Friday, November 25, 2011

See you here on Small Business Saturday

Big lines at big stores for big discounts are what Black Friday is all about. But tomorrow, Small Business Saturday, is dedicated to local shops like Always In Stitches, where any size purchase is a huge investment in your home community.

“Small doesn’t mean limited,” says Lyneen Burrow, who opened AIS four years ago.

“Our inventory includes 5,200 bolts of fabric with new ones being added every week, 1,000 skeins of high-quality yarn in so many colors, it’s hard to choose just a few, and more than 11,400 products that make sewing, knitting, quilting, wool crafts and cross-stitch more enjoyable.”

We also offer an expert long-arm quilter, a wide range of Janome sewing machines, Handi-Quilter machines, and an array of classes. “We bring both the novice and expert only the best materials available at an affordable price,” Lyneen added.

According to a 2008 study by Civic Economics, an economic development consultancy based in Chicago and Austin, Texas, $63 of every $100 spent at a homegrown business stays in the community. When $100 is spent at a national store, only $46 stays in the community.

“One of the best things a citizen can do to help his or her community remain strong is to shop at local businesses,” said Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear. “Small Business Saturday will be an excellent way for the residents of Noblesville to show their support of the businesses of Noblesville.”

Turn our classroom into your elfin workshop
About this time of year, it’s easy to start wishing there was a little more room in our homes to work on projects and gifts.

So come on over to our house. You and your friends are welcome to use the AIS classroom, free of charge, whenever a class is not scheduled. Call the shop, (317) 776-4227, to reserve a time.

Shopping hours set for Men’s Night Out
We’re setting aside four hours to redirect your man from football to fun and festivities, from hot rods to great holiday gifts for you.

Men’s Night Out is 5-9 p.m. Dec. 15 at the shop. Send your guy and we guarantee he comes home with some pretty cool stuff. Added enticements:

Lots of knowledgeable helpers on hand giving incredible customer care. We’ll make it painless whether buying great gifts is old hat or something they never learned.

Everything tied up with a bow. Free gift wrap for every purchase.

Refreshments – a caffeine and carb mix that will keep him going strong.

If you have suggestions for what he should shop for that night, look for The Big Hint flier in bags with your AIS purchases this month. It’s a shopping data sheet to get him headed in the right direction.

AIS family is growing
When you’re shopping on Saturdays, be sure to welcome Mary Andrews and Pam Herman, the newest sales specialists at Always In Stitches.

Pam is an experienced quilter, and like most of the AIS staff, Mary dabbles in several needle crafts, including quilting and cross stitch.

Wrap a great gift
When you’re looking for gifts and stocking stuffers for handcrafters, put Always In Stitches on your shopping list. Our sales specialists can help you find just the right thing, no matter what the recipient’s craft, your price range or whether you want just plain cute or downright practical.

There are items from our shelves that we love. Bet the crafty folks on your gift list will, too.
Especially for knitters –
Mini Stitch Dots and the markers in our Oriental-inspired dumpling will help friends remember which stitches they’ve knitted. Use concentrated, lanolin-enhanced Eucalan to wash knits and you won’t need to rinse them. Puppy Snips look like a dog-shaped key fob, but pull it apart to use a pair of sharp, tiny scissors. Ewe’ll make the gift recipient smile every time she pulls the tail on our lamb tape measure.

For those who love to sew --
Use FriXion highlighters and ballpoint pens to mark fabric or patterns with bold colors; when a little heat is applied, the marks disappear. Handmade items are always a little more special with “Made For You” labels sewn inside them. If your handcrafter friend enjoys traveling, consider any of our travel sewing kits in lovely decorator tins. A Purple Thang comes in handy anytime you need to push, poke or pull while you’re sewing.

For quilters –
She’ll always have a sharp point at hand with refillable Sewline Pencils among her tools. Fray Check prevents raw edge appliqués from fraying out, and flathead pins allow multiple layers of fabric to be stacked and cut all at once. Our Dome Threaded Needle Case holds 10 threaded needles to keep them from tangling.

New discount program coming in 2012
You’ll love the AIS discount program that begins in 2012 as a way to better serve our customers. We’re practically handing you cash to spend on all your favorite things or to re-gift it to someone else.

Starting Jan. 1, you’ll get a $25 gift certificate every time you accumulate $250 in purchases. The certificate won’t expire and it can be used on any merchandise in the store. Ask a sales specialist for details.

If you’ve been part of the Customer Loyalty program and have accumulated your 10 percent discount, you’ll want to use it before the end of 2011, as it will leave with Father Time on New Year’s Eve.

Knitting classes changing time
Beginning Dec. 6, the Tuesday knitting class will meet in the morning, from 10:30-12:30, instead of in the afternoon. The Thursday class will continue to meet from 1-3.

If you’d like to be part of this class, all you have to do is show up. There’s no advance registration or charge.

Does a knitting stitch or project have you stumped? Penny, our in-house knitter and instructor, also is here an hour before and after classes to help with quick-fix solutions.

Learn fun quilting projects with author Claudia Lash
The best part of our three-day Claudia Lash Trunk Show may be the last day.

On Dec. 3, Claudia will be in the store from 1-3 p.m., sharing some fun projects and great techniques with us. She designs quilt patterns with the beginning to intermediate quilter in mind. Some are pieced, others are a combination of piecing and machine or hand appliqué. She includes many diagrams in her clear, easy-to-follow directions.

