#notgoingtomarket

I feel completely lost this morning.

I had plans to go to Quilt Market this month.  In fact we were going to be leaving right about now. So in planning for the trip, I got the shop covered.

Well now we’re not going to Market (insert sobbing face here). We’re so bummed to not be in Houston seeing all the amazing new goodies and our friends and family and the ASTROS IN THE WORLD SERIES! Seriously?! Stupid adulting.

It’s a long story full of frustrating details about Joseph’s work world that led to his schedule imploding over the last couple of weeks. So we decided it would be best if we didn’t make the drive down to Houston. When we decided a week ago I thought it would be fine. Technically I really only NEEDED to talk to one company- but they called me and that conversation was taken care of, the rest was simply walking around in awe and wonder (and you know, some work stuff that is much easier to take care of in person). But mostly awe and wonder.

In making the decision to not go to Market I decided to keep the plans in place to have someone take care of the shop for me, I figured it’d give me a chance to catch up on some sewing and other work stuff that I don’t get to at the shop. Oh maybe I’ll sleep in! Maybe I’ll binge watch Gilmore Girls and drink coffee and sew all day- that sounds like a dream! Two days of the shop being in good hands and me not having a crazy long to do list scheduled!

Yeah…. not so much. I slept horribly. I woke up earlier than I normally do and I’ve been wandering the house wondering what to do. I ‘ve got a long to do list that I’ve been jotting down the past couple of days and now I don’t know where to start. I feel like I am supposed to be somewhere and I’m having a hard time convincing myself that I don’t have to be at the shop to open it this morning. IT’S BEING TAKEN CARE OF. IT’S IN GOOD HANDS. No, no, no this is just wrong- I’m supposed to be there. But’s it’s covered. It’s being taken care of. It’ll be fine. I feel lost.

I don’t think I fretted this much the first time I dropped Joey off at pre-k. Or maybe I did and that’s how we ended up homeschooling?

So here I sit, trying to decide what to work on first. All the while planning to run up to the shop as soon as I get the kids their breakfast. Or maybe I’ll take them out to breakfast at the diner across the street from the shop…

I can get a window seat and stare at my little shop and tell it to be good.  That I haven’t abandoned it and I will be back to my regularly scheduled program when I open on Tuesday.

-Violet

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Tuesday Tutorial: Binding!

Ah Tuesday!  Also know as my Monday- but I happen to like my Monday so it’s not a bad thing! Anyway- I want to share this little binding tutorial for you today.  I don’t love binding- by this point in the quilt, I’m ready to be finished and the long straight lines are a bit meh to me.  However- it’s a very important skill in the quilting process!  There are many different methods, this one just happens to be my favorite. So here ya go…

Binding Basics:

First we need to how much binding material we need for our project.

-Add all 4 sides (so a quilt that is 56×64 would be 56+56+64+64 and then I add an additional 10 inches to that 56+56+64+64+10= 250)

-Divide the total by 40 (most quilting cottons are 42-44 inches wide before you take the selvage off so I just use 40 inches to allow for wiggle room) so 250 divided by 40 is 6.25. That means I should cut 7 strips to bind my quilt.

-I cut my binding strips at 2.5 inches so 7 x 2.5 is 17.5 inches. A half yard is 18 inches, so I’d go with 3/4yd to allow for any cutting errors.

Now we can start making our binding!

Cut your strips 2.5 inches wide. Now lay one strip right side up and another strip right side down lining the two strips up to make a 90 degree angle. Mark from corner to corner, making sure to not mark going into the inside corner. Pin into place.

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Now you are going to stitch JUST to the outside of the drawn line.

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Now trim the ears off about a ¼ inch from the stitch line.

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Once you have joined all your strips and trimmed everything up, press your seam to one side and then press your binding in half lengthwise.

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Now we attach! If you are going to machine stitch the binding down to finish it start by attaching the binding to the back of the quilt, if you are going to finish by hand, start by attaching the binding to the front of the quilt.

Start in the middle of one side of your quilt. Leaving a tail that is about 10 inches long or more start pinning your binding with the raw edge matching the raw edge of the quilt. Pin down the side stopping a quarter inch from the corner of the quilt.

