Tearing fabric Poll and Shopping On-line for fabric

Yesterday I posted about big box stores and local quilt shops. Today, let’s talk about shopping on-line for fabric.

But first, I want to thank my friend Judy.  She posted a comment on  yesterday’s blog post,  that you really must go back and read, along with my response!    The comment had to do with a local quilt shop “tearing” fabric instead of “cutting” fabric.   Her comment really fired me up on the subject, as you see in my posted reply.      Yesterday’s post   (Don’t forget to come back to finish reading this post!)

Where do you stand on that subject?  I have created a poll, and hope you will take a minute to answer!

Now, on to shopping ……

I have a “list” of people I do business with on-line who have been very trustworthy in their business model, quick to ship and well measured fabrics.

I am a regular online shopper with Hobby Lobby and Hancock Fabrics and have always had good experiences. Love the Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon you can use on up to 10 yards in a single cut.  I have done some online shopping with JoAnn’s also.  These “big box” online stores are fine, but what about others with a smaller presence?

I have ordered fabric on-line from Marshalls dry goods without any problem. It has been 2 years however.  I have also ordered online from Hancock’s of Paducah , and I love their catalogue they mail me once or twice a year.  My ordering from the Nancy Zieman website was less than satisfactory when an item I wanted was able to be purchased, then ended up being back ordered for more than 60 days. That order, I cancelled and won’t order again from her website, primarily because they never bothered to communicate with me.  Lousy customer service is a killer for me. I never go back.

There is a lovely quilt shop in Intercourse PA that I have visited and has an on-line presence — The Old Country Store  .  I have purchased both in the “brick and mortar” store as well as on-line and I highly recommend them.

Also in Intercourse PA (across the street and down 1 block) you will find Zook’s Fabric Store.  This store recently consolidated with another old Amish store – Sauders Fabrics.  Sauders has modernized the way Zook’s was run, with computerized inventory etc.  I have purchased fabric in both “brick and mortar stores” as recently as last fall.  I have never ordered on-line from Sauders Fabrics; but would venture a guess that they are going to manage your purchase in the same manner as in the store on Old Lancaster Pike.  Their website says “ We have successfully remodeled and completed, the Merger of Sauder’s Fabric Store into Zook’s Fabric Store, Inc.”  They carry all the major brands of fabric, and I like seeing the MODA fabric for $8.99/yard instead of $12+.  Note – Lancaster County PA is a great place for a spring shopping trip!!! Sauders is charging a flat shipping charge which is quite reasonable. They also carry wide backings for quilts at very reasonable prices.  So, visit their on-line store and see if you can find something pretty!  Look for their sale “codes” on the homepage too.  Sauder’s Fabric

Today I tripped over a “new” online store when I was reading a blog post on Jo’s Country Junction . Jo was excited about the arrival of a package of fabric from Whittles Fabrics .  So, after I read her post I had to go search out this fabric store.  This is a brick & mortar store in Kentucky with an on-line shopping presence and again, flat shipping costs.  I liked the prices per yard for those name brands like Moda, Benertex and Henry Glass in the $5-8 per yard.

There are many more on-line fabric stores that I have visited, but only as a “window shopper”. My email box is full of their ad’s on a daily basis.  It is hard to pick through them all, and know which ones are really ones you want to spend your hard earned money at.  What are your favorite on-line shops??  Why do you like that particular shop?  Are there any that you would urge others to avoid??  Do tell……………….

Oh, and if you are ever going to Lancaster County PA for a shopping trip, I know a few other places…….

Oh, one more thing….Do you watch the super-bowl or will you be quilting????

I love my STASH (fabric that is) and Row by Row

I just read the funniest blog post titled “State of the Stash 2016” written by Barbara at www.stashoverflow.wordpress.com !!

Be nice and finish mine first, then you can go back and read Barbara‘s!

