Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Staff Profile: Laura

SSSSSSHello! I’m Laura and I work the occasional Saturday at Chicken Feed Quilts. I live in Lethbridge with my two cats, Serenity and Badger. They are big fans of my quilting hobby . . . binding to attack, fabric to lay on, notions to knock off the table and play with. And then of course the final product is great for sleeping on.
Esther introduced me to quilting 5ish years ago. She wanted to share her joy of quilting and invited a few people over on Thursday nights for sewing. One of my first projects was a lap quilt out of Kansas Troubles fabric. The pattern might have been a little challenging for a beginner (so many small squares! applique!) but Esther was great at encouraging me and I was hooked. It’s such a great feeling to create something that can be used and enjoyed.
5 quick things:
1. Current favourite block – Square on Square.
2. Trim rulers are amazing.
3. Notions – I want them all.
4. Fussy cutting makes my heart happy.
5. Fluffy cuddly backings are the best.
I love finding new projects, and my list keeps growing and growing . . . especially with quilt-a-longs. They seem so innocent at first because it’s just a block at a time. And then before you know it . . . so many blocks to do! Although I’m loving how they are teaching me new skills and forcing me to go outside of my comfort zone.
In between quilts I enjoy doing small projects. Pinterest has led me down some interesting paths. I’ve made a notion box from a quilting tutorial, a table topper off of a Russian blog (google translate led to a few laughs along the way), and pincushions. It’s also a great way for me to play with my new favourite fabric without committing to a quilt. There’s always so many great new lines coming into the store! I can’t pick a favourite, I want them all.
I’m starting to get into English Paper Piecing, hand sewing is incredibly relaxing. It’s a great way to keep my hands busy and still watch/listen to a show . . . and the hexie flowers are super cute! Plus it’s going to be a great way to used up some scraps.
SWorking at the store is such a pleasure. Seeing all the different ideas and plans is inspiring, and everyone is willing to show off their projects . . . show and tell is fun! Every project is so unique. Even if the pattern and fabric are the same, the final products are different. It’s a wonderful thing.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Row By Row 2018

Yesterday was the kick off for another season of Row by Row. This event runs until September 4, visit participating stores to collect patterns and kits to make your quilt. The first person to bring their finished quilt to our store will receive 25 fat quarters and if you include our Row you will receive a bonus gift. A finished quilt must include at least 8 different rows, be quilted, bound and labeled. September 5-October 31 is a special time set aside for stitching and stores are unable to sell kits or give out patterns for their Row. We can resume this on November 1. 
The theme this year is Sew Musical. Every participating shop has designed a row to go with this theme. The organizers of Row by Row have allowed for 4 different sizes of rows, Long Tall Sally, Foxy Boxy, RxR Classic, and Short and Sassy. These differing sizes allow for you to be more creative in the layout and size of your quilt. We decided to stick with the classic size this year and Esther designed our fun Row that features chicks, notes and the saying Chick-a -doodle-doo. You can come in store to receive 1 free pattern or grab a kit for $12.50. 
To see the other Rows from Alberta check out the Alberta Row By Row page on Facebook, they have published a bio on each Shop that is joining in on the fun and a picture of their Row. S
In addition to the classic Row by Row We are again participating in Row By Row Junior, this is for kids aged 6-14. Each child can come in store to receive a free pattern that was designed specifically for this age group. They can than return with a project they made and get a ribbon. On the Row by Row website there is several ideas for projects including bags, pillows, and banners. We have made kits up for several of the projects so come in store with your children or grandkids to get a fun summer project.
  Are you planning on collecting any Rows this year while you travel? 


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Be My Neighbor: Block 8

This block is the last one in the second row which also means that after this one we will be halfway through the blocks! 
I absolutely love this block, I think it is one of my favorites so far. There are lots of ways to play with color here. You can do the whole house one fabric, highlight the smaller front section, make the two roofs the same or different, change up all the leaves or do them all the same. 
Esther and I both chose to fussy cut a flower motif rather than cut the circles for our Art Gallery Blocks. This will fit in with the birds I have been fussy cutting for the other blocks. The amazing thing about quilting is you are able to make each project your own and to use your imagination and creativity, you can change up patterns or use a different technique and no one can tell you otherwise.  
As you know I have been making Half Square Triangles with the trimmings, with this one I decided to make Quarter Square Triangles with the cut offs as they were rather small and I had one extra QST from a previous block that I didn’t want to be lonely later on. I am still trying to decide what I will do with them, but I am sure I will be happy I took a little extra time to sew them up.
Have you laid out your blocks all together to see what the quilt looks like so far or are you going to wait until the end. I think I will lay mine out before I continue just to be sure I don’t have to much of one color going on and not enough of another. Because I am just a little OCD like that. 
Make sure you catch up and post your blocks to our Facebook Group before I post Block 9 on July 3. This will keep you on track to finish this quilt and get you a free meter of fabric of your choice as well. Someone has already shown me all 8 of hers and picked out her prize and I can't wait to see what you do with the fabric selections on this block.

