Stof fabrics tagged posts

March Newsletter & Updates

Happy Spring

We have had some wonderful warm, sunny days in February & so far this month.  Makes you almost think that Spring is here. Then we have a cruel reminder or two, that winter can still make its presence known.

I have to apologize for not getting a newsletter out the beginning of February. It’s been a busy year for me so far. My sister, whom I haven’t seen for 3 years, came to visit for a week. It was glorious !!! We had such a great time here at the shop. She is a quilter too and got a quilt top mostly finished for a patient of hers. I miss her terribly !!   It was such a wonderful week for me. Thank you dear sister for all your help, laughs and good conversation !!!!

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I am back in the saddle and getting caught up on everything. (well trying anyway) I have so many exciting things to share with you !!!

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We have 1 February Fabric Grab Bag left. So if you are in the club and want this darling quilt kit, don’t delay !! If you would like to join this great value club, it’s a great one to start with.  February Fabric Grab Bag is pre-cut, ready to assemble.

“Sweets for My Sweet”

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March Grab Bag is ready to go and it is right in line with the Irish !! Lots o’ fun and lots o’green 😉  (a strip piecing project)

“Top O’ the Mornin’ To Ya” 

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Our latest coming attraction is ……………….……Strip Club ! (No pole required)

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Come in and sign up for this great fun club and learn new ways to use a jelly roll .  So many wonderful ideas and quilts.  Strip Club meets the 4th Saturday every other month.
(March, May, July, September, November, Janurary)  Sign up, pay in advance and your pattern is free.   First  Strip Club meeting is Saturday March 26.  Pick up your prepaid jelly roll and free pattern.  Meet everyone who is in the club.  Get a tutorial on the pattern.  Purchase your choice of background and accent fabrics at the meeting and get a 15% discount.  Sign up and pay for the next Strip Club.  It’s a great social event, meet new friends, have tons of fun and learn new techniques.
At the next Strip Club meeting, Saturday May 21, bring your finished top for a great Show & Tell.  You will be amazed at all the different variations of the same jelly roll and pattern.  No two are ever alike.  Then pick up your next jelly roll and pattern, get the tutorial on that pattern and repeat same as the meeting before.  The Strip Club will meet 6 times a year for 6 different ways to put a jelly roll quilt together.  Lots of fun, laughter, & learning. (not to mention beautiful quilts.)  Sign up today !!

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When the fabric bolts get too skinny for the shelves, they get lost in the crowd and take up precious space that new collections need. So we pulled several hundred bolts off the shelves, cut them into 1 yard cuts and bagged them ready for you. Plus, they are marked down 10% at the register. You will find fabric you didn’t know we had because they were hiding behind a bigger bolt.

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The fine Cotton Jersey knits that we have been promising from STOF, are slowly trickling in to our great dismay. It takes a long time to get here from Demark on a ship.  We are now up to 7 of the original 14 ordered. They really are so beautifully soft and versatile. I took a yard home and washed it and it was wonderful out of the drier.  Going to make myself a pair of leggings and then some PJs (Psssssst! It’s also making great sashing on a tee shirt quilt)

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We are getting lots of wonderful new fabrics here at the Cottage. I have included a couple of pictures at the bottom of the newsletter. What will you make out of them? We love show & tell !!

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My Valuable Info article this month is all about a terrific tool that I have been using for years and realized that most sewist don’t know what it is. Read the article at the bottom to find out.

Whew !! I think that pretty much wraps up what’s been going on here at the Cottage the past month.

See y’all soon, Donette

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Don’t forget every Wednesday afternoon is open sewing workshop. Lot’s of you are taking advantage of it and getting help with those great projects.

March Calendar

Sat Mar 12 – 1 pm  Infinity Scarf Class (please register early to get supply & prep list)
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Make this ever popular Infinity Scarf.  I made this one out of the fabulous Shannon FAUX Rabbit.  So soft to the touch you never want to take it off.  But you can make it out of a Batik, or a Linen blend or one of the new knits too.

 

 

 

Tues Mar 15 – 10 am to 2 pm Enchanted Rose Table runner class (please register early to get your supply & prep list)

DSC_2496Very easy but looks complicated.   Don’t miss out on learning this deceptively easy technique

 

 

Fri Mar18 – 9 am  Coffee at the Cottage

Fri Mar 18 – 10 am  Hand Embroidery Club (has been moved 1 week later this month because of the Dallas Quilt Show)

Sat Mar 19 – 2 pm UFO Club {bring your projects that need a boost and get expert advice)

Sat Mar 26 – 1 pm  1st Strip Club meeting  (don’t miss out on the Fun, fun, fun – no poles needed)

Tues Mar 29 – 10 am – 3 pm  Floor Tuffet Class (please register early to get supply & prep list) (bring your lunch or we can pick up your order from the Apple Store)IMG_3205

Join all the buzz & make this cute and usable floor Tuffet

quilt together.  Lots of fun, laughter, & learning. (not to mention beautiful quilts.)  Sign up today !!

