BLUE EARTH - Michele's Sewing Machine & Vacuum Sales & Service is a hub of activity and the base for the Main Street Sewing Society's crafting and community service projects.
After 10 years, Michele's will finally have a ribbon cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Nov. 30. Why now?
"We never did one initially," said owner Michele Hard, "so we thought we'd do it up right."
Eva Adams works on her last placemat at Michele’s Sewing in Blue Earth. A year-long class wraps up at the end of December, and a new project theme will start in January.
The day will include lunch, drawings, special deals in the store, and an opportunity to have knives and scissors sharpened.
"We appreciate all the support from the last 10 years and hope for another 10," Hard said. She welcomes anyone to come check out the store or to get more information on the Main Street Sewing Society's activities.
The group of approximately 20 people stay busy sewing their own creations and plenty to give away, coming in at 5 p.m. the second Thursday or at 10 a.m. the third Saturday of the month.
"We sew and snack," said Julie Willmert, one of the group's organizers, noting there are no dues. "It's more or less for ambiance and social time."
"I like to be with a group of people," said Carrie Meyer. "It's more than sewing, it's the camaraderie, learning from other people. It's fun. Every time we come up here, we smile."
"I like coming; I've always wanted to learn to sew better," said Vicki Taylor, who's son, Kellan Ehrich, 16, participates too. He's one of two young men in the group. "I came in for a vacuum and found out about the class. I brought Kellan; my son is very artistic. Then I thought I should maybe come, too."
"The young fellows are a hoot," Willmert said. "We've got from that age on up to the 70s."
The crafters will gather at 1 p.m. Super Bowl Sunday to make lap quilts for Nicollet Place Assisted Living. The past two years, they have made and donated baby quilts to New Horizons Adoption Agency in Blue Earth and Options Pregnancy Center in Fairmont.
They used the placemats they've been making all year to decorate a table at the recent Tour of Tables, a fundraiser for Blue Earth Area Mentors. The placemat project will wrap up at the end of this year, but Julie Willmert already knows what next year's project will be - sort of.
"Viewers' choice; whatever they come up with," she said. January's project will be an apron, but group members are free to suggest any project that interests them. "We try to learn a new technique on everything we make."
While making a different kind of placemat each month, the members learned thread painting, applique and quilt-as-you-go techniques.
"The girls say 'If I don't schedule time to do this, I don't get it done,'" said Hard.
That's why she started the UFO time on the third Thursdays of the month.
"It's an open sewing night," Hard explained. "Come in with anything you're working on or if you want help. Sometimes you have a question or need time to do it. A lot is learning how to use the features on their machines."
She wants to schedule another UFO night earlier in the month and add beginning sewing and serger classes after the first of the year.
"I don't think my husband understands when I go to my craft room," said Eva Adams, who appreciates getting a female perspective.
Maggie Nagel uses the group as a way to get away from it all.
"I can relax and enjoy life a little bit," she said, adding it gives her a chance to make lots of presents. "It really relaxes me, and the stress from work leaves me."