Take a minute.

This time of year can be very stressful.     There is pressure from all sides and all matter of media to have that picture perfect holiday celebration,  with a giant bow on the new car you are giving to your husband or teenager,   the perfect diamond jewelry for your Mom or special lady,  and a pile of toys wrapped up for the kids that is taller than they are,  and of course the hundreds of holiday foods and treats that we know we shouldn’t be eating  ( at least in the amounts they are present )      It is hard to tune all of this out and appreciate the things that we should truly be thankful for.

Many times I don’t even realize that the Holiday Crazies have taken hold of me,  and my husband or daughter lovingly ( ?? ) points it out.    This is when I know for sure that I need to take a few minutes for myself to just do something that makes me happy, feels productive and helps me breathe more calmly.     Hand stitching is often the perfect thing.    I will work some embroidery,  hand quilt for a bit,   or  put together a few more hexagons from that vintage collection.    IMG_0622 (1) It works for me better than most things,  and I have come to understand that an important element of it is that I am doing something useful.    Yes it is a form of mindfulness exercise,  yes it is relaxing,  but this time of year particularly,  it is also something productive.     If your relaxation activity makes you feel guilty for taking the time away from something else then it is not going to help make you feel better.

Sometimes even just knowing that I have a project next to my chair that I can pick up in a moments notice is enough to keep the holiday stresses from getting overwhelming.    I don’t ever travel to family without a carry along project.     I learned that lesson ages ago.   I also bring a sketchbook as a great place to vent,  and record the odd ideas that happen when stuck in traffic conversations get interesting.    As long as I’m not the driver I can write draw and stitch by hand  reasonably well in the car.

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2017  free Redwork Ornament pattern

The Village Fabric Shoppe will be closed Wednesday- Friday and re open on Saturday of Thanksgiving week.    Tomorrow is the annual Crazy Quilt Holiday Tea,  and you have a little more time to come in and get your free redwork pattern.     So relax and enjoy your holiday season,  and if you need a de-stress project know that we can help.

Thank you!!!

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To Gift or Not to Gift??

With the weather getting downright cold, we had snow flurries this morning,

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Basic  hand quilting workshop sample

and the daylight fading early, it finally feels like the time to curl up with a good hand quilting project and hibernate for a while.      Unfortunately most of us can’t quite do that yet.    There is a good bit of Holiday to keep us busy before the winter rest.       If you are gifting quilted items I hope you have begun.      I do have a few ideas to share with you on the handmade gift subject.

 

First you need to consider the recipient.     Is it someone who will appreciate the time and effort and expenses of the creation of this gift?     If tredwork2017he answer is no, can they be educated on the subject enough to understand the magnitude of gift you are really giving,  even if it is just a holiday ornament like our annual redwork.      It may be small in size but it takes way more effort and time than something ordered online and shipped out already wrapped.

If it is someone who understands the love behind a handmade gift,  then the next question is will they actually use it?    I have given a few quilts over the years that the receiver loved so much that they carefully packed it away for posterity and never used or enjoyed it.    Unless the are asking for an heirloom,  don’t give them one.    Striking the balance between a showy, big gesture gift and one that will be used and loved and enjoyed can also be tricky.    I will often wash the item before I give it,  and attach a care label.   Takes the worry away if the morning coffee gets spilled on it.

Having considered all this, it is time to actually make the gifts.    You can easily customize even a simple pattern and succeed in giving a gift that will be loved.    One of my favorite gifting patterns is the one I teach beginners to help them learn safe cutting, strip piecing and color confidence.    It’s called “Four Square”  and it works great in just about any color combination, and even contrast level.    The Shoppe sample is one of the fastest quilts you can make,   with a back to front binding,  optionIMG_7014al batting and a tied finish you could still make several in time for the holidays.     I like to make it in seasonal colors,  team and school colors and even with novelties.    If you cut carefully it will come out to nearly twin size.

The other gift-y workshops we offer by appointment are for a tablerunner or set of placemats with machine quilting,   A tote bag made from fat quarters,  or the basic hand quilting workshop that most commonly is finished as a throw pillow.     If you are really pressed for time,   burrito rolled pillowcases are quick and everyone uses them.    We make them in our Make friends with Your Sewing Machine class.

The last gift idea for your fabric appreciating friends and family is to treat them to a workshop to make something for themselves,  with you attending with them of course.   This not only ensures that they love the colors and fabrics,  but you get to spend time and socialize too,  and learn a new skill together.    What could be more in the spirit of the Holiday gift giving season than that?         If you want to register for anything reply here,  call or email,  or even more fun —  come on in and we can play with fabrics together!!!!

