Monday, December 30, 2013

End of Year Clearance

Pink Castle Fabrics is having a year end clearance.


We have over 100 fabrics at $6/ yard! And there are other markdowns, too.


What a great chance to stock up on yardage for quilt backings!  Here's a quick guide on what you need to stash for your favorite sizes:

Baby/Crib (36" x 45") - 1.5 yards
Lap Size (60" x 75") - 4.5 yards
Twin Size (68" x 88") - 5 yards
Full Size (81" x 88") - 5 yards
Queen Size (88" x 96") - 7.5 yards
King Size (107" x 108") - 9 yards



Or maybe you'd rather make some clothes? It's only 2.5-3 yards for a new Washi dress... Wouldn't either of these make lovely dresses?

Creeping Zinnia in Dusk from Wallflowers by Allison Harris

Happy Hunting! And Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

What the Kawaii Fabric Clubs means for you!




The Kawaii Fabric Club is an awesome new monthly fabric club that starts shipping in January! If you want to get in on the ground floor, and get the complete set of eight fat eighths or quarters per month you need to sign up before January first! Find out all about it here.

But what if you don't want a collection of super darling kawaii fabric delivered to your house every month... Wait, how is that possible? What if, much more likely, fat quarters just aren't enough? What then?

Pink Castle is pleased to say we now carrying even more amazing Japanese import fabric! And there is more coming! Let me just show you some of what is in stock today!

We've had a recent restock of Melody Miller prints from Kokka:


Not kawaii, I know, but still so scrumptious. Including those amazing arrows!

We are now carrying fabric from a new manufacturer, Trans-Pacific Textiles who really is delivering the cute:

These are all so great! Be sure to click over and look at them all. This one is Bears About Town:


But this is my favorite, Red Riding Hood in Blue (and if you can think of a good use for it, let me know, I need an excuse to snatch this one up myself):



From Cosmo Textile we have the sugar rush party that is Toki Meki Friends!


From Westex we have some neat geometric/abstract prints, this one is even called Candy:


I just love these fabrics!

And how could I not mention Cocoland Cats from Kokka! So adorable!


We also carry fun fabrics from other great Japanese manufactures - Yuwa, Lecien, and Kei. And as the new year rolls on, new imported fabrics will be rolling into the store! Stay tuned!'

PS - you can enter to win a Kawaii Fabric Club bundle at Red Pepper Quilts today!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

I'm Dreaming of a Cargo Duffle

Hi! I'm Jacey (of Jaceycraft) and I'll be occasionally posting here for Pink Castle!

I'm sure I'm not the only one that is furiously crafting this week. As I finish gifts (and postpone some of the more unrealistic goals), I can't help but dream of a little selfish sewing.
When I woke up early this morning, I couldn't think of anything other than Noodlehead's Cargo Duffle. This free pattern was a big hit at Fall Quilt Market, and was designed by Anna for Robert Kaufman Fabrics. Here are some of my fabric considerations for the main bag: New Wave in Tangerine from True Colors, Mice Bikes from Catnap(when they arrive soon!) or Pearl Bracelets in Swiss Chard. And just look at some of the versions that have been sewn:



Do you want to make your own? What fabric(s) would you use?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Monday, December 16, 2013

Give the gift of Handwork this Holiday Season

Ready for a little last minute shopping or sewing? Handwork is a great way to work on a project while you travel, or while you are relaxing at home for the holiday. Let's see what we have in store for you!

We have exclusive collections of Aurifloss! It is a new 6 strand, long staple cotton embroidery floss made by Aurifil.


Each exclusive set has 10 adorable wooden spools of  this high quality18 yard long floss. We carry seven sets, none of which has a repeat, so if you happen to get all of them (lucky you!) you won't not have any duplicate spools.  Look at all those luscious colors!

We have Anna Maria Horner Needlepoint kits! They come with everything you need to make this stunning embroidery.


