Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ten Holiday Gifts for Stitchers

I just missed Small Business Saturday a week ago, but here are some terrific products from some of my favorite small business people (plus Amazon) that you still have time to order for the holidays. The last four are especially Chanukah-friendly. Full disclosure: These links don't bring me any money, and some of the proprietors are my friends!

1. Magnetic Needleminder
Awesome appliqué artist, my friend Kay Mackenzie, not only designs gorgeous quilts, but also sells unique notions. I especially like her magnetic needleminders, which look like vintage cameos, and can be worn or placed on a surface. Two of the offerings:

Find more on this page. I also like her stacked vintage button magnets. which  she gifted me with and look very classy on my refrigerator. See them on the bottom of this page

2. Curvalicious ruler
My friend Cheryl Lynch designed this unusual ruler, which she calls Curvalicious.
 It creates a pleasing shape that is as interesting for baby quilts (I blogged this one here)...
.as for large quilts. (Blogged here).
Cheryl and her students use it to create elegant dupioni silk tablerunners; plus pillows, totes, seascapes and more. I had a blast with it, and it adds style and whimsy to any project. Find details, inspiration, and videos here.

3. Quilting With A Modern Slant, by Rachel May
There are plenty of "modern" quilt books around these days, but I really like this 2014 volume, with 200+ pages of eye candy, plus quilter biographies, patterns and techniques. On Amazon, it's here.
The author, Rachel May, is a herself a fascinating artist and writer, who illustrates her fiction with stunning fabric creations - read what she's up to on her blog, here.

4. Polka dot fabric
I looooooove polka dot fabrics, and when they're prints by color genius Kaffe Fassett, that's icing on the cake! I have a stack of 5" Kaffe's polka dot squares, but I can't remember where I bought them?!
 Here's one of the wacky things I made from one these prints. (It's a potholder. The dotted fabric is the handle. More here.)
Fortunately, my friend Roberta Leonard, whose online shop is called Oh Sew Sally, sells a selection of Kaffe "Spot" yardage here. Below are two of the five colors she stocks:
I also love batik polka dot fabric. My current favorite - the rainbow fabric below - was purchased from SewBatik, a company based in North Dakota. I've never there, but I bought it from their booth at QuiltCon last winter. I can't find the exact same fabric on their website, but they're selling something very similar to it here.
I love it so much. Do you think a skirt, blouse, and purse made from it would be too much? Maybe a hat, too....

5. 365 Freemotion Quilting Designs, by Leah Day
Buy this book spiral-bound, or an e-version. I have the latter. Leah's altruistic business model is to make hundreds of instructional videos viewable on her website, for free. You don't have to buy anything to watch, but they are much more convenient in at-a-glance book form. I peruse the book whenever I'm brainstorming quilting designs. Once you get the hang of how her designs work, it empowers you to adapt them and create your own. Buy the book here. Leah also sells a variety of notions and threads for freemotion machine quilting here. Let's keep her business strong!

6. Machine Quilting Unlimited Magazine
The quilt magazine industry is going through hard times.  It was a crushing blow when Quilter's Newsletter Magazine (QNM) announced it was folding this past year. QNM was the New York Times of the quilt world - they launched the quilt revival in the 1970s, and they led the way for the next four decades. I hope F+W, the company that bought and closed it, will consider bringing it back someday.

Fortunately, we still have Machine Quilting Unlimited (owned by a different company), which just celebrated its 10th birthday. For most of those years, I never crossed paths with it. But then, a couple of years ago, awesome art quilter Phyllis Cullen showed me a couple of issues with her articles in them. Wowza!

The title makes it sound narrowly focused on machine quilting techniques, but that's not the case at all. Like QNM, it has a wide diversity of interesting articles on many topics. What I like best about it is that the quilts they feature are simply GORGEOUS, one after another. You'll love it, guaranteed, even if you are a hand-quilter. Peruse the issues here.


7. Maria Bywater's Sew Jewish
This very useful book offers directions for projects for all Jewish holidays, rituals, and lifecyle events, from baby quilts to wedding quilts to challah covers, and more. It's beginner friendly, but anyone interested in making Judaica would love it. I reviewed it in detail here. Find it on Maria's Etsy Shop, or Amazon

8. Mary Marks' Mysteries
Author Mary Marks' heroine is a quilty, clever, courageous, reckless, zaftig, Jewish woman of a certain age. Her quilting buddies are equally brave in facing down crazy killers. They race all over greater Los Angeles solving mysteries, so you learn a lot about L.A. culture and cuisine. And of course there are quilting tips! Marks has written four of these page-turners - the cover of the latest is below. Find more information here. If you like cozy mysteries, you'll thank me. You definitely don't have to be Jewish or even a quilter to enjoy them. 

9. Judaica for crafters and quilters, on the web here, is a shop whose name is also a phone number! It's a small business operated by the wonderful Lauree Feigenbaum. There's Jewish holiday fabric galore, and beautiful charms and buttons, including these two colorful enamelled pendants that I recently bought for under $10 each.
 The bird is about an inch and a half across. The pomegranate about an inch from top of the bale to bottom of the fruit. 
Add a neck chain to each and two holiday gifts are done, easy, inexpensive, and lovely!

10. Gift membership in the Pomegranate Guild
And speaking of pomegranates, if you or someone in your life loves stitchery and Judaica, consider buying a gift membership in the nonprofit international Pomegranate Guild of Judaic Needlework. The 40-year-old organization has chapters in eleven states and Canada, plus independent members around the world, and a biennial convention, which will be held in Atlanta this May.

The Guild is best-known for its quarterly Paper Pomegranate newsletter, 25+ pages of inspiration and instructions for needlework techniques - contemporary and traditional - and Jewish historical and cultural information.

The newsletter  archives are available only to Guild members. For about the cost one year's  magazine subscription, you can search four decades of Judaic needlework projects.  Learn more about the Guild, and how to join, here. (Disclaimer: I am honored and humbled to be the current president of this organization!)

Are you giving or getting anything quilty for the holidays? I'd love to hear your suggestions for great holiday gifts for stitchers!

UPDATE: Telescoping Magnet: After reading the blog post above, my friend Marilyn sent me this recommendation:
"Best gift for needleworkers is a telescopic magnet. They come the shape and size of a pen, and stretch to about 25 -36 inches, depending on brand. You find them in nail department of hardware store.  Some have lights on the end to help locate those little "buggers"...I bought one for dd#3's grandmother in law, aged 98, and she was so very happy." 
 I wasn't sure what Marilyn was talking about, but when I googled "Telescoping Magnet Pickup Tool," I found lots of them sold by many different vendors! I think I'm going to buy myself one!

More ideas welcomed! 


  1. thanks Cathy, I posted this to the SFV chapter of Pom and the Conejo Chapter.


Thank you for commenting!