Monday, February 28, 2011

Mystery Quilt Weekend Photos

We had such a good time this weekend at the Mystery Quilt class...

What is the Mystery Quilt class?

I designed a pattern, and the gals in my class had NO IDEA what they were making: they were just given a list of materials to purchase (i.e., 30 "light/background" fat quarters, 15 "dark" fat quarters, 15 "medium" fat quarters).

It turned out to be a really good lesson in color-intuition, because sometimes when you see a pattern, you can't get past the colors/fabrics used on the cover.

The pattern I designed turned out to be little houses... I think they are so cute!

I think these all came out great: what do you think?

Are they not the cutest things ever?

Which ones are your favorites?

I can't decide: I like them all and they all look so different and take on different personalities depending on the fabric choices.

I love how some of them look so traditional and old-fashionedy while some of them look like Caribbean beach huts, or gnome-houses, or British town-houses, or Greek Island adobe homes, or little Christmas elf houses, and all depending on the fabric and setting choices.

And those little chimneys kill me.

Great job and a huge thank you to the wonderful group of ladies who spent this past weekend with me. What a treat to see your colorful little creations...

Thanks for going on this quilting journey with me!

I will see you all again soon,



Friday, February 25, 2011


This picture has nothing to do with anything, except that this is a funny apron Ollie and I got at the wedding. Sometimes the phrase seems to hit the spot. Except in my case it was more like 7 years in college.


At the risk of being shushed by everyone out there who is sick of the snow and ready for it to be spring, I was so glad to have a snow day today.

It was a much needed reprieve.

I took so long deciding what I wanted to make for the Craft Swap that when I finally committed I found myself in the scary position of perhaps having to present someone with an in-progress gift.

This would be a first for the Craft Swap, and although I have always wanted to be a trail-blazer, I don't want to be that kind of a trail-blazer.

So, the snow day was well-timed for me.

And besides the extra time with the Craft Swap, I had a nice, quiet day at the shop today.

But not too quiet.

I feel good and caught up now, and I am home safe and sound with a glass of Prosecco and a big bag of Little Lads and a dark chocolate Toblerone.

Thank you, snow day.

I will see you all again soon!



Closing at Noon


Due to the storm Alewives will be closing at noontime today: get your behinds in here and stock up so you can spend the weekend in sewing bliss.

The Craft Swap has been rescheduled to next Friday, March 4th and there will be no Sewing Lounge tonight.

Stay safe and hunker down with your loved ones!



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Craft Swap Rescheduled...

Hello One and All,

According to the "experts," we are in for some wild and wooly weather tomorrow. If you haven't had your eye on the weather reports, they say we are in for snow/rain in the morning, changing to rain in the afternoon, changing back to snow/rain in the evening, with strong wind gusts, slippery roads and power outages expected.

I don't know about you, but these do not sound like ideal traveling conditions to me. In fact, they sound quite the opposite!

I wish I had a crystal ball and could tell if the weather will manifest the way they are expecting it to, but I would rather be safe than sorry, and let people make their plans sooner rather than later. And I know some of you (myself and Jessica included!) could benefit from an extra week to work on your Craft Swap projects, so I am officially rescheduling the Craft Swap to Friday, March 4th (one week from tomorrow).

I would greatly appreciate it if you would please pass this info along to anyone you know who has signed up for the Craft Swap.

Other than the change of date, the details will remain the same: the Swap will start at 6:00 sharp and be held here at Alewives Fabrics. Please feel free to come a bit early and please feel free to bring some food and/or beverage with you.

And I have just one more favor to ask...

We have 32 lovely ladies signed up for the Craft Swap (a record number of attendees for us!) and we don't have quite enough chairs for everyone. If you have an extra folding chair or two that you would be willing to bring along, please do so!

Thanks very much and I hope to see you all next Friday, March 4th.

(Let's cross our fingers for better weather on our new date and while we're at it, let's cross our fingers that tomorrow's weather turns out to be not-so-bad, after all!)



Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winslow Market Tote Chronicles: Episode 5

So, I was kind of hoping to get better pictures of this particular bag: pictures with my now 13 year old (as of Friday February 13th) sister modeling.

But manashevitz, that gal is busy, busy, busy. Almost as busy as me!

I had visions of a much cuter post, but sometimes you have got to let these things go.

