Multi tasking

Before I forget let me remind you that the BOM meets tomorrow, and today I will be in an out of the shoppe for some meetings and appointments.   Call if you are coming from a distance so you are sure I’ll be here.  ( 845) 758-8541

Ok so now,   multi tasking.   I really dislike purchasing expensive gadgets that only do one thing.   True in my kitchen, and my studio.    So when I find a ruler that makes a shape that has fascinating geometry and goes together in a few ways that are all pretty simple to sew and can still make complex looking quilts I want one.      Thing is,  I already have it,  several versions even, and you probably do too.  If not we have good ones available.    SO what is it?   the Old fashioned Kaleidoscope.     In its most traditional form it uses two fabrics and every block only has 12 pieces,  in 2 shapes.   It uses 8 triangles that arrange like 8 slices of pizza with four half square triangles at the corners to make it square.    Pretty straight forward?   yes,  but oh the variations.


A great Kaleidoscope from The First Dutchess Show. see label for info. 

My version of the traditional uses scraps from the thousand pyramids quilt and has four different colors.   When I set them you will see undulating lines going in four directions.   Exploiting these lines can help you make medallions,  stripes,  and even a design for a christening quilt with a large cross on it.     This block is one of my favorite to play with in design software or markers because of this.    The workshop for The traditional Kaleidoscope comes with a coloring page that I encourage you to play with before making your fabric choices.   The workshop itself is a single three hour session.   Crib size like mine takes only 12 blocks.

Also still in the showcase is thousand pyramids,  because it is also the same slice of pizza shaped triangle.    Love this too.     This amazing triangle is used for the so called Ice Cream Cone  border,   and it turns the corner beautifully.    The hard part of this is doing the math for it,  so that is what the Ice Cream Cone Border workshop centers on.    I used an improvisational pieced border of this type on the 8 point star.     You also see it in a pieced version on Dear Jane Quilts, and in historical quilts from the late 18th century.   It is so pretty that you could simply put it around a lovely piece of fabric and call it done.

When you start piecing or fussy cutting this triangle you can add complexity fast and get a result like Paula Nadelstern ( who will be in our area this spring)  or more traditionally the Rocky Road to Kansas.   The last of our new showcase workshops is the string pieced classic.   Watch for my sample coming soon.

I have been exceptionally busy outside of the shoppe this season and will post the rest of the sample photos and workshop details as soon as I can.   I am very excited for this showcase, and I’m so glad that I can finally dig in to getting the samples and write ups done.   In the meantime if you know you are interested in any of the things I have mentioned today let me know.      Have a wonderful New Year.  May it be filled with fabric fun and friends,  and a new project or two.

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Pieces of local history

Yesterday, as I was thinking about writing the post for today a wonderful quilt came in for a short visit.Red Hook quilt One of the members of the Red Hook Historical Society just wanted to show me and ask what I thought.     First I told her I was happy to see it folded with a well washed cotton sheet and in an acid free box.     Then we started looking at it in earnest.    Hard to see, but there are signatures in the center of every block.    There is also a single signature  in one bit of the sashing that records a date of 1850.      You can also see a note attached to the corner that shows the little bit of provenance.   Name of the donor etc.    It is stitched on and made of some kind of cardstock weight paper.  IMG_2149


Some of the signatures are in better condition than others,  the ones that have maintained their black color were done with india ink and possibly even dip pens at that time.   The bottom one in this photo is one of them.   Others, like the top signature have faded and \or disintegrated the fabrics, and it is likely that these were signed with a lesser quality ink made from black walnut hulls that was common and less expensive at the time.   The Historical society has researched some of the legible names and they are all from Red Hook Residents.    How awesome that this quilt made it way home again.    It was originally made for the rector of the Methodist Church in Tivoli.     The quilt was found in Virginia and gifted back to the church,  who in turn gifted it to the Historical Society because they couldn’t care for it or store it well.      The Historical Society will occasionally display it in their soon to open new building on Cherry Street.    I will be sure to let you know when that happens.

