Monday, September 1, 2014

Blog Sweet Blog

I do love having a blog.

I will always love the blog, and I thoroughly intend to spend more time with it in the near future.

But I am cheating on my blog with Instagram.

Until the blog and I work things out in couples therapy, I do hope you will check in on me and the shop via Instagram (and Facebook, too... I am an equal opportunity cheater).

There is some fun stuff going on over there.




Even if you don't have an Instagram or Facebook account, you can see our latest posts by visiting the website's homepage... just click on the colorful icons at the top of the page.  The one that looks like a letter "f" is Facebook and the one that looks like an old camera is Instagram!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wall of minis

We are having way too much fun here this summer.

Most days, you will find us furiously stitching mini quilts at the shop...

I've had this cockamamie idea for a while now to do a "wall of minis" in our booth at Maine Quilts, which is coming right up in a couple of weeks.

We will have a large display of small quilts taking up a significant portion of our display space.

 In other words, a "wall of minis" (say it as you spread your hands across the sky in a most fabulous manner: "wall of minis!").

The whole mini trend is so hot right now: I have drunk the Kool-Aid and the rest of the Alewives Girls are right there with me.

If you aren't going to the show, we've got lots of minis to show you at the shop.

From flying geese to teeny tiny pears.

Fun stuff, I tell you.



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July!!!

We are enjoying some hot, hot weather here in Maine this week.

Ollie, Bert and I will be headed to Sprucehead for our annual 4th of July gathering with friends and I am really looking forward to watching Bert play in the surf, eating great food, drinking some fabulous libations, enjoying the company and relaxing.

There will be a giveaway this weekend, hosted by Amanda Soule on her blog Soulemama.

Head on over there and you might win one of our "Main Street" fat quarter bundles.

No stars, lots of stripes: Americana at its best.

And for those of you who aren't lucky enough to win, everyone can use the code "SOULEMAMA" to enjoy a 10% discount on your purchases now through July 13th.

To use the code online, enter "SOULEMAMA" into the promotional code field at checkout.

You know the drill: the discount won't appear in your final order total or your confirmation e-mail, but we will manually change the cost of the order on our end.

And to receive the discount in person, just mention Soulemama at the register and we will discount your purchase by 10%: easy-peasy.

Have a great holiday!!!



Saturday, June 7, 2014

Give me the Liberty and Chambray throw or give me DEATH!!! Free tutorial

The velveteen throws we have made in the past will always hold a special place in my heart, but lately there is a new set of fabrics here at the shop that have garnered my attention.

I am speaking, of course, about the Liberty of  London Tana Lawns we have received that just happen to look oh-so perfect with the Union Chambray by Robert Kaufman that we have also received of late.

When these two new substrates arrived at the shop, we immediately knew we had to make a throw, but we had a DICKENS of a time choosing which Liberty we wanted to use (they are all so gorgeous!!!) and which Union Chambray we wanted to use (regardless of which Liberty we chose, all of the chambrays seemed to match perfectly!!!)

As my friend Kristine would say, this is a rich man's problem.

But, we did finally make a choice and I got one of my girls on the case and within a couple of hours we had a new throw for the shop.

Do you love it? (I love it.)

If you'd like to make a Liberty and Chambray throw of your own, I have a newly revamped set of instructions for you to use. Click the links to download (Page 1, Page 2 ).

We've also listed complete kits in our online shop.

For those of you out there who may not be familiar, Liberty of London is an iconic design house from merry olde England that has been producing THE most beautiful textiles for the last century or so.  Lately, however, the substrate called Tana Lawn has become uber-popular with quilters: particularly those of us who like to call themselves "modern" quilters (exhibit A: Elizabeth Hartman's absolutely adorable "Fancy Fox" quilt, among others.)

Although lawn is traditionally used for garments (it's smooth and silky cotton: a lot like voile.  Perfect for nightgowns, breezy blouses and dreamy pillowcases) it is great in quilts.

And let me tell you about this Union Chambray!  Such a hit here at the shop.

It's soft, sturdy, timeless, and pairs well with everything. EVERY. THING.