Especially when you need to clear your sister's schedule with her manager (also known as my business associate and oh yeah, our MOM!).

We are a bit like Romeo and Juliet. Two ships passing in the night.

I was able to snag her bag, but not the girl herself for a photo shoot.

The girl herself is busy with math meets (not sure where the love of/aptitude for math comes from: not from me, I assure you!) and she is playing one of the lead roles in her school's production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (That bit she gets from me, for sure!).

Anyhow, here is the Winslow Market Tote I made her for Christmas.

I love how it turned out: just right for toting things to and from math meets and play rehearsals.

The fabric is from Heather Ross' "Mendocino" line that has now been discontinued, plus one of the Echino solids for the bottom of the bag and the lining.

And as always, the fabulous Winslow Market Tote pattern, designed by the equally fabulous Kathy Mack is available for free here.

I love ya, Noo Noo: you thirteen year old, you! Don't get any older okay?



Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

To all of my friends out there in blogland: Happy Valentine's Day!

It has been one of those crazy few days for me: lots of running around like a chicken with my head cut off, but I couldn't let Valentine's Day go by without wishing my favorite blog readers a happy day.

Ollie and I are getting ready to go out tonight: hope you have something fun planned with your sweetie. And if you are single-ish today: I know what that's like to! Celebrate your love for yourself (a la Carrie Bradshaw!).

X's and O's,


Friday, February 11, 2011

Random (healthy) Friday

Hi Everybody,

For the first time in a long time, someone else is covering Sewing Lounge (Thank You, Jessica!) and that has been a nice break for me: VERY good for my mental health.

And speaking of mental health...

I have been going to Baptiste-inspired yoga at Melanie's quite a bit lately. I love it lots. The studio space is amazing: not too big, not too small with no detail overlooked (I am nothing if not a details kind of gal). Plus Melanie plays really good music. She had me at the sheepskin rug on the floor and the Carla Bruni on the speakers.

But in all seriousness, the yoga feels so good: especially at this time of year when it is bitter cold and you just want to go someplace hot, hot, hot and sweat, sweat, sweat. Trust me, we do plenty of that.

The other activity I am loving these days is Zumba with my friend Francesca. I go to Zumba on the days I am not going to yoga and I love how opposite from one another they are. Zumba is held at the Come Fit Zone: a local-yokel, fun and funky studio that is housed in a converted gas station, if you can imagine such a thing.

At Zumba we listen to latin music and shake our booties and wiggle our hips (and usually go out for a drink afterwards, but that is beside the point) and for sixty minutes we are not a bunch of white ladies from Midcoast Maine, but instead we are sexy, mysterious, dancing Latinas.

At Zumba, I am constantly playing the Meringue lesson scene from "Dirty Dancing" in my head. You know: the one where Cynthia Rhodes says to the crowd of Catskills tourists: "Aw, come on, ladies! God wouldn't have given you maracas if he didn't want you to shake 'em!" I keep waiting for Francesca to bust out with that line, but so far nada.

Again, I think a lot of my love for the Zumba has to do with wanting to be some place hot and steamy during these winter months, and Zumba makes you feel like you're in Argentina or on the Mexican Riviera or sumpin'.

Between these two places (Yoga at Melanie's and Zumba with Francesca), I feel like I have FINALLY found an exercise routine that not only works for me, but that I actually look forward to. This is pretty much an alien feeling to me, but I am going to ride this wave, for sure.

I am very lucky that the scheduling works for me, too. So, thank you, Scheduling Gods, for smiling on me this one time.

Along these "healthy" lines, I have found a really yummy, healthy snack that I love. Little Lad's Herbal Corn. Just don't eat it in public (or while hovering over your keyboard) because the magic pixie dust they put in this stuff gets all over the place.

Aaannnddd... (drumroll, please...) I have been drinking lots more water lately. If you are a long-time reader of this blog you will know about my love/hate relationship with water. I know I'm supposed to drink lots of it, but I don't usually like it. Turns out all along the secret for me was to drink Sparkling Raspberry Lime water. Inexpensive and refreshing: especially when it's gone a little flat. So, that's kind of a breakthrough for me.

