What a Weekend that Was!

It’s hard to believe we opened the store 40 years ago.  I was but a child 1st flyerback then!  I wrote a short recap about our 40 years in business in my Ericatorial in our latest newsletter.  It’s on pages 2 and 3, but feel free to read the whole newsletter if you have time!cake

April rolled around and it was Party Time!  Here Dick and I, along with two of our kids, Bill and Cathy, (referred to in my Ericatorial) showed off the cake with our logo.  These two who hated working for the shop years ago are now proud owners with us.

Five years ago we had our 35th store anniversary.  So this year, I figured, would be about the same, just 5 years later! How wrong I was!  So much happened!  In fact there was so much, that you’re going to have to wait for the next installment to see more!!

Let’s start with the excitement for out guests.  Our gift for them was 20% off (almost) all regularly priced merchandise.  We also had a drawing for a $40 Gift Card each day. Friday’s winner was Joan Gallivan, from right here in South Bend.  Saturday’s winner was also from South Bend, Sharon Boyd. That’s amazing, considering the hundreds of entries there were with people coming from miles around!

We weren’t the only one giving out gifts. A generous fabric company sent us wonderful gifts to give away during our celebration.  We had drawings every few hours, and if people didn’t win the big prize, they got a coupon for their next visit, so there were no losers! And strangely winner 1enough, none of the big winners were from South Bend this time.


First winner, on Friday, was Samia Schrom from Plymouth, IN.  Just look at all the fabric in that box!  Lucky lady!



winner 2


Cathy and I were happy to present the next winner her prize.  Kate Alexander from Goshen, IN, was very happy, too!

winner 3




Another winner was Loretta Gill from Michigan City, IN. I told her I’d considered taking everything out of that beautiful cat bag before I brought it out for her.  She never would have known!  But I restrained myself and I was glad I had, because we could hardly get her to stand still for the photo, she was so excited about it.



Do you think Lori winner 4Stoneburner from Warsaw, IN was happy about winning this generous basket of fabric?  Just look at that beautiful smile!





The first recipient of a big gift on Saturday was Lavera Ames, from Plymouth, IN.  She’d been shopping in the Yarn Department when we had her pick a slip to see if she got a coupon or a special prize, and guess what she won!




Next was Tracy Wiltfong, Michigan City.  She was thrilled with her bundle, too.  There was a lot of fabric in that bag! But do you think Tracy had enough fabric?




Not five minutes later, I caught her getting more fabric!  (One can never have too much fabric!)




Here’s Sue Desmet, from Stevensville, MI.  She was really excited when she saw this treasure chest full of goodies!  And who wouldn’t have been!



Now lucky ladies, what we may have forgotten to tell you, is that you have two weeks to come back and show us what you made from these!

It was so much fun surprising people with wonderful gifts, and we really appreciate the generous donor who made it possible!Sparky

Stay tuned for more excitement in our second installment!  Hint: Cathy sent in the clown!  (and lots more surprises!)

Until next time,

signature purple


                                 Happy Easter!

Cross Stitch-What size will the stitched design be?


Bee Joyful A13466 $8.00
Frame A20326 $46.00
Bee Joyful Floss Pack A19199 $9.59
14-count parchment A12857 $3.69

A frequent question asked at the store is how to determine what size fabric is needed for cross stitching projects. Calculating the necessary fabric size may seem confusing at first but here are some tips to help you get started.


The first step is to determine how many stitches you will be making per inch. To do that, you will need to determine if you’re stitching “over 1″ or over 2.”

Aida fabric is stitched “over 1.” Over 1″ simply means that you bring your stitch up in one hole and go down in the next hole diagonally adjacent. It’s called “over 1″ because you are crossing only one fabric thread in the fabric. So, if you’re using 14-count Aida, you will make 14 stitches per inch; 16-count Aida yields 16 stitches per inch and so on.

