Home for the Holidays

So life in lockdown is settling in.   Just as things begin to run smoothly in my house we face the hurdle of everyone staying home for the holidays.   It feels odd,  but it is necessary.   No matter what your family traditions are,  I wish you a happy Spring Holiday at home.IMG_3260

I stopped at the shoppe today to pick up mail and allow a curbside pickup of a quilt I have finished conserving and was happy to see these beautiful pink trees across the street.   The lovely pink, with yellow and white blossoms in the background, set against the blue grey victorian house is one of the things I look forward to each spring.   Even on a day as grey as today it was a happy sight.

The quilt that was picked up today is a mountain mist Iris, in Yellow.   It was a kit quilt, and this maker had done a beautiful job.   Unfortunately this quilt got used hard and was in quite bad condition.     It took more than 50 hours to simply stabilize it so it could be lightly used for a bit longer.   Where the fabric was strong enough I stitched the repairs, but where it wasn’t I had to use patches, or even in some places glue because the fabric was just that worn away.   I don’t like to use glue, but in discussion with the owner and with the use it is still going to get we made that choice.   In the first photo you can see one of the worst tears pinned together.   This one got sewn back together and in the second photo you can see the result.   Sometimes sewing one seam back together puts stress and opens another,  so it can be a long process.

If you haven’t seen this pattern,   here is a quick shot of the whole quilt.  The kit also came in a purple variation.  IMG_3241

 I finally have posted the mask making tutorial on Youtube.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8BFHIJjYvQ      You should be able to click the link and go to part one.    I am not sure why the second part about the straps divided into parts,   but it is all there.    I am basically using the deaconess pattern,  but with a few changes,  like different fabrics for the inside and outside,  and t shirt material for the straps.    I’ve now made dozens and this works very well.   Please like and subscribe.  

HArvest MoonI am working on videos for the Harvest Moon Block of the Month too.   If you are interested in doing this by mail please let me know asap.    I can either do a private facebook group for it or post on youtube for video lessons until we can meet again in person.     It is critical that I know how many of you I can count on participating.    The fabrics are beautiful and rich, and the techniques are pretty simple.    This one will be fun!!


Everyone please stay safe,  stay home,  wash your hands,   and keep sewing!!!



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Mail order and masks

I hope this greets everyone in good health, and good spirits.   It is tricky to remain positive at times,  but our efforts are starting to flatten the curve, at least in our local area, I have been concentrating my viewing of the news to local as much as possible.  I have been keeping busy with catching up on conservation and repair projects because they can still bring some income to the shoppe without needing to stress me out by having to develop tons of new strategies.    Most of my suppliers are having shipping  issues unless you have large fabric orders.    I am working out a plan to do our Block of the month by mail so if you are interested in it please let me know.   If not enough of you want to do it I may have to cancel the fabric delivery, and thus the program.    Our BOM and clubs are part of why I have established a youtube channel.    At the moment there is only a single video there,  but as I refine my setup and filming technique I plan on posting about our club projects.  and the BOM  Here is the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxiMyfXCSLsif youare &t=37s

You don’t need a youtube account to view it.    If you view it please comment or like it,  and please consider subscribing.   If I can manage to get 1000 subscribers youtube will begin to pay me by the view.   I will be adding more content soon.   The channel is under my name,  Diana Louie.    Thank you for supporting this venture.

The other thing I want to address is Masks.    The directive is now in place that everyone should be wearing them.  My chiropractor has asked me to make some for his office, and of course I am supplying my family too.  Quilters have already been busy making them for institutions for a few weeks already,  and sources for elastic are long dried up.   My supplier says it will be 6-8 weeks before they can ship me any.    I have seen where some are splitting open bungee cords — under that covering it is made of lots of strips of elastic.   But be warned there is latex in that elastic and some places prefer cloth ties because they hold up better in sanitization with heat.     The other suggestion is that the inside and outside of the mask be different so that if the mask is removed it can be put back on in the same orientation that is was used before.   Here is the way I am doing it.

It is pretty simple to take two different pieces of fabric 8 x 7,  sew them right sides together, along the two 7 inch sides, turn right sides out and press.   Fold  3 deep pleats along the 8 inch length and press them so the whole thing is about 3 1/2 x 8.   If needed stitch the edges so the pleats stay.    Use 2 yard long pieces of bias tape to enclose the raw edges,  putting the mask in the center to create the ties.     If you don’t have bias tape,  you can use wide ribbon folded in half,  or make some bias by cutting fabric on the 45 degree angle,  at 1 1/2 x 36,  folding to the center along the length and then folding this in half around the mask edges.   Stitch the ties along the mask first,  and then stitch the long parts of the ties again.  I do have a pdf I can send you if you need,  just email me and I’ll send it.    ( file is not mine but is pretty good )   I will hopefully also be filming a video for the youtube channel.

