"Derive happiness in oneself from a good day's work, from illuminating the fog that surrounds us." Henri Matisse
Dear Color Lovers,
Blue seems to be the most popular color for quilts, based on our sales, so when I saw an article about indigo in my favorite magazine, “Smithsonian”, Dec. 2020, I thought you might enjoy knowing more about it. I used the “Smithsonian” and Wikipedia to do my research.
Indigo has been cultivated for at least 6000 years. A variety of plants all around the world have been used to make blue dye. The earliest evidence for its use comes from Peru, around 4000 BC. The ancient Greeks, who got their dye from India, called it “Indian Dye”, which Latin-speakers translated as “indicum” or “indico”, giving rise, through Portuguese, to the modern word “indigo”. Europeans first became aware of it when it was brought from India and Java in the 16th century. Because it had a high value as a commodity, it was often referred to as blue gold.
Europeans did not particularly like using indigo. The leaves of the plant had to be fermented to release the dye. “The fermenting process yielded a terrible stench not unlike that of a decaying body,” James Sullivan notes in his book, Jeans. The precipitate was then mixed with a strong base such as lye, dried, and powdered. The powder was mixed with water, in which the cloth was soaked. After soaking, the fabric was exposed to the air for several minutes before the cloth turned a vivid blue, which must have unsettled many. The more times a cloth was soaked and dried, the deeper the blue color became.
In addition, textile merchants were invested in woad, another plant that is a source for blue dye and grew in Europe. They led a smear campaign to discourage the use of indigo, saying it would damage cloth. In the Netherlands, men were told they would become impotent if they touched the indigo plant. In the 16th and 17th centuries, governments began to ban the importation of indigo, King Henry IV of France even threatening execution to importers.
In spite of everything, the dye’s resistance to running and fading ensured its growing popularity and by the 18th century it was heavily used. Eliza Lucas introduced indigo to South Carolina in 1744, and in time it became the colony’s second most important crop, after rice. Before the Revolutionary War, it accounted for more than 1/3 of the exports from the American colonies.
In 1905, the German chemist Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Adolf von Baeyer was awarded a Nobel Prize for the development of synthetic indigo, which is what commercial dyers use these days. We are most familiar with it as a blue dye for jeans. It is also a food colorant, listed as FD&C Blue No. 2.
We have two collections in the shop that are indigo-flavored: “Sashiko” and “Flair”. They are both just inside the front door and are drool-worthy. Pick up the fat quarter stack of all the fabrics for each collection!
Pantone has announced the colors of the year for 2021. Gold and gray lovers rejoice: the new colors are “Ultimate Gray” and “Illuminating”, a buttery golden yellow. Pantone selected them as “two independent colors that come together to create an aspirational color pairing, conjoining deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the optimistic promise of a sunshine filled day” intended to provide resilience and hope in the face of the current state of the nation. Of course, if you have made a baby quilt in the last three years you know all about these two colors! We are way ahead of Pantone.
Shopping at Capital Quilts: Please give us a call at 301-527-0598 if you’d like to make an appointment to come shop in the store. You can usually get in the same day. We are no longer making appointments online, only by phone. I’d like to be able to open the shop entirely, but I still feel the need to control the number of people in it in order to protect both you and us. The virus numbers are rising again, and we want to reduce the odds anybody in our quilting and sewing community gets Covid 19. Remember that if anybody on the CQ Staff comes down with the virus, we will have to completely close the shop for at least 2 weeks, as we will all have been exposed.
If you are exposed to the virus and/or get a positive Covid19 test result, please do not come to the shop, and if you have been to the shop while you may have been infectious, please call the shop so that we may let others know. There is nothing political about this, and there is no judgment from us. We just want to do our best to help stop the virus from spreading and protect our friends and families and community.
We really and truly appreciate your continued patronage and your patience through this pandemic. Your support has been, and continues to be, awesome. You are truly loyal friends! Keep wearing those masks! We are so close to having the vaccine. Stay safe.
Go ‘n’ Piece,
CLASSESWe are having some classes in the shop and some on Zoom. We will make the virtual classes as easy as we can for you, sending you a link to the Zoom class. All you have to do is add the Zoom app to your computer, IPad, or other device so that you can open the link and participate in the class.
