Great Deals – List of Online and Brick and Mortar Stores with Good Sales – Part 1

About six months ago, I posted 28 fabric resources, which included brick & mortar stores and online fabric stores that offer great deals. Let’s be honest, we quilters all love fabric, and building stash can get pricey. I am a very careful spender, and I love a good bargain.

One method that helps me is to subscribe to these newsletters of fabric resources by e-mail. When they are having a sale, and some have daily and weekly specials, a newsletter telling you what’s on sale and when, comes right into my inbox.

Some online fabric stores offer point systems. After purchasing a certain amount from some of these resources, you can earn a credit of $10, (this is just an example). An important caveat; When purchasing fabric online find out what their return policy is. Sometimes the photo will look great on your computer, but not when you open the package and audition it with other fabrics you may be planning to use for a project. 

Some offer a screen where the buyer can audition choices on it. Because many of the online shops sell in 1/4, 1/2 yard or 1 yard increments, they will take the fabric back as long as it hasn’t been removed from the packaging. The same goes with pre-cuts. If the online shop doesn’t state their return policy on their web site, contact them by e-mail and ask. 

I am always updating this list, and will post it every six months. If you have a recommendation, please leave it my comment box. In no particular order, here we go….  

1. http://www.greenfairyquilts.com – Good sale opportunities every week. They specialize in Moda pre-cuts. 

2. http://www.intrepidthread.com – A wide variety of fabric choices. Lots of great sales and offers. Impeccable customer service. They offer an ongoing sale a lower price increments. This is both a brick & mortar store, in Milpitas, CA, and an online fabric store. 

3. http://www.etsy.com/shop/stashmodernfabric – Nice assortment of contemporary and modern fabrics.

4. http://www.fabricshack.com/ – Stumbled upon this shop and was amazed at how much they offer. The customer service is outstanding.  

5. http://www.fatquartershop.com/ – Have been a fan of theirs for a long time. The offer lots of great sales and deals each week. Outstanding customer service. 

6. http://www.fortworthfabricstudio.com/ – Great variety of fabrics. They offer an ongoing sale a lower price increments, everyday.

7. http://webfabrics.net – Huge variety of fabrics. Great customer service and return policy. 

8. http://www.hypernoodlefabrics.com – Specializes in very hip, retro fabrics. Prices are kept low, and specials and coupons are offered. Customer service is good. No returns on fabrics, except if the shop made an error in the order, and must be addressed within three days. Check their FAQ page. 

9. http://www.hancocks-paducah.com – Wide variety of fabrics, fairly priced. Web Sale Fabrics and really well priced. 

10. http://www.americanquilter.com – A lot of good deals on fabric. If you become a yearly member, you receive fabulous discounts on fabrics all year. 

11. http://www.shabbyfabrics.com – A great and very large variety of fabrics from many manufacturers at great prices. 

13. http://www.thequiltinggarden.com – Lots of good sales. They offer a lay-a-way plan. 

14. http://www.cottonblossomfarm.com – Features lots of designers and various types of textiles; not just cotton. 

More later this week…..

Happy shopping and Happy Quilting!!

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A Visit with Pam and Nicky Lintott, owners of The Quilt Room in the UK and a Fabulous Give-a-Way

I am a huge fan of Pam and Nicky Lintott’s. Their creative work and patterns, published in their beautiful books are what inspired me to purchase a few for myself. They’ve published at least 15 quilting books, and have sold over 350,000. Before I looked at their books, I never worked with jelly rolls, charm packs, dessert rolls, or any pre-cuts, for that matter, except fat quarters. 

Not all of them are based on pre-cuts. Their newest one is, Quick Quilts with Rulers; 18 Easy Quilt Patterns, (see photo below), and was released in March, 2014.

This very successful mother-daughter team own an amazing shop; The Quilt Room, in Dorking, Surrey. I’ve promised myself I will visit there by next summer.

They have been in business for over 33 years. Pam began the shop when Nicky was only three,and they just keep going. The story and history of the shop is on their website. It is charming; http://www.quiltroom.co.uk/

I wanted to dig further, and get to know them better. Why? Because they are actually my heros. They pushed me out of my comfort zone when I discovered their books.

I want to introduce Pam and Nicky Lintott, who generously offered to do this interview.


Anne:  How did each of you become interested in quilting?

