It has taken a bit this morning to get the usual post up,  I had some camera issues so not all the photos are up for the summer showcase,  but descriptions,  schedules and supply lists are ready and waiting for you under the tab.    With the temperatures where they have been the last few days talking about the summer projects is a good fit.     You might think that a theme like Text-iles would be limited,  but the more I play and developed workshops for you the more variety I found.  From patchwork inspired by vintage sampler alphabets,  to contemporary mandalas that look like some of the ones found in the Grownup coloring books that are everywhere you turn.   And of course it wouldn’t be summer without a surface design project,  this one uses a simple version of block printing.    You wouldn’t believe how simple it is to make and carve the mirror image letters needed to make a legible print.     And of course lettering on quilts is most commonly found on labels so we have a workshop on that just in time for you to label your entry for the County Fair.


Jake can’t wait to nap in Air conditioning all summer

I just know it is going to be a great summer!!!     I may even have one more exciting thing to add,  just hunting down some supplies for it.   Stay tuned.     In the meantime,   tomorrow the Block of the Month will meet,  and Tuesday is Handstitchers Club.    We are working on our embroidery stitch sampler,  this time we will experiment with some wide linear stitches.     See the Club News page for more details and feel free to join us!!!

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Sometimes a single word can carry meaning far greater than its few letters indicate.   Flow is one of those words.    Water flows,  air flows, blood flows,  energy flows.   Peak performers, athletes and creatives all talk about being in a nearly mystical state of flow where everything just works smoothly.    With this being a

IMG_7108year of great transitions in my house it seemed the right word for me to choose as my word of the year.    The reminder to breathe and go with the Flow has helped as we help my daughter choose and prepare to go away to college.

So while I was considering what short word to carve on my block for the summer printing on fabric workshop Flow seemed the right choice.     Simple block printing like this is a wonderful way to create something special for a small project.    Doesn’t it look like a modern batik??   My original intention was to create a table runner using only the printed fabric squares, IMG_7110

but I found some fabrics that I just had to put together with it and create a larger piece that will actually work well on a wall, or to cover my round kitchen table.   I designed a simple asymmetrical block to alternate with my printed fabrics and when you take the class I will share that pattern with you.     In the spirit of the word,  when the strips I had cut yielded only 12 of the alternate I chose to piece together the leftovers and one of the test pieces of printed fabric for the very center.    I am now deciding on how I want to quilt it.   Something watery and wave-like might just do the trick.      The class will be two sessions,  one to make the plate and print your fabrics,  and one to construct your top.    I will have the details of supply lists up soon.  I am still working on scheduling for the summer so if you are interested let me know what days and times are good for you.

Tomorrow is world Tai Chi day,   so it is a great day to stop, breathe deeply, and allow yourself to feel the flow of energy.      It will help you truly engage in your daily activities and maybe reach that flow state where everything is smooth, beautiful and easy.

Don’t forget that you only have a few days left to  schedule one of our log cabin showcase workshops.     I hope you take advantage of them before they are gone.

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Why?? – Why Not!!!

If you have ever spent time with a kid who has just discovered this word you know how hard it can be to answer some of the why questions.   You probably also discovered that this question can go many layers deep.   Why can’t I have that cake now??  because you’ll spoil your dinner.   Why?  Because you will be too full of sugar to eat what is good for you.    Why?   You should eat food that your body needs.   Why?  You will be healthier and not get fat, or cavities .   Why??  — and so on.    If you are not ready to answer these multitude of questions it can be more than a little annoying.     However we need to remember that the child asks out of a genuine curiosity and our patient answers are adding to their intellect.      So why am I thinking about this?