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Stitch using a ¼ inch seam allowance. Back stitch at the beginning and the end. Make sure you stop a ¼ inch from the end of the quilt side, back stitch and cut your thread.

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Turn your working strip to the right to create a nice little 45 degree fold, finger press the fold, then flip the working strip back to line of with the next side of the quilt. Make sure the 45 degree fold stays in place and that the second fold created matches up with the edge of the quilt that you just finished stitching to.

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Continue this process until you turn the last corner and are about to stitch the last side.

When pinning the last side to stitch, make sure to leave a nice gap- 10 or so inches is good, sometimes you won’t have that much space and things will be a bit more challenging. It’s fine, just a little more work. So stitch the binding down to the beginning of the gap, back stitch and cut your thread.

Bring your tails to meet in the middle of the gap, fold them until they are very, very close to touching. I like to leave a pin width between them.

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Finger press really well, then use scissors to cut the excess tails about a ¼ inch from the fold. Make sure you don’t cut on the good side of the fold!

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Now open up the binding strips to match them right sides together. Make sure to focus on lining up the folds don’t worry so much about the edges since we didn’t cut “exact” ¼ inch seams.

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I always, always pin this seam, it’ll move on you every time.

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Stitch on the fold lines that you finger pressed into place.

When you finish stitching, open it up and your binding will (or at least it should o_0 ) lay flat!

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Stitch this last section down and you’re ready to turn your binding!

Finishing!

Casually wrap your binding over to the other side of your quilt, don’t tug it! You want to RELAX so you don’t distort your edges.

For machine finishing, which I like for utilitarian type quilts- anything that is going to be used and/ or washed a lot- baby and kid quilts, throw quilts, bed quilts. I save the hand finishing for special quilts or heirloom style quilts.

So for machine finishing, bring your binding around to the front of your quilt and starting in the middle of a side again, stitch close the inside edge of the binding. I like to lengthen my stitch length a touch and GO SLOWLY!

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When you get within a couple of inched of a corner slow down (even more) and give the binding on the next side a nice little tug to get your 45 degree angle then fold it over. You want a crisp 45 degree angle and you want your points to match! Take your time and don’t rush it! Slowly stitch making sure everything stays put, when your needle lands in the corner , needle down and pivot, start stitching the next side.

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Now finish up your binding! The front will look like this…

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And the back like this…

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Now you’ll notice the stitch line from binding on the back of the quilt- this is not a stitch in the ditch style of binding- match your thread to your backing and this won’t be an issue.

Now for hand finishing- attach the binding in the same fashion except you will attach it to the FRONT of the quilt first and wrap it around to the back to stitch it down.

Again, relax and don’t yank your biding around!

I like to use a thread conditioner or wax for this because your thread will tangle up on you.

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Wrap the binding around to the back of the quilt and use tiny stitches, you want them to hide! I like to use a ladder stitch or a slip stitch, they hide really well.

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When you get the corner, again you want nice crisp angle and for the points to match up, I like to bring my needle up through the backing into all the binding layers to tack the corner down, I usually do a couple of tacking stitches.

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Then I just keep going around until I’m finished!
This is the back of the quilt with hand binding…

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And this is the front of the quilt…

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And there you go!  I hope this helps!

-Violet

Wednesday WIPs: What I’m Working On

Hey look another post!  In the same week.

It’s a new personal record- ha!

Wednesdays on the new “blog schedule” are about WIPs- works in progress.

This week I want to chat about what I’m currently working on.  I’ve got a slew of projects to stitch and quilt and bind and what not.  But I want to take this time to highlight a couple that stand out in my mind.

One thing that I guess I should mention is that I’ve temporarily changed careers- I’m now an interior designer for two adorable little girls!  I’ve been asked to redo their indoor playhouse.  Seriously so excited!  Their mom reached out to ask if I’d replace the roof, door, and window curtains. I’ve had so much fun with this project!  The original roof and door were red felt and the curtains were red check. The red didn’t really go with the room it lives in.