My best wishes for your continued safety, health, and sanity.


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Looking for the Silver Linings

There is a love/hate relationship with technology right now.   It is both the biggest distributor of fear and false information,  and the saviour of our sanity as it is currently the best way for humans to get to see other humans that don’t live with them.    Staying put in our own homes is also sometimes wonderful and incredible frustrating.    I am trying to stay on the positive side of things, it has taken me all week to finally discover that the webcam on my laptop is mechanically compromised.   I will be unable to go live to Youtube,  but that doesn’t mean I can’t post videos,  I will just have to film them on the smartphone.     I have promised a few of you that Jake will be in most videos,  and that the first one will be on safe rotary cutting.    In conjunction with these blog posts about the great studio cleanup I hope you will all find the inspiration to use the time to yourself and your stash to create something wonderful and bring some more beauty into the world.    We all need it.



Last week I promised you I would be brave and share photos of my unruly studio, with the goal of cleaning off my sewing table,  my ironing board, and my cutting table.   It didn’t quite go that way.   Jake felt the need to be very underfoot so I decided to start with the comfy chair that he is allowed to be on.



If you didn’t know there was a chair under it you could be forgiven.    Trying hard not to just make more piles of things,  and instead actually putting away or tossing things,   I succeeded in clearing it off and Jake is very happy with his napping spot for now.   There was that nice fuzzy throw blanket and a pillow that my grandmother had cross stitched and sewn so he is set up.  I did also get my sewing table clear and I’ve been able to continue doing the conservation work at home.    Working at home is a different thing,  I miss my big tables, but the light is better here.   

I miss the cutting counter.     I have not cut significant amounts of fabrics at home in quite some time.    Most of the time I am using new fabrics from the shoppe inventory for samples, so both my home stash and my cutting table have been neglected.    Since the first video is to be about cutting safety,  and using scraps in the process,  my next project will be the cutting table.    It will be a challenge.    There is just as much stuff under it too, but I will consider that a separate challenge.    There is much to do.    It will be a challenge but I have found some good things as I clean,  like my sense of control, and some space to get away from others in the house when they are either teaching or learning remotely.IMG_3204

It is my hope that you all stay healthy, stay sane and keep busy with all the things you used to wish you had time to do.    If you haven’t done it already please like and follow the Village Fabric Shoppe on facebook,  or if you are interested in guitar, and all my odd pets feel free to like my personal page too,   Diana Louie.   The Youtube channel is also as Diana Louie.   I hope to have the first video ready for you this afternoon.    So gather your scraps, clear a space at your cutting board and check it out.

No matter how you are getting updates from me,  please reach out so we can keep human contact in our lives,  and our community strong.     Be safe, be healthy and make something beautiful.

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Mandated Closing

Since this mornings post the situation has changed.

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce to you that as a non essential business Saturday March 21 will be our last open hours for the time being.  The Governor has mandated it and I am not going to risk incurring fines or contributing to the pandemic.   I therefore am urging you to come in tomorrow if you need to stock up on needles or thread or fabric or books or even a gift certificate.   There will   be enough frustration in the coming weeks without running out of basics like that.    Remember when you said you wanted to start that project when you had time?? Well here you go.  Be sure you have what you need by getting to us tomorrow.  We are disinfecting continually and we would be happy to help you from the door if needed.

Having said that,  I may not be visiting the shoppe often and thus the best way to contact me will be by email or facebook messenger through either my personal page or the shoppe page.   I will do my best to help you to continue your projects at home.   I will post the blog every Friday as usual but will be keeping you updated more frequently as I share from my home studio via facebook live.  Staying in good communication will be key to not just my staying in business, but also and perhaps more importantly, everyone staying calm and healthy.


facebook/Diana Louie

Although this is going to be a struggle for a business as small as mine I will be continuing the conservation and repair work from home.   I have a considerable backlog and I am hopeful that I have enough work with that to scrape by until I can open the brick and mortar location again.  I look forward to seeing you all in person when this blows over.

Until then stay safe,  stay healthy and keep stitching.

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Adapting and stashbusting

These are strange times.   Many people are struggling with the isolation and many small businesses are feeling the crunch.  I received the news last evening that Red Hook has its first permanent business closure because of the virus.   It hit me hard.    It also greatly increased my frustration that I somehow can’t get my laptop camera and facebook to get on the same page.   My husband has been too busy getting his own drawing classes ready for remote teaching to lend his usual assistance.  I am working on it however,  and as soon as I can I will be doing a series of live chats about organizing and working from your stash.     So if you have not liked and followed the Village Fabric Shoppe Page on Facebook please do it as soon as you finish reading this.  Being able to stay in active communication is going to be key for all of us as things move forward.

