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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Sue and Chocolate

IMG_2723IMG_2722 I am a little late getting this written today because we had the first part of the Sunbonnet Sue workshop.   I think I am going to rename the workshop,  “OMG She’s so Cute!”  because that is what we kept saying over and over.   – And we haven’t even gotten to embellishment yet.    If you missed out I will probably run her again in the spring.     That is Janet J. with one of hers using vintage fabrics,  and the other photo shows a rainbow set of Sue made by Sue F.    We used fusible and will be embroidering and adding the setting in our next session.     We had so much fun playing with Sue this morning.


One 12 inch block of Chocolate Kisses

So do you like chocolate?   Red Hook will be having the annual Chocolate Festival on November 2.    In honor of this fattening event,  we will be running a workshop to show you how to make the Chocolate Kisses Block.   Because of the festival this one will include a copy of our printed pattern and precut materials for a 12 inch block.     The idea is to give you a taste of the technique so that you can use it to make all sorts of wonderful things using your own fabrics at home.    By itself the piece makes a nice candle mat, potholder or small wall quilt or pillow,  but  once you know how easy this technique is you will be wanting to make lots more.      Please let us know you are attending so that we have enough fabrics ready.    Our session will be Friday, November 1,  11 am, $30.00, just bring your machine with chocolate colored thread,  and you might want a pencil to take notes.    How nice is that short supply list?    Hope to see a bunch of you for this one.



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Show weekend

This is the weekend quilters all over the Hudson Valley have been planning for.   The weekend of the Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show.     Every odd numbered year it takes place in the gym of Dutchess Community College.    I have it on good authority that the over one hundred quilts on display are a particularly good bunch and that the Best in Show will take your breath away.     I will also tell you that Debbie Brown, the featured guest will be doing lectures and workshops that you should definitely check out.   She is a wonderful speaker and teacher,  who often teaches at the Big Show in Houston for a much higher fee.    This is a great opportunity to learn from her without needing a plane ticket.

I wanted to share with you the runner that Beverly Allyn made from our Jack O’lantern pattern.   The kids in her life designed the faces,  don’t you love the puppy and the unicorn??    Kids are just so free in what they design,  it’s wonderful and its a lesson we could all benefit from.


We will be closed tomorrow,  the 13th,  and will be opening late Wednesday the 16th,  at 2 pm.    Having said that,  you should also mark your calendars for the Weekend of Halloween.    Red Hook is having its annual Chocolate Festival, the Saturday  after Halloween,  so we will be running a workshop on our Chocolate Kisses and Hugs workshop.   It will be Friday November First, at 11 am.   and will teach you how to make the Kiss and the Hug blocks,  and discuss ways to use them together or separately.    Class fee includes a copy of our printed pattern,  and materials for 2 kisses and 2 hugs while supplies last.   ( makes a 12 inch block )   Cost is $30.00    Bring your sewing machine, with cream or light brown thread,  and a pencil.    Call ahead to reserve your materials.

Have a wonderful and creative weekend.


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