What better way to fight the quarantine blues than crafting to your little heart’s content? We know just how difficult it can be to stay in your home day after day, avoiding other people and any sort of physical contact. You can start to feel a little stir-crazy, especially after the cabin fever that the winter season just dumped on us. Read on for some great projects to help you fight those quarantine blues and come out of this with some great projects under your belt.


A lot of people are getting started on their Christmas and holiday gifts early. And why not, now that you have the time? This is especially a great time to get started if you hit up those after holiday sales and bought an abundance of discounted materials. Festive quilts, knit scarves and blankets, macramé coasters and wall hangings, and candles—get your craft on and make something beautiful for all your friends and family members!

Diamond Puzzle

These puzzles are all the rage right now. They combine a beautiful mosaic with the fun of paint by numbers and cross-stitch. You place gems on a DMC-coded adhesive canvas to create a beautiful mosaic picture.

Sewing Clothing

What better time than now to fix the clothing you’ve been meaning to sew up for months? Replace buttons, sew on patches, and tailor your clothes to fit perfectly.

Master a New Skill

With all your extra free time, you can master a craft skill you’ve been wanting to try. Learn how to use your old sewing machine once and for all, or try out a new stitch. Start knitting, embroidering, or cross-stitching. Using this tutorial, you can even weave a beautiful wall tapestry. YouTube is your best friend right now; you’ll find an abundance of tutorials to fulfill all your crafting desires.

There’s no better time than now to pick up a new hobby or revisit a favorite! Creating something beautiful is a great way to relieve stress and harmful emotions. It will also take your mind off things—negative news stories included.

Calling all sewists and quilters! There is a call for homemade face masks by many of the hospitals in surrounding areas.

Styles vary from location to location. Below is a list of a few organizations that have requested masks and a link to the style that the organiztion has requested. Please let me know if there is a group you are working with near our retreat that should be added.

Twin Cities area:

Allina https://www.allinahealth.org/about-us/newsroom/2020/allina-health-calls-on-public-for-donations-of-face-masks

M Health Fairview https://www.mhealth.org/blog/2020/march-2020/how-can-you-support-m-health-fairview-patients-and-providers-covid19

North Memorial/Maple Wood Hospital https://northmemorial.com/covid-19-donations/#mask-donations

Eau Claire

HSHS Sacred Heart https://wqow.com/2020/03/25/hshs-sacred-heart-accepting-cloth-face-masks/

There is at least one local hospital that may need to ration one N95 mask per week to critical care workers. This is another style of facemask that will fit over a N95 masks to help extend its usefulness: https://www.mclaren.org/Uploads/Public/Documents/corporate/washable_face_mask_pattern.pdf

Can you feel it? Spring is HERE!

Okay, spring might just be a date on a calendar and snow might still be coming our way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start our spring projects now and hope for the best. Let’s talk about the top spring craft trends happening right now.


Easter is April 12 this year, and there are tons of cute ideas springing up. Paint an upside-down wineglass or a rectangular piece of wood white and add cut-out burlap ears on top. Paint a cute little face and you’ve got little bunnies to decorate the house with. Why not decorate the porch with floral displays and wreaths too, so that when guests come over for Easter dinner or the kids gather for an Easter egg hunt, everyone is greeted with a warm welcome? Use pallets or long boards to shape a bunny, then add egg planters. Enlist the kids to help paint carrot or bunny signs. Even make an Easter tree full of colorful eggs or a wreath that looks like a bird’s nest! Check out some more great ideas here: https://farmfoodfamily.com/best-easter-porch-decor-ideas/


Pastels seem to always be popular during the spring season, and it’s no different this time around. Pastel fabrics make a beautiful edition to all your projects, whether you’re making quilts, pillows, or cute stuffed animal crafts with the kids. Choose shades of periwinkle, mauve, tangerine, and lavender.

