Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding

So sweet...

I'll admit, I got up at 4:00 this morning to watch the whole thing...

Here's a link to a story that was on CBS Sunday Morning this past week about the Royal School of Needlework, who helped make some of the garments you saw at the wedding.

Enjoy your weekend (especially those of you across the pond!).



Monday, April 25, 2011

Next quilting bee for Russ and Diana Williams

Hello everyone,

Just popping in to announce that the next quilting bee for Russ and Diana Williams (my neighbors who lost their home in a fire a few weeks ago... read all about it here), will be held this coming Sunday, May 1st from 12:00 to 5:00 pm.

If you came to the first one we would love to see you at this next quilting bee, and even if you were unable to attend the first bee, please feel free to come to this bee as well. Alewives will be providing a pizza lunch for all who attend, so bring your appetites!

Thanks again to everyone who turned out for the first bee: I cannot BELIEVE the gorgeous quilt blocks we turned out for not one, but TWO, beautiful quilts. I know Russ and Diana are excited about the quilts and so touched by the outpouring of support from the community. Let's turn those gorgeous blocks into quilt tops: I bet we can get them all done this Sunday!

If you would like to come, please call and we will write your name down so we know how much pizza to buy, but if you'd like to just surprise us and show up, that's okay, too!

See you there!



Friday, April 22, 2011

Denyse and JoAnn and Me

File this under "For what it's worth," but I thought it might be a good time to confess that last Monday night, as soon as Ollie got home from work, I asked him to turn around and march himself right back out the door so that we could drive to the nearest JoAnn Fabrics together (it's 40 minutes away) and buy some of the new Denyse Schmidt fabrics.

Now, I know some of you out there might not even know that Denyse has a new line of fabric out that is only available at JoAnn stores (she does).

But I know there are quite a few of you out there who DO know about the new fabrics (it has been all over the internet this past week) and may be a bit confused as to why I would do such a thing as to drive straight out and buy from a chain store when I, myself, own a local fabric store.

And because I feel that everyone is entitled to my opinion (whether they want it or not), I thought I would share my thoughts on the whole situation.

I've seen a few comments on the internet and had a few discussions in the shop where people are concerned that designers like Denyse Schmidt and Liesl Gibson (both of whom are selling their fabrics and patterns at JoAnn stores) may ultimately hurt the smaller local fabric stores.

If you've read my post about "To Mardens or not to Mardens" then you know my feeling on the subject...

In my own weird, warped way, I do NOT believe that this turn of events will harm my business, but in fact, in the long run, it may be a good thing for my business. No need to rehash old posts.

And let us not forget that deep, down, underneath it all, the Alewivesgirl is just someone who loves fabric. If Denyse Schmidt has a new line available anywhere you bet your sweet bippy I'm running straight out to see it and feel it (and in this case, buy it) for myself.

Denyse would never put her stamp upon something that wasn't completely fabulous and the collection at JoAnn's is no exception. I have to point out, the quality of the fabric is lovely and the price was comparable to prices at my own shop.

In fact, I had a great time jumping in the car with Ollie, driving to the big(ish) city, grabbing my shopping cart and piling it up with the bolts from Denyse's new line. It was fun and good for me to be a shopper and not a retailer for a change and bring home some new fabric for the stash.

And okay, yeah, I did feel a little "smirky" when the lady behind the counter admitted she liked the fabrics but had never heard of Denyse Schmidt. My inner fabric snob was all "Mwa ha ha... of COURSE you haven't, you work at JoAnn's!" as I rubbed my hands together.

But I unfortunately have to admit that a lot of my customers and contemporaries have also never heard of Denyse Schmidt. The issue is by no means exclusive to JoAnn fabrics.

And am I super-jealous that I can't carry these fabrics in my shop? Yes! I would have bought this entire collection in a heartbeat (even the pink and yellow colorway that you can only get in Australia!), but them's the breaks and there are puh-lenty of other fish (and fabrics) in the sea.

But, I repeat, I do not think that this cross-marketing with chain stores will have a negative effect on my business. We will always provide different experiences for the customer and just like any other shops in my area, JoAnn's will always keep me on my toes and that is DEFINITELY good for my business.

And speaking of things that are good for my business, Denyse personally has done so much for independently-owned local fabric stores like Alewives Fabrics (remember when she came to visit us and teach her Improvisational Patchwork workshop?).

