Thursday, September 30, 2010

Costumes, Hairraising & Haunted - New Fabrics in Our Stores

Halloweeeeeen! Click on the pictures to see a larger image, then click here to find the store nearest you.

Costume Club is SO full of possibilities. You've just got to have this Sheri Berry designed panel and coordinates from Northcott Fabrics! Start by carefully trimming the left side of the panel, then back it with a coordinate for a super welcoming door hanging. Now fuse web to the back of the sweet  masks on the right, fussy cut around each, fuse them onto foam core or card stock and hang them throughout the house. Or make a mask mobile or fuse them to a table runner backed with the cute owl print on the top or make pillows. See, SOOoo many possibilities. Available at our Bellevue, Everett, Northgate and Puyallup stores.

Panels, borders, coordinates and fun traditional motifs make Hairraising Halloween from Quilting Treasures versatile and timeless. Plan a quilt, treat bags, runners and more, but hurry - it's going fast!  Available at all our stores except Outlet on 4th.

Haunted House from Alexander Henry is a delightfully ghoulish collection of freaky friends and spidery coordinates (below). The Ghastlies shown above is a wonderful base for all things spooky including a shirt for you to wear. (Watch for a blog post about a charming shirt tomorrow!)

Leafless trees and spider webs to go with your Ghastlies, of course! More Haunted House from Alexander Henry. (Look for cats, too!) Click on the picture to see the detail. Haunted House is currently available and selling quickly at our Bellevue, Everett, Northgate & Puyallup stores.

Enjoy!  ~  Annette

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Halloween for your home: Mustard Moon Pillows

I made these Halloween pillows for our head buyer, Sharon, who has her birthday on Halloween.  They were so easy and super cute that I just had to share with you!

The pattern is "Mustard Moon Pillows" by Buttermilk Basin, and it includes directions and templates for both of these, plus one more, featuring a moon with a jack-o-lantern.  I chose these two because Sharon loves witches and I love owls.

The pattern is well-written and pretty easy - the only real change I made was that rather than using wool felts and hand-applique, I used ultrasuede squares and Steam-a-Seam 2 fusible web.   (I like my projects quick and extra-easy!)  I love the ruffly touch at the edges! 

 - Anna-Beth

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Clean up your cutting with rulers that don't slip!

I have wasted so much fabric with crooked cutting! I love my rulers and rotary cutter, but sometimes, as I cut strips and blocks, that darn ruler just twisted a little, and my cut wafted over to the left or right,  and I had to waste more fabric cleaning up the edge. 

Then one day I was checking out the Staff Picks at our Outlet on 4th store, and saw that someone recommended InvisiGrip to fix this problem.  I'd never seen this product before, and took some home to try it out.  It's basically a thin sheet of clear rubbery plastic, backed with paper - you just cut it to fit your ruler, peel it off the backing, and stick it to the back of your ruler.  That is all there is to it, and as if by magic, your ruler stays put, your cutting is immediately better, and you are no longer wasting fabric and time with slippery cuts. 

Invisigrip is sold in a piece 12 1/2" by 1 yard long, which was enough for me to do my two most frequently used rulers - my 12 1/2" square, and my 8 1/2" by 24" ruler. Since that initial purchase two years ago, I have bought one more package, which was enough to do most of my smaller templates and rulers. At only $5.99 a package, it is a great investment in saving yourself fabric and frustration. Yay Invisigrip!

 - Anna-Beth

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adventures With Evie: Kauai Sock Monkey Style

I love being soft! I fit so well into a suitcase and had a marvelous trip to Kauai, Hawaii last week with Ellen and her husband.

Pat made me a really hip Hawaiian print skirt before I left with Ellen and I insisted on an ear bow to go with it so I'd be really stylin'. Ellen calls it resort wear. So chic!

Here I am at the resort at Poipu Beach on the South Shore of Kauai. I sat on the railing to look around and I was glad to have a little help. I tried to hang on by myself, but it was kinda tough. There didn't seem to be any other Sock Monkeys around, but I had a really good time with the humans anyway. I think I look a little sunburnt here, but Ellen says it's just my natural rosy complexion. Ellen is so sweet! (By the way, Pat coordinates classes and teaches sewing at Everett and Ellen leads the Block of the Month Club and teaches quilting classes. That's why my wardrobe looks so good!)

Guess I'm going to Alaska next week - wherever that is. I hear it's cold, so I'm hoping the Everett human ladies are going to make me something warm. I love my skirt, but it is a bit breezy.

Gotta go monkey around now ~ Evie

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tuesday Tip: No More Tangles Binding Solution

There are few things more satisfying than sewing the binding on a quilt. You've finished with the piecing, sandwiching, quilting, and trimming, and all that is left is getting that binding on. But then you are confronted with the tangled pile of yards of binding, picking up scraps and stray threads (not to mention dog hair at my house!) from the floor as you work, and it takes some of the satisfaction away.  My lovely quilting friend Lynn gave me this awesome trick, and I use it all the time.