Also notice how nice the points are,  and the use of fussy cutting in the diamonds. The delicacy of the printing in some of the fabrics is just stunningIMG_2147.   The preservation of the color is mostly excellent too.   There are a few blocks that have simply wild color combinations,  but the overall impression is just beautiful.     The hands that stitched this were all of a high level of skill and the quilting is quite uniform leading to speculation that the project was actually sewn by a single individual who collected signatures.   The quilting is not fancy, but well planned and executed.   The bottom photo allows you to see some of it more clearly.    The back is a muslin, and the binding is simply the back brought around to the front.     The whole thing was about 74 x 85.    IMG_2150

After a somewhat strange Holiday it was wonderful to come back to the shoppe and have a jewel like this brighten my day.     It felt like a sign that the new year will be a good one.   Well that and the tag from my tea bag said, “Peace or mind comes Piece by Piece”   Hard to beat that for me.

I know I have workshops being scheduled that I am really excited about,  the next showcase theme is Kaleidoscope.   The structure of this simple block gives it a dynamic quality that makes it look more difficult than it is,  and when you start to add things like basic fussy cutting,  and string piecing to it you have a whole world of exciting quilts to have fun making.     I’ll tell you more very soon.

We will be closed on New Years Day,  and for a while on Friday afternoon,  from 1:45 so I can attend a meeting of the Red Hook Historical Society and talk about quilts.   The Block of the Month will meet on Saturday the fifth.     Come on in and get that winter project going,  for your Piece of Mind.

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Holiday Hours

Due to some necessary travel and the Holidays,  The Village Fabric Shoppe will be closing on Thursday December 20.   Plans are to re open on December 27.   We will also be closed on New Years Day.    IMG_7132

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Keep the lights on

Yesterday,  one of my private students was working on a project that was to become a gift for a good friend.   She had learned some new skills and was working on a brand new machine that was vastly more advanced than her previous one.   It was snowy out and quiet,  and she quietly said out loud, but mostly to herself, that this was alot like meditating.     I let her sew on,  and when she was ready for the next step we had a conversation about mediation, mindfulness, prayer and stress relief.


Don’t stress,  pet me!!!!


The fact that sewing can be all of these things is a huge part of why so many of us are drawn to sew, quilt and stitch.   I know that it is for me too.    As we sit in the darkest part of the year and for many the most stressful please remember to keep your stitching lights on and burning bright.     It’s better for your eyes, and better for your soul.

I am working today to ease my soul too,  my Nan, the incredible woman I recently posted about,   had a stroke Tuesday morning and has gone downhill quickly.    I could be called to my family on Long Island at any moment, so if you come for a visit at the shoppe and find the lights off and door locked please send some love.    It has me in a weird mix of emotions as I am also working on the baby quilt for a new nephew who could arrive any day between now and mid January.     This holiday, I NEED to be stitching.    I am so thankful to have a large pile of projects to keep my hands and mind busy.   ( Just wait till you see the goodies I have planned for 2019 )


Nan Dec. 2, 2018 age 103

I can tell you for certain that we will be closed on Tuesday the 18th so I can go get my daughter from college.   Can’t believe that a whole semester is done already.    She has made the adjustment very well,  found some good friends,  found some new exciting interests and her light is burning brighter than ever.

Wishing everyone a piece-ful holiday and time with those you love.    Keep the lights shining!!

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This past Sunday I was happy to celebrate my Nan’s 103 birthday.      She is an amazing woman,  matriarch of the family,  and part of where my love of stitching came from.    You can see on the table a blue and white embroidered table cloth ( under plastic for use )   She made one for each of her children and female grandchildren.


She has been an inspiration to so many of us,  and as we sat at the table and played Cooties with my nephew and aunt I realized just how lucky we all were.   Tea and cold milk in the good cups, home-made cookies, and four generations playing a silly game all together.    What a blessing.

Quilting can cross generations too.   In fact I encourage you to share your craft with the young people in your life.   Small hand projects that are finished quickly will reel them in, and then when they are ready,  let them use a real machine ( not a toy please ) and make a small pillow or bag.    If your little girl likes dolls, American Girl Doll sized clothes or quilts are great too.    If you want help with projects for kids, tell me about them and I can help with a project they will get excited about.

For older students,  consider a sewing machine,  fabric, or notions as a gift.   I have several beginner friendly workshops that can be done, some with a machine,  some all by hand.   I can make out gift certificates for them and we can present them wrapped in the fabrics needed, with a nice bow of course.    You could even take the class together so you can spend some time together.      For the classes on offer check the Skillbuilders page.     Take the time now to reach out to the next generation or two and share.   It is time spent that you wont regret, and memories that will stay with them forever.

