Category Archives: New Fabric

Welcome to the Neighborhood, Modern Batiks!

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Neighborhood Association, a Quilt Expressions’ Original Pattern

What comes to mind when you hear the word “neighborhood?”  For some, it’s a friendly wave as you head to the mailbox.  For others, it’s late summer evening BBQ’s, families trick-or-treating together, teens shoveling snow for those who need a little extra help, and the sound of laughter traveling along with the gentle evening breezes through an open window.  Quilt Expressions’ “Neighborhood Association” pattern, made with rich Batiks, shows the depth and closeness that results from sharing a neighborhood.  Make your own and bring some of that neighborhood feeling inside your home.  (Click here to see our original version using bright colors and grays.)

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Quilt Top Left:  Twinkle   Quilt Top Right:  Staggered Geese

When I was a (much) younger girl, I remember going to quilt stores with my mom.  I loved to see all of the bright colors and feel the different textures of fabric.  But those Batiks…they always seemed so dark and uninteresting to my uneducated eye.  Then, as I started quilting, I was drawn to the patterns stamped on the fabric and wondered how Batiks were made.  If you’re curious, watch this video from Hoffman Fabrics, filmed in Bali.  We’re so lucky to have access to these handmade, gorgeous fabrics.  And, if you haven’t traveled to the Batik section at Quilt Expressions recently, the variety of colors and patterns is incredible!  There are still many prints available that are the traditional earth-tone colors, but there are so many more options available.

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This rainbow of gorgeous color with dots, hearts, and all kinds of geometric fun?  Yep, those are Batiks!  Just about any pattern can be made with Batiks, or combine your favorite Batiks with other collections to create your own, one-of-a-kind masterpiece!

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A few of my favorite Batiks on our online shop.

If you’d like to see all of the fabulous Batiks at Quilt Expressions, stop in or visit us online.  Click here for the Batik section.

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Shhhh!!! Don’t tell Karen!

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Shhhh!  Don’t tell Karen, but I snuck onto her blog because I just had to share pictures from my visit yesterday to Quilt Expressions!  Up until I started my full time job this past August as a school secretary, I had the pleasure of working at Quilt Expressions.  Imagine spending your day working with fabulous customers and coworkers, beautiful samples, and, of course, the best fabric collection anywhere!  Needless to say, I miss that daily dose of creativity and inspiration.

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As a customer, there’s nothing better than stepping into a store and immediately stopping because, well, you just have to!  Fabric, notions, samples, and beautiful displays from floor to ceiling catch your eye.  You wonder where you should start…and then decide to just dive in!  Ever since my first visit about five years ago, it’s been my experience that I have to travel around the store at least three times in order to see everything.  And Quilt Expressions never disappoints!

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Every quilt sample in the store has been pieced by talented Quilt Expressions’ employees and quilted on the long arm.  There’s a pattern, and often a kit, available for every sample in the store.  Take a peek here to view the patterns that are available online.  Many of them are Quilt Expressions’ originals.  Click here for kits that are available for online purchase.

Looking for a great way to boost your stash while saving money?  Dig through the Sweet Rolls basket for end-of-the-bolt pieces; the price on the tag reflects the 20% discount from the original yardage price.

Modern…traditional…Batik…cuddle…Kaffe…baby…themed…I could go on and on.  I love knowing that, when I have a particular project in mind, I’m only going to have to make one stop.  Karen and Kat have done a fantastic job ensuring that all types of fabric are well represented in the store.

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 See that gorgeous swirl quilting pattern on the quilt in the left photo?  (Click on photo for a larger view.) When not helping customers, Rodi and Tracy spend their time in the store quilting customer quilts and store samples.  Are you interested in learning how to use the long arm machines?  Ask one of the employees, and they’ll be happy to give you the details.  It’s quite satisfying to complete a quilt from start to finish all on your own.

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My favorite quilts to make are baby quilts.  They are fast, easy and always loved by the recipient.  Luckily, my friends keep having babies, which gives me plenty of opportunity to buy baby fabric.  Quilt Expressions has a huge selection of nursery prints, flannel and cuddle.  Cuddle makes fabulous backing for baby quilts…it’s soft, 60″ wide (no piecing!) and the quilt patterns show up beautifully.  If you’ve never used it for a back, ask one of the employees to show you a quilt with cuddle backing…I guarantee you’ll love it!