I wanted to bring in the colors of the room and little flowers. Happy. Scrappy. Sweet. Playful. I remember as a kid I loved when pretend play had little touches of reality!  Like the tiny hair dryer that made a tiny little buzzing sound when you pushed the button.  Or the little plastic cake that had Velcro dots on each piece and you used the little plastic knife to cut the cake into slices.  So I wanted the roof the have shingles quilted into it and the door to have windows and a door knob appliqued to it.  The curtains have tie backs and are reversible so when the girls are ready to redecorate all it will take is a simple flip of the curtains! I have so enjoyed thinking up little touches for this remodel and I truly cant wait to get this shipped back home- I want to know what the girls think of it!

Another project that I’ve had recently was so special.  I am in a Sewing Bee with 11 other women, we’re from all over the country and have been sewing together for the last 3 years.  Each month our Queen Bee picks her block pattern and color selection, the other 11 make a few blocks and send them on to the Queen.  At the end of the month the Queen has most, if not all of the blocks she needs for a quilt top. We chat each month and keep in touch via Instagram on a regular basis.  So when one of my hivemates called me a couple of months ago to ask me to quilt her top for her- I was 1) SUPER excited to actually be chatting on the phone, it’s nice to put a voice with the name and 2) I was incredibly honored that she asked me to quilt her gorgeous quilt for her!  She sent it on it’s way and I did my thing.  A little stitch in the ditch to outline the houses and flying geese, then a little light swirly wind in the background.  This was such a joy to quilt and I had so much fun with it!

So there you have it- a couple of projects from the week!

-Violet

Monday Musings: What I Wish You Knew About The Fabric Chair

Hello all!

Ok so I’ve decided that I need to come up with a bit more of a structured blog schedule. Otherwise three months go by and I find that I haven’t posted a thing.

Not. A. Single. Thing.

So.

Mondays are for musings! And today I want to muse about The Fabric Chair.

So a while back, on a bit of a whim, I posted a selection of fabrics and a pattern that I would’ve liked to be working on if I hadn’t had work things to do that day.  And as a little treat for my Instagram and Facebook people I was featuring them for 20% off that day.

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The very first Fabric Chair selection!

The next day I featured a different selection of fabrics. And yet a different selection the day after that. And so it began! I used an old chair that I bought years ago at a resale shop for $10 to hold that selections for the day. And so The Fabric Chair hashtag was born!

Everyday that the shop is open we (the kids or myself) select three to five fabrics to feature for 20% off.  Sometimes they represent the weather or something special about that day. Sometimes they’re simply fabrics that speak to us that day.  Sometimes they’re fabrics that I feel get ignored at times and I like to show that they are more versatile than they might originally seem.

 

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Occasionally The Chair will feature a complete line

 

The Fabric Chair has become a bit of a thing- I love it when people come in for the first time and upon seeing The Fabric Chair tell me that they love seeing it pop up in their Instagram or Facebook feed. So cool!

One thing that I wish more people knew is that I SHIP! My online shop is quite neglected (I swear it’s on the to-do list!), so there are many times when the fabrics I have featured aren’t actually listed online.  But I absolutely love when people send me messages and ask me to put together a bundle of the day’s fabrics for them!  And I always charge a flat $5 for domestic shipping! So ordering from The Fabric Chair is super easy- send me a message, I’ll send you a PayPal invoice and start cutting for you!  Orders go out the same day if the Post Office is still open, otherwise they go out the next business day.

Oh and one more thing!  One day a week (usually Fridays) The Chair fabrics will be featured for $5 or $6 a yard just because!

Ok so that’s my little intro for you to The Fabric Chair!  I hope you enjoy stalking it and taking advantage of the fabric yumminess it provides you daily!

Follow along on Instagram and Facebook @StitcherySewistShop! If you have any questions please feel free to ask!

-Violet

A QAYG Tutorial.

QAYG.

Quilt as you go.

It’s a fun little technique to have up your sleeve.  I’ve never done a ton of QAYG  because- I just haven’t ever really known much about it honestly.  I have sent some quilted blocks to a lady that collects them for charity.  You send her the blocks and she joins them.  It cuts down on her time and financial obligations for this project of hers.  But other than that I’ve never really dabbled in it until this class for the shop.

