and the winner is…

Quilt festival is going on now in Houston.   As usual the winners are amazing.   Here is a link so you can check them out too.   You may have to copy and paste,  or simply google it.   Most of us will not enter, or be accepted to a show at the level that this one is,  so why is it important to see the winners?       If you care about the art that you practice then it is good to glance at the cutting edge and the top of the pack so you can know what the pinnacle of the art looks like.    I know that I always tell you that perfection is a myth, but these come as close as is possible.     Viewed with the right mindset it can be a catalyst for growth in one’s own craft.   Here are a few things you can keep in the back of your mind as you look so that you can gain knowledge as you gaze.    These are things that you can still learn as you look at digital images.   Seeing them in person if you are lucky enough is a different situation and you can gain even more from that.    I am assuming that if you are reading this now you are at home, not at the show.   So Here are some things to consider.

Do I like the color combinations?   Are they dark, light, closely related,  or do they really contrast?    Is there a color I normally wouldn’t like that works well in this piece?   Why?  Is there a combination of colors that I have seen that I would love to use in my own quilts?

How about imagery?   Do I like the abstract ones,  overall blocks,  pictorial,  or painted surface?  Does the one I most love have a technique in it that I haven’t tried?   Am I willing to try it?    If I am,  do I know someone who can help me experiment?  ( yes you do hint hint )

Earlier this week a customer brought in a quilt top to show me.   She rescued it from a horrible situation and wanted to know what I thought she should do with it.   It is a beautiful postage stamp and She said I could share with you.


The squares are about an inch and a half.  It’s probably a full size,  and the intersections are almost perfect.   We looked for a long time and I only found one that was a tiny bit off.   It was hand pieced with tiny tiny stitches.    We also found three examples of the same print in two different colors.    It is possibly 1940-50,  and with a few homespuns, flannels, and shirtings  the maker may have had access to either mill ends or scraps from a seamstress.    The colors are nice and clear.     Isn’t it fun?

Lastly a quick over view of the events for next week,  Hand Stitchers and Stumpwork on Tuesday,  and the Crazy Quilt annual Holiday Tea on Saturday.    Also a reminder for members of First Dutchess Quilt Guild that the meeting is Wednesday night, at the Millbrook Farm and Home Center.     Supply lists for the club meetings on Tuesday are on the Club news page.    Use the tabs at the top of the page.     Enjoy the quilts and I’ll see you soon.

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Redwork Ornament

IMG_2033This morning the contrast between the gray sky and the early morning light coming through the trees made many of the truly glow.    This tree is right across from the shoppe, but the photo doesn’t quite capture the glow.     The season is simply flying by so I urge you to take a moment to slow down and enjoy the simple things that make life beautiful.   Halloween is done and it’s November already so  the Holiday’s are imminent.   Things will only get busier and crazier as we finish out 2018.     It happens every year, we know it’s coming, and yet it always seems to come up without warning,  then Boom, it’s Christmas eve.    This is why at this time every year I have shared with  you a free pattern for a redwork ornament.  IMG_7132


This Year it is Hexagon Shaped and a sister pattern to the one we did last year.     I was gifted a vintage Hexagon project that was unfinished,  and among the pieces were two muslin stamped images of birds.   Something about them was very appealing so I enlarged them slightly and they became ornaments patterns.    This one had been partly embroidered,  with green in the leaves and a brownish color for the bird.   I prefer him as a cardinal in red.     The leaves are worked in large lazy Daisy stitches for a lighter effect,  but if you prefer you may use a stem stitch for all of it.    The pattern is free when you come into the shoppe.    I do also have a materials kit that even includes a needle.   The materials kit is only $3.00,   a price that hasn’t gone up in all of the 14 ( yes 14 ) years I have been dIMG_2032oing this for you.

It is particularly important when life gets hectic to take a few minutes to one self and breathe.   I find that redwork is a great thing to help with that.   I also find that time with animals is great to help keep your sense of humor.    Here is one last photo today, of Jake in his Halloween costume.   It is supposed to be Yoda, but he hated the ears and hood.   oh well.

Tomorrow is the Block of the Month Meeting.   Keep laughing, keep stitching and I’ll see you all soon.

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What’s the Story?

When I was in elementary school there was a custodian named Charlie.   He was an old guy,  lanky build, thinning grey hair in a comb over,  the biggest nose I have ever seen, and gray eyes that always had a mysterious air about them.    He was always there,  arrival and dismissal,  lunchtime,  getting chairs for teachers at assemblies while we kids sat on the floor.    He worked hard.    So why do I remember him?    He told stories.   The kids would ask,  “What’s the Story Charlie?”  and he would launch into some monologue that was often part fairy tale, and part plot from last night’s sit com.   He always made us laugh,  and the mystery in his eyes would sparkle and draw us in.   Even the teachers liked his stories,  once on the way to gym class,  there were 3 classes and the assistant principal stopped in the hall to listen to a particularly good tale.    Although the details of his stories are gone,  I remember Charlie with great fondness and as an adult suddenly realized one day that every one of his tales that I can remember had a moral or some kind of reminder that humans should be good and kind to each other.

