It’s 2017!

We hope your 2017 is a happy, safe, and healthy year!  And we hope you have time to do the things that bring you joy!

Take for instance, Bernie!  He joyfully receives a tummy rub!bernie

Cagney happily cat naps on one of my current projects!cagney

Lacy does the same!lacy

Please take a look at our newsletter.    We have lots of photos, (even some of people!) and our class schedule for this winter season.

There are specials on our sewing and quilting machines included.  We have something new,  “Fill My Machine Embroidery Bag,” that you might be interested in if you’re a “Happy Hooper.”  There’s also a new feature for hand embroiderers and wool lovers  called “Wooly Words,” from Cathy Mark.   And there’s lots more to look at.

january-newsletter

On Thursday, January 12th, our Quilts of Valor sewing group is meeting, and I’ll be teaching a free class on the “hot dog” method of making a presentation case, which is used to present the Quilts to veterans.  The same method is used to make pillow cases for a Case for Smiles that we take to the children’s oncology wards at local hospitals.  I’ll have instruction sheets detailing sizes and all the steps.  We invite anyone to come join us, at around 10am.  Bring your own fabric or get some here.  Bring your sewing machine and sewing supplies, or just come and watch and find out about our Group.

snowman

But we’re in that “iffy” time of year now, where the weather could be a problem, so if there’s any question at all, call the store before you come to any of the classes you sign up for.   574-233-3112.

 

If you can’t come on January 12th and want to do the cases. join me for a regular class on January 24th, in the first of my “Just for Fun” sewing series classes.  Details are in our class schedule.

If you enjoy the cat pictures, as many sew-ers do, be sure to take a look at pages 15 and 16 of our newsletter, and send me your own Crafter Kitty photos.

Again, Happy New Year to all, and thanks for reading our blog.     Erica

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!

Ty 2We had our annual Sidewalk Sale and Humane Society Benefit on July 12th and 13th.  Thanks to everyone who brought in donations, both monetary and food. The Humane Society appreciates it all!

On Friday morning we had the pleasure of hosting many kittens needing “furever” homes. There were several black kittens like this one, and I wanted to take them all home!.

Did you know that black cats are the hardest to find homes for? Sad to know that superstition of the black cat causes this. (Although my mother said that since she was born in October, they were lucky for her!) St Joe County has over 600 cats right now, of all colors and breeds. We got almost all our cats over the years from there, and they’ve given us such pleasure, DSC00072whether it’s helping with my sewing, like Lacy,

or just hanging around like Puccini, “Pooch” restingfor short!

It seems that cats are  favorites of many sew-ers and quilters.We feature Crafter Kitties in our quarterly newsletter. (I could use more photos right now.  See details in the newsletter.)

Cat_in_the_hatCats are a favorite subject for patterns and fabric, too. For instance, we have Cat in the Hat Cuddle fabric 999602,

A22664applique like Cat’s Meow A22664, which is also available for machine embroidery A22604, (by the way, if you didn’t read a previous post, the first kitten on the right is named “Kitten Erica!)

and the machine embroidery CD Hankie Blankie Pets’ Faces 13864, to make a cuddly blanket with an animal head 13864b(pattern instructions on the CD).

902733We can’t leave out

Laurel Burch’s famous cat fabric!

And even Laurel Burchslipper socks! A18972!

Besides fabric and patterns, if you can find a place in your home and heart, please visit your local Humane Society or Rescue. (There are dogs there, too!)

Until next time, here’s to purr-fect sewing and quilting projects!

Erica

(To find an item on our web page after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item. Some of the images on this post are also links!)

Remember, you can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.)

Busy Season

This is a busy time for all of us! Besides being a busy holiday month, it’s one of the months I do our big newsletter, and we have a lot going on in the shop!

I showed two projects in our Creative Sewing Club meetings this month. The first one was the “Sun’s Up” placemats (A17754), using the 10 Degree Wedge Ruler (24171)

Here Lacy learned how helpful the Gypsy Cutting Gizmo (47319) is in chain piecing.Here she tested the placemat before I trimmed the sun.

