My Visit to the Fabric Warehouse

I was very fortunate to travel this week to the warehouse that houses some of our lines of fabrics (StudioE and A. E. Nathan) as well as other company’s fabrics. I found it very interesting and wanted to share some of the photos I took, as well as explain the process fabric goes through before it arrives in a quilt store.

 

From the outside, the SNS South warehouse is a very unassuming, and doesn’t even look very big. I was wondering if I was at the right place when I saw it. However, once inside, it stretched from 2 smaller rooms up front to 3 large rooms in the back. The front was actually the short side. There are also other buildings behind the one that houses our fabric that I didn’t go to see.

SNS

 

I will start with the last room in the building, as that is where the fabric arrives by truck from Charleston, SC, the eastern seaboard port where the ships bring the fabric from overseas. The room is very large (think of a large department store) and has a receiving dock as well as a shipping dock in the back. The fabric arrives on tubes, with no folds. In this state it is referred to as ROT, or rolled on tube. There are forklifts to get the pallets with the ROT rolls (which are individually covered in plastic) near the machines to be folded and placed on boards. This plastic must be removed and recycled.

Here are some ROT fabrics:

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ROT bolts

 

There is an area for the cardboards to be folded, as well as an area for the companies who purchase their cardboards pre-folded. Here is a photo of the many cardboards!

I saw an employee adding the stickers to the ends of the bolts. This is all done by hand. They are printed on stickers and placed on the ends of the bolts.

 

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The most fascinating part of the process is watching the machine that is hand operated wind the bolts with fabric. I videotaped the process, which you can see here. The difficult part is to stop the machine using the brake before it winds either too little or too much fabric. That explains why some bolts are 14.5 instead of 15, or 16.5 instead of 15. It is a very difficult thing to stop it just right at 15 or whatever bolt size it is supposed to be. There were about six people rolling fabric while I was there. Some were men; some women. They did not have anti-fatigue mats under their feet and they were standing on concrete. That would be a hard job!

To watch the video click here.

 

 

Next the bolts get stacked on a cart to be wrapped in plastic and sealed up so they don’t get dirty before they can be shipped. Here is a picture of the machine used to cut the plastic and seal the ends. I used such a machine as a teenager to wrap meat at my parent’s country grocery store. A heated wire cuts the plastic.

 

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The bolts are placed in the warehouse room with row upon row of shelving units to hold the fabric until it gets shipped out to stores. Here are some photos of shelves that are pretty empty, and some pretty full.

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Modern Leaf 108″ wide back fabric

You will notice that the flannel fabric we are currently selling has just a few bolts left.

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I was surprised that all the pieces of a certain line were not necessarily together, nor was there any rhyme or reason to where they were or why there were where they were. I am sure they know where they are, but if I had been charged with pulling an order, I would have found it difficult!

 

In the center of this room are roller devices that help to move bolts along the ordering process. There are also large metal carts, which are used to gather orders for shipping. There were a couple people pulling orders while I was there, but I didn’t get to talk to them. The lighting in this area was poor, giving the feeling of being in a cave. I am sure that is good for the fabric as light exposure can cause issues. There was space on the shelves for putting part numbers under the bolts, but none of the numbers I saw related to what was on the shelf.

 

All in all it was a very informative process and I was glad I got to view it first person. I can’t really relay how large the rooms were, but there was lots of fabric. I did find out that there is always new fabric arriving and must go through the process of being rolled off the tubes, placed on bolts, covered in plastic and placed on a shelf to be sold and shipped out to a store. When a new line comes in, it may take a week or more to be rolled, depending on how large the group is or how much was ordered.

 

Jaftex, the company I contract with, does not own the warehouse, but they do pay for their services of receiving, processing, housing and shipping the fabric. That is worked into the cost of the fabric that a store pays when they purchase it. I can’t imagine the expenses associated with such a large operation. It was not heated to what I consider room temperature and I wore my jacket the whole time. That makes me wonder if it is HOT in the summer! That would make the jobs there much tougher.