 

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                              New Arrivals                               

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Cotton/Linen Blend “Shabby Chic”  by STOF

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Tuscany by Henry Glass

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Botanicia III by Henry Glass

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Artisan Spirit Shimmers by Northcott

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Lakeside Retreat by Wilimington Prints

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Cotton jersey  by STOF

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13 new colors of the American Brand solids.

 

Also 15 new Island Batiks, new flannels, a new collection from Jason Yenter

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Valuable Info

What’s a Clapper ??

I have been asked many times about an interesting tool we have here at the shop. It’s called a “Tailor’s Clapper”. It’s no wonder everyone asks what it is. Most people have never seen one and information on them is hard to find. It’s a very important tool used by tailors and dressmakers for centuries, especially in Europe. When the home sewing movement exploded in the early 1900’s, the clapper sort of fell through the cracks. Only the “professionals” continued to use them.

Lucky for us, the Clapper is back ! And becoming a popular part of the home sewing vocabulary. I have been using a clapper for years. It’s a wonderful tool that gives you professional results.

Let me introduce the “Tailor’s Clapper” and the quilting version, the “Betty B Flat”.

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Tailor’s Clapper in front       Betty B Flat in back with handle

I love and use these tools constantly. (You might have seen them sitting on the ironing table in the classroom). If you want to achieve a nice flat seam or crease, this is your “go to” tool. Your seam nesting will be flawless and smooth. You can crease hems, even denim, and not need to pin at the sewing machine. You can press a sharp crease in pleats or pant legs (without a shine), in even difficult fabrics. Once you start using one of these fabulous tools, you will not want to be without it.

To use:

They are used in conjunction with your iron and steam. Press, steam, and apply the Clapper or Betty B Flat for 10 – 15 seconds. I usually follow my iron with the Betty B Flat as I am pressing seams or making bindings. This holds in the heat and steam that sets the crease or flattens your seams without scorching or burning delicate fabrics. Quilters, do not be afraid of steam. It is really your friend if you do it right. It will not stretch the fabric if you do not move the iron while it is in contact with the fabric. In fact, it will shrink back any stretching that has occurred.

Give this wonderful old tool a try, I guarantee you will love it.

 

 

What !?!?!?!?? It’s 2016 Already ?!?!?!??

Well, December blew through here like a tornado and I’m still trying to get my feet under me !!  How on earth does time fly by so fast ?!?!?!  That will always be a mystery to me.  So I apologize for not getting a schedule for December posted.  But, it was such a busy month, that I decided not to try to schedule classes.  We cancelled the UFO club and the Embroidery club decided on a project for the next year and picked out their fabrics and got all the instructions for January’s meeting. (so if you need all that, come in or call me)

Then on into the new year with much excitement. 🙂  There is lots happening this month.  We have all the beautiful, soft, high quality, 60″ wide, STOF cotton/spandex knits coming in !!  Sooooooo excited about them.  Perfect for tee shirts, leggings, baby clothes, skirts or dresses.  A very versatile and comfortable fabric.  I will post pictures when it comes in.

I am lining up classes for this month too.  For sure we will be having the serger class.  Still working on the teacher for a Free Motion Quilting class, a class on making all kinds of throw pillows and  an adult beginning sewing class.  Be sure to check the calendar often for dates and times and any other event that might come up.  You never know around here 😉

Also, if you haven’t signed up for the newsletter, you might want to do that here on the website. (it’s in the right hand side bar toward the top) It’s full of lots of great information.  the class and events calendar, new arrivals and a new feature I’m adding in January, a “Valuable Info” column.  There will be a link to it here on the website as most emails can’t handle the size of most articles.  It will have great information to help you with tough topics and how-to info.  I think your going to like it 🙂

Here is the first article:          DSC_2428         “Valuable Info”

How to Price your Quilts for Sale

Over the past 2 years I have had a reoccurring conversation with customers about the cost of a custom made quilt, both quilters who are selling and customers who are ordering. As a whole, most people, even quilters, don’t understand the value of this art piece.   I am increasingly concerned about educating both quilters and the buying public about that value.