If you are using an evenweave linen, or a similar fabric,  you are likely stitching “over 2.” “Over 2″ means that your design is stitched over two fabric threads – two horizontal and two vertical. Since you’ll be making one stitch for every two holes in these types of fabrics, your stitches per inch are usually half of your fabric thread count. For example, if you use a 32-count linen, stitching “over 2″ means that you will have 16 stitches per inch.

In our Bee Joyful project at the top, we’re using 14-count Aida so we’re making 14 stitches/inch.


Once you’ve determined how many stitches you’ll be making per inch (whether you’re stitching over 1 or over 2), the second step is to calculate the design area of your project. To calculate your design area, you first need to know your stitch count. Some patterns will tell you this and some patterns require you to figure it out on your own.

In the Bee Joyful kit, we are given the stitch count.


But if the kit doesn’t tell you the stitch count, you can easily figure it out yourself. What you’re looking for is the maximum number of stitches both in height and width of your design.

So in the graph from Wichelt Imports below, the stitch count is 21 stitches high and 18 stitches wide.


To calculate the height, count from the highest stitch in the chart down to the lowest stitch. I’ve added purple arrows in the image below showing where to stop and start counting. In this case, our design is 21 stitches high.


To calculate the width, count from the first stitch on the left side of the design over to the last stitch on the right side of the design. I’ve added purple arrows in the image below showing where to stop and start counting. In this case, our design is 18 stitches wide.


Once you know your stitch count, divide those numbers by the number of stitches you will be making per inch. So if we used 14-count Aida for our kitty project, we take both 18 and 21 and divide them each by 14. That result is approximately 1.5 x 1.2 so we can tell that our finished project will be approximately 1 1/2″ inches high by 1 1/4″ wide. Note that on the kitty project, it gives a finished design size of 2.25″ x 2.25.” That includes the extra fabric left on the sides which we’ll discuss in the next step.

In the Bee Joyful design shown at the top of the post, the stitch count is 103 stitches high and 74 stitches wide. Dividing those numbers by 14, we can tell that our finished design will be approximately 7 1/4″ high x 5 1/4″ wide.


The final step is to decide how much extra fabric you want to show beyond your design. The amount of space you’ll want to add depends on whether you’ll be framing your project and, if so, what size frame. Some projects look better with some unstitched space between the design and the edge of the frame. And some projects look better without unstitched space.


Santa’s Secret 34866 $10.00

In this Santa’s Secret example, the project looks much better matted and framed directly up to the edges of the design.


In our Bee Joyful example, we wanted almost two inches of unstitched fabric between the design and the frame. Since the finished design is approximately 7 1/4″ x 5 1/4,” we added 1 3/4″ inches to all four sides so that our finished size is 9″ x 7.”

And in the kitty project, the instructions call for it to be framed in a square of 2.25″ x 2.25.”

In all cases, you will need enough fabric to wrap around the back of the project so that it stays taut when framed so planning for that ahead of time will help.

I hope that helps you decide what size fabric you need for your next project!

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Happy Stitching!

Learning How to Crochet

I recently took a crochet class at Erica’s and am totally hooked on it! Pun intended. :)

I’ve been a quilter for years, but was always intimidated by knitting and crocheting. But not any longer! I wanted to share with you how easy it is to learn a new craft in case any of you are in the same boat I was.

Kim started me off with two basic supplies: a crochet hook and a skein of yarn. As a general rule of thumb, chunky or bulky yarn takes a larger hook and fine yarn takes a smaller hook. And most yarn labels will tell you the recommended hook size. 

crochet1Baby Chunky Yarn from Hayfield (Tufty) A22975 $7.00
Boye Aluminum Crochet Hook (Size J
) 25640 $2.15

Kim first showed me how to make the chain, the foundation for most projects.

crochet2The next two stitches I learned were the single crochet, and the double crochet. Then I attempted to make a swatch using my new-found skills. My swatch is quite laughable (it really was supposed to be a rectangle!) but it sure taught me a lot!

crochet3The first thing I learned in making this swatch was not to be afraid. In about 45 minutes, I had gone from not knowing how to crochet at all to having made something. It’s a funny-looking something, but that doesn’t matter at this stage. I still made it!