 

So the next time you visit your favorite quilt store and see all the beautiful fabric lined up on the shelves, just imagine where it has been and all the hands and paperwork that has helped to get it there!

Two-Hour Tulip “BLING MY BAG” CONTEST Starts Now!

The contest is simple! Make a Two-Hour Tulip purse, any of the 4 sizes is acceptable, and BLING IT OUT! Be as creative as possible. Perhaps you like embroidery; maybe beads are your thing; painting, dying, ribbons, bows, etc. The options are limitless. We have judges to decide who gets the prizes! Could you be one to win the first prize of $100 in product? You won’t know until you try!

Fabulous artist Melody Crust visited my booth at the recent Quilt Market in Houston to show off the cute bags she had stitched up. I loved them so much! Here is a photo from  her website:

Melody's purses

Melody’s purses

The purple one has little purple buttons sewn all over it. The Blue one has gathered ribbon and buttons and the green one has beading and ribbon.  Anyway, for details, go to the home page of my website and print out the details. Good luck and I hope to see a photo of your BLINGED OUT BAG!!!

Notion Commotion Blog Hop Winner!

Thanks for participating in the Notion Commotion Blog Hop! The winner for our Mini Scrap Grid interfacing is kquilt17. I have emailed to  notify them of their name being drawn. I hope you will join us again for a future Blog Hop!

Notion Commotion 10!

Today’s blogger is Annette Ornelas from Southwind Designs. She is blogging about a tool that is very close to my heart, as I am the designer! It is the Bias Binding Simplified Ruler by Creative Grids.

Hop on over to Annette’s blog to see what the commotion is all about!

http://southwindinspirations.blogspot.com

Notion Commotion 9!

Today’s blogger is Susan Emery. She is the designer for Swirly Girls Designs. Her took to blog about is the Creative Grids Kite Plus Ruler. I actually just used this ruler too in working on a Row by Row Shop Hop quilt. Read all about her notion in her blog post. Just click the link below to visit her blog:

http://www.swirlygirlsdesign.com/

Notion Commotion 8!

Today’s blogger is Laura Blanchard. She is the designer for Plum Tree Quilts. She is blogging about the Red Sew Glasses. Please hop on over to her blog to read what it is all about!

Laura’s blog is:

http://plumtreequilts.wordpress.com/

Notion Commotion 7!

Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods is our blogger for today. She is reviewing Corner Cutter Tool for Fast Flying Geese which she found at Quilt Market in Pittsburg this spring.

The link to her blog is:

http://www.perkinsdrygoods.com/blog/

Notion Commotion 6!

Today’s blogger is Brenda Miller of Among Brenda’s Quilts. The tool she is blogging about today is Lumitask Sew lite.  Hop on over to her blog to see what all the commotion is about!

Brenda’s link to her blog:

http://amoungbrendasquilts.com/

Notion Commotion 5

Today’s blogger is Debbie Wendt from Wendt Quilting. She is reviewing a binding tool she found at Spring Market 2014 in Pittsburg. Let’s hop on over to her blog to see what the commotion is about!

 

Link to Debbie’s blog:

http://debbiewendt.wordpress.com/

Notion Commotion 4!

Today’s Notion Commotion Blogger is Kate Colleran of Seams Like a Dream. She is reviewing a sewing guide found at Spring Quilt Market 2014 in Pittsburg. Let’s hop on over to her blog to find out what the commotion is about!

Click this link to get to Kate’s blog:

seamslikeasdream.com/blog

Notion Commotion 3!

Today’s blogger is Joanne from Fat Quarter Gypsy. She is reviewing binding clips she found at Spring Market 2014! Let’s hop on over to her blog to read all about them!

Click on the link below:

Fat Quarter Gypsy

Notions Commotion Blog Hop! What’s New from Spring Market 2014!

