Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Wardrobes and a Pattern Sale!

As the seasons are already starting to change here in Michigan (we're already experiencing temperatures below 60, it's rough) we've got fall wardrobes on the brain. I'm excited for cozy layers and not having to worry about boiling to death outside. So I've uncovered patterns for some awesome pieces I'd love to add to my wardrobe this fall!

Liesel & Co's Metro T-Shirt

First, Liesel & Co's Metro T-Shirt is a great staple year round. With a super simple fit and options for short or long sleeves, the Metro tee is something you could wear every single day. There's even a pattern for a men's cut!

And a men's version!

The Meridian cardigan by Imagine Gnats is exactly the kind of cardigan I want to cocoon myself in for the duration of the long cold season up here. The pattern suggests medium weight jersey (like all these yummy jersey knits or gorgeous Anna Maria Horner overlock knits). Plus it's reversible so it's practically like sewing one garment and walking away with two.

Ah yes, the perfect cardigan cocoon for fall.

This Late Lunch Tunic is the perfect top to pair with leggings-- for days when real pants just aren't going to make the cut. I love the look of the sample made up with chambray. This would look and feel awesome in Peppered Cotton for a similar heathered solid look! If that's not your thing, or maybe your seasons are not quite as harsh as they are here in Michigan, this would be awesome made out of lawn or voile (like how gorgeous would it be in this Gramercy voile?)

With leggings or jeans, this tunic is perfect cozy for fall weather!

Let's not leave out the kiddos! Blank Slate's Basic Blazer and Figgy's Nituna swing line coat are adorable staples for stylish little ones. These would be great made out of a bit heavier substrate like a cotton-linen blend or oxford. That Nituna coat would be adorable with one of the Alice in Wonderland oxfords!

The perfect little boy's blazer
For the fashionable little ladies in your life!

Now through the weekend you can take 10% off all pattern orders with the code PATTERN10! Time to start stitching! 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Paint by Carrie Bloomston is in stock!



So excited to say that Paint by Carrie Bloomston (of SUCH Designs) is in stock here at Pink Castle Fabrics! This collection is so unique and definitely caught my eye at spring Quilt Market, I'm thrilled to finally see it on our shelves.

Paint Brushes in Light Multi

This collection is (surprise surprise) paint inspired. With brushes, color wheels, and paint swatches, you can see how all the elements of this collection came together.

Paint Swatches in Multi-- my personal favorite print in this line!
Circle Clippings in Grey


Paint also includes a text print and I know everyone loves a good text print. Paint Newspaper comes in a standard black and white as well as purple and red.

Paint Newspaper in White

Paint Newspaper in Purple

Paint Newspaper in Red

There are a lot of really cool collage inspired prints in this line too that have interesting texture and will add a unique dimension to your projects. Prints like Woven Clippings, Quilted Clippings, and Flower Clippings feature bits of the Newspaper print!

Woven Clippings in Blue

Quilted Clippings in Yellow (also in Purple and Red)

Flower Clippings in Blue (also in Purple and Red)
To accompany all these gorgeous prints, the line also comes with eight almost solids. These colors are printed in a manner that might, from a distance, look solid but actually show big brush strokes! 

Brush Strokes in Green (also in Blue, Grey, Orange, Purple, Red, White, and Yellow)

Yardage for all of these prints is now listed and available on our site here!





Wednesday, September 10, 2014

New Echino and Ellen Luckett Baker!



We got a fresh shipment of new Echino and Ellen Luckett Baker for Kokka this week! I've been waiting to get these on our shelves ever since I saw them at spring Quilt Market. These two collections were really great examples of designers incorporating unusual substrates into quilting and doing it beautifully.



First is Echino. The star of this collection is the sateen. Signature super saturated colors really shine (no pun intended) when printed on this cotton with a really unique sheen. Plus, they feel incredible! Sateen is a great way to create more interest in the aesthetic of your projects and gives everything a more luxurious feel to it. They are still 100% cotton but the weave makes them very soft and silky with a subtle sheen, similar to a lawn or voile, but with more weight.

We even precut bundles!

