Let there be…darkness?

So stitchers almost always want there to be more light.   Good lighting can make stitching so much easier.   Daylight (or daylight bulbs) can help us to see colors more accurately,  make it easier to thread needles,  and is essential when you need to hand sew down a black binding edge on a black background.   I know you can all relate.      We spend lots of time and money on the right lighting.

However much we need the light,  our precious quilts, and even fabrics and threads are damaged by it every minute they are exposed.     The damage is cumulative, and happens gradually so very often we don’t see it until it is too late.  IMG_2956   Recently I had a friend and customer give up on a UFO that was only about a dozen years old because it had been stored folded and the edge had been exposed to light from the basement studio window.   The folded fabrics that were to be used with it got damaged too,  and so the entire project has been scrapped.   I took some photos, and the loss of the amount of hours to draw the original pattern and all the hand applique that had been done breaks my heart.    IMG_2957

An easy way to protect your fabrics and threads is to store them in covered containers, or inside closets with doors that are closed most of the time.    If you have open shelves,  cover them with a dense white cloth.    The finished quilts should be rotated if possible and even better changed out seasonally.   When not in use storage in clean washed pillowcases in a closet is ideal.    It can make a big difference in longevity.

Yesterday four lovely antiques came in.  They have been stored away probably since sometime in the 1970’s and the contrast between the project above and these quilts properly stored is amazing.    These are only preliminary photos but each one of these is at least a hundred years old.  They  appear to have been made by the same hand,  with a quilting career spanning a few decades.   They currently belong to the Embroiderer’s Guild,   and they were brought to me for help with finding them the right home.    If you are interested please come see them in person.

This Tuesday, the Crazy Quilt Club will meet for the first time this year.   Lets hope that any weekend snow is cleared away and our parking lot is ice free.    I will soon be posting details for the “Smarties” quilt class,  a new class called Starry Night using Paula Nadlestern’s Snowflake line  and info on the next Block of the Month.    2020 is going to be an excellent year even if it feels like it got off to a slow start.

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This word, reusable,  is one I think we will be hearing often.   For a long time recyclable was the catch word that every product and package had to encourage you to purchase.   Recycling has been getting trashed more and more often.  We are heariIMG_0920ng about how much that we think is being recycled just isn’t.   So instead of sticking it in the recycle bin how about items that are reusable?    This trend is starting to show in more and more counties and even states that are outlawing single use grocery type bags.   We have an easy quick and customizable fabric tote bag workshop for the grocery type bags.  It’s called Fab Fab Tote,  ( short for Fabulous Fabric Tote )  and we even have a couple nice canvas prints in stock if you need something super strong.    Call to make an appointment for this workshop, details are on the workshops page.


Honestly, I think that the semi clear produce bags are worse for the environment than the plastic grocery bags.   These annoying things are too thin to reuse, and collect up much faster than the handled bags.   The produce ones are not big enough to line any waste basket and there are very few places that use them that have a recycle receptacle for them.   You do know that you can’t put plastic bags in the recycle bin,  they need to be recycled in using different technology than your regular household stuff.    With some produce it is fine to go without a bag,  but this is not true of everything, and I have a IMG_2936solution for you.    We carry a nonwoven polyester product called Spunbond that comes with a pattern for a great reusable and breathable set of three produce bags.   We also have in stock satin cord that simply glides through the drawstring.    They were super easy to make and I will be trying them out at the grocery this weekend.  This product has some advantages over muslin bags,  first it doesn’t fray so construction is beyond quick,  second is it’s strength,  I have tried to rip it and been unsuccessful.      These bags will even hold all your potatoes!!    And third, it is breathable, allowing some air circulation without moisture loss.   And although you can paint stencil or embroider muslin too, this is white making your colors clearer.   You know I will be playing with that.   

Keep watching for some exciting things coming,  more new goodies and classes and programs for 2020.   All will be revealed soon.


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Outside the Lines

Introducing a new feature,  Outside the Lines.   At the beginning of each month I will be posting photos of a selection of fabrics that go well together that are not all from the same fabric line.    I have noticed that since the dawn of the precut and jellyroll many quilters are making quilts using only fabrics from the package.  While these quilts are guaranteed to match,  they often match so well that they lose some sparkle.   A walk around your local quilt show and you can easily pick out the ones that are just that bit too homogenous.       I want to help you have some more color confidence and showcase our fabrics at the same time.    So for the first post of each month I will put together a fabric collection that goes outside the lines.   It will be photographed and posted with a project or two that it would be suited to.    If you decide to make one of the projects and get all your fabrics and book or pattern from us and let us post a photo within that month we will give you a free spool of Mettler silk finish thread.   Your choice of color.

Our first installment of Outside the lines is based on a Valentine’s Fabric by Benartex.   You may have seen the Boxers we made from it.  but I have several nice fabrics that coordinate and two patterns with hearts that work beautifully with them.     We know that when the holiday decorations come down everything looks plain and a new Valentine’s project for the table or wall can help keep us happy till Spring.


Outside the Lines Jan-2020



One other reminder that Tuesday is our Hand stitchers club meeting.  We are working on UFO’s .  See you then.

