There's a gem of a fabric store in Lincoln, RI, called Ryco. It's a bit far from Aquidneck Island (45 minutes from my home in Portsmouth), but worth the trip for quilting supplies, longarm quilting classes and services, and also TRIM.
They specialize in selling trim of all descriptions in bulk or by the yard. Ribbon, fringe, pom pom, bias tape, lace, ric rac, cording, hook and loop tape, webbing...the list is seemingly endless.
They sell fabric as well, both in quilting precuts, by the yard, fat quarters, and remnants. They carry a beautiful selection of quilting fabric. You won't find much in the way of apparel fabric because their specialty truly is quilting. You also won't find fabric bargains, not even in their bargain bin (especially if you've already been to Lorraine's in Pawtucket (see my post on Lorraine's here). But you will find Cotton + Steele which is hard to come by in this region in a brick and mortar shop.
They offer classes in a variety of topics, mostly quilt-related. They also have several long-arm quilting machines. You can take a class in how to use the machine, then are certified to rent their machines by the hour (~$20/hour depending on the machine). This is a tremendous resource if you are interested in stepping up your machine quilting game without sending out your quilt to a professional.
The shop is located in an old mill, off the main road a bit. Look for a caricature of the owner's face to lead the way!
For those not in my area, they also ship just about everything they carry in the shop, but you'll have to call and speak to someone because their website doesn't really accommodate ecommerce well.
While a bit of a drive, once you get off the highway, it's a beautiful one. If you've visited the shop, let me know what you think in the comments!
Things have been quiet here on the blog, but I've been working hard behind the scenes to open a brand new studio! Stitchery is a classroom and studio space offering sewing and knitting classes. My partner Traci Vaspol will be teaching all the knitting classes, I'll teach sewing. Both of us are joining forces to bring you a series of monthly wardrobe workshops.
But that's not all--we will be hosting knitting groups, carrying independent pattern designs for sale, hosting open studio time, bringing in guest artisans for workshops, and providing children and adults a creative space to learn sewing, embroidery and knitting.
Registration is LIVE for March classes. You can meet up with us in the studio to register in person or, you can register by credit card directly on the website. We have introductory classes for knitting and sewing, both for kids and adults.
Interested in a birthday party? Want to not have to clean your house and host your knitting group in our newly-renovated space? Looking for Summer Camps for the kiddos? Just send us an email or fill out the contact form. Camps are on our schedule, but we are still working out the details before posting to the website. Check back soon!
We hope to see you at our Grand Opening party on February 25!! Come see the studio, enjoy some refreshments, try out some of the equipment, sign up for classes, learn more about all the ideas we have planned for the next few months, and we will even have crafts for the kids.
We would love to show you around!
The pull to be outside is so strong right now, I find myself ignoring the computer most days. You should be ignoring screens too!
The photos above are a small taste of what's getting my attention these days, and I'm not sorry one little bit.
I'll be in and out of this space the next two or three months, but still working diligently behind the scenes. My online shop will stay open and stocked, I am prepping for a return to shows during the holiday season, I'm teaching a sewing camp for the first time, and I will be writing tutorials and posts, just not as frequently, as you can tell by the past 2 weeks. As much of that work as possible will be completed in the Adirondack chair in the picture above, writing in good old paper notebooks.
Summer in Rhode Island is short, my children are growing up fast, and I have a zillion ideas of things to sew. Especially summer clothes--how do I only have one pair of shorts? Computers are getting elbowed out of the way for the time being.
I hope that you too will be away from your computer more this season. If you want to see what I'm up to this summer, follow on Instagram (@dancingthreadsri). Or not. I don't mind if you don't read my posts--we can always catch up again over a cup of coffee in September. Go out and enjoy your summer!!
Have you ever bought fabric from IKEA? Did you know they sell fabric by the yard? Did you also realize that there are many usable beautiful textiles IKEA sells in other departments that are perfect to cut up for sewing?
45-60 minutes North from Aquidneck Island, IKEA in Stoughton, MA, is well worth the drive. I took a trip last week and came home with pictures to share with you, showing you how many options you have in fabric. Most especially, inexpensive fabric.
