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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Staying Thankful

Thanksgiving is less than a week away.   Many households are deep in preparations for the feast, or the plans to travel.   It is a busy crazy time of year made more interesting by the fact that it is totally dark when most of us get to go home from work.   And it will continue to get crazier until we get through the new year.    In my family, we will be racking up the mileage as we pick up and return my daughter to her college twice in one weekend.   It is 5 hours from home, but worth the trip to spend some quality time with her.   With the health issues I had this fall I am making a bigger effort to keep the holiday crazies from getting to me.    The shoppe will be closed Wednesday- Saturday this week.  I may be in for a while on Saturday to get some projects underway so give a call and if I am here I will answer and you can come visit and shop.

Part of my plan to keep things calm, relaxed and joyful this year includes finishing some projects that have been nagging at me.   Like this one from a dozen of the sampler blocks by Barbara Brackman.   We did all 50 as a BOM that finished about a year ago.    It uses snowball blocks as alternates and a half snowballs as a mock border.   If you were part of that group you have the basic plan for this in your class notes.  I ran out of the lighter background fabric so I left two rows out and made it square instead, but I finished it with all leftovers.    Not bad.  Civil War Snowball I intend to machine quilt in the ditch and do some lovely hand quilting in the snowball centers and the border.   Depending on the design I settle on it might even be done in big stitch.    I am pleased with the look and I am looking forward to nesting in and doing some hand work on it.





I have settled on Thursday December 5 for the Kansas Dugout workshop.  IMG_2772  I love this block, and Lest you think you don’t need to take a workshop on a simple block,  the quick trick I have to speed up the quick corner technique will blow away that stack of scraps so fast you wont believe it.    I also have tons of fun variations on the basic one that I will share during the workshop.     This time of year simple sewing allows us to decompress,  and one with great design possibilities at the same time keeps us thinking about happy and constructive things.     I have updated the workshops page to include the info and supply lists so check it out and sign up.

Lastly, I would like to remind you that the annual redwork pattern is only available for a few more days.   Come get it, and pick up a kit while you are at it for a simple take along project that you could have done in time to trim the tree this year.


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I don’t know about you but I am NOT ready for it to be winter yet.   Maybe because I lost a good deal of the early fall in medical issues,  but I feel like I missed the whole thing this year.   And snow already?    Yikes!!!  So here we go with the annual reminder that we follow Red Hook Central School District.   If they are closed or delayed,  or dismissed early we will cancel the events for the day and let those interested know about IMG_2772rescheduling.     We will also post to this page and our facebook page when there are weather related schedule changes.    I truly hope that we don’t need to do this often but it is very rare to get through a winter season without snow cancellations here and there.

But, that is all the more reason to have some good projects to work on,  and at least a few nice warm colorful quilts in your home for those snowed in kind of days.      We all have lots of fabric in the stash so lets get using it.   I have a wonderful pieced quilt project that I want to share with you.   It’s easy to piece,  works in tons of color combos and scrappy too.   My sample is a slightly coordinated scrappy, four blocks with a small border.   I don’t have room to display a larger one even though I have plenty of scraps to make a bigger one.    I also put together a single block in a more carefully planned set of colors that I am calling blue seas,  and will probably also make a single block sample in civil war colors.    This basic pattern has so many easy to play with variations that I am working up a coloring page for those who take the workshop.   This is the kind of block that you don’t need a super detailed plan for,  you can just sit down with a stack of squares and sit and sew a bunch of them and then choose the setting and if you want to make more and make it bigger( doesn’t that always happen?? )  This block, like log cabins can be assembled in IMG_2773several arrangements so you can sometimes get exciting surprises even after the blocks are made.   It’s like getting a bonus gift for yourself while holiday shopping!!   I have  settled on Thursday December 5 at 10:30 for a group workshop, but will very happily work with you privately by appointment if you just can’t wait.   The cutting is simple, and no there isn’t a single triangle to cut.   It will take about 3 hours for the workshop (group or private) and cost is $30.00     Gather some fabrics from your stash or grab some new ones from us, bring  your basic machine sewing setup and join me for this one.

Just a quick reminder that this Tuesday is Crazy Quilt Club, and it’s the annual Holiday tea.  – Already??   It’s been a fun year.

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Let there Be Light

It’s so dark lately,  with the time change it’s getting dark early.   The cold snap reinforces that the dark half of the year is here.   SO it is time to consider that artificial lighting is critically needed.   Yes we should all still be sure to get some real daylight each day,  but for stitching we needed extra lighting.     For many it can make the difference between being able to stitch and not.     It need not be an expensive proposition,  We got my daughter a very nice standing daylight lamp at a salvage store for under $20.00 that she uses in her dorm.    I got a goose neck clip on led light for under ten at a big box home store.   Actually we got several of those because my husband has his art studio in the basement and extra lighting is always good there.