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Happy Holidays


Jake and I hope you had a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Blessed Solstice.    Celebrations this time of year have many names,  and no matter what they are called I hope yours are full of love, light, and those you care about.    As you can see, Jake made himself very comfy under our Tree,  on the quilted tree skirt.

Here at the shoppe we are getting some exIMG_2874citing projects and plans ready for the new year.    I am done the quilt top for a new design that I will kit and run as a skillbuilder,  it’s called “Smarties”  – Yes like the kids candy so now you know the color scheme.     I have had a ball working on it and I can’t wait to get it totally finished and share with you.     This fun candy inspired project has no sugar or calories.   How many things in the holiday season can you say that about??




Next week for New Years we will be closed on New Years Eve, and New Years Day.   Normal Hours will Resume on Thursday, January 2, 2020.     Be safe and happy and Lets make 2020 a great year.

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Holiday hours and a Finished project

The longest nights are upon us.  Good thing this is also the season of twinkling lights, and glowing candles.     There is a quiet comfort in staying in and curling up under a comfy quilt,  or sharing time with family and friends and some good food.   I will be travelling to my family for Christmas and so we will close at 3 on the 24th,  and re open for regular business on the 27th.    If you are still in need of a gift or two,  We can write out gift certificates for any of our classes on demand.      If you take the workshop with your dear one it is not only a gift for that day, but a shared experience and keepsake project that will bring happy memories for many years.

I wanted also to share with you the before and after of a project I have finished working. on.   This lovely dresden plate quilt came in with a single spot of damage.    She acted quickly and brought it to me right away and I was able to find a suitable fabric and make the repair in a comparative blink of the eye.    But it wont be here in the shoppe

for long so I got some photos of the interesting points to share with you.     It is quilted simply with large parallel chevrons,  and those lines are crossed in the borders creating diamonds.     It also has a very well done knife edge.   You don’t see this very often because it is quite fussy to do and a binding is actually a more secure finish.    The knife edge is sometimes chosen to eliminate the bulk at the edge that a binding would cause,   for aesthetic means,   or on a reversible wholecloth in the Welsh tradition.


Don’t forget that the gift bag promotion is still on,   purchase any fat quarter and get a yard of ribbon and instructions for the fabric gift bag.   Through Dec 24.     Hope you all have a Peaceful Holiday.

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Gift Wrapping in the Bag.

There is alot of talk this season about how much paper waste gift giving produces.    Gift boxes,  bags, tape, ribbons, and of course all the packing and packaging material.  Not much of it is actually recycled.     But we still want to give festive looking gifts.    For my friends who sew or stitch I have long used fabric as gift wrap,  with Blue painters tape or satin ribbons to hold it all in place.     But what of the gift recipients who don’t sew?   I have the solution,  re usable fabric gift bags.   These lovely bags are made from fat IMG_2873quarters and a bit of ribbon.   The Chevron fabric is so festive and cheerful!!     This size of bag easily holds clothing items,  tins of cookies,  a bottle of cheer,   and yes even books slide right in and wrapping is done in a flash.    I made five of these in a bit over an hour, even with the french seams to hide all raw edges.     You can be sure that I am making more and doing all my wrapping this way from now on.      If I play my cards right I will get them all back next year to re use for years to come.    I completely love this.

So to help you get this going in your home,   if you come in and buy a fat quarter or several,  I will give you the instructions for this projeIMG_2871ct,  and a yard of thin satin ribbon so you can try it out for yourself.    ( up to 5 yards of ribbon per person!!)      The offer is good through Christmas and applies to pre cut fat quarters only.  IMG_2872








If you prefer to learn to make these bags with a bit of in person instruction come to Work in Progress Wednesday on the 18th and we will do some together!!


Remember that daily quilting or stitching can help keep the joy of the holiday season from being overwhelming!!    We are here to help you.


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Color of the Year

So Pantone has announced it’s color of the year.   If you are not aware of this annual event,  it is supposed to be the touchstone of color trends in the decorating and design worlds for the coming year.   This year it is an indigo based medium/dark blue.    According to Pantone,  it is supposed to evoke calm in a troubled world.   It’s about time something tried to help keep things calm instead of stirring things up.   Here’s a link to their website if you would like to know more about the color and the reasons behind this choice.    Please do remember that everyone’s computer monitor may show color slightly differently,  but it will be close enough to get the feel.


AlaskaI like this choice because it is comfortable and familiar.  The darkest of the blues in Alaska, the BOM from this year is the first fabric that jumps to mind,  but there are plenty of great blues,  in batik or reproduction or anywhere in between that are in stock.   I even have two finished quilts for sale that use the color of the year.   One is a large lap size with prairie points made in reproductions,  and the other is a twin size tied comforter with custom embellishments.    See the details shot below.   Both are going for $120.00   and yes there is a bit of that lovely blue shot cotton left in stock.


detail, snowblossoms twin sized tied comforter for sale.

This Tuesday is Handstitcher’s and Stumpwork Club meetings.   Handstitichers will be working on UFO’s and Stumpwork will be either working UFOs or beginning with Gracie the fish.    See the club page for details on Gracie.    As a hopefully unneeded reminder, if Red Hook Schools are closed or delayed we will postpone.   As there is no Crazy Quilt Club in December we can simply meet the following Tuesday.

Stay safe and Warm and Keep stitching!!


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