The trunk show will be open Dec. 1 and 2, as well.

Gumballs class slated for Dec. 3
Deb Luttrel’s Gumballs design makes quilting like eating candy – you just can’t stop.

Her design will be used in the Gumballs Quilt Class for advanced beginners to advanced quilters. Ruth Middleton will teach it from 10:30-3:30 Dec. 3 at Always In Stitches. During the session, you’ll learn to make one basic block with your favorite batik color group.

The cost is $50 plus your supplies, which must be purchased at least a day in advance. Bring a lunch to enjoy during a short break.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How many knitters does it take to make 29 tobaggons?

Vicki Butterfield and her daughter are practically knitting magicians.

Just last month, they brought in 29 hats. The luscious color combinations in them make it hard to believe the yarn started out as a mismatched bag of remnants.

The two take home a wide assortment of partial skeins of yarn that customers donate at the shop, and then turn them into warm toboggans and scarves. They bring those Always In Stitches, where Grandma Ginger gets the items to Good Samaritan Network, Hamilton County’s agency for clothing, feeding and housing residents in need.

Combining their donations with other customers’ handwork, 51 hats and eight scarves were sent to Good Samaritan in October, and seven quilts or crocheted blankets were given to Project Linus.

If you’d like to donate yarn or be part of these service projects, ask an AIS sales associate for more information.

Here are more articles from our Nov. 11 newsletter.

New knitting BOM
Great for beginners, fun for everyone
Raise your needles if you’re looking at the calendar and wishing you’d started earlier on your hand-knitted Christmas gifts.

Always In Stitches can help you not fall into that time trap again next year. Our new Knitting BOM will get you started on a 12-block afghan (each one a different stitch) early and have it done by 12/12/12.

“This is a fabulous way for new knitters to learn tons of techniques,” said Penny, our in-house knitting expert.

There’s no sign-up fee for this BOM. A monthly $20 payment gives you a skein of Cascade 220, the block pattern and a 30-minutes class, which will be held at 2:30 on the last Saturday of the month beginning Jan. 28. (Ask Penny about the bonus for bringing in completed blocks each month.) Plus, there will be knitting goodies and snacks at each class.

The first pattern will be available starting at the Knit-In, 5-9 p.m. Nov. 18 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 19 at the shop. There also will be door prizes, discounts and fun fellowship during those 10 hours of knitting, where we’ll appreciate you using our products. Call now to hold your spot for the Knit-In, (317) 776-4227, and sign up at the shop to be part of the Knitting BOM. 

Machine tips, tricks, techniques at Univ. of AIS
 “In Seattle you haven't had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it's running.” - Jeff Bezos, founder

This month’s class at University of AIS may not teach you how to thread a machine while it’s running, but it will give you more valuable tips, tricks and techniques to harness the high-tech power of today’s machines to suit your project.

The session is 10:30-11  Nov. 16. Bring your finished item to get this month’s sticker.

In addition to great instruction every month, this program includes free gifts. Betcha can’t get that deal in Seattle.

Make bias tape yourself to create a perfect edge
There’s a way to perfectly match bias tape to match your fabric. DIY.

The Bias Tape Maker tool cuts strips the finished width and presses the fabric as you pull the strips through the tool. It seems particularly practical for finishing projects like aprons or placemats, and would be great for making little stems for flower appliqués. On any project, making your own bias tape could save you money.

Find it among the sewing notions in the shop.

Sweet PJs are dream to make
“Every night feels like a slumber party when you are wearing a pair of pajama pants made from your favorite fabric,” begins the introduction to Sew Easy’s “Pajama Pants” pattern book. We couldn’t agree more.

Manager Capi Saxton whipped up a pair of these – in an adorable fish-pattered fabric – overnight and calls the book very user friendly. Instructions are basic and simple, but experienced stitchers will enjoy making them, too. Trace the patterns before you use them because they can be customized from sizes XS to XXXL  so you’ll use them repeatedly.

There are opportunities to embellish the pants, too, says Capi, including Capri or full length and with or without pockets. If you’re making them for someone heading to a slumber party, you might want to make a matching tote bag, bracelet or pillowcase – and patterns for each are in the book.

Find “Pajama Pants” among the books at the front of Always In Stitches.

Caryl Schuetz appraises quilts Nov. 19
Get ready now for Always In Stitches’ version of Antiques Roadshow.

We’re bringing Caryl Schuetz to the store Nov. 19 to appraise and explain the history of your quilts.
For $45, Caryl will appraise one quilt in a private, 30-minute session. Additional quilts can be brought in, but each must be signed up for an individual session.

Congratulations, Ruth
Ruth Middleton, our in-house quilting expert, walked away from the recent Quilt Guild of Indy show with a third place award. She made Deb Luttrell’s Gumballs quilt.

We’re so proud of her!

You can benefit from her talent and expertise. Ruth will teach four people – advance beginners to advanced – how to make the quilt from 10:30-3:30 Dec. 3 at the shop. Cost is $50 plus supplies and pattern.

Dear Lola,
I try to plan my knitting projects carefully, but sometimes I run short when I need to bind off. Any suggestions on what I can do?

That’s a common conundrum, Frazzled. It won’t be a problem, though, if you follow the knitter’s rule of thumb: It usually takes four times the width of your piece to bind off. Save that amount of yarn in advance, and especially if you start running close on your yarn for the project.