Tutorial: Two Way Lavender Sachets

How is it February? More importantly, how is this our first blog post of 2016?! But then again, the Finch does know. Things have been busy here! A newborn baby, colossal snow storm, and weekly shipments of yumminess…

However, it does appear to be the perfect time to post a tutorial, and we at the Finch have the perfect idea, just in time for Valentine’s Day! Heart shaped lavender sachets; the perfect project for tiny scraps of fabric and yarn. Remember our Wool Dryer Ball Tutorial? This project uses the leftover lavender packets too!

What You Will Need
Love
Scraps of Fabric and Yarn
Paper and Pen
Sewing Machine
Notions
Pinking Sheers
Needle
Thread
Lavender Packets
(Optional: Two FQ’s or more if you want to justify buying more fabric; I used Fruit Dot by Cotton and Steel)

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First things first, iron your scraps (or Fat Quarters) and align your pieces of fabric with RIGHT sides together; fold widthwise.

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With your handy dandy pen and paper, draw half of a heart at the edge of the paper. You can make your heart sachets as big or as little as you would like. Align your drawn masterpiece to the folded edge of the fabric.

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Do you remember making Valentines as a kid? It is the same idea :) Pin the paper and scraps in place. Carefully cut…

…and before anyone becomes incredulous that I am cutting paper with my sewing scissors, these are my paper and fabric scissors. My fabric scissors are in an undisclosed location; I won’t reveal where because keeping them out of reach of my family is of the utmost importance.

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Viola!

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Cut your scrap piece of yarn to the desired length. Carefully pin the yarn on one of the RIGHT sides of the heart. This will ensure the yarn stays in place while sewing. For this sachet, I used a scrap piece of Knit Collage yarn because it is sparkly and purdy. With the RIGHT sides together once again, pin around the heart.

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With a 1/4 seam allowance, sew around the heart. I used my trusty 97D patchwork BERNINA foot for this sewing project because the 1/4 seam allowance guide on the foot. Lurv this foot.

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Make sure to leave a “No-Sew” zone of an inch or more so you can turn this project RIGHT side out and insert the lavender packets.

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It is lavender packet time! These are sewable too. Because I made a smaller heart, I cut one of the packets lengthwise first, then sewed the halves shut. With one of those halves, I cut it widthwise and sewed, making two smaller pieces from one of the bigger halves.

I highly recommend making two smaller lavender packets like above, especially if you decide to make a smaller heart. The two smaller pieces fill the smaller heart entirely instead of having one big packet which could make the heart lumpy.

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Before you turn your heart RIGHT SIDE out, be sure to remove the pins that secure the yarn in place. After carefully removing the pins on the inside, turn your heart RIGHT side out, press, and then place the lavender packets through your “No Sew” zone. Whip-stitch shut with your needle and coordinating thread…

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And you are done, but this tutorial is not! I still have one more way that you to show you…

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You will repeat the steps above, but this time, your will sew your heart with WRONG sides together. Pin your heart together with your scrap of yarn in place. I chose Tosh Vintage because that yarn is one of my favs and I love the variegated coloring.
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Sew around the heart with a 1/4 seam allowance, and leaving a “No Sew” zone. Place your lavender packet through the “No Sew” zone, and finish sewing around the heart. With your pinking shears, carefully cut around the heart’s perimeter.

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And guess what, you are done! And so is this tutorial!

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If you do not have lavender packets, use poly-fil!  Or instead of stuffing them with lavender or poly-fil, you can make garland by ironing fabric stabilizer to your scraps (so they have a stiffer feel) and then string your hearts on a long piece of yarn.

Follow the same steps above and omit the lavender packets or poly-fil.

Just in case you are looking for an adorable Valentine idea for your little Finchette(s)’ classmates, check out Nicole’s tutorial on how to make Arrows of Love and Rocket Pencil Valentines. Seriously #adorbs.

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Happy Valentine’s Day! We hope to see you soon.

xoxo

Stefanie + the Finch

 

Twelve Days of Finchmas Day 11: What I Learned in 2015

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On the Eleventh Day of Finchmas, the Finchies gave to me…

…Sharing what we learned in 2015!

