Tuesday Tip: 10 Things to Keep in Mind at the Quilt Shop

Here are 10 things to keep in mind as you enter the quilt shop:

  1. It is alright to begin with a piece(s) of fabric from your stash and find complimentary fabrics to create your next quilt. Stash fabric (or fabric that you have inherited) can be really good as long as it is of “reasonable” quality to put into your quilt. Consider it “free” fabric! Pull something out of your cupboard and look for some new fabrics to go with.
  2. Although our shop has hundreds of bolts, it’s impossible to have everything. Pauline, the owner of Hamels, is very careful when considering the stock she buys for the shop. Even if we don’t have the exact piece you saw in a magazine or online, please allow our staff to guide you to some alternate possibilities. As staff, we are quilters too and know that there are some really good fabrics waiting for you.
  3. Blenders – we have all the Kona solids plus the extensive line of Moda Grunge. All of Hoffman’s Batik Watercolours are coming back onto the shelves at Hamels. Some colours sell out quickly, however they are easily replenished from the warehouse. Staff members can show you colour charts as you select a blender. If it is coming soon, staff can help you create an order for the piece of your dreams.
  4. Precuts are available in professionally designed sets with sizes ranging from 2 1/2″ squares to 1/2 yard pieces, respectfully. Just like most of us don’t make coleslaw by shredding a head of cabbage or brew coffee every morning in our kitchens, it’s acceptable to buy packaged salad mix and go through the drive-thru to save time. Precut fabrics save a lot of time and offer a tonne of versatility and convenience.
  5. Wide backings are a time and money saver! Even though they are designed for  backing a quilt top, these 100 inch beauties can become bindings, borders, sashing and even used on the front of a quilt.
  6. Remnants are versatile. We turn over a lot fabric quickly thru our shop, so that leaves us with pieces that our “fabric fairies” lovingly wrap and discount. Our remnants have been sewn into award winning projects and have also become the perfect bits for charity quilts. There are so many ways to use these pretties.
  7. What quilt do you want to sew? Bring your pattern to the shop or get some inspiration from our samples. Many current patterns and notions can be ordered in just for you. Staff are glad to guide you to the fabrics and patterns in stock for your project. We appreciate your patience on busy Super Stitcher weekends and are happy to help you when we have a few moments between cutting stacks of bolts.
  8. Looking for something special and don’t know where to find it? Let our staff check the warehouse catalog for the pattern, upcoming precut, funky new ruler, etc. and we can bring the item in just for you!
  9. Plan B – Even though we no longer have discontinued Moda collections such as “Little Black Dress” or “Aviary”, we can show you some new fabrics in stock that will make an equally beautiful quilt like the picture you have on your phone. Trying something new can be a good thing.                                
  10. Take a deep breath and relax! We want your shopping experience to be fun. Remember that your mother, or “that” sewing teacher is NOT going to inspect your quilt and critique every inch to make sure that your points match to the last thread. It’s OK, you are on a journey learning to sew quilts that will be loved, cherished and enjoyed for years to come. We all need to stress less and enjoy more. Finished is better than perfect!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip: Perfect 5 Ruler (and book)

Creative Grids has done it again! They have created a ruler for 5 inch charm packs. Cut an array of popular “pre-cut” shapes from a 5in square or from scraps. Or cut around the ruler to cut your own charms! The quarter inch grid covers the entire square. Popular cuts such as the two and a half, three and a half, and four and a half inch squares are highlighted. A diagonal line makes quick work of trimming half-square triangles. The ruler slides easily over the fabric until pressure is applied. Then, their exclusive gripper holds the fabric in place while cutting, eliminating slipping and miss-cuts! Here’s a video demonstrating how this Perfect 5 ruler works:

To go along with this ruler, There is a brand new book called “Perfect 5 Quilt Book”. This book will charm you, we’re sure! The Perfect 5 quilt book by It’s Sew Emma contains 16 quilts that will delight and inspire, all made with classic 5in charm squares. With options using 1, 2, 3, and 4 charm packs, it is the perfect companion to help quilters’ stashbust (as well as stash build)! Dazzling and delectable, choose from an assortment of different quilt styles and pair them with your favorite precuts.

Note:  The rotating cutting mat(s) are available through our website. Check out the 14″ Omnigrid rotating mat.

