Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The hot new thing at the shop has been, without a doubt, the Loulouthi Velveteens from Anna Maria Horner. Everyone loves them and we are already on our second shipment of bolts.
I couldn't help but notice how soft the velveteen is, soft, but a bit heavier than the quilting weight cottons and voiles that we are so used to working with.
This being winter in Maine, the heaviness combined with the softness is a wonderful thing indeed.
And then I began thinking what a nice throw the velveteens would make.
One of my friends had been in the shop a little over a year ago, when the Innocent Crush velveteens first came out, and she had purchased 1.5 yards (which coincidentally makes a perfect 56" square ) of the velveteen.
My friend paired her velveteen with a home-dec weight fabric to make a simple throw, and this really got my mind racing, but it wasn't until the absolutely gorgeous Loulouthi velveteens came in that I put my little plan into action.
So, without further adieu, I give you Alewives Fabrics instructions for the uber-popular "Velveteen Throw."
You *should* be able to click on the images and download them to your computer as full-sized (8.5" x 11") JPGS, but I am not the most computer-y of people, so if you have any troubles let me know and I will see what I can do.
In the meantime...
Here is a link to our selection of Velveteen (you'll need 1.5 yards).
Here is a link to our selection of Voiles (you'll need 1.5 yards. The link is to our "Garment Fabrics" page... just make sure you're purchasing a voile and not a corduroy or something else!).
Here is a link to our throw-sized wool battings (You'll need 1 per throw). I must insist you use the wool batting. It is light and fluffy and machine washable: the PERFECT foil to the heaviness of the velveteen and the delicate smoothness of the voile... plus it keeps you the most snuggly!
And a word to anyone who places an order for the Velveteen Throw supplies: leave us a note in the "Special Instructions" section of the order form if you'd like us to add a coordinating color of embroidery floss to your order. Just let us know what color you prefer or leave it up to us! We can also add some embroidery needles if you need them.
I plan to leave these instructions up as a free tutorial in my sidebar from now on.
If you are local stop by the shop to see the two samples we made up: they have been VERY popular.
It's not a matter of IF you make one of our velveteen throws, it's a matter of WHICH fabrics you'll use and HOW MANY you will make!
Enjoy and I'll see you again soon...
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Here's what the shop looked like this past Saturday when we held the inaugural SEAM meeting:
I'll admit it: I was a little frightened that the floors in our old building wouldn't hold out.
We had a LOT of people at the inaugural SEAM meeting: so many that I was actually thankful for the snowy day.
Amanda, who was our guest of honor, signed many, many books and met lots of her fans.
Thanks, Amanda for making the journey in the snow with your lovely little Annabel.
And of course, a big "thank you" goes out to everyone who came to the meeting, despite the snow, and to those of you who were there in spirit.
The next meeting is March 24th at Fiddlehead Artisan Supply in Belfast.
Anyone want to carpool with me?
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
And I bought extra yardage of this cheater print, because I predict it is gonna be a hot commodity...
A Stitch in Color is also available as jelly rolls, layer cakes or fat quarter bundles.
Our order of charm packs are held up at the factory and that makes me sad :-(
But I do love that Moda is not afraid to try new things and are printing collections like this one.
They did a great job bringing the hand-dyed look to a commercially printed fabric.
Thank you Moda. Thank you, Malka!
In unrelated news, Ollie and I bought a new mattress today. Our old mattress was literally older than I am and I'm 32. It was time.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Friday, January 13, 2012
Just a heads-up that the roads are supposed to be pretty icy tonight, so we will be canceling sewing lounge and closing up at 5:00 pm. Stay home and stay safe!
This is also a good time to remind people that even though a few of us live very close to the shop that we do close down in bad weather. If the weather outside is frightful, please call the shop at 207 563 5002 (or check our facebook and twitter pages) to see if we are, indeed, open.
No risking life and limb for fabrics... at least not tonight!
Monday, January 9, 2012
Just popping in to let you know that the latest issue of Stitch Magazine has arrived.
We've got lots of copies available in the shop, or purchase right here.
Lots of bird projects in this issue (I am a sucker for anything with a bird on it) and some really cute baby projects and a very cool pear pillow that I might have to make.
And if you are hemming and hawing about purchasing this issue, let me just tell you it is worth it just for the last page, which is a fun and interesting little article written by my gal Lu Summers... whose debut fabric line should be arriving any day now from Moda.
Saturday, January 7, 2012
Today I wanted to share a couple of Matryoshka dolls that I made as a Christmas present for my sister Johanna.
I didn't make too many things this year, and these dolls were by far my biggest effort, and they were a LOT of fun to make.
You might remember from this post about the Craft Swap a few weeks ago that Johanna made a couple of these herself, and they went home with our friend Donna, who was a Russian language teacher, and we all thought it was quite serendipitous!
Well, the whole time Johanna and I were crafting together and she was making those dolls, I kept thinking about the Heather Ross Matryoshka doll fabric that I had in my stash and wouldn't that just be perfect for one of these soft dolls and wouldn't that be a wonderful Christmas present for my little sister?
So, one night I dug through my stash, found some of that precious, precious fabric and set about stitching up a pair of dolls for Johanna.
The basic pattern for these dolls can be found in the Winter 2011 issue of Stitch magazine (we still have copies available here), but, in true Alewives Girl fashion, I made a couple of changes and added some embellishments.
I drew my own faces and hand-embroidered the features. I think in the magazine the facial features are made from felt and/or stitched on by machine with a free-motion foot.
I used linen and quilting weight cotton for the face and "scarf" and hair, but the pattern calls for felt, which doesn't need a seam allowance, so I did have to add a seam allowance in a couple of spots to get the circles to come out to the right size.
