Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Be My Neighbor: Finishing

Our house blocks are finished and we now get to put them all together. If you did not trim your blocks to size as we went, make sure you do so before sewing them together, I loved using my Creative Grids 18.5" square for this, and there was only two that were larger than the square so it worked perfectly. Click here to see the suggested layout but feel free to move blocks around to suit your preferences. I liked the way my blocks looked so I followed the layout suggested.
SBefore cutting your sashing and border strips to the size listed in the pattern measure your rows and see what length they are, and cut your strips to that size instead. My rows were actually about a half inch linger than what the pattern states, likely because I use a scant quarter inch seam allowance. After cutting my strips to size I like to find the center of the row of the sashing or border strip and use wonder clips to clip out from the center to each end to avoid stretching the fabrics.  (The border and sashing size are located in the link above as well)
I must admit that while I was sewing my Art Gallery Blocks together I was panicking a little, I was really scared that it was going to be way to scrappy and random for my tastes. I went with a "quiet" sashing and border fabric to try tone down the quilt a little, and in the end I love it! I chose a soft grey cuddle to put on the back and have 4 colors picked out for a somewhat scrappy binding. I'm hoping to get it quilted in the next week so that I can get the binding on before I leave on my trip. 
I am absolutely thrilled with how my Sherri and Chelsi neighborhood turned out! I chose a navy from her newest fabric line Clover Hollow for the sashing and will also use it for the binding. I decided to do the border a different fabric and went with a green floral also from Clover Hollow. I have chosen ivory cuddle for the back of this one, and hope to have it finished as well before I leave.
I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of December 11, when we can see all these neighborhood quilts together in the same room. The party will begin at 7pm on Tuesday, December 11, in our classroom downstairs. We will have some snacks to munch on and do a little show and share, and knowing Esther a prize or two. Even if you have not completed your quilt we would love to see your work so far. You have 6 full weeks yet to work on it. 
I had so much fun doing this Quilt Along that I have started planning the next ones. I hope that you had fun too, and will join me on the next one that will start in January.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Christmas Part 3

his evening's post is the final in our 3 part Christmas Series. Today I want to give you some ideas of what to buy for your quilty friends, or give you some ideas of what to put on your own list. Some of these gifts are useful notions and some are just fun.
First up useful notions. I have put these all to the test and I highly recommend them all. The stash and store is a perfect organization tool to hold all those small things that always get lost under our piles, think scissors, marking pencils and the seam ripper, we have two colors in stock right now, but there are a few more colors on order. The ruler pad holds those small trimming rulers and cutting mats, getting them off your table but still easily accessible. We also got a new shipment of the Ruler Roundups today. I have one on my cutting table and it conveniently holds all the rulers I use everyday. These always sell out quick so if you want one come in store soon. The Alphabitties and Wonderclips make a great team, use them to keep your pieces organized and together throughout the cutting and sewing process. 
The Moda Clipboards are great for planning projects and making lists, in addition to the board itself they come with a large pad of grid paper, six pencils and six binder clips. Esther is on her second as my sister-in-law adopted the first one a couple weeks ago, she loves it and she is not even a quilter. 
Esther ordered in these super fun Advent Calendar which contains 24 different notions. I think this is such a fun idea and they are priced at only $36, and I can guarantee that the gifts inside are of a much higher value than that. 
Speaking of Calendars we also got the newest Inspiring Stitches Desk Calendar in today. Not only is a super cute calendar, it is also a block of the month, what a great two for one deal!
So aside from useful gifts that we don't usually buy for ourselves we also have the super fun treat ideas. 
You know we carry socks which are always a big hit, but we also ordered in some more fun things with Christmas in mind. Everyone drinks some kind of beverage whether it be coffee, tea, hot chocolate, wine or water, and the new mugs and glasses that have come in will make those drinks seem a lot better. 
These Riley Blake Bandages are perfect to prevent blood from getting on any of your projects, plus they are super adorable, and I have it on good authority that they stay on really well. 
If you are still stumped we also sell gift cards. 
I must say that December is one of my favorite months to work, and even though it is a full month away I am looking forward to it already. We have so many husbands, and non-quilters come in the store saying they are looking for something for so and so. I love helping them find something to suit you. And I love knowing what you are getting for Christmas. 
If you would love something from this list or anything else specific in our store, but when you start talking quilting and your families eyes glaze over, make a wish list at our store and leave it with us and just tell your family that you are registered at Chicken Feed and we will help with the rest. 
Tomorrow is our Saturday PhD Club session, yesterday we had three ladies pay the $10 fee for not completing their homework (one of them was me, oops), but we also had a couple that finished their goals which is so awesome. During yesterday's session I finished up one of my Be My Neighbor Quilt Tops and I hope to finish the second one tomorrow. The final post for that will be on Tuesday, so it is time to start planning our next Quilt Along. I picked some out today and will do a poll on our Facebook Page sometime in the next week to see where your interest lies. So far I have a quilt pattern, a row quilt that can be done as individual projects or combined into one quilt and a book of minis picked out, so think about what you would like to do and be sure to vote when the poll comes up. 
Next week is Quilt Market, we are missing this year for a couple of reasons. Esther leaves this Monday for her vacation so she can't make it, and my sons 7th birthday is next week, and though I love working at the quilt store and everything that goes along with it, my family still comes first and I cannot skip out on his birthday.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Bag Workshop Highlights

