Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Enjoy the day today.



Friday, May 28, 2010

Get thee to the Fish Ladder Festival!

What are you waiting for?

The Fish Ladder Festival is on and we are going to be painting faces and showing the DVD documentary about the alewives all weekend long: rain or shine!

Looks like it is going to be shine this weekend...

If you come by, please do drop in and say hello!



Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Checking in with you:

• If you were ever planning to visit the shop, now would be a great time to do so, because the Alewives are running and it is just glorious in the Mills right now.

• This coming weekend (Memorial Day weekend) will be the Fish Ladder Festival. We will be painting faces and showing a DVD about the Alewives and the fish ladder here at the shop. All for free and all proceeds benefit the Fish Ladder Restoration Fund.

• Bought some stuff (shoes!) from Nordstrom for the wedding (thanks for the catalog, Nadine!).

• Point 2 Point Scavenger Hunt wrapped up yesterday: what a success! I can't wait to do it again next year and I can't wait to meet Ellen for Margaritas this Thursday night to talk it all over.
Thanks to Ellen and everyone else who participated.

• A man came in to the shop today who turned out to be the Poet Laureat of Rockland, Maine (I never knew they had such a thing... I wonder who the Poet Laureat of Damariscotta Mills is?) and he asked for some paper and went out on the front deck. When he came back in, he recited a poem that he had written just for us! I will post it here so you can read it, too, as it was probably one of the top ten neatest things to ever happen at the shop.

• Speaking of neat things, Amanda came to visit us on Tuesday. I really like that gal. Can't wait to see how her project turns out.

• Do you guys think it is weird that I am probably the only fabric-store person not blogging about Quilt Market in Minneapolis? Mom and I would love to go, but when I think of all the fabric we could buy with all of the money it would cost to go, the fabric wins out every time. Plus I am from Maine and I hate crowds. And planes. And waiting in line. So that might have something to do with the "not going to Market" thing.

• Had my very first "last" Turning Twenty online class yesterday afternoon. What a great idea that was, I am sooo glad I did it. I met the coolest ladies and have seen some pretty kick-butt quilts. Take a look at Colette's finished quilt top here.

• Went to In Good Company with my very best girlfriends this week and got a lot of good drinking and talking done. It probably added a good five years to my life expectancy as it was a marathon venting-session. My friends and I are nothing if not champion venters.

• Ollie and I have a date with the hot afternoon sun to paint our little boat. We had a big debate (argument) over whether to paint the boat red or black. Obviously, I was team red. Obviously, I won the debate (argument). Bought some Sunbrella remnants at On Board to cover the cushions with. Did I mention this bought is actually small enough that the two of us put it in the back of Ollie's truck and drive it up the street to the neighbor's landing and then carry it to the water? Ahh, but it's ours, all ours... And it's going to be red!

That's all for today... have a great start to your week!



Thursday, May 20, 2010

To have and to fold

I truly believe that certain fabrics are not destined to become finished quilts, but instead are destined to sit there in your stash to have and to fold, to admire and inspire with possibilities.

More evidence to support this theory:

This photo.

And this photo.

And this photo.

Tell me you don't want to drop everything and make something RIGHT. NOW.

(Much more inspiring than a finished project, don't you think?)



Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New Books and Patterns!

There have been so many new patterns and books coming in our doors lately that I haven't had the time to blog about them, but I have a spare moment right now and I thought you might like to see all these new goodies:

First, the books!

We have gotten in Anna Maria Horner's new book Handmade Beginnings:

This book has been getting so much press lately, and rightfully so.

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Anna Maria's first book, Seams to Me.

It is my go-to book for the beginning sewer.

When I found out that Handmade Beginnings was coming out, I thought it would be very tough to follow-up that first book with something equally as wonderful.

You can probably guess where I am going with this...

The book is amazing.

I love all the projects, from the maternity clothes to the baby clothes to the home-decorator projects, this book is a smash hit.

And just a warning, this book will probably be single-handedly responsible for many, many babies being born.

If you don't know the exact position of your ovaries before reading this book, you certainly will by the time you finish.

And next is a book that for some reason has not had a lot of fanfare in Blogland, but I have been anxiously awaiting its arrival and was very glad to see it at our shop:

The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking by Jane Brocket is one of those books that inspires you by the photography alone.

The colors are delectable and each photo's composition is breathtaking, but that should come as no surprise to those of you who, like myself, are fans of Jane's blog.