I looked where we all look for ideas and techniques- Pinterest- where (not)spare time goes to die. I found a number of tutorials and techniques so this really isn’t anything new- AT ALL.  But I thought this would be a nice place to put this for my customers and students to find it.  What I do like about this method is because the way you press and sew the joining strips everything comes out symmetrical- a very important thing in my world.

Now on to the project.  We’re making a table runner!  A small one. Finished size is 11.5 by 47 inches.

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Front
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And Back

There are a ton of different ways to layout your fabrics.  For the front I did a main fabric for the center squares with accent colors down the sides.  I did the same fabric for all the backs and really like the look with the contrasting strips.  It’s up to you!

Anyway, so pick your fabrics and cut four 9 inch quilt sandwiches for the center squares (9in top, batting, and backing) then do the same for the sides- I just cut them to 9 inch squares, then cut to fit after quilting.

Quilt as desired.

After quilting you’re going to trim each square (center AND side squares) to 8.25″.  Cut your side pieces in half diagonally to make the triangles.

Play with the layout until you’re happy with it.

Now you’re going to cut joining strips that are 1.25″ wide, I typically just cut them about 10″ long- I’ll trim up later.

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Stitch a joining strip to the front and one to the back of one side of each joint.  That makes sense, right?  Yeah I didn’t think so either.  Look at the picture above- see how the joining strips aren’t on every block?  Yeah- do that.  (I’m so good at tutorials, hahaha!) Stitch with a quarter inch seam allowance.

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Stitch a joining strip to the front and the back of the block using a 1/4″ seam.

After stitching the joining strips, press each one away from the block.  Then fold in the raw edges to butt up to the raw edge of the quilt block, give them a good pressing.

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Press both sides away from the block.
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Fold in the raw edges of the joining strips to meet the edge of the block.

Take the quilt block the goes on the other side of the joining strip and baste using a thin line of glue- Elmer’s school glue is fine.  Just be sure to use a very thin line of it- you don’t need much!  Make sure the blocks are right up against each other and then press the folded edge of the joining strip over the glue line, press with an iron to set the glue.  Flip your project over and glue the other side.

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Glue! Then use the iron to set the glue.
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Makes sure your quilt blocks butt up to each other.

Stitch a line close to the edge of your joining strip, glue side first.  Then stitch down along the other side so they match.  Both joining strips should have been caught by the stitch line since they should have matched after pressing. Take your time to line everything up neatly.

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Stitch down the glued edge first.
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Then stitch the other side to match.

Trim up your excess on the ends.

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Trim the ends of your joining strips.

Keep repeating these steps until you have all your rows made.

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We’ve made rows now.

To join your rows you are going to repeat the process using longer strips, I used strips that were about 22 inches long.

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Time to add the joining strips in the other direction. Same method.

When you’re gluing make sure your joining strips from the first round match when you butt the blocks up to each other. Pull back the joining strip to check.

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But make sure your lines match up by pulling the joining strip back and checking.

Stitch.

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Stitch and admire your intersection.
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Trim joining strip ends.

Join all your rows, then it’s ready to bind!

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Ready to bind.
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All finished!
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The back is pretty cool too.

 

-Violet

Loved.

There is something so special about a quilt that is loved to death.

I think when most quilts are made, the maker spends hours thinking of the recipient. Wishing them well, praying for their safety, hoping for their future.

I know for me personally that I am happiest when the quilts I make are used, and yes even in need of repairs.  I don’t make them to be put away in a closet somewhere.

I recently had a quilt brought in that has been so loved that it was literally falling apart.  This quilt is the girl’s everything.  It is the only thing that she wants when she’s upset or sad or feeling any of those scary emotions that a kid goes through when the world seems so big and overwhelming.

They couldn’t just get rid of it, she still loves this quilt so very much.  But she couldn’t keep using it in the shape it was in.

 

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Faded, threadbare in places, a large hole, missing pieces.

 

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Poor Dora.
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This section is all that was left of the binding on the bottom of the quilt.

