Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Gypsy Wife: Section 4

To close out February we will be working on Section 4. If you have fallen behind this is a great time to catch up, Section 4 is made up of only two blocks, so hopefully by March 5th you can be all caught up and ready to go on Section 5 which is a little larger again.
Section 4 is pictured on page 27 of your booklet, and the two blocks we are making comsist of one main and one filler block, they are the Half Square Triangle Block and a Courthouse Step Block, both rather straightforward.

Half Square Triangle Block pg 16
Courthouse Step Block pg 20

Half Square Triangles Block. I have made several quilt with the fabric collections that I am using and every time I have to do stitch and flip corners, or flying geese, I stitch the scraps into half square triangles(HSTs). I used some of those premade HSTs to make this block and so it went together really quickly. I do suggest cutting the squares at the full inch rather than the 7/8 measurement and that will give you a little extra trimming room for nice finished HSTs. Also if you like you could leave the squares whole rather than cutting them in half and make two at a time by drawing a diagonal line and stitching on each side of it. You could also make 32 HSTs total and use 16 for this block and 16 for the additional block that we need to make in Section 5.

Courthouse Step Block. We are making the block in the first column of page 20 which finishes at 8". Because I have a large majority of the Creative Grids Rulers and really like them, I chose to use my 8" Log Cabin Ruler for this block. It gave me a nice precise block, so if you have it feel free to break it out for this one. Whether you use the ruler or not, be sure to press carefully and not distort those seams.

That is it for this Section. Make sure you take a picture and post it to the group when you have finished. I can't wait to see them.


Friday, February 15, 2019

Machine Maintenance

Regular sewing machine maintenance is so important and yet how many of us remember to do it.
As we sew lint from the fabrics and thread we are using build up in our machines and it needs to be cleaned out on a regular basis. Regular cleaning is very simple and can prevent many problems such as broken threads, thread bunches and more serious mechanical errors.
For my own machine I need to remove the needle plate and the bobbin case as well as the needle and presser foot for a little easier access.  My needle plate comes off with pressure on a small button, but some machines may require a screw driver. Once those pieces are removed I gently brush all the lint out with a soft brush that came with my machine. Avoid blowing the lint as this can cause it to get lodged in and cause more problems. After is cleaned, I give it a couple drops of oil in the places my manual instructs me and put it all back together. Once it is all together again I take a small scrap of fabric and sew with it to ensure that I don't have any excess oil and it is all together properly.
 It takes less than five minutes and makes all the difference in how my workhorse performs.
So now how often do I repeat this little sequence of events? I do it every time I empty my bobbin. At first this may seem excessive to you, but I find it an easy way to remember to do it, and since I need to remove the bobbin anyways it is just a few more simple steps. I also replace my needle at this time, since it too has been removed for the cleaning. The general rule for a replacing a needle is new project new needle. But since I am always working on multiple projects for me it is empty bobbin, cleaning and fresh needle and bobbin. Once you get into the habit, you barely even notice doing it. If you find every bobbin a little crazy, set your own schedule, like the first day of the month.

Your manual will have full instructions on how to clean your machine and where it needs oil (some machines say they no longer need oil, so double check that as well.) If you are still in doubt on how to clean or are a little scared to take pieces off of your machine ask your sewing machine repair person for a demonstration the next time you drop it off for its yearly checkup.
If you don't know where your manual is, just google the make and model of your machine and it is most likely available on the internet.
How often do you clean your machine, are you doing it often or are have you never done it before?

We will be closed on Monday for Family Day, our family is planning to visit the Chrysalis Cafe for their Family Day Special and head to Get Air to burn some energy that is building up in my boys. Hopefully everyone is over this flu bug that has hit our house again by then so we can make it happen.


