|Dear Stitching Wonderpeople,
Yesterday, Kat and I stood on either side of the cutting table talking about how we are feeling. We both feel disconnected, in a kind of surreal limbo, wondering if this is real or if this is hell. We are tired and anxious and weary of not seeing our families, friends, and you, our customers. Sound familiar? Kat mentioned how glad she is that we are able to do business, even in the limited capacity we currently have, as it allows her to “have a purpose” right now. We’ve been debating where to put the new collections – they don’t really need to be displayed right now, but do need to be where we can find them easily. So, we may display them anyway, as that is generally where we look for the new collections. We’re also finding room for items we’ve never sold before: twill tape and twist ties for mask making!
Yesterday, Carol and Lora were in the shop with us and it was so nice! Even if you are an introvert, not being with others for a long time makes one realize how important personal interaction is. In-person interaction, that is. In the month since I last held my grandson, he has learned how to walk, talks a lot more, and has become addicted to “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Itsy Bitsy Spider”. Singing to him over FaceTime is just not the same as sharing a song face-to-face. I miss little Alex!
Still, it is a beautiful Spring, my extended family is planning a Zoom meeting this weekend, and I am so lucky to have what I have and do what I do compared to many, many other people in the world. I am grateful for the little things, like the wren who sings to me from the railing of the deck each morning and that glass of wine in the evening with my dinner. I’m grateful that I can watch Alex do his little wiggle dance and grin ear to ear while we sing over Facetime and that I can Zoom with my sister and niece and son and daughters in other states and even another country. I am very grateful to my husband, who has been doing all the shopping, most of the cooking, and helped me with the business side of the shop all while running his own business. And I am grateful to and for you, who have been so supportive of Capital Quilts through this Covid Crisis. Thank you!
Go ‘n’ Piece,
HOURS TO CALL THE SHOP
Please call the shop between 11-4 Monday through Saturday and 1-4 on Sunday if you need to talk with us. That will give us time to fill the online orders that come in overnight and do the other things that need doing.
We prefer that you place your orders through our online shop on our website. We have found this is much easier for us. I understand that not everyone is willing to enter their credit card number into a computer, even on a secure site; don’t hesitate to call or email with your order if this is the case.
Quilting will get us past this Coronavirus Crisis! Sign up for our Corona Challenge! You get a yard of fabric, free shipping, and the chance to express in fabric how you are feeling about this virus. We’ll hang the quilts in the Gallery and/or post them online, depending on how long this crisis lasts. Make them at least 20” x 20” but not larger than 60” x 60”. Use the fabric we send you along with fabric in your stash or that you buy (hopefully from Capital Quilts!). Return them to us by May 17. Go online or call the shop 301-527-0598 to take on the Challenge!
We have all made a mask or two (or 50, or 200, or…), and would like to share our favorite patterns, and some tips and tricks we’ve discovered along the way.
Fabric discussion: We all know that quilting cottons are the way to go! This has been reinforced by a recent study, specifying “high quality quilting cotton”. We love batik for masks, because it is thin, has a dense weave, and holds a crease beautifully (so important if you’re making pleated masks!). However, nearly any of the fabrics we have in the shop are suitable for making masks. If you have any questions as to whether or not a particular fabric we carry is appropriate, just ask! We are more than happy to help you with your needs.
Ties or elastic: For some, this isn’t an issue as elastic is hard to find these days. Masks with elastic are easier and faster to sew, but if the wearer must have one on all day, can cause irritation and pain behind the ears. We do have elastic on order, and it should arrive any day now. If you really want to use elastic and cannot find any, try long hair elastics or hairbands. Ties, however, allow for a better fitting mask. You can make ties from a WOF (width of fabric – selvedge to selvedge) strip, and either run it through a bias tape maker, or fold and press the old fashioned way. Hate all that folding and pressing, and don’t have a bias tape maker? Try jerry-rigging one on your ironing board with a long straight pin, or use the index card trick posted on our FaceBook page! If making ties isn’t your thing (it isn’t ours), here are some alternatives you can use: twill tape, shoelaces (they are available super long, too!), grosgrain ribbon, or 1” strips of knit cotton jersey, gently pulled until they roll (nice because they're both stretchy and latex-free!). One of our recommended patterns calls for soft, thin, cotton clothesline. Be creative! Just ensure that what you do is both comfortable and durable.
Nose wires: We all love a nose wire in the top of our mask! It allows you to form the mask around your nose, so that there is no gap between the mask and your cheeks. Many patterns call for a nose wire and have instructions on making them. Our favorite nose wire is the lowly twist tie! Other options: floral wire, pipe cleaners, paper clips, and cut up soda cans (file the edges thoroughly to avoid injury to the wearer.) Gaffer’s tape or duck tape can be used to cover the wire or metal to increase both durability and safety. Rather than sewing a channel or pocket for the wire, you can – very carefully – zigzag/couch it into your seam allowance.
Tips and tricks:
Use your walking foot! It will really help feed multiple layers under your needle more smoothly.
Marianne made a jig to hold her pleats down while sewing, following instructions in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA9vYsUHtHw
If you’re having trouble stitching through multiple layers, change your needle and lengthen your stitch! We recommend denim needles or topstitch needles for this, and a larger size than you might normally use.