My other project was the Slicker Tote (A18878) by our friend Joan at Lazy Girl Designs. I got to try out two of her new Sew Lazy products, and I love them! Slicker Glossy Vinyl enhances the fabric and makes it indescribably beautiful! The body the tote has is achieved with her Stiff Stuff!  

 (I got this photo of my tote just before Lacy knocked it over to climb in!)

The Sew Lazy product line is color coded – blue for the two sew-ins, (Dreamy Sew-in and Stiff Stuff,) and hot pink (think of your hot iron) for the fusibles, (Fusi-Bond Lite, Slicker, Face-it Soft and Firm, and Dreamy Fusible.) Note – If you’ve signed up for our Gift Bag emails, you’ll see the Slicker Tote on Day 10.

If I don’t “talk” to you before then, besides being busy, we hope you’ll have a safe and very happy holiday season!

Erica

You can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

(To find an item or event on our web site after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Our Inspired Winners

This is our belated blog post (sorry for the delay!) about our contest. Entrants were asked to finish this sentence in 500 words or less: “When I shop at Erica’s I’m inspired because…”: We had so many entries that it took longer than we expected. We have notified the winners, sent their gift cards, and they have given permission to reprint their entries.Ericas With Tag

This is how it went…

Bill (son and IT person) printed out all the entries, without names, and Dick (husband), Cathy (daughter), and I started reading. What a beautiful collection of letters that reaffirmed our goal since we opened the store! We’ve always wanted to inspire!

I can’t begin to tell you how you touched us, and I don’t have words to express how warm and fuzzy you made me feel.

Thanks so much to all who took time to enter our contest celebrating our new tag line, “Your Inspiration Destination.” There were so many wonderful entries, that we decided to award first and second place gift cards to entries from our Internet customers and from our local customers. They have different perspectives, and we appreciate both. Not only have we doubled the number of winners, but our Lacy (feline) has chosen an entry to give a special “Feline Appreciation” Award! So we have 5 winners!Lacy the Cat

Let’s start with Lacy’s award. She just loved yours, Roxanne Schnitzler! (From Decorah, IA.) She may be prejudiced, but she thought yours was like catnip to her heart! She sent you virtual purrs and kisses, along with a $50 Erica’s gift card. (We had to do the gift card part for her.)

I have never actually been to the store because of distance, but shop online and love Erica’s. You have everything. I love machine embroidery and you carry supplies and magazines no one else does. Your newsletters are informative, newsy and fun to read. I love how you are always coming up with something to say and something new to do, even if you haven’t actually started it yet! You don’t mind laughing at yourself or pointing out your mistakes-makes you human, when I only know you online.

Purple CatOne of my absolute favorite things though, is your love of cats and seeing how you baby them and let them help you in your sewing endeavors and how they get to analyze and critique every project from start to finish! A little cat fur never hurt a project. Keep up the good work and maybe someday I will get to meet you in person and see your shop in person. Roxanne Schnitzler, Decorah, IA

These were are our $100 Gift Card winners:

The “local” winner is Ann Viviano from St John, IN, about an hour and a half away.Google Map

I’m in heaven – knitting, quilting, embroidery, cross stitch all the things I love to do and right at my finger tips. – I walk through the front door and my heart does flip flops – the examples hanging all over the store I can’t wait to pick out my project and race home to start – yes it is a 2hr drive and worth every penny of gas to shop at Erica’s. The people at the shop are so friendly and helpful and the staff manning the phones are just as helpful and just as friendly. It is a joy to do business at Erica’s. No matter what questions I ask there is someone that can help me. I have always been greeted when I arrive and I have always been asked if there is anyway they can help me – that is SO not the norm in most of the shops I have been to. Now if only I can get Erica and Dick to open a store in my area of Indiana. Thank you both for what you have provided to the quilting world and all the other wonderful hobbies we enjoy – you have made shopping in your beautiful store a wonderful experience. And I LOVE your newsletters, it is like reading a letter from a close family member – especially the antics of your furry friends. Keep up the GREAT job and a big thank you to all of your staff. Erica’s is an example of the way a shop should operate. You all are WONDERFUL. I mean every word of this – not just because you are offering gift certificates, I felt that this ‘contest’ was a way for me to let you know how I feel about your shop and your staff. Thank you for giving me this opportunity.

