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/


Friday, January 25, 2019

Moda Love Sew Along

Moda is running a fun sew along starting

today. It is called the Moda Love Quilt Sew Along, and uses the Moda Love Pattern.

This is a free pattern that can be downloaded by clicking the link below.

Moda Love Pattern

What is even better is this pattern is suited for Mini Charm Packs, Charm Packs and Layer Cakes and has instructions included for each.

This is a relaxed sew along taking place on Social Media, with just a few check ins. It finishes up on February 14. For inspiration follow Moda Fabrics and use the hashtag #modalovequilt to share your projects. We would also love to see your projects so tag us or use #chickenfeedquilts so they pop in our feed.

Esther has chosen a Project Red Layer Cake by Sweetwater Fabrics for her quilt. This going to look amazing and she should have it finished just in time for Valentines Day.

Carrie has decided to use Spotted by Zen Chic for her Layer Cake sized project. Those bright colors are going to pop off the solid background she chose to use.

I am going to use Machi by Debbie Maddy. This collection is full of rich blues and I am excited to get to work on it tomorrow. I am also doing the Layer Cake size.

Are you joining in on this fun Sew Along?

If you purchased  a Moda Layer Cake, Charm Pack or Mini Charm from our store this week you have been entered in a draw to win a $75 Gift Card, tomorrow is the last day to get your name in for it.

Tomorrow is also Support Your Local Quilt Shop Day, and our store will be 20% off from 10am-4pm.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Gypsy Wife: Section 2

I loved seeing everyone"s first set of blocks. They are all so different but each set looks amazing.
This week we are moving onto to section 2.

The section is listed as a whole on page 26 of your books. It contains 6 blocks, 2 of them being focal ones and the remaining 4 are fillers.
We are going to make:
1 -- Pershing Block on page 6
1 -- Old Maid Puzzle on page 17
1 -- Courthouse Steps on page 20
2 -- Square on Square on page 22
1 -- Bordered Square on Square on page 23

Pershing Block, from all the research I've done for this quilt along, this is said to be the "hardest" block in the quilt, so it is nice to get id done an set aside. It has a lot of bias edges which can make keeping it square a little tricky. I actually ended up using my 6" Square on Square ruler from Creative Grids for the first section of this block. It is a trim tool, and each section of the block is made oversized, than trimmed to the correct size, the result is very nice points in each square.
If you would like to use the ruler cut the following
Fabric A: 1 square 2.5"
Fabric E: 2 squares 3" cut once on the diagonal
Fabric B: 2 squares 3.5" cut once on the diagonal
Fabric C: 2 Squares 4.5" cut once on the diagonal.
Cut the Fabric, D, F and the small E squares as listed in your pattern.
Follow the instructions on the ruler to add each section of triangles, starting with A2 as the center block, in the order listed in the book.
After adding the C triangles follow the pattern to finish the block.
Whether you follow the book or use the ruler be sure to set some time aside to focus just on this block and take your time to. I strongly suggest starching your fabrics before sewing, and be careful when pressing to not stretch and distort your blocks.
If it comes out smaller than it should you can always add a small border to make it the correct size.

Old Maid Puzzle, a little less intense than Pershing and fabric choice is a lot of fun for this one. You can go as scrappy as you like or plan it a little if you like. I rounded the 7/8" measurements up to the next full inch for a little trimming room.
The 6 darkest triangles are the ones that are the 3 squares cut on the diagonal of 1 fabric. The other 6 are the white triangles and small medium grey.

I put my 6 leftover triangles in a bag marked with the size, as this happens to be a popular size throughout the pattern.

Courthouse Steps, we need to make just 1 block, and it will be 7" finished (7.5" now before we get it into the quilt), all the cutting sizes are listed at the top of the second column on page 20. If you like fussy cutting, the center of this block is perfect for it.

Square on Square, we need to make two that both finish at 3", this is the same size as last weeks, so nothing new here.

Bordered Square on Square, we need to make 1 of these. It too goes together the same as last weeks, however we need to make it a little larger. We are going to make a 4" square on square following the directions on page 22, and than add borders to it following the instructions on page 23 to make a 6" finished block, which will measure 6.5" until it goes into the quilt.

That's it, after you have made these 6 blocks you can snap a quick photo, upload it to are Facebook Group and than you are ready to bag them and set aside until we assemble the quilt top. Onto section 3 in two weeks.


