacity led us to a town 45 miles from the shop, and soon we were taking turns making the drive to shuttle boxes and boxes and boxes of patterns from the printing facility to our store. Then came a series of unexpected delays.

First the printing machinery broke and a part had to be ordered from out of state. Next the weather didn’t cooperate as schools and businesses across the region were closed due to blizzard conditions. Then our building flooded.

Pipes in an unused area on an upper floor separated and doused the ground floor with several inches of water. The inventory of patterns wasn’t damaged, but we were too busy rescuing bolts of fabric, mopping floors, and removing water with shop vacs to get any orders shipped out for a while. It was definitely a series of events that led to the point where you just had to laugh so you didn't sit down and cry.

Once the printing was back under control the multitude of questions began. As more shops stitched their shop samples and more customers began their own versions, we were inundated with questions. Questions about yardages. Questions about instructions. Questions about hints for easier sewing. Questions about readability of diagrams. As each concern was shared we worked to find ways to respond.

Pattern updates were posted on our home page. Diagrams were changed from gray scale to patterned backgrounds. An alternate block was offered for a universally troublesome piecing challenge. Quarterly shipments were added to the original shipment choices for store owners. Despite the glitches and adjustments you stuck with us—and we will be forever grateful!

Backed by your enthusiasm and shaped by the lessons we’ve learned over the past year, Civil War Chronicles will be our second BOM offering in partnership with Marcus Brothers and Judie Rothermel, and we know you'll enjoy the improvements.

Vivian Ritter, experienced technical editor, has written the pattern directions for clarity and accuracy. Quick piecing tricks are included. For those who prefer picture examples, improved layouts and color coding have also been added.

Finally, just in today is info on the new Gettysburg Memorial quilt kit. Order yours now!

As we get closer to the Chronicles kickoff date, we will be sharing more information about this second heirloom project reminiscent of simpler times.

Sue, Sarah, Dolores & the Homestead Hearth gang (including Harvey!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

It's All in a Name . . .

The phone rang at the shop the other morning and a voice asked, “What time is check in?”
“Excuse me?”
“What time is check-in?” the voice repeated. “We’d like to get into our room as soon as possible.”
“There is no check-in here. We’re a quilt store.”
“A quilt store?” the voice said. “I thought you were the hotel on the edge of town.”
Country Hearth Inn and Suites is a popular stopover for visitors to Mexico, but they don’t sell quilt fabric. On the flip side, Homestead Hearth doesn’t take room reservations. This little slip was easily mended, but not every phone request is so easily solved.



A second caller had a question we struggled to solve. She was working on the Civil War Tribute block of the month (BOM) and needed a tad more fabric due to a "whoops" in cutting. We got her name, phone number, and fabric requirements then scoured our records for her shipping information. No matter where we looked (in paper files or computer) she was nowhere to be found! Finally, we were forced to call her back. "I'm so embarassed," she said. "I forgot I was doing the BOM program with XYZ shop. I called you because your name was on the pattern." Mystery solved!

Not all questions come to us by telephone, sometimes they walk right in the front door. One bright, sunshiny day a pair of friendly visitors strolled in with a quilt in hand. “We’re looking for the name of this block,” they announced, unfurling a gorgeous quilt with precision piecing. We oohed, we ahhed, and then gave our best guesses. It looked like a pinwheel, but along with the pinwheel-style blocks was a troublesome (but lovely) modified sashing. Could it really be a pinwheel? No one knew. Before they left the visitors discovered a similar block in one of our 30’s display quilts, but that still didn’t help because we couldn’t remember the name.

As you’ve probably discovered, the same quilt block can be found under several different names. Haven’t you seen all of these designs alternately referred to as Churn Dash, Shoo Fly, Monkey Wrench & who knows what else?

Regions of the country, different time periods, or even misprints can bring different titles to the same design. When we created our Civil War Tribute quilt our goal was to select blocks and titles from that time period. The battles we selected to highlight had direct significance to the war. And the blocks themselves? All were in general use but have no direct ties.

Sometimes confusion is the name of the game. Book titles, fabric lines, pattern names, and magazine issues can be hard to keep straight. Although we can’t always come up with the answers you need, we’ll be glad to try. Phone us (573-581-1966) or email ( and we’ll do our best to make your life simpler.

Sue, Sarah, Dolores & the rest of the gang at Homestead Hearth