Friday, June 15, 2018


A question that we get asked frequently at Chicken Feed is “How do I choose how I want my project quilted?” 
There is no right or wrong answer here, just a few things to consider before you decide. 
You need to think about what you are planning on using the quilt for. If it is meant to be a quilt to cuddle with you will want a looser design that allows your quilt to poof up after washing. If you want more of a show piece or if it is a wall hanging you will want a tighter design  which will help the project stay flatter and be a little stiffer. 
SYou also need to consider if you want a simple meander all over, an edge to edge design that repeats, or something completely custom. if you are sending your quilt out to be quilted each of these options would come with different price points due to the work involved; so consider this when making your choice. 
I almost always do a simple meander or straight lines that vary in width over the whole quilt. The reason behind this is that I want  the fabric and the pattern I chose to be what people focus on and not the stitching. 
An edge to edge design can add an element of interest to the quilt by bringing something from the fabric into the stitching design, like stars, flowers, geometrics or other shapes. Esther has done edge to edge on many of her quilts in the past year. 
Custom quilting I think is an art in itself. It can really enhance a quilt by using the stitching designs to draw your eyes to specific parts of the quilt and away from others.  In the past few months a lot of people have been doing fun, custom quilting on the Dream Big Digital Panel by Hoffman, I highly suggest you check them out on social media. In these cases the stitching took what was a beautiful panel and brought it to the next level. 
Quilts with a lot of different components and blocks can also benefit from custom quilting in each space. Patterns with a lot of negative space are also a great place to let the creative juices flow and add an extra bit of interest to the project. 
When you have an already busy quilt because of either the fabrics or pattern a simple design is usually best, adding more intricate stitching may have a negative effect. Esther did a fun Christmas themed stitching design on her Gingiber quilt this past winter, and while it looks great on the back of the quilt it does not show well on the front doesn't add anything to the quilt either. On the baby tumble pictured, the small floral design looks really fun on the cuddle but the fabric prints used on the front were already busy and the eye doesn’t know where to focus. 
What kind of designs to you choose? Do you go with the meander, a fun edge to edge or do you like the custom quilting? 
Today at Chicken Feed we got another slat board hung. This one will be used to better display the bag hardware that we have. I will be spending the next few days that I work getting it all hung up and organized.
Having the hardware displayed on a wall will make it easier to find what you need quickly, as well as help us make sure we keep everything stocked well. Follow us on Instagram to see my progress. 
I am hoping for good weather this weekend as my two oldest boys have a soccer tournament tomorrow and I for one am not keen on sitting in the rain while they play. I also have to make my Block 8 for the Be My Neighbor Quilt so I can post some pictures and tips on Tuesday evening. If you are quilting along on this one, you need to finish and share blocks 1-8 with me by July 3 to earn your free meter of fabric 
Have a great weekend, hopefully you can carve out some quilting time, 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Staff Profile: Tammy

Hello! My name is Tammy, I live in Taber with my husband and three children. We have twin sons in grade 6 and a daughter in grade 5. As a child, I always admired my grandmother’s skills as a quilter and I was determined to be a quilter someday.S
I took my first class when I was 17 and have been quilting and building my stash ever since. My first project was a wall hanging with hearts appliqu├ęd on it. From there I made many puff quilts and then I took classes on samplers that helped me understand how blocks went together. Since then I’ve taken colour classes, art quilting classes and many different techniques because as I said before...I love everything about quilting. Last year I had the pleasure of making the cow collage by Laura Heine with Esther and Kayla. I must say that technique was a long way out of the box for me when we started but by the time we finished I was hooked. I am currently working on Seawell the Turtle  and have plans to make more of her patterns.

SWhen we moved to Taber 14 years ago I got a job at Cuddles Quilt Shop and I learned a great deal from Kathy there. From there I worked at Hopscotch Quilt Shop. I taught some classes at Chicken Feed Quilts when Deane owned the store but wasn’t really in the store a lot as I had 3 very young children at home so that took up my days. Now I work at Chicken Feed for Esther and it’s so fun to be there. As I keep saying...I’m learning all the time.

I love to take classes and try new things.
Quilting is my lifeline! It is a creative outlet for me that brings me great joy! If you ask my family they would say I’m a very happy person when I’m sewing. My daughter is now getting into it. She was thrilled when Esther approached her last year to make a sample for junior row by row and will make a couple more for this year.S

I wish I could tell you my favourite lines and techniques but the truth is that I love it all!! If I was forced to choose a favourite type of fabric it would probably be batiks. I love to work with them because of the movement in the fabric and the rich beautiful colours. You can sew a simple pattern, make a landscape scene or an art quilt with it and it all looks beautiful!