I was doing some investigation on Pintrest and I ran across this fabulous article written about the subject of pricing your quilts. I want to share it with you, she has graciously granted permission, and hope it clarifies a few mysteries about pricing custom made quilts. It’s a bit lengthy, but very will worth the time to read and note the information.

This is taken off of http://katiesquiltingcorner.com/2013/08/sell-quilts.html. It was written as you can see in 2013 so the figures are a bit low for 2016. (keep that in mind as you calculate). I have copied and pasted her article, word for word, and then I have added my thoughts after that.

“ ‘So you want to sell a quilt’

August 31, 2013 by Katie

That dreaded question we always hear when a friend or family member finds out that you’re a quilter:

“How much would it cost to get you to make me a quilt?”

It stops many a quilter in their tracks. We never quite know what to say. People are flabbergasted to hear the prices we pay for quilt shop quality fabric, thread, computerized sewing machines and longarms. Yet, they want to get a custom piece for the price of a quilt from Wal-Mart (by the way – you can get a King Size Wal-Mart quilt for less than $30). It pains me to hear quilters talk about their prices being based on what other quilts on Etsy are selling for. How do you know exactly how long and what sorts of material it took that other Etsy seller to make that quilt?  There are precious few people in the world that really understand and value the time and skill necessary to make a custom piece and are willing to pay for it. They exist but most consumers have no idea what all is involved.

Then we have the other end of the spectrum recently brought up via Crafty Garden Mom – the overpriced, cheaply made knockoff “designer” quilt a la Anthropologie.
What’s a quilter to do? I’m gonna offer some advice and food for thought on this subject. You are welcome to chime in with your own two cents in the comments section. I’d love to really get a good discussion going about this and share your thoughts in an upcoming podcast episode.

The Cost of Materials

Quilting cotton fabric prices vary greatly depending on where you are sourcing them from. Wal-Mart has a $1 a yard section of threadbare fabric and it’s not uncommon to walk into a quilt shop and pay upwards of $13 a yard for designer quality fabric.  Here’s a little estimate just for a twin size quilt. This is probably the most common size I see produced for others. This estimate is for “bargain prices” you can sometimes find for quilt shop quality fabric.  To calculate yardage needed for a quilt there is a good fabric calculator here.

 

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The Cost of Your Time

Here is a sticking point I see with a lot of quilters. You’ve got two schools of thought here. One harms the other even if it’s unintentional.

“Selling quilts is a business for me” – You need to charge a reasonable hourly wage for your time. Personally, I consider minimum wage way too low for quilting. Think about it – you’re doing a skilled labor job. You had to learn how to use a specialized machine, acquire the correct materials, cut and put together those materials, and often quilt it yourself. Most quilters take classes to improve their skill. Why should we be expected to charge minimum wage for this skill? I think it’s ridiculous.

A twin size quilt can take 20-30 hours to complete depending on the complexity of the block(s) used. Let’s split the difference and say start to finish it took you 25 hours to make a twin size quilt;

25 hours at US Federal Minimum wage ($7.25) = $181.25

25 hours at $11/hr = $275

Some people charge less than minimum wage for their time. I’ve heard of quilters that charge $3-4 per hour for their time.  This is better than the other option that I too often hear which I find harmful to those doing quilting and sewing as a business:

“I sell quilts for fun and don’t need the money. I don’t charge for my time and only want them to cover material cost.”  This is a bad idea. Yes, you may get more sales on Etsy and Ebay this way or at local craft shows but by doing this you are undercutting every other crafter that is trying to barely scratch out a living selling quilts. The other thing that this does is create an expectation for buyers that your time  or any other quilters time will always be free. You’re also essentially losing money because you aren’t covering the cost of your equipment, space or electricity.  For people like this I always wonder why don’t they just quilt for charity organizations instead?

The Cost of Equipment and Electricity

A majority of quilters use an electronic sewing machine. Costs can vary from $50 to $12,000 for a sewing machine. A decent quilting/sewing machine combo will run you easily $1,500. If you are selling quilts, quilted items or sewn items you need to figure in a depreciation cost for the equipment you are using.

  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron
  • Ironing Board
  • Sewing cabinet or table
  • Cutting table
  • Cutting mats
  • Rotary cutter
  • Rulers
  • Starch or sizing
  • Crafting lamps (Ottlights)

Add the cost of electricity and water into the mix and this equipment cost can add up. If you were a business you could write some of this off as an equipment cost. Most quilters do not formally file taxes as a business so they don’t usually figure a fee in for the use of all of this stuff when they sell a quilt.   All of these items depreciate and/or have an annual cost of upkeep. At some point they will either need to be replaced or worked on. If you are working for free you are letting someone have free use of your equipment and electricity.