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Nicole

“I learned how to loom weave this year- I learned to enjoy it as a tactile experience, weaving with the entire hand. I also learned that composition is very challenging and that space is as important as texture.” 

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Charmaine

“I learned to knit and be comfortable with double pointed needles.”

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Lisa

“I finally started to get the hang of free motion quilting. I started out small with pillow covers and baby quilts and worked my way up to lap quilts. My new Bernina and BSR gave me the confidence I needed to make it happen.”

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Haley

I am a very beginner sewist so what I challenged myself to do this year was to use my sewing machine at least once a week!  I’ve learned how to make everything from pacifier clips to PJ pants!”

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Samantha

This year, I made a custom slipcover for a thrifted wingback chair. I used so many new techniques while sewing that cover, but mainly what I learned is that jumping in with both feet will always be my favorite way to learn a new crafty skill!”

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Holly

This year I learned that I LOVE knitting. My Mom taught me years ago how to knit, but it was never enjoyable until I decided to pick it up again this year and give it another go. What was the difference? Using yarn I love! I knit a cowl with some of the Freia yarn, and I am hooked!!!”

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Angela

I learned this year is how to do many different types of color work while teaching my building in color class.”

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Isabelle

This year for me has been all about sewing and my biggest achievement was learning how to make a duffel coat!”

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Rhandi

“I learned how addicting the Finch is! I love the yarn and the fabric; I love it all.”


Now it is your turn: What did you learn sewing or knitting or making wise in 2015? We at the Finch would love to hear what you learned, so please respond to this post below and tell us!

A big thanks to all of you for making 2015 a great year! We can’t wait to see each one of you in 2016.

Happy New Year!

~Stefanie + the Finch

 

Twelve Days of Finchmas: Day 10- The Storytelling of Handmaking and Christmas Babies

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When you are pregnant, people tend to respond with a sympathetic wince when you tell them you are due on the 26th of December…  As a mom of two, that’s right, TWO December babies, I’ll agree that at first glance, a birthday just days away from Christmas tends to be a little bit crazy making as the parent.

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Christmas hats for all my kiddos. Chin strap hat from Welcoming Home Baby book.

So when the ultrasound tech confirmed that the due date for baby number 3 was in fact Dec. 26th, my first thought was, “here we go again”, and my second thought was “how can we make this happen early???!!!”   In the end, Baby Hollis was born on Dec. 22nd, just 4 days after his big sister turned six on the 18th.

Cassidy was born during the hospital’s annual holiday party….  I can remember imagining a very Grey’s Anatomy scene going on somewhere beyond my hospital room as the quiet first few hours of motherhood set in on me. Babies and the quiet fragility of the first few days of life are very deeply connected to Christmas time for me. Don’t even think about playing Silent Night for me…  Instant waterworks, I tell you!

There is no better maker’s muse (at least for me) than a bun in the oven.  And since two of my children (the middle one not very far off with a February birthday) are Christmas babies, the season itself, a season so rich with gift giving and anticipation and planning, is very much a part of the making experience for me.

Not to get too literal, but making things (especially hand work, as in hand stitching and knitting) and pregnancy have some striking similarities.  Both are steeped in anticipation and are simultaneously enriched by the waiting and wanting that happens during the making process.  It is no wonder that the first things I made for our baby were hand knit, an activity that is much slower than most sewing projects can be (of course there are exceptions to that).

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Hippo kit from Blue Sky Alpacas knit by me.

Each teeny tiny stitch of this first project marked a moment of quiet celebration for our special news.  I can remember being at the swimming pool, with my two older kids, knitting a little hippo arm when the doctor called to ask if I’d like to know the sex of the baby.  And just like that, we were having a boy.  In a way, the making itself becomes the story telling of the moments leading up to that long awaited first meeting.

So much of story telling is about sharing in the anticipation with friends- the weekend trip to a friends’ house for a weaving class where I finished the little striped hat baby Hollis wore on his first trip home.

My striped baby hat- a soak wash kit- on a gorgeous alpaca bamboo (Classic Elite Chalet) cable blanket knit by Finch Teacher, Cassie.

My striped baby hat- a soak wash kit- on a gorgeous alpaca bamboo (Classic Elite Chalet) cable blanket knit by Finch Teacher, Cassie.

