Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Slow Sewing on Sprucehead Island

I am so pleased to tell you that there are some fabulous new classes (as well as some tried and true favorites) listed on the classes page...

Aaaannnddd you will also find something not class-related but very special, exciting and different on that page as well...

My business associate (Mom) and I are so pleased to announce our very first sewing retreat on Sprucehead Island from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, Septemeber 10th!

(The view from the private beach on my parent's land...)

(The view of Mussel Ridge from the front porch at sunrise...)

My family is lucky enough to own a gorgeous piece of oceanfront property on Sprucehead Island. The house and land have been in my family for years and years (my step-grandfather's wonderful advice on buying real estate was to "buy everything a long time ago." For the record, this was also his advice in regards to the stock market...) and we are so pleased to be holding our first sewing retreat there.

Our retreat, of course, has our own special spin on it...

At a traditional retreat you would spend the night at a facility and there would probably be sewing machines and long, expansive tables for cutting and pressing. While we may build up to that type of retreat one of these days, for this our first sewing retreat we are holding a "slow sewing" event that will last for just one day.

What constitutes slow sewing? Well you might ask!

Slow sewing can be anything you do by hand: English paper-piecing (my current fave go-to project) applique, embroidery, hand-quilting, hand-piecing, finishing the binding on that quilt that has been poking around unfinished for the last couple of years, etc.


"Slow sewing" in this case could also mean non-sewing projects: knitting, crocheting, tatting lace if you feel so inclined...

if you enjoy painting watercolors or sketching or have friends that might enjoy the retreat but don't necessarily sew or knit, they are invited to attend as well... the more the merrier!

This is a rain or shine event, but we are hoping for shine, shine, shine!

There won't be any place to set up a machine, but that's the beauty of holding a slow sewing retreat, isn't it? Hand projects are almost always perfectly portable and we want people to get out there and enjoy the day with their projects and a few good friends as well.

Bring whatever form of stitching you please and sit on the private beach (pack a towel and your bathing suit if you are particularly daring, but be warned: even in the height of summer, that ocean water is cold!). You may prefer to perch on one of the many granite outcroppings that gently slope out into the ocean, or you may be happy to pull up a rocking chair on the wraparound porch that overlooks Mussel Ridge.

A delicious catered lunch will be served, and there will be lots of fun nibbly tidbity things and plenty of refreshing beverages served throughout the day.

The whole idea is to get away, relax, celebrate the close of summer, usher in fall, enjoy the scenery, have lots of good food, and get some stitching done while we're at it!

I don't know about you, but to me this sounds like heaven and we are so excited to be holding this retreat.

Here are some things you should know if you would like to attend:

• The cost of the retreat is $45 per person. This includes use of the house and land for the day, a delicious yummy lunch, snacks and also plenty of beverages which will be served throughout the day.

• All retreat participants are responsible for transportation to and from the island. Sprucehead is easily reached just about 2o minutes off Route One at the Montpelier Mansion exit in Thomaston. There is plenty of room for parking cars, but carpooling is always encouraged.

• The retreat will take place from 9:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday, September 10th. You can come and go anytime you please!

• The retreat will take place inside the Neeson's home if we have a rainy day. There are plenty of bathrooms, a full kitchen, a large dining room, a comfy, cozy living room, and a covered wraparound porch with plenty of rocking chairs. We are hoping for a sunny day, but even a rainy day will still be lots of fun.

• Please bring your own slow-sewing projects: knitting, applique, crochet, embroidery, binding, English paper-piecing, anything you like, so long as it does not require a machine. We will not be providing instructions or materials for your slow sewing: just a comfy, pretty place to sit and stitch!

• If you have any questions and if you would like to sign up, please give us a call at 207 563 5002 and we will see you there! Space is limited, and many people have signed up already, so if you would like to attend don't delay.

I think that's it... if I've forgotten anything ask away in the comments section and I will respond ASAP.

Enjoy these last few days of summer and I will see you again soon!



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Back open for business!

We are back open for business and we are some of the lucky ones who have power!

We were without internet for the whole day yesterday, which made it hard to do certain aspects of our job, but meant we had a rearranging party (one of my favorite things to do!), so please do come on down and admire our handiwork.

I'll be back as soon as I'm done playing catch-up... right now Reuben and I are headed for an early-morning walk to survey the damage up close and personal.



Saturday, August 27, 2011

Battening down the hatches...

Edited to add:

It is official: Alewives Fabrics will be closed today due to Hurricane Irene. Please stay home and safe and off the roads! See you again bright and early Monday morning, so long as we have power. If you'd like to call ahead our phone number is 207 563 5002.



(Whatever that means...)

We are bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Irene here in Midcoast Maine. She is expected to blow our way tomorrow (Sunday) afternoon and then taper off Monday morning.

If you are planning to visit us in these next few days, it would be a good idea to call ahead (207 563 5002) and make sure we have power. If the power goes out or if we are forced for any reason to close the shop down we will do our best to let people know via facebook, the blog and twitter, but the internet may go down as well, you never know!

