Tuesday Tip: Pre-wind Neutral Bobbins

Pre-Wind Neutral Bobbins to save Time!

Take a bit of time and wind up a series of bobbins in succession and have them ready for sewing your next project. Winding these bobbins in neutral colours like white, cream, tan, gray or black really makes it easy to get sewing. This quick and practical sewing tip is especially helpful when attending a class or retreat. Store your collection of pre-wound bobbins in a bobbin case, and you’re ready to sew for hours (or days)! We really like this round bobbin holder. An even quicker idea is to purchase Pre-wound bobbins through our storefront or have us order some just for you.

Happy stitching!

Tuesday Tip: Kona Cotton, the Perfect Solid

Kona Cotton, from Robert Kaufman Fabrics, is considered to be the best collection of solid coloured quilting cottons. Here are a dozen things (in our opinion…) that make Kona solids the best:

  1. Kona Cotton is perfect for quilting, apparel and more. We sell Kona solids not only to quilters but seamstresses making garments and even 4H groups who are preparing fairgrounds for exhibitions.
  2. Kona Cotton has been tested for carcinogenic dye stuffs, formaldehyde, lead,    skin-friendly ph factor and has the Confidence in Textiles certification.
  3. Kona now offers 365 different colours and follow colour trends introducing new colours every year.
  4. Need a binding to complete your quilt? Our staff is available to help you find the right Kona solid to match your quilt top.
  5. Kona-Snow is our most popular item from Kona. We have used it for many years in in our quilt kits and it continues to be just the right solid fabric that isn’t too bright.
  6. Did you know that there is Kona-Black plus Kona-Jet Black (Premium)? Kona-Jet Black (Premium) is really dark and looks strikingly black!
  7. As per our website, we give a $24 discount off the cost of a full bolt of any regular 45″ Kona solid. Let us know what colour you would like and we will order a bolt(s) from the warehouse to meet your needs.
  8. Virtually reversible, the colour on a Kona solid looks the same on both sides.
  9. Kona comes in 45″, 60″ and 108″ widths. We try to have black and white and grays in the wider bolts in stock. Wider widths are awesome for sashing, binding and backings!
  10. Kona solids are really great for quilt borders and sashing as well as becoming a  background fabric for appliqué.
  11. Kona solids are also available in precuts: 1 1/2″ strips, 2 1/2″ strips &/or squares, 5″ squares and 10″ squares. We are glad to special order precuts just for you!
  12. Solid coloured Kona is cheaper per metre to purchase than “printed design fabric”. At only $11.98 per metre for 45″ fabric, this is a great way to save money!

Happy stitching!

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!