My comment to Barbara was “I am still laughing!!!!! I keep trying to explain the Row-by-Row “frenzy” to my husband. It was well defined by your post and he now understands what a great marketing scheme it is, to get quilters all worked up and out on the road into the quilt shops!! I too have fallen off the wagon already, big time. I am working on a mystery quilt with FROM MY CAROLINA HOME . wordpress.com and it is a scrap buster….except…I needed neutrals….lots of them. Like 6 yards! And how boring is it to shop for neutrals, so of course I had to buy something else! Go sew, have fun, play with your fabrics and tackle those bindings without guilt. Retirement usually means less money to play with, so I am glad you have a STASH to work with, and the resources to pick up a few bits and pieces, here and there!”

I am certainly glad for my stash of fabric, and glad for the bins and bags of scraps that have been “gifted” to me in the last couple of years.  I try to be a “good steward” when buying fabric for the quilts we make at church for our graduates, and bargain shop at every opportunity.    Retirement does mean “less money” for our hobbies and “more time” to pursue the hobby.  I am glad I “stocked up” before I retired.

You may remember that I wrote about listening to a shop owner, trying to explain ROW-BY-ROW to the listeners at a recent meeting of Helping Hands Quilt Guild.  Honestly – if it brings people into the shop, it is a GREAT marketing ploy!!!   My experience with the Row – by – Row was to pick up a license plate for a lady I didn’t even know and mail it to her.  Her big brother was soliciting friends to help her get one from every state, and they would be reimbursed for the cost of the plate and the mailing costs. Someday, I hope to see what she does with them all.  I listened to a lady at the guild meeting talk about how she loved some of the Row-by-Row patterns being handed out in shops out on the West Coast of the USA, and was unhappy that she couldn’t get a copy.  The speaker at the guild talked about ways people were trying to “cheat the system” to get their free pattern. For example, the person who called and claimed she was disabled and couldn’t get to the store; that also contacted more than 30 stores, trying to get the pattern.   Others who just could not understand why the particular store they were standing in front of had the NERVE to be closed on Sundays, etc.  So,  the buzz is real, the frenzy that Barbara wrote about is real, and I am so glad I didn’t “get on that roller coaster”.   My guess, the quilt shops see a low customer volume in the summer, and this is a great way to get live, breathing bodies in the store! Good for them and congrats on a great marketing tool.

So, one of the great debates I read about on line is the big box store vs the local quilt shop.  With the news of the 2nd bankruptcy filing by Hancock Fabrics ( news link )and the immediate closure of 70 of it’s 260 brick and mortar stores, you wonder how the great discounts and coupons and deals will all work out in the long run.  Stores like Hancock Fabric and JoAnn’s have branched out into far more than “fabric store”. With the additional crafting items, jewelry, yarn, decorator items, they off much more than the local quilt shops can. Additionally, they offer variety and volume.  Trust me, I love the 20% off on senior citizens day; and all the other coupon specials; and I hate to pay $12-14 per yard at the local quilt shop.   I do have to “wander the fabric aisles” to find good quality fabric and often “fill my cart”.  My recent excursion on Wednesday cost me about $56.  My receipt said I saved $54.  So, I wonder how you can stay in business with that model.    Yes, I do shop the local quilt shop, and occasionally buy the $12/14 per yard fabric.  More often though, I wait for those shops to have a sale and then I pounce.  This is an expensive hobby, no doubt about it.  I guess that is why I am such a “scrappy person”.   So, with the demise of big box stores, I think the local quilt shops will benefit. As it is, where I live, it is a 30 mile ride to the big box store, and only 12 miles to my nearest local quilt shop.  I have 2 in my circle of life, one 15 miles away in another direction.  I also love to shop at quilt shows, looking for the latest gadget, and I have been known to order fabric from online shops.

What do you do? Shop local? Shop big box? or Shop on line?