Otherwise it should be business as usual.

Good luck to all of you facing Hurricane Irene, please stay safe!

See you again on Monday or Tuesday (knock on wood...)



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lots going on...

...but I've got too much of the "end of summer" jitters to blog about it right now.

(Lots of loafing to fit in these next few weeks.)

See you again soon when I get some gumption to do something besides the above!



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Customer Inspiration: Anne

I know it's my job to try and inspire my customers, but more often than not it is they who end up inspiring me.

And I don't think anyone would put up too much of a holler if I went out on a limb and said that Miss Anne here is my biggest inspiration.

She gets a LOT of sewing/knitting/embroidery (you name it, she does it) done: that in and of itself is an inspiration.

And not a day goes by that I don't see her around town wearing one of her creations.

She talks the talk and she walks the walk.

Here she is wearing a head-to-toe handmade ensemble.

A really cute sweater knit from our Amy Butler Organic Belle DK yarn in the indigo colorway...

...the pattern is the Spring Garden Tee by Alana Dakos and you can find it here on Ravelry...

And the skirt is from the cover of the book Sew Serendipity.

You have GOT to love those ruffles.

I get excited by a good use of a ruffler foot and I believe we have a prime example here.

I may or may not have ruffle envy.

I believe the focal print in this skirt is an Australian design and the ruffles are made from some Amy Butler quilting weight solid, the beauty of which being that the Amy Butler solids match the Amy Butler yarns perfectly, which is also the kind of thing I find very exciting.

Thanks so much for sharing your handiwork, Anne!

Keep up the good work and I'll continue to document the fabulousness!



Thursday, August 11, 2011

Veggie Patch

Some of this came from our garden and some of this came from Morning Dew Farms.

I love this time of year and the season we are heading into.

I'm going to enjoy every last bit of it.



PS: The online sale is happening right now, why don't you go and take a look!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Online Clearance Sale starts Thursday!

Alright, onliners!

Your day in the sun is almost here!

The other day, Shawna uploaded just under 100 fabrics that you would normally only see in our brick and mortar store to the online shop so that YOU can shop for them, too. Some of these are older, HTF (hard to find), fabrics and I think you will like what you see. But, you won't be able to see them until Thursday (does that make sense?)

The fabrics will be in our wicked good deals section (along with some sale patterns and other various and assorted goodies) and the price will be a luscious $6 a yard (half yard minimum, must be ordered in half yard increments: yardage will be sent as a continuous piece).

You won't need a coupon or a promotion code or anything like that: just shop the wicked good deals section and I bet you'll find a treasure or two. Perfect for building up your stash or backing a quilt or both!

During this time, our normally speedy delivery may be a bit slower than usual while we get caught up, so please bear with us until things get back to normal.

What else do you need to know?

The sale ends Sunday evening. In the meantime, please enjoy!

We've had/are having an awesome summer, and fabrics have been going out the door at a nice clip, but I am psyched to make more room for the fall fabrics which will start to arrive shortly.

So, if you're interested in a fabu deal, see you back here on Thursday (or maybe even late Wednesday afternoon, hint, hint...)!



Thursday, August 4, 2011

All my dreams are coming true

I always said that if the Flaming Lips ever came back to Maine I would drag my best girlfriends to see them with me, because if you have never seen them live you are missing out.

I don't care if you like their music or not, go see them live.

Attending one of these concerts is like being inside a giant, technicolor Japanese birthday cake and you are guaranteed to leave happy, smiling and covered in confetti.

Did I ever tell you about the first time I saw the Lips live in concert?

It was in Boston and it was one of those concerts with many, many acts and the Flaming Lips were second-to-last.

I guess you could say that the Boston crowd did not quite "get" the Flaming Lips and it was the first time I have seen a band actually get "booed."

Very funny stuff.

Cross that off my list of things to see before I die.

But even though they did not have the crowd in the palm of their hands I was smitten with these weird, weird musicians and I went out and in true Aries fashion bought all of their albums and listened to them constantly and became their number one fan, familiarizing myself with every obscure b-side they had ever produced and pooh-pooing those who only knew about them through their song "She don't use Jelly."

I was soooo much cooler than that.

Imagine my delight when a couple years later they came to Maine and YES! my fellow Mainers (unlike the Boston crowd) embraced the Flaming Lips with all their eccentricities and a good time was had by all.

I even got to meet Wayne Coyne after the concert (he was covered in fake blood and quite sweaty, I assure you).

I asked him why he didn't sing the "Jack White Fiber Optic Jesus Song."

And Wayne Coyne looked at me like I was the crazy one.

Ah well.

Long story short they are coming back to Maine in October (hurray!).

So, look out, dear girlfriends: you are soooo coming with me to this concert and we are stalking the back alleyway outside the State Theater afterward so I can meet Wayne Coyne...


