Friday, January 31, 2014

Is it Friday already?

Hi all!
     Where has the week gone? Not only that a month already. Doesn't bode well for a slow relaxing year....who am I kidding it is never slow!

   This week we had a customer come by and show us her show and tell. The customer made this great pullover shirt for her grandson. The fabric that was used is a new sweater knit that we received a couple of weeks ago. The way that she combined the colours and "patched" the pullover is so cute. What a great job. This is the front, don't you love that cute little pocket. The pocket matches the back.

    Vandy (my coworker and friend) and myself have also been making a couple of new knitting samples. Using our Savanti Yarn. This yarn is virgin wool and so soft. Being a mega chunky it knits up so fast. You can have a cowl and a scarf knit in an hour or two....depending how fast you knit!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Hawaiian adventure!

Hi all

    This is a guest post by my sister Miriam Cloutier about our new Hawaii cruise. 
    September 23-October 5, 2014! Hope you can join us!

Hi Cruisers

     Hope everyone had a great Holiday Season! Now that the holidays are over it is time to start planning our Hawaii Cruise.  This is going to be a very exciting trip if you have any questions please don't hesitate to call or email anytime.

 Here are some trip details: 
      We will be cruising with Celebrity. The ship we will be on is the Celebrity Solstice. I toured this ship and it is stunning! Some of my favorite things were the Murano Glass Blowing show that they have. The real grass they have on the top deck. The three different pools; including the main pool that has 2 decks for sun loungers. The Ice Martini bar. The two story library and so much more! 


      Our staterooms are all Balcony's. This means when we are in Hawaii you can order some room service and have it on your balcony in your pj's!

     The cruise will depart Vancouver September 23 and we will arrive in Honolulu on September 29. I have the conference rooms booked on the ship for classes for September 25-28. The space is on the top deck of the ship and has floor to ceiling windows. Just like last year we need to get permission for the Irons and Machines. 

      We arrive into Honolulu on October 5. Here is the big decision you have to make. Would you like to fly home from Honolulu to Victoria on October 5 or extend your trip? I have been booking flights for guests already going and the flights have all been under $500.00 per person. Just let me know and we can help get your flights and hotels booked. 

    Now on to the great deal that Celebrity is offering us! I am so excited about this. Since we are all in Balcony staterooms we qualify. 

Celebrity has a 1,2,3 go promotion. You will get to pick 1 of the three options. 

The options are:

Option 1: Free Classic Beverage Packages. This is the best deal!!!  If you were to buy this it is $1548 for two people on a 12 day cruise. This will get you free drinks and wine and spirits. This option makes your cruise All Inclusive! 5 star dining and drinks such a great deal. 

Option 2: Pre paid Gratuities this is a $300 per stateroom Value

Option 3: $300.00 on board credit per stateroom. 

      If you would like to take advantage of the 123 go promotion your deposit of $490.00 per person is due by Feb 28 2014. This deposit is for the cruise only. Airfare and Hotels are done differently. I can take care of your airfare and hotel with you to get you what you need. 

    I am going to look into doing a group Luau so let me know if you are interested.

    My hours of work are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 9-5 Saturday 10-5 Wednesdays and Sundays I am off. 

     Please let me know if you have any questions. This cruise is not just for quilters. I think of our trips as people with a hobby in common traveling with friends. The more the merrier. Alaska was just so much fun! I look forward to seeing old friends  and making new friends on our Hawaiian adventure!

   The price for the cruise is $2011.00 per person taxes included. 
We  have booked a private bus from Victoria to Vancouver to take us directly to cruise ship terminal and that will be $65 per person. 

Kind Regards, 

Miriam Cloutier| Travel Manager

Flight Centre Business Travel Tuscany Village
103 - 1632 McKenzie  Ave | Victoria, B.C. | V8N 0A3

Phone: 250 360 2058 | Toll Free: 1 866 420 4410 | Fax: 250 360 0268


PS.....Want to know what we are making???? That is surprise for another day! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Playing with my Cameo

Hi all

    Over the weekend I had some time to play on my Silhouette Cameo Cutting system. I don't often have the time for it but it is so much fun. I wanted to play around with some Valentines gifts so I found these charming little posies.