Not much new

This is “quilt guild week” for me, with a meeting on Monday morning of Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes DE.  I do the “Second time around” table.  I spent  4 solid days prior to the meeting organizing, cutting, trimming, ironing, measuring, marking and pricing fabrics that have been donated to the guild.   I fill my husband’s SUV to the ceiling with containers of fabric the night before the meeting and then arrive at 8 am to set up and sell these pieces to the members of the guild.  I emptied 3 full containers of fabrics, and the members all got a “great” deal.  It is so much fun to play with the pretty fabric!!  Of course, I want to keep it all, but this is not possible!  So, I sell it and get to play with it as I go.  Monday night I went North to another guild meeting, this time with Helping Hands Quilt Guild of Dover DE. This was a postponed meeting from January.  My friend June is a member of that guild and has not been driving at night, so I accompanied her and joined a 2nd guild!  Generally they meet the 4th Monday of the month, so it was odd to have 2 meetings in one day for me.  Good speakers at both meetings.  At Ocean Waves we had a speaker who discussed the Delaware Quilt Registry, and at Helping Hands we had a speaker who discussed requirements for entering a quilt into the Delaware State Fair. There was a 2nd speaker at Helping Hands, the owner of a local sewing center, who told everyone about the history of the ROW BY ROW shop hops and how it has grown to become a nationwide event from June 21 to Sept 8.  It was interesting to hear more about something that is getting quilters out shopping!

Speaking of shopping – I went on a “fabric store run” on Wednesday when Hancock Fabrics has their Senior Citizen Discount!  I was in need of some trim for a project.  My friend Nancy and I managed to get out of the store without breaking the bank.  Hancock Fabric’s is in the news lately with discussion of closing stores and filing for bankruptcy. I will be disappointed if we lose the store in Salisbury MD.

There really is “not much new” going on in  my quilt studio that I can talk about.  I am “sworn to secrecy” on a pattern I am testing for a fellow blogger.  I have made the project, sent in my commentary about the pattern and now must wait for the pattern to be published before I reveal the item.  I will give you a peak at the fabrics I used however~!~ I decided when I went for the trim at Hancock’s to just go ahead and get some nice fabric and not go into my stash. Fabric selection

Gavin by Bryant Industries

The graphic patterned fabric is a nice linen which will be lovely for the purpose of this particular item.

I have also been working on a quilt top that was made by an elderly dear friend.  She handed it off to me to “finish for her” last fall.    She had done a series of blocks and 9 patches around a panel (it was a kit in the 90’s I am certain).  When she got the kit, she couldn’t get the border fabric that coordinated with the medallion in the center panel.  I have been picking up fabric ever since she handed this quilt off to me, and giving her some ideas on how I could finish it.   I spent some time with her on Monday afternoon and managed to get  a decision from her.  She decided she wanted the wider dark  purple on first, and then a lavender.  So, yesterday I managed to get going with what you see here.  (I know it looks a bit hot pink in the camera, but it is a lovely tone on tone lavender that picks up the colors in the roses).  I have a beautiful green to finish it off with, but I am at a standstill.  She has a friend, an Amish hand quilter, who finishes her projects, and in the case of a bed quilt, will make it more like a bedspread than a quilt, by boxing the corners etc.  So, next week it goes back to my friend, for decisions about how she wants it finished and by whom.  I have seen 2 quilts that she has in her home with the type of finish the Amish lady does, and it is probably better that I hand it over so it suits her.  This has been a challenge for me as the original piecing is challenging to work with.  There are “bubbles” and without taking her quilt apart and resewing it all, I can’t get it to lie flat.  So, I did the best I could with it, and it is what it is!  I’ve ironed it dry. I’ve steamed it.  I’ve starched it. I’ve sprayed it with Best Press and let it air dry.  I don’t know what else to do with it to try to get the “bubbles” out of her piecing.

Working on borders

2nd round of borders on June's quilt

I am still working on my half square triangles for the Scrap Dance Tango mystery.