There is a self-serve fabric cutting area. No fabric costs more than $8.99/yard. Since this is a home décor store, their fabrics are geared towards pillows and curtains. Some prints are quite large, intended to be used as a wall hanging or other statement piece. While not always suitable for clothing, I have used many of these heavier weight fabrics for bags. They also are a great weight for a spring jacket, and of course pillows and curtains.
Choose your fabric, unroll, measure and cut, then apply a sticker with the barcode number, yardage and price. The cashier will take care of it when you check out.
Note: the scissors usually are really dull from however many customers roll through this place. You're on the honor system--please don't ruin it for the rest of us by cutting more than you claim on your checkout sticker!
They have recently started carrying pre-cut lengths of fabric.
They also carry their own sewing machine and a handful of notions. I'm not sure this is any better than the toy machines you can buy for kids. I have no experience with this and do not recommend it. I still very heartily recommend buying a good used machine, or something like the Brother CS6000i or the Janome Magnolia. $64.99 seems tempting, but playing with the reverse button and dial, makes me think it's not even worth that low price tag.
The same applies for their thread and scissor quality. Use a coupon or wait for a sale to get quality thread and a workhorse like fabric shears at a craft or fabric store.
Still, this shows me that a big corporation believes sewing is a growing hobby, not something dying out. That is very encouraging!
Besides the obvious fabric available in the cutting department, this store is filled with fabric options if you change the way you think a bit.
Look at the cool graphics in a table runner, napkins and tea towels. You can use these for so many things! I've made kids art aprons from IKEA tea towels for birthday party favors. You can make a variety of zip pouches from the napkins. Use the existing hems to your advantage. Cut up with abandon for patchwork. Once you look beyond the label, and think of these as smaller cuts of fabric rather than yards on a bolt, the possibilities are endless.
What if you need a larger piece of fabric and a napkin isn't enough?
Bedspreads! Can you imagine finding fabric yardage in a twin bed size for $12.99??
Shower curtains! $4.99 for a huge panel of fabric--you really can't find that anywhere else (though I hope you'll start seeing things like the clearance rack at Marshall's as sources of inexpensive fabric too!). Keep in mind the fiber content and what project you have in mind. Personally, I wouldn't want to make a skirt out of a nylon water-resistant shower curtain, but it might be perfect for a picnic blanket. Or rough and tumble beach bag.
Last but not least, curtain panels. You can find linen curtains for far less than you would buy yardage at the fabric store, even after sales and coupons. A 2-pack of curtain panels is a huge amount of fabric.
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Have you ever sewn with textiles from IKEA? I would love to hear about it, and see photos of what you've made!
Have you heard about the handmade blogger challenge to wear something you made each day during the month of May? It's a challenge started by Zoe at So Zo...What Do You Know? blog. Knitting, crochet, sewing--it all counts. Some people have made very strict rules for themselves like no repeats, the entire outfit must be handmade, etc. The goal is to get those lovingly made wardrobe items out and proudly into the world.
This is my first year participating, so I've kept the rules simple. One item per day, repeats allowed, handbags, scarves and other accessories count. Since this is an Instagram challenge, my pics are all taken with my phone. Here are some outfits from the first week of the challenge. Details about the patterns can be found on the Instagram descriptions (I can recap if anyone is interested later here on the blog).
I'm @dancingthreadsri on Instagram if you'd like to follow along!
Are you participating? I'd love to hear about it! It's not too late to start. Tag your photos with #memademay, #mmm16, and #mmmay16 (I've also been using #selfishsewing and #handmadewardrobe). The interaction has been so much fun!
BEST labels ever for your handmade gifts.
Pattern for this magnificent quilt is available here.
Can you stand the cuteness of these embroidery designs from Kiriki Press? Also available as complete kits. The hedgehog is on my must-make list.
Have a lovely weekend!
The Lil' Rhody bag is here! This is a project that has been in the works for a few months, and I'm happy to show you the final product.
A hand embroidered bag, made with all natural materials (cotton lining, linen exterior, cotton thread), with the shape outline we Rhode Islanders love so much.
This makes a fantastic memento if you've spent time in Rhode Island vacationing, visiting friends and family, and especially if you've been stationed here in Newport.