Friday, January 18, 2019

Local Quilt Shop Day

Shopping local is more important now than ever before. With online shopping getting easier all the time, it is harder for small independent businesses to stay alive.
So with the ease of being able to shop online from the comfort of your couch and get it delivered to you, why would you want to do anything else.
Here are some of the reasons why I shop local and encourage others to do the same.
1) Money spent local stays local. The owners of small businesses are local, and its nice to know the face behind the business, who is another member of the same town I am living in. I know that my dollars are going towards groceries for their family or a soccer program for their kids, not padding the pockets of some big CEO in some other city or country.
2)Advice. Honestly I would not get the same advice from an online shops pop up chat that I would by personally going into the store and asking the same questions. Those that work in a small business, even compared to a big box store generally know their stuff a lot better or can put you into contact with someone who knows better quite quickly, their business is their passion and they are always trying to learn more about it.
3) Personalized Customer Service. This one ties a little into number 2 but is different enough that it gets to be its own reason. I feel more welcome, and get better service at a small town shop than I do anywhere else. If something goes wrong with a product, or I need support, I know that I will get it at my local stores. I am treated like family at these small stores.
4)  Local businesses donate back to their communities. Sure big companies give back to communities too, but local businesses are generally more involved in community programs to make our towns a better place to live and they are working with local charities to truly make a difference.
5) Prices. It may seem like the best deal is always online or at a big chain store, but often small shops are very competitive with their pricing. Also at a local shop you may be able to get whatever it is you are looking for a great price and get some customization done as well. When shopping online their is always shipping to consider, as well as the dollar exchange, as it seems most things come for the States, and now there are more and more items that are getting duty charges placed on them, all these have to be tacked on to what may have seemed like a good price.
6) Local Economy. Small business owners shop from other small businesses creating a ripple effect of support.

With all that being said, next week Saturday, January 26, is Local Quilt Shop Day! As a quilt shop we love that there is a day dedicated to this. We want to celebrate this day with you and thank you for your continued support of our Shop, so next week Saturday our store will be 20% off, it will be in store only, so you will need to come out and visit us sometime from 10am-4pm. We will also have some treats available to make the day even sweeter.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

How to finish those Works In Progress

It seems that at the beginning of a new year we all tell ourselves that this is the year we are going to finish all our old projects before starting anything new. Now this sounds good but it can also be intimidating. Where to start, which project to work on  than it can be almost depressing as you start going through and seeing what is all left to finish.
There a few different ways to get some projects finished, and still enjoy the process.
I like to focus on a few select projects rather than all of them. It is a little less daunting, and feels doable. Than I write down what each project is as well as how far I currently am on the project. I must at this time admit that I have an addiction to fun and pretty notebooks, and so I will set a new one aside for this.
I will also shop for a new project that I can look forward to and use as motivation to finish the others.
Than I tidy up my sewing area so that I can focus solely on my project and not spend time searching for tools or moving other projects out of the way.
I always choose the project that is furthest along to finish first. That may sound like cheating but it gets me on a role to finish the next one, I'm sure I am not the only one who loves the "this project is done!" feeling.
Once I have finished a couple projects I can open the new one with no regrets and simply enjoy it rather than trying to ignore the niggling voice in my head telling me I have too many other projects to work on first.
I normally will do this a couple times a year, and dedicate a full week to sewing on unfinished projects. Don't laugh when I say a week, I sew a lot, usually a full two hours every night, so I can get a lot done in one week.
Another option is to choose 12 projects, write them down and complete one each month. If you have many projects to complete this may be a good route to take. All People Quilt is doing a fun challenge based on this. You make a list of 12 projects and at the beginning of each month they choose a number, and that is which project you work on. Click here for more information on that as well as a printable sheet to fill in.
For those who are thinking that's all fine and dandy, but what about my Block of the Month and Quilt Alongs that I am participating in, I don't want to fall behind on those while finishing other projects.
I have several of these as well, and I dedicate Wednesday's to working on my Quilt Along and BOM projects. If I am all caught up, I can work on something else, but it is the day of the week that works for me to focus on getting caught up each week.
A great way, however you choose to go about finishing, is to set time aside, or get together with friends to work on old projects. You can get a lot done when you have a dedicated time period allotted for it. We have open sew days at the shop, which allows for you to come and use our classroom to sew for the day. We have pressing stations with iron set up for you to use.
I have 3 projects that have been works in progress for at least a year now and by the end of the year I would really like to say that they are all finished, they are all large projects and will take some dedication to finish. I also have a few other projects that are a lot closer to completions that I will work on getting off my table in the next few weeks as well.
My 3 major projects to completer are the Awesome Ocean Quilt, a pattern by Elizabeth Hartman, Elephant Abstractions, a paper pieced quilt by Violet Craft, and Garden Party, a collage quilt from Laura Heine.
I have 16 of the 72 blocks from my Awesome Ocean Quilt finished, this is a time consuming project and it may get pushed to the end of my list.
For my Elephant Abstractions Quilt, I have 60 of the 97 sections complete. I think I will do this one first, it will just take a couple days or evenings of dedicated work and than I should have the sections finished and ready to put together.
On Garden Party I have 5 blocks done, 1 block just needs the small fiddly pieces added, and than I have 6 more to make.
Just writing about these projects is making me want to go work on them and be able to move them from the in progress section of my sewing room to the walls of the quilt shop.
My motivation project is the Sunnyside Sampler Quilt by Coriander Quilts. This one came to Chicken Feed as a Moda Kit, and I really want to get started it but need to finish at least one of my big projects first. If you like this project, (pictured at the top) we still have some kits available in store.
Did you make some finishing goals for yourself this year, or are you not even going to go there?