I keep an extra empty thread spool around - one of the larger ones, from a larger spool. I make my binding,  and wind it on the spool. 

There is a post on my sewing machine for using cone threads, or perhaps for a second spool for twin needle work - I usually just use mine to store extra empty bobbins.

When I am ready to sew on my binding, I just put the spool of binding onto that post, pull down the end that I am starting to sew on, and start stitching. The binding winds off smoothly, stays clean and untangled, and I get to enjoy putting the binding on.

Thanks Lynn, for the great suggestion!  I use it all the time - and now all of you can, too!

~ Anna-Beth

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Introducing: Adventures With Evie

Hey there, crafty humans! My name is Evie and I'm a Sock Monkey created by the ladies at the Everett Pacific Fabrics & Crafts store. I was born a couple of weeks ago and already I've heard that the human ladies will be taking me on all sorts of adventures in the next few months.

I started my adventures at a really cool meeting at the Pacific Fabrics offices recently. I learned about a lot of different stuff you can buy in their stores and what the new colors and trends are for Fall fashion. There are lots of people at the PacFab stores that can tell you about it. At the end, I got to sit by a gorgeous zebra purse and a pink polka dot tote bag from Moda and have my picture taken. I love this place!

My first trip will be to Hawaii - I'll tell you about that next week. Wonder if they'll make me a bikini? I always keep my ears wide open, so I'll let you know what else I hear, too!

Okay - see you soon! ~ Evie

New in Our Stores - Fun Flowers, Autumn Medley, Nest & Opal Owl!

Click on the pictures below to see a larger image, then click here to find the store nearest you.

Fun Flowers I & III (shown above) arrived a while back in typical bright and charming style from Lakehouse Dry Goods. You'll find this lively collection at all our stores (except Outlet on 4th) and I found a cool quilt pattern for you, too - look below!

Just click here to download a PDF for this great Pinwheel Party Quilt from the Lakehouse Dry Goods web site. Finished size is about 56" x 64".

I love this collection! It's just bursting with joyous images of falling leaves, newly ripe grapes and wind tossed twigs - perfect for a bit of cozy Fall stitching. Martha Negley designed this artistic Autumn Medley collection for Westminster Fibers and you'll find it now at our Everett, Bellevue, Northgate and Bremerton stores.

Valori Wells grew up in Sisters, Oregon absorbing the magic of her family's quilt store and thinking about the beauty of fabric. Nest, her newest collection for Free Spirit Fabrics is an appealing mix of great coordinates, lovely large scale prints and a beautiful panel that could easily stand all on it's own. You'll find Nest at our Bellevue and Northgate stores only and it's well worth the trip. Just look at the quilt you can make below!

Click here to download a PDF pattern for Valori's fabulous Nest Quilt Pattern! Finished size is approximately 80" x 80".

Whimsically wonderful Opal Owl from Free Spirit Fabrics is just pure fun! Ready to coordinate with oh-so-many of your favorite fabrics for quilting, home decor or dressing a sweet child! You'll find Opal Owl at our Bellevue and Northgate stores only.

Keep stitching!  ~ Annette

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Patterns for Children's Clothes - get more for your money!

My little baby girl has a sea of pink clothes - sweet blush tones, hot corals, lipstick strawberry shades - but I needed to spike it with a pair of black and white striped leggings. Searching the mall and the internet the closest I came was a pair of black and ivory striped pants, for $16.50. (Not bad for an adult, but considering how quickly she outgrows everything, so not worth it for baby clothes.) 

I found Kwik Sew pattern 3607 and recognized right away what a great deal it is. At $10.99 for the pattern, another $5.62 for 5/8yd of knit fabric, and $.99 for a pack of elastic, you might think I'm not so great at math. But the pattern has leggings, a shirt, and a jumper in five baby sizes! It's the only pattern I'll need for the next year to make Annika a whole wardrobe of cute pants, tops and dresses, perfect for layering. Plus, the leggings are super quick - I made my dream leggings in less than 20 minutes.

And Annika's so cute in them! She wore them all weekend, and stared with great delight at her graphically striped legs.

Children's clothing patterns are an amazing value if you use all the sizes.  Keep tracing paper (like my favorite, Bosal) on hand, trace pieces in the size needed onto the sturdy paper, transfer the markings, and keep the pattern till you need to go up a size, and trace the next one up! Mark your traced pieces with the pattern number and size so you can use them again and again.

