Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I have to give Old Man Winter a little credit for the success of our Cabin Fever Event that we held at the Hampton Community Center Ballroom on Tuesday evening. After the 8+ inches of snow that he dumped on us on Monday night, everyone was more than ready to get out of the house and have some fun.

Luckily that is just what we had planned!

Sixty of our most adventurous customers joined my entire staff for an evening of crafting fun. Sure, we are a quilt shop, but that doesn't mean we don't know how to do other things too!
Before opening the shop I spent many years as the Regional Craft Coordinator for a chain of craft stores. I can knit, crochet, needlepoint, decorate Ukrainian Eggs and teach calligraphy among other things. I'm also a certified Wilton Cake Decorator and that isn't all. As our guests can tell you, I can show you how to silk paint with Sharpie Markers. I can turn a Crate and Barrel candle holder into a pin cushion and take a fluffy flower idea and make it easier than anyone can imagine. Mix in the talents of my staff and you have a creative powerhouse capable of providing you with an evening of creative fun!

The spacious room and pleasant surroundings made it easy to move around to the different stations, including the food table and bar. Making a wine charm made it easy to keep track of your drink as you traveled from project to project.
Everyone stretched their creativity just a little beyond what they thought they were capable of and I think it felt good to spread those wings a little and get out of the winter doldrums.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Stash Management

BRRRRRR. The last few days have made a good argument for human hibernation. Would someone please reach inside Phil's snug little burrow and yank him out so that he can explain exactly what he meant by "early spring"? A quick thaw any minute now would be just fine with me.

On a more positive note, this weather does lend itself to staying inside and getting some sewing and quilting accomplished. You might even want to get a jump on the spring cleaning bug and organize your sewing space. My customers and friends are always telling me that they "need" to use up their stash. Well friends, it isn't going to go anywhere unless you dive into it and put it to use. Maybe it is time to put your big girl panties on and deal with it.

Quilting "stash" comes in many flavors. There are those pieces that you absolutely LOVE. Those are the pieces, no matter how big or small, that make your heart beat a little faster just looking at them. As silly as it sounds, you can't possibly "use" those pieces, because if you did, they would be "gone". I understand completely. Fondle those, refold and set those aside. Quilter-to-quilter, we get it.

At the opposite end of the stash spectrum are the "What the heck was I thinking?" fabrics. You know the ones. You have absolutely no idea what possessed you to purchase them. They don't work with anything else in your stash. They may even have been a beautiful green in the store that turned into baby puke yellow when you got it home. You know in your heart of hearts that you are never going to use them, but you paid good money for them and can't possibly throw them away. Here is the solution:

I Karen Montgomery here by grant _____(insert your name here)____ permission to donate any fabric of any length or size that they deem not worthy of their esteemed stash to a worthy cause.

There, that should do it. Take all of that unworthy fabric out of your sewing space and give it away! The Million Pillowcase Challenge is still going strong. There are inner city programs that teach kids to sew that are always looking for donations. Quilts of Valor groups all over the country are doing amazing things for our Vets. There are many, many more groups that would love to have your "ugly" stash. If you live local, give us a call, we can put you in touch with the people we know.

Now that just leaves the middle ground of stash. The pieces that you like and would love to see used, you just don't have the time to drag it out and put it to use. Why not use one of these frigid snowy days to grab a rotary cutter and put it to good use?

I suggest that you cut 10 inch squares, 2 1/2 inch strips and 5 inch squares. These are the standard cuts that are used in hundreds - maybe thousands of books and patterns. You don't have to know what you are going to make, just cut, sort by color and size and enjoy the feeling of "using up" some of your stash.

Once you have nice neat pre-cut pieces to play with, imagine the fun you will have! Grab a pattern, your pre-cut pieces and you will be ready to sew in minutes! Scrap quilts abound! You are ready for any Jelly Roll, Layer Cake or Charm Square pattern you see, including all of the ones pictured here.

Now don't you feel better about your stash?