Monday, August 10, 2020

Fall Classes -- New Format

How is your summer going? Ours has been great, and we are working on some plans for the end of summer and start of fall at our shop. 
Many of you have been asking what our plan is for classes this fall is? If we are going to do them and what that will look like. 
After much thought we are going ahead with classes, but we will be a using a different format than we have in the past. 
Rather than having a set project that the instructor walks everyone through, we are going to treat it more like an open sew day. 
We are calling it Sewcialize, come sit, sew and socialize. 

Each class date will have a theme that the instructor will follow, but you do not have to if you don't want to. Instead just come to our classroom and sew for the day and socialize with old and new friends.

Each session is $10 to attend and the classroom will be open from 10am-3pm. 
You do need to preregister, and spaces are limited. This way we can follow the social distancing protocols that have been set out. 
The Schedule for classes, instructor and the theme are posted below. 

Tuesday September 8: Tammy -- Accuquilt GO
Wednesday September 16: Carrie -- Panels
Thursday September 24: Esther -- Creative Grids Trim Tools

Friday October 9: Kayla -- Collage Quilts
Tuesday October 13: Tammy -- Accuquilt GO
Thursday October 22: Esther Foundation Paper Piecing
Friday October 30: Carrie -- To Be Determined

Saturday November 7: Laura -- English Paper Piecing
Tuesday November 10: Tammy -- Accuquilt GO
Thursday November 19: Carrie -- To Be Determined
Friday November 27: Kayla -- Sew Kind Of Wonderful Quick Curve Ruler

Wednesday December 2: Carrie -- To Be Determined
Tuesday December 8: Tammy -- Accuquilt GO
Wednesday December 16: Esther -- Tote Bag

You can sign up here for any of the Sewcialize Sessions. 
We look forward to sewing with you this fall. 


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Christmas Fabric 2020

I know its only the beginning of August but our newest Moda fabrics are all Christmas themed so I thought I would share them quick tonight. 
We have Holliberry By Corey Yoder. We also have the book a very Coriander Christmas which features a really fun Block Of The Month Pattern, and a bonus pattern. 
Tahoe Ski Week by Mara Penny has such fun prints and the colors are not Christmassy at all, it is actually much more winter themed. Esther is making a quilt called Norway by Thimble Blossoms with it. 
Chill by Zen Chic is also a winter collection.
Christmas Card by Sweetwater has been really popular in the shop!

Naughty or Nice by Basic Grey has also been really popular, we have already sold out of several bolts from this collection. 
Juniper by Kate and Birdie is a brushed cotton so it super soft. If you are curious brushed cotton just means it goes through an extra step in manufacturing called brushing which involves fine metal brushes rubbing the surface of the fabric to produce fine fibers from the woven pieces, which leaves the surface super soft. 

Holiday Lodge by Deb Strain. 

Chill Out is from Cotton and Steel (not Moda, but Trendtex is the distributor for both so I am including it today) I brought home fabrics today for a sample, but I have two other quilts that NEED to be finished before I can cut into it. 

Do you make quilts with Christmas Fabrics?
My boys all have Christmas Quilts that are on their beds from November-most of January. I am planning to make a new one for my bed this year, and I love displaying Christmas and winter themed quilts on the blanket ladder in my living room. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Woodland Wonderland: Month 2

Since August is just a couple days away, I thought I would share the Woodland Wonderland Blocks for August today. 
If you chose to have you blocks picked up at the shop they will be available on Saturday, if you chose shipping, they will ship out on Tuesday, as Monday is a holiday. 
This month we are making the Weathervane block and the Woodland Leaves and the instructions can be found starting on page 13 of your booklet. We have 5 new green prints and a red print to play with for these blocks. 
First up is the Weathervane Block. We just need to make one and it isn't too hard. 
For the Green I used the one with the snowflake print on it, and for the red I used the new one that came in the package this month. 
Rather than cutting a square and than 2 strips from the green fabric, I just cut one strip that was 4.5" wide, cut the 3.5" square off one end and than cut the strips as suggested. 
Also before cutting any of the triangles in half, I stacked a green and a background square right sides together than cut and went straight to my sewing machine to sew them. I find it easier to align a full square than a triangle, so it worked really well for me. I used my 4-in-1 Half Square Triangle Ruler from Creative Grids to trim them to the correct size. 
For Step 2 I laid out the red prints so that I could have the diagonal print all going in the same direction, and then did the stitch and flip accordingly. I used my Folded Corner Clipper from Creative Grids to do the corners, and it worked really well. 
After making these units the block is quick to assemble. 
The Woodland Leaves are not hard but we have to make quite a few. 
I used the four remaining green prints for my leaves. And rather than subcut the strips, I stacked two full length strips right sides together, sewed them together, pressed them and than cut, and I did that for all the strips, making sure I had a couple different combinations. Than I added the corners as shown again using the Folded Corner Clipper. 
Be sure to make half your blocks facing left and half facing right. 
Have fun making your blocks!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Designer Spotlight: Deb Strain

