Baby Quilt Contest at Make Baby Stuff!

September 9th, 2008

superbuzzy is sponsoring a fantastic baby quilt contest over at Make Baby Stuff !

Three winners will receive gift certificates to go shopping at superbuzzy. Woo hoo! You can find all the details on the contest page . If you'd like to be involved, but don't have a baby to quilt for, consider making a quilt to donate to  Project Linus . What could be better than making something warm and cozy for a child in need? Doing it and getting a gift certificate in return!
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Fabric 101: Progressive Shrinkage

September 5th, 2008

The warehouse has been flooded with new shipments the past few weeks, and part of the goodness is some snuggly soft, polka dot flannels !

All of these flannels remind me of those beloved flannel pajamas I had when I was a kid. You remember those, don't you? The set that was a bit too large when you first tried it on, then fit just right after 2 or 3 washings, and then, without you realizing it, was too short in the arms and legs, as if you had a sudden, overnight growth spurt? Well, whether or not you had that growth spurt, chances are good that you also fell victim to progressive shrinkage - common to flannel fabrics. So, what is progressive shrinkage, and what can we do about it? Progressive shrinkage is quite similar to felting in wool fibers - loosely woven fabrics or fabrics woven with relatively long staple fibers are subject to greater fiber movement when agitated in water. So, even in cellulosic fibers (plant-based fibers like cotton, linen, hemp, etc.), progressive shrinkage can occur in certain weaves or fabrics with particular fiber types. Cotton flannel (or flannelette) is usually a simple or twill weave fabric made with short staple fibers. After it is woven, the surface of the fabric is "napped" on one or both sides - a process that pulls the ends of those short fibers from the weave with stiff bristle brushes. This results in a soft, brushed fabric that is a bit fuzzy to the touch. The loose weave and the napped surface of the fabric allow the fibers to shift and become more dense when they are agitated in the washing machine. The fibers will continue to become more densely packed in the weave, wash after wash, until they are stable and cozy with their neighbors... and there you have it: progressive shrinkage. But, don't give up on flannels just yet! Now that you know how this happens, you can be proactive and successful when sewing with flannel. Simply pre-wash all of your flannel fabrics in hot water 2-3 times before sewing. A hot water wash will help to accelerate the shrinkage, and most shrinkage occurs in the first few washings. If you are combining flannel fabric with non-flannels in a project (flannels make great quilt backs!), this is especially important. Otherwise, the areas with flannel will shrink at a much faster rate than the non-flannels, making your project pucker or become misshapen. Be especially aware of potential shrinkage when making garments. If you know your fabric is going to shrink, always pre-wash before cutting your pattern pieces so that you don't end up with something too small. Even though pajamas can start out loose fitting, you don't want to end up with capri pants during those cold, winter months! Have a question about fabric? Let us know, and we'll feature it in our Fabric 101 series. If we don't know the answer, we'll find someone who does!
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birthday gifts galore!

August 27th, 2008

Wow! We had a great time last week celebrating the big #2, and a birthday isn't quite the same without presents, right?!? Well, just like clockwork, we received a shipment with all the latest Re-ment ! And, I have to say, Re-ment is just about the cutest and most fun birthday present I could have asked for. I'm particularly crazy about the Airline Meals series... must be all those super fashionable TWA flights I took in the '70s!

 

But, I'm also growing more attached to the Rainbow Deli series - oh, those cute, tiny tongs!

Re-ment miniatures make great additions to dollhouses, but they're also great fun for gifts, tiny decorations or dioramas, or just to display. Have fun!
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we're 2!

August 21st, 2008

It's funny how I can get completely wrapped up in the day to day operations around here, and then a big birthday sneaks up on me! Two years ago today, superbuzzy opened up its virtual doors to see if anyone else out there was as crazy about Japanese crafty goodies as we are. I certainly never dreamed that so many of you were out there, ready to stitch up a storm with the perfect bit of cute Japanese fabric. We had a mini celebration today, complete with chocolate raspberry cheesecake (yum!) from our favorite local bakery, The Royal Bakery .

As part of the celebrating, I will be adding new items to the sale today, and deepening the discounts on other items. Thanks so much to all of you for supporting our independent shop!
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the approach of fall

August 14th, 2008

Although we're currently existing in the warm, humid pool that is coastal southern California, the signs are everywhere that fall is near. Aside from the fact that I will take my baby girl to her first day of kindergarten next Tuesday (!) and my Japanese maple has just started to turn, we also just received our shipment of Japanese Halloween fabric! As much as I would like this summer to stretch on a bit longer, I guess I have to admit that fall will be here in a quick blink of the eye. If you've got plans for Halloween crafting, our new cute and spooky fabrics might be just the thing!

I've expanded the Halloween category to include lots of fun fabrics that coordinate with our new spooky prints, as well as some fun notions. I'm thinking that a new trick or treat bag might be in order for my little one this year... Enjoy!
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