This collection features four prints in sateen and each features small metallic accents. I love the "glitter rays of magnificence" (as described by the manufacturer) on this stag print.


"Glitter rays of magnificence" is maybe the coolest description I've ever heard.
Individual yardage as well as bundles of these fabrics are now listed on our site!

In addition to cotton sateen prints, we've also got a stack of cotton and linen blend lightweight canvas in four more prints including classic cars, helicopters, retro city buses, and a super cool geometric print.

Get your canvas Ni-Co bundle here!

Next, we have the new Framework collection by Ellen Luckett Baker for Kokka. This collection comes on two different substrates as well: lightweight canvas and double gauze.


Broken Plaid in Teal, Charcoal, and Chartreuse

We get a lot of questions about double gauze here in the shop. It's not a substrate a lot of people are familiar with but once they understand it and try it, it quickly because a favorite. Double gauze is, simply put, two layers of cotton gauze. Single gauze is very lightweight and sheer with a loose weave so to give it more weight, opacity, and an extra dose of coziness, a second layer is added and tacked with stitches that are invisible from the right side of the fabric.

Sitting Geese in Chartreuse

Because of the unique weave of this fabric, my pro tip for sewing is to use a walking foot. A walking foot is super handy for lightweight or silky substrates or sewing through lots of layers of fabric. Because of the looser weave, double gauze has a tendency to stretch just a bit when sewing with a normal 1/4" foot but a walking foot will prevent this!

So this Framework collection is really fun with clean prints and fresh colors. These prints are great blenders which presents lots of opportunities to work new substrates into your projects. 

Corners Canvas in Blue, Coral, and Chartreuse


Framework also features prints on canvas! Like the Echino canvases, these are durable and great for bags or home decor but aren't so heavy that they would feel out of place in a quilt. These canvases are quite versatile and add great texture to your projects.

Daisy Chain Canvas in Grey, Royal Blue, and Teal

Yardage of Framework by Ellen Luckett Baker is listed on our site here!

Friday, September 5, 2014

September Stash Stack!

Stash Stack Club

Aqua/Teal


It's September

Summer is winding down but September's Stash Stack offers one last hurrah before giving way to falling leaves, and later on, falling snow. Enjoy these aqua and teals...they remind me of the ocean and the beach, or maybe a quiet day on one of Michigan's many lakes. 

Here's what we've got for you this month:  

1. Sketch In Teal - Timeless Treasures
2. Kiss Dot in Teal - Michael Miller
3. Oval Elements in Blue Lagoon - Art Gallery
4. Passionate Spirit in Teal - Pat Bravo
5. Meadow in Dew - Bonnie Christine
6. Script in Turquoise - Art Gallery
7. Country Ducks in Aqua - Tasha Noel
8. Fancy Stripe in Teal -
Cute Plaid in Aqua
9. Lazy Hexagon in Teal - Lori Whitlock
10. Dumb Dot in Robin- Michael Miller
11. Stitch Square in Ocean - Michael Miller
12. Cute Plaid in Aqua - Michael Miller


And, of course, if you're not a Stash Stack member but want to become one, click here and welcome to the club!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Life Cycle Of An Order



So you've clicked the Paypal button and placed your order. What happens then? What exactly do we do to make sure your order gets to you?

Our day generally starts at 8:30 am, which is when Whitney rolls into the parking lot. Usually Kristen and one (or both) of the Hayleys too. The two of them open up the store and immediately get to work on orders. They check the Shopify queue to see how many new orders there are and then print out an invoice for each one.


Invoices in hand, Whitney goes through each, highlighting those orders that have a quantity of anything greater than one, along with any special notes. Then, starting with the first invoice, she goes through the store collecting the necessary bolts of fabric to fill the order. These get sorted into two stacks: Anything we need exactly one half-yard of, and everything else.


Kristen or Hayley or Hayley do the cutting while Whitney double checks the invoice to make sure the right fabrics and lengths were cut. This is the crucial part, with the largest margin of error; we depend on everyone involved to be quick and efficient. Accuracy and steady hands are a must!


