Thursday, October 20, 2016

Product Review - Bloc_Loc Ruler

Here is a 'sneak peak' of an in-progress quilt on my design wall. 

I want to make a 'scrap' quilt with Island Batik fabrics and solid white. I am working diagonally through the colour wheel.  

I just started making a few yellow blocks and liked how they looked. I have sorted my fabrics and continued making blocks and arranging them on my design wall.

Then it hit me! I will need 800 Half Square Triangles for this quilt! The quilt will be 10 blocks x 10 blocks = 100 blocks; and there are 8 Half Square Triangles in each block.

I don't think I would have started if I had done that math at the beginning but I'm moving along well with the Bloc_Loc ruler!

The helpful assistant at one my local quilt shops told me the Bloc_Loc ruler was great for squaring up half square triangles.

I always make these by using squares that are cut slightly larger than the size I need and I 'square them up' so they are perfect every time. I usually use my 6" square ruler to trim them square.

The Bloc_Loc has a diagonal groove on the underside, designed to 'lock' into place along the seam line. When I first put the ruler on my half square triangle I knew something was wrong. 

If I had trimmed with the ruler in that spot I would definitely be trimming too much!

I had to turn the ruler around, be sure that it was 'locked' and that the block size I wanted was inside the fabric edges.

I trimmed the right side and the top,

then I turned the block around and lined up the cut edges with the measurements on the ruler and made my final two cuts. These are perfectly trimmed.

The only drawback I see with this ruler is that there are no instructions with the tool. If you go to their website ( you can see exactly how to trim the blocks. 

The key part that I didn't know until I watched the video is that the Bloc_Loc logo on the ruler should always be placed on the lower side. That is the one that does not have the seam allowances underneath. Once I knew that it was very easy to position the ruler and trim my blocks. 

The video also shows how to trim quarter-square triangles accurately. This is definitely my new 'go to ruler' for trimming half square triangles. I used the 6-1/2" ruler but they even have a 12-1/2" BlocLoc ruler for larger blocks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What's on My Table, Tuesday?

Today's job was trimming one of my new pattern quilts in preparation for the binding. This is Galaxy Stars and it will be displayed in the Northcott booth at International Quilt Market at the end of the month.

Pattern will be available in March 2017.  HINT:  It uses PANELS!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Workshop: Improvisational Curves in Lethbridge

Thank you to the Lethbridge Centennial Quilt Guild for inviting me to visit your guild. Here are some pictures from the Improvisational Curves Workshop.

Our classroom was amazing! Lots of room for everyone and plenty of light.

Improv Curves 'parts'  - great fabrics, great curves!

Student pictures taken at the end of our day:

Bonnie & Barb

Another Bonnie


Val L.

Sorry, didn't get this student's name - great design!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

New Series: What's on My Table, Tuesday?

I'm starting a new photo series this week.  I'm calling it What's on My Table, Tuesday?

Every Tuesday I will post a photo showing what's on my main cutting table. Some weeks there may be lots of ACTION (i.e. mess) and some weeks there may be NONE (still the same mess).

How about you - What's on YOUR table?

Here are the first couple of pictures...........

 This is what my table looked like when I returned from my teaching trip to
 Lethbridge a couple of weeks ago....
YES, I'll post pictures from that trip SOON.

The buckets contain 'in progress projects' that are on hold since priority projects 
have come to the top of the list.

I couldn't stand it any more (and I had 2 quilts to make for Quilt Market in Houston
at the end of the month) so I did a MAJOR TIDY!

Come back next Tuesday for a sneak peek at the new projects!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fun with Paintstiks - at the Academy of Quilting

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

Class begins this FRIDAY, October 7th

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 since the classroom remains open until November 14.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Show 'n' Share - Chic Flowers

Sue J. sent me a picture of the runner she made in class with me.

Sue says: "I enjoyed your course at Kaleidoscope Quilt Company awhile ago and have completed the table runner using the curved ruler. Now I'm looking forward to using the ruler on another project."

We used the Quick Curve Ruler for this project. Have you tried it yet?  There so many wonderful quilts you can make with this ruler!

I'll be teaching Chic Flowers again this fall.

 Join me at Serge & Sew in Nanaimo on Friday, November 18th for this 1-day workshop.

Class is #578 - 10:30 am - 4:00 pm

Contact the store to sign up.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Product Review - Perfect Rectangle Ruler and more

I love it when I can combine testing a new product with a small project. I had a cute flannel panel fabric (Northcott's Flirty Birdies) in my stash and decided to make a cot cover quilt for my new granddaughter, Brooklyn. Two textured solids and a wavy stripe coordinated well.
I thought 'tipsy blocks' would be fun to make with the bird blocks so I decided to give the Creative Grids Perfect Rectangle Ruler a test run. The ruler's main function is to cut perfect rectangles that can be assembled to make half-rectangle blocks when the width is one half of the height. But these half rectangles can also be used to 'tip' square blocks.

I cut four 8" squares from the panel, followed the instructions with the tool to cut triangles from 8-1/2" wide strips and then sewed them to the square. The instructions that come with the tool are well written and illustrated.
The final step was to square up my blocks to measure 11" square.