I share this with you as an example of how powerful a good story can be,  and as inspiration to you to infuse your quilt projects with your own story.    And then to not be afraid to tell them.    Whether it means a label on the back, or a photograph with the new baby laying on your quilt,  or a more elaborate account of the symbolism.  Maybe that’s why I love making scrap quilts,  every leftover from previous projects comes with a story already built in,  that becomes part of the narrative.       I used all sorts of leftovers to make the pieced strips of the Postage Stamp Strippy quilt.     If you come to the workshop on Nov. 1 & 8 I will share.   The more people who come to this class the richer the scraps we can exchange and play with, and hear stories about.     Call to register,  supply lists are on the showcase tab.   IMG_7126


Halloween is also coming up fast.    Town trick or treating for Saturday has been moved to an inside location,  but Jake will be here in costume,  and handing our treats for humans.   He will wear his costume on the actual day of Halloween too.    He doesn’t mind wearing it so why not?    It’s part of the story!!

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Time to Fall in Love with Hand Quilting!!


Basic Hand Quilting Class on Demand

The Sheep and wool festival is this weekend at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds.   The weather has gotten cool and blustery.   This means it is quilting season.    It is the perfect time of year to sit with a lovely quilt and stitch along into the evening.    In the old days,  ( define that how you want ) the women would spend the summer months piecing the tops, and spinning the yarns,  and then when the nights got cool it would be time to knit and crochet the garments,  and get all the quilting done so the beds would be covered and warm for sleeping when winter hit.       There was a lovely ebb and flow to the seasonal activities.      Today not so much,  but when the frosts start I do love to dig into a new hand quilting project.     It is lovely to sit in the comfy chair with a quilt in progress to work on, on my lap,  often Jake the Quilt Pug also curled up under it and on my feet or even lap, with some nice hot mulled cider to drink.    Add to it the stunning color of the trees in my yard that I can see out the window and you have a little bit of heaven.


Base design for Welsh Style Quilting Class on Demand

The other thing that is wonderful about doing your own quilting, and by hand,  is that it is comparatively cheap.   Yes you still need batting, thread, needles and scissors,   plus perhaps a hoop and thimble depending on your technique of choice,  but those costs are minor compared to buying a machine that does decent quilting, or even paying someone to do it for you.    So I urge you to splurge on a hand quilting class from us.    We have several styles you can choose from, and you can even bring that top you made in the summer to work on.    We have traditional hand quilting,  Welsh style hand quilting,   and the trendy (and fast to do) Big Stitch.    They are all classes on demand,  so you call and make the appointment to sit and quilt for an afternoon, and while we are at it I will tell you all the secrets to making it easy,  relaxing and your new favorite way to finish your quilts.    Information on all of our classes on demand is on the Skill builders page.


Postage Stamp Strippy getting ready to be basted.    Class November 1 & 8


Now,  there may even be some of you out there who don’t have a project ready to quilt,  our postage stamp strippy would be a great one to make,  it doesn’t take long and it has some great spaces for lovely hand quilting.   This is one that is best done in a group because then there will be a bigger selection of scraps for the class members to play with and exchange,  making for more lovely rainbows in the pieced strips.    It is scheduled for November 1 & 8,  10:30 am.     Sign up for this one and we can schedule your quilting workshop for when you are ready.    It’s all just too much fun.   Here’s to the Fall colors and a warm project to work on!!!!


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Make it a habit

scenic view of mountains against sky at night

Photo by Pixabay on

Yesterday my horoscope said to rely on habits if the day gets hectic.     Things were pretty calm,  but I thought about it and relying on habits has lots of benefits no matter what the planets are doing.   No one would argue that the habit of brushing your teeth every day is good for you.   But what about other habits that have benefits that may be less obvious?     How about your hobbies?   They could be habits if you engage in them daily.     If not,  maybe you should consider making time for them every day.    Some amount of time, even just 10 minutes, a day is enough.   Most of us can find ten minutes in a day.    It is amazing how that simple few minutes every day can add up.  By the end of the week it is over an hour.      I know that sometimes that is not long enough to set up the machine, sew and take it down again,  which is one of the many reasons I enjoy hand work so much.     My home is full of boxes, bags and baskets with projects in them,  sitting in all sorts of spaces.    There is almost always a project I can grab and work on while I am on hold,   waiting for the water to boil,  or chatting away on skype with my daughter.