Class size will be limited. As before COVID, you can sign up online, by phone, or in the shop if you are here on a shopping appointment. Class descriptions are found below and on our website. Each class will have a supply list; look for this on our website: click on “Class Calendar in the blue bar at the top of the home page. Find the class on the calendar and click on that, then scroll down to the bottom left of the page to find “Supply List” and click on that.
2nd Saturday Club 2021: 2nd Saturday Club meets monthly on the 2nd Saturday of each month (really!). In 2021, Betsy Kulamer and Jan Wisor will lead the Club members in an exploration of Tula Pink’s book, City Sampler: 100 Modern Quilt Blocks. You will make 5-10 blocks each month. We’ll talk about techniques for making the blocks, color, quilt layout, and more. Betsy and Jan, who teach/have taught the Complete Course of Quilting here at Capital Quilts, are very experienced quilters who have lots of tips to share and stories to tell. Find more information and register on our website here. You can also register by phone or in the shop. Look for the Supply List online beneath the picture of the quilt.
We’ve gotten permission from Tula Pink to use the City Sampler book in our class, provided that each person buys one. We request that you do not share books and that each person has his or her own Zoom link. It is financially unfair to Tula, the teachers, and Capital Quilts if you do otherwise. Please continue to support our designers, teachers, and your local quilt shop! Skill Level: Confident beginner and up. Instructors: Betsy Kulamer and Jan Wisor Class Size: Maximum 25 Cost: $65 Time & Dates: 9-10:30 on the 2nd Saturday of every month, beginning January 9. Capital Quilts' Complete Course of Quilting: This 10-week quilting course starting Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30pm will teach everything you need to know to start making your own quilts. This course covers the basics: getting to know your sewing machine, rotary cutting, fabric selection, and a variety of techniques for machine-piecing quilt blocks. You make a sampler quilt and learn to sandwich, quilt, and bind your masterpiece. This is the perfect opportunity to explore the quilter’s art, which is both ancient and modern!
The Longarm and Pro-Stitcher Clubs will meet on the first Saturday of each month in 2021. We will continue to meet via Zoom, until such time as we can once again meet in the shop. Barbara Bean and Elyse Turkeltaub have done a great job of continuing the clubs during the COVID crisis. Thank you, ladies!
Sew Together: Ask an Expert Tired of sewing alone? Join fellow quilters for a virtual quilting bee. Settle into your favorite sewing space with your favorite Zoom-compatible technology for 2-1/2 hours of stitching and chatting. Everyone will have a chance to talk about what they’ve been working on and pose questions to the other quilters. No masks required!
Each month, we are inviting a guest who is expert in some aspect of quilting and needlework to join us to answer questions about his or her specialty. January 15: Jan Wisor discusses tips and tricks from her wide experience with foundation paper piecing. February 5: Kathy Barden shares her joy in making three-dimensional projects, especially ByAnnie bags. March 5: our very own Kat Martinez will share experience with improv quilting. April 2: Sue Fierston, president of the Nature Printing Society, talks about leaf and fish printing on fabric.Note: you must download the Zoom app/client, and you will need a camera/webcam, microphone, and speakers as well as an internet connection. On the day of Sew Together, you’ll receive an email with a link to the Zoom meeting. Please confirm that Capital Quilts has your current email address and phone number. Skill Level: any Instructor/Moderator: Betsy Kulamer Class Size: max. 18 Cost: $8 Time and Date: 6:30-9 on Dec. 4, Jan. 15, February 5, March 5, and April 2. JANOMEMeet the Janome 4120 QDC. This computerized free-arm sewing machine has lots of built-in functionality to make your sewing experience a delight. In addition to Janome basics such as memorized needle up/down, speed control, needle threader, thread cutter, drop feed, and snap-on feet, this machine has twin-needle capability, 120 stitches, 7 buttonholes, stitch pattern memory capability, and an LCD screen with enhanced informational display and touchpad for easy navigation. Standard accessories include 7 feet, bobbins, needles, a seam ripper, and a hard cover.