Flower Motifs

Flower motifs for your spring quilts are all the rage this year. They’re the perfect representation of hope and rebirth as plants start to come alive again in the spring. The trend goes over well for quilted table runners and bags too. Add some butterflies into the mix for an adorable baby quilt. Get some great ideas here: https://www.favequilts.com/Spring-Quilts/24-Sweet-Spring-Quilt-Patterns-and-Easter-Sewing-Projects

What do you plan on crafting this season?

Spring 2020 is all about upcycling by taking older things and making them new again. There’s no better crafting trend for spring! It’s never too early to start spring cleaning! When you do all that spring cleaning and organizing, you’ll find a bunch of old projects you haven’t thought about in months, or random supplies that you can use for new projects. Why not get started right now? As you prepare to work on your spring projects, you may as well take some time beforehand to clean and then organize all of your supplies.

Key Rack

In your cleaning, you may have found a slew of random keys that you haven’t used in years. Why not turn them into something useful, like an upcycled key rack? Just a piece of wood and some keys will come together to make a great addition to your wall, and the perfect place to hang your keys, jewelry, small bags, or pet leashes.

Image Credit: Lori Eanes https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/green-life/2014/03/hop-spring-these-10-diy-crafts

Paper Towel Roll Flowers

In your mad dash to clean everything in sight, you’ll probably go through a roll or two of paper towels. Don’t throw those leftover tubes out! You can make a variety of different flower shapes that add a nice rustic touch to your décor.

Paper Towel Roll Flowers

Image Credit: kolleenk https://www.instructables.com/id/Paper-Towel-Roll-Flowers/

Chopstick Vase

In your cleaning frenzy, did you stumble upon any random chopsticks leftover from Chinese takeout? Rather than leaving them in the drawer to take up space and jam up the drawer, make use of them by crafting a chopstick vase. Attach the chopsticks to a glass vase or jar for an elegant, sturdy vase.

Image Credit: Lori Eanes https://www.instructables.com/id/Paper-Towel-Roll-Flowers/

As you clean, we also encourage you to finish any quilting projects that you encounter. If you don’t otherwise plan on finishing them, it’s time to donate them.

It’s cold outside, it’s dark way too early at night, there’s too much snow, and your skin hasn’t seen sunlight in months. Are you feeling the cabin fever yet? Thankfully, we have the best way to cure it! Plan the perfect crafting getaway weekend with all your girlfriends! Take a break from your responsibilities for a couple days, indulge in your favorite hobby, and get in some great relaxation time.


Before you set to solidifying your getaway plans, you need to find a location. You want to find the perfect place to create; you can’t just pick some random cabin or Airbnb. You want a place with spacious rooms for sleeping and a large community room that comfortably fits everyone and their supplies. Individual, adjustable workspaces and flat surfaces are a great idea, as well as plenty of power outlets so everyone can plug in their sewing machines. What’s even better? Rooms with a view.

Amazing Food

Many retreat spaces provide meals for a fee, but if you’re heading to a cabin or other space, you’ll want to plan meals ahead of time. You will want to spend most of your time crafting and enjoying great conversation, not stuck in the kitchen cooking for a crowd. Choose items that can either be quickly thrown in the oven and heated up, or dishes that can be made ahead of time, like lasagna and casseroles.


Decide whether you and your friends will go to a specific retreat with instruction, or if you’ll all just take your current works in progress and work on your own projects. Try to make a goal for the retreat. Maybe you want to finish a project, because you’ve been starting project after project but can’t complete any. Or maybe you are looking to boost your creativity. Either way, it can be fun to make individual and group goals for the retreat.


Make a schedule for activities so that the retreat stays organized. You don’t need to plan everything down to the minute, but having some sort of loose plan (times for meals, times for other group activities outside of crafting, etc.) will keep the retreat nice and organized.

The best news? We have the ultimate space for you and all your girlfriends! Learn more about Woodland Ridge Retreat and the current workshops we’re offering: https://woodlandridgeretreat.com/classes/

What’s your resolution for the New Year? How about making a resolution to finish up all of your sewing/quilting works in progress? It’ll set you up for an organized new year and it’ll take away any sort of anxiety you feel about unfinished projects piling up.