The colors in the chambray are quite subtle: they can skew from blue to gray in a heartbeat, depending on what you put next to them.

As we say here at the shop: it's a very friendly fabric and plays well with others.

We have a handful of chambrays available at the shop and have given them their own category on the website.

And even though this sounds implausible, ANY of the chambrays are a good fit with any of the Liberty prints.  We haven't seen a combination yet that was less than stellar.

So please do go ahead and download the set of instructions for making the Liberty and Chambray throw. 
Click the links to download: 

We  have complete kits available on the website right here.

Kits include your choice of 1.5 yards of Liberty and 1.5 yards of Chambray, the Quilter's Dream wool batting (We must insist on using the wool batting! It's super light and airy: a great pairing with the lawn, and don't forget it's machine washable!), a coordinating skein of embroidery floss, and a set of instructions.

Kits are $85.95.  Yes, you read that correctly!  The price of the kits comes out to be just $6.00 more than our Velveteen Throw kits... even though the Liberty is a bit "dear," the Chambray is only $8.50 a yard, so it all evens out quite nicely!

Please enjoy the free tutorial, and remember to use #alewivesfabrics if you post about us in any social media.



Friday, April 4, 2014

What can you do with just one fat quarter of vinyl laminate? Tutorial roundup!!!

The Swag Bag
 If you are local to our shop then you know that every year, April means one thing:

The Shop Hop is a celebration of Spring and a chance for quilters to get out of the house and on the road, connecting with fellow hoppers and collecting swag along the way.

This year, Alewives is giving away a goodie bag containing a free fat quarter of vinyl laminate fabric to all Shop Hoppers.

Our customers LOVE vinyl laminate.

In addition to yardage we sell it in pre-cut fat quarters here at the shop, and I can always spot someone whose never sewn with vinyl laminate before when they hold up a vinyl laminate fat quarter and ask the inevitable question:

What can you do with one of these?

To which I always smile and respond:  

What CAN'T you do with one of these???

To make it easier on one and all (but mostly myself), I've rounded up some tutorials from across the web that need just one fat quarter of vinyl laminate (or in some cases, you'll need to add a bit of fabric from your stash) to complete.

 Proceed with caution: you are about to fall into a very deep rabbit hole full of inspiration and creativity!

*We've made this one a lot here at the shop, but you should note that Martha wants you to have a 29" length of oilcloth or vinyl laminate to make your lunch bag.  MOST of our vinyl fat quarters are cut from 54" wide fabric, so they measure 18" by 27."  For this project we just cut the fat quarter as long as we can, then follow Martha's instructions from there: no need to change anything else in the instructions except the length and your lunch bag will still work just fine!

Some helpful website with hints and tips for working with and sewing on vinyl laminate can be found here, here and here.

All of our vinyl laminates at the shop can be viewed on our website here.

I hope that's helpful to all those of you who are new to vinyl laminate...  it really is fun stuff.




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Twinkle, twinkle...

We're kinda in love with this quilt... Night Sky by Jaybird Quilts.

More pictures to follow soon, but we need to bind this one and wrastle it outside so we can get a good photo of the whole thing (it's a queen size!).

Custom quilted by our own Tammy.

I love the ruler work she did on this one.

She knew there was no way (NO way) she was doing some ol' pantograph design on this looker.

We were so pleased when Julie (the creative mind behind Jaybird Quilts) mentioned us on her blog... what an honor!

(Makes us twinkle a little)



Monday, March 10, 2014

Bundle up!

What is it about a fat quarter bundle?

All luscious-looking and full of potential...

I just love 'em.

These are the latest fabrics from one of our favorite gals: Lotta Jansdotter.

The full-spectrum bundle is from the new collection called "Mormor," and the black and white collection is called "Sylvia."

What to do, what to do with such beautiful bundles?

Something tells me I will have NO trouble figuring something out.



Monday, February 24, 2014

I tried...

I really did try so hard to do the "low-volume" thing...

It's such a hot trend in the quilting world right now and every time I see a low-volume quilt on Pinterest I know I've just got to make one.

But my first attempt may have the dial cranked up just a click or two.

