Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hello Quilters:

Happy New Year!  We hope everybody is keeping warm.  Quilting helps keep those fingers toasty.

Winter Classes
Don’t forget, our winter classes start soon.  Weekly classes begin next week and the first of our one-day weekend classes is on January 12th.

New Kits and Patterns
We have a couple of new kits: Primrose Path designed by South Seas Fabrics, Saturday SoirĂ©e in Red and in Blue designed by Homestead Hearth using the Gallery in Red and Blue fabric line from Marcus Brothers, and Primrose Hill designed by Marianne Elizabeth using the Arabella Rose fabric line from RJR Fabrics.  We have several new patterns which use the Twister templates: Twister Tapestry, Twister Illusion, Stocking Sweet Stocking, and Twisted Chain.  There’s also a new book called Square Dance by Martha Thompson which has a number of patterns using the twister technique; some of the patterns look intricate because you twist more than once but are super simple to sew because you are always only cutting and sewing squares!

Fabric Just In
New fabric received includes: Trail’s End from Moda; Cute as a Bug from Quilting Treasures; Butterfly Bliss from Wilmington Prints; Deco from In the Beginning Fabrics; A Gallery in Red and A Gallery in Blue, Nineteenth Century Backgrounds (designed by Judy Rothermel) and Supersoft Flannels from Marcus Brothers; a complete line of Naturals and Architecturals and Military Salute from RJR Fabrics; Laurel Burch’s Fabulous Felines from Clothworks; Paper Doll Schoolhouse from Newcastle Fabrics; and A Stitch in Time from Needlecraft.

Shop News
We would like to let you know that we managed to nudge our non-quilting, indeed non-sewing color-blind office manager into making a quilt.  Jim has worked with us for a year now and has become fluent in Quiltese: WOF, HST, UFO, FQ and all that.  Plus he finds the odd mistake in printed patterns where cutting 20 squares twice diagonally does not add up to 84 triangles or cutting instructions end up with 34 blocks instead of the 35 blocks needed.  His excuse for a quilt was a guest bedroom that had wallpaper that didn’t go with the coverlet from the previous house.

Jim writes:  I had been scanning quilt patterns for something modern that would be simple enough for a first quilt; that ruled out curves and as few bias edges as possible.  The Yellow Brick Road pattern from Atkinson Designs caught my eye because it makes three different blocks which gives a more random look to the quilt top.  The pattern calls for 48 FQs for king-size.  Since I have no stash (can you even remember that?) I found one of Sue’s Color-Splash bundles which has 20 half yards, blue & white to go with the wallpaper in the bedroom. With Carolyn’s help I added four more half yards, selecting some Moorish tile patterns I liked.  Carolyn insisted on changing the pattern to have a narrow dark first border instead of just wide thick border.  Thinking ahead to the finish, I found a bolt of one of the fabrics in the bundle which had enough for the back.

Carolyn was kind enough to spend an hour and a half teaching me to use her sewing machine, rotary cut, sew a quarter-inch seam, chain piece, press and pin.  She also let me borrow a sewing machine and all those notions: cutting mat, rotary cutter, rulers, etc.  (That’s only fair since she was the most insistent one pushing me to make a quilt!)  Then I launched into pressing and cutting the blocks.  My first surprise was how much more time I spent cutting and pressing then sewing.  As I was sewing the last seam in some blocks, I discovered that I had cut two strips 3 ¼” rather than 3 ½”.  Oops, first lesson: you can fix errors in pressing; you can rip out a seam, but there’s no way to fix a mistake in cutting.  And you never cut it too big!  Even so it didn’t take that many afternoons to finish the 160 blocks.  Then I started laying them out on a bed, discovering a pattern in which none of the seams within a block touched, adding to the look I wanted.  Carolyn explained over the phone how to chain piece the rows and two days later I had the top pieced.  It was so big I had to bring it in the shop to measure for the borders.  Amazingly enough, the top was square and most of the points were tight.  The ones that aren’t are due to sloppy pinning!  After Linda Bazin quilted the top on her longarm machine, I sewed the binding on, using the large tables in the classroom at the shop.

I want to thank everybody at the shop for helping with all my questions: Carolyn, Heather, Pat, Sarah, Christy, and, not least, Sue.  I still have to finish the pillow shams I’m making using left-over blocks.  (The king-size pattern makes 160 blocks but only 144 are used in the quilt.)  Funny enough, it turned out that Mary Jane’s first quilt was also Yellow Brick Road.

January 21                      Martin Luther King Day, Country Treasures is open
February 18                     President’s Day, Country Treasures is open
March 13 – 16                  Lancaster Quilt Show, Lancaster, PA
March 15 – 24                  Vermont Shop Hop
April 1 – 12                      Country Treasures closed for Mud Season – reopen Saturday, April 13
April 6 – 7                        Hands All Around Quilt Show, Amherst, MA
April 20 – 21                    Northern Lights Quilt Guild Show, Hanover, NH
April 24 – 27                    Rotary Club of Paducah, KY Quilt Show
May 3 – 5                        Sharon Burch Group
May 27                            Memorial Day, Country Treasures is open
May 30 – June 2              Spring Quilters’ Retreat, Country Treasures, Chester, VT
June 28 – 30                    Vermont Quilt Festival, Essex Junction, VT


Please don’t forget that Country Treasures is CLOSED ON MONDAYS.  Our hours remain the same on the other days: Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 12 noon till 4 pm.  Country Treasures will be open for Holiday Mondays: Martin Luther King Day (January 21), President’s Day (February 18) and Memorial Day (May 27).

More soon at Threading the News.

Yours in quilting, 
Sue and staff