Or maybe you are eager to try (or have a friend try) English Paper Piecing! We carry hexagon papers in two sizes - 1 inch and 1.5 inches. If you are in the area, Brenda is giving a demonstration on this technique on Thursday night!

You can get the whole 1" hexagon English paper piecing kit here:


For other shapes and applique, you can try Fons and Porter's Quilters Pattern Paper. It can go through your printer, so you can make any shape you like. And with 25 8.5 x 11" sheets, that will be a lot of pieces to keep you entertained for a long time.

Speaking of hand applique, our applique expert, Debbie Grifka, prefers using YLI silk thread for her projects.  This and some great size 10 between needles (or these) would make a great stocking stuffer.


Another great little gift for a stocking are Wonder Clips! They're wonderful.... so many uses! Great especially for holding things together that you can't really pin - like leather, quilt bindings, and coated fabrics.

And you can't go wrong with a spool of Aurifil for all your quilting friends. I know I'm putting a few on my list for Santa.


But if you can't decide for those the last minute gift needing friends, you can always go with a gift certificate!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Stash Stack Club! Brown and Tan Fabrics for December

Stash Stack Club

 Monthly Fabric Club

Brown and Tan

 Brown Quilt Fabric


Hello, December!

Boy is it starting to get cold here in Michigan!  I'm ready to bundle up and sit by the warm iron and sew! :D  Hope everyone is getting on well with your Holiday sewing!

Remember!  You can still get this stack!  Sign up today and you will start with this stack!

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

1. Haystack in Brown - Madrona Road by Violet Craft

2. Stitch Square in Stone - Michael Miller Fabrics

3. Dumb Dot in Brown - Michael Miller Fabrics

4. Living Lattice in Chocolate - Robert Kaufman Fabrics

5. Weave in Brown - Kids Corner by South Sea Imports

6. Star Pods in Brown - Les Amis by Patty Sloniger

7. Remix Oval in Brown - Remix by Ann Kelle

8. Woodgrain in Bark - Aviary 2 by Joel Dewberry

9. Sketch in Latte - Timeless Treasures

10. Herringbone in Maple - True Colors by Joel Dewberry

11. Faux Bois Stripe in Tan - Les Amis by Patty Sloniger

12. Tiny Gingham in Tan - Michael Miller Fabrics
Until next month!
Brenda

Monday, December 9, 2013

December Classes and Events at Pink Castle Fabric!

We have a few events coming up in December at the shop we want you to be aware of.

Learn to Machine Applique! Modern Tree Skirt


Thursday, December 12th, from 5:30-8:30 pm is Debbie Grifka's Snowflake Tree Skirt class, where we will learn the applique techniques to make this cool snowflake tree skirt. Read more about it here!

book now

 

Sip and Sew

This Friday, December 13th, we have our first ever Sip and Sew!


The Sip and Sew gives you the perfect opportunity to get out and have fun crafting! Sign up with a friend or on your own, bring a bottle of your favorite beverage to Pink Castle Fabrics, and prepare to party in the sewing studio!


Sewing pros Jenna and Rossie will walk you, step-by-step, through two holiday crafts: an adorable pine-cone elf ornament, and a wine bag made from sweaters! Make either, or both!


We will provide the materials and tools for each craft. If you'd like to use a specific sweater or other material, bring it along! There will be sewing machines available on site, or bring your own!

The event is from 6 - 9 pm allowing for plenty of time to craft, learn, play, socialize, and yes- sip!

book now

 

Sew in! 

Our next Sew In is December 14th (Saturday) from 10 am - 2 pm .

All that's missing... is you!
Come and sew in our classroom! Bring a sewing machine or rent one of ours!
Pay $5 for yourself and bring a friend for free!

Our classroom is equipped with iron & ironing board to share. Bring anything else you'll need to get your sewing and quilting done! RSVP required.

book now

 

English Paper Piecing Demonstration

As part of shop owner Brenda's series of quick and free skill-builder classes, we invite you to come to our shop and learn English Paper Piecing.

