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Please make checks out to Quilters' Quarters or Terry's Thoughts and Threads Many thanks.

Friday, December 7, 2018

What's Under Your Needle?

The second week of December begins, and for some, the push is on to finish holiday gifts. 

I would love to see, and share, photos of projects that you are finishing this month as gifts.

Send me your photos at my email ( 'blog share' as a subject, and I will transfer the images here to the blog with whatever information you provide. If you used a specific pattern, please try to identify it to both credit the creating artist and to guide others who may want to find his/her work.

I look forward to hosting this exchange of ideas and talents!

As for me ... I continue to work on a civil war potholder quilt for a special nephew who has retired from his career as a Chief Petty Officer in the US Navy.  Here are a few blocks ... 

I am quilting "as I go," block by block, some with a walking foot, and some with a hopping/free motion foot. I do some work on my Bernina Activa 125, born in this century, and some on my Singer Featherweight 221, badged in 1950. Just this past week I ordered a Featherweight Sew Steady extension table from the Henry Family in Idaho, and am having a lot of fun using it for these blocks. 

Wishing you all a safe and peaceful holiday season!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

The First Snow, and Impending Heat!

It has been a long time coming, and while it is not yet turned on, the new heater is in place at Quilters' Quarters.  A length of pipe connecting to the outside vent is all that remains to be found and fitted. And then, we will be able to share quilting ideas and stories and plans in relative comfort!

As a result of this investment, Quilters' Quarters will be able to remain open during the cold winter months, welcoming quilters who are hunkered down for the winter and looking for fabrics for their next project.

42 piece 5" squares
retail $13.00
 A few quilters were in last week, braving the cold and looking for red white and blue jelly roll strips. 
24 pieces, 2.5": x 44" strips
retail $24.00

They also noticed the Havel rotary cutter/ruler that I use there in the shop, and inquired about purchasing one. I'm happy to say that I was able to find both items and they will be shipped out early this week, from Ohio. 

Havel Fabric ruler with sliding rotary cutter
overall length 28", retail $59.95

And of course, if one is using red white and blue to make patriotic quilts, one might also want red white and blue threads ... I've stocked some cones and spools from Superior Threads to go with these fabrics.

Looking forward to seeing you and sharing the warmth of Quilters' Quarters this winter season!
Happy Thanksgiving, all.

*As always, thanks for reading my blog. If you've received this in your email, thanks, too, for following Quilters' Quarters on the web. Feel free to share this email with your friends. And remember: every quilter receives AT LEAST a 20% discount on retail prices, and you might receive more ~ Unlike the gas stations, I don't charge a fee above the price if you are using a credit card; rather, I give an additional 6.25% discount if you use cash or checks (it's the equivalent of no sales tax!) And ALL CHARITY PROJECT PURCHASES receive a 50% discount.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Time to Vote

Quilters' Quarters customers donated another fifty dollars, collectively, these past two months, and the money went over to the school superintendent today to be deposited into the school lunch program to help students whose accounts are in arrears.  The superintendent and school committee always express their thanks to these anonymous donations at their regular monthly meetings. Thank you, all, for offering the odd change via the envelope at the shop.

Tuesday this week is election day, though I've heard that the turnout for early voting has been significantly larger than it was four years ago.  Some say that the numbers will rival the presidential election two years ago, which is very unusual for mid term elections. I encourage everyone to give careful thought to what form of government we want for our present, and for our future. What has made our democratic republic secure these past few centuries is the system of checks and balances ... similar to that of Great Britain's Parliament, with two opposing factions learning to find concensus in the middle of the divide. 

Our three branches of government, currently, are each dominated by one of the two factions, and the system of checks and balances has been stymied, allowing one party to consistently override the other. This is not a healthy way to conduct government for our country.

But more distressing than the lopsided imbalance is the increasingly negative tone that dominates our newsfeeds ... the anger and disrespect toward our first amendment freedom of the press is only one aspect of the downward spiral ... the behavior of both politicians and their avid followers sets a very poor behavioral standard for our children and grandchildren.