First Place RibbonOur internet winner is Vicki Callahan from Mason City, IA.

When I shop at Erica’s, I’m inspired because of just about everything! Where do I begin? I love the site. I especially love the ‘what’s new‘ link. I have found the cutest fabrics there and get excited and motivated. Even though my niece was only recently married, I know someday they’ll be starting a family and I found the best baby fabric under what’s new and guess what? I already ordered it! I love that the communication is so quick and so friendly and I never have to doubt or wait to find out if the fabric is coming or if you’re out. Regular e-mails keep me informed and I live for coupons and specials and you offer those at the best of times! Your ordering process is easy, swift, and as I said, I never have to wait for long to find out and receive the exciting news that my fabric is on its way. Since I am not a patient person, your site allows me the close to instantaneous satisfaction that I love so it is my favorite site for ordering fabric. When I need inspiration, I just go straight to your site and start reading thru the ‘what’s new’ and the sale fabrics and when I was looking for dinosaur fabric for my great-nephew, all I had to do was type in ‘dinosaur’ and I was immediately given a list of things I could look thru… books, fabric, FUN! The site picks me up, inspires me with new ideas, and gets me motivated to work on projects I have or to learn how to do new things in the sewing and craft world. I thank you for that and continue the great work. Some day I will come see the store in person. I think I could spend hours looking around.

Our second place winners received $75 Gift Cards.

Our local winner is Jaime Stacy from Goshen, IN (about 45 minutes away):Balloons

When I shop at Erica’s I’m inspired because there are so many options!!! I usually never walk out of Erica’s empty handed. Whether I am looking for specific things to complete a project, looking for a new project, or I am just coming in to browse, I end up leaving excited by something that I have found. I have a hard time “imagining” what a finished project will look like. I love that Erica’s has finished projects hanging up around the store. I also love that you have everything right by the project to complete the project. I have a hard time putting together fabrics to complete my quilts and I love that I can buy a kit where someone has already pieced together the fabrics for me. It leaves me to do what I enjoy the most, sewing! I also love that you offer so many classes on such a wide range of ideas. I love to sew but I ended up taking a jewelry class when I saw a necklace displayed that I really liked. I would have never thought about making jewelry if I hadn’t seen the necklace or been given the opportunity to have someone walk me through how to make it. I was very inspired when I had the opportunity to come meet the creator of Art to Heart!! What a wonderful experience to realize that Nancy is just a normal person like me that loves to sew. I am also pleased to know that by taking my 9 year old daughter into your shop that she is becoming interested in sewing and crafts. Sewing and crafting has been a wonderful way that my Mom and I have kept a close relationship. I am so excited to see my daughter becoming interested in what I love to do and I hope for a lifetime of being able to connect with her through sewing and crafting. I love having a shop around that I can count on to keep me excited doing what I love.

Our internet winner is Marie Korol from Freeland, PA.

I can see such beautiful colors. The patterns for quilting are so varied, and I feel that I can quilt anything. I’m always amazed at the different styles and color combinations as well as the different techniques used. If I’ve never done that process it makes me want to try it, and by doing so, I broaden my horizons and hone my skills as a quilter. I feel like a fabric artist and I look forward to the creative process. When I’ve completed my personal work of art my self esteem soars. It’s so nice to feel good about yourself. I know I will receive my treasures in record time and in excellent condition. What more can you ask for? Great service, bonus points and a brand new pattern to make you smile! Your staff is polite and very knowledgeable, and I always feel like I am your most important customer. It doesn’t get much better than this. I am so glad I discovered your site. Thanks for being who you are.