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Thanks for joining me on this little tour of Quilt Expressions.  These photos represent only a portion of the store…stop in soon for a full tour (don’t forget….three times around the store!).  If you’re not in the area, visit the website.  Most of the fabric, patterns, kits, notions, precuts, quilts for sale and gift certificates are available online.

Let’s Take a Walk

You know how, sometimes when you enter a store, you have to walk through it three or four times to make sure you’ve seen everything?  No, not like at the grocery store when you’ve forgotten your list…or is that just me?  I haven’t been to Quilt Expressions for about a month. An extreme case of withdrawal was taking hold, so I knew it was time for a fabric fix.  When I walked in, I discovered that Karen had moved the store around!  And new products?  Everywhere!  I pulled out my camera and started snapping away.   Three trips around the store later, here are a few of my favorite new items and projects.

(Click on any photo to enlarge.)

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Quilt Expressions’ Row By Row: a celebration of our gorgeous Boise River.

If you’ve been spending time on social media, you’re aware of the Row By Row Experience 2015.  Imagine a nationwide shop hop that lasts several months.  Yeah, it’s kinda awesome.  Participating stores have each designed a 9-1/2″ by 36-1/2″ row using this year’s water theme.  Patterns are available for free at participating store for walk-in customers only until September 8, 2015.  Many shops are also offering kits for in-store purchase.  On November 1st, the stores have the option of selling the patterns and kits online.  Once you’ve collected eight patterns from eight different stores, you can make a quilt and possibly win a prize!  Click here for more information, rules and a list of all participating stores.

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Quilts, quilts everywhere!  The talented ladies at the store have been busy designing new patterns and making new quilt samples.  Every sample is quilted on our Statler long arm machine and bound by one of our experienced employees.

Each time I visit, I always spend some time admiring the wool display.  We have a large selection of patterns, along with everything needed to complete the projects.  I have yet to work with wool, which is probably why I admire the hand work so much.  Wool is on my someday “to-do” list, though.

New customers, and sometimes even returning customers, often take one step inside the door, stop and just look around.  The front display (which is changed often), new fabric collections, quilts hanging around the perimeter of the entire store and on many other surfaces, our original patterns and samples….it’s a feast for the eyes!

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If you’re a fan of Kaffe Fassett, Brandon Mably, and Phillip Jacobs, this part of the store is like a candy store for a three-year-old!  The gorgeous fabrics are enough to grab your attention, but add to that the beautiful samples and books available, and you’ll soon be saying, “Oh, I need that…and that…and that!”

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With the hot summer we’ve had here in Boise, it’s hard to start thinking about the holidays.   However, if you like to give handcrafted gifts, you know it’s best to start early!  Stop in or look online at our Halloween and winter holiday collections.

Did you know that Quilt Expressions’ creates and sells original patterns?  Click here for our online selection.  Stop by the store to see an even larger selection.

We’ve been carrying the Reisenthel Market Baskets for quite a while now.  They are the perfect carrier for all of your crafting needs.  We’ve tried to carry Doctor Bags (shown in photo above), but they sell out as soon as they go on display.  Karen placed a large order recently, and, if you hurry, you’ll find the Doctor Bags in stock and at great prices.  These bags aren’t available through our online store….just in-store.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short photo tour through the store.  Stop in and see us soon!

How Do I Make a Hexie?

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 I often find that I am working on several projects at once…usually projects that require the sewing machine.  However, there are times when I need a portable project.  At this time of the year, we spend a lot of time waiting…at the airport, in the car, while the holiday ham bakes, for holiday programs to start.  Why not put all of that time spent waiting to good use?

Hexies are the perfect portable project.  They take very few supplies to complete.  Everything needed can be easily stored in a small container, ready to grab and go.  Once you’ve learned the technique, each hexie can be completed in less than a minute.  If you have a five-minute wait in the car, you can complete five hexies…more than half of the hexies needed for one of the projects I’ll show you later!

They are also the perfect starter project for someone who’s never sewn before.  If you’re looking for a fun holiday gift for either a new or experienced quilter, create a hexie project box.  My sister-in-law, who has no sewing experience, has found herself forced to take it easy for a while.  She’s going a bit stir-crazy and contacted me, asking for a craft project that is easy and doesn’t require expensive tools.  I immediately thought of hexies; the items shown above are for her new hexie project box.