IMG_2740So now that we have established that seeing is important,  I want to remind you that this years Redwork embroidery design is now available.   On Tuesday our handstitchers club will be doing it as a project so if you are new to embroidery or redwork and want to learn how in person join us from 10-12.   I have always found redwork to be the right thing for this time of year,  red is a nice warm color,  but the stitching is simple as the holiday crazies start to hit,  and it is very portable, so you can work it just about anywhere you can sit with decent lighting.   

One more quick thing,  next Wednesday the 13th I have a doctors appointment and will have to close from 12 -2.  Nothing serious just an adjustment.    See you soon.    


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Time for Cider and Gingerbread

I hope that the weather last night didn’t affect your Halloween too badly.  Turnout on my block was a bit low so I will be saving most of the leftover candy to send to my daughter in college during her finals.   I also hope that the later power outages didn’t affect any of you too badly — at least it was unseasonably warm so heat wasn’t an issue.     Where yesterday felt like a summer storm,  today feel like fall.   Cool crisp breeze, blue sunny sky contrasting with the oranges and yellows and reds of the leaves blowing around.   A good day for some warm cider ( hard or otherwise ) and a stitching project.    IMG_2740

It is a perfect day to stop by and pick up your copy of the annual free red work pattern.   A new one is issued every November and is available in store only for that month and that is it.  It is an original pattern by Diana,  and this year is a gingerbread person.    Decorating gingerbread is one of the joys of the holiday prep each year and this one wont go stale on you.     There is a materials kit available for $3.00 and if you are careful with cutting you can make two from it.   – maybe a gingerbread couple??

If you are new to embroidery and need some guidance,  or just want to stitch and socialize,  our Handstitchers Club will be working this design at the October meeting,  Tuesday November 12, from 10-12.   All you need to bring for this project is a pencil or red Micron pen,  a small pair of scissors and a bit of stuffing.    Small embroidery hoop is optional.    Redwork is a wonderful way to step into the world of decorative hand stitching.   This small project can easily be finished in time to land on your tree this season, or decorate a special package.    So fill that thermos with warm cider and and join us for some seasonal stitching.

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Quilting Friends-

It was a lovely and inspiring week.   Kim is a new quilter,  who got started when a good friend registered her for our four square quilt class as a gift.    Isn’t it nice to have such smart friends?     In the photo you can see her with her quilt as we were getting ready to baste it.   Don’t you love the colors??   She said it is perfect in her bedroom,  and I got a messageIMG_2731 from her this morning that she has already slept under it.    Before she left the shoppe she was already making plans for her second one.    Quilting is addictive isn’t it?  and so is making the kind of friends that you can quilt with.

We also had the finish of the Sunbonnet Sue workshop,  and we traded ideas about the adventures and activities that Sue could participate in.   Sometimes the collective imagination of a friendly group just takes off and this was definitely the case today as we talked of alternate block fabrics and settings,  and embellishment,   and quilting.      The bright green is just perfect with all of these Sue Blocks isn’t it?   And see how the black outlining really sets off the design.   Well worth the time doing it.  IMG_2732   There is still some hand work left but I shared a few tricks to help keep stitches even and lovely.

Conversation kept turning to the poor crumbling vintage one that inspired this workshop.   We agreed that the owner did the right thing is surrendering it to the Shoppe.   We have actually had it for many years and I no longer have valid contact information on the owner,  but I hope she feels good that her  “useless quilt” donation sparked so much loveliness.     And not only that,  but the friendships that grow out of a shared class experience.     Like so many things in life, her small act of donating a “useless Quilt” to the right person has had a wonderful ripple effect that has spread creativity, joy and friendship to an extent that I am sure she never imagined.     The world needs more friendship.   — and maybe a bit more chocolate.

So next Friday is November first and we will be running a workshop on the Chocolate Kisses block in support of the annual Chocolate festival.   We will supply fabrics and pattern for a 12 inch block so you can learn how to make this fun little project.   It starts at 11 am,  just bring your machine with a tan colored thread, and a few pins –  oh and call ahead so we can have enough fabrics cut.    This is a one time only workshop especially for the chocolate festival.   If you want to use your own colors feel free to bring (or buy from us) your own fabrics and you will need to cut them.   Call ahead and I can give you measurements if you would like to do that ahead of time.  It’s just squares.


One 12 inch block of Chocolate Kisses

Tomorrow, Saturday is Trick or treating in Red Hook,  from 1-3 so traffic may be a bit slow at that time.    Please watch out for the local kids and everyone else who may not be paying attention.

Have a Happy Halloween and I hope to see all my friends soon.


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