I also learned to count stitches at the end of every row. I had no idea that I was dropping stitches until I was about eight rows into it. Looking at the swatch, it’s very clear that I dropped stitches as I went along, but I didn’t see it right away.

I learned how to improve my tension by playing with different ways of wrapping the yarn around my fingers until I found something that was comfortable for me.

And I learned that practicing stitches over and over again until you move onto another stitch is tremendously helpful and a confidence builder. 

Just by working on those three things – counting, evening out my tension and practicing – led me to this in just four days:

crochet4It’s not perfect, it’s not even great, but it’s a scarf! And I made it! It wasn’t hard and it wasn’t intimidating at all, once I dove into it.

I also recommend finding a great how-to book. Many of our staff members recommend “I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting” by Leisure Arts, so I bought it and took it home with me. It helped remind me how to do the stitches once I was on my own, and gave great tips about tension and how to understand patterns. 

crochet5I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting 23098 $8.95

Another really good one that I’ve had my eye on is “10-20-30 Minutes to Learn to Crochet,” also by Leisure Arts. It has great pictures and simple patterns.

crochet610-20-30 Minutes to Learn to Crochet A11978 $9.95

I am so excited to have learned a new craft and even more than that, I’m no longer intimidated to learn something new. I encourage all of you to do the same!

For more information about classes or to see a schedule of upcoming classes, sign up for our newsletter on our website – Erica’s Newsletters Sign-Up. You can also stop into the store or give us a call at 574-233-3112 or 1-888-837-4227.

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Let us know in the comments, about something new that you’ve learned!

Happy Crocheting!

You Can Glue It as You Do It!

59401I’ve been using Glue-Baste- It (49401) or Appli-Glue (40415) for binding quilts.  I and I will continue using this technique for my first step.  You put 5” or 6” of a thin line about 1/8”inside the raw edge of your quilt.  40415Lay the binding on top of that lining up the raw edges.  Then you press that part with an iron.  It dries the glue immediately, and you move on to the next 5” or 6” and repeat.  This keeps you from stretching your binding, which can easily happen if you’re adding the binding at the machine.  Turn corners as you usually do, and join the ends of the binding.  It’s all stabilized and ready to take to your sewing machine.  (If you’re machine stitching the binding, your glue will be applied to the back of the quilt as you add the binding.  If you want to hand stitch, your glue will be applied to the front.)

This is where I vary from my previous method!  When I sew the binding to the quilt,. I do it with fusible thread in my bobbin.  Wind the bobbin slowly, but you don’t have to do it by hand.  I like YLI Fusible Thread DSC01597best because it’s thicker than others, so it fuses more easily.  Keep your thread and filled bobbins in an air tight plastic bag.

Anyway, since you DSC01598have fusible thread on the bobbin, all you need to do is turn the binding and press it to have the glue hold the binding in place!  In the photo on the right, you can see the white fusible thread.  On the left you can see the binding already fused.  You could pull it loose, but is stays well as you stitch.  And no pins to bite you if you’re hand stitching.

Do you think you’ll try this, or do you have a better way?  Please comment below.

Until next time,                 Erica

PS, for those of you following our adventures with Remmy (our kitten,)  he ran off with a bag of asparagus the other day!

Our yarn department is back!

Many of you already know that our yarn department was destroyed in a terrible early-winter storm last November. The large front window of our store was blow in and all of our yarn had to be disposed of because it was either full of glass shards or water.

But the yarn department is back! We have new carpeting, the shelves have been repaired, and we have restocked them with all the great yarns we’ve been carrying and some new ones as well.

yarndeptWe are so excited to have our yarn department back, and we’re having a Yarn Department Grand Reopening. Along with new yarn, we have new models, and new patterns.


Baby Alpaca Grande Scarlet A24314 $11.24 (sale price)
Top Down Jacket Pattern A24293 $4.00


Perfection Lights Yarn from Kraemer Yarns
Jelly Lights A20470 $5.63 (sale price)

Through Monday, March 3rd, all of our regularly-priced yarn is 25% off, both online and in our store. Head on over to our Yarn Page or come visit us if you can!