This book is much more anecdotal than your typical how-to quilting book (which I love), but unlike her previous book, this time around Jane has included instructions for each of the projects.

The quilts and photography are gorgeous, but to me, the best reason for buying the book would be to read Jane's fabric suggestions.

In true Brocket-style, she goes into great depth about very specific fabrics that inspired her and if you are a fabric nerd like me, you will gobble this kind of literary fabric conversation up with a spoon.

Moving on to the patterns that have passed under our roof in the last few days, Heather Bailey has released a whole slew of new patterns:

The New Leaf folding totes include patterns for grocery-market style tote bags that fold into their own teeny, tiny little purses and fit into your bag so that you can't forget them.

But really, who could forget a grocery tote that was as fabulous as one of these?

It makes me want to go grocery-shopping (in style) just looking at that pattern!

The Flutterby Pincsuhion pattern
is adorable, n'est-ce pas?

And, not unlike their pincushion cousin Henrietta Turtle (who is now back in stock, by the way), these pincushions could also be sweet little baby toys as well.

We also have a pattern for Clara and Clancy Pig and I must admit that I am a bit fascinated by this pair. We are working on a shop sample for these guys (kits, too!), but I will have to post about that when they are done (just between you and me the little pig arms and legs that have been finished so far are super-cute).

And last but not least from Miss Heather Bailey we received the Saturday Market Totebag pattern:

Very cute, don't you think?

I will have to snap my fingers and wiggle my nose and see if we can get one of these whipped up for the shop, too.

And although these Denyse Schmidt patterns are not new, we have just received them at the shop, so they are new to us:

See, I told you we got a lot of new stuff in, didn't I?!?

All of these new goodies are available in the shop... come take a look!



Monday, May 17, 2010

Holler if you like the following

Do you like...

• Shopping?

• Discounts?

• Food?

• Fun times?

• Hanging out with your friends?

• Road trips?

• Solving little mysteries?

• Gift certificates to your favorite local shops?

If you answered "yes" to all of the above (as I fully anticipate you did), then you should be spending your weekend with a group of friends doing our Point 2 Point Scavenger Hunt!

So many people (including myself) are excited for this little event!

Let me remind you how it will work:

Begin your hunt at either Alewives Fabrics or at Purl Diva in Brunswick.

We will give you a Scavenger Hunt packet.

Each packet contains a map to each shop in the hunt, clues to be solved at each shop, plus hints to help you find three mystery locations.

You will hunt at seven of your favorite local shops (Alewives Fabrics, Darling&Delisle, Purl Diva, Rock Paper Scissors, Serendipity House, Treats, and Wild Oats Bakery... see, I told you they were your favorite local shops!) and along the way, you can not only solve your clues, but also shop and enjoy special "Scavenger Hunter's Discounts" at all of these places.

In each town (Damariscotta area, Wiscasset and Brunswick), there is also a clue for a mystery location that you will have to find.

Once you find this mystery location, take a picture of you and your friends standing near it (or on it, or in it... who knows?!?!) to prove you have been there.

At the last location of your hunt (which will either be Purl Diva or Alewives Fabrics, depending on where you began your hunt), you will turn in your Scavenger Hunt packet and your clue proofs.

For each correct clue proof, you will be entered to win a gift certificate to one of the participating shops.

The Scavenger Hunt starts this Saturday, May 22nd and will wrap up on Sunday, May 23rd.

Take both days or finish the hunt in one day, it's your hunt and it's up to you!

What's not to love?

I can't think of a better way to spend the weekend: so grab a group of friends, designate a driver and hit the road!



Monday, May 10, 2010

Playtime with Olive: the Happy Stacker Ring Toy by Heather Bailey

The Happy Stacker Ring Toy has been Olive-tested and approved!

Francesca shared that Olive has a similar toy at home that is made from wood, but that she always worries about the wooden peg the rings stack on: lots of "poke-your-eye-out-potential" there.

Not so much with our fabric version!

This Happy Stacker was lovingly sewn together by one of my sample sewers: Carol in Connecticut.

Carol advises that the pattern is best suited for intermediate sewers or advanced beginners and to be advised that there is quite a lot of hand-sewing, so you need to be patient that way.

She says that the turning of the rings works perfectly every time, provided you follow the directions exactly and once you have done this step one time it will all make sense.

Pay close attention to lay out the pattern according to the grain lines marked on the pattern pieces: this will help to avoid funny bulges and ovals and keep the rings "donut-shaped."

