Yesterday was a gloriously sunny day near 60 degrees F, a joyful treat after a long, cold, lingering winter. Since we are visiting my parents in New Jersey, I haven’t been sewing. Knitting, on the other hand, has been snuck into each day. Yesterday was so gorgeous, we spent every possible second outside: walked to and from church, walked into town for lunch, then played at a playground, and walked home. I think I may be even a tad bit sun-burnt! Once home, I had a few moments to myself while my wonderful mother (Grandma to my kids) cooked dinner and my dad (Pop Pop) played with my kids in the backyard. I relaxed with my knitting and watched them laughing and running and enjoying the setting sun.
I think I’m nearly finished with my son’s Julian Vest. I am somewhat hoping I can finish it before Easter, but I’m going to let that be a relaxed goal. I’ve finished the six pattern rows for the body and I’m now working on knitting up the back. I’m altering the pattern a bit since it calls for knitting until the back is 20″ long and I think that is way longer than my 22-month-old-wearing-size-3T will need. (I’m knitting the vest in size 4). Next comes a short split for the straps, then working up the front, and finally joining the straps. I’ll show my progress once I start on the front straps. I am really liking this vest and am eager to see it completed on my little big boy! A few more sunny days and I might be there.
How do you balance your desire to craft and your desire to be out in the sunshine during these first spring days?
Yesterday morning, we left snowy Maine on one of the first warm (40 degrees F) days of spring. Snow still covered almost all surfaces, and the snow was still knee deep in many drift-collecting spots. At least at our house, we had yet to see any grass, peeking flowers, or any other hopeful signs of spring. The chickadees had returned, and the sun was shining by day to melt the snow, but winter was still very much lingering.
At the end of a long day in the car, we arrived in New Jersey by the dark of night. Along the way, even southern Maine was mostly free from snow, but New Jersey is in full spring bloom! Green grass, daffodils, crocuses, irises, Siberian squill, cardinals, and chickadees abound, with no trace of snow.
During the drive, I was able to cast on for my new project, the PANEM Katniss Cowl Wrap by Dahlia in Bloom. Doesn’t the wee cast-on with the super bulky yarn look happy amidst the spring flowers!? I am loving this project so far, and looking forward to knitting in the warm sun!
The Night Quilter is a fairly new blog, documenting the crafting of a new, but hopefully blossoming, business. I’ve designed two paper piecing quilt block patterns so far, both of which are for sale in my Craftsy store.
In designing these patterns, as well as in getting this blog going, I’ve been thinking that the Night Quilter really needs a logo. Every successful business has an image, or some consistent logo to help with customer recognition, continuity between patterns, the blog, a shop, etc. As an infant business, though, growing as a stay at home mom’s creative outlet and within a teeny budget, logo design options are pretty much limited to “make it yourself”.
Enter the blogging world of pattern designers. Recently I was reading a blog with tips for getting a pattern design business started, and for the life of me I can’t remember which blog! One word stood out to me in the article, though, about delegating tasks to be more successful: barter. I decided to reach out to a local friend who happens to be a co-creator of a quickly growing new local business, Linear. Linearis a full service creative studio offering web design, graphic design, commercial photography, video production, and social media management. They do amazing work! I asked about the rate for logo design and Andrea said that a logo normally costs around $500 (only about $450 more than my budget ;)), but she also said she would be open to work something out or even barter. There’s that b-word again!
“Do you knit?” Andrea asked the next day. Done and done.
Andrea specified that she wants it to be soft and washable, so I decided to go with the same yarn used in the pattern: Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick super bulky yarn in oatmeal. I couldn’t find enough of the yarn in local shops, so I ordered it online. It arrived yesterday afternoon, which is perfect timing since today we are driving down to New Jersey for a bit over a week, and I can’t bring my sewing machine!
I cast on today during our epically long 11 hour car trip from Maine to New Jersey (driving with a 4 year old and 22 month old adds a few hours to the trip), and I love the project already. Pictures to come!
Today began the 11th annual Maine Quilt Shop Hop, and I started with a bang! Well, a bang compared to last year, anyway; I’ve already doubled the number of shops I visited. My friend Emily and I, accompanied by our two year olds, fairly successfully visited our first two local quilt shops this morning. I say fairly successfully since our sons didn’t wreck too much havoc, AND we were able to look around both shops, get our passports stamped, and even chat with the shop owners a bit!