Then it all gets packaged up and placed in a mail bin for shipping. Josh and Cale are our main shipping handlers and their job is harder than it looks. We handle all of our mail personally, inputting each order number and checking it against the name and address of each customer to ensure accuracy. Once that's done, it's essential that the proper label gets on the correct package.


Sometimes there are special requests that come through our email - maybe you saw something you'd like to add to your order, or you want to combine a new order with a previous one that hasn't shipped yet. That's where I come in! I get your email and if it's something we can help with, I write out a special ticket and hand it off to Whitney, who attaches it to your order. We can't always fulfill every request, but we like to try!


Finally our trusty postman arrives, usually right before we're about to close for the day. Steve scans the packages so the tracking will be accurate, then loads them into his truck and whisks them away on a journey to you.


All total, we like to have a turnaround on orders of 2-3 days, but really it's all about volume. On an average day, we can fulfill about 30-40 orders (depending upon how large the orders are), so during big sales or when there's something special going on (say, for example, a large shipment of pre-sale fabric arrives), we definitely have our work cut out for us. And that doesn't even include creating bundles for the store, or the cutting and fulfilling of our monthly clubs (which, again, is handled by Cale and Josh!). Everyone on the fulfillment team loves fabric and it makes our job a lot of fun, but it's a lot of work too!


Is there anything you're curious about? Ask away in the comments section!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kits Galore!

Our shop's Tiffany quilt

We put together the Tiffany quilt kit a few months ago with the help of the pattern designer Rita from Red Pepper Quilts. I personally chose all the prints in that kit and love seeing it hanging in the shop. While we still have that kit for sale, I thought it might be fun to kit a few more projects. We've put together some new quilt kits so today I want to show off some of these cool new things!

First, we put together a gorgeous solids kit to make Jeni Baker's Color Hex quilt!

Photo from Jeni's blog In Color Order
The kit will include 12 solid fat quarters to compose your color wheel plus a solid background with matching binding. All you'll need outside the kit is your batting/wadding and whatever you'd like as your backing! This quilt finishes at 45" square so it's great for a baby quilt gift and would be an awesome wall hanging in your sewing area.

Our stack of solids included in the Color Hex quilt

Next, we're kitting a totally new pattern to our shop! We now have the Ziggurat mini quilt by Caroline Greco of Nightingale Quilts!


This mini finishes at 18" square. The colors included in the kit are solids coordinating with April Rhodes's Arizona collection and clearly this pattern is very reminiscent of the motifs in her line. We loved Arizona and are sad most of it's already off the shelves so this is a great way for us all to get a little more of that!

In addition to these two, we'll have kits for the next four months of Color Inspirations from RJR Fabrics! All of these quilts were designed by our shop owner, Brenda Ratliff of Just A Bit Frayed. September's pattern, Platforms, uses all the colors from the Evening Ballet color palette and works up to a 60" x 72" quilt.



In the coming months, we'll also be featuring kits for the other Color Inspirations quilts Elevation (October), 12th Street (November), and Off The Air (December). Keep an eye out for posts about those when we have them ready!

Each of the Color Inspiration kits will include fabric required to piece the quilt top and binding along with a printed full color pattern. All the patterns were designed specifically to showcase these awesome color bundles.

If you like all these solids, remember that we also have our Color Inspirations Club! You can get your choice of fat quarter or half yard cut bundles of these solids each month.

All kits are available for pre-sale now! Color Hex, Ziggurat, and Platforms will be sent out in the next week or two and the rest of the Color Inspirations patterns will go out in their corresponding months!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Drum roll please...

I am so, so excited to FINALLY publicly announce all our plans for Camp Stitchalot events for 2015!


After many requests, we're bringing you a dressmaking camp! Next spring/summer, May 28-31 to be exact, we will be gathering once again at the Hankerd Inn in Pleasant Lake, MI to learn from a few of our favorite garment pattern designers and writers to learn the ins and outs of dress fitting.

For dress camp, we've put together a really awesome team of teachers. Each one of these four ladies is incredibly talented and skilled and I know we'll all have a great time learning more about garment fitting and sewing this weekend!

