by: Rita A. Leonard, Staff at the Mill End Store who will teach Craft classes include, from left, Customer Service Representative Pam Llewellyn, and salesladies Kathy, Vanessa, and Sallie.

The Mill End Store, a Sellwood-Moreland institution, now located at the junction of SE McLoughlin Blvd and Milport Road, has begun a new monthly Craft Demonstration Program.

The store, one of the largest of its kind in the United States, is now offering 'Saturday Demo's' to introduce anyone interested in making their own gifts to easy crafts, featuring fabrics and notions. The first session, which was held on July 1st, focused on crazy quilt Christmas stockings with chevron stitching. Subsequent 'Demo's' are scheduled for the first Saturday of every month through December.

Customer Service Manager Jan Hughes explains, 'Each 'Demo' will be presented by trained staff in a central location of the store.' Interested crafters will find related materials and accessories on-site. The free Demo classes will last up to 15 minutes each, and will extend from midday to early afternoon. No registration is necessary; the 'Demo's' are designed to appeal to visitors just walking past. And the offerings are not just for the year-end holidays. Already, staff crafters have demonstrated how to make portable tea totes and 'neck buddy scarves' for keeping cool during hot days. There will even be projects for people who don't sew.

Customer Service Rep. Pam Llewellyn says the 'Demo' projects appeal to people already in the store. 'It's not a big-time commitment,' she says. 'Sometimes we'll have kits available, and other times there will be staff demonstrations. Everyone here is so qualified, and it's fun to make craft items. Recently we demonstrated how to make candy totes, magnet picture frames with fabric, and easy table napkins with special edging.'

There will be a rotating array of one or more crafts on each scheduled 'Demo Saturday'. Projects may feature such items as pillowcases, 'fat quarter' pillows, velvet scrapscarves, and do-it-yourself chair covers. Needle tatting, sewing with sequins and veil-making tips will be demonstrated, as well as many uses of fray check, and how to use a felting tool.

'Basically, there will be three types of projects,' says Llewellyn. 'Quick How-To's, Great Mini-Projects, and Informational Sessions on notions. The Info Sessions may give tips on sewing machine needles, talk about the many uses of threads, and show how to make hand-rolled hems.'

Occasionally, staff will create other projects on the spot, demonstrating techniques and finished products as they go. The 'Demo' crafts will teach useful projects for gifts or personal use. 'In addition, September is National Sewing Month,' notes Llewellyn. 'For that, we'll demonstrate how to make small folding cases for needles and notions.'

The Mill End Store also posts many fliers for quilting enthusiasts. Local quilting classes and quilt shows send their fliers to the store, and customers can pick up copies at the entrance. Mill Ends has a large selection of pre-cut quilting samples called 'fat quarters.' These sets of quilting cloth are also an inexpensive way for kids to try out a variety of fabric designs for making doll clothes.

'Demo Saturdays' will be evaluated for success at the end of the year, when the store will determine the effectiveness of the program. If you have any ideas, questions, or comments, let them know by calling 503/786-1234 and asking for Customer Service.

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