Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Fun with Paintstiks - at the Academy of Quilting

Registration is open for my Fun with Paintstiks class at the Academy of Quilting

Class begins on April 3
Whenever I offer this class, many of the students said they had bought Paintstiks but just didn't know what to do with them. Is that YOU too? Why not join me and discover what you can do with your Paintstiks! 
I will show you how to use Shiva Paintstiks to add color, pattern and texture to your fabrics. You will learn several ways to apply the paint, how to put it just where you want it and how to blend paint to create a rainbow of rich colours.

You will fill a sketchbook for future reference as part of each exercise. The final lesson includes using the paint to highlight and color quilted projects and appliqué designs.

You will have plenty of time to learn in this class. Our classroom remains open until May 11.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Loose Threads Quilt Show

My weekly quilt group, Loose Threads, is having a quilt exhibit at the Sidney Museum Exhibit Gallery for the month of April.

If you are in our area please drop by and see quilts from many of the members of our group.

Sidney is a lovely small town just north of Victoria, BC. We have great shopping and restaurants. Why not make a day of it!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Flowers on Friday

A sure sign of SPRING here in Victoria.....the cherry trees are blooming!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


I don't get as much time at the sewing machine as I would like. Most of the time I am 'sewing on my computer', designing new patterns with upcoming Northcott fabrics. I use Electric Quilt software for all my design work. 

This is an especially busy design season with new fabric collections being released at International Quilt Market in May. It is exciting to see the fabrics that your local shops will be ordering with deliveries throughout the summer and into the fall.

Between my designing tasks I did spend a bit of time sewing last week. I made a CRIB SHEET for my upcoming grandchild. I receive Ami Simms' newsletter and when she was expecting her first grandchild she shared her pattern for making a crib sheet. I saved the link, knowing I would want to do this too when the time came.  
Do you want to make sheets too?  Go to Ami's Website, click Tips Tricks Tools & Techniques and scroll down to How to Make A Fitted Crib Sheet With French Seams.

While you are there, why not sign up for Ami's newsletter - it's a FUN read!

Monday, March 16, 2015

International Quilting Weekend - The Quilt Show

Big news here! In honor of International Quilting Weekend, March 20-22, 2015, The Quilt Show (www.thequiltshow.com), the web TV show hosted by Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims, will open all of its shows from the first nine series-- shows 100-1513 --for the entire weekend. 

This means that, for three special days, everyone will have the chance to view over 200 shows, featuring some of the quilting world’s leading artists, for FREE.

This year's sponsors are contributing over $5000 in prizes, including the Grand Prize, a BERNINA 550 QE.  Other prizes you have a chance to win are:

         Innova – Have your quilt professionally quilted ($500 value)

         Superior Threads – five $100 gift certificates

         RJR Fabrics – a Delicious Selection of RJR Fabrics

         AccuQuilt – GO! Big Electric Fabric Cutter

         Missouri Star Quilt Company – $500 in Quilter’s Cash plus signed copies of Volume 1 of Block Magazine and Man Sewing Swag

As you may already know, I appeared as the featured artist on TQS in show 309. If you didn't have the opportunity to see this show the first time around, now you'll have the chance to see it—and so many other terrific shows—at no cost in this unprecedented three-day offer.

Share this information with all of your quilting friends. It's a fantastic opportunity to enjoy three days of learning and fun without leaving your home…all for free. Enjoy the shows, and thanks for helping to spread the word!

Link to TQS website landing page:

Friday, March 13, 2015

Flowers on Friday

Sometimes you win..............sometimes, not so much!

That's my story this week.  We have a DEER PROBLEM where I live.  So I planned to outsmart them this spring. I planted my tulip bulbs in pots on my deck.

In case you didn't know, deer LOVE tulips (plus roses, plus lots of other plants).

Our deck isn't high above the ground but I thought I had the pots where they couldn't get at them.

One large pot was along the edge of the deck, set back a bit.  But that darn deer managed to get them.

Here is the pot with most of the tulips gone.

But one pot was far enough away - hurray!  These sunny faces are a joy to see!

Next year, the pots will be FAR from the edge of the deck.  We gardeners learn something new every year.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Curve-Edge Quilts - a Tutorial

In January I shared about the class I took with Philippa Naylor in Houston last October. I have had several people ask me how I finished the curve edges for the quilt I made in the class.

