My life revolves around my store and my four pets, not necessarily in that order.
I have two dogs, Sally-Forth and Tally-Ho, a brother and sister pair who are part Border Collie. Their Border Collie heritage means that if I don’t give them jobs, they make up their own. Because of other breeds in their ancestry, though, they are mellower than purebred Border Collies. Still, they are attentive and eager to please. Their bond with each other is heartwarmingly strong.
Mustache and Bow-Tie, the two cats, are younger, and I’m guessing that they are brothers. Sally-Forth, carrying out one of her self-assigned and sometimes rather surprising jobs, brought them into our little family when they were tiny kittens. She and the cats seem to believe that she is the cats’ mother. Tally-Forth is skeptical about it, but his sister never allows him to question her. She is the reigning queen of the pets.
As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time looking after the four darlings. We live in Threadville, Pennsylvania, which has hiking trails, a river, and beautiful beaches on Lake Erie. Walking the dogs is always fun and interesting. Strangely, snooping around the village has actually led us to clues that have helped solve a few murders…
Owning my machine embroidery boutique, In Stitches, is my dream career. I sell amazing sewing machines that also embroider. My customers and I can buy ready-made designs and embroider them on fabrics, but most of us prefer to create our own designs, and I sell sophisticated software that makes it easy—well, almost. I offer workshops in my store most days. In the beginning, I was the teacher, and I still play that role, but I also learn from my students and customers.
Meanwhile, something new and exciting has arrived in Threadville—the Threadville Academy of Design and Modeling, TADAM for short. TADAM students will undoubtedly become our customers, and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot from them about design.
Even more exciting, the school’s director has asked seven of us from Threadville to make outfits for a fundraiser fashion show for TADAM. He’s going to give us sketches for the outfits he wants us to create. Most of us design and make our own clothes already, but imagine the thrill of working with a real fashion designer!
He said he’d drop by with the sketches for me soon. And then, I’ll spend my spare time planning, shopping for, and making the outfits in the sketches. I sell some fabrics at In Stitches, and I also carry a huge range of embroidery thread, but I’m sure to find whatever else I need at the other Threadville shops—The Stash, Tell a Yarn, Buttons and Bows, Batty About Quilts, and maybe even at Country Chic. I can hardly wait to get started.
I am a little concerned, though, about actually being in the fashion show. Me, a model? I may be tall and thin, but models are usually a little more coordinated and graceful than I am. I hope I won’t trip over my feet and fall flat on my face. I’ll try my best not to make a fool of myself.
And amid all the festivities, I won’t forget to look after my pets. Maybe the dogs and I can go for walks without snooping for clues in murder cases . . .
You can read about how Willow commits a sin of fashion and, with the help of her friends and those two snoopy dogs, solves yet another murder in the fifth Threadville Mystery, Seven Threadly Sins, published by Berkley Prime Crime.
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About the author
Janet Bolin learned to sew before she could thread a needle. In addition to sewing, Janet’s hobbies include reading, writing, knitting, and using software and sewing machines to create original embroidery designs. Discouraged by the lack of sewing and yarn shops near her home, Janet invented Threadville, Pennsylvania, a village of textile arts shops.
In breaks between her more sedentary hobbies, Janet walks her dogs, who are strangely similar to the dogs in the Threadville Mystery series. For more information, check out her website.