Celebrate Library Month

February is Library Month. I love my local library, the Palmyra (NY) Community Library. It helps that I also work there a couple times a week. Not a bad job to have if you like to see people and read, among other things. I find the biggest occupational hazard is that I find so many books I want to read and so many movies I want to see that I get a little greedy and fill my bag up with options every time I work.  We are one of about 40 libraries in our system so I can borrow from all those libraries, too. You would not believe the sewing and quilt books that are out there!

In honor of my local library I thought I would share with you a few things going on there.

 Downton Abbey

Last month I attended a Downton Abbey Tea to kick off the season premier of the show. It was fun and the response of those attending is that they want to have a tea every year for the season premier. I didn’t have time to really dress the part this year, but perhaps next year I could, making an outfit out of Andover’s Downton Abbey fabric collection. What do you think? Have you made up any of the patterns?

T-Shirt Scarves

T-Shirt Scarf Class at the Palmyra Community Library

T-shirt scarf class, first night, at the library. The girls brought in t-shirts, made templates and cut out portions of the t-shirts to sew together into a scarf.

Last week, I and the Children & Teen Program Coordinator met with six teenage girls who wanted to make t-shirt scarves. The girls brought in old t-shirts, we made a template (about 6” x 9”) and the girls cut out rectangles from their t-shirts, specifically cutting out artwork to use. The music was cranked and I must admit, a little dancing took place, snacks were consumed and the fun continued. That all sounds fun, right? Well let me tell you something else.

While the girls didn’t completely finish cutting out their rectangles, they did learn a couple things. I was a little shocked that these girls did not know how to use a straight pin. So that’s where one of the first lessons started. I thought – wow – doesn’t the school teach any sewing anymore? (I checked with my friend who works at the school and she said they only teach a little bit of hand sewing now.)

A couple of the girls were able to start sewing. So that’s where the second lesson came in. I taught them some very basic information about the sewing machine – the feed dogs, the foot, the needle position, pin removal, etc. For two girls who started out very, very timid, they ended up being quite excited at what they accomplished and were very proud of themselves. Numerous books were also on hand showing the girls what possibilities awaited them with their knowledge of sewing and repurposing.

The second, and last, meeting of the scarf class was last night and we made tons of progress.  Here are a few pictures. The girls weren’t able to finish so we’ll be meeting again next week but at least all the girls had a chance at the sewing machine.

Sewing T-Shirt Scarves at the Library

A couple of the girls who attended the t-shirt scarf class at the library use sewing machines for the first time.

Modeling Her T-Shirt Scarf

Modeling the front of her t-shirt scarf. The front has all been sewn together. Not just the back needs to be completed…

Another Successful T-Shirt Scarf Front

Another successful t-shirt scarf front complete and modeled with a confident pose. She was especially pleased that a shirt pocket ended up on the front where she can put her hand or phone or whatever else.

Flower Power

This past Saturday, my husband and I attended “Drawing Flowers” during a Saturday Art Studio program at the library. These studio art programs are offered once a month at the library and last for a couple of hours. We have taken acrylic painting, watercolor painting, oil painting, figure drawing and other classes, as well. This class was especially challenging as we drew a rose. I had no idea how hard that would be but I wanted to take it because I thought it could help me in planning fabric flowers as part of a quilt design. I have included a picture of the rose we drew. Notice I am showing a picture of the actual rose, not my drawing.

A Rose is a Rose is a Rose

Here is the rose we attempted to draw during our drawing class.

If you haven’t been to your library lately, check it out. You might be surprised at what they have to offer. Oh, and another thing –


Based on the t-shirt scarf class, I have spoken to the library director and we are discussing options to have a group of sewing machines available to the community to use. We are in the planning stages right now but it works with the library’s 5-year plan and also the way libraries are headed as “maker-spaces” (according to the director). She is quite excited. I’ll keep you posted on our progress in this endeavor.  – Betsy



4 thoughts on “Celebrate Library Month

  1. Karen – our community is very fortunate. Our library moved from an old house a couple years ago to a 3 story historic brick building that also has a full basement, which is where these programs were held. The first 2 floors hold the library (books, etc.) and the 3rd floor is just beginning to be renovated and it will have additional space, especially for the public to use. It’s really a gem, if I do say so myself.


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