Pam:
When Nick (my husband) and I were sailing around the Mediterranean before having children, there were many days when there was nothing more important to do than lounge around in the sunshine. I used to spend time sewing English paper pieced hexagons on deck which people thought very strange! When children arrived and we moved back to the UK I started machine piecing log cabin quilts – certainly a lot faster than hand sewn hexagons. Log Cabin variations are still a favourite of mine and our pattern Log Cabin Hidden Stars, which appeared in our first book, Jelly Roll Quilts is one of our best-selling patterns. 


Nicky:  As mum has been running the business for over thirty-three years, quilting and patchwork has always been part of my life.  I remember sewing scraps of fabric together when I was very small and ‘helping’ in the shop.  I didn’t actually make my first quilt until in my early twenties but have made lots since.

Anne:  Why did Pam decide to open a quilt shop?


Pam:
When we returned to England and children arrived Nick opened a bookshop in a gorgeous old building in Dorking which dates from 1450. There was the most beautiful room upstairs with lots of exposed beams which really lent itself to hanging quilts. The Quilt Room opened in 1981 and little did I realise The Quilt Room would still be running 33 years later and I would be working alongside my daughter.

Anne:  Why did Nicky decide to join the business?

Nicky:
It just sort of happened.  I was a pediatric staff nurse for quite a few years and then worked abroad for a little while.  When I returned, I had the choice of continuing with my nursing or starting something new working with mum. I chose the quilting industry and never looked back!

Anne:  What’s it like to run a mother daughter quilt shop?

Pam:
  Working with your daughter is any mother’s dream. I consider myself extremely lucky. Nicky came into the business with lots of enthusiasm and different ideas and The Quilt Room can only benefit from that. 


Nicky: It’s nice as although we both have quite different ideas and tastes in fabrics and styles. It makes for an eclectic collection in our shop and quite often having different ideas and tastes makes you step out of your comfort zone which is always a good thing.

Anne:  What do you both like best and least about it?

Pam:
  There is not a lot I don’t like – except of course paperwork but everyone hates that! When new fabrics arrive it still feels like Christmas to me – I never tire of new fabric. Ideas for new quilt designs are always in my head and when new fabric arrives it is great to try out new ideas. 


Nicky:  The thing I like the best and least are the same thing; you don’t switch off.  You are constantly thinking about what to do next which is great but sometimes makes it hard to get a break!

Anne:  Do you prefer to use pre-cuts or regular fabric, and why?

Pam:
  I enjoy the mathematical constraints when you are working with jelly rolls or other pre-cuts. It sounds silly but it seems too easy to work on a quilt pattern when you could have endless fabric. I like knowing I have to make a gorgeous quilt with only 40 strips of fabric or 40 squares. At the moment I have it in my head to make quilts using eight fat eighths. Don’t ask me why but I’m enjoying myself and have some great little quilt patterns piling up.


Nicky:
  Both really. We have written many books on jelly rolls so they obviously feature a lot in what we use.  However, our latest book contains quilt patterns not made from pre-cuts but just regular fabric. 

Anne:  Describe the one quilt you are both most proud of making?
 

Pam:  That’s difficult as I have a few favourites. I think I will say Starlight Express from our first book, as Lone Star was always a design, I had avoided and to make it from one jelly roll was quite an accomplishment. Also we worked out how to piece it without any Y seams, so yes it was a good pattern.


Nicky: Probably the quilt I am most proud of making is Stepping Stones. This was made from a black and white jelly roll, and I mixed a few fat quarters of deep purple in it. This was the first quilt we made using our black and white jelly roll and I don’t think anyone was expecting it to end up looking as striking or as good as it did.  I made it over six years ago and we still have it in the shop. It still helps sell lots of those black and white jelly rolls.











Anne:  Everyone seems to have a least favorite, and favorite part of the quilting process. Tell us about yours.
 

Pam: That is easy – choosing the fabrics, especially if it is a jelly roll quilt. When you choose a jelly roll to use, you are never quite sure how the quilt is going to look. People often say they discard a strip of fabric they don’t like but I don’t allow myself to do that. Even if there is a strip I’m not sure about, I make sure I use it – and it is quite incredible that when the quilt is finished, it is often that strip which looks just perfect.

Nicky:  My favourite part is seeing the quilt really come together.  It’s one thing choosing the fabrics, but to actually see it all sewn together, and how it actually looks is my favourite part.  That and the longarm quilting of the quilt.

Anne:  What made you decide to publish quilting and sewing books?

Pam:  It was love at first sight with jelly rolls and we made lots of quilts and started a Strip Club at the shop. When we were approached by David & Charles for ideas for a book we already had half the quilts in the book made.


