Turkey Tracks: Alewives Fabrics Low-Volume Monthly Fabric Club

Turkey Tracks:  March 21, 2016

Alewives Fabrics Low-Volume Monthly Fabric Club

Friend Megan Bruns did a monthly fabric club with Alewives Fabric (Damariscotta Mills, Maine) that she truly enjoyed.  She’s using those fabrics in her Passacaglia Millefiori Quilt.  (See earlier posts.)

Alewives is doing a low-volume version, and I just signed up.  I LOVE the low-volume fabrics the market is putting out now.  This club starts in May and is already filling.  They will limit membership as they are a small shop.

Here’s the information:

Source: Alewives Fabrics: Fabrics

In the newsletter message I got from them, they included the prettiest picture of an English Paper Piecing project from Tracey Jay Quilts–called a “Morning Star” block.  I just ordered that for $6 too.


The block is in the center, and the pattern forms through color manipulation.  The package comes with a blank coloring plan.

Isn’t this gorgeous.  Low volume prints and brights.  Heaven must be made of these colors!

Fussy cutting could add a whole new intricacy to this idea as well.



Turkey Tracks: Honeycomb Hand-Sewing Project

Turkey Tracks:  May 21, 2014

Honeycomb Hand-Sewing Project


Well, isn’t this fun?


This piece will be finished when I complete the circle of white English Paper Piecing templates–which I bought from Alewives Quilting in Damariscotta, Maine.

Lucy Boston pioneered this “honeycomb” quilting.  A “honeycomb” is a hexagon, but with an elongated top and bottom side.

Here’s the “how to” and inspirational book by Linda Franz.


And here’s some ideas of how the honeycombs can be combined.  Lucy Boston used combinations of 24 honeycombs ringed by 24 white honeycombs.  I started with the top left version.



I’m probably only going to do four of these in shades of red and green and link them into a four-patch.  Or, as a banner.

The “blocks” are joined by a series of squared.  And if one wanted to make something bigger that gets squared off, one needs a series of templates that will “square off” the blocks.  You can order those or make them yourself as the patterns are in the book.

I am joining the pieces with the method Leah Day demonstrated on a utube video.  I posted that link on this blog earlier, but you can google Leah Day and “English Paper Piecing” for the series of three videos.  I like this method because it does not show the whip-stitch stitches on the front.

Turkey Tracks: Alewives Visits Camden Quilters

Turkey Tracks:  February 17, 2011

Alewives Visits Camden Quilters

Rhea Butler and her mother, Barbara Neeson, came from Alewives quilt shop in Damariscotta Mills, (http://www.alewivesfabrics.com) for our February 12th meeting.  Barbara owns Alewives, and Rhea is the resident quilt artist and designer. 


 Rhea’s on the left, Barbara is in the middle, and CQ member Barb Melchiskey is on the right. 

 Rhea taught us how to make her copyrighted “La La Log Cabin” block and quilt, which derives from a long history of improvisational quilting—which, for Rhea, includes such quilting as that of the Gee Bend quilters and Denise Schmidt of Bridgeport, CT.  This pattern is meant to be made from your stash fabrics, though you could certainly buy new fabrics as well.  Above, you see a soft blue/green version.

 Rhea loves color and starts her blocks with an overall sense of how she wants the finished quilt to look.  She wanted the big quilt she brought to demonstrate her La La Block to “glow,” and it did.  See?


Barb Melchiskey, Sylvia Lundevall, Eleanor Greenwood, and Patty Courtney.

Rhea used neutrals and added bits of red and green.  She tries to put interesting, clever, or meaningful fabrics into the center of her blocks.  She also loves to mix textures and to employ whimsical bits of cloth, such as the little colored dots on the edges of fabric selvages.  And she tears fabric into strips and roughly cuts centers with just sissors, which helps to give her blocks an interesting “off-center,” funky look.  Rhea used three harmonious fabrics in shades of yellow/gold for the backing, layered in from side to side in big swaths.  

 Rhea provided us with a free pattern for her block/quilt, which is typical of her and Barbara’s generosity.  We had a wonderful meeting with her, and I suspect many of our members will produce  La La Cabin quilts.  I know I will as I’m on a mission to use up more of my stash and will definitely make one.

 Rhea also keeps a lively, interesting blog:  http://alewivesgirl.blogspot.com.