We also have Free How-To-Knit and How-To-Crochet Lessons in the store through Saturday. The free lessons are available from 9:30 am – 4:30 pm on Friday, and from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm on Saturday. Earlier this week, Kathy Robb and Naomi Bozovsky came in and enjoyed a free crochet lesson with Linda in our yarn department.

yarndept2So stop in and celebrate with us or go to Erica’s yarn page for all the great deals!

Happy knitting and crocheting!

Is it Paper or Fabric?

Have you seen our new “fabric?”  The manufacturer calls it PaperA23502 Fabric, and it’s a rugged paper that looks, feels, and wears like leather, but sews, cuts, and washes like fabric. It’s supple and lightweight, but strong enough to use for projects that get tough wear.

I’ve used the brown for two projects.  White DSC01426and black should be here soon, giving us even more options.

The first thing I made was the bag from the instructions included in the package.  I was surprised how easy it was to sew!  A10057

I used Transfer Artist Paper (A10057) to put a copyright-free image on the flap.  It worked beautifully, though I notice in my photo that it’s slightly crooked.  (Maybe you wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t said it!  Oh, well, I never said I was perfect!)

I  “marked” the folds of the bag with a Hera Marker (85259 – it’s at the very bottom of our web page.)  I’ve also DSC01322used the Hera Marker for “marking” embroidery placement without any kind of ink or chalk.

Instead of pins, we use Wonder Clips on this kind of fabric, leather, or vinyl.  (A12995) Keep them close to the edge to avoid “teeth marks.” In this photo you can see the DSC01340difference between this inside flap that I washed, and the unwashed fabric below it.

When I decided to reduce the weight of my purse, the first thing to go was the heavy ready-made wallet!  I made myself a new one, using the Easy Zip 40698Wallet pattern (40698), paper fabric, and cotton.  I made it even easier by not putting a zipper around the outside edge.

To add an inside zipper, I kept it straight by taping it to my cutting mat.  Then I used Double Face Basting Tape  DSC01332 copyDSC01333(86508) on the piece I wanted to add the zipper to.  You can see it above right, before I took the paper off.  Then I just sewed along the edge to secure the zipper.

I like to have my wallet in my purse in a way that my credit and loyalty cards are easy to get out without removing the wallet.  So the other thing I changed was the direction of the inside slots.  I made them all open toward the top of my purse.  If you’ll be taking your wallet out of your purse, use her instructions for the zipper and the slots.

Here it is, inside and outside.  There are slots for everything!  I love it!DSC01354 copyOf course I had help all along the way.DSC01346

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

Locker Hooking 101

Locker HookingThe most fun and relaxing craft that you might not be doing is called Locker Hooking. It’s a personal favorite of mine since I love to create larger scale projects with minimal cost and enjoy the process along the way. Locker hooking is one of the most relaxing creative processes I have tried.

The basic tools are pretty straightforward.  You need mesh canvas for your base, fabric strips to create the design, locker hooking twine (86992) (or yarn), and your locker hook (86993). A locker hook looks just like a crochet hook, except that it has an additional eye on the opposite end of the hook, which is how you pull the yarn through your fabric loops.

Locker Hook rug in progress

As you can see above, your fabric strips sit below the mesh, so you can pull loops up, and then “lock” them with your twine/yarn. When you come to the end of your yarn, you just tie a knot and go on. The knot will be hidden inside your loops.

While I tend to focus primarily on making rugs, you can make just about anything using locker hooking. We have several great books full of ideas how to embellish your life with locker hooking. Kathleen’s Fabric Locker Hooking (18004) is great for a beginner with all of the basics covered well. Once you’ve mastered the process you might want to move on to home decor and fashion accessories with Hook, Loop & Lock (44063).  Take a look at all our Locker Hooking books and supplies..

booksAs always, please let us know what you decide to make, and send pictures! Until then, happy hooking!

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F.  Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.