Anne:  What quilt books can we expect to see in the future?

Pam: Our new book Quick Quilts with Rulers is slightly different from our jelly roll quilt books. In our jelly roll quilts we try not to use too many specialist rulers, but in this book we have shown just what can be accomplished with specialist rulers.


Nicky:  Certainly at the moment we are heading towards more contemporary and modern looking quilts, both in the making of the quilts and fabrics, but also in our longarm quilting of the quilts.

Anne:  Do each of you have a favorite type of quilt you like to make and why? For example modern, traditional, Amish, etc.

Pam:  I suppose I am always going to love traditional quilts, but I am leaning towards the more modern designs – probably Nicky’s influence.


Nicky: Maybe it’s lack of time with a small child but I like quick and easy quilts using clever techniques. 

Anne:  When will you be coming back to the U.S. for a market or a festival?

Nicky: We usually go to Quilt Market once a year and, over the last couple of years we have come not only to buy fabrics, but as wholesalers too, as we now wholesale patterns. We hope to come to Houston either this fall or the next.

Anne: What do you see in the near future in the quilting world?

Nicky: Fabric collections certainly in recent years have a brighter look and we are certainly seeing more orange/tangerine colours in collections.  I think in general, quilters are also becoming much more knowledgeable using rulers and other quilting gadgets, perhaps with the huge resource of information that can be found online.  I also think the modern movement of quilts is very exciting. Quilting is like fashion; fabrics and trends go in cycles so there is always something innovative on the horizon. There is never a dull moment!

I really enjoyed doing this interview with you both, and can’t thank you enough. I can’t wait to see the new book and try out some of the patterns.

One very lucky winner will win a copy of Pam and Nicky’s new book, Quick Quilts with Rulers; 18 Easy Quilt Patterns.


All you need to do is leave a comment in my box, telling us what is your favorite pre-cut to work with, and why. If you prefer to work with rulers, tell us which one is your favorite and why. 

Please leave your e-mail address in the comment box, so I can contact you. I will be leaving the name of the winner on this blog, on Friday morning.  This give-a-way will end at 12:01 AM on Friday, April, 25th.

Thank you again to Pam and Nicky Lintott, and good luck to those entering the give-a-way.


The Roxette Thimble and a Give-a-Way from Colonial Needle

Earlier this week I had a chance to visit with Tom and Jim Collingham at Colonial Needle in White Plains, New York. They showed me their new quilting and sewing thimble, the Roxette, which comes in five playful colors.
 

Each color represents a different size; purple – extra small 4 1/2, pink – small 5, yellow – medium 5 1/2, green – large 6, and blue – extra large 6 1/2. Which colors are the most popular? If you guessed yellow and green, you would be correct, because they represent the most common sizes.


THIMBLE SIZING CHEAT SHEET
MEASUREMENTS – INSIDE RIM
DIAMETER
MM
19
18.5
18
17.5
17
16.5
16
15.5
15
14.5
14
13.5
13
12.5
12
11.5
INCHES
12/16
12/16
12/16
11/16
11/16
11/16
11/16
10/16
10/6
10/6
9/16
9/16
8/16
8/16
7/16
7/16

 

CIRCUMFERENCE MM

60
58
57
55
53
52
50
49
47
46
44
42
41
40
38
36

 

INCHES

2 6/16
2 5/16
2 4/16
2 3/16
2 1/16
1 15/16
1 15/16
1 13/16
1 13/16
1 12/16
1 11/16
1 11/16
1 10/16
1 9/16
1 8/16
1 7/16
CORRESPONDING SIZES
Roxanne
10
9.5
9
8.5
8
7.5
7
6.5
6
5.5
5
4.5
4
3.5
3
2.5
Roxette
XL
L
M
S
XS
Raised Edge
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
6
5
4
Magnet Top
L
M
S
S/XS
Ladyfingers
XL
L
M
S
P
Crimp Top,
Dome Top &
Quilting
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
5
4

 