I had the pleasure of calling all the winners. It was so much fun! They were all so excited and some even had their lists ready to be able to use their winnings right away! They were so warm and friendly, that I felt we were friends already. I have to tell you about my call to Marie! When she answered the phone, I introduced myself, and she said “Get out!!!” I do have to admit that this was the first time I got a response like that when I told someone who I am! She replied that she is somewhat of a free spirit, and we had a great conversation.

Working LadiesThank you so much, everyone, for entering. We had a hard time choosing our very favorites: we appreciate all of them. Wish we could give everyone Gift Cards, but we need to stay in business, so we can continue to be “Your Inspiration Destination!”

You can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

(To find an item or event on our web site after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Erica puts rumor to rest …

Jennifer jumped the gun a bit when she said there was a rumor that I was working on a quilt from the Tula Pink book, Quilts from the House of Tula Pink (A18230)Quilts From the House of Tula Pink

At that time, I was working on the newsletters and getting ready to go to Viking Convention in Tucson. (It was a great convention, with great new products!) NOW I’m starting my Tula Pink quilt! Page 127 has Stacks, the quilt that intrigued me. Angela Walters quilted the quilts in Tula’s book.  I love Angela’s  Free-Motion Quilting (A17336).

Free Motion Quilting by Angela WaltersI used her Tiles quilting design on my last “modern” quilt, Ring Toss (A12651).Ring Toss Quilt

So I chose this quilt based on more quilting ideas from Angela. I enjoy the quilting process so much, and that’s how I decide on what quilt to piece. Look at the beautiful Bali fat quarters I’m using, along with a gray background. (Of course, Lacy had to check out the fabric, too.)Bali Fabrics with a Crafter Kitty

Since Bali fabric tends to have extra dye, and they’ll be against a light background, I knew I should set them with Retayne (40287); 4 oz. (40287), 16 oz. (18659).

Several are dark, so I put them together in the Retayne. (There are instructions on the bottle for machine washing.) Before putting them in the washer, I clipped the corners. Have you ever pre-washed several pieces of fabric and taken them out of the washer and the threads that frayed had the fabrics all tied together? Clipping all the corners prevents that. The photo on the right (below) shows the fabrics as I took them out. Every one of them separate! So much easier this way!

Pre-washed fabricsTesting Fabrics If you want to check your fabric for extra dye or possible bleeding when washed, you can swish it in hot water in a white or clear bowl. If the water turns a color, the fabric needs Retayne. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

Before cutting, I press all my fabrics using Best Press. That way, if there is some fabric I haven’t preshrunk using the Retayne (the gray, for instance,) it shrinks as I’m pressing with Best Press.

Today I’m cutting my pieces, so I truly am working on the quilt from the Tula Pink book now!

You can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

(To find an item or event on our web site after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

And the rest of the story …

So now he’s finished! Actually, I was so excited when I got the face done, that I took it right to my Handi Quilter Fusion and set up the backing and batting I had cut last November. For some reason, they were quite a bit larger than the front. Oh, well, numbers have always been my downfall. I probably just figured wrong! I tore into this poor project that had waited so long in pieces, for my return.

Thread bridges on Bengal Tiger quilt

I do raw edge applique on my HQ – it’s so much easier than moving the fabric around under my regular machine. There was quite a bit of white, so I started with that. Instead of tying off at the end of each piece, I do tiny little stitches so the stitching won’t come out later, then move to the next piece and do tiny stitches to get it started. In the end, it’s faster just to cut the bridges all at one time.

Got it all done and hung it on the wall to admire before I cut the binding. That’s when it hit me! In all my excitement, I had forgotten to add the accent flange and the black border! Darn! What to do?! Too late now.  You know that great feeling when you think you’re on the last leg of the project? I went from there to it being too hot in the room, and the panic in the pit of my stomach! OK, calm down, and look at this reasonably. Ah ha! I’ll just put a wide binding on it!  That will frame it, like that forgotten border would have. So I went to my calculator. Let’s see, ½” for the seam allowance, some to frame the piece. That’s times two, and then it wraps around, and that’s times two. Got it! (Remember, I told you about me and numbers?)