To begin tackling your WIPs, you must first gather all of them and get them in the same place. Make a list of what you all have, and try to figure out why you didn’t complete them in the first place. Maybe every time you look at the project, you realize you hate it. Maybe it’s no longer your style. Maybe you have blocks from a block of the month that you just can’t get yourself to finish sewing together. Perhaps you don’t feel like you have the skills to complete the project in the fashion you think it deserves. Or, maybe you just ran out of time and didn’t quite finish it and you also didn’t take the time to go back to it. Categorize the projects into four piles:

  1. Toss it
  2. Finish it
  3. Donate it
  4. Pay someone to finish it

Now that you’ve categorized your projects and gotten rid of the ones that you have no plans of finishing, it’s time to make a plan of attack. Organize the projects you intend to finish. Put each one in its own bag or box with all of the supplies needed to complete it. If it helps motivate you, press all of the fabric to make it look fresh. Decide the order in which you’ll complete the projects and impose deadlines on each of them. Start with the project that excites you most. It’ll help bring back your motivation. Stack your project right next to the sewing machine, ready to go. It’ll constantly be in your face that way, begging you to finish it. Then, all you have to do is sit down and start. Get it done.

If you’re still really struggling to complete a project, consider journaling about it to hopefully get to the heart of the issue and find out what’s holding you back. You might be struggling to gather the mental energy to finish. Free up your artistic energy by finishing up old projects so you can be creative for new projects.

Are you finishing up last-minute holiday gifts? Or trying to finish up your cold weather projects? We’ve got the ideas for quick projects that make great holiday gifts and perfect cozy projects that will keep you warm all winter.  

Wool Felt Ball Coasters

Did anyone on your list just buy a home or move into a new apartment? These cute wool felt ball coasters are easily made with just three supplies. For a more festive gift, choose holiday colors for the felt balls.


Blankets make great gifts, and would you believe that you can make some great knit ones in less than an hour? With the right yarn, you definitely can! The super chunky yarn makes for an extra cozy blanket. When you follow this arm knit blanket tutorial, you’ll have a blanket for yourself or a loved one in no time.



Rugs are great all year round, not just during the colder months. This pom pom rug is perfect if you have a lot of scrap yarn. It’s fairly easy to complete, as well, and you can have fun choosing different colors. It’s sure to feel much cozier on your feet than the cold hardwood floors in the winter.


Slippers are perfect for the frigid temperatures. What’s even better is that you can make them using old sweaters! A few supplies and just a couple steps, and you’ll have cozy slippers for you or a friend.


Coffee Sleeves

You and your loved ones can use these all year round! Choose your favorite furry friend and grab some felt to make this quick project.


Hats make such a great gift for everyone on your list. You can even recycle an old sweater you no longer use and make it into a hat or two!


Choosing a gift for your loved ones—whether it is for a birthday or a holiday—can be a difficult task, especially for the person who owns everything. How do you find the perfect gift that won’t be tossed under the bed or worse, re-gifted next year? That’s where handmade gifts come in; they’re invaluable. There really is nothing like a beautiful handmade gift from a loved one—no matter the season. Sure, the latest technology acts as an exciting gift, but nothing matches the meaning that comes from a handmade gift. You guarantee that your gift is not only unique, but incredibly meaningful.



Each gift you make is one-of-a-kind. There is nothing out there that looks exactly like your gift. That makes your present all the more special.


Personal and Customized

Handmade gifts are perfect for the picky person in your life. If you can’t find the perfect gift for them, you can make it for them, and what could be better? Maybe you’re looking for a certain color or cut of clothing and you can’t find it, or your special someone is particular about the scents and lotions they use. You can take their needs and wants into account and customize a beautiful gift for them. You won’t have to worry about a gift being slightly the wrong color, size, or mix of fragrances, because you will have customized the gift yourself.


