Thursday, July 30, 2020

Woodland Wonderland: Month 2

Since August is just a couple days away, I thought I would share the Woodland Wonderland Blocks for August today. 
If you chose to have you blocks picked up at the shop they will be available on Saturday, if you chose shipping, they will ship out on Tuesday, as Monday is a holiday. 
This month we are making the Weathervane block and the Woodland Leaves and the instructions can be found starting on page 13 of your booklet. We have 5 new green prints and a red print to play with for these blocks. 
First up is the Weathervane Block. We just need to make one and it isn't too hard. 
For the Green I used the one with the snowflake print on it, and for the red I used the new one that came in the package this month. 
Rather than cutting a square and than 2 strips from the green fabric, I just cut one strip that was 4.5" wide, cut the 3.5" square off one end and than cut the strips as suggested. 
Also before cutting any of the triangles in half, I stacked a green and a background square right sides together than cut and went straight to my sewing machine to sew them. I find it easier to align a full square than a triangle, so it worked really well for me. I used my 4-in-1 Half Square Triangle Ruler from Creative Grids to trim them to the correct size. 
For Step 2 I laid out the red prints so that I could have the diagonal print all going in the same direction, and then did the stitch and flip accordingly. I used my Folded Corner Clipper from Creative Grids to do the corners, and it worked really well. 
After making these units the block is quick to assemble. 
The Woodland Leaves are not hard but we have to make quite a few. 
I used the four remaining green prints for my leaves. And rather than subcut the strips, I stacked two full length strips right sides together, sewed them together, pressed them and than cut, and I did that for all the strips, making sure I had a couple different combinations. Than I added the corners as shown again using the Folded Corner Clipper. 
Be sure to make half your blocks facing left and half facing right. 
Have fun making your blocks!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Designer Spotlight: Deb Strain

Can you believe we are already in the last week of July? With the announcement of school returning to near normal again in September, all of a sudden it feels like summer is nearly over, thankfully we still have a month left and lots of fun family things planned for the month, before life goes back to some sort of a routine. 
While pondering what to write about for today's blog post I remembered that I had promised to do some more designer spotlights. I don't know about you but I like to learn about the people behind the fabric, what they like to do in their free time, where they get inspiration from and more. 
Over the next little while I am going to run through a few of our favorite Moda Designers. 
First up is Deb Strain. 
Deb grew up in Ohio and currently lives there with her husband. She has 3 children and they are scattered across the country with one living on the East Coast, one on the West Coast, and one close to home. Long distance phone call, travelling and helping with her two grandsons that live next door take up a lot of time. Her family is her true love!
Deb was an art teacher for 9 years. In 1994 she left teaching to spend more time with her family and to develop her own art.
In 1996 Deb joined the Moda Team and has since developed over 100 collections for Moda.
The inspiration for her fabric collections come from her memories growing up in Ohio, nature, times with family and friend or visiting antique shops. Although the colors and prints are different in all her collections, many of her collections seem to focus around the "beauty of simple, everyday life" (Deb Strain) 
We have had many of her collections in our shop, and her last few have flown out the door. 

Explore is a fun outdoors collection and is currently our weekly special. 
Llama love is a fabric line that I am just in love with, the adorable Llamas and the pink and aqua blue colors are just perfect.
Cultivate Kindness was released this past spring and flew out the door! We have some yardage left but the bolts are getting pretty skinny. 

Homegrown Holidays is her latest release, and is on our shelves now. Her Christmas collection from last year, Holiday Lodge, was so popular, and we are thinking this one will be too. 

To shop any of these collections come visit us in store, or click here. 
Esther and I met Deb last spring in Kansas City, and she is so sweet, and down to earth!

Have a great week, 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Panel Patterns

It has been so warm this week. I love the heat and the sun so I am thrilled, we have been spending a lot of time at my parents lake swimming and water skiing. Even though I love the heat I am so thankful for my air conditioning in our house!
This past Tuesday we did a Facebook Live Video on Panels and how to use them in various projects. 
I will share with you tonight some of our favorite quilt patterns for patterns, and what to use panels for besides for in a quilt. 
Panels have come a long way in the past few years. They used to be about 20" wide by the width of fabric, and their wasn't a lot of patterns designed for panels. Now they come in a wide variety of sizes, any where from small individual blocks, to 54"x60" which is large enough to be a lap quilt. And there is so much pattern support, from fun coordinating prints, to a wide variety of patterns written specifically for panels. 