English paper piecing is done by hand and makes the perfect project for traveling over the holidays.

We will provide the paper, fabric, needle, thread, and glue for use during this lesson.

Please RSVP, this lesson will be offered on Thursday, December 19, 2013 6:30-7:30pm.

book now

 

Holiday Sew In!

Saturday, December 21st 10am-2pm.

Come and sew in our classroom!

We want to support you as you make handmade gifts this holiday season, so please come and sew with us on Saturday! 

Bring a sewing machine or rent one of ours.  Our classroom is equipped with iron & ironing board to share. Bring anything else you'll need to get your sewing and quilting done! The holiday sew in is free, but an RSVP is required.

book now

Join us in December to work on your projects or learn some new techniques!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Feature Friday, um Saturday!

I've been really wowed by this scrappy plus quilt by Meli from the blog Munchkin Quilts, which was coincidentally inspired by a quilt I'm working on. (cough, full disclosure - though I got the pattern from Brenda - so it is just a chain of outward radiating inspiration).



However she did not use the pattern as Brenda wrote it, instead she used 5" charm squares for the center blocks, and did white for the sashing, and matched it to coordinating solids from her stash. The charm pack she used was Simply Color by V and Co for Moda. What a great use for a charm pack! The colors are just amazing, and I love how they ripple into each other. She rented time on a longarm machine to quilt it herself.


Here are the blocks laid out as they were being made- she organized them differently in the final top.

Meli works as a nurse at a military hospital, and she made this quilt for a patient of hers, a female army parachutist who was involved in a major accident while training. She wrote on her blog that she made the quilt to fill a need because "since it's a military hospital most of the donations we get are geared towards men.... I know [this quilt] will be loved by both her and her family."

And that is the best thing any of us can hope for with our quilts really.



I initially reached out to Meli just because I loved how this great this quilt looked, but the story behind it is even more amazing. There is so much going on in the world, and in our lives, in this season of hope and giving, this is a great reminder for us to look past the beauty of things, and see also the needs that aren't being met, and how we, as sewists, as makers of things, can reach out and meet them.


*

By the by, Vanessa Christenson of V. and Co will be teaching at Camp Stitchalot next September, along with fellow fabric designer Bari J.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Meet and Greet Camp Stitchalot Counselors Jeni Baker and Anna Graham

Next up are the fantastic Jeni Baker of In Color Order and Anna Graham of Noodlehead.  
We had to wait a little bit to interview these two as they were driving in all the way from Wisconsin!

I know you will enjoy getting to know these talented young women as much as I did so here we go.

First up Jeni Baker



Question 1:  Pattern designer, fabric designer what's next on your to do list?  
Who inspired you to begin designing?

Jeni told me she would like to write a book. 
 She is having so much fun designing fabric right now too that the book may be on hold for a bit. 
 She is one busy woman!  
She began working with Art Gallery fabric on her blog and was surprised and thrilled when they approached her about designing fabric for them.
Jeni could not point to a specific person for inspiration but 
credited the online community for inspiration and support.  
She also has a huge love of vintage quilts.  
She finds inspiration in many of the vintage quilts and fabrics she sees and 
is always on the look out for new to her vintage quilts!

Question 2:  What about designing do you find the easiest and what do you struggle with?

No surprise here the easiest thing for Jeni is COLOR!  
She is very good at that as we all know. 
 Something she struggles with is naming things, like her fabrics and her patterns. 
 Her gleeful confession was that she is the world's worst namer! 
Some of her original names were things like "pink floral" and "geometric print".  
She is taking suggestions!

Now for the thing I was most curious about, how did you come to own George? 
 Tell us about him.