This is as much for me as you,  my sewing space still has not fully recovered from moving the shoppe to a new location on short notice, and then not long after getting Liz ready for college.    In both those situations my sewing space became a catchall for those items that no one knew where else to put them.    Before I got to work on it,  I started having medical issues that impacted my mobility and after work at the shoppe and other family and household chores I rarely had the energy to work on it.     Now is a perfect time to get that space back to the cheerful roomy creative place I know it is under all the stuff.    It starts small,  clear off your ironing board,   your cutting space, and your sewing table this week.    Make an effort to really put things away instead of making another pile on the floor, or box under the table.    This is my goal for now.   I have plenty of things to work on if I can clear a good space.      When we go live on Facebook finally,  I promise to to be shy about sharing my messy space.

Let me tell you about some of my projects.    Basic Hand PiecingI finished a small scrappy piece from the basic hand piecing workshop so I had a more recent sample.     That class is being offered by private appointment and including fabric,  on sale for only $15.00    And yes, my tables are 6 feet wide,   we can maintain social distance and you can learn a skill that will potentially give you activities you can do at home for years!!    I have a huge collection of scraps that you may choose from for your project.    I have done this with kids as young as 5 too!!

I also got in a quilt from the 1980’s,  Star of Bethlehem in typical 80’s blues,  all basted and ready for hand quilting.   This one will be fun to finish.   But I am super excited that the Paula Nadelstern fabrics arrived yesterday,   I will be opening them up and getting a sample ready for a workshop whose dates will be determined when we emerge from isolation.   I know that you will have used up all of your stash by then,  or at least be tired of looking at it,  and will want to start something exciting.

Please remember that I am still here for you and we are taking precautions.    If this very small business is to survive this I need to know you are still part of my community.   I am doing what I can to be of help.   I wish you all Peace, stitching, and good health.

New hours of operation,  10:30-1  Tuesday to Saturday, or by private appointment.    If we are here the lighted OPEN sign will be lit.   ( You can see it from the road )

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Updated hours

Small businesses like this one are already feeling the crunch from the virus related restrictions. In an effort to lower our overhead we will be running on reduced hours or by appointment until further notice. Our days of operation have not changed but we will only be open from 10:30-1pm.
Our current specials are still in effect, half off the registration fee for Make friends with your sewing machine, and basic hand piecing, both done privately by appointment and both include fabric. They are suitable for almost any age. See the workshops page for more information. We are disinfecting after each customer and following all protocols to keep everyone as safe as we can.
The Group workshop for Smarties has been postponed.   Dates to be announced when things clear up.
In addition we are working to quickly develop online programs to help you work from your home sewing supplies. Be sure that you have liked and followed our facebook page or subscribed here to get the updates as they happen.

Marbella by Bentartex.   10 fat quarter packs available now.  


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Sweet tooth

So first I want to reassure all of you that although I have been having plenty of doctors appointments,   the issues I have will NOT spread to you.   Kidney stones and a knee injury will not give you a virus.    There is a great deal of panic,  misinformation, and over reaction going on and unfortunately fear does a great job of lowering your immune system.    I have yet another appointment tomorrow morning so we will open at 1 pm, which is why I am writing this a bit early.


Smarties Quilt

Engaging in activities that lower stress is known to boost immune responses,  so I believe that having an exciting new project to work on is good therapy, helping to combat the fear and helping everyone keep a level head.    Lucky for you we have beautiful new fabrics in stock, and the perfect project.    Our Smarties quilt is exactly the kind of project that is needed right now.   ANd if Smarties are not your favorite candy, how about taking color inspiration from M & Ms or gumballs, or Reeses Pieces, or using the new Marbella fabrics and calling it Marbles?    The special introductory offer is still on,   Half off the registration fee for the workshop scheduled for March 26th.  Where else can you get a fun and in person workshop for only $15.00??    After that event,  it will be an on demand class at its regular price of $30.00.     I know you have six fat quarters that would be perfect,  and if not we have packs of the ones we used, and a few color options.    Join us and indulge your sweet tooth without the calories or cavities.     Supply list is on the workshops page of this site.


Marbella fabrics by Benartex

Just a two other schedule announcements,   Crazy Quilt Club will meet this Tuesday, on St Patrick’s Day,  so wear some green!   And second, due to the venue closing for quarantine,  World of Quilts, the annual show by Northern Star Guild is cancelled.   This announcement came in while I was writing, so hot off the presses.   It is usually a great show but if the campus is closed there is no other choice.   


Burlap, by Benartex,  New arrivals

So Keep a cool head,  think logically, make a quilt,  and wash your hands after your “Smarties”



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