Mountain Peak Creations is one of our favorite designers for panels. There patterns are fun and add some fun elements to dress up a simple pattern. They provide options to make quilts from narrow panels, with out making them look like an odd shape. Some of their patterns are written for a variety of different sized panels which is great because there is not necessarily a standard size anymore. They also have patterns for horizontal panels which are starting to become really popular too! The patterns are well written and easy to follow. 

Castilleja Cotton is another of our favorite pattern designers to use for panels. They are based in Calgary. A good selection of their patterns are written for the Hoffman Call Of The Wild prints, and we have made kits for several of them, and they always sell out so quick. 
One Block Wonder Quilts are fun to make and use 6 or 7 of the same panel. Each and everyone turns out so different. The one pictured below is one Esther did last summer, she has another one in progress, but it is set aside at the moment for other more pressing projects.
For those panels that are printed as blocks, we often put them in our quilts in place of blocks. So if our panel blocks measure 12" we will make a bunch of 12" blocks and mix the panels into the layout. 
Now if you feel you have enough quilts panels can work really great for a few other things. 
They work great as door decor, rather than hanging a wreath, just hang a panel that you have quilted, on the wreath hooks instead. We always add 2 loops onto the back when we sew on our binding to hang them. It is fun to switch them out for each season. I know several people that made them as gifts for relatives or friends that were in senior centers or longer term care facilities, it adds some cheer to the door and doesn't take up any extra space in the room.  
You could also hang them on a wall in your home this way to, or quilt a larger baby panel as is and gift it as a baby play mat. 
Some panels are great to make tote bags from. Esther used a Sweetwater Panel to make this fun tote bag, and just adjusted the measurements in the pattern to fit her panel. Tote bags are generally pretty straight forward to adjust, especially if the lining is cut the exact same as the exterior. 

Do you use panels at all? We have over 200 panels listed on our online shop, which you can view here and more than that in store, so come on in to check them out. We recently hung new rods to display our panels and now have a good selection hanging there for you to see. 
Have a great weekend,

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hand Work

This week is looking like it going to be a warm one here in Southern Alberta. I was just saying to my husband the other day that it hasn't felt like we had any July weather yet, but it looks like it is finally on the way. 
When it is warm like this it can be harder to find time to get behind the sewing machine. It seems like days are spent doing yard work or sitting by the pool or at the beach, and evenings are spent beside the fire or enjoying the warm weather on the patio. That being said the need to sew is still there. 
Hand work is a great alternative. Most projects are small, or if they are larger in size are done in small sections at a time, making it easy to take with you. 
I have not done much hand work but do hope to improve my skills,  Esther does beautiful hand work, and often has multiple projects on the go. I am just going to list a few different ideas tonight, and maybe go into more detail on them over the next few weeks. 
English Paper Piecing is a great hand work project that is easy to take on the go with you. Hexies are probably one of the most popular, and I won't go into much detail on it, however it can feel as if you are making a whole pile of them without a final goal in mind. Some ideas for final projects can include, little pouches, journal covers, pillow covers or if you are ambitious a full quilt. 
If hexies are not your thing there are also some fun patterns to follow as well. We really love the patterns by Violet Craft. I am currently working on the Lion, and when I say currently, I mean I started it on a trip to Mexico a year and a half ago and haven't pulled it out since. Esther has made up a couple of her patterns. 
Something I have never yet delved into is hand applique, but Esther has done a lot of it, so she provided me with some pictures of her projects and favorite tools. 
She is working on the Vintage Housewife Quilt by Lori Holt and her blocks are looking phenomenal. Lori Holt has lots of project ideas for Hand Applique on her blog here, and we sell her shape sets in the shop.
Esther likes to prep all the blocks, and than take the block with her to the beach or on a visit and do all the stitching. It keeps her hands occupied, but she can still focus on what is all happening around her. 
In addition to her Vintage Housewife Quilt, she is working on a house quilt that is also done by hand applique. We will be offering this as a block of the month later on this year.
Another popular project idea in the hand work theme is stitchery, or hand embroidery. Carrie recently made a quilt for our Grandpa that had his farm animals and wedding date hand embroidered on it. She had the blocks all prepped and just worked on them wherever the family was hanging out in the evening, or when she was babysitting. Esther too has made countless quilts and projects that have hand embroidery worked in. 
All of us agree that it is essential to have the proper tools, and to keep them together in a handy little tin or pouch that make it quick and easy to grab when ever we leave the house. 
Aurifil thread or floss, sewline glue pen, little snips, a pack of needles, wonder clips can all be found in our little kits, as well as some project specific items like a pencil for marking off where we are in a pattern, appliquick tool sets for making nicely shaped applique pieces, and a bias tape maker for applique stems.
Do you do any hand work, or have you been planning to start?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Favorite Products: July