If you didn't do this it would still look fine: you'd just have a smaller circle for the face and the "scarf." No big whoop.
I borrowed some ideas from the Wee Wonderfuls book as well, and hid some of my seams with ribbon that I top-stitched onto the necks. Here's what they looked like before stitching the fronts and backs together and before I embroidered the flowers:
The fabrics for these dolls came completely from my stash, but I did break down and purchase both sets of Anna Maria Horner embroidery floss for the flower details.
Like a moron, I drew my faces on with water-erase marker, then spritzed the marks away and proceeded directly to the iron, where I knew I was probably being too impatient and would end up scorching the faces, but I pressed my little heart out anyways, because I wanted to see what they would look like when they were all dry and un-marked.
Surprise, surprise... I burned the faces, as you can see in the above photo if you look at it closely.
Guess subconsciously I really wanted to buy those embroidery floss sets, huh?
I'm psyched to have them: they're really pretty and will last me a looooong time and keep me out of trouble, right?
I mean, who needs a cookie or two when they can be embroidering?!?
I am very pleased with how the dolls came out.
I highly recommend the magazine and the pattern: there are lots of other great projects in there, but this pattern by Heidi Boyd is by far my favorite. It's so easy to adapt and change and personalize. She gives a lot of different options in the magazine pattern for changing things up.
And here's one final thought for you...
It's true what they say about handmade gifts: Of all my gifts this year, I was the most excited to give these to Johanna and I truly did think of her and wonder what she would think of them the whole time I was making them.
And she seems to like them very much, so everybody wins!
I'll be back again soon with a couple more Christmas Crafts revealed.
PS I'd be crazy not to mention that Anna Maria Horner's "Loulouthi" velveteens came in this week... *love!* Truly, they deserve their own blog post so I will have to add that to my list of things to blog about!
Monday, January 2, 2012
I apologize in advance: this post is most definitely geared towards locals (or those who are local-ish) and is bound to make lots of you out there jealous!
Perhaps you've notice a little something new in my sidebar lately...
A little pincushion-y something?
Now that 2012 has rolled around, I am so excited to announce the culmination of a project I have been working on for the past few months with some of my colleagues...
It is my pleasure to announce a new group called S.E.A.M.
S.E.A.M. stands for Sewing Enthusiasts and Artists of Maine.
It's a new group I have started, along with my good friends Abby at Fiddlehead Artisans Supply in Belfast and Mary at Z Fabrics in Portland.
SEAM is for anyone who loves fabric and sewing. It's a bit like a guild, and yet very different at the same time!
Where guilds are generally geared towards quilters, SEAM is open to anyone who is enthusiastic about sewing in general.
You could be a quilter, a seamstress, a maker of bags, a cranker-outer of soft toys, or all of the above!
And unlike a guild, SEAM is free to attend. We don't have officers and dues to pay: we're keeping things simple and open to everyone. If you are someone who likes sewing and/or someone who likes fabrics, you're already in SEAM!
SEAM will meet bi-monthly at one of our three shops.
And speaking of meetings, the very first meeting will be held here at Alewives on Saturday, January 21st at 4:00 pm with a very special guest of honor...
We are certainly kicking things off with a bang: our very first guest of honor will be none other than Amanda Blake Soule, author of the popular blog Soulemama! For anyone who has not yet heard of this amazing lady, here are some words from Amanda's publisher...
Amanda Blake Soule is a crafty mama of five. Her days are spent in her hometown in Maine plotting ways to avoid laundry, dishes and mopping in favor of knitting, sewing, baking, playing with her children, and visiting the beach.
Amanda created SouleMama.com in early 2005. Since then, she's shared her adventures in family, craft, thrifting and life nearly each day. She is now joined by her husband Steve, a.k.a. Soulepapa. Amanda is also the author of The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections and Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures. Her third book, The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons was written with her husband, Stephen, and was published in the Summer of 2011.
The meeting will take place at 4:00 pm on Saturday, January 21st at Alewives Fabrics in Nobleboro (directions available here and phone number available here).
A small warning for anyone visiting Alewives for the first time: sometimes GPS systems do not work very well in the area, but we are very easy to find by following the written directions on the website. Also, we are very good at taking phone calls and "talking people in."
Anyone is welcome to attend this meeting and there is no charge for attendance.
The meeting's agenda includes:
• A casual meet & greet and book-signing with Amanda (copies of Handmade Home and Rhythm of the Family available for purchase at Alewives, or bring your personal copies and have them signed). We are keeping things decidedly low-key! Amanda will be around to mix and mingle with attendees and sign books as well. Feel free to ask her questions and share your inspirations with her!
• Show and tell. Bring a completed project you'd like to share so we can all "ooh" and "ahh" over it. It could be a garment, bag, quilt, tablerunner... anything you have stitched yourself! If you don't have a completed project you'd like to share, bring a project that's still in the works. Or, bring your favorite book, piece of fabric or even your favorite sewing gadget and tell us all about it!
• If you have a handwork project, please bring it with you to work on as we all chat. This can be knitting, embroidery, crochet, applique, paper-pieced hexagons, nearly anything you'd like. (To keep things simple, portable and at a dull roar for this first meeting, we won't be doing any work on sewing machines, but in the future we would love to hold special meetings where members can bring their machines and stitch the day away!)
• Please feel free to bring food and drink to share if you feel so inclined! Alewives will be providing some light refreshments for all to enjoy.
Remember, ANYONE is welcome to attend this meeting. There is no fee for attendance and we don't require that you be a "master" seamstress or an "amazing" quilter... just someone who likes fabric, sewing and/or the writings of Amanda Blake Soule!
This first meeting is sure to be a hoot: if you are able to come and visit, we would love to see you there!
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away.
Next time I'll be back with something locals and non-locals alike can enjoy, I promise!