And I think she had an awful lot to do with a piece of happy news I wanted to share with you all:

I saw just the other day that Free Spirit will be doing a reprint of Flea Market Fancy this Spring.

Exciting, is it not? (I'm super-jazzed: take that, JoAnn's!)

But in all seriousness, chain-stores are not the devil. My goal is not for JoAnn's to fail; my goal is for my business to succeed and to be the best local fabric store it can be. If a new Denyse collection brought me to a JoAnn's store, whose to say it wouldn't bring a JoAnn's shopper to my store in the future?

So if you see me in the shop and you want to jibber-jabber about how cool the new Denyse Schmidt collection is, there's no need to be ashamed (yes, Tammy, I mean you!).

And if you want to call me later and ask me which section of JoAnn's has the Lisette patterns (yes, you again, Tammy) I will happily share that information with you.

Not only am I a rather open-minded and optimistic local fabric shop-owner (if I do say so myself), I am also an equal-opportunity shopper.

Moral of the story:

Denyse Schmidt is a very smart, very talented lady and if she would like to design a line for JoAnn Fabrics, then she absolutely has my support...

AND my 40% off coupon.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New in the shop

It is quite the production outside my window today: rain, thunder, howling winds, a little bit of hail...

Perfect sewing weather, n'est-ce pas?

These gorgeous new fabrics came in last week and I meant to write about them at the time, but the shop has been sooo busy with shop hoppers that a lot of things I *meant* to do got put on the back-burner.

The good news is that even though this busyness has delayed me updating the blog, it is probably the perfect day to talk about these gorgeous new fabrics from Cloud9 Organics: the collection is called "Cut Out & Keep" and was designed by Heather Moore of Skinny LaMinx fame.

I love!

I want!

I need!

I see a Winslow Market Tote in my future!

Fat quarter bundles of "Cut Out & Keep" can be found right here and yardage of the individual prints, along with all of our organic fabrics, can be found here on our organics page (which is getting bigger and bigger... exciting!)

Also new in the shop is the latest from Carolyn Gavin (remember her debut collection, called "Wild Thyme?" It was one of those collections that came into the shop and within one month was absolutely gone... not a scrap to be had!).

This new collection is called "Spring Street" and bears Carolyn's signature style (in other words, super-cute and colorful).

We gave Carolyn her own page on the website and Jessica cut out fat quarter bundles that would be perfect for a Turning Twenty or a Yellow Brick Road quilt. The fat quarter bundles contain all 15 of the prints that we carry from the Spring Street collection, plus five fat quarters of coordinating solids.

So if the weather is bleak where you live, let's all just stay inside in our PJ's today and pop a good movie on the TV and make ourselves a cup of tea and stitch something up from these new fabrics.

What do you say, who's with me?



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hand-pieced hexagons class announced with guest instructor Brooke Biette

4/18/11 edited to add: only 2 out of the 10 spots are left in Brooke's workshop. Please do call or stop in if you would like one of them! XO, Rhea

Sooo excited for this guest workshop!

I'm pleased to announce that my good friend Brooke Biette (of AprilTwoEighty fame) will be making the journey from her home in Portland to come and teach our students how to hand-piece hexagons using the tried-and-true English paper-piecing technique.

In addition to being a fabulous photographer (as evidenced by all these glorious images she has allowed me to use), my little Brooke is also a very talented hand-stitcher... take a look at her "Little Hexies" flickr set here.

If you would like to take the workshop with Brooke, spaces in the class are $25 each and can be reserved by calling the shop or stopping by in person. The hand-pieced hexagons workshop will take place on Sunday, May 22nd from 1:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon and will cover the "how-to's" of hand-piecing hexagons and then explore options for using them.

These little hexies are so cute! Stitched together, they would make a great tablerunner, potholder, mini-quilt, pillow... any number of things. Brooke will help her students figure out creative ways to use their hexies. For some inspiration, take a look at the current issue of Stitch magazine, which shows s a sweet little hexagon detail on a tote-bag. So many options for using up these sweet, sweet little hexagons.

What I think has me the most thrilled about the workshop (besides the prospect of spending the afternoon with Brooke) is that students need no previous experience, making this a great workshop for beginners and more experienced stitchers alike. And since the hexies are pieced by hand, you won't need your sewing machine, which means you can travel light! Just toss some fabrics, needles, thread, scissors and your hexagon templates (we've got 'em at the shop) into a bag and you are good to go!