More HST to trim

I have about 600 finished in a box in the sewing room.  This picture has  300 in the box on the right, and another 100 or so in the box on the left.  We are at the trimming stage, and I tend to do this in the kitchen. (I will need a total of 1430 for the project. )  I have a nice little travel iron that I bring in the kitchen and use my travel pressing mat and work on them in the early morning or late evening.  I have everything pressed that is stitched, so I am back to trimming again.

I still have another 500 or so to put together.  I picked up some more tone on tone neutral fabric when I was at Hancock Fabrics on Wednesday.   I decided to collect my scraps as I trimmed to put in a mesh bag for the birds.  This is a stretchy mesh that a bundle of shallots came it.  When it is full, I will hang in the tree for the birds in the spring.  I read somewhere they like bright bits for their nests.

trimming slivers

I have one more “grandchild” project I need to get busy with before I venture off to Texas in a bit over a week!  I was asked MONTHS ago to make a new “BATMAN” cape; and that child is having a birthday while I am visiting!  Grandma better get busy!

Meanwhile, my Allietare Mystery Quilt still hangs on the design wall, waiting for me to redirect my focus back to it!

What are you working on???

Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Website

Helping Hands Quilt Guild Website

Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt

I jumped in with both feet and got underway with the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt.  This quilt was designed and presented by Carole at From My Carolina Home blog on WordPress.  There is a button on my sidebar to the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt , or you can follow this link-Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt .  This will take you to the first clue.

mystery is always fun, because you have no idea what you are making, you just need a level of trust in the designer.  This is my 3rd project that Carole has designed, so I trust her instructions.  What I don’t trust is my sanity!!  I still have the Bonnie Hunter Allietare Winter Mystery Quilt up on the design wall;  Blocks constructed  but not assembled.  And of course, there are the other UFO’s that beg to be finished….but, what can I say….I love a mystery.  (See my GOODREADS book list if you don’t believe me!)

Let me tell you about clue # 1.  All the cutting for the quilt is done in clue # 1.  Did I mention that I am jumping in and doing a KING SIZE??   (CRAZY…..)  I looked and looked at that chart before I jumped in, trying to decide if I was up for the piece count.  I decided I LIKE big quilts, so why not! (DISCLAIMER –  I have 1 king size waiting on final borders – Summer in the Park – a retreat project from 2013, the Allietere and THIS project!  It was recently suggested to me that I need to get a bunch of “big quilts” finished, and take a trip to California to visit my favorite sister-in-law and brother, and use her long arm!  What incentive!)

I still need to cut about 115 more 3″ squares, and I am eyeing the bag of green scraps for that last batch. I need 715 -medium to dark 3″ squares; and have 600 cut. As I was looking at the ones I cut last week, I realized there was a color missing! There is a little green showing with a print that had a lot of red and gold, but I think I will dig deep in the green scrap bag.

I enjoy making half-square triangles when they are a size that works with my June Tailor Perfect Half Square Triangle ruler. It only works with 1/2 inch finish sizes, so I couldn’t use it with the Allietare Quilt, and I ended up using the conventional trimming methods.

Trimming using the June Tailor Perfect half square triangles ruler

Last night I got 100 squared up.

First 100 2.5" HST ate trimmed. 1330 to go.

I am going to follow the advice Carole gave in the instruction, and work a batch every day or so. She did say that we can work on these over the course of the next couple of months.  Good thing, because I have other projects underway, and the dreaded UFO list too! (I am going to write a post about my UFO Challenge with my quilt bee on another day!)

I have sewn a lot – and have a basket full ready to be trimmed.

Many more ready to trim

The “waiting to be sewn” basket is still full, and I still have those 115 green squares to cut, and about 435 more neutral 3″ squares to cut as soon as I pick up some more neutral fabric.