I didn't really set out to make all these changes in my life, they just kind of happened. I guess I am lucky that way, too. Not far behind the search for the perfect man were the searches for the perfect exercise routine, perfect healthy snack and perfect non-alcoholic beverage.

(So far, so good, 2011!)

And finally, to bring this whole post full circle and talk about something Alewives-y, we got our shipment of Cloud Nine's new "Nature Walk" collection today.

I heart Cloud Nine.

Especially this new collection.

I love the "Nature Walk" colors and I love that this collection is a little more mature and not so nursery-y.

I love that these fabrics are organic and good for the environment.

I love the price.

These fabrics are substantially less expensive than previous collections, especially when you consider that Cloud Nine is a small, organic company and that the cost of cotton has gone up so much this year, making these fabrics a total deal.

Kudos to you, Cloud Nine for actually lowering your prices when everyone else's prices are going up!

We bought the whole collection of 8 fabrics: you can find them listed individually, among other great organic fabrics on our "Organic Fabrics" page. And Jessica made fat quarter bundles today (Thank You Again, Jessica!).

So, I know this post is a little random, but hopefully not super-boring and full of all good, healthy things for a Friday night.

(How did that happen? Whose blog is this?)

Have a great weekend: don't forget Virtual Turning Twenty sign-ups are still open, and spaces are going fast!



Tuesday, February 8, 2011

New Virtual Turning Twenty class announced!


I'm so pleased to be "going public" with my next round of Virtual Turning Twenty!

If you are interested in taking the class, here's some more info you should know:

• The class is aimed at the beginning student: you should have a machine in good working order and know how to wind a bobbin, thread your machine, stitch a straight line, etc. Even if you don't know these things you can still take the class, but you will need to have someone teach you those things before you can make the most of your lessons.

• The class will begin on March 6th and lessons will be posted every Sunday night through Easter Sunday, April 24th, with preliminary lessons posted before-hand.

• The class will teach you all the basics of making a quilt: specifically the "Turning Twenty" pattern by Tricia Cribbs which is our most favorite go-to pattern for beginners.

Students will learn:

• The basics of selecting fabrics that work well together, fabric maintenance (i.e., to wash or not to wash?)

• How to use their rotary cutter, ruler and mat.

• How to piece together blocks.

• How to sew those blocks together into a quilt top.

• How to accurately add-on borders.

• How to properly pin and iron.

• How to prepare the backing of the quilt.

• How to make a "quilt sandwich" of your quilt top, batting and backing.

• How to machine-quilt using a straight lines and a walking foot.

• And finally how to bind your quilt.

• Students will need to procure their own copy of the Turning Twenty pattern: my posts will not include the specific information included in the book, as that would be copyright infringement. The posts work in conjunction with the book, and a lot of the information you will learn in this class will serve you well on any quilt you make in the future. Because the class is posted in blog format, you can access the information from now until the end of internet-dom, and use this info to make lots more quilts!

• Students can make any size quilt they like, from a crib-size to a king-size.

• Cost of the class is $45. This is a bit more than I charged last year, but I am taking on more students and will therefore be spending more time answering questions and responding to comments.

• 13 of the 25 spaces are already filled by customers who were on the waiting-list from last year. Those people had first crack at the class before I posted this information online. The last time I offered the class it filled in record time, and while I have no idea if that will also be the case this year, it may be a good idea to act fast if you would like a spot, as there are only 12 spaces left.

• After you have purchased your spot, I will shortly thereafter contact you via e-mail with more information, including your top-secret blog site for the class.

• Last but not least, if you would like to purchase the class, the link to do so is right here. I would love to have you join us!

If you have any more questions, please fire away in the comments section and I will answer within the comments for all too see!



Saturday, February 5, 2011

Haus Sweet Haus

Hot off the machine: I made another project from Wee Wonderfuls by Hillary Lang.

I had seen some of the Haus Sweet Hauses in the Wee Wonderfuls Flickr pool and I thought they were so darn cute.

The other night, while I was waiting for Ollie to get home, I said to myself "Self, let's just start cutting out the pieces for the Haus Sweet Haus and see how far we get."

Well, I am sure you all know where I am going with this, but the cutting took virtually no time at all, so of course I couldn't help but sit down and at the very least begin to stitch the house together.

As it turns out, that didn't take very long, either.

By the time Ollie was home I was on the very last steps, and by then it seemed a little silly not to finish, so I did.