Now, how exactly do you make a hexie?  Gather the following items and you’re ready to start!

Hexie Tutorial

Fabric pieces, either scraps or small yardage cuts

A package of hexagon paper shapes (I use 1″ hexies)

One Wonderclip

Small scissors

Needle and Thread

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A few notes about hexies:

Photo 1:  Hexies come in many sizes.  The paper pieces used in this tutorial are 1″.   Hexies are measured along the side, not across the width of the entire piece.

Photos 2-3:

Most precut hexie pieces come as shown in the second photo.  I have found it very helpful to punch a hole in the center of each one with a paper punch.  This will make them must easier to remove when you’ve completed the hexie.

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The first step is to prepare your fabric.  If you’re planning on using the hexies as a grab and go project, it’s important to have your fabric precut and ready to be used.  If you’re using 1″ precut paper pieces, 2.75″ squares of fabric work best.  As mentioned before, you can either use scraps left over from other projects or use yardage.  If using yardage, cut a strip that is 2.75″ x width of fabric (WOF).  Cut the strip into 2.75″ squares.  If you have one of Quilt Expressions’ 2.5″ x 6.5″ rulers, this is a very simple process.  Lay your fabric strip straight on your cutting mat.  Place the ruler along the short end, as shown in photo 1.  Because the ruler is 2.5″ wide, simply move the ruler over an additional 1/4,” creating a 2.75″ square.

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For my sister-in-law’s hexie box, I chose five prints from one of our new collections, Walkabout by Beth Studley for Makower, UK.  To get her started, I cut one 2.75″ x WOF strip from each of the five prints.  I was able to cut 15 squares from each strip, resulting in 75 squares.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 1:  Gather one fabric square, one hexie paper piece, and a threaded needle.  Place the paper piece in the center of the wrong side of the fabric.

Step 2:  Holding the paper in place, fold one side of the fabric over onto the paper piece.

Step 3:  Fold over the adjoining side, creating your first corner.

Step 4:  Secure the two folds with a Wonderclip.

Step 5:  Tack the fold together with two slip stitches.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 6:  Fold over the third side of the hexie, secure with the Wonderclip.  Stitch.  Repeat along sides four and five.

Step 6:  When you get to the last side of the hexie (photo three above), carefully fold fabric toward the center as before.  Be sure that both resulting corners are still tight against the edge of the paper piece. Hold in place with the Wonderclip.

Step 7:  Stitch the last two folds in place.

Step 8:  To secure the thread once all of the folds are complete, I find it easiest to wrap the thread around the end of my needle twice (photo 5) and pull the thread tight, resulting in a small knot.

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Click on photo to enlarge

Step 9: When the hexie is complete, it will look like the first photo above. To remove the paper piece, insert a pencil (or any pointy object) into the hole in the center of the paper piece.  Very gently, pull the paper piece out of the fabric hexie.  I find it easiest to pinch a corner of the fabric hexie and pull the paper piece out corner by corner.

Step 10:  Once the paper is out, reshape the hexie if needed and then press.  (The paper hexie can be reused over and over.  When pressing the fabric hexie, I also press the folds out of the paper hexie and add it back to my bag of hexies paper pieces.)

Step 11:  Repeat…repeat…repeat…

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Once you’ve completed the hexies, what do you do with them?  What I love about hexies is you can make 1000’s and make them into a quilt, or you can make 10-30 and add them to a small project as embellishment.

Della added just nine hexies to a pouch made using the “Perfect Pouches” pattern by Lazy Girl.  They sure add a bit of personality to an otherwise plain pouch.  The pattern is available at Quilt Expressions and also happens to be the perfect size to hold all of your hexie supplies!

I had a scrap of grey Dottie fabric left over from a project and added 24 hexies to create a small table topper.  The tutorial for the topper can be found here.

If you’re looking for additional projects using hexies, simply search for “hexies” on Pinterest.  There are many, many ideas using either a few hexies or 1000’s.

