Christmas in July at The Stitchin' Post
The Stitchin' Post will hold Christmas in July starting Saturday, July 25 at 1501 Macon Drive in west Little Rock. The annual event, which features the latest holiday fabrics and projects, will continue through Saturday, August 1.
There will be refreshments on that first Saturday, and staff will bring in their favorite holiday cookie recipes, Jane Bell said. Linda Bowlby and Jane own the shop, a Little Rock institution that has offered heirloom quality fabrics and classes in sewing, smocking and embroidery for 41 years.
"There will be a recipe swap, and we will be showcasing new Christmas projects. And there will be special pricing on our new Christmas fabrics," Jane said.
"Christmas projects include quilts, table runners, a really really really cute Christmas stocking and mug rugs."
Mug rugs are extra large coasters or smaller versions of placemats that hold a cup of tea or coffee with room for a pastry or treat.
The Stitchin' Post is also participating in the Row by Row Experience, Jane said.
"It is a program that started four years ago in New York in a quilt shop. There are now 2,500 quilt shops participating."
Lots of quilters travel across the country visiting the shops where they receive a free pattern for a row of a quilt.
The Stitchin' Post's original quilt design follows this year's theme of water. "We have designed our row featuring The Old Mill in North Little Rock," Jane said.
The Old Mill is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is popular with visitors to Arkansas in part because it was featured in the opening scenes of "Gone with the Wind."
"We are kind of excited about it. (Visitors) can get the free pattern, and they can purchase a kit if they like." The event ends September 8.
The Stitchin' Post is a great place to learn how to sew, quilt or embroider.
The 7,000-square-foot space is filled with well-made and beautifully displayed clothing from heirloom fabrics, smocked dresses and whimsical sewn items. The heirloom fabrics are made of natural, finely woven, often imported materials. Clothing made from them is typically handed down through generations.
"Jane teaches heirloom and embroidery," Linda said. "Carolyn Hartstein teaches our smocking class.
"We have teachers for quilting and for kids. That's my favorite part, that we teach children. I think it's really important. In our Mom and Me classes, kids can start at (age) 8. We have classes for high schoolers. Jane has taught embroidery for children."
To check out the latest classes, visit the shop's website stitchinpostinc.com.
If you see one you like, you'd better sign up right away. "They fill up pretty fast," Linda said.
The shop has two rooms for classes and design walls in place, which allow women to take pieces of fabrics and lay out quilt blocks. They can see how they want to position colors and move them around.
The Stitchin' Post sells quality Husqvarna Viking sewing machines, from basic models that cost about $200 to the most deluxe models for almost $10,000.
It has an extensive selection of threads and an entire notions wall.
There's a Cafe Room where folks can nosh and a sitting area in the entry where women are welcome to come in a bring a handwork project and sit, relax and work.
Linda said the camaraderie of women learning and working together helps make for the pleasant atmosphere of the shop.
"Everybody is real happy here. It's a fun place to be, a fun place to work."
Customers say it's a great place to socialize with friends and to meet new ones.
The shop offers batiste, voile, linen, cotton, Swiss flannel and some silks.
"We have 100 percent cotton fabrics," Linda said. "You can tell the difference in good quality cotton. It's the tightness of the weave. Heirloom cottons are going to last. It's the same with quilting fabrics. They expect them to last for generations. People here appreciate nice fabrics."