Friday, January 11, 2019

New Fabric

There have been a lot of boxes delivered since the start of the New Year. And I must say they have been opened to reveal some gorgeous new fabrics.
We have 5 new collections from Art Gallery, a new Moda line, one from RJR, another from Studio E, and a collection from Benartex as well. Some of these companies are not super well know names, but we have carried there fabrics in our shop for quite some time now.
From Art Gallery we have Sun Kissed designed by Maureen Cracknell, this collection brings back all the perfect summer memories. The bright blue pool water, tiled pool decks, blooming flowers, and the perfect floral sundress.

Pat Bravo has designed 40 fabric lines in the past 14 years, and her latest brings all her favorites and best sellers into one gorgeous collections that is Legendary. The bold fuschia pink, emerald green and mustard yellow mix beautifully together, in large and small print florals and various geometric designs. 
Aura was designed by Matthew Bordeaux after his recent trip to Hawaii with his daughter. Everything from the colors to the prints bring you away on an Island adventure. I personally have fallen in love with the turtle print on the purple background. It is so perfect.

Art Gallery will often take prints from their various designers and combine them together into mini themed collections. Silk Road and Art District are two of these Fusion Collections.

Silk Road is a collection centered around the ancient asian arts of brushwork, ink and fiberworks. The prints as well the red, black and white coloring make this an elegant fusion.
Art District is just what it sounds like, a collection themed around every cities bright and colorful Art District with the occasional cat and ice cream cone thrown into the mix.

Gingiber has developed a new line for Moda. This one is called Farm Fresh. It has panels of farm animals, and a variety of prints in red, teal, white, grey and black. We also have 3 different patterns available for this fabric and they are all really fun. Esther is hoping to refresh her kitchen for spring with this line.

From RJR we have a new line called Retro Road Trip by Sue Marsh. This collection looks pretty much exactly as how I pictured it when I heard the name. The retro camping trailers, the fun Diner Road signs and the colors all work together to create this fun line! I am contemplating making new valences for my kitchen windows with the Diner Signs Print.
Into the Woods is a new collection from Studio E. It is a new take on the popular Wood Land Theme, combining bright colors with modern black and white prints. The panel in this line is very cool, and needs only a border or two to make a nice quilt.
From Benartex we have a line called My Happy Place, and brings together our favourite items from our sewing rooms. Prints with sewing machines, buttons and words of wisdom in pinks blues, yellow and greens bring a smile to your face.
As a bonus I have one more collection to share, this one is called Whisper, and features gold, black and white prints that are all quite soft.
As always there are even more new collections in store and on their way.
Carrie and Taylor spent the majority of their Christmas Break from school changing up the location of almost every single bolt of fabric in our shop, so make sure you come in to see all the changes that have happened as well.
I wish you a great weekend, we are going to spend ours trying to get rid of the Flu Bug that is slowly making its way through each member of our house,

