If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at creating a quilt or garment but don’t have a sewing machine, Little Split Peas is the new solution in town. Customers can create textile projects from beginning to end with everything they need, including high-quality fabric, notions and tools. Local professionals will teach classes, and top-of the-line machines for sewing, sergering, and covering stitching can be rented out by the hour.
Patrons are invited to use the “textile maker space” during open sew days for a nominal fee, allowing plenty of space for large projects and groups who need a place to spread out. Each table has its own design board in the large room that is attached to retail shop. There’s a large cutting table with a measurement grid and a large felt topped table with irons for preparing fabric to be sewn.
The large-screen television can be used to watch webinars and educational videos. A direct-to garment printer is available to print designs and patterns on yardage and t-shirts. There are more than 1,000 bolts of fabric in the retail section, including many solid colors. They also sell and service Juki machines, one of Japan’s leading manufacturers of industrial sewing machine.
“Our main goal is to build community in this shop. It’s open to anyone and everyone who wants to come explore their creativity,” said Paige Loft, who officially opened the shop at 2128 Sam Houston Ave with her husband Brian last week. The shop was opened as an expansion to a home business that began last year. It sells handmade items. Baby gifts, quilting supplies and more.
The shop carries an exclusive line of products and gifts made by Texas women. This includes custom-scented candles, vegan products, local jewelry made in Sunrose Canyon, and handmade pottery at the Feathered nest Welsh Craft Center. Paige’s been working towards this goal over the past three years. She has sold her work through Etsy while reinvesting the profits in the business. The response to her first open house, held at the family home a few years ago, proved that she was able expand the business in the near term. The only thing left was to find the perfect space. She and Brian signed their lease in March and spent the next two months customizing their space with Andy Slater.
Paige says the launch of the business was a team effort. She credits her parents and friends for helping to assemble the furniture to stock shelves. The ultra modern setting is designed to encourage and attract a younger generation of textile artists and quilters.
Open sew days, starting in June, will be held every Tuesday and Friday for $5. Anne Barker, a local quilter who offers mentorship and advice at some of these sessions, will be present. D-Ann Gilmore is hosting a class in English Paper Piecing for first time quilters on June 10th and July 12th. Participants will learn how to sew using card stock and fabric scraps. On June 17 and 23, there will be a workshop to learn the basics of how to make By Annie bags. Starting June 24, a three-part Learning to Quilt class is offered. Subsequent classes will continue until mid July. Participants will be guided through every step of making a quilt full size by creating A wall hanging. Watch for future additions such as a workshop featuring local designer Barry Doss. Get a head start on holiday projects with a mini-quilt class in early August. And celebrate National Sew a Jelly Roll Day, which takes place in September.
The inspiration for Little Split Peas came from a group of women that Paige encountered when she began to make her first quilt for a friend’s baby. While shopping for materials, Paige met local mentors that guided her through the process. These women became like mother figures that she affectionately refers to as “Momtors” rather than mentors. She wants the people of Huntsville to have that same kind of mentorship.
When she was completing her Bachelor’s degree in Family and Consumer Science at SHSU, she met another “Momtor” named Dr Janis White, who was then the department chair. White encouraged Paige, who completed her Masters in 2008, to continue with her studies. She taught consumer science at high schools, as well as at SHSU. Brian teaches Math and Statistics.
Brian has been an important supporter behind the scenes and played a key role in helping to remodel the space. Together, they want to engage the Huntsville community fully as educators, business owners and creative mentors. The shop will be open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit their website at https://www.littlesplitpeas.com/ to shop products, sign up for classes and view the calendar for upcoming events.