Friday, March 26, 2010

Birdies, Bees & Flowers, Spring has Sprung...

After a wild weekend of crazy weather, Spring has blown into town. Now that the storm has past we will happily enjoy this special "Springtime" of year! Mild temperatures, sunny skies and the landscape is ablaze with intense colors.
The fields around Gastonia are an incredible Emerald Green, which is the perfect backdrop for all of the flowers blooming in a riot of color on trees, bushes and vines. Easter is less than a week away. So now is the time to embrace fresh, new, colorful ideas in design and fabrics!
At Mary Jo's Cloth Store, flower patterns are bursting out on the shelves and on the website. It is delightful to see such an array of color, patterns and style. But sometimes making a choice can be overwhelming. So let's start with color. Bright, muted, rich, pastel or various tone on tone? Now you need to consider the spring favorites, flowers, butterflies and other spring themed patterns. Yes, we have quite a selection for you to choose from.
This is the season to stitch up a simple skirt, blouse or tote-bag in a moment of creative genius! Easter Sunday is always so colorful and festive and it is always fun to absolutely embrace the season! Consider choosing some bright floral fabric for a large bow or sash to brighten up a dress or hat, it is a fun tradition for Easter Sunday Celebrations and Dinners.
It is the time of year to leave the drab of winter behind and to snap up the color in a room. We have many bright choices for a quick table topper, pillow, curtains or even a few new spring napkins to enjoy at the dinner table. How about a spring inspired quilt, beautiful to look at and satisfying to create. Life is short, embrace color!
It is always interesting and fun to find Spring themed fabrics on Maryjo's website! Click onto the "Main Floor" on the "Fabric" section of the website. Some interesting clicks on the "Main Floor" for Spring inspired fabric choices are, "Sugar, Spice & Everything Nice""Snakes, Snails and Puppy Dog Tails" "Floral""Birds, Bug & Butterflies".
At Mary Jo's our fabric prices are low and our selection is high. Remember we add to our shelves and upload new fabric choices to our website almost everyday. No matter what you are looking for you will probably find it at our Cloth Store! If you have a special request, simple, just Ask Maryjo! Shopping for what your heart desires couldn't be easier. Have a wonderful Easter Weekend.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Quilting in the Hawaiin Style...

There are so many different styles of quilting. With warm weather well on its way it is the perfect time to feature the Hawaiian Quilting Style. This is a very graphic take on traditional quilting, using mostly solids and batik fabrics. The "Quilt Hawaiian" site had some great info about Quilting and the history of Hawaiian Quilting. These are some of their top tips.

"What makes it a Hawaiian quilt?
Quilting was first introduced to Hawaii in the early 1800's by the wives of American missionaries. The art form was quickly adapted by the Hawaiian women who have since created their own quilting style, inspired by their heritage and their fondness of nature...
Even with all the stages and innovations that Hawaiian quilts have been through, the elegant simplicity in the repetition of the silhouette design commands a place of distinction in the world of quilting. Over time, new techniques, tools, fabrics and design elements were applied to the basic format of the appliqué style in Hawaiian quilts.

The Hawaiian quilt is a living art. A description of Hawaiian quilting can never be the ultimate authority on the subject, because in the writing of it, the limitations are automatically set within the snapshot of time in which it is written.

Lines have become blurred between the classic Hawaiian appliqué and more contemporary Hawaiian quilt designs with the use of techniques from other traditional American quilting styles. This may lead some to be concerned that the "traditional appliqué Hawaiian quilt" and its accompanying distinction, will be lost in the abyss of 21st century innovations.

The above quilt was created by Martha Marques...

But even with the introduction of many choices of colored threads, use of non-solid colored fabrics, machine appliqué and quilting, use of fabric piecing additions and many other innovations, Hawaiian quilting is still recognized as it's own category. There is no mistaking a Hawaiian quilt. When a quilt strays too far from the classic appliqué style that we have come to love, it then becomes a "quilt that was made in Hawaii" or a quilt made of Aloha fabrics, and not a recognizable " Hawaiian quilt". Where that line is drawn, is not to be delegated to a body of authorities, but to the viewer and admirer of the distinctive style.

At Quilt Hawaiian they use these guides for the recognition of a Hawaiian quilt:
1) the design is primarily appliqué work
2) the design is a circular repetition of 4 or 8
3) the design uses one or two fabrics (there are exceptions)
The website has a great amount of info and patterns available for sale. Log on to learn more about this unique style of quilting, it could be fun.

If you happen to be in Portland, Maine in the next few months stop by "The Salt Exchange" there is a wonderful and amazing show of "Hawaiian Style" quilts. This show features the artist Martha Marques, she is a passionate Quilting Artist. Her work will inspire you to create large, colorful and meaningful quilts in the Hawaiian tradition.
This style of quilting lends itself to our collection of amazing batik style prints, check out the collection online or in the store.When you are online, just type Batiks into the advance search field in the top right hand corner. We have an overwhelming selection posted online, grab a cup of tea and enjoy the browsing!
Hey everyone, please send us your stories and projects, we are here and we are looking forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Why Shop At Mary Jo's Cloth Store?