Turkey Tracks: Tami’s Placemats

Turkey Tracks:  December 13, 2010

Tami’s Placemats

Last summer, Tami told me she’d love to make some of the placemats I had made using a simple hand loom and fabric strips.  About two years ago, I took a class at Alewives Fabrics, Damariscotta, Maine, to learn this technique.  The book that contains directions for both the looms and how to weave the rugs is RUGS FROM RAGS, by Country Threads.  I think even I could make one of these looms. 

I have two looms, a placemat size and a rug size that is about 2 feet by 3 feet.  I got the rug-size loom first, and my first project was a rug for our kitchen door.  We had just painted the kitchen a color called “beeswax,” from Benjamin Moore paints.  It’s a warm, soft color in the orange family.  So, I wanted kitchen rugs to have warm colors. 


What I learned with this project is that my muslin inner fabric strips (warp?  woof?) should have been in the color palette, not the ususal off-white muslin suspect.  But, but, let me tell you that this rug washes frequently and gets popped right into the dryer.  It takes on mud, snow, and rain without a fuss, and I love it.  Ditto the 8 placemats and the upper side door rug I made after finishing this first rug.  The placemats and other rug are made from “on-sale” fabrics, and they are not batiks.  They ravel more, and it’s harder to weave them because you have to pay attention to keeping the outer, colored part of the fabric turned out so that the inner, bland side does not show.   

Here’s a picture of the upper side door rug so you can see how different it is.  That’s the door stopper Bryan and Corinne sent to us as a housewarming gift when we moved to Maine.

Here’s a picture of one of the placemats.  Each one is different.  And, I trim off unraveled threads every so often.  Again, they are wearing like iron and get popped into the washer and dryer without a backward glance.

Tami and I left the next morning to pick out fabric for her project.   John, upon hearing of her project, offered to make her a loom.  Meanwhile, after choosing batiks in soft creams and blues (beachy colors she said), she cut her fabric strips and started a placemat on my loom.

Tami and I always get into crafts toward the end of their month in Maine with us, so she did not have time to finish this first placemat and went home with both my loom and the one John made for her.  She did have time to master the technique and finished one of the placemats in short order.  Here it is:


I, meanwhile, made the six napkins with fabric she left with me and mailed them to her.

Tami and Mike, after looking for the kind of home they wanted to buy in Charleston, bought a home in August.  Thus, she was preoccupied with her third move in three years and with some changes to the new home throughout the fall.  (They bought a simple, beautiful home that works to keep them together as a family–along the lines of the “not so big” home idea.)  And now, both of my sons and their families live on Isle of Palms, a barrier island just north of Charleston’s harbor.  They live two blocks from each other and within two blocks of the beautiful Isle of Palms beach. 

Together over Thanksgiving, we finished three placemats, so now Tami has four completed.  She has materials for two more.

Here’s what the loom looks like, with a placemat in progress:

And, here are three placemats with their matching napkins:

Some time this winter I would like to start a rug using an old light green duvet color and some old sheets. 

I warn you:  this craft is addictive.

Turkey Tracks: Steve Melchiskey’s Earring Holder

Turkey Tracks:  December 13, 2010

Steve Melchiskey’s Earring Holder

I’m a member of Coastal Quilters, a chapter in the Maine State Pinetree Quilters’ Guild.  CQ is based in Camden, Maine, and it is a lovely group of women.  I treasure knowing each and every one of them.  They are generous to a fault, astonishingly talented, and devoted to this quilting group.  We learn a lot from each other.

Our spouses are no slouches either.  Many of them help us set up our meeting space at the Lion’s Club each month, which involves putting up lots of tables and placing chairs around them.  And, for our annual fundraising auction, one spouse–Steve Melchiskey–made several, very clever, pierced earring holders, using frames and window screen.  I had been searching for something to organize my earrings–especially since I have a new-found passion–making earrings with the help of the staff at Aboca Beads in Damariscotta, Maine, about 40 minutes down the road.

Here’s my terrific earring holder, and my heartfelt thanks to Steve Melchiskey for supporting Coastal Quilters:


Look at all those earrings, both VERY old and new!  The top three on the left are made from folding clay by the most amazing artist who displays at Alewives Fabrics in Damariscotta Mills.  How does she make such intricate pictures????  Some readers will recognize earrings they have given to me.  Some of the earrings I remade from old, outdated earrings, giving them new life.  One of the amber-like ones on the lower left got dropped and cracked.  John glued it for me, and I love it still.