Wednesday, February 18, 2015


We received a boatload of new Island Batik pre-cut bundles, and these little roly-poly guys are a new (to us) item.  Each roll contains 4 batik strips that are 5" x the width of the fabric.  4 different fabrics.  Neatly packaged and ready for your collection!

Island Batik 5" strip bundles are $11.50 each.

I like the little swirls on the ends!  There's some good variety, so there must be something there for everybody!

If you want to do the math, each bundle would yield about 32 - 5" squares.  Not quite as big as a standard "charm pack".  But what a great way to pull in some little bits of additional colors to something that calls for 5" squares.

Interested in more quilt patterns for 5" squares?  Since this has become a very popular size and they come direct from the manufacturer to us, there are an abundance of patterns written for them.  You will find them in many places, but one good spot to go to is the Moda Bake Shop website.  They have a lengthy list of free patterns for you to consider.  Have fun!

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Gypsy Wife

Progress has been made!  I have sewn up the February blocks that I had up on the design wall and it feels good!  I'm actually done before the month is done!

 I am basing my color choices on some fabric from a line of fabric by Moda, the PB&J group by Basic Grey.

One of the key pieces is a large floral.  From this print I am putting together some assorted coordinates.  Some of them are pieces of the same group, some of them are from my own shelves.  I am grouping them by color here.





and lights--

These should carry me for most of this quilt, in various amounts.  Something like this just takes a little trial and error to get it right.  And patience!  And a bigger box!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Gypsy Wife Quilt

I have been bitten by the Gypsy bug!  And I want you to be bitten, too!

There is a quilt by Jen Kingwell that caught my attention awhile ago, but I didn't have a pattern.  It looked like a lot of fun to make, but did I really need to take on another quilt project?  I already have more completed quilts and more quilts-in-progress than any one person should have!  But then, I saw the pattern at retreat and Nancy just flaunted it at me the whole time.  Who could resist?  

So, we found out that Jen Kingwell is now a designer for Moda Fabrics.  And at Houston Quilt Market last fall, we met her and loved looking at her samples and designs.  Below is the Gypsy Wife Quilt covering a table.

And both Debbie and I agreed that her fabric designs (below) were something we really liked, so it has been ordered for Bear Patch and is supposed to be released in April.  Keeping my fingers crossed that we will get an early shipment.

Gardenvale by Jen Kingwell for Moda

With her connection through Moda, her patterns are more readily available and less expensive without shipping from Australia.  You can call Bear Patch (651-429-1039) to order your own pattern.  Here's a picture of the entire quilt, not the designer's original quilt but made by someone else and posted on Flickr with other gypsy quilt pictures.

So, I have a plan.  Well, actually, I am following a plan made by someone else.  On the Factotum of Arts blog there is a schedule to make all of the blocks over a year's time.  I think I can do this!  How about you?!  We can stay in contact and share pictures back and forth via email and our blog.  It's easy to hop on the Gypsy bus because the first month's task is to pick fabric.  And the fabric I picked is not a complete picture of what I want to use, but it's enough to get me going.  And gives me a good excuse to both shop my own stash as well as pick up new goodies as they come to Bear Patch!  I'll take a picture of my fabric selection and put it here for you to see.  And maybe take some inspiration to start your own!

If you visit the Factotum of Arts blog, you can even print out the schedule for the year.  For February, the task is to make the blocks below:

February blocks

I have them up on the design wall so I can see if the colors are what I want and where I want.  There is one large block, and I even found a "P" (for Pam!) to put in the center to begin the process.  Then 6 small pinwheel blocks, with borders added to 4 of them.  So far, the directions have been good and the process painless.  And the month isn't even done yet!  Next month will be another large block and 6 different small ones.  Easy!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What Do All Those Numbers and Letters Mean?

It's time to help you decipher the code from the end of the fabric bolt!  Not every bolt is the same, which adds to the mystery.  And there are 2 parts to understand, one from the manufacturer and one from Bear Patch.  
The manufacturer's label will show the company name in easy-to-read text.  The rest of it is tiny (keep your reading glasses handy) and informative if you give it a chance.

First, the manufacturer's label, printed directly on the cardboard and glued in place with bolt-specific info.  This can contain various bits of information, depending on the company.  It might include:

  • the common name of this fabric and maybe the designer
  • an identifying number/letter code from the manufacturer, often called the item ID
  • the width of the fabric (estimated)
  • how many yards of fabric were wound on the bolt originally
  • UPC label/barcode
  • fiber content
  • fabric care instructions
  • the contact information for the manufacturer

And on the Bear Patch sticker, placed on the side of the bolt next to the end:

  • the Item ID from the manufacturer.  We often abbreviate what the manufacturer created as the original Item ID since we have only an itty-bitty space to print it!
  • The year and month that the fabric was put on the shelf at the store
  • UPC label/barcode
  • the manufacturer's name of the fabric
  • the price per yard
Here are a couple more examples to illustrate the variety of labels we see.  The orange batik bolt includes the name of the designer, Jason Yenter.  The name of the fabric group, floragraphix, is kind of a trademark for him because his fabric designs often include "graphix" in the name.  There is a handwritten number "12" on the label.  This is not the price, it is the yardage on the bolt.  That leads to confusion sometimes for customers.  Always be sure to ask if you aren't sure of the price, we don't want any surprises at the register any more than you do!

 And this one includes the designer's name (Kaffe Fassett).  But don't let that red X confuse you into thinking that this is a marked down bolt.  We do mark our sale bolts in red marker with the price per yard, not an X!

Here's a bit of trivia: you might notice the little tiny "Coats" almost cut off the right side of the picture.  The Coats company owns Rowan and Free Spirit fabrics, as well as Susan Bates, Anchor and Red Heart yarn.  And you thought they just made thread!
So there you go, more about bolt labels than you ever wanted to know!