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If you’re creating a hexie project box to be given as a gift, gather all of the supplies needed and put them in a container.  If the recipient doesn’t have a rotary cutter or cutting mat, precut the fabric squares for them.  Add the link to this blog post, and the recipient will have all they need to get started.  Be sure that the container is large enough to hold the completed hexies.  Snack size disposable bags are perfect for storing the completed hexies inside the container.

Dottie by Moda

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One of the perks of working at Quilt Expressions is being able to chat with the customers as you work on their order.  We love to hear about the projects they are working on, the techniques they are using and their favorite fabric collections.  To hear our customers tell it, Moda has introduced a long-lasting favorite.  Moda’s Dottie collection is full of soft, bright, and bold colors in three sizes of dots.  They are a great addition to other collections, add a fun touch as a quilt back, and look great together as a group in a Dottie quilt.

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We combined Dottie’s bright dots with Bits ‘n Pieces’ Big & Little pattern to create this fun 39″ x 47″ quilt.  The variation in the size of the dots, along with the bright colors, is quite eye-catching.  Give it as a newborn gift; babies love the dark and light contract.   The quilt also makes a fun gift to a toddler or young child…it’s perfect for cuddling on the couch on a chilly Fall evening.

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Delta Windows, one of our newest Quilt Expressions’ original patterns, is a fantastic way to showcase Dottie.  Columns of color cascade down from large to small, surrounded by crisp white.  This pattern also works well for showcasing one of your favorite fabrics.  Finished size:  84-1/4″ x 96-1/4.”

I love to use fabric in my decorating.  Adding fabric to embroidery hoops is a fast and simple way to add a fun pop of color to a child’s bedroom, a classroom or while decorating for a party.

If you’re hanging the hoops on the wall, trace around the smaller hoop (the one without the metal screw), adding about 1/3 of an inch.  Cut out and lay the fabric circle on top of the smaller hoop.  Place the large hoop on top of the fabric and push it down.   Check to make sure that none of the raw edge is showing.  If it is, remove the large hoop, trim the circle and try again.  Tighten the screw, and you’re finished!  If the hoops will be seen from both the front and the back, layer two pieces of fabric, wrong sides together, when tracing the circle.  Continue as above, and you’ll end up a double-sided Dottie hoop.

Links:

Fabric

Big & Little Dottie Kit  (while supplies last)

Big & Little pattern

Delta Windows pattern

Mary Jane’s “Bee My Honey”

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There’s a 50-acre piece of country paradise in northern Idaho…it’s where you go to get away from technology; see how a working farm, well, works; spend time in a 100+ year old one-room school house; visit the only remaining flour mill on the Palouse, and sleep in a cozy, furnished wall tent in the middle of an orchard {nearby outhouse included!}.  It’s a place to truly go back in time, and it’s all ran by one person….Mary Jane Butters.

Mary Jane has been an organic farmer near Moscow, Idaho for the past 28 years.  She’s been featured in “National Geographic,” on the CBS Evening Show  and in many other publications.  In addition to running the farm, she also publishes a magazine and writes cookbooks.   If all of that isn’t enough, she’s managed to design a collection of fabric for Moda in her spare time.

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Bee My Honey” is a bright collection of red, blue, turquoise, yellow and green bees, florals, honey combs, watering cans, and letter “B’s.”  We’ve had a lot of fun using the collection in a few fast and easy projects.

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 This little hexie mat is a great way to draw attention to my favorite print in the collection…the multi-colored bees on the turquoise background.

I chose a subtle grey-on-grey dot print for the background.  I used the same fabric on the front and the back, measuring 16.75″ W x 17.5″ H.  You’ll also need a piece of batting with the same measurements.  (If you prefer your backing and batting to be larger than your top, adjust accordingly.)

Using a variety of prints from the collection, I made 24 hexies with 1″ hexie paper piecing forms.  (Hexies are measured along the straight edge, from point to point).  If you haven’t used the paper piecing method for hexies, there are many helpful step-by-step videos on You-Tube.  I made sure to fussy cut the turquoise bee fabric so I’d end up with several whole bees.  Once you’ve made the hexies and removed the papers, press lightly with your iron around the outer edge of the hexie.  Lay them out on your background fabric…I chose to position them just off center and in three rows of 8.  I left about a 1.25″ space at both the top and the bottom of the group of hexies…I didn’t want my binding to overlap the hexies.   I placed the hexies approximately 1/8″ apart.  I applied a small circle of Heat N Bond Lite to the back of each hexie to keep them in place as I worked.  Create a sandwich with your top, batting and backing.  Pin well.

