Alma Sue News

Alma Sue's News

Yes we are still sewing masks, although the demand has slowed a bit.  We do not sell masks in the shop - just give them away to anyone who needs them.  By now there are dozens of patterns, many templates to purchase but we think the very first pattern given to us by hospice and the Dept. of Health is still the best.  The shape does not make the elastic pull and chafe at the ears.  If you have experience in sewing masks then you know how hard it is to sew over those rectangular ones that are pleated.  Lately we have sold a lot of batting online, the quilters dream 100% cotton, lightest weight.  By a lot I mean several cases each week!  I asked one of the buyers, "what are you doing with all the batting?"  The response was, putting in into masks as a filter.  Needless to say yards and yards of black fabric is also being packed and shipped.  Fortunately I always keep a stock of the Amish ultrablack fabric on hand for customers and for our use in making custom quilts.  On a whim I listed it on Amazon.  A bolt was sold and gone in 45 minutes.  This was early on in the face mask production back in March.  I asked a customer, "What are you doing with the black fabric?"  Response was it is needed to make face masks for fire fighters, first responders, and state troopers.  I bought lots of bolts, like 20, before the black fabric craze hit so we were good for about 20 days, just putting on about 1 bolt a day.  Then every week, ordered another 10 bolts to keep a running supply in the queue.  I believe the fabric mills got the message and black is more readily available now than it was.  So we started a little jackpot, trying to guess how long a bolt would last on Amazon.  I believe the winning number was 34 minutes.  

Thank you again to all of you who did the cutting and sewing for hospice and the hospitals and doc's offices.  Now that the restaurants are opening they are asking for face masks for employees, so there is still a need.  Plus I think the first masks made in March must be wearing out.  If you need any elastic, we have lots of it, black, white, blue, round cord, 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch, all of the knitted type and all made here in the USA, the round cord in Ohio and the flat in the Carolinas.  Sewing the PPE disrupted our schedule for sewing custom pieces promised for the fall and Christmas, so now Teresa2 and Dena are madly sewing and I think Teresa1 has the longarm machine running about 24/7 to catch up.  Still a ways to go.  Orders for Christmas are closed at this time.  If you have a project to be finished for the holidays, check back November 1 to see where the schedule is.

We had a great time at the One Block Wonder class at the Carlisle Conference Room.  Good food, great space, and fun to see all the artistic arrangements as everyone had a different panel.  I put photos of the panels and designing process on Alma Sue's facebook.  We plan to do this workshop again, date not yet known.  Dena will be doing the double wedding ring again in January.  We are thinking maybe grab some hotel rooms and spend a concentrated 2 days sewing.  You can always run upstairs, take a nap, then come back down and sew again until 11 pm.  Will let you know soon as dates are firm.

Also this fall, watch for our Fibber McGee sale again, outdoors and indoors.  Lots of stuff, a scrap sale, still digging out from the storage rooms but there is a lot less there than last year!  Since the business has made a complete change in the last year and trending online, its time to move out some things we no longer need.  

And one more event to watch for is the Short Bolt Sale.  Hundreds of short bolts shipping to us in mid October.  Same deal as last spring.  5.00/yard but take the entire bolt.  Each bolt has from 2-6 yards left.  These happen when the warehouse double folds and rolls fabric onto 12 and 15 yard boards.  Rarely does it come out even, so there are always a few yards left that are rolled onto boards and called "short bolts."  This is all current, new fabric either in your local shop right now or soon arriving to your local quilt shop.  Great idea for quilt backings, church sewing projects, kids quilts, or for your stash.  This fabric is being sold online and in quilt shops on 12-15 yard bolts for $12-$15/yard.  My plan is to sell some of the bolts on Facebook for those of you who are not in Florida.  Nope, not Facebook live, not planning on doing that anytime soon!  Cyberspace getting very crowded with FB Live.  For those of you who aren't familiar with it, FB live is like a QVC channel where the shop owners host a fabric "show" and you can buy as the items are presented. 

Many delivery trucks keep arriving daily bringing new fabrics and restocking the basics.  Lots of Christmas fabrics and panels, red truck, barn and horses, Hoffman Northern lights tree, that popular buffalo plaid check in red and green in cotton, flannel, and fleece.  Teresa2 took one of the red truck panels and made it into a giant 30x36 inch floor panel with the red buffalo plaid check on the back.  One of the red truck panels is printed with the 42 inch side lengthwise, perfect to make a lumbar or bench pillow.  Reds, greens, holly, poinsettias as usual.  The Northcott nativity panel is printed like a stained glass window, we turned that panel and coordinates into a kit - being sold on AlmaSueShop or Etsy.  A new nativity panel arrived from QT fabrics, probably turn that into a kit also.  Its back in the receiving area.  This week we plan to make up samples of the placemat panels.  Yes there is a red truck!  Placemats have never been easier than with the bosal double sided adhesive forms.  We carry the forms in a rectangular, oval, round, and hexagonal shape.  There is also a bosal table runner form.  Trying to get samples finished this week. 

Do you remember that Florida shop hop several years ago with all the images of FL bridges and lighthouses?  For the Quilter's trek we took 4 of those images and set them into an attic window using blues as the window panes and sill.  That kit also includes a box of crayons to color the images before sewing.  Photos are on Facebook, the kit is selling on Etsy.  Or can buy it in the shop. 

What else is new?  Oh, a nice little collection with a Peter Rabbit panel.  Winnie the Pooh panel is sold out - I am trying to get more.  Another small collection for children is the Little Engine that Could.  Comes with a panel for a quilt and one for a soft book.  Slowly the sports fabrics are again arriving - Ohio State and U of FL and Dallas Cowboys came this week, more golf and baseball were shipped today.  The others won't be here until mid November because the mills were shut down for several months and now are trying to catch up.  Boston Red Sox, U Alabama, Tampa Buccaneers are pending.  The Buccaneers reworked all the colors so this new line has a red background instead of a black or pewter one.  If you want a specific sports team to make face masks, let me know and I will order some.  I thought we had a lot of sports fabrics but when face masks started they went out of here in a hurry.  Even had people in PA calling and asking to send Philadelphia Phillies and PIttsburgh Steelers fabric to them.  I looked once and saw that Dallas Cowboys fabric was selling on ebay for about $60/yard.  Our prices stayed the same even though some of the fabric became scarce.

Another printing of Northcott Windswept arrived last week, the panel, coordinate ombres, and little sandpipers.  It is not on the floor yet.  We plan to do an attic window class with that focus print.  Oh and a nice snowy owl panel from Northcott.  If there is something you want and don't see it, step into the receiving area where the new arrivals are processed.  More and more people are peeking back there to shop.  Thats our new receiving/sewing area since the long arm and Q20 took over the West room.  A plus is its near the kitchen and coffee pot!

New service.  Scissors sharpening by Moe.  $5/pair.  Pick up and delivery each Tuesday.  I sent my pinking shears out, wasn't sure they could be sharpened.  What a difference, they don't "chew" the fabric any more, nice clean cut.  Keep your scissors maintained.  Add one drop of sewing machine oil at the blade junction, open and close them several times and wipe off the excess.  Do this once a month!

Even though we are open 3 days Tues, Wed, Thurs, we are almost always there Friday and Saturday.  Call, and if we are there be happy to accommodate shoppers  941-330-0993.  The double doors are locked, just enter through the East door where the cars are parked.  Lots of activity this week on the legacy trail which is going right past our shop on the railroad bed.  Thinking it may be in place in time for the season.

Thank goodness we have been skirting all the tropical storms.  Keeping fingers crossed.  Stay safe.
Ella at Alma Sue's