Jenni decided when she graduated that she was not going to get a roommate she was going to get a bunny!
She chose George, who is a Netherland Dwarf rabbit. 
 He is litter trained but not much 
of a snuggle bunny.
She went to the county fair in Ohio and bought him for $20. 
 His favorite foods include bananas and carrots.  
He is now 4 years old now and Jeni wishes him to live forever!. 
Jeni has more costumes and photo shoots planned for him. 
 His new pillow panel is adorable, maybe she can incorporate him into an upcoming fabric line!

Jeni's random fact is that she and Brenda grew up only 15 minutes away from each other!
It really is a small world.

Not the best photo (iphone, sorry) but here are Anna, Brenda and Jeni.  Thanks for posing ladies!!


On to Anna Graham of Noodlehead



Question 1:  You are the queen of bags! 
 How do your ideas for new bag designs come to you?

Anna likes useful items.  
She designs bags that she would like to use or that she thinks others would like to use. 
 She incorporates ideas from garments in some of the things she puts in her bag designs. 
 I asked her how she got started and she was telling me that when her girls were little and 
she finally got out of the house she went to Barnes and Noble to look around. 
 She found the books Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan and took her cue from that book. 
 Some of the others that inspire her are Made By Rae and Dana of Made.  

Question 2:  How do you find the time for designing along with managing family and your home? 

I did not realize but Anna has a full time job in marketing for a contractor.  
So I guess she really is the busy bee. 
 She shared that sometimes her life is a little stressful.  (I bet it is).
  She finds that having small amounts of design time make her more efficeint
when she does find the time to do it. 
 Although she did confess to sketching and daydreaming at work sometimes, but shhhhh don't tell her boss!

Question 3:  Your bags are amazing,, do you enjoy making them for others as much as designing new patterns for us to make? 
 Do you have a favorite pattern?

Anna likes to make for others. 
 She finds it easiest to design for someone specific.  
She likes to know that what she makes will make others happy too. 
 Of course she has made bags for her girls! 
 Her favoirte is the "Go Anywhere bag"
 She loves that it has lots of pockets on the outside and no zippers!

Anna's random fact is that when she was 4/5 she was Little Miss Apple of La Crescent, MN. 
 They drew her name out of a fish bowl. 
 Her mom reminds her that when it was time to give the crown back she threw a crying fit! 
 At 4/5 none of us would have wanted to give up that crown!
 LOL

Thank you Jeni and Anna for letting us have a peek into your lives!

Have fun at Camp Stitchalot!



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Meet and Greet Camp Stitchalot Counselor Debbie Grifka

I went to the Pink Castle Fabrics Meet and Greet of the Camp Stitchalot teachers this week. 
 I brought some questions and my friend Stephanie with me and 
we got some great candid info for you on each of the 3 teachers.

First up was our own Debbie Grifka of Esch House Quilts
Debbie is also a member of the AAMQG so I get to see her quite frequently but
 this was the first time I got to spend some one on one time getting to know her.  

I managed to snap a great pic of Debbie and Brenda before I got to sit down with Debbie.


First question: How do you find inspiration for the quilts you make and who is your biggest inspiration?

Debbie finds a lot of her inspiration from  Amish quilts. architechure, and graphic designs.
Some of her earliest inspiration came from the work of Gwen Marsden. 
 She also found a lot of things to admire in the works of Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. 
 Their book The Modern Quilt Workshop provided her with a lot of great quilts containing negative space before people began calling it negative space! 
 Debbie is drawn to shapes and lots of negative space.

Question number 2:  What advice do you have for others interested in designing?

Debbie told me that when designing for yourself you need to figure out what you like. 
 Most people spend a lot of time making other's patterns and don't often take the time to ind their own voice.  She felt like it took her a little while to find her own style but now is comfortable with her work.  
Negative space is IT for Debbie!
If you are looking to design for publication she suggests that submitting to magazines is a good way to begin.  Magazines, Debbie said, are always looking for new designs so just submit, submit, submit!
Guidelines can be found online so don't be afraid to try.

Question 3:  What drew you into the Modern Quilt Movement?