Yellow Brick Road by Sue F

Creativity is often given wings when it is driven by a good why question.    Several times this week I have discussed the frustration that happens when a project runs flat.   Whether it was preempted by life events,   something else came up on a deadline,   or whatever the reason,  it can be hard to go back to something that got put aside.     This is where you can ask yourself the first why,   Why did I stop working on this?    Once you can answer that you can ask,   Why did I start it in the first place?     If this answer still holds true,  you have the reason to get it going again.   If you don’t yet,  then ask yourself Why do I want to finish it now?   If you still don’t have an answer,  ask Why am I keeping it?    If you get this far then maybe you have learned what you needed to from the project and it is time to pass it on to someone else,  or finish it in a different way than planned.   I spoke to a quilter this week who began a large and intricate sampler a few years ago.   She ran into some health issues and only ended up with one block done.   When I suggested she make a pillow out of it instead of trying to make 19 more blocks,  she felt a great sense of relief.      Suddenly her why became  Why Not!!!


Hounds tooth by Sue F

So as I get the summer workshops and samples ready I want you to reflect for a moment on your own Why.    It can reconnect you to your projects in a profound way.

I hope you enjoy the Show and Tell that Sue Forrest brought to Work in Progress Wednesday.  She recently finished them both. Aren’t they great?

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Spring Showcase running out of time

Spring keeps teasing us,  but time is marching on and the semester is quickly drawing to it’s end.    This means you don’t have much longer to register for any of the Log Cabin Showcase workshops.    Still on the schedule are group sessions for Log Cabin cushion cover  April 17 & 24,   and  Pineapple Block,  on April 19.   Of course until May 1 you can still arrange for on demand sessions of these workshops as well.

log cabin cushion

These are such great blocks I firmly believe that all quilters should make them at least once in their quilting journey.   I bet that once you make one you will want to make others.   Because they are simple in design they are adaptable to many situations.    If you look at the traditional value arrangement of a log cabin,  it is divided in half on the diagonal.   This means that any block made from half square triangles and squares can be re interpreted as a log cabin quilt.    This example by Carol Hemphill Gershin  dated 1995,  is a wonderful contemporary example of what can be done if you are careful about your color planning.      I apologise for the poor photo,  you can see it more clearly in The Art Quilt,  by


Robert Shaw.


The end of one showcase means the start of another.    As usual,  Summer sessions are more creative and  Highlight something a bit out of the box.

Our Showcase theme for this summer ( May -August )  will be TEXT-tiles.     Workshops will cover labels for quilts,  Patchwork Alpahabets,   Hand carved stamps,  and a “Signature Mandala”  Over the next few weeks I will be unveiling these exciting projects.   I can’t wait to share the fun.

If you just can’t wait to get some fresh inspiration,  check out The Art of the Needle this weekend,  April 13-15,  the Biennial Needlework Show from our friends in the Skillkill Chapter of the EGA.    Locust grove, 2683 South Road ( Rt 9) Poughkeepsie.    Show is open 10-4.

Please get registered for our Log Cabin showcase workshops before it is too late.


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Samples anyone??

Tomorrow is our Block of the month meeting.  Tuesday our handstitchers will begin a new project.   Besides being run and organized by yours truly here at the shoppe,  what else do they have in common???    They are both samplers.     The sampler,  no matter the techniques,  is in some ways the equivalent of an artists sketchbook.     In its purest form it is a collection of worked up techniques in a single piece that can serve as a reminder and how to manual for future projects.    In the days when printed patterns were not common,  the sampler was a way to gather and develop techniques and skills,  in short it was used to learn how.     In some times and places it was even used to teach youngsters their alphabets.      Being able to put their initials ( and those of their future household ) on linens and other household items was a valuable skill.    Sometimes they would also be focused on a subject,   or particular type of stitching.     If you are interested in joining our handstitchers for an embroidery stitch sampler let simply let us know you are coming and check the club news page for a supply list.    No experience needed,  remember that a sampler is a learning tool.