Happy Thursday everyone. I have been listening to some quilting podcasts lately while I sew, and one of my favorite things is when the hosts talk about their favorite new and old products or books or fabric collections, so I thought that I would do the same thing here on the blog. Once a month (hopefully) I will share some of our current favorite products. Some of them may be brand new tools that we are loving, some may be older ones that hold a special place in our heart.
So when I asked Carrie she said her favorite product right now is the Diagonal Seam Tape from Cluck Cluck Sew. She loves it because she is currently teaching Shay how to sew, and the lines on the tape are so much easier to follow than any lines on the sewing machine.
I have to agree with that use, I do the same thing for my boys.
If you are not familiar with the Diagonal Seam Tape it is an adhesive tape that you place on your sewing machine, There is one line that lines up with your needle, and one line on each side at 1/4". It's intended use is for those stitch and flip corners, you can avoid drawing the line and instead line up your corner under your needle and than have the corner diagonal to it work up to the needle following the red line. It works especially well for smaller corners. And it is a great time saver.
The adhesive is sticky enough to stick for a long time, but pulls off easily without leaving behind any sticky residue. I have had a strip on my machine for about a month now and it is just starting to lift at one of the corners. And as mentioned above it is great to use as a seam guide when piecing too.
We have this product available in the shop and you can purchase it on our website here.

My current favorite product is the Folded Corner Clipper from Creative Grids. I am working on a project that has close to 50 stitch and flip pieces per block. The Folded Corner Clipper also eliminates the need to draw lines when making these blocks, just line up the ruler on your square and cut, it will leave you with a nice 1/4" seam allowance to stitch, and than you are able to go and press right away without any extra trimming. With 3 different points used for lining up the ruler on your fabric it is very accurate, and I love being able to stack several blocks and cut them all at once, than take them to my machine to sew.
It works for squares from 1" up to 5", though I don't often use for the ones smaller than 2" (I prefer the diagonal seam tape for those little ones).  This ruler is also available to purchase in the shop and on our website by clicking here.

Do you own either of these products, or are they on your wishlist?
Have a great weekend,

Monday, July 13, 2020

Accuquilt: Christmas in July

Every year Accuquilt runs a sale in July called Christmas in July. This year their sale is buy 3 dies get the fourth free and it is on select dies only. 
We decided to run it in the shop a little differently.
All instock Accuquilt Go Products are 25% off the listed price. This includes all dies that we have in the shop right now, as well as the GO machines that are in stock, and the die mats too, and we have decided to include the Qube selection as well. 
We have a wide selection in the store, they may say out of stock on our online website, but just call the shop if you are interested in any, as we have an offline reserve and so there may be a couple left on the shop floor. 
Now is a great time to get that new die you have had your eye on for awhile or maybe get the Qube or expansion pack for the Qube you already have. 
If you have not heard of the Accuquilt System it is a cutting machine that is very safe to use and results in quick and accurate cutting. 
How it works is you take the die for the shape you want to cut, place your fabric on the die, layer a die mat over top and run it through the machine, and voila perfectly cut shapes, strips, squares, rectangles, or triangles.
There are 3 sizes of Machine
The GO Baby or GO Me which is a nice small and portable machine. 
The GO, which we call the regular machine, it works with nearly all the dies.
And the GO Electric, which does not require any hand cranking, just load the die, push the start button and it will run all by itself. This one has become increasingly popular. 
The blades that cut the fabric are all surrounded by foam so there is little chance of you cutting yourself.
You can also cut multiple layers at one time, which really speeds up the process. 
All the triangles have the 1/4 inch notches built into the die, which removes the dog ears, and also shows you where the two shapes need to meet when sewing. 
2 of my sons have used the system to cut the fabric needed to make a quilt when they were 6 years old. The oldest 3 love using the fun shape dies and pieces of felt to make new critters and scenery items for their Felt Board. 