Be sure to brush lint from the bobbincase and feed dogs often. Your machine will thank you later.
Our favorite patterns: There are a TON of patterns out there! These are just a few of what we have found, and like. Some of us are combining elements we like best from different patterns.
Nurse-designed, no pleats, one tie, nose wire, pocket for removable filter
Johns Hopkins designed, pleated, ties, pocket for nose wire
Thangles designed (but no triangles, we promise), pleated, one tie, optional nose wire
Craft Passion fitted mask, nose wire, elastic or ties, optional filter pocket, Cricut and Silhouette cut files available
AccuQuilt has several dies (3 different styles!) available, and patterns to go with them. Unfortunately, due to overwhelming demand, they are not making these dies available to retailers. If you are interested, order directly from AccuQuilt.
Of course, if you are masking masks to donate, please follow the pattern and instructions that they specify. It is also recommended that if you are making masks to donate to a medical facility that you NOT use solid blue or solid white fabrics. This makes it easy to distinguish the fabric masks from the manufactured masks at a glance. You should also use a different fabric for the lining than you do for the outside, so that it is easy to remember which side faces out.
Where do donate:
In addition to healthcare facilities and elder care, think about employees of other essential businesses, too: veterinary offices, grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, animal shelters, etc.
Mask Kits for personal use:
Kits are currently available! They contain all the materials (precut fabric, twist ties for nose wires, twill tape for fabric ties, and pattern with tips and tricks) required to make either 5 or 10 at a time. These kits are not intended to be used to make masks for donating to medical facilities, but are perfect for the “shoppers’ masks” now required to be worn in public in our area.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
Jot Dot is a new blender from Blank Fabrics. We love its playfulness! $11.99/yard.
We've gotten some new colors of the popular Bumbleberries blenders from Lewis & Irene. $12.50/yard.
Headliner is back in stock! This popular newsprint fabric features newspaper snippets of history. $11.99/yard.
If you liked last week's "Night Riviera" collection, we added a couple of blenders and made charm packs and strip sets for you. Charms, $10.99; Strips, $43.99. FQ bundles of just the Night Riviera fabrics are also available, $59.50 per bundle.
The new "Best of Easy Quilts" magazine has arrived. $7.99 each.
FLATTEN-THE-CURVE KITS AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE
4/10-4/21 Save $15 on the price of any Qube product, including GO! Qubes, Angles, Corners, and “Serendipity” by Edyta Sitar.
Face Mask dies are available on the AccuQuilt website. Retailers are not being given any supply to sell in shops.
Handi Quilter ProStitcher owners: Handi Quilter is replacing the Art & Stitch software with their own Pro-Stitcher Designer software. If you are already a Pro-Stitcher owner, you can take advantage of a limited-time offer and save almost $400. Until June 30, 2020, purchase your digital copy of Pro-Stitcher Designer for just $199.95. Visit the new www.ProStitcher.com to learn more. While Art & Stitch is still in existence, Handi Quilter will no longer support it.
We are able to accept your sewing machines for cleaning and tune-ups. Actual repairs that need parts we don’t stock will be difficult for the time being, as the Janome warehouse in New Jersey, from whence parts come, has closed down completely.
For drop-off service:
Go to our website and sign up for machine repair. (click here)
Bring your machine to the shop.
We will take it in and wipe it down with a disinfectant.
Our tech will pick it up here and take it home to work on it, then bring it back to the shop.
We will let you know it is ready for pick-up and wipe it down again before we give it to you.
We are also offering Sunday service appointments that can be booked through the Calendar on our website.
I can still get you a new Janome sewing machine, as those come from a different warehouse. Janome will ship the new machine directly to your home so you don’t have to come out to pick it up. The shipping fee varies according to which machine you buy.
Meet the Janome 1600P-QC: This is a high-speed (1600 stitches per minute) aluminum body heavy duty machine. It has one stitch: the straight stitch. Think of all the masks you could knock out with this machine! It has a built in thread cutter, built in needle threader, a side loading metal bobbin, and an ergonomic knee lifter. A presser foot sensor prevents you from sewing with the presser foot in the up position. Nearly 9” to the right of the needle makes this an ideal machine for finishing quilts. A dust cover is included.
Regular price: $1,499
Capital Quilts price: $1,149
Janome will ship it directly to your home for a small shipping charge.
CAPITAL QUILTS CARES
All Capital Quilts Cares events in the shop are cancelled until further notice.
That said, we have free pillowcase kits available that you can sew at home. They are a wonderful beginner project to do with children. The kiddos will learn some sewing skills and stay busy, too! We can mail them to you or you can pick them up curbside. Return the finished pillowcases to the shop (when you can; there is no rush), and we will donate them to Ryan’s Case for Smiles.
All classes, clubs, and events are cancelled until further notice.
When we begin to reschedule classes, those of you who had registered before will be given the first opportunity to sign up for the new class.
SAVE THE DATE: To the best of our knowledge, these events have not been cancelled.
June 13 & 14: Annapolis Quilt Guild "Quilts by the Bay" Show, Annapolis, VA
October 2-3: NeedleChasers of Chevy Chase Quilt Show, “2020 Vision”, at Kensington Town Hall/Armory www.needlechasers.org
October 8 - 12: Quilter's Quest