Buy Local

by Mary Covey

There is a huge movement happening in the food industry right now – “locally grown”,” locally operated”, “locally owned”. I hear and see these words constantly as I am food shopping. It is important to me to support my community by buying my groceries from a farmers market or fruit from a locally owned farm whenever possible. The grocery store and pharmacy where I shop are both local, employee owned businesses where they know me by my first name.

It is just as important for me to buy local when it comes to my quilting needs. Locally owned and operated quilt shops are vital to the quilter and the quilting community. Local shop owners are the backbone of the quilting community. Studies have shown that non-profit organizations (like our guilds, stitch groups, retreats, sewing for charities ) receive an average of 250% more support from smaller locally owned businesses than they do from large businesses.

Local quilt shops employ local quilters who have a knowledge and better understanding of products quilters use. They take more time to get to know the customers and their needs. If they do not carry a product, most are willing to order it for you if they can. If there is a class you are interested in most local shop owners will help accommodate your request (within reason of course). Fabrics, rulers, threads, needles, patterns, books, they have it all.

Local shop owners are selecting products not based on a national sales program, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers. Every local shop has its own unique style and personality. These shop owners have made a huge investment in our community, financially and emotionally. Their shops are more than just a place to buy. A sense of community, support, encouragement, and knowledge can all be found at these wonderful shops.

    Support your local quilt shop! Think local! Buy local!

 

 

 

 

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Happy 2016

By Mary Covey

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

After the holidays I am always ready for the fresh start that a new year brings. It is such a great time to evaluate the past year. You can learn from failures and move past them but you can also learn from successes and celebrate them. The new year lets us look forward with enthusiasm to changing old habits and lets us embrace new ideas.

I have numerous ideas for improving my business to make it more efficient, organized, and up to date. I am committed to doing the same high quality work for my customers that I have always tried to do.  But after listening to the requests of so many of my loyal customers and in an effort to better serve you, we will be updating our invoicing process to accept credit/debit cards and PayPal. We will still accept checks but in a slightly different manner. You can learn all about the changes on the Longarm Quilting page or just give me call if you have questions.

I have never been able to operate without the help of a team of people who work behind the scenes – quilt shop owners, wholesalers, teachers, etc. In 2016 my daughter in law will be learning some different aspects of the business while teaching me some much-needed lessons in technology.  My sister-in-law Shirley (who many of you have known for years as the lady who binds your quilts) will be helping in the role of inspecting finished quilts. Shirley Pittinger will continue to provide her expert support managing my website and social media.

I am excited  to be hosting two new groups on Facebook that share nothing but pictures and information about free motion quilting. To keep up on the latest, ask to join one of these groups – Free Motion Quilting or Freedom With Free Motion Longarm Quilting. Because I want to stay current on the latest trends and designs in quilting, I will be involved in numerous training seminars around the country this year with some of the top teachers in the quilting world. I am happy to say that I will also have the opportunity  to teach a few quilting seminars myself.  Teaching “Creativity to Cash” at Jenks  Community Education and taking a business training course from International Association of Creative Arts Professionals are just a few of the other things I will be involved with in the coming months.

There are so many other plans and projects in the works that I am looking forward to sharing with you in the coming weeks and months. If you have tips or ideas you would like to share with me, write me a comment or send me an e-mail so we can learn from each other. I want to thank each of you for all your words of encouragement over this past year.

Best wishes for 2016.

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Defining Success

By Mary Covey

Defining Success

I believe I have been sewing all my life. As a child my grand mother taught me to thread a needle and sew on a button before I was six years old. With lots of trail and error, I taught myself how to use a sewing machine when I was seven. Over the years I worked at improving my skills so that I could make my own clothes.  A master seamstress named Minnie White let me come to her house every Saturday afternoon for a whole summer when I was twelve. She taught me how to measure, fit, and cut a pattern. Her motto was “always try to improve your skills and do your best” (the seam ripper and I became close friends). The suit I made over the course of that summer won a blue ribbon at the state fair.

When I wanted to learn to make a quilt, I took a class at Cotton Patch Fabrics in Tulsa, Oklahoma from Janette Metz, a master quilter. In Janette I saw that same patient spirit and willingness to share her knowledge that I had seen in Minnie. Again I heard the words “do your best” and “always try to improve”. The lessons Minnie and Janette gave became the foundation for all the work I have done since. There are others who have shared their knowledge with me – Betty Terrell, Nancy Mullman, Jane Green, Linda Jenkins, Becki Goldsmith, Ruth Faye, Ellen Medlock, Jane Lewis, Julie Scribner, Larry Black, Nancy Martin, Mary Green, Shirley Pittinger and the list could go on and on. All of these people took the time to share some of their knowledge with me. They are all successful women in my eyes.

Are you a teacher? Do you strive to improve your skills everyday for the benefit of your students?  Do you reach out to each of your students to help them improve? Do you take classes from experts to stay current in your field? Do your students feel like a success when they finish your class?

We have the ability to support and promote others to “do their best”. Kind words of encouragement can make a difference for all of us. We can all be successful if we reach out as often as possible to support and promote our students, friends, and family.

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

Scrappy Star Quilt with floral backing

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Waiting for Perfection

By Mary Covey

When I saw this photo on Pinterest, perfection is the first word that came to mind.  Think about all the things that had to be in place for the photographer to get this amazing shot. The right camera, the right lens, the right location, the right lighting, it all had to be there ready for the big moment to happen. Lots of hard work –  just waiting for perfection. The thought of the “perfect moment” can be so daunting that we do nothing for fear of failing. As a quilter, an author, and business person, I am always thinking of ways to prepare myself for opportunities that might be perfect for me.

bird and frond


I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals that are all preparing me for the opportunities ahead. I work hard to master the skills I have and even harder to master new ones while constantly making adjustments. I have many failures. They make me very grateful for every small success. I urge all of my students and readers to take time to review your goals whatever they may be.  Ask your self  “What are my goals?” “Where do I need to improve my skills?”  “How can I prepare myself for opportunities?” Don’t let the anticipation of the “perfect moment” freeze you in your tracks, let it propel you into action!

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