Last weekend was our Bag Workshop. It was a three day event in which we made 3 different projects. 
The first day Esther and I were the teachers and we combined this day with our Bag Of the Month Club for October. Most of the class made the Dainty Day Tripper by Mrs. H, which is a bag that can convert from a small backpack to a cross body bag. Nearly everyone completed their bag and they all turned out beautifully and look so different from each other! Two ladies did the Luxie Lunch Bag which is a pattern by Emmaline Bags. 
SFriday and Saturday we had Tara from UhOh Creations come down from Calgary to do some teaching, Esther and I were even able to spend the two days sewing. We made the Cottowwood Boho Bag and Pouch which are patterns written by GML Designs and Serial Bag Makers. Again nearly everyone finished their projects. All the ladies made their bag and pouch a matching set, and even those that started with the same focus fabric looked very different in the end.
Many of us also added some Bling to fancy up our bags, we added extra rivets, zipper pulls and handmade labels as well as tassels that we made ourselves. It is amazing how a little extra bling can take your bag to a whole new level. 
Esther's daughter-in-law was kind enough to provide us with some baking and lunch each day, which was appreciated by everyone, and very much enjoyed. She made us tacos one day, sandwiches another and soup on the final day. 
Friday night, Tara did a little show and tell for us, sharing her background of sewing, and some of the bags that she has made, as well as telling us about her role as a pattern tester for various Bag Designers.  I believe everyone went home from the show very inspired. I for one got home and purchased one of the patterns, and have already printed it and chose my fabrics and hardware, now to see if I can finish it before my next trip. 
Next week is our November session of the Bag Of The Month Club, in which we will be doing the Evelyn Bag by Swoon, and learning about the various strap anchors from Emmaline. 
For more pictures of our Bags from the Workshop check out our Facebook Page.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Giving Back

