Update, classes, etc


I have sat at this computer at least a dozen times to write a newsletter update, then get absorbed in something else.  This has been a crazy, busy season.  No, I'm not complaining.  Its just that we were not prepared for this season, based on the last few years where things were slowing at a humdrum pace.  Is it all the hotel guests?  Is it a general increase in tourists to Sarasota?  Not sure, but we plan to dissect and analyze the season at our annual summit meeting...in April...at the beach...over wine coolers...it's amazing how brilliant one can be in that setting.

Classes Update

One Block Wonder - Again - $60
Friday Morning from 10-1
March 29, April 5, April 12
 Confident Beginner
Fee INCLUDES book, instructions, 60 degree ruler, and 2 free open sewing sessions to complete the project.  Call for a seat.

Beginning Quilting - $90
Tuesday afternoon 1-4 pm
April 9 - May 7
Fee includes patterns, beginning equipment (rotary cutter, mat, ruler), instructions and open sewing sessions to work on your project.  We begin with the log cabin rail fence, then work through strip piecing, needle turn applique, half square triangles, quarter square triangles, etc.  A new block and technique each week.  For those who wish to continue, we will select 1-2 blocks each week continuing throughout the book "Learning to Quilt."  We last taught this class in 2014.  The students from that class have moved on and made dozens of quilts.  Strictly limited to 4 students.  Class kit packaged in a green "Alma Sue" bag which entitles student to a forever 10% discount when shopping with the bag.

MegaStar - $90
Thursday morning 10-1
April 4, 11, 18, 25
Confident Beginner to Intermediate
Make a modern lone star.  The pattern makes a 50x50 quilt.  Easily turn it into a larger bed quilt by adding negative space around the pieced section with borders.  Choose your colors from a wide range of Hoffman Bali Poppies (two packages required)  Pattern, fabric kit (Bali poppies and background), and 45 degree ruler included in the class fee.  Kit is packaged in a green Alma Sue bag which entitles student to a forever 10% discount when shopping with the bag. 

Classes limited to 4 students.  Call 941-330-0993 for a seat.  Please call in advance if you need to use one of our sewing machines for class so we can spend some time showing you how to use the machine. 

There is a new ruler coming that stops slipping when cutting.  A group of folks in mid Florida designed the BeeHive slipstop ruler.  It has a row of stainless steel pins or grippers in the middle which engage the fabric when pressing on the mid section.  A prototype is on its way to us shortly.  Hope it proves beneficial for our cutting table.  The first two sizes are 6x24 and I believe the smaller size is about 6x12 or 6x18.  Will let you know how it works.

 What is the policy on returns?  Happy to oblige with the receipt.  A receipt is necessary because if you made the purchase with a discount, then we return the discounted price, not the full price. 
What about fabric?  Yes we accept fabric returns.  Must be unwashed, and must be large enough to cut a FQ if it was fabric cut from the bolt. 
What are Wooden Nickles?  A round disc imprinted with the words "Alma Sue."  Designed to give the bearer access to special discounts on "wooden nickel" days.  In the summer these days were mostly on Wednesday because that was our slowest day of the week.  We have had wooden nickel days on Fridays, and also on some Saturdays.  Haven't had one in a while.  The wooden nickel deal varies with the whim of the owner...me.  Of late some customers produced wooden nickels thinking they would get a $1/yard discount.  That only works when that deal is advertised.  True, we haven't had a wooden nickel day lately, it has been so crazy with just trying to keep up with customers I haven't had time to put together a wooden nickel deal.  They are usually advertised on the website almasue.com and also in this newsletter.  I am getting together some ideas for the next few weeks.  Past deals have been discounts on wide backs, discounts on batting, discounts on clearance rack.  Shoot me an email if there is something you want a wooden nickel day on.  (ellamillertoy@aol.com)
What are the Alma Sue green bags?  Eco friendly reusable shopping bags.  Most of the class kits are packaged in this bag.  We also give away the bags to customers who just purchased a pile of fabric.  Every time you shop with the bag you get a 10% discount.  Discount applies to regular priced merchandise, fabric, notions, small gifts.  A discount is not given for items on sale, or to quilting services.  Sure, we will be happy to give you a discount even on finished baby quilts.  But please bring the bag.  Making the statement, "I have a bag but left it at home" will not get you the discount!

