Tuesday, February 26, 2019


Precuts is a word we hear often in the quilting world, however do we all know which one is which?
At Chicken Feed Quilts we carry 5 of the most common precuts that are available.
First up Fat Quarters. A fat quarter will come in two sizes either 18"x21" or 20"x21". The difference between the two is where you buy them. In the United States they measure and sell fabric in yards, 1 yard is 36 inches and so when they cut a half yard it is equal to 18 inches. In Canada fabric is sold in meters and at Chicken Feed Quilts we use 40" as a meter, and so our fat quarters equal 20".
A fat quarter is a half meter of fabric cut in half parallel to the selvage edges. It is equal to .25meters but is more usable because rather than a 10"x42" rectangle you have a 20"x21" piece to work with.
Fat Qaurters come in a variety of different sized bundles. You can purchase one that has every piece in the collection, or they can be put together by the shop, or designer bundles. Bundles can be made using fabrics from a variety of colors, or one colorway, or a certain print, the options are endless.
Layer Cake, Jelly Roll, Charm Pack and Mini Charm Pack are all terms that have actually been trademarked by Moda Fabrics, but they are the most commonly used name for each precut. Other companies use the terms stackers and rollups.

Layer Cakes are made up of 42, 10" squares, there are a few companies that make theirs with 40 but it is marked on the packaging if this is the case. The total yardage in a layer cake is just over 2.6 meters. They are probably my favorite precut. You can do so much with them, and the pieces are big enough that the large prints show up well, where as in the smaller cuts, a lot of the large prints are lost. If the squares are sewn together patchwork style without any additional cutting the result is a good lap sized quilt, 57"x66". The back of the Moda packaging also contains ideas for how to use the Layer Cake and different ways to cut it up. I love making the Double Slice Layer Cake quilt, it is quick an fun and the end result is a great size.

The Jelly Roll is 42, 2.5" width of fabric strips. The total yardage is the same as a Layer Cake. And they are usually the same price, right around $50-$60 dollars. A Jelly Roll will also give you a lap sized quilt. The Jelly Roll Race is a fun quilt made with one Roll and goes together nice and quickly. Looking at the flat side of a roll will give you a good idea of the different colors that are in the package.

Charms Packs are made using 42, 5" squares. They are under $20 in price and sewn together will make a small baby quilt or wall hanging. I love the book Charm School by Vanessa from Lella Boutique is a book full of fun patterns written for 5" squares, we have a couple copies in store.

The Mini Charm is again made with 42 squares, this time 2.5" in sizes. These make really fun wall hangings, and table runners, although multiple packs can be put together to make a larger project. I find these fun to collect an have no intention of actually using them, they are just to cute to pass up.

The Layer Cake, Jelly Roll, Charm Pack and Mini Charms are generally made from a single Designer Collection, and if the line has less than 42 prints, which many of them do, there will be doubles of a number of prints in order to reach a total of 42 fabrics in the package.

When you love a full line of fabric buying one of these packages will give you at least one piece of each collection, and than you can purchase your favorites for the borders and binding and also the backing if you prefer cotton on the back of your quilts.

Moda Bakeshop is a great site dedicated to patterns written using the various types of precuts. Missouri Star Quilt Company is another that has many patterns written specifically for precuts and their block books each contain 10 patterns for a very good price of less than $8.00 per book.

Using precuts can make shopping easier and cuts back on the amount of cutting you need to do. They are great for beginners and advanced quilters alike and can be used to make very simple or very difficult quilts.
Do you have a favorite precut? Do you collect them and have a hard time using them?

On another note altogether, I would love to start doing one post each month dedicated to projects you have made with fabric from our shop. We love seeing what you have made, and it is inspiring for others as well. Send your photos to me by email at Kayla@chickenfeedquilts.com or through a private message on our Facebook Page. Please include  the pattern name and the name of the fabric if you remember it with your photo and I will feature a few projects every month on our blog and Facebook page. The projects can be quilts, wall hangings, bags clothes, anything really I just want to see them.


Friday, February 22, 2019

March Classes

March begins next week already! Esther will also be coming home from her vacation next week and so we will have some classes running again.

February 28 is our next Game Night. We will be playing Trader's Dice which is always fun. There are still a few spots open, you just need to pay $10 to hold your spot, and we will give it back to you as Chicken Feed Cash when you arrive at the event. You will also need to bring 20 - 5" squares to play along. Sometimes people bring some that all coordinate real well, other times its squares left from previous projects, or even all the same cut from a piece of fabric they no longer love. You can do whatever you like, but you probably won't be going home with the same 20.

March 2 is our next Tuffet Class. Esther will help you through the steps required to make your very own little tuffet stool. The class fee is $125 and includes the wood base, legs, and foam for your tuffet. The pattern, 15 degree ruler and fabrics are not included.

As requested Esther is going to teach another Foundation Paper Piecing Class. You may choose any of Violet Craft's Foundation Paper Piecing Patterns and Esther will guide you through the process to create your own masterpiece. The class is 3 evening sessions, March 18, 25 and April 1 from 7-9pm and the fee is $60. All supplies are an additional cost.

We will be doing another Jelly Roll Rug class in March as well. This one is an evening class and is 2 sessions long. There are three patterns to choose from, the original Jelly Roll Rug, Jelly Roll Rug Squared and the Colossal Round Rug. The class fee is $40 which does not include the supplies. The class will take place on March 19 and 26 from 7-9pm.

To register for any of the classes you can click on the link below, pop into the store to see us, or give us a phone call.

The supply lists and any prep work for the class are listed on the website, just go to the classes tab and click on the class you are interested in.

Register Here


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.