Doors Open

 

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We’ve missed your smiling faces!  But while we haven’t been able to see you in the store, you’ve kept us very busy these past few months with curbside pickup and mail orders.  It’s been a real team effort of the staff to operate with the changes, and your support, patience, and encouragement have been greatly appreciated!

Thankfully, the active COVID-19 virus infection rate has decreased and stayed at lower levels for a month now.  Therefore, we feel comfortable opening our doors to walk-in customers.  Being mindful of the need to maintain distancing and for the health and safety of our staff and customers, we are instituting some operating procedures:

  • Just knock or phone when you arrive.  We will unlock the door for you.
  • There is a limit of 5 people in the store at a time on a first-come, first-served basis.  No appointments.  If more than 5 people are present, you will need to wait outside for entrance.  Please bring patience with you, and if you forgot it at home, please come back another day with it.  Keep in mind, that we are always busier in the am than the pm, so later in the afternoon may be a better time.
  • As there are limits on the number of people in the store, I kindly ask that you bring only yourself to shop.  Family members may want to catch an ice cream at Village Ice Cream in nearby Britannia (no, I am not affiliated, even though I wear salted caramel on my hips).
  • It is vital that staff and customers are able to work and shop in as safe an environment as possible.  Therefore, you must not enter the store if you answer “yes” to any of the health and exposure screening questions we will have posted at the entrance table.
  • When you enter, you must liberally apply hand sanitizer before proceeding into the store – even if you are wearing gloves.  We also have hand sanitizer stationed at the payment machine.  I bought the industrial tub; it’s mostly alcohol, so live it up and use it.
  • Masks must be worn covering your face during your entire visit.  If you do not have a mask, we will gladly provide you with one for $1 each (to be added to your chit).
  • Your personal items and bags must be kept on designated tables only (including fabrics and quilts) and not moved into the store or placed on our cutting tables.  Fabrics can then be taken to your items on the table – without allowing them to touch.
  • Please keep 6 feet away from other customers and staff when possible.  We have marked your standing point/distance when having items cut at the 3 open cutting tables.
  • Payment must be made with debit or credit cards.
  • Our operating hours never changed, and we remain open 7 days per week:
    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday:  10 am – 5 pm
    Thursday:  10 am – 7 pm
    Saturday and Sunday:  10 am – 4 pm

Many of you love curbside pickup and mail order, and we are happy to continue to provide these services to you.

Opening with limited customers is new way of doing business for us, and we may make improvements as we experience this new phase.  Let’s see how this works!

We look forward to seeing you,
Linda Goh

Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
403-253-4419
1-877-745-6445
alongcamequilting.com

Photo by Magda Zych from FreeImages

Local Customers: How to Shop with Us and Other Good Things to Know

Yesterday’s post struck a chord, and I would like to thank you for your emails and replies.  Again, your support is very much appreciated, and I will be sure to print off your supportive messages for the staff to read.

There are a few things I would like to clarify regarding our current business practices which may help you with your shopping!

Inquiries & Orders:  While you can place your order through our online store, sometimes you need a little more personal assistance.  This is where inquiries can be made by phone at 403-253-4419 (local) or 1-877-745-6445 (toll-free), or by email to askus@alongcamequilting.com.  When you email us, please provide a phone number that we can reach you at and attach any relevant photos.  (Please don’t embed your photos in the email as they often cannot fully print out on our printer.)  Your email and pictures will get printed and put in the queue.  Phone inquiries will as well be added to the queue.  Which brings us to the fact …

Everyone has taken up sewing (as well they should!), and we are experiencing a high volume of orders and inquiries for assistance.  Please understand that we work on them in chronological order.  Asking us to jump you ahead in the queue is not fair to all the customers before you who have been patiently waiting their turn and may have also requested the same item.

There is a 2-stage process we follow:  fulfillment and processing.  First the order must be pulled, cut, and checked (fulfillment).  Often at this time, we will call you if we have questions.  If you had an inquiry for assistance this is where we will also call you.  Afterwards, online orders must go to the office for payment processing and final paperwork.  Online orders will receive an email and a phone call when the order is ready for pick up.  Please wait to hear from us before you come to the store.

We are currently running 24-36 hours from the time the order or inquiry is placed to the finalization of the process.

Window Shopping:  If you would like to “window shop” to best determine your choices, please put your inquiry in with us either via phone or email to askus@alongcamequilting.com.  If you email, please attach any relevant photos to the email, and provide a phone number that we can reach you at.  When your turn comes up in the queue, a staff member will call and discuss with you what you are looking for.  You can then make an appointment with that staff member and they will show you the items either through the window or just outside the door maintaining social distance.  I’m sorry, but we cannot allow any touching of the fabric/items.

