Pink Castle Blog

Brenda Ratliff

Aside from being the owner of Pink Castle Fabrics, Brenda is also a fabric designer for RJR fabrics, coordinator of Sew Pro and Stitchalot retreats and an avid quilter and teacher.

Recent Posts

Chocolatier BOM - October

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Oct 21, 2017 12:36:00 PM
  

Hi everyone!

Each month we will be sharing the current Chocolatier Block with you - we're grateful you've chosen to sew with us!

For all of the blocks in the Chocolatier quilt, we recommend pressing all seams open. Some of the pieces in these blocks can get small and pressing open can help reduce bulk when multiple seams collide.

September's blocks are called Argyle and use hourglass blocks. We will be making 8 blocks. 


We will be making a total of 32 Hourglass units in 3 different colorways.

Follow the instructions to create the half-hourglass units.


After sewing two half-hourglass units together to make the hourglass block, trim the block to be 3 1/2" x 3 1/2"

Take your time trimming to make sure the blocks keep the right angles.

Sew 4 squares together to make a complete hourglass block.

We're almost done! Just two more months and our Chocolatier Quilt will be complete. 

When you've finished this month's blocks, hop on over to Instagram and show them off using the hashtags #chocolatiersampler and #PCFchocolatier - we love seeing what you make!

See you next month! - Kara 


Topics: Techniques, Quilting

Chocolatier BOM - September

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Sep 21, 2017 12:13:00 PM
  

Hi everyone!

Each month we will be sharing the current Chocolatier Block with you - we're grateful you've chosen to sew with us!

For all of the blocks in the Chocolatier quilt, we recommend pressing all seams open. Some of the pieces in these blocks can get small and pressing open can help reduce bulk when multiple seams collide.

September's blocks are called Maple Leaf and Baseball and use half-square triangles and curves techniques. This is the last of the sampler blocks, and we'll be making one of each block. 


We'll start with 4 HST units and 1 Stitch-n-Flip unit. Layout the squares and sew them together

Sew into rows.

Quick and easy! Now, let's tackle curves.

First, cut out your pieces.

I was able to learn how to use a seam roller from Violet Craft at Glamp Stitchalot 2 and I highly recommend it for pressing curved pieces!


Pin the pieces in place and then press towards the while polk dot (or light aqua). 

Trim the block as shown in the instructions.

When you've finished this month's blocks, hop on over to Instagram and show them off using the hashtags #chocolatiersampler and #PCFchocolatier - we love seeing what you make!

See you next month! - Kara 


Topics: Techniques, Quilting

Janome 6700 - My New Favorite Sewing Machine!

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Aug 29, 2017 11:49:07 AM
  

Since 2003 the Janome 6500 (and then it's big sister the 6600) have been big sellers in the  Janome sewing machine line up. Over 125,000 of these machines were sold in the US alone! Why such amazing sales?  And why the longevity in the face of models lasting only a year sometimes? Because these are all around great machines!

Janome 6500p - Pink Castle FabricsJanome 6600p - Sold at Pink Castle Fabrics

These two bad boys are heavy duty workhorse sewing machines that don't skimp on the features. You still get loads of stitches, a great walking foot (with Janome Acufeed) and it can sew through leather! All the models in this family have an aluminum metal body and all metal interior. These machines will last you through decades of sewing! And, of course, they come with Janome's 25 year warranty.

Enter the next generation of Memory Craft heavy duty Janome sewing machine! The Janome 6700! (cue angels singing)

I love the new Janome 6700!

It's been a while since there has been an update to this series and owners of the Janome 6600 and 6500 have been loyal to their machines for a long time. I got a chance to try out this new model before it's release and I think it's my new favorite the in the Janome sewing machines line up!

I will put together a full review of the Janome 6700p soon but here's just a taste to get you excited to stop into our shop and try it out.

My Top 3 Benefits:

1. Speed! Some of you know, I have a need for speed when it comes to sewing. I currently own (and use most of the time) the Janome 1600p which tops out at 1600 stitches/minute. The 6700 tops at 1200 but has a top loading bobbin and not the metal bobbin system that you have to put into the side of the machine.  In fact, the Janome 6700 is the fastest top loading bobbin machine on the market! It takes great engineering to create a machine that fast with the easy load bobbin system!

2. Acufeed+ Walking Foot! This is the same 9mm wide box feed walking foot system that Janome includes on it's high end models. Instead of the traditional up and down movement of a typical walking foot, the Janome Acufeed system times the top feed dogs on the foot with the bottom feed dogs exactly for perfect feeding! This means a lot less bunching and puckering on the back of your straight line quilting! And you can easily sew with slippery and delicate fabrics.

3. Heavy Duty Sewing! Denim? Leather? Lots of layers of interfacing? No problem. Not only does the new Janome 6700 have a heavy duty aluminum exterior but it has an all metal interior as well. This is the best heavy duty sewing machine on the market. It has a powerful motor without looking too utilitaian and still has loads of decorative stitches and an alphabet,

I will have a full review and some videos to show off this machine to come so sign up for email updates to the blog!

Stop by our shop in Ann Arbor to test drive the 6700!

Sign up for our Launch Party!

 

Topics: Sewing Machines

Chocolatier BOM - August

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Aug 21, 2017 11:44:00 AM
  

Hi everyone!

Each month we will be sharing the current Chocolatier Block with you - we're grateful you've chosen to sew with us!

For all of the blocks in the Chocolatier quilt, we recommend pressing all seams open. Some of the pieces in these blocks can get small and pressing open can help reduce bulk when multiple seams collide.


June's blocks are called Rosebud and Arbor Window and use lots of little pieces, so precision is key! We'll be making one of each block. 


Like most months, we're starting off with HST units. those will be attached to a Chocolate triangle. Make 4 of these shapes.

Next, sew the rows to the White Polka Dot and Yellow fabric. This will make a 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" square.

Be VERY careful pressing these shapes. you can see that my block became a little distorted. 

Arbor Window is a simple block. Make sure all your squares are the cut well; this will really help your block turn out.
Carefully trim the block to 6 1/2" x 6 1/2"When you've finished this month's blocks, hop on over to Instagram and show them off using the hashtags #chocolatiersampler and #PCFchocolatier - we love seeing what you make!

See you next month! - Kara 

Topics: Block of the Month, Monthly Clubs, Chocolatier Block of the Month, Fabric

Moda Fabric Savannah Cozy Baby Quilt Kits!

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on Aug 8, 2017 8:00:00 AM
    

Cozy Quilt Kit.jpg

Buy Savannah fabric here!

I'm always looking for really cute baby quilt kits.  And I have found a really good one this time! This Cozy Quilt kit uses the Savannah collection by Gingiber for Moda. The pattern is by our friend Jessee Maloney of Art School Dropout. This quilt finishes at 42" x 50" and the kit contains everything you need to create the quilt top and binding 

This quilt kit features a really cute hand drawn critter panel (which also comes in a smaller size and black and white too!) which makes this go together so fast!  The colors work for both a boy or a girl too.  And the kit is all high quality Moda fabric. And Moda Quilt Kits always come with really cute packaging. This one comes in a cute little box.

PERFECT! A quick weekend baby quilt kit that makes the perfect gift!

Critters Galore Fabric Panel - Pink Castle FabricsThe panels in this collection are great to make cute small projects as well! The Critters Galore panel contains 60 small panels! These will look great in small bags and pillows as well!

 

 

Other Awesome Baby Quilt Kits:

Color Hex - Quilt Kit

Topics: Quilt Kit, Baby Quilt, Fabric

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