Have a great week, Kayla

Monday, July 6, 2020

Precuts Explained

Hello again. Welcome to another new week. 
Last week Esther started a video series on Facebook about Panels and Precuts. 
The main things we spoke of last week were the various types of precuts and how they are priced. 
Moda was the first company to come out with precuts and they also have the trademark on the names that we normally use. 
The Charm Pack was the first one released. It came out as a Promotional Product. It was sent to quilt shops as a little taste of what was coming soon. The Charm Pack contains 42 -- 5" squares. One from each fabric in the designer collection, and than of prints to reach 42 if needed. 1 Charm Pack makes a nice table runner, or a small baby quilt. May also be called a 5" stacker.
The Jelly Roll is a super common precut, it contains 42 -- strips that are 2.5" wide and about 42 inches long (the full width of the fabric). One Jelly Roll makes a nice lap size quilt. Again it has one from each print in the collection and than doubles to get to the full 42. May alsobe called a 2.5" rollup.
A Layer Cake contains the same amount of fabric as a Jelly Roll, but is made up of 10" squares instead. Again there are 42 in each package. It too will make a nice lap size quilt. The Layer Cake is one of my favorite Precuts. The squares are big enough to see the bigger prints in the collection (sometimes in a jelly roll you miss this) and there is enough in the package to make a nice sized project. May also be called a 10" stacker.
Mini Charm Packs are so cute, they are 2.5" squares. I like to use these for wall hangings or table runners.
Fat Quarters are very popular. They are half meters of fabric cut in half parallel to the selvage. Now the US measures in yards, 1 yard is 36" so a half yard is 18" and the resulting fat quarter will be 18" wide and roughly 21" long. If you buy from our shop we measure in meters, and use 40" as 1 meter (not the usual 39") a half meter would be 20", ans so a fat quarter from our shop is 20" wide and roughly 21" long. 
Fat Quarters are bundled as 1 fabric from each collection, or are curated to contain a certain number of different prints. There is no doubling to reach 42, if the collection contains 25 prints that is how many will be in the bundle. Or you may buy a bundle of 10 Fat Quarters that we specifically chose prints for. 
6 fat quarters will give you a big baby quilt, while 30 will give you a queen quilt if you add a couple borders. They can also be purchased as singles. 
Those are the most common precuts. 
Honeybuns are just like the Jelly Rolls but use 1.5" strips instead. These kind of disappeared for awhile but they are making a comeback again!
One very common misconception about precuts is that they are expensive. In reality at our shop (I cannot speak for others) you will pay the same amount for a precut as you will for the equal amount of yardage. For example a Jelly Roll and a Layer Cake contain 2.7 meters of fabric total. Calculate that at $19.50 per meter which is what our Moda Fabrics are currently priced at and you get $52.65, our Jelly Rolls are mostly priced at $52.50.
For a fat quarter you are paying for .25 meters of fabric at the price on the top of the bolt. However many fat quarters are in the bundle will affect the total price. So if buying a single it will be between $4.50 and $5 depending on the price per meter of the fabric. A bundle of 25 would cost just over $120. 
At Chicken Feed we love precuts, they are a great way to get a little piece of each fabric in a full collection without breaking the bank. There are also so many different patterns written specifically with precuts in mind. Just pick you favorite, add some borders and sashing if you wish and you have a project ready to go. 
Tomorow in the video Esther will be talking more about our favorite patterns that are precut friendly. Tune in to our Facebook Page at 10:30am for that. I will do ablog post in the near future on that. And also one on Panels and patterns for them too. 

There will be no blog post this Thursday, as our little family is taking a break from work and spending some time together. 

Have a great week, 
Please Note in the picture above all those Precuts are from my personal stash, and several of them are quite old, so they are no longer available in the shop, they are just ones that I have never been able to break open and actually use. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Woodland Wonderland: Month 1

Wow can you believe it is July already? We re halfway through 2020, I wonder what the next half will bring?
With it being the beginning of July, it means that our Woodland Wonderland Block of the Month has now started. 
If you have joined in and chose the pickup option, your kit is ready and waiting for you. If you chose to have it shipped, they are all packaged up and will be going out in the mail tomorrow morning. 
If you did not sign up there is just 1 spot left so act quickly. You can sign up here, even if you are not local, just choose the pickup option and we will get in touch with you to figure out all the details. 

I have made the blocks for this month already and they are really cute. We are making a total of 6 little blocks this month, 2 mini mushrooms, 1 larger mushroom and 3 Sawtooth Stars. 
The blocks are not difficult though they do contain some pretty tiny pieces. But there is lots of pictures to follow and the instructions are great. 

In this kit only the background needed for this month is included, it doesn't look like a big piece but it is enough if you cut carefully. Save all your uncut pieces for use later on as described in the pattern booklet.

I suggest using a scant 1/4" seam allowance when sewing to be sure your blocks come out to the correct size.
I used the Diagonal Seam Tape from Cluck Cluck Sew for the stitch and flip corners and it worked really well. 
Because the pieces are quite small, I suggest you start cutting with a fresh blade, this will give you a nice crisp clean edge on your pieces. 

Have fun sewing!