Here is my tutorial:

Make a quilt with a curved edge - you could make a quilt with a wide border and then cut the curved edges 'freehand'. This is what I did for my pattern Ebb Tide:
On a flat surface pin the quilt top (right side up) to a piece of batting at least 1" larger than the quilt on all sides. Pin every 1-1/2 to 2 inches (closeup).

Sew the quilt to the batting around all edges with a SCANT 1/4 inch seam. Use your walking foot for this step and choose thread that CONTRASTS with the batting.

Trim excess batting, leaving approximately 1/2 inch all around the quilt top.

Prepare the quilt backing. You will need backing that is 2 inches wider and 5 inches longer than the batting. Trim a 4 inch strip from one end of the backing.

Sew the strip back onto the remaining piece with a 1/2 inch seam, leaving a 5 inch opening in the middle of the seam. Press the seam to one side.

Pin the quilt top/batting to the backing, right sides together, with the batting on top; pin well. You can see why the first stitching was done with contrasting thread so you can 'see' the edge of the quilt top.

Sew 1/8 inch inside the first stitching using your walking foot.

Sew across the corners; I stitch 3 stitches across the corner. This will help you have sharp corners when the quilt is turned right side out.

Trim the excess batting and backing, leaving a 1/4 inch all around the second stitching. Trim across the corners to reduce bulk.

From the backing side, carefully press one layer of the seam toward the backing.

Turn the quilt right side out through opening in the backing. Use your fingers to turn the corners out as best you can. Don't use a sharp tool to turn the corners; you might push right through the stitching!

Thread a needle with a long thread until you have it doubled. Do not tie a knot. Feed the needle across the corner taking a fairly large 'bite' of the fabric.

Carefully pull on the threads to pull the corner out. Do this gently, just until the corner is sharp.

Press all around the edges; I like to do this from the wrong side. Slipstitch the opening closed and admire your beautifully curved edge!

You now know how to make a great curved edge for YOUR next quilt!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Academy of Quilting - Ripless Paper Piecing

This class begins on Friday. This is a 3-Lesson class, one lesson is available each week. Our classroom remains open until April 20. You don't need to rush when you take a class at the Academy. I'm with you every step of the way. The fee for this class is $30 US.

You may already have some experience with paper piecing, sometimes called foundation piecing since the usual way is to sew onto a foundation.  This class will show you how you can achieve the accuracy that paper piecing gives without some of the extra steps.

The steps you WILL NOT do are:
  • create one foundation for every block you sew by printing or tracing
  • sew with a very small stitch length that is extremely difficult to rip out if you make a sewing mistake
  • spend time removing the foundation from your blocks

Included in this class is a tutorial about fabric 'value' - no, that's not how much it costs!  It is the relative lightness or darkness of your fabrics. This can 'make or break' a quilt.  Here is an excerpt from the class:

Choosing Your Fabrics

You will need a larger range of values for the two colors in your quilt. Choose two colors that you like to put together.

It is generally thought that there are seven main values that we can select for fabrics. When you move from one to another, you are stepping up or down the value ladder. These are the steps we will consider using:

·         very light
·         light
·         light-medium
·         medium
·         medium-dark
·         dark
·         very dark
There are many more subtle variations in between each of these named values. It is the selection of values from the light, medium and dark that create the contrast we see in traditional quilt patterns. Here are two blocks. One has excellent value contrast and one does not. It is very easy to see the difference.


Dakota Star  in light, medium, dark at left and in medium and dark at right

Here are those same blocks arranged as quilts. Which quilt uses value better?  High contrast quilts make each block piece stand out. Low contrast is a more subtle approach. There will be times when you wish to use low contrast. A great use of low contrast is for clothing items. The important thing is to know the difference and choose the values of your fabric to create the effect you wish to achieve.

High contrast and low contrast

Both blocks in grayscale

Notice how the two blocks look in grayscale. The green reads as very dark. The melon color reads very light and almost blends with the background. This is a case where you must trust what your eyes tell you. No one would confuse the melon color with the beige background when looking at the colored version. The red grayscale shows the dark, medium and light medium values.  There are no extremes in this block.

Learn more about value and Ripless Paper Piecing in the classroom. 

More from Hawaii

After the retreat my husband and I spent 10 days 'on vacation'.  One day we drove to Hilo with our friends Jill and John. We had lunch at Ken's House of Pancakes....

Jill and I visited Kailua Kreations II Quilt Shop (where we both won prizes for the Big Island Shop Hop) and then we played golf. (Read below to see what I won and what I have made....)

We visited beaches, watched whales

and had plenty of time to relax.