Some of My Favorite Things

Ewesful, that wool pin cushion.  Keeps pins from rusting.  More loosely felted in the middle so you can insert fine shaft pins; more densely felted on the outside for larger shaft pins and needles.  Who saves their sewing machine needles?  Does someone have a good use for sewing machine needles that aren't broken?  I know folks who use them as picture hangers since they leave a very small hole in the wall - but how many pictures do you need to hang?  They also don't leave a hole if you want to use them to pin up a wall hanging.  Of course my mother always sharpened them with a sandstone and didn't have this problem.  The only unused needles lying around the sewing area were broken needles, which was the only reason to ever discard and replace a sewing machine needle.  Its possible the steel used to make those needles was better than what we have today.

My latest great find is a Ruler Safe.  Its a lightweight aluminum case looks like a clarinet case.  Inside is a foam rubber insert on both sides, with velcro straps like a suitcase.  It will hold rulers up to 24+ inches long.  What a great way to store and transport rulers.  Rulers are a considerable investment and up to now there hasn't been a good way to keep them.  We tried those rings to hang them...wooden blocks to file them....this is the best solution yet!  I grabbed one immediately to keep all the shop rulers in one place.  Colors are blue, pink, or purple. 
In fact I like this gadget so much let's make them a WOODEN NICKEL notion.  Bring your wooden nickels on SATURDAY, March 30 and get 25% off one of the Ruler Safes.  We will also give out RAIN CHECKS in case you want one and they are gone!

Another favorite item is that little hard cubby case.  Holds your rotary cutter, a seam ripper, and one or two other gadgets, maybe a tape measure, thread snipper.  Use it to corral all your crochet hooks in one place.

We have a nice stack of Easter and spring fabric lined up.  I'm planning on making some pillowcases for the kids' Easter baskets, they always get plenty of chocolate.  Jelly beans, bubble gum and those crazy wind up hopping bunnies and chicks are standard basket items. 
What else is here?  A bunch of new fabric put into the $5 clearance bin - got them on sale so in the $5 rack they go...dragonflies, John Deere yellow paisley, purple floral, chevrons, blue chambray, country scene with horses, can't remember what else.  Oh, we got the first batch of Christmas fabric...those cats that have been hanging around for a while - Catitude - all dressed up in Christmas holly, ribbon, and lights.  They are in the back receiving area.  Mattie is busy making potholders from the squares.
See you Later Alligator, a fun collection for kids, slated for kits just arrived today.  Boxes of toscana and solids (along with that nice white) from Northcott restocked.

For those of you dropping off little boxes of presents for us as you clean out sewing rooms, thank you!  We have passed on the fabric to the Sunnyside church sewing circle.  Several larger pieces went to several quilters who make comforters for the homeless, other pieces go to another church who makes adult bibs for nursing homes, and those pieces not suitable for quilting go to the good will.  The vintage prints useful to repair and restore quilts go into Duke's "repair bin."  Bit by bit I am getting the storage cooler cleaned out.  Finding some surprises.  At one time we were vendors at quite a few quilt shows and always took unusual fabrics to sell at the booths.  In storage bins are hand dyed African batiks, vintage Laurel Burch, vintage Kaffe Fassett...we have pretty well cleaned out the vintage Lilly Pulitzer and sold it online.  

Other news....Free Spirit confirmed they will no longer carry the Kaffe Fassett woven stripes once the warehouse is sold down.  This happens every so often...they carry the stripes, then they stop...then start up again after several years.  Wonder if it's a ploy to make everyone panic and buy bolts of the fabric.  Well it worked for me...I just ordered several boxes of the stripes.  They were shipped today.

At this time we are giving out NO HAND QUILTING work orders. 
Also taking in NO LONG ARM orders with a deadline..
Have a MINKY backing for a large quilt to be done on the long arm?  Sorry we no longer accept minky for those large quilts.   
Custom orders always welcome.

This is the last week for our snowbird quilters.  Sorry to see them go north next week and hoping for a speedy return next fall.