Can you believe we are already in the last week of July? With the announcement of school returning to near normal again in September, all of a sudden it feels like summer is nearly over, thankfully we still have a month left and lots of fun family things planned for the month, before life goes back to some sort of a routine. 
While pondering what to write about for today's blog post I remembered that I had promised to do some more designer spotlights. I don't know about you but I like to learn about the people behind the fabric, what they like to do in their free time, where they get inspiration from and more. 
Over the next little while I am going to run through a few of our favorite Moda Designers. 
First up is Deb Strain. 
Deb grew up in Ohio and currently lives there with her husband. She has 3 children and they are scattered across the country with one living on the East Coast, one on the West Coast, and one close to home. Long distance phone call, travelling and helping with her two grandsons that live next door take up a lot of time. Her family is her true love!
Deb was an art teacher for 9 years. In 1994 she left teaching to spend more time with her family and to develop her own art.
In 1996 Deb joined the Moda Team and has since developed over 100 collections for Moda.
The inspiration for her fabric collections come from her memories growing up in Ohio, nature, times with family and friend or visiting antique shops. Although the colors and prints are different in all her collections, many of her collections seem to focus around the "beauty of simple, everyday life" (Deb Strain) 
We have had many of her collections in our shop, and her last few have flown out the door. 

Explore is a fun outdoors collection and is currently our weekly special. 
Llama love is a fabric line that I am just in love with, the adorable Llamas and the pink and aqua blue colors are just perfect.
Cultivate Kindness was released this past spring and flew out the door! We have some yardage left but the bolts are getting pretty skinny. 

Homegrown Holidays is her latest release, and is on our shelves now. Her Christmas collection from last year, Holiday Lodge, was so popular, and we are thinking this one will be too. 

To shop any of these collections come visit us in store, or click here. 
Esther and I met Deb last spring in Kansas City, and she is so sweet, and down to earth!

Have a great week, 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Panel Patterns

It has been so warm this week. I love the heat and the sun so I am thrilled, we have been spending a lot of time at my parents lake swimming and water skiing. Even though I love the heat I am so thankful for my air conditioning in our house!
This past Tuesday we did a Facebook Live Video on Panels and how to use them in various projects. 
I will share with you tonight some of our favorite quilt patterns for patterns, and what to use panels for besides for in a quilt. 
Panels have come a long way in the past few years. They used to be about 20" wide by the width of fabric, and their wasn't a lot of patterns designed for panels. Now they come in a wide variety of sizes, any where from small individual blocks, to 54"x60" which is large enough to be a lap quilt. And there is so much pattern support, from fun coordinating prints, to a wide variety of patterns written specifically for panels. 

Mountain Peak Creations is one of our favorite designers for panels. There patterns are fun and add some fun elements to dress up a simple pattern. They provide options to make quilts from narrow panels, with out making them look like an odd shape. Some of their patterns are written for a variety of different sized panels which is great because there is not necessarily a standard size anymore. They also have patterns for horizontal panels which are starting to become really popular too! The patterns are well written and easy to follow. 

Castilleja Cotton is another of our favorite pattern designers to use for panels. They are based in Calgary. A good selection of their patterns are written for the Hoffman Call Of The Wild prints, and we have made kits for several of them, and they always sell out so quick. 
One Block Wonder Quilts are fun to make and use 6 or 7 of the same panel. Each and everyone turns out so different. The one pictured below is one Esther did last summer, she has another one in progress, but it is set aside at the moment for other more pressing projects.
For those panels that are printed as blocks, we often put them in our quilts in place of blocks. So if our panel blocks measure 12" we will make a bunch of 12" blocks and mix the panels into the layout. 
Now if you feel you have enough quilts panels can work really great for a few other things. 
They work great as door decor, rather than hanging a wreath, just hang a panel that you have quilted, on the wreath hooks instead. We always add 2 loops onto the back when we sew on our binding to hang them. It is fun to switch them out for each season. I know several people that made them as gifts for relatives or friends that were in senior centers or longer term care facilities, it adds some cheer to the door and doesn't take up any extra space in the room.  
You could also hang them on a wall in your home this way to, or quilt a larger baby panel as is and gift it as a baby play mat. 
Some panels are great to make tote bags from. Esther used a Sweetwater Panel to make this fun tote bag, and just adjusted the measurements in the pattern to fit her panel. Tote bags are generally pretty straight forward to adjust, especially if the lining is cut the exact same as the exterior. 