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The backing was shredding and the batting was disintegrating.

It took me a little time to decide how I wanted to fix this.  I originally thought I was going to have to just replace the torn Dora with a different fabric all together.  I knew it needed a completely new backing obviously.  New binding on the bottom at least.  New batting.  I stared at it for a little while and started working it through in my mind.

The first thing I did was to completely deconstruct the quilt.  I honestly wanted to keep the original as in tact as possible- but the batting was gone and really I didn’t want to enclose the backing into the new quilt.  The quilting that was left was very light and relatively painless to take out.

I used a solid off white to back the original top to add some stability to it.  I didn’t want the top to have too much strain on it anymore since it was so fine.

There were holes forming all along the top of the quilt and I was pretty sure patching so many would look really obvious and could just make it weaker than it already was.  I had a pink in the shop that actually matched the original color pretty closely so I added a strip to the top take care of the holes.

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The top edge had multiple holes.
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A 2″ strip that matched the original color of the quilt to reinforce the top of the quilt.

The main reason they brought this quilt in was this hole.  I guess it was the final straw, I’d been given the go ahead to not worry about saving the torn Dora and replace it with a different fabric altogether, but the more I looked at it the more I started thinking I could just fold the ripped edge under and stitch it down.

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The giant hole.
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I folded the edge under and pinned into place

I knew I would lose some of the design, and have a small pucker at the end of the tear but honestly those things kind of work themselves out in the wash and weren’t a big concern to me.  I just wanted to get the hole closed up and secure.  I decided not to try closing it up from the back like a seam- I just didn’t think the original fabric would hold up long term to a new seam.  So I went for a zig zag stitch using invisible thread.

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Invisible thread for the win!
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Not too shabby. Not too much of the original image was lost.

It turned out pretty good honestly.  I lost a little bit of Dora’s hair and a bit of her leg, but she doesn’t look too distorted.  Now that the hole was fixed I needed to take care of the smaller holes.  They weren’t straight tears, so stitching them up would have distorted things too much so little patches were the ticket.  I drew a few little hearts on some Wonder Under and used them to cover the smaller holes, a zig zag using invisible thread again and they were good to go.

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A little Wonder Under and a bit of Grunge Lemon Drop
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Patched and ready to quilt.

Then it was time to quilt.  I replaced the original batting with Quilter’s Dream Poly.  I typically use Quilter’s Dream Cotton, but I wanted the quilt to have a very similar weight and feel to the original. The original had poly.

The original quilt was quilted just around the blocks and the stitching to tack down the fleece fringe acted as quilting as well.  The blocks were a little too large to not have something tacking them down in the center though so I quilted along the edge of the blocks like the original then outlined each Dora to secure the center of the blocks.

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Quilting, quilting, quilting…
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You can barely see the quilting around Dora

The original quilt was missing one leg of the fleece fringe.  However over time the rest of the fringe had stretched and distorted so much that with a bit of careful placement I was able to fill in the missing area.  I reattached the original fringed binding down each side then added a new binding to the top and bottom.

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Heart patches and reattached fringe
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New binding along the top.
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Finished quilt.

 

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A shot of the back with the new backing and quilting.

This was a fun challenge.  I quilted this on my domestic since my longarm was still packed up from the move.  I haven’t used my free motion foot on my domestic in quite some time so it was a nice little project to do that with.  I’m very happy with the outcome and I truly hope this little girl is happy to have her much loved quilt serviceable for many more years to come.

-Violet

 

 

Goodbye. Hello.

So I’m sitting here, with blurry eyes and a giant coffee, at the Subaru dealership getting a new tire this Memorial Day morning.  Joseph, the kids, and I have been putting late nights in every day this past week working to get the new shop ready.  The lack of sleep is starting to catch up to me- anyone that knows me knows that I love my sleep.  I’m not a fan of late nights combined with early mornings.

Seriously.  May has been a freaking whirlwind month.

I mean, I knew it was going to be a little hectic- quilts to finish, a 5k, Spring Quilt Market, moving.  What I didn’t expect was for it to go by SUPER slowly the first 2 weeks- then boom the second 2 weeks gone.

