Guess what time it is?

It's Wooden Nickel Time!

A new shipment of widebacks (108") arrived this week.  Nice variety of colors, all bundled up in 3-yd packs and tied with a ribbon.  Yours for 12.50/yard. 
Have a wooden nickel?  Get the widebacks for $10/yard! 
A 3-yd piece is large enough for a queen size quilt back.  Or use it for borders, or a background.  Can't use 3 yards?  Where available we will cut a larger piece or a smaller piece for you.  Same price.  12.50/yard or $10/yard with a wooden nickel.  Can't travel to the shop?  Give us a call, we will send a photo of the colors and ship out what you need.  Wooden nickel sale now through next week.   

So the fabric companies all announced a price increase.  If you are paying $14/yard, that is about 1 cent/square inch.  At 1 cent/square inch, a comparable price for a 108 inch wideback is about $38.  Many quilters recognize that even one yard of a wideback at any price less than $30 is less expensive than the 44 inch wide fabrics.  So go shopping in the wideback section for background and border fabrics.  A one-yard wideback cut is equal to about 2 1/2 yards of regular width fabric.
Look at the scraps in your wastebasket.  A piece 2 inches by 5 inches costs about 10 cents.  Would you throw dimes into the trash?  Might want to reconsider what is a scrap.  Save all those ends from jelly rolls and bindings.  Soon there will be enough to make a Mondo Bag, or Midi Bag which uses 2 1/2 inch squares of fabric.  I always tell the story of my Mother Sue who raided the wastebaskets after a class.  She collected all the "scraps" and made quilts.  She even saved all those triangles left over from sewing binding strips together - said she wanted to make a pyramid quilt.  Guess what, she finally saved enough of them and made that pyramid quilt.  It looks like rows of flying geese. 

So I wondered how a company can provide widebacks at a lesser price than the 42-44 inch width.  I conclude the wide goods is easier to print - not so many colors and not such detailed prints requiring as many passes through the printing process.

Have you discovered the "clapper?"  My memory of a clapper is watching mom use it after pressing seams from wool fabric.  She was a good tailor, made all the suits and overcoats for my brothers because a ready supply and nice selection weren't available after the war.  I thought there must be some interaction between wood and cloth.  Turns out that holding the clapper over the seam traps in the heat, resulting in a perfectly flat seam.  This can be important when many seams intersect, such as in star points, one block wonder hexagon intersections, Kaleidoscope blocks, or anytime a flat seam is needed.  And somehow the edges of the seam don't show through to the right side when flattened with a clapper.  Do we have clappers?  Yes, we have the most unique clappers found anywhere!  Handmade right here in Sarasota by Mr. Miller (Teresa's dad).  He used cedar wood - it gives a nice aroma when used on a hot seam.  

  So what's new?  A few new collections to make crib quilts - one of our big sellers online.  P&B Woodland Little Critters collection, Thomas the Tank, The Little Engine that Could, Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, Hungry Animals an alphabet panel and collection.  New panels for One Block Wonder - Northcott's Jacaranda Blue Heron, a mystical horse panel by 3 wishes, 23 Psalms panel, the Lord's Prayer panel.  Benartex Catitude collection still a big seller online.  New in the $5 bin are marbles blenders and quilters calicos both milled in the USA.  We stock lots of blenders and intentionally order many different prints with the goal to have something for everyone.  Our best online seller is reproduction feed sack prints from the 20s and 30s - those fabrics are not easy to find, several companies print only one new line a year and in some years none. 

Do you stock a large inventory of colored threads, trying to match the thread to the fabric being pieced in the quilt top?  So how do you choose the thread when sewing two extremely different colored fabrics - like sewing black to white?  Choose white, or an off white.  Can't use black or it will show through the seam.  About the only times I am fastidious about matching thread to fabric is in applique, and when hand sewing binding step 2 to the backside of a quilt.  Other than those instances I have an arsenal of neutrals - grey, oyster, off white etc.  White when sewing snow white to a fabric of dark value such as black, navy blue, etc.

Fabric refills are still challenging due to mill and shipping delays - still lagging behind because of COVID issues in 2020.  I don't know how many fabric containers were trapped on ships when the Suez Canal was blocked.  On one of the last dimples shipments we received 2 of 10 bolts ordered.  Some colors of grunge have been back ordered for nearly 7 months, with no shipping date in sight.  Several of you have had special order requests and I keep checking when the goods might be available.  We will call soon as the fabric arrives, unfortunately I can't say when that is going to happen.

Tip on scissors care from Moe - once a week put a drop of sewing machine oil where the blades meet, open and close several times to distribute the oil.  And NEVER drop the scissors on the floor.  This causes misalignment of the blades - once misaligned they might not be able to be realigned to work properly.  

It's more important than ever with rising prices to recycle and reuse as much as possible - and it's just a responsible thing to do.  All batting strips 8 inches and above are used to make hot pads or microwave bowls.  Less than 8 inches go into a plastic bag for doggie or pet beds.  These "free" bags are in the clearance section - come and get whatever you need.  We generate more batting pieces than we can sew in hot pads - these pieces are put into a bag and priced at $1 or more.  Great for smaller projects.  Same thing with fabric pieces.  8-10 inch pieces make hot pad backings.  In the past we sold scraps for $2/pound about once a year.  This year we are bagging scraps by color for sale online.  
We use recycled plastic bags from the grocery store to line the waste baskets.  One of those bags fits nicely into a rubber maid trash can.  We roll several bags into a bundle, place in the bottom of the trash can so there is a ready supply to reline the can when removing the filled bag.  For shipping we now use compostable plastic bags.  The outside lettering announces "Hi, I'm 100% compostable."  Many of the plastic bags are now made with cornstarch which is highly degradable.  You can test this for yourself.  Take one of the plastic bags from the grocery store, put it on your sun porch for several weeks and you will discover it has disintegrated.  We now have batting made from recycled plastic soda bottles - Dream Green made by the Quilter's Dream Company.  It is a nice soft synthetic, similar to fleece.  Save the planet.
Will let you know soon as we have dates for future classes.  
If you need something shipped give us a call 941-330-0993.  Follow our activities on FaceBook "Alma Sue's Quilt Shop."