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Using my walking foot, I sewed around each hexie, 1/8″ from the edge.

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Once the hexies are sewn on, it’s time to quilt it.  I wanted to emphasize the hexagon pattern, so I moved my needle until it was 3/8″ away from the left edge of my walking foot.  I placed the left edge of the walking foot on the outer edge of one of the hexies and quilted around the entire group.   If you have the option on your machine to stop with your needle down when you reach the point of the hexies, this process is much simpler.  Once you’ve gone around the hexies once, start again with the left edge of your foot on the quilting line you just finished and outline it again.  Continue until your background fabric is completely quilted.  I bound my completed mat with 2.5″ binding.

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When I travel, I always try to visit the local quilt stores in the area.  Since I have access to so much fabric at Quilt Expressions, most of my out-of-town purchases are charm packs.  Our second project is a fast and easy way to put those charm packs to use.  You need one charm pack, one yard of background fabric, 1/2 yard binding, and a Triangle Square-up ruler  (Click here for ruler tutorial).  For our sample, we squared each half square triangle up to 4.5″.   If you have any questions on how to use the ruler, either view the tutorial link above or stop in and ask us to demonstrate it for you.  This is a great project because you can use your design wall to arrange them in so many different layouts.  Backing requirements will vary based on the layout you choose.

Our finished project measures 32″ x 40.”

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Our final project is a lovely table runner using the “Waffletime” pattern by Atkinson Designs.  This pattern is perfect if you have a fabric that you’d like to showcase.  The finished size is 18″ x 42.”  “Waffletime” kits are available in-store and will be available online at quiltexpressions.com soonNote:  The “Waffletime” tablerunner kit is selling so quickly, we haven’t had a chance to add it to our on-line store.  If you’d like to purchase one, call or stop in today before they are gone!  (local:  208.338.8933; toll-free: 1.800.544.5839)

Some day, I hope to take a trip to Mary Jane’s Farm and spend a few days there enjoying nature and learning a bit more about the history of the area.  However, I’m so happy that, for now, I can at least spend some of my free time with the “Bee My Honey” collection.  It makes me think of Spring and the beauty that is just around the corner.

***Source of information gathered about Mary Jane and her farm:  maryjanesfarm.org ***

Just in time for Spring…”Vintage Play”

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I grew up on a farm in rural Idaho.  As soon as the snow melted and the days warmed, my three brothers and I spent every waking moment outside.  We invented games using whatever we could find on the farm.  We played marbles, climbed apple trees, dug in the sand box, explored the old farm machinery “graveyard,” played baseball in the empty field behind our house, pretended to play school, chased our dogs through apple orchards and corn fields, conquered mountains with those durable old yellow Tonka trucks and rode bikes for hours.  It was a great time and place to grow up.

This past October at Quilt Market, we came upon the Suz’n Quilts booth.  Fabric and pattern designer Susan Marth is the creative force behind Suz’n Quilts.  As I admired her “Vintage Play” fabric line, I was reminded of my childhood.  A panel showing a boy and girl enjoying the simple joys of childhood brought back memories of our time spent on the farm.  I’m not sure I’d consider myself “vintage,” but I sure do love her fabric collection and patterns.

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Quilt Expressions has created two quilt kits using Suz’n Quilts’ fabric collection and patterns.  The first is “Vintage Play.”

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Vintage Play” combines the Vintage Play panel, fabric collection and pattern book, resulting in a colorful collection of childhood moments.  The kit includes the pattern and fabric for the top and binding.  The finished size is 61″ x 77.”

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My Pencil Box” combines Suz’n Quilts’ “My Pencil Box” pattern with American Jane fabrics.  It’s a great quilt-as-you-go project, or it can be quilted after you’ve finished piecing the top.  The kit includes the pattern and fabric for the top and binding.  The finished size is 42″ x 72.5.”

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Suz’n Quilts’ book “Vintage Play” contains directions for six lap quilt projects, plus a bonus mini quilt.  The patterns make perfect use of the Vintage Play panel and fabric line.