I joined the blocks with sashing and prepared my quilt sandwich. I tried Pinmoors for basting. These are drum shaped rubber pieces that allow you to baste your quilt with straight pins. You push the sharp end of the pin into the Pinmoor. Since I have some arthritis in my right hand it was easier to use the Pinmoors than safety pins (my usual basting method). The pins stayed in place and were easy to remove as I quilted my small quilt.

And here is Brooklyn's first quilt - the first of many I'll make for her!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The 149th Saanich Fair

Our local agricultural fall fair is 149 years old! The first fair was held the same year as Canadian Confederation, 1867.

I was asked to help with the judging for the Quilting section again this year.  Here are a few pictures of some of the winning entries.

Embroidery on quilt by Beverly M.
Pineapple Quilt - Claudia L.

Birds quilt by Patricia H.W.

Chickens quilt by Mae P.

Northern Wilderness quilt by Cathy N.

Quilting designs on the quilt by Cathy N.
It was wonderful to see all the quilting talent in our area. I encourage all the quilters on Vancouver Island to enter next year's Saanich Fair - it will be the 150th year (the same as Canada). What a great way to celebrate our country's birthday!  See you there.

Monday, September 5, 2016

New Pattern - Old Growth

Did you follow my series of posts about embellishing my Old Growth quilt? 

I talked about: Bobbin QuiltingCouching Thick Threads and Embellishing with Fluffy & Fuzzy Threads

I have now published the pattern for this quilt.

It all started when I was on a mini-vacation earlier this year. My husband and I travelled to Uclulet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. We stopped at Cathedral Grove, a special place filled with old growth trees, some as old as 800 years!  I took lots of photographs as we walked among the trees.

A couple of months later I was asked to design a pattern using Northcott's new Naturescapes fabrics.

As soon as I saw the amazing 'bark' fabrics I knew what I wanted to design. The water, sky, rocks, ferns and textures were perfect for the background and the variety of bark patterns worked wonderfully for my version of the old growth trees.

After I sewed the background I drew stylized trees based on several of my photographs, selected the different bark and green texture fabrics and fused them to the quilt. My basic quilting  was done on my longarm and for the embellishments I used my Bernina 440 domestic machine. Since the quilt is not large, you can quilt it on your domestic machine and then try some of the embellishments described in my blog posts.

I am thrilled with the results and hope you will enjoy making your own Old Growth quilt too.

The quilt is 50" x 50" and I recommend this pattern for Advanced quilters.

Naturescapes fabrics will be in quilt shops starting in November, but you could get started with fabrics from your stash and begin work on your own version of my trees.

Order the pattern here.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Row, row, row.....ending SOON

Have you been collecting ROWS all summer?  And have you made your quilt yet?  I've seen some amazing quilts posted on Facebook as quilters take their completed quilts into their local shops. The row designs for this year's theme, Home Sweet Home, are so interesting.

Check out the British Columbia Row by Row Experience on Facebook to see some of the quilts from my province. You will see the rows I designed for these shops:

Bib 'n' Tucker Quilting

Black Sheep Quilt Shop

Snip & Stitch Sewing Centre

Hamel's Fabrics & Quilting

Row by Row is winding down for another year.  The final day to collect your free row pattern is September 6th. So, if you are needing another row or 2 for your quilt, plan a road trip for the upcoming long weekend and visit a Row by Row shop.

Here's the link to the main Row by Row Experience page. Click 'Start Here!' to see the Canadian Provinces, US States and European countries with participating shops.

Watch the BLOG for a special 'collecting' event to celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday. It's going to be a PARTY!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Product Review - Bottle Quilt

My friend Pat Yamin has been making 'one-patch' quilts for years. She has produced templates for many of the designs and I bought her 'Bottle' pattern and template when I was teaching in Hawaii a couple of years ago. 

I reviewed Marti Michell's templates recently and used some of the same products with Pat's template: 

Quilter's Slip-n-Grips are sandpaper 'dots' with adhesive backing. I put a few of these on the wrong side of each template to prevent slipping as I cut. They are effective and inexpensive insurance.

The other product I used when cutting around the templates is Olfa's 12-inch square Rotating Cutting Mat. Cutting the bottle shape from my fabrics was so easy and accurate.

To help with hand-piecing, Pat's templates have slots where you can mark part of the seam line. I used the Sewline marking pencil to mark the lines on the wrong side of the fabric shapes. This is my favourite marker for this job.

Pat's company is called 'Come Quilt With Me', and you will find her books and more than 30 different templates on her website. Not all the templates require hand-piecing. Machine stitchers will enjoy using the templates too. The marking slots ensure accuracy for designs that require starting or stopping 1/4-inch from the end of a patch for set-in seams.

I like using small short pins for both hand appliqué and hand piecing. The pins in the picture are Appliqué Pins by Clover. They are 3/4-inch long and don't get in the way like longer pins. I use a fine, medium length needle and neutral 50-weight cotton thread for hand piecing. I also run my thread along a thread conditioner called Thread Heaven. Whenever I am hand sewing I use this product, whether it is hand piecing or stitching down the binding on my quilts. The thread does not tangle as much when I use Thread Heaven.

I have made the small hand-pieced bottle quilt shown in the picture. I can't decide whether to keep going and make a larger piece or whether to just finish this small quilt as it is. My friend Rose thought it looked more like wine glasses so perhaps I will finish it to be a small mat for a tray when I serve wine at my next event.