Last weekend was our big clearance sale and we would like to thank everyone that came out and did some shopping. We were able to empty many bolts, in the end we had well over 100 empty ones to throw in the recycling bin. However we still have sale fabric left. Some of you may be wondering what we do with this fabric, does it go back upstairs, will it go on sale again? I can tell you with certainty that it will not go on the shelves upstairs, and the vast majority of it will not be at another sale. 
Almost all of the fabric that is left at the end of Sale Weekend Esther donates to charity. In the past we have given to a variety of groups. We have given to group that makes simple drawstring bags for third world countries. We have given to groups to make quilts for the charity of their choice. 
We have also led charity sews ourselves and donated to hospitals and other missions. 
This fall we have decided to a couple things with what the fabric that is left. 
First of all we will be doing Food Hampers for the Coaldale Food Bank again this year in the store. The organizers of this have suggested that a blanket be placed in each hamper, and so the employees of Chicken Feed will each be making at least one quilt from the sale fabric to go in the hampers that we hope you will help us fill. Throughout the month of November we will have a donation basket set up and for every hamper filled we will put in at least one quilt. We will be accepting non-perishable food items as well as monetary donations for the hampers. 
Esther’s second plan is a pillowcase challenge. Jenn and Michelle spent their days at the store this week cutting and folding 300 pillowcase kits. We would like to get these all sewn by Christmas so that we can donate them to the Pediatric Ward of the Lethbridge Regional hospital. We need your help with this too though, we have the fabric but we do not have the time to make them. During the next two months we will have several sew days at our store dedicated to sewing pillowcases. We would very much appreciate it if you could come in and donate a couple hours of time to sew a few pillowcases for us on one of these days. The fabrics are all chose and cut, we just need you to come in and sew. We would be thrilled you can help us complete all 300!
Any fabric that is left after the Hamper Quilts and the Pillowcase Challenge will be stored in a room for the charity sew events that I mentioned earlier, to make simple quilt kits and to use as backings for these quilts.
I will post all the dates for Pillowcase Sew Days on our website sometime next week, and I will also send out an email with the information at the end of the month, so watch for that. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Be My Neighbor: Block 16

SThis is the final block for our Be My Neighbor Quilt! It is a fun block but it has a lot of pieces. I cut mine and laid them out in sections to keep them organized. Even though it has many pieces, it is a very straightforward block. However be sure to look at the assembly instructions, the final block is sewn together in strips and the little apartment above the house is formed when these strips get sewn together. Also be sure to align the chimney section with the strips going horizontal, so that when you flip it up, the chimney points up and not sideways. 
I love how these two blocks turned out, I have grabbed the pink and grey fabric for every single block in my Art Gallery Quilt but haven't found it suitable until this house, so I am glad I was able to finally use it. 
I am anxious to put all my blocks together and see how they look, but I am going to miss making a new house every couple weeks. 
I will post some tips for borders and sashing on October 30 and than we have about 6 weeks until our party on December 11. At the party we will do a show and share, have some snacks and maybe we will do a door prize or have some small gifts. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Sale Fabrics, What To Buy?

As you all know (I hope) this weekend is our big clearance sale, and so this will be a fairly short post as my brain is a little overworked.
Our basement has a very large storage room and it is full of fabric, we usually call it the cage. Someone on Facebook called this storage room the "vault" and we all love it so much that we have renamed the cages to the vault. Well this weekend we have opened the vault and put it on sale for you. However it doesn't all fit on the sale tables, so as bolts empty we have been putting fresh ones out. We added several new collections and some blenders this morning, as well as some beautiful white on whites, a couple of the whites emptied out right away but there are 3 left.
As per special request we also put some Kansas Trouble Fabrics on sale this year, and they have been very popular. Since all of the lines blend together it is a perfect time to collect some background fabrics, borders and backings for your future Kansas Trouble Quilts. 
We have lots of collections on sale this time around. You can buy for an entire quilt, blocks, borders, backing and binding and get it all at a great price. 
On Tuesday I mentioned that pillowcases make great Christmas gifts as do Aprons, and Tote Bags. Pillowcases generally take just under a meter of fabric, a lot of Transformer fabric went out the door for pillowcases today, as did some adorable foxes, and cute florals. An unlined apron unlined you can do with a meter, lined would be two meters of fabric. 
If you have finished tops that are just waiting for the perfect top, dig them out, measure them and see if we have what you are looking for. I was working the sale room today, and I seen so many finished tops, and most of them left with a backing that worked really well, and at 50% off it doesn't get much better. 
Sales are a great time to build your stash, or stock up on background fabric and favorite collections. It is also a great way to buy backings for quilt tops that are finished or for quilt tops that have yet to be made.
The sale is on for one more day (Saturday, October 13) we will be open from 10am-4pm, we will add fresh bolts in the morning, and there are still some precuts and kits available too.
We got a new sign this week, so check that out when you arrive too.    