Debbie told me that as her style evolved it just seemed to fit with the modern quilt movement.  
She loves the clean lines of the modern quilts.
  Debbie loves clean and simple!

Then I asked for one random fact.!

Debbie said that most people would never guess that she is a first generation American! 
She was born in England of Australian parents.
She became a citizen when she was 25.

Thanks for all the info Debbie!

Next up will be Jeni Baker and Anna Graham

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

GOTS Certification - Organic Fabric and What it Means.

What is organic cotton fabric?

Organic cotton is grown without use of pesticides and fertilizers, and shipped without resins to finish the fabric. Fabrics use low impact dyes as well, dyes which bind to the fabric without the use of toxic, heavy metal mordants, and produce less waste water.  This creates less harm to the ground water and the environment at large, reducing threats to animals as well as those to the farmers and workers, and us, as consumers.

Cotton, in general, is a highly chemically treated crop. Cotton fabric generally undergoes both dyeing and finishing which can add to the chemical load. One of the reasons we (as quilters) are told to prewash fabrics is because of the chemicals that may be on them as sizing.

Unlike standard fabric producers, both Cloud9 and Monaluna produced modern organic fabrics, and meet the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) for ecological and social responsibility. GOTS certification follows the fabric from plant to finished product, to be sure that all farming and manufacturing processes are environmentally and socially responsible.

A few of the many GOTS guidelines: Supply chains are inspected to be sure that all steps are organic and social conscious. Dyes and other chemicals introduced to the fabric must be evaluated for low toxicity and biodegradability. No heavy metals or chlorine bleaches can be used on the fabric. Workers are paid fairly and working conditions are certified safe.  Sounds ideal, right?

And the results are beautiful too. We just got in two new collections from Cloud9.

Bark and Branch by Eloise Renouf:


Up, Up and Away by Heather Moore:

 Browse through our organic fabrics!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Camp Stitchalot!

Pink Castle has many great deals going on for the holiday weekend!

In our previous blog posts we have highlighted a few items - the aurifloss, the Accuquilt Go kits and dies, our many monthly fabric clubs, and the fabric bundle sale.
AND (now until December 2nd) earn a $5 gift certificate for every $50 you spend in one order! You will get your gift certificate(s) in your order! See the Black Friday flyer for details.



Camp Stitchalot is coming around again! Camp Stitchalot! It's the best!


Camp Stitchalot is a sewing retreat hosted by Pink Castle Fabrics. Better than camp, because you'll have real beds, and get to sew all day (and night, too, if you desire!)

photo courtesy of Melinda

Camp Stitchalot is a sewing retreat in lovely Pleasant Lake, Michigan, which runs Friday through Sunday, with an optional Open Sew all day Thursday. You will have "camp counselors" who will be teaching a variety of classes throughout the weekend. Meals are included. Sewing machine rentals are available on a first come-first serve basis.

photo courtesy of Melinda
Just imagine... 3 days of sewing without the kids and housework and the pressures of daily life. What could be a better sewing gift than time off to enjoy it? You will be amazed at what you will accomplish and the friends you will make there!

photo courtesy of Melinda
 Spots are still available at the following camps:

SessionDatesThemeCouncillors
Winter 2013December 6-8Handmade Gifts    Jeni Baker, Anna Graham, Debbie Grifka
Spring 2014March 20-23Handmade BagsSara Lawson, Kirstin Link
Fall 2014September 19-21Bari J., Vanessa Christenson
Winter 2014November 14-16Carolyn Friedlander, Sherri Lynn Wood

And at each camp, you will also have additional councilors, modern quilter Rossie Hutchinson and Pink Castle Fabric's owner Brenda Ratliff.

Although classes are taught throughout the weekend, you don't need to attend them. Bring out your works in progress and finish them up! With three large rooms for sewing, there is plenty of space to work, even room to lay out and baste quilts, and plenty of room to just hang out and talk. It is an amazing experience!