Quilters are some of the most generous, good natured, kind, compassionate people I have ever known, and I wish all were more publicly visible to the larger populace. But you are not ... your charitable works, dedicated patience, and experienced wisdom remains unseen by much of America, more's the pity. One hundred years ago, such women mustered up the courage to speak publicly of their disagreements with the faction in power at the time ~ the male gender of privilege ~ the 'free, white and 21' citizens who could vote and own property, even after the turn of the century (1900.) And so they marched, and spoke, and shared their inequalities, and with patience and fortitude, they succeeded in turning the tide and gaining the right to be part of 'We the People.'

I ask that all of you vote with conscience ... vote your values, your true values, your privately held values, not the values printed on baseball caps and t-shirts by politicians' wealthy lobbyists.  Whether you vote red or blue, vote true, for your and your children and grandchildren's lives do depend on what kind of government we have ahead of us in this new century.
Vote for people who will work to rebuild our reputation as a positive environment for all. Vote for people who will rebuild alliances with like-minded countries, rather than with autocrats and dictators who care little for human rights. Vote for people you will not be embarrassed by ... vote for people whose values mirror your own. 

And be willing to live with those values exposed to the public, be they values of 'me and mine first' and 'not in my back yard' or values of 'share and share alike' and 'support the common good.'  Vote for people who will stand up for your values. I know you are all good people. You are generous, good natured, kind and compassionate.  You are Quilters. Please vote to share that goodness. Vote to encourage goodness.


~ Terry

Monday, October 15, 2018

October Pre-Holiday Idea...

I've been cutting 10" squares from Warm and Natural cotton batting.  (I'm cutting other size squares as well ... from 8" to 15" .) Why?

Last year I began seeing pot holders shaped to hug a small bowl, and while they looked pretty, I wasn't sure they would be effective as pot holders ... of course, they are meant as "bowl holders" and are great for both hot bowls of oatmeal at breakfast, or soup at lunch, or, in larger sizes, for serving a hot bowl of pasta or vegetables for dinner. 
12" bowl holder with cereal bowl
But until one of my students brought one in to the senior center last week, asking if we could work together to figure out how to make them, did the idea of giving them as holiday gifts hit me.  So we looked it over, and decided that the shaping was caused by darts in the sides of squares of fabric and batting. Once we decided on measurements, one of the quilters set to work, and within an hour, using remnant fabric donated by an upholstery shop and a piece of cotton batting, she had a very good replica of the one that she had purchased at a craft show.

I thought about videoing the process and putting it up on YouTube, and then I decided to search to see if it had already been done - and yes, it has. There are several videos showing how to make this item. The one I selected to watch had done pretty much what we had, with a difference: she used two pieces of batting rather than just the one piece we had used. When I tried it later with two pieces of batting, it was a little more substantial, and held its shape well. And they are reversible!
 9" bowl holder and cereal bowl in progress
(see the darts on the sides?)
nesting in a finished 12" bowl holder with serving bowl
I learned, too, in watching that video that folks who had done this project with polyester batting were disappointed, because putting polyester batting into the microwave flattens the batting - one quilter even reported having a fire because she used polyester fabric. Thread was also discussed in the videos ... polyester thread was said to be at risk of melting in a microwave.

A few of the videos mentioned specialty cotton batting made to withstand long moments in a microwave, such as that used to make 'potato bags.'  Most said a good quality cotton batting is what is required. I'm pretty sure Warm and Natural fits that caliber of batting.

So have fun ... if you want to buy pre-cut batting squares to try this project, you'll find them at Quilters' Quarters.  I'll also cut fabric to size if you ask. I thought about creating prepared kits with fabric, batting and cotton thread, but I believe you would rather choose your own colors and prints, so I resisted doing that for you. 

Here's a photo of my favorite one ... I made it to hold my bowl of frozen yogurt, most often eaten while sitting on the couch watching the nightly news!  And, as I like chocolate sauce and whipped cream on my yogurt, the fact that these all-cotton bowl holders are washable and dryable is a bonus!
8" reversible bowl holder.
As always, thanks for reading my shop's blog. Please feel free to forward this email (if you're reading this in email) or share the URL of the page with your friends and family. And if the posted schedule  doesn't work for you, give me a call and we can set up a time more convenient to your own schedule.

