Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Elves are Busy!

Just 2 days to wait!  First thing Monday morning, we will 
commence with The 12 Days of Christmas event!

This is the best way to stuff your own stocking, 
or the stocking of a special person in your life.
Each morning, we will present an item with a special discount 
or feature.  If you are on our email list, it will appear in your inbox.
It will also be displayed here on our blog
and on our website homepage.
If you want to sign up for our email list, just pop over to the 
website homepage.  Right in the middle of the page there is
a box to enter your address.  While you are at it, 
click to like us on Facebook, too!  We never know what 
Debbie is going to post there, it could be a notice of 
a special sale, a donation for a local charity, or
her big fish!

So check back Monday, and every day for the following 12 days,
to get your Christmas shopping underway!  Or maybe you want to just 
casually direct the attention of your spouse/friend/partner/significant other/family member
 to our website and blog so they know what to shop for!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Donations Needed

Tomorrow morning our doors are open with discounts on many items. That makes a fun day for shoppers. Hopefully it will also be a good day for the White Bear Lake Foodshelf!  We ask that you bring a donation of food and/or money to add to our collection boxes. There is a lot of good to be done with very little stress or inconvenience for you. We welcome you Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm. That's Nov. 22 & 23. See you there! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Short Stories

Here is a not-so-short story about Short Stories!
We get many types and varieties of pre-cut fabrics, but by far the #1 choice is the "Charm Square Pack".  If you are unfamiliar with this concept, just hang around a quilter for 10 minutes and you will probably hear a reference to "charms" or "charm pack".  These are terms that have become associated with a stack of 5" squares, stemming from a stroke of brilliance on the part of some clever marketing person behind the scenes at Moda Fabrics.  As far as I can tell, this is where the packs originated.  They became a good method to capture a little bit of all of the fabrics within a specific design collection, usually upwards of 25 prints coordinated around a theme.

I'm not totally sure of why they picked this name, Charm, but I think it might go back further in the history of quilting.  There is a group or type of quilts called "Charm Quilts" or "One Patch Quilts".  

The distinction of these quilts is that they are made entirely of one shape (square, triangle, hexagon, etc.) and very often with no repeated fabrics.  The makers of these quilts often carried on a lively trading habit with friends and strangers to acquire so many different prints.  If you have any old quilting magazines, I mean really antique like from the 70's, you will find little ads in their "classified" section, making a request for anyone to send squares or scraps of a certain size to someone wanting to add to their charm quilt fabrics.

Fast forward to the present, when the charm square quilt can take on many more meanings, but usually centered on the concept of the 5" square and parts thereof.  Not sure where the arbitrary measurement of 5" came from, but it seems to stick.  Usually these packs are diecut by the manufacturer, and come to us all neatly stacked and fastened together with a label of some sort identifying the maker/designer.  They usually contain 42 squares in the Moda packs, but the numbers can vary by manufacturer, so be alert to that if you are shopping.  And the price will reflect that.

There are those among us who love to collect fabric, and picking up these little charm packs has created a whole new opportunity for collectors!  Often, we fall in love with a certain group of fabrics from a designer, and would love to have it all.  But with fabric groups composed of 30 and often more prints, that can be real hard to buy even 1/4 yard of each.  Enter the amazing charm pack that lets you own a little bit of each one!  The patterns that have been written to make good use of the 5" squares have proliferated and offer many choices.  But you really don't have to make anything with your collection, they can be perfectly fine just stacked with their friends in your fabric stash, just perfect for dreaming and planning for that next perfect quilt!

One of our favorite fabric companies is Anthology Fabrics, especially for their wonderful richly colored batiks.  (For a quick refresher on a popular blog post about batiks, click here.)  We have just received in some new charm square packs of their assorted batiks, and these would be a wonderful addition to your collection!  They call their collections "Short Stories", because every quilt tells a story.  FYI, they are also running a competition for some great prizes if you have made a quilt with their pre-cut fabrics and yardage.  However, the deadline is 12/15/13, so there is no time to waste!

Here are some samples of the packs we have on hand:

The back of the pack shows each of the colors it contains.  They are all nicely encased in a plastic wrapper, which we love at the store because the fabric dust that results from all of those cut edges really adds up!

If you are looking for a great way to store your own treasured charm squares in the style they deserve, these little ArtBin boxes are perfect!  They also make a super gift idea for a fellow fabri-holic, filled to the brim with 5" squares!

And Christmas is just around the corner, so instead of making your quilting buddy a quilted gift, just give her the box full of squares and let the creativity go wild!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Zombies Are Among Us

Halloween may have come and gone (thank you!) but we still have some zombies among us.  I know this is kind of a niche appeal, but I'm sure there are some quirky quilters out there that have been waiting with baited breath for news that these fabrics have arrived!  They are really not very scary after all, and come with some practical advice, too, kind of like a Public Safety Announcement.  I did not know that zombies can't climb trees.  But that's what the fabric says, so now I have a plan in place in case of a zombie attack.  I have lots of big trees at my house, so I can get myself and quite a few others to safety.  What a relief!  Do you have a zombie attack plan?