Our teachers for this weekend will be: Christine Haynes, Alexia Abegg, Rae Hoekstra, and Karen Lepage! Classes for camp will be announced with more detail as we get closer to the event but these ladies will help take you through the process of measuring, sewing from a pattern, and making the proper adjustments needed to custom fit any written pattern.

This camp is great for anyone with at least basic sewing skills. Whether you've made your fair share of garments or this is a totally new venture for you, any sewist will walk away with the skills they need to make a custom garment to fit their needs.

Head over to the Camp Stitchalot Summer 2015 page for more info and links to ticketing options!


Our other camp next year is a bit of a change from anything we've ever done before but I'm absolutely thrilled for it and hope you all will be too! It is now that I finally present to you...


In November 2015, we will host our very first Glamp Stitchalot! We're taking Camp Stitchalot to a whole new level with this event. Our regular camps typically sell out at around 30 tickets and some people have expressed an interest in a larger gathering of awesome, like-minded quilty friends. Glamp Stitchalot will let us create that! We're bringing you more classes, more teachers, and just generally even more fun (as if that's possible) all in a fancy luxurious hotel.  I know you all want to know who's coming so let's talk teachers first.

I'd like to say now that there are tons of names I wish we could still add to this roster. But in our time frame, we had to set a limit of six teachers. Let's hear it for the dream team!!




First, I'm so happy to bring back Tula Pink to teach with us! We had a blast with her at Camp Stitchalot this past June. She's been awesome working with us on planning this event so far but I'll tell you more about that later. She's also the source of genius behind the event name!


Katy Jones is coming back to the states to teach at Glamp! I'm not sure if you've noticed, but Katy has been pretty busy lately. When I first started quilting four or five years ago, Katy's blog was one of the first I followed. Now, I've seen her get a show on QNN, become the editor of her own magazine, and design her own line of fabric. I'm so happy to be working with her on this event!






Sarah Fielke will be joining us at Glamp Stitchalot! We were lucky enough to have Sarah teach her Whirligig quilt at our shop for a few lucky Ann Arbor and Detroit Area Modern Quilt Guild members this past May. Her books are some of my favorites to pull and read when I'm lacking inspiration and I'm thrilled to bring all of her talents to you guys all the way from Australia.




We next welcome Alison Glass to our Glamp team! Alison is a supremely talented fabric and pattern designer and an awesome addition to our team. From fabric to embroidery to appliqué, Alison has so many tricks up her sleeve. I'm so glad Alison is coming back to Michigan to teach with us next year!





Our fifth teacher is the fabulous Jeni Baker! You probably know her from her blog In Color Order, her awesome quilt patterns, her gorgeous fabric from Art Gallery, or maybe you're just a fan of her bunny George. Jeni has taught at Camp Stitchalot twice before and because she is just so fabulous, we're bringing her back again!






Last, and certainly not least, is Violet Craft! You might know Violet from her gorgeous collections of fabric from Michael Miller or maybe her incredible quilt patterns. Who isn't drooling over that Forest Abstractions quilt right now? Violet is so talented and so much fun so we're absolutely thrilled to bring her to Michigan to teach with us next year!

In addition to these fine folks, Brenda and I will be joining you as your hostesses for the weekend!


Glamp Stitchalot will be held at Kensington Court in Ann Arbor, MI. Kensington Court is a gorgeous luxury hotel and is conveniently located less than five miles from our shop. Plus, the staff at the hotel has been doing a great job helping us plan and make this event as awesome as we possibly can.

So all of these awesome teachers are coming out here to Ann Arbor to hang out with us (and hopefully you too) to work on a project that will be very cool. We're all working together to put together a pattern exclusive to Glamp Stitchalot that will be a choose your own adventure style mystery medallion quilt!

We have our Glamp Stitchalot web page all up and running so you're welcome to jump over there to read a little bit more about all these wonderful plans and get your tickets!

I really can't say just how excited I am for all of the things we have in store for all of you in the next year or so. There's still a bit of planning ahead for us so we'll be keeping you posted with more of the fun news as it comes to us.

P.S. We even made a fun button for you to share on your blog if you're going!
Glamp Stitchalot 2015