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Redwork has a flashback.

It is November and that means it is time for the annual free redwork pattern.  This year’s ornament has a story attached to it so settle in grab a cuppa something warm and enjoy.   It begins a couple of weeks ago at the Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show.    On the second day of the show I was surprised to find a shipping box on the chair in my booth when I arrived.    It was full of English Paper piecing Hexagons that looked to be from the late 1960’s or early 70’s.    Didn’t have time to dig in much that day but I did

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find out that Liz K was responsible for it landing in my booth.    No one else wanted to take on this project.   Knowing that I adopt such things ( to have vintage fabrics on hand for conservation ) she gifted it to me.

The next few days after the show were busy for me and I didn’t get to look at it much,  but something in this collection spoke to me.    There is a fabric used in it that I believe I used in one of my early projects,  so maybe that was the draw.   I told the Block of the Month group about it at the monthly meeting and while we were enjoying the funky fabric prints and speculating on why it wasn’t finished one of the members found two muslin hexies that were stamped for redwork embroidery.  One was just stamped, and the other was partially embroidered in color.      Ok so now I just have to investigate this.    I

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went through them and sorted it all out and  found that most of it was ready to be put together,  You see lots of basted hexies sorted by fabric in the box.      But there was more.   I had paper hexies cut from magazine pages,  fabric hexies cut to size, and even some scrap fabrics that must be intended to be used in the project.

Plus there were some pieces that were partly assembled.    Hexies 72  They are a bit random,   but Now I am sufficiently interested to be working on this in the evenings at home.    Figuring out where her mind was at has become the challenge.   While sorting I was also checking the magazine bits for any additional information,  and At least half of the pieces seem to be cut from National Geographic Magazine.   It makes sense because it is printed on a thicker and glossy finish paper making for more durable pieces.    Some of them were cut from a more domestic publication like Better Homes or Lady’s Circle,  based on the ads that are clearly addressed to that audience.    I also found a few dates,   1970,  1971 and 1972.    So my original IMG_0624redwork2017

guess as to age was pretty good,  we would have to officially date it to “1972 at the earliest”        I am having fun with this.  thank you Liz.        I also found that the paper hexies are exactly the same size as these templates I have in stock.       So if I need more,  or want to use the coordinating diamond or even triangle I can do it.     My imagination is getting ahead of me now.

So I need to slow down.    I went back to the stamped hexies and decided that I would use one of the designs for this year’s redwork.  But I knew if I made it exact size you would all be angry with me,  so I put it on my trusty copier and enlarged it.      It is still one of the more detailed designs and the pine branches behind the bird are done with a single strand,   but it is just wonderful.     The pattern is free for anyone who walks in the door,  materials kits are $3.00       They are available exclusively during November 2017 and then retired.   Be sure to get yours.

Block of the Month Members can pick theirs up at tomorrows meeting,  9 am,  and we will be working on Block 13.     For an image of the 12 done so far check the BOM page.    See you all soon.

 

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Connections

The idea of being connected has loomed large in my life these past couple of weeks.    In many ways.  The world and it’s inhabitants seem so disconnected that I am looking for more ways for people to connect.    Computer issues had me thinking about internet connectivity.    A surprise visit from my parents who live several hours away had me thinking about family connectivity.      And of course quilting is full of connections.    Most of the old quilts that I get to work on are made by a family member from a past generation,  preserving these textiles forges connections between past and present and future.    The new quilts that are generated by my students and customers forge connections in a different way.   In many different ways.    Gifts of quilts have connected people for centuries.     One of the most touching connections forged by quilts is the one between the maker of a charity quilt and the recipient.     Often these two people do not know each other,  often they never will.   There is however a bond there between someone who needs help and someone who provides it at the most desperate of times.

As the news coverage of the recent hurricanes and fires dies down please remember that there are thousands of people who are still in great need.     We must remember that we as human beings are all connected.     If you choose to make pillow cases or quilts to help out in current areas of disaster,  please consider doing some of your cutting and sewing during our work in progress Wednesdays.      I often have patterns and sometimes even fabrics that have been donated for these kinds of projects.      Using these donated goods adds yet another level at which connections can be made.     I’m all

for making more connections between people.

Have a happy and safe Halloween,  we will be here,  and Jake can’t wait to see all the costumes!!!!!

 

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Happy Endings

It’s all about the finish.   We are in the middle of quilt show season,  and I have been paying attention to the smaller details.  What makes the difference between a ribbon winner and one that doesn’t place?   What spurs us on to make another project?   What enables our quilts to get out into the world they were designed for?   What makes a beginner quilter want to make another one?     Why it’s the finish.        There are few quilters out there who never have an unfinished quilt in a bag or box hidden away,   but if you never finished a single one I doubt the hobby would last long.     The satisfaction of a done project, and the smiles it brings is heady stuff.     Accolades and appreciation fill a deep need for many people, and a finished quilt guarantees both.