I’m not suggesting you add a super high fee to a quilt but you need to add something. You can prorate it depending on the quilt size or tack it on to your hourly fee.

I have to sell quilts at the price the market will bear.  So does that mean a quilt that took you over $100 in materials and 25-30 hours to make should compete with quilts sold at Wal-Mart? They’re selling king size quilts for less than $30.  I’ve turned down tons of work because people expect me to lose money so they can get the quilt they want.

Etsy is a good example. Often sellers assume the reason why their items aren’t selling is due to the price. I usually don’t find that the case at all. Typically low sales are due to bad photography, a poor description or a combination of the two.  If you’ve got good photography, a good description and you’re still not selling you need to take a look at the market. Maybe baby quilts sell better than twin size. Maybe quilted placemats sell better than crib quilts. Find out what works in your area and online and make those items. What’s popular this season will change in six months. You often have to figure out what fabric is hot right now. It’s a moving target and your price point isn’t always the factor that makes it sell.

Losing money just to get sales doesn’t make sense.  I think setting the expectation of your budget-conscious clientele so they understand what they can get as far as size, complexity of the blocks and quilting design they will respect the prices you set.”

 

Wasn’t that a great bit of information? I really enjoyed reading it and applaud her for writing it. She is right on when it comes to the perception of both quilters and the general public. I have sewn for the public off and on over the majority of my adult life. (I started sewing when I was very, very young) And the biggest issue has always been pricing your time for the work done. You wouldn’t expect to pay a plumber or an electrician or an accountant nothing for their time. Yet it seems to be that no one, including the seamstress, values the time of a talented seamstress.

Educating yourself and the paying public is the key. I spent many years building custom stained glass pieces for people and the same problem exists. Women and men making stained glass pieces in their garages as a “hobby” because they enjoyed it. That’s great, it’s wonderful to enjoy what you are doing. But selling their work at a financial loss, creates an expectation that anyone doing stained glass is the same. It is an art form, requiring very expensive materials and many, many hours of hard work. If it is your business, you are expecting to get paid for your time and talents and skills. Just the same as a custom made quilt, they are all “one of a kind originals”.

In order to educate the public, you must first educate yourself and give yourself permission to charge what you are worth. Someone asking you to make a quilt for them, is asking because they can’t do it themselves, for whatever reason. You have mastered a very marketable skill that you can proudly expect to be paid for, just like any other skilled professional.

Over the past 2 years as people have ask me what the cost of a custom made quilt is, I have struggled for a simple formula to give them as an “estimate”. (it must always be an estimate until the final product is completed) I fell back on my experience as a stained glass artist and calculated a general cost to give the customer. Please keep in mind, this is for premium quality materials and your best workmanship. No short cuts or cutting corners in either case.

Multiply the width by the length in inches:

I’ll use the example in the article ~ 68” by 94” =   6392” that’s the amount of square inches in the piece.

Multiply the number of square inches by $.10

That is 6392” X $.10 = $639.20 + the quilting

If the piece has a very complicated pattern taking more time than usual, you can bump the cost per inch up to $.12 or $.15 an inch to cover the extra time and difficulty. Likewise, if the requested piece is a very quick and easy piece, able to be completed in quick fashion, drop the price per square inch down to $.08. I always look at the final price and compare it to the time I have invested in the piece plus the cost of the materials. I always time my work time with a stopwatch. And I am very careful to not charge the customer for time not dedicated to the work on that piece. (ie; answering the phone, going to the bathroom, getting a snack, etc.) You will find that this formula will be very close to your time and expenses. I always have to do a little tweaking one way or the other, but it is a good formula to start with.

Quilting…… Many “quilters”, have their pieced tops quilted by a long-arm quilter. If you are one of them, you will have to factor that into the cost of the finished product.

IF YOU QUILT YOUR PIECED TOP ON YOUR OWN SEWING MACHINE OR LONGARM, CHARGE FOR IT !!! Just like the long-arm quilter, you have invested in and are using your equipment and are spending your time, electricity, thread and tools to quilt the piece. You deserve to be paid for that effort and expense. Just like you would pay someone else to do it or for any other skilled service.

I hope the article I copied and my own thoughts and experience have helped you to educate yourself and your customers for a better understanding of the timeless art of quilting and sewing.

Keep Sewing !!   Donette

 

 

Looks What’s New !!!!!