~ Terry

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Topsfield Fair's 200th anniversary!

Click here for Topsfield Fair information

The Essex County's famous Topsfield Fair starts today (Friday September 28, 2018.)  I had the pleasure of assisting the judging of the quilt entries again this year ... 80 quilts are hanging in the Coolidge Building, and one of my young students has submitted hers for the second year. Last year she won best of show with her Jaguar's Jungle quilt, and this year's entry is titled Galileo's Galaxy.  I am not a judge of the quilts ... just one of a dozen helpers who record the judge's scores and comments, or hold the quilts up for the judge's eyes, or, in my case, hold the judge to a limit of three minutes per quilt. I learn a great deal at these sessions, listening to the comments and seeing how the various components of the quilts are judged. Of course, I can't reveal the judge's results until after the show has opened ... but I can tell you that it is an impressive assortment of quilts made by talented sewists of all ages!

Click here for MVQ show information
Also opening today (Friday) is the Merrimack Valley Quilters Guild Show, in Newburyport, MA. This is a two day show and features quilts made by members of the guild, along with tables of boutique items, a room full of 'white elephant' sale items, raffle baskets filled with fabrics, notions, batting and various other items that catch visitors' eyes. I don't attend the guild's show as my shop, Quilters' Quarters, is open on those two days and Rick is no longer here to spell me while I would attend. All guild members are asked to donate at least two hours of their time during the show to man the various displays, work as 'white glovers' to turn quilts and allow visits to view the backs, and demonstrate various skills.
As I'm unable to be in two places at once, I try to donate items to the show to be raffled off ... this year I've given a few antique sewing machines, including a beautiful Singer model 66 Treadle machine with Red Eye Decals in a multi-drawer cabinet, which I'm sure will garner a lot of attention!

I had a wonderful surprise this week at Quilters' Quarters ... a woman called and said she had some juvenile fabrics that she wanted to donate, as she had learned that I work at making comfort quilts for the local fire and police departments to carry in their vehicles for children who are at fire or accident scenes ... she came this morning with three full crates of beautiful fabrics! I'm looking forward to bringing some to the Georgetown Senior Center to make quilts with the volunteers there.  I'm sure we'll have enough to continue to provide the public safety building supply and also donate to a homeless shelter nearby. 

Wishing you all an easier season this autumn ... looking forward myself to cooler weather!


As always, thanks for reading my shop's blog. Please feel free to forward this email (if you're reading this in email) or share the URL of the page with your friends and family. And if the posted schedule  doesn't work for you, give me a call and we can set up a time more convenient to your own schedule.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Yes, It's Been a Busy Week!

Customers, not so much. But community needs were high this week ... three towns not ten miles away from Quilters' Quarters were involved in what federal agencies called " Absolute Devastation" when the natural gas pipes leading to 8000 private homes and businesses in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, Massachusetts (known as The Merrimack Valley) were overpressurized and caused three major explosions and more than 70 structure fires, simultaneously.

Fire fighters, local and state police and first responders answered the first alarm call for mutual aid from scores of towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire; Red Cross set up shelters in local public buildings in each area, and the governor of Massachusetts declared all three municipalities in a state of emergency. Homeowners were told to evacuate the areas and relocate in those shelters or with relatives or friends out of the area. Schools were cancelled ... all non-emergency municipal workers were asked to stay home and away from the area. Highway exits were closed for the weekend to the affected area, and all electricity was turned off to avoid any further sparks, as leaking gas pipes was a strong possibility. After all the fires were out, teams made up of a firefighter, police officer, gas company representative and electric company representative were assigned to go door to door and make sure that ALL 8,000 GAS METERS WERE TURNED OFF. Modern homes have gas meters on the outside, easily accessible ... but many homes in these areas are older, and entrance to the home had to be made ... hence, the police officer on each team. And then street by street, permissions to return to homes were given by the officials who deemed dwellings safe to re-enter. 