Colonial

(nickel plated)
13
12
11
10
9
8
7
6
6
5
4
Simons Bros – Sterling
15
14
13
12
11/10
9
8
7
6
7
PONY
12
10
8
6
3
MEASURING THE CIRCUMFERENCE
Measure in metric or inches, but metric is more accurate.
TRADITIONAL THIMBLES
1. Wrap a narrow 1/8” strip of adhesive tape or paper around the first knuckle.
2. Place a mark where the end rests against the wrapped strip.
3. Remove the tape or paper strip from finger and measure its length from the end of the strip to the marked point. Repeat this process a few times until you are consistently getting the same measurement.
4. Select the corresponding size closest to your measurement.
ROXANNE & ROXETTE THIMBLES
1. Wrap a narrow 1/8” strip of adhesive tape or paper around the midpoint between the first knuckle and the nail bed.
2. Place a mark where the end rests against the wrapped strip.
3. Remove the tape or paper strip from your finger and measure its length from the end of the strip to the marked point. Repeat this process a few times until you are consistently getting the same measurement.
4. Select the corresponding size. If your measurement is between two sizes, select the smaller size.
QUILTER’S NOTE 
Fingers shrink after quilting awhile, so buy SNUG fitting thimbles
4/9/2014
4/44/

These colorful, new zinc electro-plated thimbles sell for $19.95. The advantage to using the Roxette, is that it is so much lighter, and it never seems to fall off my finger. My raised edge thimble feels much heavier, which I’ve been using for 20 years. Even though it’s the right size, it often falls off while I’m sewing, which interrupts the rhythm that hand quilters count on and enjoy.

Do you notice the grooves, that keep going over the finger tip area until the lip? Those grooves work in the same way as the top of the raised edge.










The open back pleasantly accommodates long finger nails.

As I mentioned, I have used a raised edge thimble for hand quilting. Generally, I don’t use a thimble for regular sewing, but I know many sewers that do. I used it while hand quilting, and I have to say it is lighter and easier to use than my raised edge thimble. You know how we can all be reluctant to change? Now I’m a convert.


 

Roxanne and her daughter, Deirdra McElroy sold the Roxanne product line to Colonial Needle about 5 years ago. Through a correlative effort between Ms. McElroy and Colonial Needle, the development of this new thimble was invented. In marketing jargon, it’s a line extension from their more expensive line of thimbles, that run from $60-$130. They come in gold, sterling silver, silver plated and bronze.

 


 

The Roxette and the silver and gold thimbles can be found at local, independent quilt shops. 











 

This lovely give-a-way basket, courtesy of Colonial Needle, will go to one very lucky winner. Please leave a comment in my comment box telling us; when purchasing a thimble, how do you pick a size, when you can’t physically try the thimble on? If you don’t use a thimble tells us what your favorite notion is.


This give-a-way ends on Wednesday, April 16 at 12:01 AM. I will announce the winner later that day on my blog. Please leave me your e-mail address, so I can contact the winner.

Happy Sewing!!

Lighthouse Quilt – Finished

I finally finished the Lighthouse quilt. I am so excited, and can’t wait to wrap it up and send it to Chicago. My cousin had a baby boy on March 12, 2014, and that is who is going to have sweet dreams under this 100% cotton quilt. It will certainly keep him toasty during those cold months in the Windy City. It’s important to me that the quilts I make will stand up to a washer and dryer.

This quilt was designed by Faith Jones, who sponsored a quilt-a-long of Fresh Lemon Quilts http://www.freshlemonsquilts.com/?p=3099 


















I changed it a bit to make it my own, and customized it for my cousin’s family and the baby. I decided to make the middle block a yellow lighthouse with the brightest light as the beacon on Lake Michigan. One of Faith’s beautiful samples was in a rainbow color order, but this one isn’t. And my colors are not all solid, and some have a pattern in the fabric.

I machine quilted this, by first sewing in the ditch. In the light spaces, I stippled using free-motion quilting. We couldn’t get a good photo of the stippling from the front, but you can see it quite well on the back.




















When I thought about the backing, I wanted to try something I had never done before.  I decided to split the fabric into 1/3 and 2/3rds. Then I stacked random fabrics to bring the two pieces of the back together.

Some of the choices in the stack were intentional. The fabric with the music notes represents the family’s love of music. The paw prints fabric is for their large poodle, Dixie.
 

My cousin is from Texas, which is why I picked the western cowboy fabric to use for the inscription, date of birth, date of completion and where it was made. 

My cousin’s husband is from England. So adding a patch with Paddington Bear was essential.

 

I enjoyed making this quilt, and can’t wait for it to be delivered to a new, sweet boy who is part of our family. I wish for him healthy and happy life.


What’s Trending in Quilt Fabrics

I always like to see what’s trending in fabric. So what am I seeing a lot of this Spring? 

Chevrons – More than ever. They are clearly a go-to choice for quilters.