This clue also has a large quantity of 2.5″ squares to be cut, both neutral background and medium dark.  I will be looking in my containers of 2.5″ squares first to pull what might be appropriate for those pieces.  I did cut a few of the smaller squares when I was working the scraps to get the 3″. Sometimes you just have a bit that won’t go to 3, and I was able to get 2.5″ out of it, so it all works out.  No waste in my world. And, I haven’t run out of scraps!

Disclaimer — All the neutrals are coming from yardage, as I just don’t have that volume in scraps.  The medium and dark squares did come straight out of my scrap storage system (ala Bonnie Hunter method) or from the wonderful scrap bags that are gifted to me by my friends.

Scrap Dance Tango Mystery Quilt is spread out over 6 MONTHS, which, hopefully, will make it easier to work it in and around other projects.  I think I am going to “limit” my posts about this project to 2  per month.  I will let you have a peak at where I am “today” and then I won’t post again until near the time of the next clue, which is the 2nd Friday of the month.  Carole said she will be putting together a “linky party”, so those who follow her blog and are making this quilt can share their own blog postings with each other.  I do enjoy looking at the photo’s the other quilters have posted so far on FLICKR. I do enjoy seeing the fabric choices others are making.   My pictures will be with the group, or can be seen by clicking thru my WordPress posts.

The snowstorm is over here in Delaware, the outdoors looks serene with the coating of snow and downright cold today!  But the sun is shining, the sky is blue and we only have broken branches scattered around the yard from the last 48 hours of high winds. We are very lucky we are not near the water.  It was a full moon when this storm came in, and the tides were extremely high.  All along coastal communities there is terrible flooding where dunes were breached and sea water came into the streets, stranding people in their homes and flooding cars and shops.  Today is “clean up day” outside, so there won’t be a lot of sewing time.

What is going on in your sewing room and outside your window today?

The last one

I have set aside any quilting until I finished the “last one” – so here it is:  Size small Simplicity pattern 1562

This Simplicity pattern, # 1562,  was multi size, from adult to youth to child.   I chose the size child small for a 3 1/2 year old.  I use the alphabet settings on my Janome and make size tags, so the mommy knows.

I chose the child medium for the 5 1/2 year old

Grandma project complete

and a child large for the nearly 8 year old


I am so glad the mommy checked the measurements I took in August!   They all have reasonable hems for length.  These will go out in the mail this very soon.

I finished the “last one” about 7 pm Wednesday, and then I did quilty things until after midnight.  I did mention that I am going to start the Scrap Dance Tango Mystery quilt being run by Carole on her blog – From My Carolina Home.  If you click the button on the sidewall of my post it will take you to the first group of directions.

I printed out the directions for the cutting Wednesday night, and got busy.  I first pulled out my bin of cut 3″ squares; and pulled all the darks out of it.  Came out with about 100.  Then I started with the scraps on the back of my cutting table and got another 100 3″ squares cut.  Then to the scrap bags that were awaiting “scrap management” and cut from the first bag the deep golds and browns. Then I moved on to the “bag of blacks” and cut a bunch…and at this point I lost count.  I was able to get some of the 2.5″ squares cut as well, and a few smaller 2″ strips for the storage system.  About midnight I thought I would delve into my neutrals, and I know I am going to have to take that from yardage.  Somewhere along the line I looked at the number of Half Square triangles required, and thought – maybe I don’t want to do king size……..but, heck…I have 600 cut; and only need 715 for the king size!!

600 - 3" Squares from the Scrap basket . Need Another 115.

Fast forward from Wednesday night to Friday night….I decided to “go for it” and do the king size.  I pulled my neutral fabric, got the calculator out, and figured I needed over 3  yards for the 715 neutral blocks.  So, I am cutting what I have, and will add to the collection as the opportunity presents.  Took about an hour to cut about 280 neutral 3″ squares from yardage. I love my June Tailor Shape Cut Plus!  Easy way to cut a lot at a time!  First strips, then squares.    Still need to cut more, but I was on a schedule! Yardage is easy and fast to cut with the June Tailor Shape Cut Plus.  When I cut scraps, I usually have the standard 6×24 ruler out.  And those scraps all needed to be starched and ironed! Slow cutting, which is why I was at it from 7 pm to after midnight on Wednesday!