Tracing patterns is a great way to make all of your patterns last - Bosal Paper can be sewn through, so you can try out fit before you slice into your beautiful fabrics.  And you'll save a ton of time if you learn to love rotary cutters - use a nice big cutting mat, pattern weights instead of pins and roll that blade around  for lickety-split cutting! We even have Roll-A-Pattern Markers to trace patterns with super-speed.

Next, I'm going to make Annika a striped shirt, but first I'm going to make her a little pair of jeans leggings - I found an awesome 'denim' at our Northgate store. that is a super-soft, stretchy knit. With a little gold thread detailing, she'll be rocking a little denim on her next hike with Daddy!

~ Anna-Beth

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Power of a Simple Dishcloth

A few weeks ago, Sharon, our general manager, lost her beloved mother, Brita. During the service, we heard how Brita shared her love for her friends and family by gifting them with hand knitted dishcloths. Sharon remembers seeing her Mom always busy - cooking, cleaning, baking wonderful cookies and, of course, knitting dishcloths. As a lovely gift for those at the service, there was a basket of Brita's cloths for us to choose from as we left. I chose the one below and already consider it a treasure.

My son is living batchelor style with a roommate and seems to have nothing more than torn towels to use as dishcloths in his dishwasher-less kitchen. So, I thought of Brita - always knitting. I took out her precious dishcloth, counted the stitches and began to knit. In no time at all I had one done and another one underway as you can see.

I'm working on more, too, and I hope that at the end of my life, a bit of knitted love will have impacted the lives of my children, too.  You see, we have Sharon running our company in great part, because of Brita. In their lives it was a simple formula:

Mother Knitting + Daughter Watching = Daughter Making Pacific Fabrics a Wonderful Place to Shop and Work For All Of Us!

Couldn't have been a better outcome. Thank you, Brita, for what you did and what you passed on!

Above are my next yarn choices for my son's dishcloths. You'll find a pattern for Brita's cloth and a close up of my current work-in-progress below. Go ahead! Knit some love and impact a life. It's a great way to give to the future and leave a bit of yourself behind!

Brita's Dishcloth

1 skein of Lily Sugar 'n Cream cotton yarn
Size 7 knitting needles (straight or circular will work)

Cast on 38 stitches.
Rows 1 - 10: Knit in garter stitch.
Rows 11 - 14: Knit 4, (purl 2, knit 2). Repeat ( ) until the last 4 stitches, knit 4.
Rows 15 - 18: Purl 4 (knit 2, purl 2). Repeat ( ) until the last 4 stitches, purl 4.
Continue alternating Rows 11 - 14 with Rows 15 - 18 until you have knit 46 rows total from the beginning
Rows 47 - 56: Knit in garter stitch.

Add more stitches and/or rows for more length or vary your pattern a bit - I bet Brita did that, too!

~ Annette

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sand in My Shoes & Fandango - New in Our Stores!

Sand in My Shoes from McKenna Ryan has arrived and it is shockingly gorgeous! Sumptuous Ombres and perfect coordinates to inspire your quilting hearts and stitches. Over 30 designs in all! From Hoffman Fabrics and available at all our stores (except Outlet on 4th). And then there are the quilt designs you can find on Hoffman's web site . . .

Woven Ribbons for Sand in My Shoes above. Click here to download the PDF instructions and . . .

A Day at the Beach for Sand in My Shoes. Click here to download the PDF instructions and . . . QUILT!

Also, just in - Fandango from Moda. Spicy little florals, swirls and allover go-withs just right for your Autumn stitching! You'll find these at our Bellevue, Everett, Northgate and Puyallup stores.

~ Annette

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Knitting for Baby

As a new mother, I often find it challenging to get time at my sewing machine.  My sweet smiling little dumpling turns into a screaming howler if set down too long, so my quilting is reserved for naptime and when Daddy is home to take over bouncing and playing duties.  Luckily, I have a hobby that she will allow a smidge more frequently: knitting! Since Annika is so kindly allowing me to knit, I repay her by knitting things for her!  Actually, knitting for baby is so fun, because those tiny projects just finish up so quick - I have never knit a sweater before, but she already has three from me now. 

The cute little one below is the Feather and Fan Baby Sweater, from the book 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders,  knit up in a skein of Pagewood wool/nylon hand-dyed sock yarn. Pagewood's generous yardage left me plenty to make her a little pair of baby socks to match. (If you click on the "baby socks" in the previous sentence, you will find a free pattern for baby socks!) I washed and dried this sweater in my normal washer and dryer, and had no noticable shrinkage! Yay superwash wools!

My sweet lil beanie!
Of course, this also illustrates the sad part about knitting for baby - At three months, she is not going to be squeezing into this little sweater much longer, and her big old hobbit-feet are already in  6 to 12 month old -sized socks!  But we have such beautiful yarns at our stores, and adorable patterns and books for baby clothes, so I will just keep making her new ones, although perhaps in too-big sizes, so she has time to grow.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Fabric collage: a Serendipitous new technique!