I wouldn't call this the lowest of low-volume fat quarter bundles, but it's what I was feeling the other day, and I do love how the fabrics work together.

I would do something simple and keep the blocks fairly small with this bundle: like a pinwheel block or even a half-square triangle, somewhere in the 3"-5" finished range.

And of course you know how I feel about a simple grid of patchwork squares.

Like a Chanel suit, it will never go out of style.

So, try as I might, this bundle is "low volume-ish," at best.

But I do love it so.



Tuesday, February 11, 2014


A snapshot of my knitting basket shows a sweater in progress for Bert (all our yarn is 40% off, by the way...)

A quick glimpse into my messy, messy bag will reveal bills, random pieces of fabric and a seed catalog... no money or anything fun like that.

A snapshot from our bedroom shows a tea towel Ollie put in my Christmas stocking that I promptly turned into a cover for a throw pillow (I am nothing if not an equal opportunity textile junkie).

In the sewing room, among other things are some miniature paper-pieced baskets (these are just 2" square) that I thoroughly intend to do something with one of these days...

And how could I not include a snapshot of this little guy who is oh-so close to walking and had the cutest little cowlick today?




Just in case you don't follow us on Facebook or receive our newsletter, we have a huge new clearance section on our website.  It's something I've been meaning to do for a long time and I think you're all gonna like it! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snow Day!!!

Are you still reading my blog?

Oh, good.

We had a nice snow day here today.

Fish totes, quilts, new books, knitting, naps and snacks.

Hope you had a good day, too.



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Big sale starts Saturday!

Pam and I gave the classroom what I like to call an "extreme makeover" the other day in anticipation of our giant clearance sale that starts this Saturday.

We've schlepped a lot of fabrics, etc. downstairs to turn the classroom into a sale-room, and there's lots of great stuff down there at 40% off.

Sometimes I am a bit stubborn about fabric... meaning I love it, I have big plans for it, I can see the finished projects in my mind's eye, but the reality is, there's just not enough time in the day to pull the trigger on all the sewing projects I would like to execute and there's only so much room in our little shop and some things have been around a bit too long.

Therefore, 40% off.

Out with the old and in with the new (and there is so. much. new).

The sale starts this Saturday, January 18th (we're hosting an Open House that day, as well) and runs through Saturday, January 25th.

We don't do sales like this very often, so if you are local, or even local-ish, you should make the journey and score yourself a bargain.

I will be back again soon... we've got lots to talk about.



Monday, January 6, 2014

2013 ramblings...

2013 was a good year for me.

We picked peaches from our neighbors tree and ate them 'til we were covered in juice.

We went to Acadia National Park and rode our bikes around Witch Hole Pond: Ollie in the front towing Bert in the bike trailer... me bringing up the rear, watching Bertie's head bobbing around, enjoying the ride.

We went on lots of boat rides in our little red boat on Damariscotta Lake: Ollie brought the "daddy" things like gas and ropes and spare oars, I brought the "mommy" things like sunblock and sweaters and snacks.

My favorite fabric of the past year was "Specimen" in the color "struck" from the "Field Study" collection by Anna Maria Horner (That came out in 2013, right?  Even if it didn't, it's still my favorite fabric of the past year...)

My favorite thing I sewed in 2013 was Elise's "Baby in the Hood" jacket from the book Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner.

The biggest lesson I learned in 2013 was that you will never have enough time to do all the things you want to do: just pick the most important things and do them really well.

The scariest thing that happened in 2013 was hearing that my Grandmother had had a stroke.

And when a bat flew into our living room while I was watching TV alone late at night.

The happiest thing that happened in 2013 was my Grandmother's complete recovery from a stroke.

And watching Bert grow up into a one year old.

The happiest "fabric" thing that happened in 2013 was receiving a package full of out of print Heather Ross fabrics (can you say VW buses and gnomes?) from my friend Suzanne.

My biggest accomplishment in 2013 was to pull off the re-arrange of the century: every single bolt in the shop was methodically moved over the course of five days 'til we had a whole new energy in the place.

I'm still looking for fabric in the old places sometimes.

And my goal for 2014 is to be healthy, happy and safe.

I wish you and yours the same!