Fair warning: I have sold two spots just this morning and haven't even "officially" announced the class yet (guess I am doing that now...), so please let me know as soon as possible if you would like a space. If you have any questions, feel free to ask away and in the meantime, check out Brooke's blog and Flickr sets!



Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

And now for the winner of the Summer 2011 Stitch magazine giveaway...

The winner is a local girl...

Christine Peters Hamilton(!)


Christine said...

I love this magazine--so inspirational!

Chris, I know you are a local so I am hereby making you come in and pick up your magazine in person, mwa ha ha...

Plus, it's my birthday today and I can get away with these things.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered and who sent me happy birthday wishes.

In about an hour work will be done and it's a gorgeous day out there.

As we say in Maine, "I'm gonna come out of here right sideways."

I happen to know that when I get home there is a mystery birthday present waiting for me from Ollie, plus a bottle of Prosecco and a sunny backyard deck and a grill.

Perfect birthday evening, I'd say.

Year 32: so far, so good!



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Have you seen...

... the ribbon page lately?

Something about spring that makes me think of ribbons.

Here are some of my favorites:

Dala Horse ribbon

Purple Beets ribbon

Cherry double-fold bias tape

My personal favorite is this Marigold bias tape... this would make a great trim on a plain linen tote bag, n'est-ce pas?

Coral Twill (this is 2" wide! Parlez-vous bag handles?)

Marine Blue twill... (also 2" wide)

So as you can see, there's a lot of good stuff and a lot more than ribbons on our ribbons page.

If you visit the shop in person you can find these and other goodies in our "Hall of Notions."

Don't forget that Thursday is the day I pick the winner for the Summer Stitch Magazine.

You can still enter the giveaway here.

See ya then!



Friday, April 8, 2011

New Oliver+S patterns in stock

If you've been (not so) patiently waiting for the newest pattern collection from Oliver+S, the wait is over! These three patterns are some of Liesl's best work and once again, I find myself yearning for adult versions...

The Family Reunion Dress:

The Seashore Sundress: (So cute! This looks to be a re-working of the super-popular Tea Party Sundress and would be great for beginning seamstresses... Remember my friend Francesca's happy sewing experience with her first Oliver+S pattern? )

And finally, the Class Picnic Blouse and Shorts:

And in case you are wondering, Liesl's newest fabric collection, Modern Workshop, should be here as yardage very shortly. We do still have a few of the charm squares and jelly rolls left, though!

See you again soon!



Monday, April 4, 2011

New Stitch Magazine is here and it's fabulous/wonderful/inspiring!

Today is a rainy/snowy/windy/generally miserable kind of day.

Just the kind of day where we need a little treat/goodie/pick-me-up.

You can imagine how pleased I was to return from a trip to the bank/post office/newspaper to find that the new Stitch magazine had arrived!

Just what the doctor/therapist/general-sewing-enthusiast ordered, I'd say...

This is the Summer 2011 Color Issue, with lots of fun/useful/inspiring articles, as usual.

You can get your copy of the new Stitch magazine in the online store/brick-and-mortar shop/ leaving me a comment here on today's post.

In other words... if you are still reading... this is a giveaway!

Good luck and I will pick a winner on next Thursday/April 14th/My birthday #32!



Friday, April 1, 2011

Wild and woolly for the first day of the Shop Hop

5 to 10 inches of snow are forecast for today, which is not the most conducive weather to traveling across the state for the 8th Annual Maine Quilt Shop Hop...

We have already lost power several times today but I have been puttering around here having a grand 'ol time.

(Updated to add that after an outage that lasted a couple of hours, the power seems to be on now, for good! If you are out there reading this and wondering if we are open, we are open! And Sewing Lounge is on for tonight as well!)

Luckily hoppers have the entire month of April to get their passports stamped, collect their free goodies, enter all those door-prize drawings and maybe even squeeze in some shopping!

We've got new kits at the shop and new fabrics, plus we have goody bags to hand out with some fun surprises inside... one of which I will post about next week.

And for each and every shop hopper that comes through our door we have one of these as well:

So hope for better weather the rest of the month (let's get the snow out of the way now, shall we?).

Hop 'til you drop!