HACKENSACK - Piecemaker's Quilt Shop of Hackensack will be one of 10 featured stores in the 2008 spring issue of Better Homes and Gardens Quilt Sampler magazine. The magazine goes on sale May 13.
It is one of 3,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada eligible to win the recognition. Piecemaker's plans a May 24 open house to celebrate.
Mary (left) and Pam Curo looked for a way to adjust smaller piece sizes inside Pam's new quilt pattern to gain the extra half-inch needed for seam allowances on the finished block. Quilts in progress layer over finished quilts in their office and sewing room. Monica Lundquist
Owner Mary Curo and her daughter, Pam, who designs quilt patterns under the Cotton Tales name, had to submit their application to Quilt Sampler before last September to be considered. Pam had to submit an original finished quilt by November.
Now, with the help of Mary's husband and Pam's dad, Ed, the family is busy assembling kits they expect quilters to buy of the quilt design to be featured in the magazine. They will have enough fabric and kits available for 150 quilts by the time the magazine is in print, but if their quilt should be selected for the cover, Mary said that will not be nearly enough. Last year's cover quilt sold more than 800 quilt kits, Mary said.
Heart of the Lakes 2008 Shop Hop
Theme: Garden Party
Bay Window Quilt Shop, Perham (a 2007 Quilt Sampler winner)
Piecemaker's Quilt Shop, Hackensack (a 2008 Quilt Sampler winner)
Colorz for Quilts, Brainerd
Country Fabrics, Brainerd
Monika's, Park Rapids
Back Porch, Detroit Lakes
Quilters Cottage, Fergus Falls
Though the store has been in business 24 years, this will be its biggest challenge. Fabric suppliers change fabric designs annually, so the fabrics used last fall to make the quilt may not be available this spring to assemble more quilt kits.
"We'll just have to buy something that is as close as we can get," Mary said, noting quilters who buy the kits will want the same fabrics as those in the featured quilt.
This is not the only honor this year for Piecemaker's. Quilt Almanac magazine also featured on the cover of the January issue a wool felt wall hanging of cardinals Pam designed.
Pam has a distributor who promotes her Cotton Tales designs to other stores. From those sales, she has received direct inquiries from Japan, Scotland, New Zealand and Australia. She expects additional remote requests now that the store established its Web site this year at www.piecemakersquiltshop. com. Pam also offers trunk shows and classes.
Mary and Pam had different sewing backgrounds before they opened and expanded the store.
Mary remembers her first sewing project to be a shirt for her brother. When it was done, she couldn't figure out why the fabric didn't stretch so he could get it over his head.
Since then, she has read magazines and books, experimented a lot and took a quilting class from the first person she hired to teach when she transitioned her store from a clothing and decorator fabric store to a quilt shop. Today, she has sewn many quilts.
"Anyone can learn," she thinks.
Yet, she finds people today let quilt books sit on the store's shelves. They want more individual lessons than group classes. They buy quilt patterns by mail-order and via the Internet, but when they come in the store, they would rather buy a quilt kit with all the fabric pre-cut and ready to sew. Few on-site customers want to spend time selecting their own fabrics, Mary said.
Pam earned a degree in costume designing at the University of Minnesota-Duluth after five years of study. She designed soft sculpture dolls, then penny rugs before moving into quilt designs.
She does some of her overall quilt designing on computer, but still must transfer the quilt design details and final dimensions back to pencil and paper, because the computer does not allow her to design symmetrically. Triangles and strips will not be correctly proportioned or balanced.
If she prints a center medallion design from a computer, it will be printed narrower than it is wide. All finished quilt squares need to be the same length and width when finished in order to match surrounding squares when the overall quilt is sewn together.
American Patchwork and Quilting, Mary said, reports the average quilter today spends about $1,121 per year on quilting supplies and completes 10 projects a year.
Other winning quilt stores in the spring Quilt Sampler magazine contest are located in Virginia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Kansas, Vermont, California, Oregon, Texas and Colorado. Some quilt enthusiasts will travel to all 10 stores and have the owners autograph their magazine, Mary said.
Winning stores had to show superior business promotions, charitable work, teaching schedules and explain their design philosophy in addition to designing an original quilt.
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