Block Island is even included in the outline!
You can find them at RaNEW Salon and Spa in Newport, as well in my Etsy shop. Mother's Day is just around the corner...
There is also a Maryland version available in my shop, that I will show you in a future post. Which state would you most like to see embroidered on a bag next??
Like many mothers of active children, I spend a fair amount of time shuttling people to activities and then waiting. Reading at these activities doesn't work right now because I miss out on watching all the fun. Hand sewing is the perfect way to keep my hands busy, stay out of trouble, not stare at a screen, and still be able to watch the latest flying front kick or back stroke.
Until recently, I've brought my sewing to events in a drawstring project bag, which works quite well. The biggest pet peeve of mine has been thread snips. What to do with them? They either end up all over my lap or tangled at the bottom of the bag. An exterior pocket was in order. While I was at it, I prefer zip top bags, and I had been saving some selvedges that had especially interesting graphics, or meant something to me like the sheep and crabs.
The portable sewing kit was the end result.
The thread snip pocket. No more lap full of threads making me look like the crazy sewing lady! I still look crazy embroidering everywhere I go around Aquidneck Island, but the people who know me understand it's for fun and work. Those who don't? If they ask I'll gladly tell them. If they don't, well then have fun with your Candy Crush.
Some of my favorite selvedges. It's such a shame that people usually just throw these away!
Inside pockets to corral various thread skeins, marking pens, scissors, lip balm, and even my phone and keys if I'm keeping things simple.
You can see by the current contents that it holds quite a lot. This is intentional, as I am usually either stitching multiples of something and like to churn through as many as I can in one waiting period, or I have a few different projects so I don't get bored.
Portable sewing means more than just sewing while my children are doing their thing. I can take the kit almost anywhere including outside in beautiful weather, a friend's house, to the park, on vacation...you name it. TSA may not like all the sharp pointy things, so I haven't tried flying with it yet, but it goes most everywhere with me lately. How else am I going to make sure everyone has the chance to buy their own Lil Rhody bag?? See the crab mug above? I'm working on a Maryland version of the bag too!
How do you sew, knit, crochet, etc. on the go??
Honestly, I'm not sewing all that much this week. I've been in planning mode most of the week, having a "show hangover" for most of Monday after a terrific Yarn Crawl event. Ask other artisans--"show hangover" is a thing. I lost track of how much coffee I've consumed the past few days.
What have I been working on? Some side projects, plus a lot of sewing in the planning stages. Here's a peek.
The photo above is a close-up of the embroidery for my new Lil Rhody bags. I would show you a finished bag, but they are all sold out at the moment! I plan to spend part of break next week sewing more, not to worry.
Samples for a Seaside Sewing Summer Camp at the Newport Library. I'm really looking forward to teaching this camp with my pal Emma the first week in August.
Fabric shopping for Selfish Sewing happened this week. I'm planning a whole blog post about Lorraine Fabrics in Pawtucket--it's a local gem not to be missed. Lotta Jansdotter fabric for $2.99/yard? Yes please! The fabric above will become an Esme top from her book Everyday Style.
More Selfish Sewing fabric for another Washi Dress. See my last post about how terrific sewing with this pattern is.
A gift for a certain Maryland family member. I haven't completely decided what the final product will be yet, but I'm thoroughly pleased with the embroidery kit from I Heart Stitch Art.
Pillowcase kits. These are for a big donation the Sew Easy to Care Youth sewing group will make in a few weeks. All hands on deck to bust out as many finished pillowcases as possible, so I took a few home to sew up. It's hard not to smile while sewing for a charity.
Navy blue linen blend, my last piece of fabric from this week's Selfish Sewing shopping trip. These will become Owyn pants, also a pattern from the Everyday Style book. The patterns are so easy to follow, and so far the two garments I've made are quite flattering. I'm looking forward to making lightweight cropped pants for summer. We had snow last week, but I *know* summer will be here soon. Right??
This fabric is destined for a set of reusable book bags for my son's classroom. I'm very excited about this project, and will be sure to share more as I get to work.
What are you sewing and planning to sew these days?
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.