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April 2012

March 2012

The perfect machine!

One of the benefits of owning the Cottage is that I get to see a lot of sewing machines ... and I get to give my opinion to others when they're searching for their 'perfect' machine. This is one of those cases where it's tow-may-toe to one person and tow-mah-toe to another. What gets my heart beating faster isn't always the same for you. My first "bought by me with my own money" machine will always be my favorite! You can read about it here on another blog post. That Genie truly was a genie because it was easy to use ... and when I get it in my mind about perhaps buying something new, my thoughts always go back to the features I loved on this one!

Today in The Learning Center on The Quilting Gallery, Pat Sloan has asked several of us what we look for in the 'perfect' sewing machine. There are so many different ways of looking at this! I think the biggest thing is to review which ways you use a machine today ... then think about what things you might like to try in the near future. And always ... buy what you can afford!  There's no reason at all to go into deep debt to keep up with the quilter sitting next to you in class.

Sewing machine
Each of the Janome sewing machines I own has a different use ... some are at the store and one is in the workshop ... that thing sews like a rocket and I still don't know how to use a lot of the features! But you know the best thing about any sewing machine? It's the wonderful projects you can make!!



Summer's End quilt



Sweet Home Quilt Co ~ Conyers, Georgia

If you were driving along a pretty, small town road in Georgia and spied this porch, wouldn't you put on the brakes  and stop? Well ... if you didn't ... you'd be crazy because up the stairs and through the door is one of the best quilt shops in the Atlanta area! The quilt samples are amazing ... the displays look like they should be in magazines. The feeling says 'welcome to my home' ... probably the reason it's called Sweet Home Quilt Co.

This is what you see when you come through the door. The building is on the historic register and oozes charm!

Look to the left and you'll find what used to be the dining room. It has a built-in mantel with a mirror over the top that reflects all the goodies you'll find there. And there are a bunch. Trust me!

Turn to the right and you'll find what would have been the parlor ... and look! ... there's my friend Melisa ... owner of the store! She's not dreamily looking off into space thinking of her next quilt ... she was actually listening to a customer talk about her finished quilt!

I loved that no matter which room you were standing in you could see into another room. It made you want to keep on moving along and explore.




Everywhere you looked a doorway led you into another room. I loved standing back and checking out how far I could see. I first went counter clockwise through the store and then reversed ... each time something totally different caught my eye.

You could even spy celebrities ... look ... there's Terry Atkinson from Atkinson Designs! Ok fine ... I knew she was there. Terry came to Melisa's store to do a pattern testing session at this beautiful conference center in the country and then a meet and greet at Melisa's store. I was the tag-along.

Terry managed to do a little shopping in between signing books. Wonder what she's going to do with this pretty pile!

The pottie room cracks me up  ... there are so many cute little potties hanging on the chair rail. The one that got the collection started belonged to Melisa's mom. This bathroom was filled with fun stuff to look at!




One whole area was devoted to baby ... the samples were darling!



Quilting is exactly like painting ... you just need to find the right combo of colors. Love this display ... it's so clever!!


My favorite room. It had a lot of civil war fabric and patterns and oodles of antique charm.


It's impossible to describe all the wonderful things to look at at SHQ!






And then there's the porch. I had to go outside to clear my head and gain some perspective!





Sweet Home Quilt is going to be taking part in the Greater Atlanta Quilt Shop Hop later in March. I think their quilt is wonderful with that black background. I can imagine lots of quilters coming to town to visit. Oh ... and if you're one of them ... have lunch at Las Flores ... delicious Mexican food just down the street!

Melisa let me take a peek at her office and sewing room upstairs. I love that she has a birds-eye-view of her neighborhood. It was fun going behind the scenes.

I love this store and if I lived in the area would shop here! But mostly I love all the sweet and wonderful details. Can't wait to go back!!




We're lucky to be stitchin' with Aurifil thread!

Aurifil-designer-2012-collage (2)
Can you believe how quickly the months are going by? It seems we barely finished with our January and February stitchings and now it's time for the March Aurifil designer!  This month's designer is Victoria Findlay Wolfe! You can get to know her by reading her interview and then download her pattern.

Victoria lives in New York City where she has a business making custom quilts for people. But deep down ... it turns out she's a Minnesota girl! She was born here, visits 'up north' each Summer, and has family here, too. A few weeks ago she was in town visiting her mom and it was wonderful to meet her in person!

Victoria's project is so appropriate for March ... a shamrock! Her project has a lot of texture because the entire piece is stitched with a chain stitch. It took me a few minutes to get the hang of it but once I did, it was exciting seeing the design develop.

Make sure you post your finished project on the Aurifil Flickr page when you finish. They are giving away fabulous thread prizes each month and I'd love to know someone who won so I can see it!

We have more March thread kits coming in so if you'd like one, give us a call at the store to reserve a set. (We have more January, February, and April kits arriving as well ... people can't get enough of them!)

If you need some help getting the hang of the chain stitch ... or just want to get out with other stitchers working on this project ... we're having another Aurifil Stitch & Sew on March 1o. We'll print a pattern for you ... you bring your fabric, needle and scissors. When you sign up for the class we'll set a thread kit aside for you.

Here are a few tips for stitching this block ... trace the design following either the inside line or the outside line of the pattern ... be consistent. Also, because this is a chain of stitches, they are easy to pull out ... anchor them when you turn a corner by taking a stitch down into the fabric. Begin your new chain by coming up right next to it. (Trust me on this!!)

Sew ... ready ... set ... stitch! Time sure passes quickly when you have these wonderful projects to look forward to each month! Spring is right around the corner.

Aurifil March