Finishing details like straight, not wavy borders,  good quilting with thread ends buried,  and binding that has enough stuffing and good corners can be hard to achieve.   By the end of a project it is common for our attention to be on the new project we want to begin, or there is a time crunch that makes us hurry and take shortcuts.    But you shouldn’t do that,  a good finish on a quilt makes it more durable,  easier to take care of, and for wall art makes framing unnecessary.    That is why I will soon be adding a new class to our roster specifically on borders and bindings and other finishing methods.    I am working on the written directions now and hope to have it ready in time for you to finish all your holiday projects with some real flair.  If you need help be sure to set up an appointment.     Here’s to the Happily ever After!!!

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Living Jewels by Geniveve Tracy

Tomorrow is our Crazy Quilt Club meeting so I chose to show you an amazing crazy quilt with some interesting finishing details.   You should be able to zoom in on it and see the non standard but just right for this project finishing.   Love those wired ribbon flowers.  The judges liked it too.    Have a great day.

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Show Highlights

It finally feels like fall,  and it is time to get quilting!!!!  The Show was wonderful last weekend, and every day there are winning quilts posted on the internet from some show.   The season is in full swing,  which also means that inspiration is everywhere.   This morning I intend to give you a short recap of the show and share some of the things that have inspired me recently

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.       I chose this quilt by Cathy Slack Rohling,  as my vendor’s choice.   Yes it is a Jelly roll.  but the colors caught my eye as being calm and restful without being dull.   Then I walked up close to it and the quilting was wonderful and unexpected.    And what is more the designs gave me some ideas for something else I have percolating in my imagination.     Great work Cathy!!

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I think in general that the quality of quilt in the show was very high,  and I am very proud of all my friends, customers and especially students who entered and even got ribbons.    The roosters quilt won the viewers choice.

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by Marie Reed

There was a vintage Crazy Quilt with lots of signatures.   Look at the variety of fabrics and stitches that were used.  And it is in great shape.    Ann Friedland, you are luck to own this gem.                      IMG_0489                                                   There was a new Crazy Quilt in the show also,    The modern sensibility is a bit more color restrained,  but the variety of embellishment materials is huge,  with lace, beads,  ribbons,  and all manner of add ons.      I love to see an art form evolve and still hang on to its roots.

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by Genivive  Tracy

And since we are still showcasing Improvisational piecing I thought I’d show you some of that too.        IMG_0529        This one is by Suzanne Yerks.   It doesn’t show well in the photo but the quilting is wonderful on it too.         Just love the way she set it.

So now that you are inspired,    check our showcase and skillbuilders pages to see which project you want to get started and let’s get stitching!!!

The Block of the Month will meet tomorrow ( one week later than usual )    If you had a quilt in the show bring it in to share!!    See you all soon.

 

 

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Show Preparations

As many of you know,  I only go out vending for the two shows sponsored by my local quilt guilds.  They alternate years and next weekend is the show associated with the First Dutchess Quilt Guild.     www.dhquiltshow.org    If you are looking for more information, or to register for one of the excellent workshops by the featured guest,  my friend, Teri Lucas.     We will be closed Friday for setup, and Saturday the show opens.    Please come see us there.

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I am busy finishing samples for the booth,  bundling fat quarters, and making signs.   If make a you follow our Facebook page you saw that a new shipment of fabric came in yesterday.   I love it.    I want to put everything on hold and make a sample using this stunning panel.   I know the photo isn’t great, but the panel is,  and so are the coordinates.  The line is called Aflutter, it’s by Studio e.    First Dutchess guild members who haven’t done something for the bugs challenge might want to pick up this panel.

The day we come back from the long weekend is our Handstitchers Club meeting.  I checked the Club News page and I am sorry the materials for he new project were missing,   The silly program published an older draft,  that issue has been fixed.    The new piece is simple embroidery and it would be a great time to join us if you have been thinking about it,  even if you are a total beginner at embroidery.

Remember that we will be closed next Friday and Saturday, October 6 & 7,   Our Block of the Month usually meets on the First Saturday, but we can’t due to the show,  so that group will meet on the 14th, for block number 12,  and a bonus setting that uses 12 pieced blocks with an alternate and a border that brings it to nearly twin size.      I may not get a post up ether on that busy weekend, but I promise to get some photos onto our Facebook page.   See you all at the Show!!

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