This machine is in stock. Get yours today!Also in stock: 9450, 5300, 1600, Skyline 3, Air Thread 2000D serger, MyLock 643D serger. The 1050 and the HD3000 will not be available until January at the earliest. If you are interested in any other machine than these listed, please call or email so that I can place the order and get in the queue at Janome! It is still taking time to get these machines into the warehouses, and with COVID surging around the world, it could take even longer. HANDI QUILTERTune in to the Handi Quilter Facebook page every Tuesday at 2pm EDT for Handi Quilter’s Watch and Learn Quilting Show, which features tips, tricks, and tutorials on Handi Quilter products with limited-time special pricing and a give-away to a random live attendee. They announce a special on a different machine or accessory each week. If you can’t watch the Tuesday show, go to the HQ website and enjoy the “And I Quilt” series of videos. You can still get the special pricing on the week’s product through Sunday.
This week we are offering savings on Electromagnetic Channel Locks. At $795, you’ll save $200 off the MSRP of $995.
Longarm quilters: there is a new website you should check out! It’s www.quiltable.com and it is all quilting designs to view and purchase. The digital products include several file types and are intended for robotic quilting systems (not just Handi Quilter). There is an option to join a club and automatically receive new designs every month plus get a discount on other designs throughout the site. See the flyer here.
Handi Quilter is launching a new program called Pro-Stitcher Catalog. Get it through the Handi Quilter website. The program will store, organize, and give you a quick way to find your designs. Heaven on Earth! Use the code HQ1498 to get a $10 discount. You’ll also be supporting Capital Quilts, as we will then get a commission from Handi Quilter. See the flyer here.
Our Handi Quilter Moxie is now fully functional and ready for you to come try. I’ve sold one to a quilter who already owns a Fusion. She said she wants to use it for free motion quilting while the ProStitcher on her Fusion is working on another project. The Moxie is very light compared to the bigger machines and is easy to move around, with less stress to your joints. You can also put a Simply Sixteen on a Loft frame (the one the Moxie uses). You’ll get a little more quilting space and a more sophisticated machine on the smaller frame. If you already have a Simply Sixteen and want to move up to the Loft frame, you can do that. Call me if this is something you’d like to order.
Sew Steady has some new offers for the holiday season, valid through December 31, 2020:Holiday Dreams Table Package: a 22.5” x 25.5” acrylic table with beveled edges and a blue drawer for notions PLUS a 26” x 26” padded nylon storage bag with pockets. Total value: $249 SALE: $199Light Up the Holidays Large Table Package: get the best selling 18” x 24” acrylic table with rounded front edge and an 18” printed ruler PLUS a Light Stick and Dry Erase Marker to turn your Sew Steady table into a light box or design board. Total value: $155 SALE: $119Best Selling Quilting Kit: This ruler work kit special includes a domestic ruler foot, 12” arc template, 6pc Sampler Template Set 1, 8-1/2” 8pt. Crosshair Ruler, and a spacing gauge. In addition, you get Janet’s Ruler Quilt Design eBook, Creative Quilting Inspirations Designing with the Crosshair Rulers eBook by Leonie West, a free printed pattern, and a free Ruler Work 101 online class at the Sew Steady University. Total value: over $270 SALE: $175 Wow! I love all the educational materials. This is a great way to get started quilting with rulers. This offer is valid through January 15, 2021.
NEW AND NOTEWORTHY
Black & white & red is one of the great classic color combinations. Clothworks has sent Ruby Night, a wonderfully graphic, modern Asian collection. $11.99 per yard.
Evoke memories of blissful coastal summer vacation with the Seaside Shoreline Stories panel from Hoffman. $12.50 each.
We've received some new patterns from Carl Hentsch of 3 Dog Design Co.. Although he used Lineowrk in his model, these patterns would work with any fabric line, or pull from your stash! $12.50 each.
CAPITAL QUILTS CARESThanks to those who have donated kennel quilts in the last few weeks! Keep them coming. If you are willing to help, please make more for us! Find the directions here. Please be careful of the dimensions of the little quilts; too big or too small and we can’t send them. Drop them off “curbside” at the shop; no need to make an appointment (unless you want to shop, of course!).We have both pillowcase and kennel quilt kits available, free. Make them at home and return the completed project to us for distribution.The holidays are close at hand, and we like to give cheerful placemats to seniors and others to brighten their days. If you are willing to make some placemats, we are happy to find them good homes!