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Christmas Part 2

Christmas is a time when many give us give gifts to those we interact with on a regular basis, teachers, co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. Handmade gifts are always so appreciated, and its a great way to personalize something to really suit the receiver. 
Aside from quilts which make great gifts, there are many small project ideas that are super quick to sew up. 
Table toppers are a great gift idea. You can make them seasonal or to match the decor of someones kitchen. I made several triangle frenzy runners last week, and they go together so quick and yet look like they were a lot of work. 
Mug rugs are also a great small gift idea. Use up scraps and make one of your favorite blocks, or take an orphan block leftover from a quilt, than quilt and bind and you have a quick gift done. You can always put it together with a coffee mug, or a festive treat for an added special touch. 
This past summer I made a matching apron set for my sister and her little girl as a thank you gift. Aprons are a quick project and always appreciated. Throwing in a cake mix, and some mixing spoons makes for a fun gift.
Simple tote bags make amazing gifts, and they are their own wrapping as well. I have made a few for my sons friends, and together with a new book it made a great gift. This is one I made a year or two ago and he still uses it to tote all his things around the house, and back and forth to the library. I will probably be doing them for my sons teachers this Christmas, and because I don't know their taste in books may throw in a gift card to Chapters. 
Also in the bag category are little zip pouches, I love zipper pouches, and use them all the time, they just keep everything together so nicely. My boys use them to take game boys, small cars, Lego, or a notepad and some pencils when we have to go to appointments or on long car rides, they each have personalized ones out of their favorite fabrics. We have some fun patterns for pouches available in store. 
Pillow cases are a quick sew, this is one of Esther's go to gifts for her nieces and nephews. She will make a big stack of them and let everyone choose one. The kids love it and she will occasionally get a text now and then saying "Auntie Esther can you make me a new pillowcase, I have worn my last one out."
These are my go to gift ideas, there are so many ideas out there, what are your favorite things to sew as gifts?