Do you use panels at all? We have over 200 panels listed on our online shop, which you can view here and more than that in store, so come on in to check them out. We recently hung new rods to display our panels and now have a good selection hanging there for you to see. 
Have a great weekend,

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hand Work

This week is looking like it going to be a warm one here in Southern Alberta. I was just saying to my husband the other day that it hasn't felt like we had any July weather yet, but it looks like it is finally on the way. 
When it is warm like this it can be harder to find time to get behind the sewing machine. It seems like days are spent doing yard work or sitting by the pool or at the beach, and evenings are spent beside the fire or enjoying the warm weather on the patio. That being said the need to sew is still there. 
Hand work is a great alternative. Most projects are small, or if they are larger in size are done in small sections at a time, making it easy to take with you. 
I have not done much hand work but do hope to improve my skills,  Esther does beautiful hand work, and often has multiple projects on the go. I am just going to list a few different ideas tonight, and maybe go into more detail on them over the next few weeks. 
English Paper Piecing is a great hand work project that is easy to take on the go with you. Hexies are probably one of the most popular, and I won't go into much detail on it, however it can feel as if you are making a whole pile of them without a final goal in mind. Some ideas for final projects can include, little pouches, journal covers, pillow covers or if you are ambitious a full quilt. 
If hexies are not your thing there are also some fun patterns to follow as well. We really love the patterns by Violet Craft. I am currently working on the Lion, and when I say currently, I mean I started it on a trip to Mexico a year and a half ago and haven't pulled it out since. Esther has made up a couple of her patterns. 
Something I have never yet delved into is hand applique, but Esther has done a lot of it, so she provided me with some pictures of her projects and favorite tools. 
She is working on the Vintage Housewife Quilt by Lori Holt and her blocks are looking phenomenal. Lori Holt has lots of project ideas for Hand Applique on her blog here, and we sell her shape sets in the shop.
Esther likes to prep all the blocks, and than take the block with her to the beach or on a visit and do all the stitching. It keeps her hands occupied, but she can still focus on what is all happening around her. 
In addition to her Vintage Housewife Quilt, she is working on a house quilt that is also done by hand applique. We will be offering this as a block of the month later on this year.
Another popular project idea in the hand work theme is stitchery, or hand embroidery. Carrie recently made a quilt for our Grandpa that had his farm animals and wedding date hand embroidered on it. She had the blocks all prepped and just worked on them wherever the family was hanging out in the evening, or when she was babysitting. Esther too has made countless quilts and projects that have hand embroidery worked in. 
All of us agree that it is essential to have the proper tools, and to keep them together in a handy little tin or pouch that make it quick and easy to grab when ever we leave the house. 
Aurifil thread or floss, sewline glue pen, little snips, a pack of needles, wonder clips can all be found in our little kits, as well as some project specific items like a pencil for marking off where we are in a pattern, appliquick tool sets for making nicely shaped applique pieces, and a bias tape maker for applique stems.
Do you do any hand work, or have you been planning to start?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Favorite Products: July

Happy Thursday everyone. I have been listening to some quilting podcasts lately while I sew, and one of my favorite things is when the hosts talk about their favorite new and old products or books or fabric collections, so I thought that I would do the same thing here on the blog. Once a month (hopefully) I will share some of our current favorite products. Some of them may be brand new tools that we are loving, some may be older ones that hold a special place in our heart.
So when I asked Carrie she said her favorite product right now is the Diagonal Seam Tape from Cluck Cluck Sew. She loves it because she is currently teaching Shay how to sew, and the lines on the tape are so much easier to follow than any lines on the sewing machine.
I have to agree with that use, I do the same thing for my boys.
If you are not familiar with the Diagonal Seam Tape it is an adhesive tape that you place on your sewing machine, There is one line that lines up with your needle, and one line on each side at 1/4". It's intended use is for those stitch and flip corners, you can avoid drawing the line and instead line up your corner under your needle and than have the corner diagonal to it work up to the needle following the red line. It works especially well for smaller corners. And it is a great time saver.
The adhesive is sticky enough to stick for a long time, but pulls off easily without leaving behind any sticky residue. I have had a strip on my machine for about a month now and it is just starting to lift at one of the corners. And as mentioned above it is great to use as a seam guide when piecing too.
We have this product available in the shop and you can purchase it on our website here.

My current favorite product is the Folded Corner Clipper from Creative Grids. I am working on a project that has close to 50 stitch and flip pieces per block. The Folded Corner Clipper also eliminates the need to draw lines when making these blocks, just line up the ruler on your square and cut, it will leave you with a nice 1/4" seam allowance to stitch, and than you are able to go and press right away without any extra trimming. With 3 different points used for lining up the ruler on your fabric it is very accurate, and I love being able to stack several blocks and cut them all at once, than take them to my machine to sew.
It works for squares from 1" up to 5", though I don't often use for the ones smaller than 2" (I prefer the diagonal seam tape for those little ones).  This ruler is also available to purchase in the shop and on our website by clicking here.

Do you own either of these products, or are they on your wishlist?
Have a great weekend,