This past rainy weekend, I decided it was time to try a new technique in quilting.  I am not an art quilter - I tend to do simple, quick projects, with patterns all written out for me. But I have been longing to expand my crafting repertoire, and we recently got an amazing new book, Serendipity Quilts, that had a simple technique and stunning samples, and inspired me to give it a try.  So I took over the kitchen table with scraps, glues, scissors, and a simple picture of a moon from the book, and began to explore this style of fabric art.

At first, it was really hard to adjust to the freedom of this - since you are just cutting and gluing, precision and perfect cutting become unnecessary. And it was hard to see my fabrics as colors for my palette, rather than dots, plaids, or florals.  But as I got into it, I found that it was liberating.

One thing I was extra-glad I picked up for this was a "Tacky Pack" of glue -I wasn't sure which of the many tacky glues we carry to try, so I was excited to find this multi-pack of trial sizes - it was great to try them out, and when one bottle of glue got lost in the pile of scraps, I could always find another!  I wound up thinking that the regular tacky glue was the best for this project, as the fast dry and the quick grab were a little too quick to grab and dry, so if I changed my mind, I had trouble prying them off.

I stayed up late into the night, adding more sparking color to my project - it was so cool, and I love the way that it looks like a raggedy mis-matched mess up close, but when I hang it on my wall, it is the most gorgeous thing I've ever made out of fabric!
I haven't quilted it yet - I am looking forward to experimenting with layers of tulle to add even more color and dimension to this project.  My first foray into art quilting was truly exhilarating!  I am excited to stretch my creative wings, and Serendipity Quilts was just what I needed to get them going. If you would like to give it a try, the book is available at our stores (except the Outlet on 4th, but if you want to pick it up there, just let them know!  They'd be happy to order one up just for you!)

- Anna-Beth

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Shirt for San Francisco

When I came into work at the Bellevue store the other day a beautiful pink striped shirting by Moda was being put on the flat fold tables. I immediately asked to have 2 ½ yards cut for me. I didn’t know what I would do with it, but I wanted some!

Then I found McCall’s pattern M6035 for a shirt I have seen a couple of my favorite actresses wear in some movies I have watched recently. I love the pattern because it has separate pieces for A, B, C or D cup bra. I used to have to adjust the patterns myself.

I made a shirt in the pink striped Moda shirting and I love it. It looks great with the white jeans I made from our white bull denim. I used my old Calvin Klein jeans pattern from the 80’s –I never throw away a pattern—but we have lots of classes on how to fit pants, shirts and jackets in our new class catalogue. Check it out. Just be sure you pre-wash the bull denim and the shirting, too, for that matter.

We are going to San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend to see our daughter. I know I can’t wear white shoes after Labor Day, but is it okay to wear white jeans after Labor Day? Oh, well. I am sure my daughter will tell me.

~ Nancy

Friday, September 3, 2010

Knitting a Family Denim Tunic

Just thought I'd show you this cute little tunic sweater I knit as a project for our store Knitalong. I work at the Northgate store and since I don't know any kids of this size or age, I knit it as a sample for the store. So, you can come in and see it!

It's from the book Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick and it's called Family Denim Tunic. The pattern gives you sizes for the whole family, so it's very useful.

I used Red Heart Eco Ways yarn in Indigo, so it would be washable! Eco Ways comes in tons of colors, it's 30% Recycled Polyester & 70% Acrylic and we have it at all our stores. At $3.99 for a 4oz/186yd skein, it's very economical, too!

~ Leah

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Must Have Knitting Project for Fall!

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Tea with Debbie Bliss at the Everett store with my daughter. We both fell in love with the projects she shared and it really inspired me to get back into knitting. I have been knitting for awhile now, knitting mostly scarves, hats and the occasional pair of socks. Debbie’s amazing garments motivated me to broaden my horizons and try knitting a sweater.

I decided that maybe I wasn’t quite ready for a sweater but would try one of Debbie Bliss’ other projects and work up to the sweater. I fell in love with Debbie’s Glen variegated wool yarn and chose a project out of the Glen Book, the Snood (or cowl) which goes right along with the fashion trends for this Fall/Winter season.

The Glen Book by Debbie Bliss
I chose to use the same color as the model in the book, Peat Brown 03, which is a gorgeous taupe/brown. A few nights is front of the TV with my family and I had a finished cowl. I had never done cables before but with the great instructions from the book I had no problem especially after a few repeats! I would definitely recommend this project and I can’t wait to get started on my next Debbie Bliss pattern.

My daughter showing off the finished cowl.

The interesting cables that weave their way across the cowl.

~ Sharon