So you were cleaning out great grandmas attic and you found a quilt.   Several family members remember sleeping under it as kids and would love to have it for their won homes.   Wonderful.   What isn’t so great is the condition of the quilt.   How did she ever let it get this badly damaged??  IMG_7223So you are faced with this problem.   It is just so far gone,  but the pattern is recognizable and there is just enough left to see the fabrics she chose,  possibly from her aprons and house dresses,    possibly bought and traded with her friends for variety.   It looks like no two of these Sunbonnet Sue are the same.   How fun.  You can see the original warm yellow where the seam allowances that were protected for decades are now exposed.   When viewed from the back you can see that she quilted a star pattern in the yellow rectangles,  and in the ditch in the blocks plus a little extra,  and used a diagonal grid in the backgrounds.   Lots of information.  The black embroidery was done by hand and in a couple places is all that is left of the block design.   The applique was not turned under.   So you start seeing Sunbonnet Sue in all sorts of places you didn’t notice before.   None of the ones you see are just exactly like the ones on the quilt.   After a while you come to the conclusion that she must have drawn it herself based on the popular design.     There is one small corner that is a bit better than the rest,  but not enough to salvage a piece for everyone who wants.   And even this needs massive restoration in order to be a usable textile again. IMG_7224So in the end the original is done for.     This is a perfect example of a quilt that deserves to be replicated.    Thanks to the black handwork, tracing the pattern pieces is super easy,    she made it with raw edge,  which means you don’t even need to add seam allowances.    With contemporary fusibles and machines to do the embroidery if desired,  you can remake it.

We are going to do a workshop that will replicate a 3 x 3 segment of this quilt.   It will be two sessions and the materials lists will be on the Showcase page by the end of today.    It is your choice how closely you want to stay within the time period.    Typical alternate colors would have been this classic yellow, a bubblegum pink,  or an apple green.   Sue herself can use any variety of fabrics you choose.   Sizes of large scraps needed for each part are listed with the materials.    Since this original quilt was made Sue has celebrated every holiday you can think of,   had multiple careers,   and been on many adventures,  all by how she is dressed and accessorized.    I do believe she has even been to Quilt Jail for touching the quilts at a quilt show.      Our workshop is on the schedule for August 29, and Sept 5.   10:30 am,   registration fee is $60.00     I will provide the pattern that I have reverse engineered from this quilt.   It makes a commemorative sized wallhanging,  but you can simply make more blocks if you want something bigger.      She is a classic because she is so much fun, and with modern techniques at our fingertips we can really let her be all that she can be.

Tuesday is Crazy Quilt Club,  and next Friday and Saturday I will be closed to take Liz back to College.   Boy did that summer go quickly!!  –  Don’t forget that you only have a little more time to register for the tote bag workshop at he discounted price!!!



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No, not for doomsday.  Although if the deadline is tight it can feel that way.    This post is all about getting your quilt ready to send to a show.   As show season approaches I hope that some of you at least are planning to enter your work in a local show like the Dutchess County Fair,  or the Dutchess Hereitage Quilt Show.    These are shows that are not juried,  the only reason they would turn you down is they ran out of room.    They are also local enough for you to be able to drop off and pick up your quilts in person saving the expense and worry of shipping,   and of course you then get the excitement of seeing your piece hanging in the exhibition.  IMG_1186

I do encourage every quilter to share their work in this way at least once.   Seeing it hanging is a formal situation changes your perspective and many people are pleasantly surprised at how their work compares.   The main reason I think showing is good is that it adds emotional value to our work.    Too many quilters are dismissive of what they make.   Quilts are beautiful works of art that display technical knowledge,  precise skills,  and creativity.     They deserve to be shown.

So you have decided to enter a show and gotten the entry form.    Now read it carefully.   It will have information about drop off and pick up,   hanging sleeve and label directions,   and a place for you to be able to say a few things about your project.   It will also have questions about size, materials, quilting, and age.    I bet you didn’t realize how much there is about your quilt that they need to know.   Some shows will also ask for  a photograph so they can have a visual for identification purposes.    Just take it one bit at a time.   If you have questions, ask them of the committee,  or bring it in to me and I can usually help decipher for you.

Then there is the quilt itself.   All of a sudden the project that you curled up under with popcorn and a movie on the couch needs to get gussied up.   First,  if it is washable, do it.  It helps the batting get fluffed and lets the quilting show.   If needed block it so it hangs straight.   Be sure that your binding is well attached and that the miters on the corners are as good as you can get them.   Sew the miters closed with a few stitches too,  it helps them stay nicer and these days judges look for that.   Be sure that there are no loose threads or pet hairs ( I have to be very careful of that— thank you Jake ),   and follow instructions for hanging sleeve and label exactly.

When you get to the show and see your work hanging,  maybe even with a ribbon,  enjoy the moment.  It is a thrill.  If you feel social and there are people looking at it you can share that you are the quiltmaker.   Those conversations are some of the most enlightening and usually wonderful for the ego too.    Enjoy your moment,  take photos if the show allows.   Bask in the glow.   This is the part of showing work that is addictive.   Celebrate your achievements and share your excitement.  Share the excitement of others who are exhibiting work too,  Save any criticisms, even constructive ones for another day.     Savor it because the show comes down all too fast.      IMG_2358

If anyone needs help with the exhibiting process I am glad to offer assistance.   If you need help to finish something remember that we have work in progress Wednesday. 

