Wednesday, October 28, 2009

St. Theresa's Textile Trove

I received a sad email just now - St. Theresa's Textile Trove is closing. I've written before about what a treasure the store is - funky fabric, Japanese fabric, African fabric, Balinese fabric, Aboriginal fabric, batiks. And then there are buttons. And beads, feathers, bones and anything else you might want to sew with.

I first read about the Trove in Kaye England's book, Quilt Inspirations from Africa. Although their fabric is available online, I read about how folks drove an entire day as a sort of pilgrimage to the store. They said there was no place like it. So on a cold February day I played hooky, packed up the kids, and we drove to Cincinnati. After browsing like mad, we ate lunch in a smokey bar adjacent to the store. I couldn't care less - I had amazing fabric for a new quilt. The quilt for my Japanese quilt also came from there.

The fabric stores of my childhood are gone. I am sorry to see St. Theresa's go as I can think of no other resource nationally in its niche. St. T's is not crafty or cute. It is an art quilter's paradise and I need to think about fitting in a trip soon.

If you are interested, here is the hours and sale information offered in the email:

Now through Nov 14: 30% off
Nov 17 - Dec 15: 40% off
Dec 16 - Dec 23 (closed Dec 24 and 25): 50% off
Dec 26- Jan 31 (closed Dec 31 and Jan 1): 60% off

Now that the days are getting darker earlier, our new (and final) store hours will be 11am-5pm, Tuesday-Saturday, effective Tuesday, November 3. We will still be closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sewing a Book Cover

I've been feeding the sewing muse lately. Reading the new Stitch magazine. Playing with shapes (like the enlarged garden patch coasters below). Proceeding to sandwich my Japanese quilt. Staring sessions with my Butler brown-blue squares and then sewing them into different configurations (will they make a quilt? a table runner? a bag?). I want to learn more about free motion, adding dimension to items, and dyeing my own fabric. Some weeks I'm pressed for time and just want to feel fabric in my fingers. And it's true--the stash starts talking to you if you leave it alone for too long.

Last night my play turned into something. I started out making a birthday card and ended up with a book cover (I'm sure the recipient will be much happier!). It was so easy that I did it without a pattern or instructions. It took under an hour which is a happy thing for quick-gratification-loving me.

Here's how:

1. Take a blank book and lay it flat over a piece of fabric. I used a piece I had previously quilted. Cut fabric around book adding a 3/4 inch margin. This is for the book cover.

[here's the front of my quilted fabric cover]

2. Cut another piece of fabric at the same size. This is for the lining.

3. Cut two pieces for the flaps. They should be the same height as the cover and lining. Fold each over so they're two-ply. See how they look when placed.

4. Make a sandwich: first the cover, then the two flaps (folded in half so the right side of the fabric shows), and then the lining. Right sides together for the cover and lining.

5. Sew all around it, leaving a 4-inch opening. I used a quarter-inch stitch.

6. Remove pins and pull right sides out. Poke out corners.

7. Top stitch, catching the open part. I also zig-zagged the perimeter to match the free-motion, sketchy stitching I did on the quilted cover.

8. Ta-da. It's done. Doing this makes me think of other applications–maybe a checkbook cover, billfold or photo album.

Small Thing of the Day

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Foodies and Fabric

I generally don't watch tv but I've gotten hooked on two tv programs that I tape and watch during lunch. One is Diary of a Foodie (I'm crossing my fingers and hoping the now-defunct Gourmet doesn't ax the show). It is produced extremely well. Each episode is a sensory delight showcasing travel, people, ideas and techniques. My leftovers pale in comparison to whatever they're showing but then, I'm generally so absorbed in the show I'm hardly aware of what I'm eating. All episodes can be downloaded for free online. This grilled cheese recipe was amazing. Seeing Ruth Reichl is also fun since I loved her three memoirs.

The other show is Quilting Arts TV. I've purchased the magazine a few times but really dig the show. Each episode is equal parts inspiration and technique, showing me how to apply often-innovative methods step-by-step. Apparently individuals can create a login and view episodes online but QA seems to have issues with their site (there's a lot of resources online but they're hard to find and the login doesn't seem to work). Anyhow, the show is great and it would be appealing to both artists and crafters. The episode I watched today featured Jamie Fingal's "Heavy Metal Aprons" and Julie Fei-Fan Balzer's scrappy, quilted scarves (omg, look at this.)

After watching either show, it's no wonder I have a hard time jumping back into work. I do need to fit in some sewing time--I've been dreaming at night about fabric stores.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Currently Reading:
Housekeeping (Marilynn Robinson)
The Informant (Kurt Eichenwald)

[both are engrossing and hard to put down so you can imagine I'm not getting much done...]

Read Recently:
Black Boy (Richard Wright)
Wise Blood (Flannery O'Connor)
Franny and Zooey (J.D. Salinger)
The Sparrow (Mary Doria Russell)

[Housekeeping and the Wright, Salinger and Flannery O'Connor are on the reading list for a Open Yale course which is FREE online...I am making my way through the sessions slowly but surely]

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Different Hotel ZeeZoy

Summer has quickly slipped away and my little boy seems to be, too. He's growing taller. His face is fuller. He tells me things like, "I want to do this by myself and that means you go away." Before it's too late, I want to remember who he is in this time.

Favorite words and phrases:
Grown-uppy - acting like or being a grownup; as in "I will be a fireman when I am grownuppy."
Boobay - a word expressing 4-year-old frustration; as in "You are a boobay and I will not clean my room."
Beet-an-boss - unknown meaning and can substitute for several words (it is fun to say)
Favorite imaginary - second favorite; as in "My favorite color is red. My imaginary favorite color is blue."
When I am a fireman - during the summer Matt told us dozens of times each day what life will be like when he grows up and becomes a fireman. They were generally glorious, wonderful things. He also wanted to make sure I would bring food to the firehouse and we played a game called "Mom, please tell me what food you'll bring me when I am a fireman." Mac and cheese was first in the list.

Favorite friends:
Donny - Donny joined our family in the spring; Matt said he is 5. His father is a postman. So we've learned.
DeeDoy - DeeDoy arrived this summer. Once Matt said in the car, "Look! DeeDoy is out the window!" We all looked.
ZeeZoy - ZeeZoy, or "Different Hotel ZeeZoy," showed up at the hotel we stayed in during the canoe race. They apparently met by the garage elevator.
The Son - Matt calls his favorite stuffed animal his "son." His son is a green mouse with a purple anorak and striped shorts.

Favorite book:
Monkey with a Tool Belt - Judging from the library's copy, this is one popular book. Matt told his teacher he was wearing a tool belt, just like Chico Bon Bon, the monkey.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Happy Birthday

That it will never come again is what makes life so
- Emily Dickinson

I awoke to find a ruptured water header but no mind, it was still a lovely day. E stayed home with the plumber, making a cake, while I biked 36 miles under a cool October sky. Tuna melt and homemade potato soup for lunch and then curling up with a novel (before a nap). No work. No computer. No kids. And two large pieces of yummy carrot cake.