Pictured is my machine, and I cleaned it only a few days ago, and I am about halfway through my next bobbin, so as you can see the lint and threads can build up quite quickly.
I have seen machines where the lint is literally packed in, those machines were purring after they were emptied out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Sew Hometown: February

This month we are making 4 Birdhouse Blocks for our Sew Hometown Quilt. These blocks are very straight forward to make, and if you have a scrap bin if strips narrower than 2" you will be able to use a good amount of them.
You can go very coordinated with these blocks or super scrappy, whatever suits or fancy, or even a couple each way.
I chose coordinated and made the centers of each one of my birdhouses a solid color and than did a light and dark of two colors for each set of strips, choosing a third color for the roof and base of each birdhouse.
When adding the strips be sure to add to both sides and than top and bottom, in a courthouse steps fashion rather around the block like a typical log cabin.
Also be careful when pressing not to distort those fabrics, but still getting a nice crisp press.
I absolutely love my wool mat for this. The wool mat holds the heat from your iron (without getting too hot, so you can still use it on your table), so it is like pressing your block from both sides at once. I honestly would not press with out my wool mat anymore I love it so much. They come in a variety of sizes from small squares to a large mat that measures 22"x60". I love my monster mat, but aside from that one the Mega Mat which measure 14"x24" would be my preferred size. We do have the Mega Mat in stock and the smaller ones are on order and should be here around the end of the month.

Be sure to tag us, chickenfeedquilts, in your photos so we can see your blocks and tag Inspiring Stitches as well so they can see your progress too.


Friday, February 8, 2019

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is less than a week away and if you have the urge to make a quilt full of hearts this weekend we have plenty of new projects for you.

Love Grows by Deb Strain for Moda is a new collection that arrived in our shop this week. It is red, pink and white and features a lot of hearts. With it came a Moda Box Kit. The kit contains the fabrics to make the tops for a small quilt and a runner. The center of the quilt is a panel, so it will be a quick sew.
We also have a new pattern for this fabric as well. It is called Cross My Heart, and we will get some kits put together of this as well.

Also new is a flannel line by Stacy Iest Hsu for Moda. This one is called Soft and Sweet and I love the Kit that came with it called I Love You. This flannel is soft, think about how warm and cozy your loved one would feel wrapped up in it.

Laura used the same pattern included in the flannel I Love You Kit and made a quilt with fabrics from Romance by Sue Zipkin.

Esther used First Romance for her I Heart You Quilt, which is a super fun little quilt to make, and we have kits available for you to make your own.

Project Red by Sweet Water is great for all year but this Love Quilt is perfectly suited for this time of year. We have a few more Moda Kits of this available as well.

We will be having a Conquer the Cold Sales Event from Saturday, February 9 until Thursday, February 14.
Saturday: Selected Fat Quarter Bundles on sale 30% off
 Monday:  Double Gauze is 20% off
Tuesday: 60" Cuddle will all be 20% off
Wednesday: Selected Kits will be 30% off
Thursday: free gift with $50 or more in our shop while supplies last.

Hope you are keeping warm,

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Gypsy Wife: Section 3

Welcome to Section 3. The last section was quite labor intensive, but I hope it didn't scare you away. The finished blocks that were posted to our Facebook Group look great. I was also encouraged to see that those of you who weren't happy with a block were willing to put in the extra effort to try it again. This quilt is definitely a skill builder, and some blocks may test those seam allowances and pressing. If it makes you feel any better I have had to redo a couple blocks as well. I wasn't happy with my points on one, and I cut the borders the wrong size on another and didn't notice till after it was all pressed and trimmed.
Section 3 has a total of 4 blocks, 1 main and 3 fillers. You can see them all pictured together on page 27.
The main block is the very first one in the book, Color Wheel on page 5.
The 3 filler blocks are a bordered square on square, a square in a square with courthouse steps and a square in a square in a square block.