I had help getting the binding on, as you can see.

Crafter Kitty helper

Got the first side sewn easily.  I got to the corner, and believe it or not, with all my brilliant figuring ahead, there wasn’t enough fabric to do the miter! So I invented these really cool corners! I won’t tell anyone it was either that, or take the binding off and go back to the calculator. So I decided these corners were really great. (Just don’t ask me how I did them!)

Corners of Bengal Tiger Quilt

So here’s my guy! Regal and impressive, with custom-made corners. And done!  (A13718)

Bengal Tiger

I did the Giant Panda earlier, which enticed me to do the Bengal Tiger.  (A13787)  The Panda pattern is down a little from the tiger on the same pattern page, and my blog post is here.  both are hanging in the back of the classroom now, and when you enter, you see them from a distance.  I just love them!  Since then, I’ve finished my first “modern quilt.”  I’ll tell you about that one in a few weeks.

You can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

(To find an item or event on our web site after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)

Return of the Bengal Tiger

I’ve finally gotten back to the Bengal Tiger wallhanging that I started many months ago! (A13718). It’s from Rob Appell’s Endangered Species collection. I made his Giant Panda from the collection and blogged about it last winter.

I like to have several projects going at once, because then there’s always something I feel like working on. It’s really bad, though, when I have to leave something midstream for so long, because when I get back to it, it feels like I’ve never read the instructions before and they’re in a foreign language! Does that happen to you?

Well, I got everything laid out, only to find I was missing some pieces. Darn! I was sure I’d cut them. (I’ll bet one of my kitty sewing assistants has absconded with them and I’ll find them years from now!)  So what’s to do but cut them again.

Lacy

When I got all the pieces arranged, I did a final pressing. (I used my press, but it can be done with an iron too.) I hung it on the wall, as I try to do with all my projects, so I can glance at it while I’m working at the computer, from about 15 feet away. Lacy thinks she enhances the tiger (actually she thinks she enhances everything).

Tiger Nose

I used Heat n Bond Feather Lite  which is what Rob recommends now. I decided I didn’t like the piece that formed the top of the nose. You may not know that reheating a piece that’s been fused to fabric will sometimes allow it to come off cleanly.  Be sure to try it with a swatch of the fabrics and fusible that you’re using before doing it with your actual project, but with Feather Light, it works beautifully!  Because there was so much bias, and this piece was so long, it stretched quite a bit. So I decided to prepare another piece to replace it. You can see the difference after I re-positioned it. Lacy likes him better now, too.

Tiger Eye

I put it back on the wall and decided that I had one of the green pieces slanted too much. So I heated it and removed it. This piece was smaller, and came off without stretching. Sometimes there isn’t enough glue left on the piece when you remove it.  To reuse the piece, you may need to put fusible on it again. The way I did that was to lay an applique pressing sheet  on the ironing board, put the green piece right side down on it, then a new piece of fusible on top with the glue down and the paper up. I pressed it, let it cool, then took the paper off and removed the extra glue that remained on the outside of the green piece. That way I didn’t need to cut a new piece, but you could do that, too..

Here he is now, ready to put on my Handi Quilter frame!

Finished Bengal Tiger

If you’re in the Kokomo, IN, area, we’ll be there Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28th for the One Stop Quilt Shop Hop. There’s more information on our Facebook page.

You can see What’s New at Erica’s almost every day! Any page of our website has a column on the left that tells you where to find things, and all you have to do is look for “New Items” in purple, and click to find out.

(To find an item or event on our web site after clicking on the highlighted words, hold down the “Ctrl” key and touch F. Enter the item number in the box, press enter, and you’ll be taken to that item.)