Nautical sampler from needlework #59.  august 1977


Quilters too had samplers.    In this case, it was a collection of blocks that often had a common theme.    Pieced patterns,  sometimes with names that tell a story,  or the famous Baltimore Album applique quilts, and even some forms of early medallion quilts are all samplers.    At the moment we are almost half way through a civil war themed sampler.   It is a wonderful collection of classic quilt blocks.    Throughout the project I have supplemented the material from the book with interesting ways to use the blocks in other projects.    Some look totally different, and create secondary patterns when repeated and set a certain way,  some blossom with a different kind of sashing,  some pairs of blocks play together very well.    The uses for the blocks are many.     If you are interested please contact me and we can work it out,  and at the very least you get a copy of Barbara Brackmans Civil War sampler from us.  You will have at your fingertips a collection of 50 great blocks,   in two size options.    IMG_7078

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Don’t Multitask

This lovely Spring quilt top is the


very first for customer Cathy S.   It is a gift for a luck three year old.      The big pink polka dot you see at the top is for the back.   Super fun.    Cathy was here this week to get it basted and has out some quilting ideas.      This is our four square pattern and with true beginners we often tie it,  but Cathy has lots of non quilting sewing experience and so will be quilting it.    Quilt as desired is a huge topic and in the case of this pattern my go to idea is to stitch corner to corner so the straight lines follow the colors on a diagonal.   The pink and the green are pretty obvious,  but the two different yellows on the opposite diagonal are more subtle.    This quilt idea results in a square on point that sits perfectly within the grid.     More advanced quilters can then add a more detailed design within the on point squares for a completely different look.     There is also the possibility of using a decorative stitch from your machine to run the long rows of diagonal quilting and I do believe that is what Cathy is planning,  her machine has a puzzle piece design that will be fun.

While she was here another customer came in for  Work in Progress Wednesday also.   I was binding a quilt for a customer.   Lots going on and lots of conversation.   It was fun but we all had to be mindful of not getting too far ahead of ourselves or losing track of our own task.    It made me think.    Multi-tasking is not all that it is cut out to be.   Especially when quilt making.     The joy of the process is in the fact that you can single task.    There is peace in the focus of piecing.    As most of us prepare for Easter,  it is good to be able to sit for a few minutes and find that peace amid all the crazy trimmings of the season.   ( Personally if I never see Easter basket grass again I’ll be happy )

As it turns out I will have to close on Tuesday for a college visit with my daughter,  but our Block of the Month will meet next Saturday,  April 7.   We will be doing 3 blocks.   As usual if you can’t make the meeting I will hold your things for when you can come in.    Have a wonderful weekend, be safe if you travel to see family,  and keep piecing.

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Background Check

Yesterday we got in a box of new fabric.   That always feels like Christmas morning,  because most of the time it was ordered so long ago that I don’t remember what is coming when.    So I opened it and remembered OH yeah,  just some basic backgrounds.   But as I got them unpacked and checked in I was reflecting on how important the choice of background is.      It is hardly ever the first fabric we choose, but it can set the tone for the whole piece.   The wrong background can ruin the best color scheme,  and the right one can enliven a ho-hum fabric and make it sing.

The best way is to show you so I grabbed a few fat quarters and here we go.    First thing that most quilters who lack color confidence go to is white,  and yes that can work well with good clear colors,  or light pastels and 1930’s style,  but with other fabrics it can be too bright.     So ok,  then a cream or natural muslin type,  yes also can work, especially with toned down or very rich colors like civil war era reproductions.     Good,  but without getting into actual colors ( like blue or red ) our options are not done.   The Amish used Black backgrounds,   do you want a pure black,  or a nice warm brownish black???    And what about gray??  If you want a nice modern look don’t forget to try a gray.       And you thought you were done making fabric choices when you grabbed that fat quarter bundle.     Time for your background check.


Gray Floral


White Paisley



Cream print


Warm Black

Tomorrow is Crazy Quilt Club,  yes a week late but they will be starting a new project.   If you are new to the group please let us know you are coming.     I also want to let you know that next week we are on regular hours for Easter weekend.



Charcoal on Black

So after seeing them all, which one would you choose??


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