Monday, August 12, 2013

Clue #3 (the final sneak peek!) & Fab Fabric Field Trip!

August is a big countdown month for us at L*K, as we prepare for the September launch of the 2013 Holly & Hearts Mystery Sampler. We just got the printed material delivered, and we're busy collating 3 pages, plus the color cover, and stashing everything in handy zip bags

Clue #3 Holly & Hearts Mystery Sampler
It's another sneak peek photo from the actual sample!. There's a sweet bird surrounded by our orts (leftover threads) from stitching our original model. There's part of a beloved holiday saying nearby...can you guess it?

Along with the 3-part designs (one each in September, October, November), we're also providing pre-cut fabric pieces (both linen and Aida) and pre-packaged overdyed threads. Everything is sold separately, but we're providing the "whole deal", if you want it! Just contact your favorite needlework shop to pre-order ASAP. 

Our fabric supplier for the Holly & Hearts project, Picture This Plus, is conveniently located in nearby Abilene, Kansas. Last week we took a company field trip (that's Alan and I) to visit Marilyn and the merry fabric gang, and want to share some pics with you. We found the whole fabric dyeing process fascinating, and hope you will, too!

PTP is located in a historic building in downtown Abilene (population 6844). Abilene was quite a cowtown in the pioneer days, but now it's best known as the home of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. This building is OLD and full of great quirks and crannies. The gals will even tell you it's haunted, and several visits from "ghostbusters" seem to confirm the paranormal visitors. 

Marilyn has a fabulous (and surprisingly large!) bookstore on the first floor of her charming old building. 

You wind down a beautiful old staircase to find all the fabric action in the basement. 

We loved this little hidden room halfway down the stair landing. Hmmm...reminds me of Harry Potter's room, also under a stairway!

As we arrived downstairs, we were greeted by hundreds of beautiful hand-dyed fabric packs...lots of different fabrics and a glorious rainbow of colors. 

So here's the process! The fabric arrives in giant bolts, like those lining the wall above. It's hard to see the size in this pic, but these bolts are large, long and heavy (and expensive)! The window you see is a unique basement window that looks out on an old stairway leading out to the street above...sweet!

The fabric is cut by scissors (no rotary cutters allowed!) and then stacked for it's future bath in the dyepot!

Marilyn does most of the dyeing herself, but she's camera shy, so you'll have to picture her hard at work in the area above. Fabrics are washed after they're dyed and the color is set. That's a hard-working washer/dryer pair on the right.

Check out the dyes lining the nearby shelves and dye pots hiding on the shelves below. Marilyn keeps formulas (her trade secrets!)for the beautiful colors posted on an adjacent wall. 

After the fabric is custom dyed, it's hung on drying racks...lots of them! 

And then, the fabric has to be IRONED! Yes, they get paid to iron and lots of ironing goes on in the basement at PTP!  Mari is ironing in the background while Susie begins to cut the now wrinkle-less fabric into smaller pieces. PTP has generously offered to cut pieces for our Mystery Sampler project to size, so shops don't have to! That's a piece of our Doubloon linen above, the fabric we chose for Holly & Hearts.

Once the fabric is cut, serger Susie gets to work serging all the edges to prevent fraying...another great service! The busy girls at PTP have worn out a serger every year, and have finally found a model that can stand up to their industrial use!

The final step is folding, individually bagging and labeling each fabric piece. Here's a piece of Doubloon ready to make the journey to Lizzie*Kate headquarters, before shipping on to needlework shops and landing in the hands of a lucky Mystery Sampler stitcher!

We decided to offer 4 different fabrics for this project, so everyone could get their favorite. The Doubloon color is the same on 28 ct. linen, 32 ct. linen, 14 ct. Aida and 16 ct. Aida. 

We had SO much visiting with Marilyn and the staff at PTP! Thanks for letting us visit, take pics, and tour the cool building. Oh yea, Marilyn also owns the unoccupied second floor, which is not in use (unless you count the nocturnal ghosts) and in vintage office condition!

We did manage to squeeze in a little more fun and food before we left town. We walked around the grounds of the Eisenhower Museum, Presidential Library, Chapel and his charming boyhood home above. 

And we ate at a local spot that Marilyn recommended that was small-town fabulous! Alan tackled the giant hammer-burger above...and won! Hidden below the large burger were ham, bacon and an egg - he added the ketchup sculpture on top.

There's always room for dessert, so I ate their famous peanut-butter pie, kind of a pudding-y dessert in a bowl with chocolate and Reese's toppings...yum! Alan concluded his meal with a traditional chocolate milkshake and he was a happy boy!

Definitely a FUN day away from the a good field trip!


  1. Love visiting PTP--they are the best! Looks like you both had a great time. Looking forward to the mystery stitch!

  2. I love PTP! Marilyn and her crew are the BEST! Whenever I come to Manhattan KS to visit my son and DIL we always make time for a quick trip to Abilene to visit PTP. Thank you so much for featuring these terrific fabrics.

  3. What a process! I loved seeing the fabric come together from start to finish! Soooo interesting :)

  4. Marilyn at PTP is ust a color and fabric genius! It's so much to take a pattern into their store, and do a floss toss on different colors!

  5. You had me at "Bookstore"! One day, I would LOVE to get out to PTP - I saw some VooDoo drying on one of those racks :) It MIGHT be in the package coming to me right now!

  6. Thank you for taking us with you on your tour of PTP! I vicariously enjoyed every minute of it! XD And lunch looked absolutely mind blowing!

  7. Loved seeing all of the photos; all that fabric looks so yummy! Just like a kid in a candy shop....LOL.... I would love to visit.

  8. Wonderful! I bet you had a great time with all those fabrics. I'm so pleased I've managed to join in the SAL and can't wait to start!

  9. Oh my God! That's stitchers' heaven. Here in Germany I can only dream of!