Do you like little things? I love miniature things! Anything that is normally large reproduced in a tiny size just gets me smiling and feeling all warm and fuzzy. (See below for my collection of tiny cooking pots and a chance to win a free panel of the Mini Scrap Grid!)

 

I like to take my tiny scraps from making a quilt and use them to make a miniature quilt. This spring at market, I found a great new product that you may enjoy as much as I am enjoying it. It is a fusible interfacing that utilizes one inch scraps to produce a tiny 9 patch block that when finished, measures only 1½ inches!

 

I usually only save scraps over 2 inches. However with this product, there are lots of possibilities for smaller scraps! And best of all Joan Ford (well known for her ScrapTherapy® techniques) has made it easy by including a step by step tutorial on her website hummingbird-highway.com/mini-scrap-grid-how-to/.

 

The product is called Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing. Below is a picture of what it looks like.

Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing

Mini Scrap Grid Interfacing

Start by cutting up your scraps into 1 inch squares. If you are using the leftovers from a quilt or project, the colors should work nicely together. Place the pieces on the side of the interfacing that has the fusible bubbles. The + sign on the interfacing is your placement guide. One corner of each block should be placed right side up in the four right angles of the plus sign. When all nine are in place, use an iron to secure or fuse them. The dotted lines will be visible before and after fusing. The blocks are one thread larger than the 1 inch squares so that they can be folded for seaming. Genius!

1 inch blocks are placed on the interfacing with just a thread length of spacing between each one

1 inch blocks are placed on the interfacing with just a thread length of spacing between each one

 

The solid lines are the sewing lines. Fold along the dotted lines and stitch after checking to make sure the solid lines match up. Here you can see what it looks like after sewing all the seams in one direction. Doesn’t it look like it is a perspective shot? Nope it is shot straight on, just that the seams make it look skinny in the middle!

Half of the seams sewn

View after two seams in one directions has been sewn

Then you use the + sign as the clipping guide to cut the seam. Sew the remaining seams. Here is the block before squaring them up. Resize them to be exactly 2 inches before stitching them together. This will rid them of the extra thread-sized lines and allow for perfect piecing.

The block after being sewn, and before trimming to 2 inches

The block after being sewn, and before trimming to 2 inches

 

The interfacing is very thin and sheer so it adds no weight or stiffness to your project. You can see the different fabrics from the back side so it is easy to tell where to make the clips so the fabrics are separated before stitching the other direction.Viola! Your mini 9 patch block is ready to sew to into your quilt top!

The block after being trimmed. It appears distorted only because it is curling up a little. It is actually square!

The block after being trimmed. It appears distorted only because it is curling up a little. It is actually square!

I pressed the inner block seams toward the center. If you clip between the blocks you can make those tiny 4 patches which help the block to lay flat for quilting.

 

If you clip between the fabrics, you get perfect little 4 patches on the back for the seams to lay flat

If you clip between the fabrics, you get perfect little 4 patches on the back for the seams to lay flat

With the blocks sewn I then add the setting blocks. After seeing them together, I decide to create a fussy cut center block from the Blank Quilting Mosaic Garden fabric in place of the pieced block. It will go on the back with the label.

Here are the trimmed blocks along with the setting blocks

Here are the trimmed blocks along with the setting blocks

 The first border is a solid black 1 inch which finished at 1/2 inch. The outer border is the Mosaic Garden fabric.

The quilt top ready for layering and quilting

The quilt top ready for layering and quilting

I like to use loose batting for miniature quilts. This is just a personal preference. I think it allows them to be floppy and behave more like a large quilt that weighs a lot more. The batting I use is actually cotton stuffing from Quilter’s Dream.

Quilter's dream loose cotton stuffing

Quilter’s dream loose cotton stuffing

Here is the loose batting layered on the back of the quilt top before the backing is added.