According to Carol, the illustrations are great and very clearly written out.

We have some Happy Stacker Ring Toy patterns (and some new Heather Bailey patterns, too!) in the shop.

Thanks for stepping up and testing out the Happy Stacker for me, Olive!

And thanks so much to my sample sewer Carol for making such a great toy!



Saturday, May 8, 2010

Is it too late for April showers?

We had a fairly glorious April here in Maine.

Now we are experiencing a little stormy weather.

It's pretty easy to take the rain in stride when you have a few 80+ degree days under your belt.

And bad weather is always a good excuse to go shopping at your favorite fabric store and to then stay inside and sew.

It's also a great time for me to tell you about the School Days Jacket and Coat pattern from Oliver+S which, when made from one of our great new laminates, becomes a most fabulous rain coat.

We made our shop sample from this bright and sunny Kaffe Fassett print: just what is called for on a rainy day, don't you think?

These new laminates from Free Spirit and Westminster are really rocking my world.

Some of the other fabric companies have come out with their own versions of laminated cotton, but most of them are quite stiff.

There may be a time when you want a good stiff laminate (tote bags, anyone?), but probably not when you are making a raincoat (All I can picture is Ralphie's little brother from A Christmas Story in a raincoat his Mom made for him saying "I can't put my arms down!").

The Free Spirit and Westminster laminates are very soft and supple and great for making garments with.

Amy Butler has a slew of patterns coming out that use her laminates, including an adult raincoat pattern, one that is sized for children, some tote bags with grommets and there are free directions here for covering an umbrella with laminated fabric (must try that someday: suspect this is much easier to do than it appears and the results look FAB: not unlike covering your own buttons).

But enough about the laminated fabric: let me tell you about the pattern.

The School Days Jacket and Coat pattern is rated 4 out of 4 for difficulty, but not because any of the steps are hard: they are more time consuming than anything and no one step is individually hard in and of itself.

I would even go so far as to say that this pattern could be very easy.

So easy that I don't really have any good words of wisdom to share with you...

The hood was quick and went together smoothly which was a nice surprise because I have never made a hood in my life.

I probably wouldn't recommend the pattern to someone who was a beginner: if you have some garment making experience and are patient this would definitely be do-able, though.

You don't need to insert a zipper and if you choose to use toggles, you don't even have to make buttonholes.

I know there are those of you out there who are still intimidated by zippers and buttonholes and I don't blame you.

I always dread when I see them in a pattern but they are really not that hard at all.

(Still, it's nice to know you can skip them if you aren't feelin' it!)

There are so many great laminates to choose from now, as opposed to this time last year when there were only a couple that were suitable for garment making.

You can choose a fun cotton print to coordinate with your laminate for the lining and send your little one off to puddle jump in style!

The Oliver+S School Days Jacket and Coat pattern is available in the shop here and the laminates are available here.

See you again soon and Happy Mother's Day to all of you mothers out there!



The new Oliver+S patterns are in the shop now, too. They will be online soon and we are hard at work making samples to share with you!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Summer Blouses that were actually made by someone other than myself

Hello everybody,

I thought you might like to see some Summer Blouses (pattern found in Heather Ross' book Weekend Sewing) made by the students in my class that finished up this past Sunday.

Regular readers of this blog will remember that I've made so many of these little numbers.

Soooo many.

I thought it was time to impart my wisdom in class form and spread the happiness that is the Summer Blouse.

I'm just sorry that I didn't get a picture of everyone's finished blouse, but I did get a picture of Kate's blouse:

Didn't she do a great job?

Kate used one of my favorite Alexander Henry prints for this shirt (Yen Rose) and she walked away with a few yards of an older Heather Bailey to make another.

And here is a picture of Miss Lori and Miss Amanda, two of my favorite gals, sporting their new shirts:

Lori (on the left) made her shirt out of a summery batik and Amanda (on the right) made her shirt from one of Anna Maria Horner's voile prints.

I love how this shirt looks good on everybody and looks so different depending on which print and fabric you use.

I have recently made one in voile and also one in double gauze and I love them both!

I recommend using a brand spanking new, smaller-size needle (a size 70/10 is what I used) if you are making the blouse from a voile, a double gauze or a batik, as the small sharp needle will glide through the fabric like buttah.

My biggest tip for making this shirt is to buy 2.5 yards of fabric (not the 1.5 yards recommended in the book), and pre-wash and dry the way you normally would wash and dry your clothes.