This all began on Thursday afternoon. Permission to re-enter was not given to most until Saturday evening. Even then, there were Facebook reports of a new fire that started because a returning homeowner's meter had not been turned off, and upon entering and turning something on, a fire was ignited. Unconfirmed reports that the street of that home had been 'missed' and the meters were not turned off began to circulate. The public's confidence was shattered by this report. Some are still being cared for in shelters, waiting for a safe return.

I learned Friday that a local resident in the next town would be bringing supplies to the shelters in Lawrence to assist those homeowners staying there for the duration.  I  'pulled an all nighter' Friday (something I hadn't done in decades) and was able to make up five juvenile quilts and got them to his home early Saturday morning in time to be included in the delivery. I was astonished at the collection of bottles of water, packages of disposable diapers, boxes of infant formula and so much more that he had gathered in those overnight hours ... I did put out a call to local quilters to join in the effort, but if they saw the call on Facebook they were unable to respond on such short notice ... it is likely that some were able to make quilt donations directly to shelters near them. I choose to believe that. Quilters are like that.

There was one death ... a young man sitting in a car outside one of the homes that suddenly exploded;th e home's chimney fell on top of the car he was sitting in. Some victims are still in hospital ... some were able to receive care and be released, but not to their homes ... The kind man who delivered the goods to the Lawrence shelter, including my humble quilts, told me they had an infant at the shelter with the mother, who had just come home from the hospital the day before the explosions happened. My heart broke for that family, but I was glad,knowing he would get one of those quilts to the baby.

There is a larger catastrophe currently in process ... flooding and evacuations facing families in the states of North and South Carolina. If I hear of a nation-wide call for donations (as I did and responded to a few years ago for the Idaho wildfires) I will let you know here or on Facebook. Though the needs are great, I believe our communities of quilters are up to the calls, and invite you to tune in and share what you can.


As always, thanks for reading my shop's blog. Please feel free to forward this email (if you're reading this in email) or share the URL of the page with your friends and family. And if the posted schedule  doesn't work for you, give me a call and we can set up a time more convenient to your own schedule.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Happy Labor Day!

And happy back to school week for most families. Whether you have children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews or even the great-grands, there are always children to quilt for. And many adults appreciate quilts as gifts, too!

Quilters' Quarters is involved in a few quilting groups. Some of us meet twice a month to work on the Juvenile Emergency Comfort Quilts that we provide to the Georgetown MA Fire and Police vehicles. Another group meets once a month to collaborate on lap quilts and/or wall hangings to be presented to our local military veterans.  And when I hear that someone in town is reaching the age of 100 years, I make them a Centennarian Quilt!

In my family, I've made many quilts for 60th birthdays, and others to comfort those facing significant illnesses or surgeries. Grandchildren, of course have each received a few from me, as have several newborns in my extended family. And friends with grandchildren sometimes need a hand in making quilts.

One of my friends was surprised when she asked me to make a T-Shirt quilt from her collection ... my answer was the surprise. I told her I would gladly coach her through the steps involved in such a project, as the memories in those T-Shirt belongs to her and her husband, and deserved their attention and care. As we worked together on cutting and stabilizing and arranging the shirts, the stories flowed, the memories blossomed, , her pride in her accomplishment shone and the quilts will have so much more meaning as a result. 

Another customer came and asked if I would help her make a wedding wall hanging for her niece, and in a matter of a month she had learned how to cut with a rotary cutter and ruler, how to add sashing to a block, how to shirr fabric to border a machine-embroidered center, and how to back, quilt and bind the piece. It was a lovely accomplishment for someone who had little time but much desire to provide a special heirloom for her niece. The wedding invitation sent by the bride was the focus for the colors and theme of the wall hanging ... serendipity!

So if you are wondering what type of quilt you might make, or wishing I had provided more photos of these individuals' accomplishments, come into the shop and I'll show you the fabrics involved in such quilts.  Sometimes an idea comes from a family photo, or from a favorite fabric, or even an article of clothing.

As always, thanks for reading my shop's blog. Please feel free to forward this email (if you're reading this in email) or share the url of the page with your friends and family. And if the posted schedule doesn't work for you, give me a call and we can set up a time more convenient to your own schedule.

~ Terry Crawford Palardy