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My first weaving

During the same trip, I made a wall hanging – the very first thing I made for his nursery. And during the whole weekend, reuniting with friends and making new friends all while sharing in the joyful news of a new baby…

I have always had creative friends, but never so much as now.  On your third pregnancy, one certainly doesn’t expect a shower, so when all my friends at Finch threw me a shower…

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A big stack of burp clothes in RK flannel and backed in Bamboo fleece by Finch Teacher Linda.

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Burp clothes in Alison Glass Indigo fabric by Stefanie. Stunning shot cotton quilt by Lisa. Wee quilted boat by me.

The shower showed me again how wonderful it is when friends gather to welcome a new baby. Later when I sat on the nursery floor after the shower and folded and organized all the beautiful hand made things we were given, I couldn’t help tearing up thinking about how much more excited I was for Hollis’ arrival and how that was the real gift of the shower… the waiting and wanting so carefully knit together with the love and shared joy of my friends.

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Weaving by Finch Teacher Charmaine, Sweater and booties by Finch Teacher Isabelle, Hat by Finch Teacher Liz, Brown Bear Hat by sample knitter Jan Helge (Angela’s MIL), Baby vest by Finch Teacher Angela, Chunky play mat in Loopy Mango by Nicole, corner of the nursery with low volume fabric strips from Finch, hoodie sweater by Angela, cabled sweater by Finchette Samantha, Bonnet by Finch Teacher Alicia, Hexi blanket by Nicole from the book Welcoming Home Baby.

Every day that I take out a brand new hand made treasure to put on my little one, I am so moved by my friends..  that they took the time to so carefully make such beautiful things for him.  Because Hollis couldn’t be more special to me.

Pompoms by big brother and sister with mommy.

Pompoms by big brother and sister with mommy.

After all the anticipation and excitement and waiting leading up to the 25th, we hope you’re finding a reason to savor the quietness of the last few days of this lovely year.

xoxo,

the Finch (Nicole and Family)

***A HUGE photo credit to the amazingly talented Alicia Bruce of Love Knot Photos who made all the above photographs. The inferior ones below are mine.  ;)

Hollis in his Alabama Chanin Nighty Designed and made by Mommy. On a Tinsel Fabric receiving blanket (also by me).

Hollis in his Alabama Chanin Nighty Designed and made by Mommy. On a Tinsel Fabric receiving blanket (also by me).

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First family portrait.

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Merry Christmas Morning…. the best present.

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Twelve Days of Finchmas: Day 9

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We know…we know. All was calm…and then it was not.

Thirty minutes. That is what it took to turn the living room into a war zone.

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Suddenly, you found yourself asking: How? and Why?

The desire to craft is there, but you do not want to leave the couch. Trust us, we feel the same. No worries, on the 9th day of Finchmas we are giving you the laziest craft ever. You do not even have to leave the couch. You can do this in your pajamas.

On the 9th day of Finchmas, the Finchies gave to me…

…a Lazy Day Wool Dryer Ball Tutorial!

What You Will Need
Lavender Dryer Bags (We bought ours at Trader Joes)
Waste Yarn (Quince and Company’s Puffin is great for this)
Yarn Needle
Some Determination

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First, assemble your materials and plop down on the couch. Ignore the mess all around you.

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Remove a lavender dryer packet from the packaging and wrap the yarn around the packet. The lavender smells wonderful and fresh. So not only are you crafting, but you are making something that can freshen up your laundry.

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Keep wrapping…About half the size of a baseball is the right size for your dryer balls.

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When you have about 12 inches left of the yarn you are using, thread your needle.

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Once threaded, push the needle through the center of your wool dryer ball.

Keep on keeping on, and keep going through the middle until you have 2 inches of yarn left.

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Tuck the end of the yarn into other strands of yarn. Knot to secure!

Throw this puppy into wash machine whenever you do your next load and then dry it with your laundry. Your wool dryer ball will felt up :)

I like to put my wool dryer balls in a mesh laundry bag personally, but you can omit that if you do not have one.

Keep making or stop at one! Either way, you will have a great smelling laundry in 2016. Each time you do a load of laundry put your dryer ball(s) in the dryer with your wet clothes.