Just like that.  Gone.

So.  Where to begin?

I guess at the beginning?

At the beginning of May I picked up the key for a new space for the shop.

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A new key for a new space!

 

I made the announcement later than I planned that I was moving shop, I was waiting for a few things to fall into place first, and last week we decided that we would be moved by June 1st.  We originally told my current landlord that we’d be out by the 1st (when we told him it still seemed so far away!) and, even though he’s very understanding and wouldn’t mind, we don’t want to disrupt his plans by staying past that.  So now everything is moving very quickly.

This past Saturday was my last day open in the current location.  Joseph left for work and I decided I’d lay down for a couple of minutes and wake back up at 7. I drifted off to sleep and when I woke up, I felt like it was later than 7.  I thought “Eh whatever, it’s not too late”, then I drifted back to sleep.  I woke up again and thought “Nah- my alarm will probably be going off soon, I’ll get up then.”   Then as I was laying there waiting for my alarm to go off it suddenly hit me that I was supposed to go let a friend’s dogs out.  I looked at my phone and saw that it was 8:23.  Not 7.  I jumped out of bed and got ready ridiculously fast and raced over to their house to let out those poor dogs that I had completely forgotten about.  As I was driving over I noticed my tire light was on.  When I got to their house I could hear air coming out of a tire.  My rear passenger tire was half flat already.  I ran in, took care of the dogs, the cat, checked on the hamster and the turtle, and decided to head straight to the shop.  I had an order that needed to go to the post office, I didn’t have time to get coffee at home so I planned to stop at the coffee shop, all my plans were foiled. By the time I got to the shop, my tire was completely flat.  I needed to get the order out so I did something I hate doing- I called a friend for help.  She headed straight over to pick up the fabric and ran it the post office for me as I wandered to the back of the shop to make myself a cup of coffee- only to find that I couldn’t.  I was out of what I needed for coffee.  Cue the sad face.  So I had to ask her to do me another favor and pick up a coffee for me.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have made it.  The day went by quickly and before I knew it I was closing up shop for the last time in that location.  It just seemed so sudden.  I didn’t quite know how I felt.  Sad because wow- it’s been such an adventure opening my little shop there and I’ve had so much fun.  But so excited because the new location is going to be a great space for my little shop to continue to grow.

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Not where my tire should be…

I knew my lease for the shop was coming up this summer.  And I knew I didn’t want to sign another year- I just didn’t love the class space and knew I wasn’t going to be able to comfortably seat more than 4-5 sewists at a given time.  I mean- yeah I could rip walls down to open the shop up to the unused space- but I just wasn’t feeling it.  So a couple of months ago Joseph and I started looking for a new space.

We found a space that I really love.  I can’t wait to see it come together- because well- right now it’s still quite the mess and we have a lot of great plans for it.

The first two weeks the restroom was being updated to bring it up to code.  And technically two things need to be fixed still so I can pass my city inspection.

The second and third week the electrician was in making sure everything was up to speed.

The third week there was a guy in replacing ceiling tiles.

And then it was finally clear for us to go in.

With a week and a half to get everything ready.

We originally planned to be moved and up and running by the 30th so it wouldn’t disrupt business at all but alas things took longer than planned for the repairs.  We weren’t able to get in there and start really working until right before we had to leave for Quilt Market (another post for sure).

So we get home from market with what is essentially a week and a half to get everything done- and somehow we are determined to do it.

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My new favorite coffee cup.

 

We been going to the new location every evening after work to spend a few hours working, and at times it feels like we bit off way more than we can chew and there’s no way it’ll be ready in time.  But we are starting to see major progress and I do believe it’ll all start coming together.

Fingers crossed my reinspection (according to spellcheck that’s not really a word) goes well tomorrow and that I can got my business license update to the new address and then actually open when we get everything ready- ha!

We will have to close the brick and mortar shop for hopefully no more than a week- but I will still be available to take care of everyone’s quilty needs through the Facebook page, website, or phone.  I really hate the disruption, but I it’s going to be a great space and worth it.

-Violet