Working on it every day also keeps it present in your mind.   When a thought stays at the top of the mental pile but you are not actively working on it interesting things happen.   Ideas and creativity blossom.    The muse may visit.     We have tons of interesting and fun hand stitching opportunities that ca help you develop a stitching habit.    From Clubs,  to classes,  and even during our open sewing time on WIP Wednesdays we are here to support your habit.     This is better than drugs or therapy.   It’s cheaper than both of those,  and when you are done you have a lovely project forever.     Check our events page on the website for the perfect project.      IMG_6993

Our Block of the Month will meet tomorrow,  a week later than usual because we were at the show,   Thursday is our scheduled day for the Rose Star Workshop,  call to register, or set up an appointment if that time doesn’t work for you,  and Saturday the 20th is Crazy Quilt Club.     So let me help you make it a habit.



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I want to extend big thank yous to everyone who came in this past week to help me collate, bag kits, and prep for the show this weekend.     It means so much to know that you were willing to support me when I needed you.     Even the universe has told me this week that I am on the right track.     I am feeling very deep gratitude.     So what happened?   I know you are curious and you should be.      Yesterday afternoon a stunning quilt came into the shoppe.    It no longer matches the owners decor and taste so she wants me to help her find it a new home.      So why do I think the universe is watching out for me?      Because it is a big beautiful  mosaic hexagon.  about 3/4 inches on a side.   Medallion setting,   black background,  mostly clothing silks,  amazing condition,     and English sh paper pieced.    What is more she has given me permission to bring it with me to the show.     I am featuring hand work in my booth,  including EPP.    The show is also a place to advertise the conservation and repair work I do so having this amazing piece ( probably from the late 1800’s ) on hand is simply fantastic.       I will be taking some better photos of it when I can spend the time to do more than use my phone.     I just love the way they are set,  you don’t see this one very often.   The medallion is in the center,    this is a detail of the surrounding field of flowers.       IMG_7125

When normalcy (??) returns on Tuesday we have our Hand stitcher’s Club.    We are finishing the sampler.    We will discuss a few ways to finish it off and go over the materials for our next project.            The list of supplies and the link to the project directions is on the club news page if you need to see it.       It should be fun and playful, and easy to stitch.

We will be closing today at one so I can pack my car and go set up.    The show is Quilts in the Valley,   and you will need to visit us there for Saturday and Sunday.  The shoppe will be closed.   I will try to get some photos from the event on the facebook page, so if you haven’t “liked” it please do so.    The show is in Roundout Valley Middle School,  122 Kyserike Road,  Stone Ridge    10-5 Saturday,   11-4 Sunday.   if you need more info.     See you there!!  – and thank you again for your loyal support!!



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Upcoming Show

Last weekend I went to visit my daughter at college for the first time.  I am happy to say she is settling in very well and loving all her new friends,  both human and equine.    I never figured her to be a “Horse Girl” as she put it, but she is loving it and doing great.   Things here have shifted into high gear as well,  with a large number of conservation projects and private lessons happening lately I have barely had time to get ready for the show Columbus Day weekend.    I only vend at the two local guild shows,  and this year is Quilts in the Valley,  the Wiltwyck Guild Show.    I still have a mountain of kits to cut and fabrics to organize so I am going to do something I have never done before,  ask for help.

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Can you lend a hand?  Please

If you would be able to come in to help any time befire the show bplease contact me ASAP.  845 758 8541    I can’t pay you outright,  but I am sure we can barter something inspiring.

Since I will be vending,  we will have to close at noon on Friday to pack and transport to the site for setup,  and with the show on Saturday and Sunday, the Shoppe will be closed.    I encourage you all to attend the show,  with vendors,  lots of quilts,  food and even live music.   You know I love that!!     I might even ask one of you who volunteer if you would sit with me at the booth one or both days.   I always bring handwork to work on and demo.   Makes things interesting and productive on several levels.    Vending is fun and social and a great opportunity to meet new quilters.     I am always amazed at the enthusiasm of all the brand new quilters I meet at these shows.     For more information,



After the show,  we have handstitchers club on Tuesday the 9th, and we will be finishing the embroidery stitch sampler.   In November we will do the Redwork Ornament for 2018.    It is a sister piece to last years design, with the drawing taken from the same source.   Can’t show you yet,  but this was the one from last year.     This is one kind of Hex that I don’t mind.   ( can you tell I am also getting into the Halloween spirit?? )

With all this wonderful stitchy stuff happening be sure to stop in,   lend a hand,  or get set up for your new fall projects.    Looking forward to seeing you all.

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