Just because Christmas is over does not mean Finchmas is! We still have a couple of more days to go, so stay tuned.

xoxo

Stefanie + the Finch

 

Twelve Days of Finchmas: Day 8!

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On the eight day of Finchmas, the Finchies gave to me…

…fun Finchy Stocking Stuffers!

We are less than a week away from Christmas, and who is ready? Don’t worry if you aren’t because we are here to help you out! We have a million little ways to help you stuff those stockings. Right next to our Sale Fabric area we have an entire wall dedicated to stocking stuffers. You can find…

  • Twig and Horn Gauge Rulers
  • Tassel Makers
  • Pom Pom Makers
  • Fabric Pens
  • Stitch Markers
  • Snips
  • Pin Holders
  • Patterns
  • Finch Make + Take Kits
  • Blue Sky Alpaca Knit Kits

…and so many other Finchy things!

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We have soaks and soaps for all your wool washing. A little birdie told me the soaks we carry are great for cleaning makeup brushes too. There is also this adorable kit with yarn and a baby hat pattern, the perfect stocking stuffer for a mom-or-grandma-to-be.

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Also in pre-packaged kit form, we carry Blue Sky Alpaca Royal Petite Kits. Seriously, adorbs. These kits include all that you need to make a knitted stufftie.

Monkies, Elephants, and Hippos; oh my!

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Are you or someone you know getting a BERNINA Embroidery attachment or a BERNINA sewing machine with an embroidery for Christmas? We have these awesome pre-packaged embroidery thread spools! You can fill the entire stocking with this -and viola- you are done ;)

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For the newer knitters you are buying for (or yourself), slip a Knit Speak book into their (or your) stocking! Knit Speak is a pocket-sized book packed with everything A to Z on knitting- it’s our go-to book for all our new (and experienced) students. Knit Speak isn’t the only book we carry. Next to the worktable upstairs we have a great collection of knittings books. Downstairs, also near the Sale Fabric area, we have our sewing books.

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These necklace kits are great for any tween or teen’s or adult’s stocking!!

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Speaking of tween or teen, did you read our Kid’s Post? Don’t forget one of these valuable (and sanity saving) kits.

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If you are the sole maker in your family, send your other half to Guy’s Night on the 21st! There will be beer,  food, and our staff will be there to help your husbands navigate all things BERNINA, stocking stuffers, gifts, fabric, and yarn. If you filled out a registry with us, remember that you’ll get one more entry in our big New Year’s give away!

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And don’t forget- we carry gift cards. Stay tuned for a Wool Dryer Ball Tutorial! See you (and your husbands) soon!

xoxo

~ Stefanie + the Finch

Twelve Days of Finchmas: Day 7!

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On the Third Day of Finchmas, the Finchies Gave to Me…

One Handmade Lotion Bar Tutorial, and a Knit Wash Cloth too!

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Ingredients
Raw Coconut Oil
Shea or Coco Butter or a Combination of Both
Beeswax
**Where to Buy: I bought all my ingredients of Amazon. You can find coconut oil at your local grocery store.**

Materials Needed
Food Scale
Spatula or Spoon
Pyrex Measuring Cup (Glass)
Pot/Pan
Tongs
Pot Mits
Silicon Mold
**Where to Buy: I had these materials laying around my home, but you can find a Silicon Mold or Food Scale at your favorite local kitchen store.**

This tutorial includes the use of extreme heat and hot liquids! Please be careful and proceed with caution.

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Before you begin, boil a pot of water. I used a medium sized pot with a cup to boil a cup of water. DO NOT fill the pot up all the way with water. A cup of water will suffice :)… and it is safer too.

Once you’ve got that going, move on to the next step: Tare your scale with your glass pyrex measuring cup on the scale and whatever glass bowl you decide. A dear friend of mine refers to my pyrex cup as my caldron. Little does she know there is some truth to that because these little lotion bars are truly magical. Not to mention easy to make.

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Since I knew I needed to make only a few of these, I chose to go with 2 ounces of each ingredient listed above. It doesn’t matter what ingredient you begin with, just continue to add them in your glass pyrex bowl in equal amounts.

To make larger (or smaller) batches of lotion bars adjust the ounces needed. This is important: Whichever measurement you use needs to be the same measurement for all three ingredients.