I've got my early 20's to relive, and I still got it, I tell ya... I still got it!



Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Midsummer's Clearance Sale starts tomorrow!

Just a reminder:

The in-store Midsummer's Clearance and Sample Sale starts tomorrow at 10:00 am and runs through Sunday the 7th. There will be lots of fabric on sale for just $3/half yard (must purchase in half-yard increments) and lots of kits and books and patterns and various other goodies on sale for ridiculous prices. This year we are also putting some of our samples up for sale: a great way to get a head start on your Christmas shopping or just nab something for your very own.

The online Midsummer's Clearance Sale starts Thursday, August 11th. No need for a coupon or a code or anything like that: just visit the "Wicked Good Deals" section of our website and bask in the glory that is the online clearance sale! Online clearance sale ends Sunday, August 14th.

See you there!



Monday, August 1, 2011

The Quilt Show!

Well, it was quite the weekend and I loved it. I look forward to the Quilt Show every year and I love seeing a lot of you there and most of all, I am glad when we come back and put the store back to rights again.

For those of you who aren't familiar, Maine Quilts is Maine's largest annual quilt show, held at the Civic Center in our state capital the last weekend of July. There are hundreds of quilts, thousands of attendees, and about 40 vendors (such as yours truly) who bring their latest and greatest to sell in a booth and hopefully make some new friends and attract customers to our store.

I snapped some photos of our booth:

And here are some of the quilts we hung in our booth:

This quilt block is traditionally called the "Antique Rose," but this particular version comes from the book "Material Obsession 2," which is one of our favorites at the shop. In the book, the quilt has 2 versions: one is called "Jazz Hands" and one is called "Erica's Honesty."

This one is called "Heaven's Stairway" from the book "Quilt Lover's Favorites Volume 4" and we'll be listing kits for it in the online shop later. The background fabric is our favorite bleached 200 thread count muslin from Moda and the half-square triangles are all made up from our favorite signature color here at the shop: red!

The "Alice in Wonderland" Turning Twenty kit all done up as a quilt. I love this one. I think when the kits are gone it will have to come home with me and live in one of the spare bedrooms.
Barbara Commeau did a great job quilting it in that swirly pattern, don't you think?

And here are some of the quilts that were on display at the show:

Can you guess what these are?

It was a whole row of quilts made from wedding dresses, which I thought was a fabulous idea, but you should have heard some of the comments coming from the spectators at the show: yowza!

I guess hell hath no fury like a woman with an opinion about what OTHER women should (or should not) do with their wedding dresses.

If there is one thing I love it is a healthy debate. Preferably among middle-aged Maine women.

This was my favorite quilt. I think it's beautiful and I was glad to see it won a blue ribbon.

This one was interesting. The colors reminded me of Liesl's Oliver+S fabric collections and the pattern started with a simple nine-patch that got chopped and re-stitched into this pleasing composition.

You have GOT to love this Kaffe diamonds quilt: it really stood out at the show in a very good way.

Fabulous use of color in this quilt.

These trees were also from the book Material Obsession 2, just like our Antique Rose quilt.

My friend Meredith made this quilt and there is something about it that I just love.

I like the subtle colors and the patchwork and the mix of photography on fabric and the quilting is lovely and the entire image really just reminds me of Maine. I think she nailed it.

And would you like to see what I bought at the show?

(I got some good stuff!)

I got three pink half-yard cuts from my friend Cyndi's booth, which is all reproduction fabrics.

You've heard me mention how I love to go to Cyndi's shop, the Busy Thimble, when I am cheating on my shop. She has great stuff and Cyndi's my buddy.

I think it's a riot that the gal with the most contemporary shop (me) and the gal with the most old-fashioned shop (Cyndi) would have so much in common (like our mutual love for hexagons: I showed Cyndi mine and she showed me hers!).

The lovely Japanese fabric came from a booth that was all Japanese textiles. Nothing but for as far as the eye could see.

I could have picked at least three more designs, but in the end just chose the plummy flowers.

I like how it looks with the pink repros, don't you?

And the basket!

Every year at the quilt show there is a lovely lady with a booth called "Studio 55" filled with these gorgeous baskets from Africa and ever since I was 19 years old and went to my first quilt show I have wanted one of them.

I am so glad I didn't buy one for myself, because at the very end of the show this year, Mom surprised me and asked me if I would like her to buy me a basket for all my hard work at the show.

Umm, let me think: YES!!!

So this is the lovely basket that came home with me. I love it because it's so pretty but mostly because my Mom bought it for me, which I think was so sweet of her.

Even when you're in your thirties I guess your Mom can still spoil you a little (okay, a lot).

It was a great show. We live in a state filled with very talented, hard-working people, and we are by no means lacking in fabric stores.

Hope you enjoyed the photos and if you were there hope you had an awesome time (I know I did).



PS Read all about Brooke's trip to Maine Quilts here, here and here!