So...what did I win?  A lovely stack of 5" squares.  What to do, what to do....

I decided to make 2 placements, one for my husband and one for me.

The pictures show how I made them.  If you have some 5" squares in your stash (or you cut some) you can make easy placemats too!

Arrange squares - 3 rows with 4 squares in each row. Offset the squares so you don't need to match seams!

Trim 2-1/2 inches from the 'hanging over' squares.

Sew the pieces in 3 horizontal rows and then join the rows.
Trim the placemat to the size you want plus 1/2 inch all around (for seam allowances).
Cut batting and backing 1 inch larger than the placemat
Layer as follows: placemat right side down, backing right side up, batting on the bottom.
Pin well around the edges.

Use your walking foot to sew all around the placemat with a 1/4 inch seam allowance;
sew across the corners to reduce bulk. Then trim the backing and batting even with the placemat.

Un-pick approximately 5 inches of one horizontal row seam so you can turn the placemat right side out.
Turn and press. Pin the opening closed.

Topstitch around the edge of the placemats 1/4 inch from the edge. I used a decorative machine stitch.
Use a decorative machine stitch to quilt along the horizontal seams. Use a stitch that will close the opening at the same time.

You're DONE!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Flowers on Friday

One last flower photograph from my trip to Kona.

Bougainvillea were growing everywhere we went on the island. The colours are luminous, particularly when they are growing near a lava field. We saw orange, yellow and pale pink to magenta. Many grow on 'host' trees and can be 30 to 40 feet tall!

This photograph is at Waikoloa Resort, near our condo. I love the contrast in this image - the gray, brown and black of the hard lava, the softness of the grasses and the shocking pink of the bougainvillea.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

New Pattern - Tonbridge Tiles

I have just published another pattern. Tonbridge Tiles uses Northcott's Knotty Intentions collection. Quilt size: 58" x 74"

The focal point for this design is the marquis inlay panel.

Exotic wood grain parquetry flooring designs add intricacy to the quilt. 

Fabrics will be delivering to quilt stores in April.

This quilt would look lovely in other fabrics too. 
Just substitute your favourite 12" finished block for the motifs from the panel.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Report from Hawaii

I am back in the studio and almost feeling in the same Time Zone!  But I do miss 'Island Time' - the relaxed atmosphere, the sun and beaches, the golf course and no schedule to keep.

I had an amazing time at the Quilting on Beach Retreat. I taught 2 classes: Give and Take Appliqué Design Discoveries and Machine Quilting with Decorative Stitches.

Didn't get too many pictures from the first class - everyone was busy creating a wide range of designs. Here is a photo of some of the results - great work by enthusiastic students!

And here are pictures from the Decorative Stitches workshop. Students worked on one of my latest designs showcasing tropical flowers and leaves.

Here is my sample for the class. I had a blast choosing decorative stitches and threads for this piece - and they were all used for the quilting, including stitching around the appliqués.

Everyone had the opportunity to try a range of threads, they learned which needles to use with each thread and they sampled their stitches to get them 'just right'.  Our classroom was amazing - lots of space for each student, lots of ironing stations, full walls of windows on 2 sides (!), close to the beach - who could ask for more!

This is a new class to my repertoire so if you've been wondering how to use your decorative stitches in a new way, want to learn about threads, needles and more I'd love to travel to your shop or guild to lead you along the way to creating your own amazing design.  

Ask your Workshop Organizer to contact me for my teaching information.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Flowers on Friday

Flowers from Hawaii again this week.

These yellow plumeria flowers near 
Quilt Passions Quilt Shop in Kona. 

The flowers grow on the top of these small trees. They were planted on the level below the parking area at the quilt shop, making the flowers closer to 'eye level' so I could take pictures.  
Quilt Passions is owned by Karen and Robert who organize
 the Quilting on the Beach Retreat each year.

This pink plumeria was growing around our condo in Waikoloa 
where we vacationed following the quilt retreat. 
I had my husband bend the branch down so I could get this photo.

We visited a botanical garden south of Kona and stopped at H Kimura Store in Kealakekua. It is like an old-fashioned dry goods store with a wide range of Hawaiian fabrics and imported textiles.  

I bought some Japanese Indigo fabrics for a friend and picked up 3 interesting-looking fat quarters that were rolled up near the cutting desk.  When I opened the orange one I had a lovely suprise!  Yellow and Pink Plumerias!

So....what should I make with this fat quarter?  Send me your suggestions!