Friday, January 30, 2015

Flowers on Friday

My friend Irene has this amazing Helleborus blooming in a pot at the entrance to her home. I snapped this picture a couple of weeks ago (in the dark with my iPad) when my friends and I met for our weekly quilt/gab session. Haven't had time to pop over for a daytime picture but I'm sure you get the idea.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Reminder - Paper Piecing Paradise

It's not too sign up for my online workshop, Paper Piecing Paradise

During this workshop, I will show you how to create your foundations, select and prepare your fabrics and how to sew perfect blocks every time.

Even traditional blocks can be pieced this way; it is not just for small blocks or unusual blocks with sharp points.

This 4-session workshop starts on Friday. You will have access to one lesson each week  and you will have access to the 'Classroom Forum' to ask questions and share your results

I can't wait to meet you and share my tips for success.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Product Review - Grip Strips

I have rulers that are slip-proof for cutting fabric and I love them (Olfa brand is my favourite).

I also need to cut squares of paper and paper backed fusible web for my Give & Take Applique workshops. This is often more difficult than cutting fabric since all the rulers I have tried slide on the paper. It is important that I give students accurately cut paper and fusible web for the workshop exercises.

I decided to try Grip Strips™ by Guidelines 4 Quilting ( These are 1/4" wide clear plastic strips with a sticky back.

I followed the instructions and put them on the underside of my ruler, near the edges. I found that they 'lock' my ruler in place while cutting. I have tried other products to make my rulers 'unslippable' and they make it more difficult to slide the ruler into position. The Grip Strips didn't do that. My ruler could slide easily as I positioned it and when I held it in place the pressure was concentrated along the edges where the Grip Strips are. 

These worked like magic! No more slipping and it makes this job fast, easy and accurate!  If you have trouble with your ruler slipping - even on fabric - give these a try.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Studio Spotlight Blog Hop - WINNERS!

I hope you enjoyed visiting designers' studios during the Hop.  Here are the winners, selected through a random draw:

Cecilia wins these patterns.

Tabitha K wins these patterns.

Debby wins all 6 patterns.

Thanks for participating.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Flowers on Friday

Spring is on the way on the West Coast.
The happy faces of these pansies are a welcome sight on my Mom's patio. 


If you are waiting for Spring....why not take a tour of

Morning Glory Designs

Click over to the Blog to see Reeze's studio!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Another studio to see.............

Today's Studio Spotlight is.............

Fabric Confetti by Vanessa

Click over to the Blog to see her studio!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Upcoming Workshop - Paper Pieced Paradise

My Paper Piecing Paradise workshop at the Academy of Quilting starts on January 30th.
Paper piecing, foundation piecing, sew and flip, whatever you call this method, using it you will give you perfect blocks and no more chopped off points!
In this workshop you will learn how to:
  • download a foundation piecing design from the Internet
  • choose a foundation material
  • set up your machine for foundation piecing
  • use Add-a-Quarter™ rulers when foundation piecing
  • foundation piece nine different blocks including multi-part blocks
  • make multiples of a foundation
  • pre-cut shapes to speed up foundation piecing
  • make strips of Flying Geese for borders
  • finish your wall hanging 

Even traditional blocks can be pieced this way; it is not just for small blocks or unusual blocks with sharp points. You can make the layout as shown above or rearrange the blocks to create a sampler or a completely different scene. 

This is a paper piecing starter class, suitable for beginners but you will learn some new tips even if you've done paper piecing before.

There are 4 lessons, one posted each week, and the classroom stays open until March 16 - plenty of time for you to work on the lessons. You can ask questions in the Classroom and you'll have my personal attention throughout the class.

Class tuition is $40.00. Register TODAY.


Today's Studio Spotlight is............

Poorhouse Quilt Design

Click over to Kristine's Blog to see her studio!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Studio Spotlight Blog Hop - My Day!

Welcome everyone!  I am sure you have enjoyed seeing where your favourite designers 'create their magic'. I know I have.  

Today it is my take you on a tour.

First I must say that when this tour was proposed my studio was IMMACULATE! It was right after my annual holiday cleanup. The floor was completely clear, my cutting table just had my mats and cutters and rulers on it, my machine was at the ready (cleaned and oiled) and my fabric.....well, it was all in the proper place!