Time flies when you are busy !!  No sooner did Row by Row wind down than a flurry of deliveries started flooding in.  It’s a mad house around here !!  New fabrics, new thread cabinet and colors, new “Old Style” 100% Cotton laces & rick rack in pastels, new flannels, new buttons, new linen blend 60″ wide and new Cuddle fabrics 60″ & 90″ wide.  We are stocking River Silks fabulous silk ribbon and BEADS !!!!  Glorious Czech glass beads !!

And right on time,now that the quilt show is finished and all the quilts have been retrieved by their owners, the classroom looks naked !!  Time to get busy and schedule more classes and get some projects done.  Christmas is right around the corner and at the rate time is flying by, it will be here before we know it.  Time to get busy !!

Pictures never do true justice to fabrics or quilts, but here are some exciting things to think about !

Come into the shop and check them out when you are our the area:

THE NEW FABRICS

You have to feel this to believe it !!  Shannon’s “Spa Cuddle”.  This glorious fabric, just in time for fall, is “Cuddle” soft on BOTH side of the yardage !!  Add a beautiful binding and it’s snuggle ready 🙂  Or make up a fantastic bathrobe that will caress you all winter long.  The “Camo Cuddle” is back and “Star Embossed Cuddle” made it’s debut. (more coming in a few weeks)

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Spa Cuddle (the pink close up) in 3 colors; pink navy, tan  ~ Rabbit Cuddle (close up on the end)

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The beautiful and sumptuous Linen Blend by Stof from Denmark.  This is the loveliest fabric to work with.  If you sew clothing at all, you want some of this !!  Jackets, skirts, pants, even shirts.  It’s wonderful to embroider on and Home Decor items are a no-brainer with this fabulous fabric.  It washes up like a dream, it’s soft, smooth and comfortable, yet crisp when pressed.  I got a bolt to “try” and it flew out the door.  So I ordered it again in 3 colors this time, white, black & sand.  More to come in the future.  Look at all the rich colors this blend (55% Linen~45% Cotton) comes in,  Let me know which color you want me to order next

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More fun and cuddly flannel.  Now that Old Man Winter is knocking on our door, it’s time to think about flannel shirts & pajamas, not to mention baby quilts  & throws for everyone !!  I even made a “Little Somethin’ Jacket” out of flannel and it is the best !!  (I’ve used it all summer too when the A/C gets to me)

These are, ohhhh so soft, yarn died flannels, (the plaids) Yarn dying makes the flannel look and feel the same on both sides.

There is just something nostalgic about flannel.  Gotta love it !!

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New fabrics for the “Modern Quilt” minded.  But it’s working for all kinds of things too.  Everything from baby burp pads to aprons and skirts to wall hangings.  Everyone’s fabulous creativity never ceases to amaze me !!!!  I love it !!

Fabrics from Northcott and Micheal Miller

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These wonderful blenders from Northcott are so soft and beautiful, you won’t believe it.  The brown looks like old leather. Wonderful!

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Buttons, Buttons and more Buttons

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A wall of buttons !!  All the new Christmas and Holiday buttons have arrived.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, new standard shirt & clothing buttons.  Novelty buttons of all kinds !  Here are some close-ups of the ever popular “Nativity” set.  The have added new ones this year.  Last year they sold out, so don’t delay if you want these darling buttons

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Along with the buttons, our supplier has made “Crafting Beads for Jewelry Kits”.  Eight different popular Disney characters to chose from and make up with your little princess.  One of  my customers kindly allowed me to post this picture of  her darling granddaughter proudly wearing her creation.  Sooooo Cute !!!

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Glass Beads and Silk Ribbons

For a few months now, we have been stocking River Silks fabulous silk ribbon.  River Silks ribbon is the best on the market, I’ve been told.  It has been tested thru canvas and proven not to fray or split.  We have  4mm, 7mm and 13mm widths.  We are increasing our color selection with each order.  Come in and see how wonderful it is and how easy it is to work with.  Watch us grow !! (next order in progress to fill the empty spots on the wall & add a few new ones too)

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Beads that sparkle and shine are lighting up the wall right next to the silk ribbon.  Beautiful, quality Czech glass beads are complimenting our embellishment wall.  Our first order came last week and we are still getting them packaged and up on the wall.  The next order is already in progress to improve and expand the pallet.

We are truly excited about our beads !!

Watch for more arriving, it’s just the beginning. 🙂

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It’s really hard to keep up around here with so much going on.  The annual Medina Quilt Fest was last month and the classroom was filled with beautiful quilts made by the Medina Quilters on display.  Thanks so much ladies (That’s why the classes were halted)

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Next post ….new class schedule …..stay tuned