IS love to appreciate all the different things people do with fabric. Meeting people in the store and being able to talk about projects and ideas and be part of planning with them is so fun for me. Many of you have heard me say I love show and tell so feel free to bring your work in and show me anytime!
I have taught many classes over the years and have had the pleasure of meeting so many fun creative people. It’s funny to think that I’m the one teaching people things when the truth is that I have learned something new in every class I’ve taught and with every retreat I’ve attended. My favourite thing about teaching a class is that all of us set out to make the same project but they all turn out so differently. Everyone’s personality comes out in their fabric choices and it’s really fun to accomplish something together.

I’m grateful to work at Chicken Feed Quilts! We have great staff and great fun and I’m still learning things everyday!

Friday, June 8, 2018

New Samples

SThese last few weeks everyone has been hard at work sewing up some fresh samples to hang in the shop. It’s time to get some different quilts up on the walls that feature the latest fabrics that have come into the store. STo go along with these new projects we have been cutting kits to go with them. 
We have done two different quilts using the Fourteen Squared Pattern by Hunters Design Studio. One is using the Blue Brilliance line and the other using Old Guys Rule. This pattern sews up quickly and makes a great lap sized quilt. 
Another pattern by Hunters Design Studio is the Faster Fourteen. It uses fourteen fat quarters to make this cool quilt that is easier to make than it looks. Indie Boheme is the line featured in this quilt. 
Although not one of our newest lines, this line is still great. Fragile by Zen Chic is sophisticated and modern. I love the simple look of this quilt and that pop of blue is amazing. 
SKansas Troubles latest fabric line, Fresh Cut Flowers, is as beautiful as ever, and this quilt done out of is stunning! We used the cutouts for this which are precut and prefused for you, saving a lot of finnicky work for those of you that do not like to cut out all those little shapes. 
We have put together some more tumbler kits again as well which are always popular, they are all cut for you, and are super easy to put together. 
Come in store to see these quilts and fabrics in person. There is also more new fabric coming in all the time to check out. 
Our third shipment of Art Gallery Basics arrived this week, we have two shipments left and than we will have all of them.
With this weekends forecast I hope to finish off one of my projects and start working on a new wallet for me or a bag for the store, I will have to see which one is calling to me after soccer practice and groceries tomorrow.
Tomorrow is the last day to use the coupon that you were emailed earlier this week, so make sure you head out to the Quilt Show in Medicine Hat or visit us at our store.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Be My Neighbor: Block 7

We are doing Block 7 this week. By the end of this month we will be halfway through our blocks. Esther and I thought we should give a little prize to everyone who has finished Blocks 1-8 before I post the information on Block 9 on July 3. Maybe this will give everyone that has fallen behind some incentive to catchup. We don't want this to end up as another unfinished project, this quilt is going to be one that gets finished by the end of this year! The prize will be one meter of cotton fabric of your choice from our store, but you have to post a picture of each block to our Facebook Group, or have evidence (a picture or the blocks themselves) at the till to qualify.
Now back to Block 7 before we get to far ahead of ourselves.
 Block 7 has a neat pinwheel center in the house, and a another tree like the one in the first block. On my Art Gallery Block I left the tree all one color, on My Sherri and Chelsi Block I used three fabrics. 
For the flying geese pinwheels I used the 4 at once no waste method. I didn't get any extra half square triangles to use later on, but it also means I had no extra pieces which if you are using up scraps this is a good way to go.
For this method follow these steps :
1. Cut 1- 5 3/4" square of the peak fabric, and 4- 3 1/8" squares of the house fabric to make one set of 4 Flying Geese. 
2. Mark the four smaller squares diagonally on the wrong side. 
3. Place the larger square rigth side up, and layer two smaller squares on top on opposite corners, right sides together. The two smaller squares will overlap some, and the lines should connect to give you one line to follow with your stitching.
4. Stitch a 1/4" on either side of the marked lines, than cut on the line and press open. 
5. Place the resulting heart right side up, and layer a small square on top right sides together. Again sew a 1/4" on each side, cut on the marked line and press open.
6. Trim to 5" x 2 3/4", ensuring you leave a 1/4" seam allowance at your top point.
7. Repeat for the second heart.
This will give you 4 Flying Geese, so you will need to do steps 1-7 again with a second set of squares to get the 8 Geese you need for your Pinwheel Center. Scroll to the bottom of the post for pictures of each step. 
A June Newsletter and a coupon were sent out today by Email, if you did not receive it check your junk folder. 
In store we have lots of new samples hanging and new fabric as well so come for a visit to see it all.