Also, unless you are very short you will probably need to lengthen the pattern.

I am 5'2" and very short-waisted and I have lengthened my pattern by about 2" and just do a small, rolled hem.

Thanks to all of the ladies in my class: I was so pleased with how everyone did and you should all be very proud!



Monday, May 3, 2010

NEMQG meeting

This past weekend I was lucky enough to get Saturday afternoon off and was able to attend my first ever meeting of the New England Modern Quilt Guild.

The meeting was held in Portsmouth, which is two hours away from here (!), but it was a gorgeous day and I met up with my friend Kelley and we were able to carpool down together and had a very good time.

For those of you who have not heard of the New England Modern Quilt Guild, it is an off-shoot of the Modern Quilt Guild, started by Alissa (of the blog Handmade by Alissa), and the guild is still very, very new.

The New England branch has only had three meetings (including this last one), so it is still very new.

I find that it is always fun to get in on these things at the very beginning, and I fully expect the Modern Quilt Guild to grow a lot in the next few years.

If you are reading this blog there is a good chance that you are the type of person they are looking for.

It was fun to meet other people who share this passion of mine and be fabric nerds and talk about how much we love Amy Butler and Heather Ross and Anna Maria Horner and Liberty of London and Echino and Heather Bailey, etc, etc, etc...

For me, though, the REAL highlight was show and tell:

This gal made a Tickertape quilt.

I have never seen one of these in person, only on the internet, so it was a special treat for me to see this one.

This was a quilt that had been made in a workshop with Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.

These are some of Kelley's La La Log Cabin blocks.

This was one of my favorite quilts at the meeting: I loved the colors and the quilting and you can almost see in this photo that the white areas are mostly eyelet lace... I always love bringing different textures into a quilt.

These two were made by a gal who made a "boy" quilt and a "girl" quilt, because at the time she didn't know if she was going to have a boy or a girl.

Turned out she had a boy, so the last quilt has yet to be used.

I don't normally love a whole collection used together but the exception to that rule has got to be the Freshcut fabrics by Heather Bailey, which is what this lady used in the second "girly" quilt.

Both of these quilts are just gorgeous.

This one was made by a lady from New Hampshire: she also had to drive for two hours to get to the meeting and I'm glad she did because this quilt was so pretty and well made, I really appreciated her sharing it with us.

I know there are Maine gals out there who would like to be a part of NEMQG.

Don't get hung up on the word "guild."

Belonging to a guild doesn't mean that you have to be a master quilter.

It just means that you enjoy quilting and would like to spend some time exploring your hobby with like-minded individuals.

Some of the NEMQG meetings are just too far away for us Maine gals to attend, but there are plans in the works for a "Sew-In" at Alewives: a time where we could all just get together and sew and chat and be quilt-y.

Let me know if you are interested and we will nail down the details for ya!

And BIG thanks to Monet, the NEMQG president: I think you are an absolute sweetheart and I so appreciate all of the hard work that goes into coordinating not just one state's guild, but all six New England states!



Saturday, May 1, 2010

Show and Tell: La La Log Cabin


It is a beautiful Saturday morning here.

A great day to go to the NEMQG meeting in Portsmouth.

I am bringing this quilt I made for show and tell at the meeting, but I thought it was high time I showed you something I had made here in this space as well.

This is one of my La La Log Cabin quilts.

I made it for my little sister Johanna for her 12th birthday this past February.

I have never made her a quilt before, can you believe it?

Here's a closeup:

And here's the picture I snapped by accident when I was trying to take pictures in the parking lot while one of our customer's husbands sat in his car and watched me:

Which reminds me of a funny something that happened yesterday...

I had a customer come in the store and tell me that "Real Mainers" don't pronounce the "V" in the word "Alewives."

According to this lady, they pronounce it "Alewise."

I had a hard time letting that go.

I knew I should have just smiled and nodded and let her think whatever she wanted but I'm just not that girl.

I said "I'm pretty sure they pronounce the V."

"No," she said, "Not Real Mainers. They don't pronounce the V. They say Alewise."

I said "Apparently myself and my entirely family and everyone I have ever met are Fake Mainers then, because all of us pronounce the V."

(Sometimes I don't think I should be allowed to work with the public).

Thanks for letting me borrow your quilt, Noo Noo!

And I cannot WAIT to see what everyone else brings to share at the meeting.

I am going to bring my camera so here's hoping I remember to snap some photos!

See you again soon...