| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:34

Quilting shop owner has ties to community; Lasslett family finds crafts are back in fashion, By Laurie Gordon McAfee — Maureen Lasslett grew up in Paterson, which she points out is “known as Silk City” because of the many textile mills there in the 1800s. That legacy lived on. During her own childhood, Lasslett said she had to walk past a fabric stores and a tailor every day to and from school. It’s no surprise that she grew up loving fabric. She received her first sewing machine, a huge Singer Industrial, as a gift from the nuns at the school she attended when she was 9. Lasslett moved to Sussex County in 1993 and met her husband Jon while they were employed together with the Postal Service in Oak Ridge. They married in 2001 and settled in Vernon. The couple now have two children: Jessica, 19, and Justin, 15. When they first moved to the area, Maureen was a self-taught quilter with an interest in learning more. “I was delighted to see that a quilt shop was opening just a mile from my home,” she said. She began taking classes at Highland Country Quilting, but the shop closed and Lasslett was back to learning on her own. “When a change in my work hours forced me to research other options, Jon and I thought that the area really did need a quilt shop, so we began looking for a location. As luck would have it, I walked into the building where the old quilt shop had been and spoke with the owner of the then-gift shop. She was going to close her doors to have a baby.” The Lassletts contacted the landlord, he leased them the space, and two years later they bought the building from him. “My quilting adventure had come full circle and I was now opening my own shop in the very same location that I had come to learn in years before.” Her shop, Pieceful Choices in McAfee is located on Route 94. Diversity in fabrics “In bigger cities, there are several quilt shops within a short distance of each other. In that situation, you really need to set yourself apart from the others by specializing in one type of ‘look‘. Being the only shop in this area, we try to stock a very diverse inventory — country, batiks, flannels, novelties, sports — that appeal to many tastes.” In recent years, as several area fabric and sewing chain stores like Ben Franklin and Rag Shop have closed their doors, home sewers seek out Pieceful Choices. They’ve transitioned from a specialty quilting shop to something more. New focus “In the booming 1990s, quilters bought fabric simply because they liked it. They didn’t buy with a specific project in mind, but bought and added it to their ‘stash.’ Today, with the economic woes and the much-needed focus on recycling, people who actually have a ‘stash’ are digging into it and using it for their projects. We try to help them with patterns and projects designed to do just that — utilize what you already have.” Lasslett says she also tries to show crafters “that you can recycle denim, dad’s old flannel shirts and other clothing items for fabric to use in new projects.” The Lassletts also sell and repair sewing machines, offer classes at the shop and encourage people to take up sewing and creating. “Engaging in crafts and anything involving the hands has been proven to be a wonderful stress reducer, something that we all need.” Busy quilt shop owner’s chicken paprika 2 whole chicken breasts (about 2 pounds), skinned, boned and flattened slightly. Cut into nice size pieces. Salt and black pepper 1 1/2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika (sweet or mild) 3 tablespoons butter 1/4 cup finely chopped onion 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/2 cup chicken stock 3/4 cup sour cream Finely chopped parsley for garnish 1. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and paprika. 2. Melt the butter in a sauté pan or heavy skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Remove chicken to a heated platter and set aside. 3. Add the onion to the pan and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the wine, stirring to dissolve any brown particles remaining on the bottom of the pan. Continue cooking until the liquid is reduced by half. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. 4. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a heated platter. Over a very low heat, stir in the sour cream and heat the sauce through, for about 1 minute or less. Spoon the sauté over the chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Nice served with buttered egg noodles and mixed vegetables or Brussels sprouts. Enjoy!