    If you have a chance to play with a Cameo, you will be surprised how easy it is. The whole system also comes with software so you can create your own designs and re-size each one. What I really liked was that the software is similar to our 5D and 6D Machine embroidery software, a lot of the icons are the same. The system has the ability to cut fabric, vinyl and paper. You can also get accessories that allow you to insert pens and ink. The creativity is endless!

Friday, January 24, 2014

New embroidery project

  Hi everyone

    Well all the supplies are in! It is time to start my new Machine Embroidered Quilt. This is a program I haven't used before so all new to me. I am excited but until you get that first block out of the way, I feel a little unclear. Well nothing ventured, nothing gained!

   The pattern is called Gypsy and is made in the embroidery machine. I am working on the sample and then in February will be hosting a group of ladies to work on the quilt as a block of the month project. It really is stunning. All the applique, quilting and batting are stitched right in the hoop and then the blocks are put together after to assemble the quilt top. Amazing!

Full quilt shown on left. Closeup of block on right.
Well have a great day and enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A little Knitting


   I try to be a knitter every once in awhile. I know how to knit and purl but that is about as far as it goes. I would love to learn more but I will be honest I tend to get to get frustrated because I know other hobbies better. When I make a mistake I don't know how to fix it or I pull the whole thing out! I will never forget the time I took a sock knitting course; after only doing a beginners class. I thought hey I've got this knit and purl, just smaller for a sock...right?! I get into a class where you make both pairs at the same time, not your average sock knitting! I still only have a long circular needle with two toes of socks and balls of yarn shoved in there! Ahhh the fun! Anyway I now make LOTS of scarves! It makes me laugh just thinking about those socks.
   Yesterday I received an email from one of our yarn suppliers with a link to their free patterns and saw this beautiful afghan. I just had to share it with you. The yarn that is used is by Sirdar and is called Big Softie. It is so soft and is the yarn we use for our beginners classes.

There are a great selection of colours to choose from

Here is the pattern for you to enjoy

   Remember every Thursday at The Cloth Castle ALL knitting yarn, notions and patterns are 15% off!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A buying day

Hi all

   Today I thought you might like to see how we buy fabrics for the store. It is one of the funnest part of my day. We have really wonderful sales people that have become great friends. We laugh and catch up as we work. Some sales people we see every 4 week,s others every 6 weeks and some only a couple times a year. It is still such a surprise to me that there are always so many new prints to choose from. I don't know how the designers keep coming up with new patterns, textures and prints. Just like you all get excited when you see new prints, I get that way when I see the sales people. Most times the fabrics are ordered anywhere from 3-6 months in advance so when they arrive months later it is like Christmas.....a total surprise!

   The day starts with the sales person rolling in their suitcases. Usually a minimum of 2 or 3; today was 4. It depends on if we are reviewing our basics or just looking at new. It was all new yesterday and a lot of it was for Halloween and Christmas 2014. Sometimes we see the new Christmas fabric for the next year before Halloween of the current year is even over!

  So we start looking, they will pull out the samples. Some are printed fabric and some are laser print paper copies. The groups get pulled out one at a time and stacked. As they are pulled out I am thinking about future possible projects, where are we lacking in the store, what is the trend for the next year and what will everyone like. There is a lot going through my mind but while this is happening I am getting excited. I know when it is a good group when I get all jittery and wish I could have it NOW! 

Fabric samples

Laser printer sample. Isn't that just too funny!
 (There is a Skinny Woman inside me..... I can usually shut her up with Candy Corn!)
  So as we work through the pile we order and decide when we would like it to arrive. In about 2-3 months it will be in stock and ready for us to play!

 Hope you enjoyed seeing behind the scenes! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A little Fashion Sewing

Hi all

   This past weekend I ventured out of quilting zone and did a little garment sewing. It was really fun to stretch out of my comfort zone! I worked on two tunic style tops from Indygo Junction Patterns. The patterns were very easy to follow and made up so fast. The first one was this Urban Tunic, great to pair with a pair of leggings or layer the top with a nice knit shirt. This pattern will be very comfortable to wear. Both the featured patterns come in sizes Xsmall- XXLarge. No zippers on the cowl neck style and nice little hidden pockets, such a nice design. I decided to use a red and cream linen dot. This fabric has a great drape and weight for this pattern. As you can see the garment turned out great.