Friday, October 5, 2018

Aurifil Recap

STuesday we held two Aurifil Information Presentations. These sessions were both well attended and from the feedback we have received so far they were found to be very informative as well. Elena and Bradley from Aurifil came out to our store and gave some background on the company as well as went through the process of how Aurifil Thread is produced. Everyone that attended the presentations left with a swag bag of Aurifil products, which retails at over $50. 
The cotton for Aurifl thread is grown in the Mako region of Egypt on the Nile River. As explained to us the region in which the cotton is grown can have a huge impact on the quality of the final product. After being harvested the cotton goes through a 15 step process in which it becomes the strong, 2 ply, virtually lint free thread that we love. Bradley had a great video tour of the factory in which we got to see all but one of the processes (he had to keep one thing a trade secret after all) of how Aurifl thread is made. 
Because Aurifl is high quality and virtually lint free your machines will love it as well. Low quality thread is one of the main causes of machine break down. 
Aurifil thread comes in 5 different weights, 12, 28, 40, 50 and 80 and 270 different colors. It is available in small and large spools and in cones. There are a wide variety of designer collections available in small and large spools, in which designers have put together their favorite colors, or colors to match a new fabric line.  There is also Aurifil Floss which is a 6 strand floss wound on a spool rather than as a skein, this comes in 80 colors.
The numbers and words on your Aurifil thread spool tell you the weight, color number, dye lot and that is indeed 100% cotton grown in the Mako region. For the large spools you can pop the base off and tucked around the end there is the end of the thread, this is a lot easier than trying to unravel it. For the small spools you can run a needle under the edge and find the end this way.
There is also a free app for apple and android in which you can load your "stash" of thread and always know which colors and weights you have at home, it is simply called "Aurifil". 
Now that this event has passed it is on to planning the next ones. 
Our big clearance sale is next week October 11-13. The sale will be held in our basement during regular store hours. 
Our bag workshop will be held the following weekend. The trunkshow for this is on Friday, October 19 in the evening, and if you would like to attend this we can still fit you in. There will be dessert, and Tara will be showing off some of her creations. 
Esther will be gone during the entire month of November, so we have decided to once again play Bingo on Facebook while she is gone. The format will be a little different this time, so if you played last time you will need to resign up, your old cards will not do you any good.
We will be playing with 2.5" squares this time. When you register you will be given 25 squares. Every business day during November, Esther will post a picture of a couple squares to our Facebook Page until we have a winner. To win you need to have 15 squares that match those that she posted, and post a picture of them to our page with a caption that says "Bingo." 
It is free to play and you can sign up in store, and pick up your squares starting Tuesday, October 9. If you live out of our are you can sign up by email and we will ship your squares. Sign up will end on Saturday, October 26 and we will begin playing on November 1. Esther will be on holidays so the pictures may be posted at different times each day. The pictures will only be posted on Facebook so you need to be on Facebook and like our page to play along.
SIn December we will be hosting a Zen Chic Trunk show. We will have a contest in which you can enter your projects made with Zen Chic fabrics. You can enter as many projects as you like, quilts, bags, table toppers or wall hangings, and they can be made with any of her fabric lines. They need to be brought in store by November 23 for judging so that we can announce the winners during the trunk show. Our judges will be Rob and Marqui from TrendTex Fabrics and Brigitte Heitland herself from Zen Chic. The more entries we get the more fun these are, so get working on those projects. The winner will receive a fantastic gift basket courtesy of TrendTex Fabrics and Chicken Feed Quilts. 
The trunkshow itself will run the first week of December. We will have a game night on December 4, which you need to register for if you would like to attend, some spots have already been spoken for so sign up soon as there is only a limited number of spots available. There will be some trivia, games, snacks and drinks. Throughout the week we will do some fun specials, and mini games in store. 
All of us at Chicken Feed Quilts wish you a happy Thanksgiving. We are very thankful for you, our customers and your support in everything that we do. We will be open Saturday but closed on Monday.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Be My Neighbor: Block 15

We are on the second to last block this week. Which means we are almost finished this quilt along. I am hoping to work ahead and get my top finished this week for a couple reasons. number one my oldest two are home from school this week, and they play really nice downstairs while I am sewing (or they give me a hand sewing, Chandler loves separating my chain stitched pieces), the second reason is that the next few weeks are looking really busy for myself, with a guild presentation, clearance sale, Bag Retreat and a couple classes as well as regular mom duties like dentist appointments, being mother helper in Tucker's Kindergarten Class and vaccinations for my littlest guy. The final reason being that I got a new Sewing Machine and really want to start playing with it, but I don't like sewing a project on different machines, I like to do a complete project on one machine when I can.
SBlock 15 is another pinwheel block and it has a tree with it as well. I love doing these pinwheels, and I love it even more when my points are nice and crisp. Trimming, being careful to not stretch the fabric while pressing and accurate 1/4" seams are all essential to nice points.
The roof part is a little different in this block, with it having two levels, you first make the lower section by doing the stitch and flip, add the larger roof rectangle to the top and than stitch and flip with the large squares, these squares will are supposed to be smaller than the roof section, so don't be too shocked when you lay them on top and they don't cover the whole side, just line them up with the top and side edges. 
When you get to the final trimming step you will notice that the finished block size in the pattern says 15"x18" this however is incorrect and it is actually supposed to be 21"x18" finished.
Friday I will have pictures and a recap of the Aurifil Presentations that are being done in our store this week. 
As Monday is Thanksgiving Day (already!) we will be closed on the 8th to spend time with family.