Read more about Camp Stitchalot here!

Come join the fun!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pink Castle's Monthly Fabric Clubs

Pink Castle has many great deals going on for the holiday weekend!

In our previous blog posts we have highlighted a few items - the aurifloss, the Accuquilt Go kits and dies, and the fabric bundle sale.
AND (now until December 2nd) earn $5 for every $50 you spend in one order! You will get your gift certificate(s) in your order! See the Black Friday flyer for details.


But now it's the time to talk about Fabric Clubs!


Whether you are looking for more stash builders, solids, Japanese prints or a little "quiltspiration", we've got you covered.

Club membership can be purchased for any number of months, and is a great gift for any quilter, from those looking to grow their stashes, to beginners just starting out.

Pink Castle Fabrics has four exciting monthly fabric clubs to join:


With your monthly subscription to the Stash Stack Club, you will receive a different color Stash Stack each month. Each Stash Stack's monthly color will arrive with a variety of tones (from lights to darks) in 6 or 12 modern stash builder prints.  A stash builder is a fabric that has only one color or one color and white. All fabrics sent each month will be designer 100% quilting weight cotton.

Here is an example of this month's selections (November was orange):


Here are all the fabrics from last year laid out together:


Doesn't it look amazing! Sign up today to start on your own collection!

A half Stack will get your 6 prints each month, a full Stack will get you all 12! The Stash Stacks are available as Fat Quarters (18" x 22"), Half Yards (18" x 44"), and Yards (36" x  44").

You could also join our No Prints Allowed Club, a monthly club for solids!


Your monthly subscription to the No Prints Allowed Club will get you 12 different designer solids from all the brands we carry! There are hundreds of amazing colors that would just love to sneak into your stash. Each month, you'll receive a full range of 12 solids in each color, and will circle around the entire color wheel in 12 months! We will label all of these colors with a sticker, so if you don't use it right away (or if you love it so much you need to order more) you will know which fabric is which. All you need to do is decide if you want to stash Fat Quarters (18" x 22") or Half Yards (18" x 44")!

Here is an example from March:


Aren't they fantastic! If you sign up now, you will receive December's solids next month!

And now for something completely different: The Color Inspirations Club!


We are very excited to introduce our newest monthly fabric club, Color Inspirations! Brenda is teaming up with RJR Fabrics to bring you a bundle of 10 super soft Cotton Supreme Solids each month!  Every month Brenda will choose a coordinating bundle of ten solid fabrics based around an inspirational photo.  None of the colors in each month will overlap during the year so by the end of the 12 month cycle you will have 120 different solids!  You can chose to make something from the bundle you get, or break it up and add fabrics from your stash!  Choose fat quarter (18" x 22") or half yard (18" x 44") cuts for your bundle!

Here is an example bundle:


Doesn't it just look delicious! Sign up here to get started! The first bundle does not ship until January, but by purchasing now, you reserve your spot in the club.

Last, and certainly the most adorable, the Kawaii Fabric Club!

Are you crazy for Japanese fabrics? Do you scour the internet, constantly searching for cute prints to add to your stash? Don't you wish the cute, "Kawaii" prints would find you each month?

Well, now they can! 

Each month, 8 different super cute Japanese prints will be mailed to each of our club members. The materials of the prints may vary (like linen blend, cotton sheeting (quilting cotton) or oxford ), but they will all be Japanese "Kawaii" prints, of course!

Because the first month of Kawaii Fabric Club won't be shipping until January, we don't yet have an example photo to share with you. But Google can show you some examples here. Prepare yourself for cuteness!

The Kawaii Fabric Club is available as a Fat Eighth (9" x 22") or as a Fat Quarter (18" x 22").

We also offer Gift Certificates where you can purchase a month (or many months) of club membership for someone else.

All this talk of Bundles is making me Bundle Hungry! Remember you can take 20% off all in stock bundles and precuts with coupon HOLIDAY20 until December 2nd!