Tuesday is our Handstitchers club day,   We will be working on the leaf sampler from Laura Wasiloski.    Here is the link in case you didn’t get it.        Materials are also listed on our Club News Page.        Stumpwork will be working on UFO’s.       If the Red Hook Schools are closed or delayed due to snow we will just skip and do our projects in January.     Have a great weekend!!


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Group quilts

This has been a busy week.   Among several other things,  I have been called upon to help with two different proposed group quilt projects .     Although each and every one of these projects is unique there are a few guidelines that I have found to be useful, especially if some or most of the participants are not quilters.      Here they are in a list,  so if you are involved with a project of this type you can use it as something of a checklist.

  •  Make sure that you have a competent and enthusiastic quilter at the helm from the very beginning.    Pay her if you need to.
  • Don’t have too many people in on the big decisions.  This can double the time it takes to get anything done.
  • Be flexible in the design phase, and provide the designer/quilter with as much information up front as you can.   This includes size,  display location, colors,  required imagery,  time frame,  and budget.
  • Organize!!   Get everything written down clearly,  have a list of names and contact for all participants and use it regularly.  Share updates and if possible visual aids.
  • If many of the participants are not quilters remember the Kiss concept,   Keep it simple.    Provide very specific instructions and as much of the materials as you can.  This is called eliminating variables.    If possible have a party and have them do the work under supervision by one or two experiences quilters.
  • Allow time and materials in case work comes back in with technical issues,  or for work that does not come back in ( on time or ever! )  This is where the expertise of your enthusiastic quilter is critical.    This is also the point at which I am usually called upon, and sometimes it is too late.
  • Don’t forget to have fun and be sure to celebrate when it is done.   Get everyone’s name on the label, and the guest list.

I hope this helps someone out there.     Unfortunately, this guidance is probably not going to reach those who need to see it most,  but I have to try.     It’s so much more fun to help you set up than to bail you out when the project is too far gone.

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The Lindberg Quilt,  an group project from 2016

In other news,  today is the last day for the Redwork ornament pattern.    Tomorrow is the First Saturday of December so our Block of the Month will meet at 9.   Please bring all that you have done so far as I have setting information and you may want to use our big tables to lay out the blocks and make if you want  s.ome choices in that regard.

This coming Thursday is the Thousand Pyramids workshop.   Starts at 10:30.   My version is still in progress,  but I LOVE it.  I used a kaleidoscope ruler and scaled it up from the vintage version.   I had intended to make a lap size,  but it’s so nice I’m going bigger.   It is also quite easy.    I have a simple trick that makes the piecing alignment simple.   I keep getting more ideas for how to play with this,  and it is very possible that I make several versions.    It’s the perfect balance of great to look at and easy to piece,  add in that it can be a great stash buster and I think everyone should make one.    The workshop proper is one session.  You wont finish it in that time,  but you will have everything you need to do so, and if you want, you can finish it at Work in Progress Wednesdays.    You need to find an place to shelter from the holiday crazies and we are it!!


A Vintage Thousand Pyramids in patriotic colors. 




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So it’s Thanksgiving time.   The Holiday music is blasting in the parking lots and big box stores,   The entrance of the craft store smells overwhelmingly of those scented pine cones .    I’m so not ready to jump into the winter Holidays,   I want to savor fall a little longer,  and pausing to remember how much we have to be thankful for is important.

I am truly thankful for you my readers, and even more when you come in to my shop.   It is why I design a redwork ornament for you each year.    The pattern is free when you pick it up in person during the month of November.     I also have materials kits that have not increased in price in 14 years.     Small shops like mine can provide these sorts of perks because you still come in and shop.     We love you for that.IMG_7132

Next week I will be closed EXCEPT for Tuesday.     My daughter broke her foot so we have to go pick her up and then bring her back over the weekend.    On crutches, with her dog, and several instruments that can’t stay in the dorms when they close them for the holiday,   we have no choice but to drive the 5 hours each way to get her and then again to bring her back.   The things we do for our kids right?    I am however very thankful that she loves college, is doing well and yet still is excited to come home for the holiday.    So I will have the shoppe closed while we cart her around.     Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I’ll see you Tuesday,  or on November 27 when normal hours return.

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