280 squares cut, need 715

After dinner tonight, I got “busy” with my June Tailor Perfect Half Square – Quarter Square Triangle ruler….first to mark the stitching lines……I had to highlight the edges of the fabric with pink, and the marking lines in green so it was more visible in the photo.

Working on marking my HST. Love using the June Tailor perfect HALF-Square and Quarter square Triangle Ruler,need 715 of these.

I did my marking while catching up on a few t.v. shows we missed during the busy week!  Marking the stitch lines for half square triangles Love watching Chicago Fire/Chicago PD/ and Chicago MD.  Nearly all of the 280 are marked.  I will chain piece them through with some of those 600 “dark squares tomorrow.  Trimming takes the time!  I know they will go fast!

We are getting the big “snow” storm that the talking news heads are going on about. Snow started around 2 pm on Friday, and it is still going, about 6 inches so far.  Good excuse to stay in and sew; except I have to “go out to go in” upstairs of the garage.

Hope you stay warm & dry. What are your sewing plans for this weekend?


Another finish for the grandkids

I just finished this!!

Grandma project complete

I had this bathrobe all cut out last week, and had the “hems” of the sleeves, and the hems on the facing already done, so today was “some assembly required” sewing.   I think I am getting this pattern figured out.  I haven’t had a chance in a couple of days to get out to the sewing room to just “sew”, and I knew this would go quickly once I did.  (Ok…like, 4 hours …but hey, it is done!)  This is the same pattern as the “STAR WARS” robe I posted last week. (That post is here if you missed it – Star wars robe)  So, have grandchild # 1 and 2 taken care of.     Now, I need to cut out and sew the “size small” for the littlest grandchild!  I can’t wait to bundle them up and get them in the mail as soon as the mommy gives me a thumbs up with mailing instructions. (They are settling into a new residence, so I must be patient) .   Fingers crossed the size small can be done tomorrow afternoon!

Yes, my Allietare is still hanging there on the design wall, waiting for the blocks to be stitched into rows, but it will have to wait a bit. I have a couple of other “must do’s” on the schedule before I can get back to it.  And oh, by the way….not that I need to start “another” project, but have you seen the button on the right side of my wall for the Scrap Dance Tango???   Carole at From My Carolina Home has another SCRAPPY MYSTERY QUILT starting this month, and that button will take you to her page with the cutting instructions. (If you are reading this on a mobile device, you might not see the button – so here is the link:

 Scrap Dance Tango!

And you know me, I love a good mystery, and I love scraps!  This mystery will take place over 6 months, with instructions coming out the 2nd Wednesday FRIDAY  of the month.  Hoping I can get started and keep up.  I do like her mystery projects, as I can often fit them “in between” other things.  I will plan on getting some cutting done this week; and work with the huge number of half square triangles that quilt requires.  Oh my, what size to plan for????  I guess it will be another king size….because I am always up for a big project.

This was my “view” today from my sewing room window…..not much accumulation, but enough to load up the branches and look pretty.  Snow today! The view from my sewing room

Meanwhile, what are you doing today in your sewing room?


Setting Triangles again

Yesterday I wrote a long post about “setting triangles”.  While I was working on something else on my computer I tripped over this great graphic I saved a while back.    I’m sorry that I don’t know who to credit as the source. ( My apologies if it was your chart.  )  disclaimer – accuracy is not assured!

setting triangles

Feel free to save it, for quick reference. If you click on the photo, it will take you to my FLICKR page and I believe you can download it from there.

Hope you have a fine stitching day! We are getting ready for a first “real snow” this afternoon.