That was then....and this is NOW. I am busy preparing for the Quilting on the Beach retreat in Kona. One box is filling up nicely with kits for Machine Quilting with Decorative Stitches.  There are kits and kit 'parts' in a couple of piles near my fabric cupboard along with notes about the final products I need to order for my students. Kits for Give & Take Applique Design Discoveries are in a couple of bins too.  Hope it all fits in my suitcases!


And I just HAD to make one more sample for my Decorative Stitches workshop so my main table is covered! I am having great fun selecting threads and stitches for this new piece. I am focusing on tropical leaves and flowers and you can see my 'in progress' sample at the sewing machine.

Now...on with the tour.....

My space is an addition to our home. When we first moved here almost 20 years ago I worked briefly in our small office, sharing it with the computer and my son and his video games. That lasted about a week and I was on the phone to the builder! Now I have the space of my dreams - it is large, bright and right off the family room. I like being 'connected' to the rest of the house. 

To give you a sense of my space here are a series of photos going 'around' my studio

I have two large bookcases for my books, magazine collection and some 'bolted' fabrics and supplies. I cleared a lot of magazines last fall and now only keep the ones that have my articles and patterns in them. I use the top of these bookcases for display and storage for items I rarely use.

Beside the bookcases is my large south-facing window with storage under the window on 2 Ikea 'bakers' racks. You can see there is an outside door blocked by the bookcases. When this addition was designed I asked that they not include this door....but it was framed and done before I could change it. I think the door was accessible for a brief time! 

Most of the storage in this area is for my classes - files with all the details (handouts, supply lists, my class notes) and fabric boxes for class samples and class demos. The lower shelves here also have boxes with my paints, stamp making materials and other art quilting supplies.  

My fabric stash closet is the last 'item' along this south wall.  Small pieces (fat quarters and under) are stored in bins by colour (and some by 'type of fabric' - batiks, Japanese, hand-dyed). Larger pieces are folded and stacked. 

Storage is the main 'issue' in my studio so I make use of the height in some areas. My husband built the cabinet to sit on top of this dresser. It holds my collection of specialty threads and fibres, my bead collection and lots of ephemera for art quilting. The set of drawers contains more products for art quilts - silk fabrics, metal pieces, dyed silks, etc. The bookcase next to that has more bolted fabrics and there is storage for quilts on the shelf below. The door is one half of the double doors that lead to our family room/kitchen.

This is the view of my sewing/ironing area directly opposite the picture above. The fabric closet (that you don't see in this picture) is to the left. You can also see part of my design wall. The small quilts on the end wall are some of my Journal Quilts created as part of the Journal Quilt Project. I have vertical storage on the end of the cabinets with a gridwall system. This photo was taken at night and I was working on a new sample for Give & Take Applique and a small African quilt for my father.

I have been trying a couple of arrangements for the sewing/cutting stations in the last few months. I purchased these wonderful cabinets from a friend of my daughter. This is a great place for them but it has impacted the access to my design wall. Now I have my long table away from the wall and everything has been pushed over in the room. Not sure that this is my favourite arrangement yet. I do like having a table to my left when I machine quilt on my home machine so that preference is causing a few issues. It's a 'work in progress' but in the meantime I need to work so I'll keep it this way until I figure out a better solution.

The new cabinets are filling up nicely and a lot of items that were on my cutting table are now in a better place. I like keeping 'inspiration' small pieces at one end of my design wall.

The other half of the addition is through this door.

This space is the same size as my main studio. First it was a playroom for my children, then my daughter's bedroom. There was a pool table in here after she moved to her own home. But now it is the main Patchworks Studio space and home to the Handi Quilter Avante that I co-own with several friends. Peggy and Darlene are here completing a baby quilt made by another owner, Jill. It will be donated to the Baby Quilt program through our guild.

These shelving units are home to the shipping department, my patterns, and books. It is a compact space that is very functional.

I use one alcove in this room for quilt storage. These bins contain quilts from my books and patterns. More quilts are in a couple of bins underneath the longarm.

In the other alcove are my quilts waiting to be quilted - they are not 'top priority' but I work away at these as time permits. 

Now...for my giveaway!

I am giving away some of my latest patterns and there will be 3 lucky winners.Leave a comment here on the blog. One person will win these 3 patterns:

Like and share this post on Facebook and one person will win these 3 patterns:

Sign up for my FREE online newsletter (signup is on the sidebar)  and, in addition to the Free pattern you will receive for subscribing, one luck winner will receive ALL 6 patterns!