Curbside Pickup:  When you arrive in the parking lot (no need to call ahead) to pick up your order, please call the store, and we will place it on a blue bin we have situated outside.  This way we are not touching your car door handles, and you are then not touching the handles we touched.  Less contact!  Of course, if you desire, we can also mail your order.  Information on shipping can be found on our online store page here.

Store Hours:  We are operating the same 7-days per week with the same hours.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday:  10 am -5 pm; Thursday:  10 am – 7 pm; Saturday and Sunday:  10 am – 4 pm.

Special Orders:  Yes, we are still taking orders for items not in stock, such as books and notions – just like we always have.  When the item arrives, we will call you and collect your payment over the phone.  You can then do a curbside pick up at your convenience.  We will no longer hold items in our cupboard without payment until you come by.  There are a few items that we require a non-refundable deposit on before we order.

To avoid the naughty list, please do not order items and then change your mind when they arrive, leaving us with an item that cannot be returned or easily sold.

What’s New/Hot/Happening:  We have been posting videos and pictures on Facebook and Instagram to try to keep you abreast of the latest inspiration in the store   You need not be a member of Facebook to watch – just look for the small type that lets you bypass the sign-in.

Classes and Clubs:  All classes and clubs have been cancelled, and students have been issued refunds.  I felt it was the ethical decision for our customers to have their money; many may find the money more needed than a promise of a class.  When we can once again offer classes safely, we will contact everyone for re-enrollment.

Elastic:  Yes Virginia, it exists!  We have ¼” white elastic in stock for 85 cents/m.

Gift Certificates:  Our gift certificates are a physical piece of paper.  They are not linked electronically to a POS system like a gift card.  Therefore, they cannot be redeemed without being in our possession.  Nor do they work on our online ordering system.

I know you may be one of the lucky ducks who has a gift certificate and would like to use it.  You can do so, with a little pre-planning and by following and understanding these steps:

  • Write your cell phone number and name on the card.  Don’t forget!!  This is critical.
  • Pop the gift certificate through the mail slot beside our door with a list of the items you would like to purchase.  If you have any questions or want help, please indicate this on your list/note.
  • The gift certificate and order form must go through our 24-hour decontamination period (time-out).
  • After time-out, we will add your order to our queue.
  • When your turn comes up, we will pull your order, and then call you and confirm that we have what you want and to collect any outstanding payment.  We are not accepting cash, so the outstanding balance after gift certificate redemption will need to be paid with a credit card over the phone.  Please note, it cannot be a Visa or Mastercard debit card, a PayPal payment, an e-transfer, a cheque, or a money order.  Only credit cards will work (including re-loadable/prepaid).
  • If there is still a balance left on your gift certificate, we will return it with your order.
  • Please note that gift certificates cannot be redeemed through the online store.

I hope you have been able over the past couple of months to enjoy a little solace and to plow through some of your unfinished projects.  How wonderful that during a world-wide crisis, the sewing and quilting community can still find fulfillment and happiness in their hobby.  The silver lining in every cloud must be made of fabric!

Wishing you a wonderful day,
Linda Goh
Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
alongcamequilting.com
403-253-4419, 1-877-745-6445

In-Store Shopping

To our Customers:

The past 2 months have been a blurry whirlwind as we altered our processes to fit the new business model during this outbreak of COVID-19.  I want to thank you for your support and kindness shown to the staff during this time.  Your emails, phone calls, notes, and cards have been uplifting.  They simultaneously bring us joy and relief, keeping our spirits and energy high.  Your patronage has allowed the store to continue to operate, pay the bills and taxes, and employ staff.  We are truly fortunate to have such loyal and supportive customers.

This past week, with the Stage 1 relaunch of Alberta businesses, we have been fielding your questions on our plans.  My CliffsNotes are:  We have no plans in the near future to reopen for in-store shopping.  Please read on for the unabbreviated version.

The following is a summation of the issues and reasoning:

Priority One is Staff Safety:  Avoiding contact with customers reduces exposure to our staff of the COVID-19 virus.

As of yesterday, there were 639 active cases in the Calgary zone.  On March 21st – the day before we closed to walk-in customers – there was a total of 226 in the province.  While the curve may have been flattened, the risk has not been reduced to levels I am comfortable with.  Many of our staff or family members have pre-existing conditions that make them more susceptible to developing severe illness should they contract the virus.

Further, should one of our staff contract the virus, we would need to close the store down completely while staff quarantine.  The store would not even be able to provide curb-side pickup or mail order.

Staffing:  I have discussed with the staff the various issues and scenarios, and we all are on the same page with not reopening for in-store shopping at this time.  Further, I am confident I will lose staff if we did reopen.

The 6-Foot Rule/Mask Wearing:  Patrons and staff would need to stay 6 feet away from each other or wear masks if there is closer contact.  How do you enforce this?  If you have been to a grocery store, you know that not everyone is following these guidelines.