We know you have a choice. Back in 1949 Mary Jo had a vision, simply put, it was to create a Cloth Store that had great selection, quality, service and most importantly the best prices anywhere. Mary Jo still oversees much of the buying and she remains adamant about keeping the prices low and the quality high.
We hear stories almost everyday about "The Other Stores". Just yesterday a woman was working with the gal who heads up the Upholstery and Drapery department. She was over the moon happy that the fabric she had seen at another store was here at Mary Jo's. But the story gets better, the same fabric was 18.95 elsewhere and only 8.95 here! WOW. Oh yes and we had enough for her to do her Drapery Project! She was also able to pick up some companion fabric that she will use to recover a few chairs. So all in all our Customer is happy and we were so pleased to have been able to help her to find exactly what she was looking for! A happy ending indeed.
Online you will not find a more comprehensive choice of fabrics offered at prices that are irresistibly affordable. We are always searching for only the best to offer to our customers. Did you know we now carry a line of "Green" fabrics? The idea behind Green fabric is to have less impact on the environment when the fabric is being manufactured. Green is a choice that starts with you. The more folks buy, the higher the demand and the more choices of colors and patterns will be available. Green seems a new trend however trends turn into demand. So the more you buy the more the manufactures will create and the more choices you have. It is the beautiful circle of evolution. Check out our Green selection. You will not be disappointed.

Sew, we thank you for being our customer and letting us help you to find the right fabric at the right price.
Drop an email and share your bargain moment, project or Mary Jo's story. We always look forward to hearing for you.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What's New? All That Is Old...

Fabric is always so fun. The designs and colors are cyclical and what was in fashion always seems to re-invent itself and show up decades later. We are always receiving news of what is new, trendy and available in the fabric world. So let us talk about that for a moment. Colors for the season, this year are bright and turned up. The popular color palette for 2010 are Turquoise, Violet, Orange, Tomato Red and of course, Taupe and a shaded pale Green, just to name a few.

The other trend is what is old, historic and somewhat romantic, is yes, you guessed, new again! The folks who make the fabric are turning to designers to create collections that are not only brightly colored but featuure the things we love. Themes are as varied as Botanicals, Circus, Chickens, Animals, Florals and historically correct fabric from the Civil war era. What is being created and manufactured are truly inspired and created with you in mind!

We recently received a newsletter from one of our Fabric manufacturers. The news was interesting. They are creating collections based on history. These collections include the very romantic, "Hankie Club" collection. Beautiful colors with lots of floral, large and smallish print. This fabric collection would lend itself to a Bedroom make-over, a lovely summer dress or some really fantastic lining for a jacket, purse or tote bag and of course quilting. This is what Windham Textiles has to say about this particular collection.

"One of the true fashion innovations of the sixteenth century was the introduction of the handkerchief as a fashion accessory. Handkerchiefs themselves were not new; people had been carrying a small cloth for blowing their nose for years. These soiled items, however, were kept tucked away out of sight, causing uncertainty as to when the first handkerchief was actually invented.

In the Middle Ages ladies presented men with their handkerchiefs to show their favor. Decorated with luxury embroidery, silver and golden fibers and fringes, the handkerchiefs were used to perform church and coronation ceremonies. However, hankies appeared in vogue during the Renaissance when they became an essential part of any upscale wardrobe.The same women who dressed in exquisite silk gowns had their tailors add lace or a scalloped edge to a fine linen cloth and elevated the handkerchief to the status of fashion accessory. A fine lacy handkerchief, or hanky, was not tucked away in a pocket but held in the hand or draped coyly across the arm.

Handkerchiefs have remained fashionable ever since. It is rumored in fashion history that Marie Antoinette (1755-1793) was frustrated that handkerchiefs were offered in so many shapes; round, oval, rectangular, etc. Her husband, King Louis XVI (1754-1793), made it a law that all handkerchiefs must be square, and have remained so ever since. An old Irish proverb advised “Always carry two handkerchiefs, one for show and one for blow.”

Skip in time to America when up until the early part of the 20th century people worldwide either wiped their nose on their sleeve or on their handkerchief. During this period inexpensive decoratively printed squares of cotton and linen were carried in handbags, given as gifts, and pulled out when tears were about to be shed, or a sneeze was on its way. They dabbed at lipstick, were sprinkled with perfume, and were even dropped in strategic locations to be picked up by that certain person.

The history of handkerchief bazaars, or hankie clubs, is an interesting one which made headlines on more than one occasion. During the first two decades of the twentieth century, thousands of requests for handkerchiefs were printed on penny postage postcards and mailed to women across North America. One of the most famous of these resulted in the following New York Times Headline:
Mrs. Roosevelt Stops Gifts; Declines to Send Handkerchief to the Women of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Territorial Pioneers Association could thank the women of Texas for Mrs. Roosevelt’s decision to abolish the White House Handkerchief Bureau after a group of Austin women labeled her donation to their handkerchief bazaar, “a cheap cotton rag.”

Finally some historians blame Little Lulu for the decline of the handkerchief. Used as an advertising icon in the 1940's, the popular cartoon character touted the benefits of using disposable paper tissues, and sales of Kleenex soared. But cloth "hankies" had been losing ground to paper since 1924, when Kleenex tissues were first marketed as cold-cream removers. Almost immediately consumers began using the disposables, instead, to blow their noses."

This collection was created by Whistler Studios.

Collections like these will are being stocked almost every day. Log onto the website or stop into the store for the latest in colors and patterns.
Sew, friends please remember to take a moment and send us your newest projects, we always love to hear all about you and your creations!