I used some of our ribbon (the instructions call for 1/2" wide ribbon for the lines on the house and 1 1/2" wide ribbon for the house gusset, but I'm pretty sure you could get away with slightly different sizes, (especially if you went down in size for the house ribbon and up in size for the gusset ribbon) which would widen your ribbon prospects considerably.

If you're looking for a good entree project from the book, this would be an excellent choice: it's quick, easy, fun and cute!

Check out these "Haus Sweet Hauses" from the Flickr pool for more inspiration!

I have a couple more projects to share with you soon...

One last Winslow Market Tote (I have to wait for my sister to stand still for a second to do a photo shoot with that particular bag: she is about to turn 13 and very wiggly!).

I also have part two of my Snow Day/Sew Day to share with you.

But please do me a favor and take this recent flurry of finished projects with a grain of salt.

Trust me, nobody wants to read a blog about a girl who answers e-mails and makes trips to the post-office and orders thread all day long, which is a much more accurate depiction of my life.

Trust me, I gotta fight for my right to party!



Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow Day=Sew Day (part one)

One of the reasons I love snowy days so much is that they seem like such a good excuse to stay home and put all those "every day" chores on the backburner. I can hunker-down with the best of them, and these last couple of days of hunkering-down produced some very fine results (even if I do say so myself).

I have been wanting to make something out of the Wee Wonderfuls book by Hillary Lang ever since it came out, and the snow storm presented me with an irresistable opportunity to do so.

I had such a hard time deciding what to make, because all of the projects in the book look like so much fun, but in the end I made the "I Heart You" doll found on page 67.

She looked like an easy place to start, and she was! I was able to start and finish this little lady all in one day, and I'm so glad I did because I love her much, much more than I thought I would.

Actually, I was in love with the whole process of making her, from start to finish.

Actually, I can't wait to make many, many more of the projects from the book.

(What can I say, when I fall for something, I fall hard!)

Choosing fabrics was fun but took me a long time: I was working from my stash (which is not insignificant) and not quite sure how I wanted her to look in the end.

I love Hillary's version of the "I Heart You" doll in the book, she looks so Scandinavian-Folktale-Chic, don't you think? I wanted something that would feel kind of old-fashionedy the way Hillary's doll looks, but I didn't have any of that cool, vintage-looking apron fabric from the photograph in my stash, which in the end was a good thing, because I had to come up with my own vision for the doll.

I used some older Fig Tree fabrics for the body and head of the doll (I think they are both from the "Patisserie" collection), and for the apron I used an older Heather Ross from my stash. The bib of the apron is one of those fabrics that I have no recollection of purchasing or even ever seeing before, but I suspect it may have come from Cyndi's shop. Looks like something I would buy from her, she has such cool stuff.

I hand embroidered the little face, and there was also a teeny bit of applique: nothing a beginner couldn't handle. It was not my first time ever to applique by hand, but it was my first ever hand-embroidery project. I love how much personality there is in those few lines that make up her features, but I was dissapointed there wasn't MORE hand-embroidery to do: it was over so fast! (Guess that means I need to try my hand at Marie Antoinette over there. Maybe with a linen for a background: ooooh, yeah!) I was amazed at how user-friendly embroidery is, because I am not someone who can normally teach myself that kind of thing.

It was also my first-time ever stuffing a doll. I took my time and enjoyed that whole process much more than I thought I would, too.

I'm not the kind of gal who normally likes fussy little finishing details: I like to bing, bang, boom get out of there and move on to my next project, but manashevitz, the details were the best part of this project and they hit the spot!

(What can I say, the snow brings it out in me!)

I have some more Snow Day/Sew Day projects to share with you, but I will leave them until next time.

In the meanwhile, I still have some shoveling to do!



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Calling it early

Alewives Fabrics will be closed tomorrow (February 2nd) due to the big bad snowstorm that is coming our way... chugga, chugga, like a freight train.

Stay home and safe and comfy cozy and get some sewing done!

If you are local you should be working on your top secret project for the Craft Swap coming up on February 25th. February's a short month and the Craft Swap will be here before ya know it.

You can still sign up for the Craft Swap if you like: just call us (563 5002) or send me an e-mail (

See you again as soon as we shovel out!