We hope you will enjoy sewing these projects from the book. Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip: What’s the Difference between Flannelette and Flannel?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between flannelette and flannel? To many of us, the terms are used interchangeably. However, within the quilt shop, we distinguish the two into three basic types of cotton fabrics. Here’s the definition for each:

1. Flannel – This is a cotton woven fabric that is brushed (to make is soft and fuzzy) on one or both sides. It comes off a bolt at about $17.98 (Cdn.) per metre and is often called quilter’s flannel. Since it’s printed on finer cotton wovens before napping, prints can be more detailed. It can be used to make shirts, sleepwear and quilts. The right side of flannel feels sueded and the back side may or may not be napped. Examples of flannel:  Woolies Flannel by Maywood Studio and Moda’s Wool and Needle Collections. The recent Farmhouse Flannels are of exceptional good quality “flannel”.

2. Yarn Dyed Flannel – Made with flannelled (fuzzy) multicoloured yarns in plaids, ginghams or stripes. Yarn Dyed Flannel usually has a lower fuzz-factor than flanelette making it more suitable for shirts, lounge pants, sheets and jacket linings. Sometimes, they are called “homespuns”. Many country and/or primitive styled quilts use yarn-dyed flannel for piecing and appliqué. Yarn Dyed fabric can be used to make lovely rag quilts because it frays nicely.

3.  Flannelette (or Flette in the trade) – Woven with flannelled yarns. This is the “low-end” soft and fuzzy flannel and sells for about $10 per metre. It is very practical and affordable for pyjamas, pillowcases, rag quilts, diapers and sheets. Flannelette is very basic fabric and serves a purpose for utilitarian projects. However, a quilt with flannelette will not hold up to everyday use and washing like a true flannel. Flannelette in a quilt will never last to become an heirloom; it is not designed to.

Hope this helps clarify the terminology for you as you select those soft fabrics for your fall and winter quilting.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip….Wool Snippets

We have just received a shipment of 2 1/2″ Wool Snippets. These lovely curated packets contain 10 pieces of wool cut into 2 1/2″ squares. Each packet has a variety of colours amongst the little squares that are just right for leaves, flowers, petals, stems, houses, animals and more.

So what exactly can you do with these wool packets? Look at these two lovely patterns from Front Porch Quilts:


These little pieces are very convenient to use for wool appliqué. Our store also has a big selection of wool thread to accompany your wool appliqué project. Some stitchers also like using DMC cotton floss to appliqué their wool onto a background fabric.

To achieve a real primitive look to a project, wool is perfect. It doesn’t really fray at all and with a blanket stitch around the edges, wool pieces can be beautifully appliquéd. More and more patterns are coming from designers who adore creating projects with wool.

Here are a few project suggestions to create with little pieces of wool:

Stacey West of Buttermilk Basin is big into wool appliqué and we can special order any of her books or patterns if you request them. Click on her name above to view her designs.

Lisa Bonegean of Primitive Gatherings also designs fabrics for Moda and has many patterns for cotton fabrics and/or wool appliqué. Click on her name above to view her designs.

Wool pieces can be applied to a background using a fusible web such as Steam a SeamHeat n’ Bond or freezer paper. Once a small piece of wool fused into place, then a hand blanket stitch around the edges and detail embroidery can be added in order to make a project delightful and worthy of display in your home or to give as a gift. During the summer months ahead many stitchers relax and stitch these types of projects as they are portable and easy to take with you.

We hope you will consider a wool project and enjoy the variety of wool bits in every packet of wool snippets!

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip: Thangles – An Easy Way to Make Half Square Triangles

Do you ever wish there was a simpler way to sew a whole batch of half square triangles? Perhaps you would really like to do an Ocean Waves quilt or a classic Bear Paw quilt but dreaded the idea of having to sew and square up a zillion half square triangles.

Well, for many years now, our shop has sold a line of paper packs in various sizes called “Thangles”. These easy to tear paper packs come with simple instructions. In fact, we have often included a packet of the desired size in our quilt kits if the quilt design features a whole bunch of half square triangle units. Yes, these Thangles are that good!

Think about it: no more math of adding 7/8″ and all that. What if all you had to do is cut strips and sew on a line?

Thangles are an easy accurate way to make half square triangles in very little time. They come in a variety of sizes and are super easy to apply to the quilt project you are already trying to sew. The first thing you do is decide on the size you need for your “finished” half square triangle. Finished meaning the size once sewn into your quilt with the seam allowance off.

Thangles are available in our store (and via our website) for all finished half square sizes from 1/2″ to 6″ finished. Each size you want to achieve is available in its own package of specially created papers.

Here’s a video to demonstrate how they work:

We really hope you will consider using Thangles the next time you have quilt pattern requiring half square triangles.

Happy stitching!