Limit of no more than 15 people:  We would need to regulate the number of customers entering.

Disinfection of Fabric:  We all like to touch the fabric, right?  But as fabric cannot be disinfected, every piece handled by customers should be put aside for a 24-hour decontamination period.  Can you see everyone keeping their hands behind their back?

Disinfection of Other Goods/Surfaces:  With the constant disinfection of the store surfaces, washroom, and the items customers handle; and monitoring the fabric touching and required decontamination period, we would require a full-time staff member for this job alone.

Screening:  The Alberta government’s Workplace Guidance for Business Owners states that employers should consider screening patrons for symptoms.  Patrons with any symptoms would need to be told to return home.  I fear customers may feel that not only their privacy has been infringed upon, but they would leave feeling that our relationship has turned judgmental and non-trusting.

As you might surmise by now, allowing in-store shopping at this time would still not be the same experience we all long for from pre-COVID-19 days.  I know how disappointing this is for all of you, and I truly am sorry that I cannot wave our cares away and return to the “old-fashioned” way of shopping.  While other businesses have made the decision to now welcome walk-in business, I hope I have explained our reasoning, and that you will respect it, even if you don’t agree.

Linda Goh
P.S., If understanding businesses and their challenges at this time is of interest, here is a very interesting post by Prairie Dog Brewing as to their mindset on this same topic.

Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
alongcamequilting.com
403-253-4419, 1-877-745-6445

Redesigned by Quiltworx

This year, Judy and Judel came up to Heritage Park for the special display of Quiltworx quilts.  They also put on a display of their own of their Red and White quilts, many of which are featured in their Redesigned:  In Red, White & Black book.  Following the show, they very kindly lent us the quilts, which we hung in the store for the following 5 weeks.  It was a stunning display, but in case you live away or weren’t able to see them at the park or in the store, below are some pictures:

(Click on each image for a larger, crisper picture.)

Thanks again to Judith and Judel for coming up for the Festival of Quilts and for allowing us to share with you their beautiful creations!

And by the way, we offer a Niemeyer club at our store on Saturday evenings.  If you would like more information on this, please see our class and club listings.

Linda Goh
Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
403-253-4419 or toll-free 1-877-745-6445
http://www.alongcamequilting.com

With a Touch of Holland

Ria Timmermans is a customer of ours from Holland.  She stays in touch with our store regularly, either by visiting or emailing with us.  When she isn’t in Canada for a visit, her sister-in-law, Riet, comes in and picks up what she needs.   Riet lives here in Calgary.

This year, both couples are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries.  For the occasion, Ria made Riet a gift using our All Around Canada pattern (our winning Trans-Canada Block Party design) and the Northcott Canadian Sesquicentennial fabrics.  But she changed it up a bit, and added “A Touche of Holland”.

All Around Canada

(Click on images for larger, crisper image.)

I think she did a lovely job, and made a unique celebration of their anniversaries and their joint friendships and heritage.

Bravo Ria for such a lovely wall hanging.  We look forward to Riet bringing it in for a personal viewing after the party!

Linda Goh
Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
403-253-4419
1-877-745-6445
http://www.alongcamequilting.com

New Class Schedule – February – September

There are still the Sewcials to add, as well as a few more classes to work out, but the bones of our February – September schedule is laid out, and we are ready to take registrations.

You can always check out the latest on our website at:  https://www.alongcamequilting.com/classes.aspx

Linda Goh
Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6

403-253-4419
1-877-745-6445

http://www.alongcamequilting.com

What a Winner!

Customer Josée Element came into the store a couple of weeks ago with a big surprise!  But before I reveal it to you, I want you to know the background.  So here we go!

2015 was the first year our store participated in the Row by Row Experience.  A mere eight days into the contest,  Josée  brought in her finished quilt and was awarded a 25-piece fat quarter bundle of Northcott’s Artisan Spirit Sandscape fabrics.  Below is the picture of happy Josée (on the right) and her quilt.

Along came 2016, and Josée finished her Row by Row quilt again in record time to win a fat quarter bundle from Quilt Thyme in Kingston. (Sorry, I don’t have a picture).

In November that year, Northcott held a challenge using the Artisan Spirit Sandscape fabrics.  Not one to sit around waiting for next June’s Row by Row, Josée put on her creative cap, and came up as a winner.

You can view all the winners of this challenge here on Northcott’s Facebook page.

2017’s Row by Row came along at our store, and 6 days into it, Josée came in with her finished quilt to capture another 25-piece fat quarter bundle of batiks.

So what is she up to now?  Well four wins in (that I know of), and Josée comes by to share with us the card of fabrics that she and Debra Edwards have designed for Northcott based on her winning Sandscapes challenge entry!  And so cool that her entry was made with the bundle we presented to her in 2015!  How’s that for multiplying your wins!