Color Wheel: If you kept the extra 3" triangles from last week, you could use them in this block, you will just need to cut an additional square from the original fabric to match. I chose to use new colors and added the extra triangles to my bag from last week.  Be sure to  stitch down the short side of the small triangles, I speak from experience here as I had to pick apart all four because I was not paying attention. Also be sure to layout your block before adding your large triangle to the two small ones. This block is very dependent on color layout and you want your fabrics in the correct places. It can help to take a picture once you have it laid out so you remember how the triangles fit on each block.

Bordered Square on Square: As in the last two sections we need to make another one of these blocks. We are going to make the 3" finished block from page 22, and add borders to bring it up to 5", the border measurements are listed at the top of the 2nd column on page 23.

Square in Square With Courthouse Steps: This block had me second guessing myself last night, because it came out about 2 inches to short, I was searching the internet to see if their was a pattern error, and measuring all my pieces to see if I cut something wrong. But nope, it turns out the instructions for this block start on page 23 but continue on to page 24, so now that you know that too it should be no issue for you. Just be sure to add your borders to your first square, than triangles than another border.

Square in a Square in a Square: This is last block in the book and the last one in this section. I chose to use my 8" Square in a Square Creative Grids Ruler for this one. I cut my Center, A1 and A2 squares according to the size listed on the ruler, and didn't worry about the B squares as they were not needed. If not using the ruler make another 3" square in a square block from page 22 and add the second set of triangles as listed on the bottom of the second column on page 24.

Section 4, which will be posted on February 19, is only two blocks, so if you are falling behind, have just joined or are waiting for your pattern yet, you should be able to get caught up again for Section 5.


Friday, February 1, 2019

The Chrysalis Cafe

As many of you know there is a cafe opening in our building. 
Last summer during a family supper Esther mentioned that we needed a good coffee shop in Coaldale. Krystal took the comment to heart and ran with it, she approached Krisna who agreed to join with her on the adventure, and together they have done a renovation and created the Chrysalis Cafe. 

The cafe is located in the same building as our quilt shop and they will share our parking lot, but they will use the entrance located at the back of the building. However you can get to the quilt shop from the cafe without going back outside, we have left that door way open. 

The Chrysalis Cafe will open its doors on Monday, February 4 at 7 am. And they will be open Monday-Saturday 7am-5pm. They will have a variety of hot and cold drinks available including Lattes, Cappuccinos, Americanos, Teas, Drip Coffee, and Frappes. They will also serve sandwiches and baked goods. You can stay and sit at one of the tables and enjoy your treats, or you can get your order to go. They also have Gift Certificates available which make a great gift for friends, teacher and co-workers. 

Next time you come do some shopping at our store, be sure to check out the cafe, and treat yourself, or come with some friends and enjoy a little quilt shopping and coffee date. 


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

New Website

This past weekend if you tried to visit our shop website you would have encountered an error message. This problem has been solved, and our website is back up and running. It is a lot different than before and still has a few bugs and a lot of old pictures that need to be replaced with new ones, but we are doing our best to work out all the kinks and get it updated again as quick as we can. In fact my husband had to tell me to put my computer away last night and get some sleep, that the editing would still be waiting for me when I woke up.

The reason for a new website was that we wanted to add an online shop, and could not efficiently do it through our previous site. We have a growing number of customers from outside our local area, and we wanted to be able to provide a more efficient shopping experience that the current way of messages and photos being sent back and forth.

The shopping section is brand new to us all and although we are hoping it all goes smoothly, most things don't so I'm sure we will have some hiccups there too, but again we will sort everything out as best as we can.

Not everything that we have in our store is available yet on the website, but we had to start somewhere and in time we will get more and more of the shop uploaded with proper pictures.

One thing that is available on the site it this brand new kit that I just finished the sample for, it is a Lonestar Quilt and is strip pieced from 2.5" strips so it goes together relatively quick. It is a fun quilt to make and I love how the colors just pop off the black background. The fabrics are from Alison Glass' SunPrint Collection. You can purchase the kit here, or in store.

By the way our website address has not changed and it is still: https://www.chickenfeedquilts.com/