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Gently (!!!) place your pyrex bowl in your pot of boiling water with your tongs. At this point, I turned my stove to a medium flame setting. Once the ingredients begin to melt, begin to stir every so often. More than likely, the beeswax will be the last to melt and may take longer to liquefy. When your ingredients are fully a liquid, remove your glass container from the water with tongs and pot mitts.

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Make sure you have your silicon mold ready to go because the next step is to pour the ingredients in the silicon molds.

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Once you finished pouring, place your lotion bars in the fridge for them to harden. I chose to make these lotion bars in the evening so they could harden over night.

Aren’t they adorable??

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I have to admit, I am a little obsessed with knitted washcloths. Not only do they make a perfect gift, but they are a quick knit too! Pair up a homemade lotion bar with a knitted washcloth and you have a gift that grandma, mom, sister, and maybe even the hubs would love!

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We carry several yarns that are perfect for washcloths: Kestrel and Willet, both from Quince & Co., and then there’s Skinny Cotton by Blue Sky Alpacas. Kestrel is 100% Organic Linen (heavy worsted weight) and Willet is 100% Cleaner Cotton™ (sport/DK weight), while Skinny Cotton is a 100% organic cotton sport weight yarn. Looking for a chunkier (read “faster”) option?  Blue Sky’s Worsted Cotton… another 100% organic cotton in worsted weight.  And all of these options are are available in a wide variety of colors too!

Click here for an easy washcloth knitting pattern to go with your lotion bars :) We also have a class coming up where you can learn to make a crochet a washcloth.

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And don’t forget to sign up for this week’s Friday Night Social! You can sign up by clicking here. We hope to see you there.

xoxo

Stefanie and The Finch

Twelve Days of Finchmas: Day 6!

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On the 6th day of Finchmas the Finchies gave to me…

…lots of goodies for the younger Finches!

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We have the cutest little kits available for all ages of young sewists!  Each kit comes with a book and several other tools and fun accessories.

From left to right (pictured above), is…

…a Crafty Kit- complete with some of the essentials as well as a yo yo maker and fabric to make the yo yo garland pictured in the book We Love to Sew: Gifts. Every project in this book is super cute, and includes a range of difficulties – all with pictorial instructions.

 Garment Sewing Kit for Girls- this kit comes with an excellent book of garment sewing patterns all with lots of options for customization and creativity.  We’ve included a great DIY Dressmaker tote with this kit so she can stow her works in progress in style!

… Perhaps one of our favorites, the Sew Adorkable kit is geared especially for Teens and Tweens who will love the mix of garment ideas, smaller projects, wall hangings, and quilts.  Check out the Candy Dots quilt- it’s adorable! This kit comes complete with the book, thread, fabric, snips, pins, and a magnetic pin keep.

Did you know that Finch offers classes for kids too? We just added this new crochet class to our offerings! Isn’t that bunny cute?!

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Classes are always a great idea! We have only a few seats left in some of our Christmas break and January camps and classes.  Not sure what class you will sign up for just yet? A gift card for your little sewist (or yourself) is perfect!

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What crafty kiddo wouldn’t want a big BERNINA box under the tree this year?! Our bernette sewing machines are on SALE for between $149 and $499 and make the perfect gift for young sewists. All of these machines are easy to use and feature a variety of feet, stitches and other features. And, as always, we’re not going to leave you in the dark with your new machine- all our machines come with new machine owner classes!  Did we mention we have the machines in stock?  Get yours while supplies last!

A few of us at Finch are moms, and we know Christmas vacation can be…how shall I say this…squirrelly at times. Especially after the gifts are open and the chaos beings to ensue.

No fear!

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A pom pom maker with a Japanese pom pom book will keep the kids entertained for hours! Make it a game by asking your children who can make the most pom poms in X amount of time. And guess what? We have kits for this too!

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This PomPom Kit includes…

  • 3 pom pom makers (small, medium, and jumbo)
  • Yarn and roving in about 6 different colors
  • An AMAZING Japanese Pom Pom pattern book with so many inspiring photos and ideas!

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Don’t forget to check out our Finchy Stocking Stuffers area for tiny things to stuff the stockings.  There’s nothing better than a Crafty Santa!

And don’t forget that pom pom kit ;)

xoxo

Stefanie and the Finch