Made with Love

Can you say that television you found on Black Friday was made with love? Maybe not, but that quilt your Aunt Helen made you for your birthday last year has love hand-stitched into every inch of fabric. Handmade gifts take so much more time and effort than store-bought gifts. You really show people they mean something to you when you spend hours crafting something specially for them. Plus, you’ll have a great time making the gifts!


Save Money

While it’s true that handmade gifts can be pricey and end up costing more than a store-bought equivalent (we’re talking to you, woolen sweaters!), sometimes you can save money by giving handmade gifts. For instance, consider how much money you spend on store-bought candles of bath products. The handmade equivalent, especially when made in bulk, is much more affordable. Quilters can stock up on materials when they’re on sale. You might be buying fabric in bulk in February for quilts you plan on making for Christmas several months down the road.


Do you need some time away from home and work to get to work on your holiday gifts? Schedule some time to visit Woodland Ridge Retreat!


Now that we’ve covered the basic parts and pieces of sewing machine needles and that the variation in needles is determined by the shape and size of the parts, let’s look at some actual examples of the different types of sewing machine needles:


Universal Needles have a slightly rounded point and come in various sizes. These needles are the safest choice for many general projects and fabrics.

Topstitch Needles have a larger eye which makes them perfect for topstitching with heavier threads. Due to its larger eye, topstitch needles are easier to thread and the thread is less likely to fray.


Embroidery Needles have a special scarf, a slightly rounded point, and a slightly larger eye which makes them ideal for metallic and specialty threads. The thread used for embroidery is thinner and more fragile so the larger eye and special scarf prevent that thread from breaking or fraying.


Denim Needles have an extra sharp point so as to penetrate finely woven fabrics without impacting the needle.


Quilting Needles have tapered point and light ballpoint to glide through layers and batting easily.


Stretch Needles have a unique design to help eliminate skipped stitches due to fabric flex. The eye of the Stretch Needle is shorter and narrower and the scarf is deeper.


Twin Needles, as you can imagine, have two separate needles mounted to one shank. These are used for decorative sewing. The larger the number the wider the space between each needle. There are also Twin Stretch Needles that have two stretch needles mounted to one scarf.


Leather Needles have a wedge-shaped point to penetrate the thicker material of leather and faux leather.


The Microtex (sharp) needle is perfect for working with batiks and hand-dyed fabrics because of its thin accurate point. It’s designed to be used with microfibers, polyester, silk, foils, artificial leather, and coated materials. It’s ideal for piecing and general sewing.


It’s also important to remember that dull needles will negatively impact your project so use new needles every time! Sewing machine needles can bend and become dull quickly so it’s a good idea to switch needles after around 7 hours of continuous sewing.


If you or your sewing machine need a weekend away, contact us for retreat times!


Whether you’re just learning to sew, are a seasoned pro, or find yourself somewhere in between the two, one thing is certain; the wrong needle can quickly derail even the simplest project. While all sewing machine needles have the same basic parts, needle shape and size vary depending on what you need. Sewing machine needles are all made up of these basic parts:

  • Shank
    • This is the part of the needle that fits into the sewing machine. The front side is rounded while the back is flat. The flat side goes toward the back of the machine.
  • Shaft
    • This part tapers down from the shank. The needle size is determined by shaft diameter.
  • Groove
    • This is the indentation that runs in the front of the needle to the eye. The thread is seated securely in this groove when the needle penetrates the fabric. You can feel the groove by passing your fingernail over the front of the needle.
  • Scarf
    • The scarf is the indentation on the back of the needle above the eye. The scarf allows the bobbin thread to pass closely to the needle eye catching the needle thread to create a stitch.
  • Eye
    • The eye of the needle is where the thread passes from front to back. The eyes vary depending on the needle.
  • Point
    • The point is the sharp portion of the needle that penetrates the fabric. The points differ depending the type of fabric.

Selecting the correct sewing machine needle for your project is just as important as selecting the right fabric and thread. A good general rule to keep in mind is that the lighter the fabric, the smaller the needle should be. Needles are sized in metric and imperial. The smaller the numbers the finer the needle. Next month, we’ll continue with this needle guide in more detail!