Urban Tunic by Indygo Junction

   The second garment was another slip on tunic top and just as easy. This one has a nice little contrast detail. I used 100% cotton and loved the results. This top can be made in various lengths and also with the option for long or short sleeves. The fabric is Sarsaparilla from Riley Blake.

Over the top tunic by Indygo Junction

  Well I hope that you have some time to stretch your wings and try something new! It is a great way to expand your skills and also get you re-inspired with your current projects.

Have a great day!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A busy and fun quilting week

Hi all!

   Well we have been having a beautiful week of cool sunny winter days! I love days like these, when the sun is shining and there is crisp bite in the air. 

    We have all been busy working on new samples and kits for the store. It has been a productive week, I do have a great job where I get to quilt where I work! Sometimes it means that I don't want to quilt when I get home but I play ALL day! Pretty lucky wouldn't you say?

   This week I dedicated the week to working with all of our Minkie and Cuddle fabrics. If you have ever sewn with these fabrics you know they tend to "shed" when you cut them. So I figure take one week and make a mess, then move on to other fabrics. It is pretty funny as I cut kits I have lint through my hair, down my shirt and everywhere in between. When I go home at the end of the day I am still finding it! It is pretty funny. The other lint monster is flannel. It is finer lint but man it can get me sneezing! I love the quilts, so simple but sometimes that is all you need. Hope you like them too. We have kits for them all.

   Have you worked with Shannon's Cuddle or Minkie before? Or have you worked with it and had a bad experience?  Here are few of my own hints and tips that always work for me. 
 1. Always start with a very sharp blade in your cutter and if you have one use the  60mm cutter. 
 2. When sewing rows together make sure to measure really carefully and always match and pin the ends and center, then distribute the areas in between the pins evenly. Use a ton of pins. The more you pin the better your seam will come out. 
3. Whenever possible use a 1/2" seam allowance instead of a 1/4". You can't iron Cuddle fabric so a wider seam allowance you can finger press without the edges curling.
4. Sew the entire quilt with your walking foot. A walking foot can be used for all types of sewing. It is actually technically called a dual feed foot. Meaning the sewing machine feed dogs work with the feed dogs on the walking foot and "feed" the fabric through together at the same time. This prevents one of the fabrics feeding through faster than the other. Therefore prevents puckering, pulling and also you won't end up with more fabric left over of one print when you get to the end of the seam!
 5. Here is the best secret for finishing your quilt! Only use 505 Basting Spray to  hold your layers together. Because the back of Minkie is slippery, if you don't use the spray they just slide against each other and will constantly move. You will be sooooo frustrated! We don't put batting in our Minkie quilts as we like the draping look of them, but you could certainly add batting. 
 6. The last tip.....roll over the backing to make the binding. We love the tool Quick Easy Mitered Binding Tool! You will never hand sew a binding again (unless  you want to!).

Group doing charity work?
This is great way to save time for bindings. 

   Well I hope that will give the info you need to give Minkie or Cuddle fabrics a try, I love them. They are also great to use for quilt backing if want a really soft and warm quilt. The key is to use the 505. One other thing if you are giving the quilt as baby gift you should wash the quilt before giving it away, this will dissolve the 505 spray.

Have a great day.....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Year and a New look!

Hi all

    A New Year and a fresh start! Ever just need a break from things? I don't even know how it came to be 6 months since my last post. Time and energy just got away from me. Well I am back now and ready to get into a routine. I have made changes to the blog, I have combined my own personal blog with the store (Cloth Castle). Most of my projects are being done at work now and I know that you all really like pictures. I hope you enjoy the new combined effort!
   The last month has been a busy time. My mom had hip replacement surgery so I have been going between two houses with dinners and cleaning. A busy time but we are so thankful for a quick and pain free recovery. Mom is doing great and on her way! Thank you to all of you who have sent your regards, it is appreciated.

   On the sewing and quilting front. I have just got back into things. We received these great new 100% cotton light weight canvas prints that just begged to made into bags.The are easy to sew and light enough to be made into garments, home decor and craft projects. I love fabric that is versatile, that  just inspires you to play! Sorry the picture quality isn't great, had to take the pic with my phone. Other than that aren't they great prints!

Well have a great day and if you are in our neighborhood hope to see you soon!