Here is another view of these fabrics which are shipping to stores in March/April 2018.

Way to go Josée!  We are so pumped and excited for you,  love your enthusiasm, and appreciate how you are always up for a challenge.

PS:  I know you want to see the details.  So click on the pictures for larger, crisper views.

Linda Goh
I’m the Bossy One
Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
Toll-Free:  1-877-745-6445; Local:  403-253-4419
www.alongcamequilting.com

 

Farm Girl Vintage Sandy Style

At the last Quilts of Valour meeting here at the store, Sandy C. brought in her Farm Girl Vintage quilt to show. Each block is 6″ square, and she sashed it with the background of white, and added colour cornerstones.

Click for larger, crisper image.

Sandy started off with one of the fabric rolls we sell that give you a great selection of small, bright mini prints. Each roll has 25 different fat eighth fabric pieces measuring approximately 10″ x 21″ in a range of colours from yellow, orange, red, pinks, green, brown, teals, and blues. The price per roll is $62.99.

The white background can be scrappy as well, and a 13-piece fat eighth bundle of tone-on-tone whites will get you well on your way to constructing over 40 6″ blocks. This bundle is $32.99.

Once outfitted with the book and some bundles, Sandy was off to the sewing machine. Besides using the Farm Girl Vintage book by Lori Holt, she found some more fun blocks in the “Spelling Bee”. While most of the blocks in the “Spelling Bee” are the alphabet, numerals, and punctuation, there are also other blocks such as the sewing machine, dog, typewriter, and camera. Both books are chock-a-block filled with multiple quilt designs and variations. Coming in at over 140 (Farm Girl Vintage) and 190 (Spelling Bee) pages, Lori provides multiple block sizes and full diagrams for piecing each block. Thankfully, both books are spiral-bound!

 

Sandy loved making the blocks, and so far, has made 3 quilts.  Some customers make fewer blocks and do up lovely baby quilts.  In our store, we have a full-size hanging top, as well as a small baby or wall hanging size.

Sandy got creative with her choice of fabrics for each block. Check out who is living in Sandy’s barn, and the words of wisdom on the typewriter. We can see she had a lot of fun!

And she didn’t stop there, she quilted (yes, she does her own quilting) with a very swirly all over design that looked great.

On a side note, if anyone wants to join Sandy at the Quilts of Valour charity group here at the store, they meet at 10:30 am to 4 pm on the 1st Tuesday of the month. More information can be found here.

Happy Sewing!
Linda Goh

Along Came Quilting
6432-1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
Toll-free:  1-877-745-6445, Local:  403-253-4419
www.alongcamequilting.com

Worry-Free Browsing

Ok, this is not super exciting, no quilts are involved, and there aren’t any pretty pictures. But it is important work that I thought our customers should be aware of.

One of my many hats that I wear includes website work. A few months ago we migrated to a new website. A slightly different look with a few new features. And we’ve always had a secure shopping cart system on our website for customers to use without worrying about submitting their personal information when placing an order. But now, after a few magic days in front of the computer, our entire website is “https”. The “S” at the end of the “http” stands for “secure”, and it means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. It is now safer and more secure, even when you are just browsing. When you are using the internet browsers Microsoft Edge or Chrome, you will see the lock or green lock respectively.

So that’s it. Nothing flashy. But better for you.

Want to check it out?

Linda Goh
Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB T2H 0G6
http://www.alongcamequilting.com
Toll-Free: 1-877-745-6445
Local: 403-253-4419

Colours, No Maps

Without a study done, I’d still bet that 80% of us can vividly recall the smell of new pencils sharpened for school.  The musky notes of the ground wood was heightened if you used a mounted sharpener, or better yet, an electric one.  That smell intermingled with the joy of a new red boxed package of Laurentien pencils.  The box was always the preference over a folded transparent plastic case as it held a larger number, and therefore, variety, of colours.  I would study each one, and try to pick my favorites, for they would be used the most frequently to colour in those dreaded maps.  For while I loved the colours, I hated colouring maps.  It’s always been about the colours for me, an obsession that continues to this day.  As does my lack of geographical knowledge.

Fortuitously, at our store, we sell fabrics of all colours, and there are no maps in sight.  To guide you through your quilting journeys, learning new techniques or patterns, we’ll teach you in our classes.  No maps are needed, with lots of colours to choose.  Sounds like the best kind of school to me.

Pick your favorite colour, or pick your favorite class.  We look forward to helping you this fall.

Linda
http://www.alongcamequilting.com
Along Came Quilting
6432 – 1A Street SW
Calgary, AB  T2H 0G6
403-253-4419
Toll-Free:  1-877-745-6445