Tuesday is a handstitchers Club day,  we are still working on the stamped cross stitch project.    I have a few more squares left so it is still not too late to get in on this project.   See the Club News page for supplies list if needed.

Don’t forget to register for our Five Fab Fats Tote Bag workshop,   $10.00 off registration fee if you get it booked by Labor Day.   The sample you see pictured here was made by a student using that fun Pre Pieced denim.   Great fabric choices don’t you think?


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The post I was going to write for you today can wait till next week,    I need to share a wonderful thing that has been unfolding here at the shoppe.     To tell you I will start over a year ago when a woman came in to take a hand piecing workshop with me.   She did a great job and went on with life.    Hadn’t seen her in quite a while when she came in with two others one younger, one older.    Together they were three generations of women who wanted to work together to make a wallhanging quilt for and about their farm.    So we got started talking about designs right then and there and before they left we had settled on a next meeting date and chosen a basic design and some fabrics.    They have come back several more times and were here this morning to learn some basic embroidery so that the picture blocks can get colored and stitched.     It is a truly amazing project.


inspiration for coloring and stitching

I am so enjoying watching them make choices at each step, from fabrics printed with particular animals, plants, and objects of significance to fussy cut,  to choosing photographs to trace for embroidery and coloring,  there is meaning in every single bit of this for them.    Even the tree next to the barn that was the setting for a wedding.   It is reminding me of why I love this industry.   There are few things that put so much significance into tangible form across generations quite like a quilt.     I promise that when it is finished I will share some photos of our family of quilters and their project.  I am just feeling all warm and fuzzy about it and needed to tell you all.   I hope it inspires you to share your projects,  the process, and possibly work together across generations at least once.    In this digital world, we could all benefit from this kind of sharing. Alaska

Tomorrow we have our Block of the Month meeting,  we will be doing the last of the blocks.    If you have fallen behind due to summer and/or just life in general I want to encourage you to come to Work in Progress Wednesday to try to catch up.   In September we will have our final meeting and discuss assembly,  optional border choices,  and quilting.

Next Saturday August 10 is Chair Yoga for stitchers,  at one o’clock.    Please do call and let me know if you are planning to attend.   Last month it was dangerously hot and many decided to stay home, so if you are planning on attending please confirm.    Having a seat count ahead of time means I know if I need to take down tables or not.

Have a great day


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Challenging but Fun

I have been watching the daily  videos from the Dairy Barn, featuring the artists in Quilt National this year,   and after the first few I was struck with how many times two words showed up.    The words were  Fun,  and Challenge.    After some thought I realized that most creative people approach a challenge with a sense that it will be fun.    But a challenge can be — well,  challenging.   The is to find a challenge that is just a bit outside of your normal.   Baby steps.      The artists that make it in to Quilt National generally are good at setting their own challenge parameters.    You hear them say,  I wanted to challenge myself by …     and then they say something technical,  but more likely something with color,  design,  or conveying a message.     This is actually what makes a challenge fun.   New things,  new fabrics,  new designs,  not always a challenging technique.

You too can think like an artist in this way.   Take a technique or pattern you are good at and try something new with it.    For example,   the log cabin block.   Most quilters have made it at one time or another.   What happens when you use logs that have different widths?    Or what if you do it the same way you usually do,  but only use leftovers from other projects?   or what if you try the courthouse steps variation?   We have pre printed muslin foundations for that if you are interested.   What if you use it as an alternate block for something else?    Or what if you try the Pineapple variation?   We have a class on demand for the pineapple block,  it’s one of my favorites.


Part way between log cabin and pineapple – and improvisational


Don’t like log cabins??  Prefer embroidery for the summer?   Then take a stitch you know well and a piece of fabric,  and see how many ways you can vary the stitch.    Longer, shorter,  wide,   different threads,   different scale,  even something as simple as a running stitch has hundreds of ways to vary it.   I could do a whole course on embroidery with running stitch and nothing else.     It is the basis for sashiko,  Kantha, Boro,  Blackwork,  and traditional hand piecing and quilting to name a few.


Crazy Quilters are great at stitch variations

Lastly I want to remind you that the Five Fab Fats workshop special is still going on.   If you register to have class scheduled now through labor day you can take $10.00 off the regular fee.    With more and more places going plastic bag free,   don’t you need a tote that you can make in multiples and wash when needed anIMG_0920d keep in your car?   This one is very easy to customize too.    The one you see here was a gift to a dog lover.   Pockets went inside shaped for dog treats,  an umbrella,  and poop bags.   Now she and her pup can go places together more easily because she has everything she needs for Colby ready to go.

Call 845 758 8541 to register.