The Maine Quilt Shop Hop is an annual event in the State of Maine. Participating Independent Quilt Shops invite “Shop Hoppers” to pick up a passport at any of the stores to start the hop, then visit as many stores as we can between April 1st and April 30. We have our passport stamped at each shop we visit, get a free 5″ charm square of the shop hop theme fabric, and sometimes an additional special gift. It’s a great way to see beautiful Maine during glorious springtime, and have a chance at winning some awesome prizes!
Here are the shops we visited today (click each name to visit the store’s website):
Fiddlehead Artisan Supply Store is my go-to fabric shop. It is a family-owned sewing, quilting, and craft shop right in downtown Belfast. The aesthetic in this store is fabulous. I just love their style. I walk in and I’m in fabric heaven. Many of their fabrics lend themselves more to adorable dresses and clothing items, but they also have a good supply of quilting blender fabrics and of course quilt feature fabrics. Fiddlehead also has a wide selection of books and patterns, felt, roving, Waldorf-style dolls and art supplies, they offer classes in the back, and even have started a Thursday night open craft gathering night. Here’s some eye candy for you from inside their shop.
Fiddlehead at a Glance
Location? Right in the town of Belfast, in midcoast Maine. Great location with street parking right out front. You can shop for fabric and then walk to lunch, catch a movie, walk for ice cream, do some gift shopping for other made in Maine items, and even walk right down to the Belfast Boat Launch. A great store to visit on a day trip!
Sells? Modern fabrics, threads, notions, felt, laminates, a large selection of books and patterns, craft supplies (paints, wooden doll forms, etc), fancy paper, and more.
Modern or traditional? I’d say Fiddlehead has more modern fabric lines and styles
Swag? At Fiddlehead we not only received the 5″ charm square of Shop Hop Theme fabric, but we also were able to choose a free fat quarter, and received a gift bag with a hershey kiss, an adorable sewing machine charm, and coupons to Fiddlehead and Heavenly Socks Yarn, a local yarn shop.
Kid friendly? Yes! While any fabric store isn’t an ideal spot for toddlers on the loose, Fiddlehead has a basket of books and toys to help keep kids occupied, and the owner and shopkeepers are very relaxed with kids (even wild ones, as I’ve learned through experience).
Today was my first time in Nancy’s Sewing Center, but it most likely will not be my last. This shop is clearly created for quilters. There are walls of gorgeous tone on tone fabrics in glorious colors, as well as many pre-cut fat quarters, fat eighths, and even scraps for 10 cents apiece! It is definitely a more traditional shop, but has a wide variety of fabrics that would work in both traditional and modern quilts. As I admired all of the quilts hanging on the walls, the colorful variety of fabric, and the copious amounts of tone on tone fabrics, I made my way to the back room where lives a long arm quilting machine! One day I may go back there and ask if I may give it a try. I would LOVE to try a long arm!
Here are some pictures from Nancy’s Sewing Center.
Nancy’s Sewing Center at a Glance
Location? On Route 3 in Belfast, outside of town. There is ample parking and large signs, but Nancy’s Sewing Center is on a busy road with no other shops within walking distance.
Sells? Quilting fabrics, threads, notions, and quilting books and patterns.
Modern or traditional? Mostly traditional quilting fabrics, with a large selection of tone on tones and batiks.
Swag? 5″ charm square of Shop Hop Theme fabric.
Kid friendly? Yes. Nancy’s Sewing Center also had a basket of toys to help keep kids occupied. In fact, my son Max wanted to adopt the little baby doll from the basket. When it was time to go, he kept saying “I have it. I have it.” We settled on giving the baby a kiss and a hug and leaving her in the basket for the next kids. Even when both kids were running circles, we didn’t get any stern looks. That’s kid friendly to me!
I had so much fun starting off the shop hop and I can’t wait to visit more Maine quilt shops during the rest of April! You can follow my hopping by following @nightquilter on Twitter #mainequiltshophop2014
What qualities do you look for in a quilt shop?
I grab a needle and thread once the kids are in bed