You will want to sign up for the newsletter - I'll be including a special 6-part MYSTERY QUILT starting the first week of February. 

Deadline to enter is midnight (PST) Friday, January 23rd. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Tune in tomorrow to learn about Kristine Poor's studio.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Studio Spotlight Blog Hop

Today's Studio Spotlight is...........

Seams Like a Dream

Click over to the Blog to see Kate and Elizabeth's Studio!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Flowers on Friday

I grew a second Amaryllis bulb in the fall. This one is red.

I started both bulbs (see the pink one here) on the same day, put them on the same windowsill in my studio for the same length of time but this one took almost 3 weeks longer to bloom. Perhaps it is because I have TWO blooming stalks on this one!

Now....wonder if I can follow the directions to build up the strength in the bulbs and start them off again next year?


Today's Studio Spotlight is..............

On Point Quilter

Click over to the Blog to see Kari's studio!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Reminder - Seminole Piecing

It is not too late to sign up for my Seminole Piecing online class at the Academy of Quilting. Class starts tomorrow and I KNOW you have fabrics that would be great.  See you in the classroom!

Sign up TODAY!


Today's Studio Spotlight is................

Swirly Girls Design

Click over to Susan's website to see her studio!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Product Review - Roll the Gold

I often prepare kits for students in my workshops and this means my rotary cutter gets A LOT OF USE!

I spent last August preparing kits for the students on my Alaska Quilting Cruise. I precut fabrics for the lap quilt they would make so they could start piecing right away. Who wants to spend time in class doing all that cutting when you really want to get to the good stuff!

My rotary cutter blade sure got a workout!  I was given a package of Roll the Gold! blades for my 45mm rotary cutter. These are titanium nitride coated steel. I used these blades for all my cutting. Without doing a scientific test I can't confirm that these last longer than my normal Olfa blades but I did think they lasted slightly longer for me. 

So next time you are in the market for new blades give these a try and let me know if you find they last longer for you.  PS - when was the last time you changed your blade?  You will be amazed at how much easier cutting is with a new one! 

This is the quilt we made on the cruise.

I have published my design as a pattern called Star Gazer. It includes 3 sizes: lap, queen and bedrunner.

 Ask for the pattern at your local quilt shop. If they don't stock this pattern ask them to contact me for ordering information. 

Or you can order the pattern at the Patchworks Studio store.

Today's Studio Spotlight is.............

Click over to their blog to see the Studio!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Class with Philippa Naylor - and her book, Applique Mastery

In October I attended International Quilt Market in Houston. The last day of this trade show is also the first day for International Quilt Festival classes. I took the opportunity  to take a Festival workshop with Philippa Naylor.

This was my 'year off' from Festival teaching  and I registered as soon as the online registration opened and got the class I wanted - Contemporary Curved Piecing.

During the class I completed the curved churn dash and over the holidays I added the curved borders and quilted my project.

I gave a photograph 'hint' about my project on Facebook:

Here is the promised 'reveal'.

The curves are machine sewn and with Philippa's instructions they are smooth and perfect. 

Here is a closeup of some of the machine quilting with decorative stitches that I incorporated into my quilt.
I will be sharing this machine quilting technique with students in Hawaii in February. Information is in the sidebar. Will I see you at the Retreat in Hawaii?


This is Philippa's most recent book. The book includes all the techniques to create your own Quilt Masterpiece. Topics include a wide range of applique methods: turned edge, satin stitch, blanket stitch, free-motion and more. This section of the book is a marvellous reference for any applique project. 

The second part of the book gives you step-by-step instructions to make Philippa's 'Bird by Bird' quilt, laid out in a monthly format. All the patterns for the quilt are included in the book. I think I will choose one month's instructions to make a small project. 

One of the things I like most about the 'Bird by Bird' quilt is the selection of modern-style fabrics Philippa used. It gives fresh appeal to the design.


Today's Studio Spotlight is..............

Click over to Debbie's Blog to see her Studio.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Studio Spotlight - Fat Quarter Gypsy

Today's Studio Spotlight is..............

Fat Quarter Gypsy

Click over to Joanne's Blog to see her studio.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Studio Spotlight Blog Hop

Here is the correct link for the Studio Spotlight Blog Hop that starts tomorrow.