The loose batting spread over the back of the quilt top

The loose batting spread over the back of the quilt top

Quilting for this quilt includes stitching around the blocks in the ditch as well as the black border in the ditch. I hand quilted the flower border, and diagonally through the 9 patches. Binding is a black polka dot. Of course, no job is finished until the paper work is done! Here is the mini label for the back. I used the one block left over so it goes with the label.

Mini quilt label using left over block

Mini quilt label using left over block

Hhere is a photo, as promised, of my miniature cooking pots. I hung the quilt in the background. Note the size of the Aurifil thread spool in relation to the pots. I think my grandmother received these pots as part of purchasing regular sized pots in the 1950’s. I keep them near my thread collection and love to see them when I am sewing!

(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

The finished quilt along with my tiny pot collection

 I promised a chance to win a free panel of the Mini Scrap Grid interfacing, so here is how to enter: Click on the following link to my website and add your name to the email mailing list. It is on the right of the home page. I will collect all the names entered and draw at the end of the Notion Commotion Blog Hop, July 17th. Good luck!

Here is the Link:

www.anythingbutboring.com

Notion Commotion 1!

Today’s Notion Commotion Blogger is Kris Poor, of Poor House Quilt Designs. Her notion to blog about today is Dritz Soft Grip Tweezers. Let’s hop on over to her blog, to find out what the commotion is about!

Click on this link to go to Kris’s blog:

Poor House Designs

Embroidered Honeybell Star Quilt

I was visiting with Timmesa at Creative Sewing Machines in Mt. Airy, NC this week and she showed me a quilt she has taught as a mystery class using the Honeybell Stars pattern. She had her students create their embroidery at home before class using the background fabric and specified sizes of embroidery to create the focus blocks. I took pictures and even though they are not great, I hope you get the idea! Nice job Timmesa!

 

The Honeybell Stars pattern is available for purchase on the Patterns page.embroidery-up-close honeybell embroidery 2embroidered-honeybell

Streak ‘o Lightnin’

This quilt was made as a shop sample for The Busy Bea in Chester, VA. They cut their own strips from fabric in the store and used blue as the lightning and yellow as the background. The layout is the same as the pattern with the exception of adding the half-square triangles all the way around the quilt instead of just on the two ends. Love it!

streakoflightning

New Chelsea Fabric from Blank is my fav!

Easy Galaxy pattern from Anything But Boring

Easy Galaxy is a new pattern from Anything But Boring

I love this new fabric from Blank! There is every element a quilter loves-large print, medium print and small print, and light value, medium value and dark value to make it interesting. Stay tuned to be able to purchase this pattern. It is being printed by July!!

Cute Frog Zip ‘n Go Tote!

 

While teaching at Wish Upon a Quilt last week, one of my students, Janet W. shared this cute bag made using Anything But Boring‘s pattern for the Zip ‘N Tote bag. She used Quilting Treasures focus fabric and Michael Miller fabric for the handles.

“I will draw a name out of the hat on February 13th”

Would you like to make this quilt?

Would you like some fabric to help you get started?

Read to the end of this post to see how you can receive it!

 

       A friend of mine became a U.S. citizen last year. I wanted to make her a red, white and blue quilt as a gift. I used the Honeybell Star pattern, as the starting point, but I wanted the stars to be 5 pointed rather than the pieced 6 pointed stars in the quilt pattern.

       My husband was kind enough to draft it out for me. I have included it as a Free Download .pdf in case you want to make one too. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B5upUw7sheBOcHU5Rmh0c254bEU/edit 

       I used a large print fabric for the center and fill-in blocks and a pieced square in a square for the 4 corners. The center fabric could be used in place of those pieced blocks. I used a small print for the setting squares, except I didn’t use any applique on them as it is in the pattern.

       If you would like to make this quilt, please let me know by replying to the blog post. I will donate all my leftover red, white and blue fabric (about 4 pounds worth) if you purchase the Honeybell Star pattern for this project.

       The link from my website to purchase the pattern is directed to a local quilt shop. They will notify me of your purchase. I will draw a name out of the hat on February 13th.

Good Luck!