Solids – When I began quilting 20 years ago, I was taught to use solids to bridge the colors and patterns together in my quilts. They were usually the last choice to bring all the fabrics together.  We’ve made a 180 since then.
Solids are often now what a whole quilt is made of, and are not necessarily treated as a complimentary choice. 

Dots – They are everywhere also, and quilters can’t seem to get enough of them.

Pearl Bracelets – This pattern seems like another favorite go-to for stashing fabric.

Peach Tones – I am not seeing as much orchid as I would have thought. Pantone named the color of the season. I am seeing a lot of peach.

Umbrellas – I’m seeing a lot of umbrella themed fabric in mixed colors and black and white.

Foreign Stamps and Scenes – Lot’s of great 1930’s and 1940’s scenes and stamps from that era, in colors and black and white. They generally feature Paris, London, etc.

Pirates – Children’s picture books has experienced a huge popularity spike, and run for the last three or so years. Now I am seeing them show up in mainly juvenile fabrics, but not solely.

Fruits and Vegetables – They have always been popular. I’m seeing lots that have that 1930’s twist to it.
 
If you find something that you notice either in fabric prints, or colors, please leave a comment in my comment box below.  Thanks. 

Have a great weekend and Happy Quilting!!

Doodle Quilting – Book Review

Does free-motion quilting intimidate you? Does it make you say, “I’m going to send it out to someone else to be machine quilted?” Then looking back you wistfully regretted it, because you want to be able to say, “I did the whole thing myself?”

Have you become a really good hand-quilter to avoid free-motion quilting,and have found yourself moaning, “I could be finishing this a lot faster if I free-motion quilt this beautiful quilt?” (That is definitely me.)

Well worry no more. Cheryl Malkowski has written and illustrated an visually beautiful and easy to use book, Doodle Quilting; Over 120 Continuous-Line Machine-Quilting designs.











My husband loves to doodle and has been doing it for years. To be honest, I never really thought it could help me become a good free-motion
quilter. 



 

The “How to use This Book” section at the beginning will engage the reader and help them to feel more confident about mastering these skills. And that’s just on page 8-9. She recommends photocopying the patterns in the book that you plan to use. (I used tracing paper which worked really well too). By using one marker or two rigged into a cross; (see below), you will get the feeling of how to do this. It’s muscle and brain memory functions at work.

After a little practice, I was able to do it on a blank piece of paper. I know it seems hard to believe at first, but it works. I have faith in this because I’ve had quite a few orthopedic surgeries just in the last two years, and I discovered in physical therapy, how much my muscles remembered in learning how to walk again.

The first chapter of patterns covers, “Travelers.” They are too many to mention, so I’ll just name a few; loops, pebbles, echoing, flower petals, hooks and swirlies. 
























Cheryl gradually bumps the reader up to the next set of free-motion challenges; Boomerangs. Not real ones. Think organically about these shapes. They include many types of leaves, fruit, flowers with centers, (wild roses and daisies), flowers without centers, hearts, stars, Christmas trees, and ribbons, just to name a few.































In all 120 examples, she explains how to do it, and then how to think it through, while you are doing it. (See the little THINK box above, just underneath the petals? It’s kind of a left brain, right brain exercise. The fruit and the flowers have me really inspired. 


 

The third and fourth chapters covers Feathers and Ensembles, which are combinations of the what the reader learns and masters in earlier chapters.


The final chapter, “Making it Fit,” illustrates how do this by “getting in and out of points with travelers,” such as half square triangles. One of my particular favorites, which I’m sure I will try is “L’s and E’s in a boarder.” 

















Last but not least, she explains and shows how to do grid work in negative spaces. This is something I’ve been playing around with in creating some of my own quilt designs. I really appreciate further examples, inspiration and the opportunity to look at it, using this free motion technique.

















My other part-time job is that I am a part-time reference librarian. So I would be remiss by not mentioning certain details included in this book, that all readers appreciate. The illustrations are clear, and simply done using black print on a white background. In fact almost the entire book is black on white, with some lively periwinkle pages that begin a new chapter.

The other special feature is that each page edge is decorated with periwinkle sea scrolls, or C’s, which is a very attractive free motion technique. A very clever “traveller” to bring the reader from page to page.

I will use this book for many years to come, and refer to it often. I would say it’s a “must have”, even a “primer” for those who want to learn free motion quilting, gain confidence and beyond.

Happy Reading, and Happy Free-Motion Quilting!!