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Gypsy Wife: Section 1

It's the first day of our Gypsy Wife Quilt Along! I am so excited to make this quilt as it has been on my bucket list for some quite time.
It looks daunting, especially when looking at the cover photo and flipping through the book. However we are going to tackle it in sections making it a loss less scary.
A couple tips before we even get into today's section. A lot of the pieces in these blocks are small and a smaller ruler will be easier to handle and cut with than the 24" ruler many of us have in our sewing areas. I like using my 8.5"x4.5" Creative Grids ruler as well as my 3.5"x12.5". Also it is a great idea to change your rotary blade, you will get nice clean cuts. While your at it change out your sewing needle. Because these are smaller blocks that are going to be sitting for some time before being put into the final project, I shortened my stitch length to about 2.0. All the block sizes listed in the quilt are finished sizes, which means they will be that size when your quilt top is complete, do not trim them to this size now. They all need to be a half inch larger.
First up is Section 1. On page 32 of the book there is a picture that shows the 10 sections of the quilt, some of the sections are quite small with only 2 blocks, and some are going to be a little more work. The pages previous to this outline which pieced block goes where in each section. The visual for Section 1 is on page 26.
For Section 1 we will need to make a total of 5 blocks.
 Puss in the Corner on page 13 is the main block, we will be making the first block on that page, the one without the border.
This is a good block to test your seam allowances for the project. by stitching your 5 squares together in a row and measuring the end result (which should be 5.5") you will discover if you need to adjust your seam allowance at all. I did not cut my larger squares at the 2 7/8", I just bumped it up to a nice 3" which gave me a little room to trim those Half Square Triangles before I assembled the block. I also did not cut them on the diagonal but rather marked the diagonal, stitched a 1/4" away from the line on each side and than cut on the line. This helps avoid some stretching on this bias edge.
We also have 4 filler blocks, which I find is where the pattern book gets quite confusing, but I have put several hours into marking where each blocks goes to save you some grief.
The first filler for Section 1 is a Pin Wheel block from page 19, it has no borders and should measure 4.5". I did the same here as in the previous block, cutting my squares the 3" and leaving them as squares.
On page 21 we have to make a hourglass block and add the two borders to make a 6.5" unfinished block. (follow the instructions in the first column to make the hourglass block, and than add the round 1 and 2 borders as listed in the second column.) I have included a picture of how to stack your fabrics for the second step, it sounds a little confusing just reading it straight from the book, the pink lines on my block would be your stitching lines. Notice that the fabrics are right sides together, and I have the blue pieces touching the white. The seams should nest nicely together, stitch on the unsewn diagonal.
On Page 22 we need to make 2---3" finished square in square blocks. 1 we will leave as is, the second we will add a border as per instructions on the next page to make it finish at 5" (5.5" unfinished.) I used the Simple Folded Corners Ruler from Creative Grids for this block. It is a new ruler that allows you to eliminate the need for drawing the diagonal line on your squares. Simply line up the edges of the ruler with your square and trim off the extra and than sew. You do need to be careful not to stretch here though as these are now bias edges.
Once you have finished up all your blocks, place them in a bag labelled section 1. This will keep this section altogether and will take the guesswork out of which block belongs where later on when we assemble the quilt.
 Please share your blocks on our Gypsy Wife QAL page, and if you have any other tips mention them there as well.
 I am excited to see your fabric selections for these blocks.


 You will need the Gypsy Wife Book by Jen Kingwell to make these blocks. If you do not have your book yet, we have some more on order and they should be here in the next week or so.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Sew Hometown: January

The first blocks we are making for the Sew Hometown Quilt are the Cabin blocks. These blocks finish at 12" and we need to make 4 of them in total.
I chose the fabrics for all 4 blocks, took a quick photo and than stacked all the roof fabrics together and cut them all at the same time, repeating for all the pieces. This made cutting go quick, and I had a picture to look back at if I forgot which house fabric went with each roof. I also just chose 4 greens and cut one of each size strip from each to make the 4 blocks.
Creative Grids recently produced a ruler that is called Simple Folded Corners. It is great for stitch and flip blocks, like we do here on the roof. To use just put the two pieces right sides together, and than instead of drawing a line on the diagonal and stitching and than trimming, just align the ruler on the fabric, use your rotary cutter to trim the excess and than stitch. It includes the 1/4" seam allowance for you.
Rather than throwing the scraps from these corners into a scrap bin or the garbage, I like to stitch them into half square triangles. I just chain stitch them quick, give them a press and set them aside. I will keep all the ones from this quilt together and in the end I should have enough to make a small project, with the bonus of all the HSTs being premade.
The pattern gives the option to make the blocks with the house on the right side or to switch it up and place it on the left side. I ended up making them all with the house on the right side (mostly because I was chain piecing and not really paying that much attention). If you want the house on the left simply add the background on the other side, this is such a simple way to change up a block, without .
changing any measurements.
The gals from Inspiring Stitches have not yet published their post for this month's blog, but as soon as they do I will publish the link to it on our Facebook Page.
Have fun making your blocks and tag Chicken Feed Quilts in your pictures so we can see them too.


Block instructions can be found in the Inspiring Stitches 2019 Calendar: Sew Hometown