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It’s in the Bag

several apples beside bread pack and brown paper bag

Photo by Lisa Fotios on

Dutchess and Ulster counties are separated by the Husdon River.   Kingston is in Ulster, but may residents of Dutchess, particularly from Red Hook and Rhinebeck cross the river and shop in Kingston.    Just this Monday Ulster County began a new set of regulations that ban single use plastic bags,  and if you want a paper one you need to pay for it.   This is probably a great step for the environment,  but at least for a while there will be lots of people forgetting their bags and buying paper ones.    To help with this situation,  I would like to suggest that you take our Five Fab Fats tote bag workshop.   This is a large, easy to make, endlessly customizable tote bag that works great as a market bag.   I know that if you are reading this you have a few extra fat quarters lying around,  and if not we have a variety available for you to choose from.

I love this project so much that I have decided to offer a discount on the registration fee if you schedule your class to run any time between now and Labor Day.    Class is usually $40.00 per person,  but for the duration of this special it is only $30.00    That savings can almost buy you enough fabric for an extra tote!!   Make one for yourself and one for a friend,  or even better, take the workshop with a friend for even more fun!!   There isn’t a person out there who couldn’t use a nice tote bag,  and the more you have the more likely it is that you have one or more in the car when you need them.     Call to schedule (845) 758-8541  IMG_2581

We also have a relaxation process that everyone could use,  Chair Yoga!!  Jake doesn’t quite have it down pat yet, but he IS in a chair.  For us people, our first session was wonderful and we are now doing it monthly.    Tomorrow is the day,  one in the afternoon,  in our air conditioning!!   Please join us,  your muscles and joints will thank you,  and I promise that you will feel good for the whole rest of the day, and maybe the week.    I might even bring my guitar for a little live music post exercise.    

Stay cool and keep stitching!!

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Know the source

I have been thinking about the internet lately.    It can be an endlessly numbing series of political rants and cute animal videos,  or it can be a wonderful source of real information on any subject you want to know about.    I have found hundreds of wonderful pieces of sheet music for free or low cost.    I have found the DIY for the tropical vivarium I am setting up to house some rainforest frogs,   and I have found several excellent quilt related sites that I want to be sure you all know about.      The first is the home of Quilt National,  for the last 40 years the best of the best in the art side of quilting.   Their website is     They also post regularly to their Facebook page,  including recently several artist interviews with exhibitors in this years Quilt National.      Time well spent to view.

Another site that I highly recommend for your viewing pleasure,  and one of the best resources for the history of quiltmaking is the International Quilt Museum.   They are the public face of the largest quilt collection in the States.   For the last week or so they have been sharing photos and a couple of videos of crazy quilts, and their predecessors.    They also maintain an index that is searchable by category of the collection,  for browsing and scholarly research.     or International Quilt Museum/Facebook.     While I am thinking of Crazy Quilts,  the meeting is this Tuesday, the new time for our club. Rocky Road

My thinking when it comes to using the internet for information is that going to primary sources is key.   And when You tube confuses you come see me.   I can help you sort out all the useless stuff and get that project going.    I am also happy to share that Chair Yoga for stitchers (and anyone stiff from too much web surfing ) will meet again on Saturday at one.   Please let me know you are attending.   Bring your friends too,   nothing beats in person contact.

Oh and my daughter did use the internet for her first blueberry pie.   It was delicious. IMG_2497

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With the day off yesterday I nearly forgot to post his morning.    Hope everyone is keeping cool.    So lately I have been thinking about independence,  and what it means in different contexts.   For some it may mean not being in a relationship,  for some it means no longer living with Mom and Dad,  for some it is political,  and for me it means being my own boss.     Many of us in a creative field feel this way,  and it is more important than ever than we independently owned businesses help each other out,  and that you the consumer helps by supporting us.    Yes I love when you come in and shop,  but take a class,  tell your friend (in person or on social media) that you like us,   and let us know when you like what we are doing.       It means a great deal and can actually make the difference between prospering and failing for some.

blur bokeh bright burnt

Photo by john paul tyrone fernandez on

With this in mind I am updating my lists of related services available locally.     If you provide a quilt and sewing related service as your business and would like to be included in my references please contact me and share business cards, website and phone numbers, plus anything else that would help me direct the right customer to the right service provider.    Seamstress,  Home decorating specialist, longarm services,  mending clothing,   and even if you are willing to make or help with T shirt Quilts.        These are all things I get asked about regularly.    I want to develop a good sized list of independent workers so that we all can support each other and thrive.      Even if you think I already have your info,  now is a good time to update and be sure that what I have is current.   If I get a good list together I may even post it on this website.    sewingworks150

Next week is a busy one,   Tuesday is a Club day,  with handstitchers and stumpwork.    Then Work in Progress Wednesday is called off for this week because it is Art Camp week,  Wednesday begins the Art Doll Class,  and it will run the rest of the week.   There is plenty of room yet,  and Wednesday will begin with the making of the dolls head,   It informs so much of the rest of the character that it is the best starting point.    Bring your colored pencils or other media and lets have some fun !!    Details are on the Summer showcase page.   It’s not too late to sign up.

Oh and yes the Block of the month meets tomorrow morning.     See you then!!

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