Monday, January 23, 2017

New Book

Love your sewing machine? I've added an excellent book to my store. It is all about Machine Techniques to help you make the most of that great tool you have!

Nancy Fiedler (the editor) is a Janome Educational Coordinator and she has gathered an amazing group of sewists, designers and quilters to create this book.

You will learn to use your machine and its attachments to their full potential while creating great projects for your friends, home and family.

You'll learn to embellish and enhance quilts and home dec items. There are 10 projects in the book.

This is a great reference for anyone wanting to use interesting sewing machine methods in their work.

The book is only $12.95 Canadian. Order your copy today!

Here are the techniques and projects in this book.
I have tried many of them
they are fun and make my work unique.

This is one of the projects - definitely different and FUN!

Add this book to your library today.

Only $12.95 Canadian. Order your copy here!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Quilters' Lessons - Lining Applique Shapes

I am starting an 'occasional' blog series today. As I wander around the internet I often find interesting tips and techniques articles that are useful for all of us. I'll be sharing the best ideas and instructions every few weeks.

First up is a technique for all fused appliqué fans. I have run into this problem want to use a light coloured fabric for your appliqué and you want to put it on a dark background. The dark background can 'shadow through' and change the colour of your appliqué . Or if the background is a print, you can see the print through your shape. 

I ran into this issue when making the igloos and polar bears for my Our Home and Native Land quilt in my first book, Quilted Havens. The background behind both these shapes included Northern Lights fabric so my white fabric no longer looked white. 

I used batting behind my shapes (trimmed slightly smaller than the igloos or polar bears). It added a bit of padding to these shapes as a bonus. However, I had to be very careful to position the batting correctly so it didn't extend beyond my applique shapes. I remember it being a bit difficult with the polar bear legs. I think I had to trim some wisps of batting after I stitched around the shapes.

I found this great McCall's Lesson about using an additional layer of fabric instead of batting. Here is the link:
Have you had this problem with fused appliqué? How did you solve it?  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gulf States Quilting Association - Annual Seminar




The Gulf States Quilting Association Quilt Seminar 2017 will be held in New Orleans from March 15 - 18, 2017.

This is their 31st Education Seminar and registration is now open.

I am thrilled to be included as one of the instructors for this wonderful event.

Here are the classes I will be teaching:

Thursday, March 16: Give & Take Applique - Design Discoveries

Friday, March 17: Too Easy Stained Glass

Saturday, March 18: Machine Quilting with Decorative Stitches

Registration closes January 31, 2017, and classes fill quickly so don't delay your registration so you can get the class you want!

Will I see you there?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

New Patterns - it was a Busy Fall 2016

I have just added 5 new patterns to my website.  Most of them were designed in the summer last year and the final pattern development was completed just before the holidays. This brings me to 22 new patterns published in 2016!

Dancing Orchids combines piecing and appliqué - but you don't need to make the orchids! They are 'fussy cut' from the orchid print in the Artisan Spirit Sandscapes Orchids collection by Northcott and then fused in place.

This pattern includes 2 sizes: you can add the asymmetrical border for the large quilt (46" x 58") or make the smaller quilt (35" x 47") without the border. 

I have included one of my favourite appliqué shapes in the quilt too - the Monstera leaf. I have used this design for my Machine Quilting with Decorative Stitches workshop and as a quilting design.

Buy this pattern.

On the Move: I have wanted to make this pattern for a couple of years. It is based on the wedding quilt I made for my daughter and son-in-law in 2014.  I just had to wait for the perfect fabric.  Hipster on the Go by Northcott was just what I was looking for!

This pattern has 2 sizes and 2 colourways. 

The large quilt is 56" x 65" and the small quilt is 39" x 44" (perfect for a baby quilt).

Order the pattern HERE.

The next design uses Island Batik fabrics and is a
Give & Take 
Appliqué pattern (one fused design equals TWO blocks).  

This Holiday Bells table runner is 18½" x 48".  It's NOT too early to get started on a holiday project for 2017!

Order the pattern HERE.

I had a lot of fun working with panels for the next pattern. Yes....this quilt uses 2 of the same panel so you don't need to do all that amazing piecing! 

I cut the panels into sections and recombined the pieces with 3 coordinating fabrics to make this 59" x 67" quilt.  

The Psychedelic panels are from the ColorWorks Concepts 2 collection by Northcott. I called this design Galaxy Twist.

And the last pattern is one for the golfers in your life. A great collection of prints called On the Green make this quilt lots of fun. There is a golf course scene, golf balls on the grass and golf clubs and golf bags and shoes. There is a fun allover print with 'tees' as well. 

Two sizes are included in this pattern - large quilt 56" x 72" and small quilt 48" x 60".  Piecing is very easy for these quilts and they make a perfect gift. 

What else could I call it? Tee Time!

Order your patterns HERE.

Want to see larger pictures of these quilts - 'click' the small quilt image in the store when you follow the links above.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Christmas PJs

The last gift project I made for Christmas was pyjamas for my granddaughters. I found some lovely flannel at the Lethbridge Sewing Centre when I was teaching for the Lethbridge Guild in September. It was the tradition in our family that my children could open one gift each on Christmas Eve and it was always pyjamas. We continued this tradition this year.

Here is Brooklyn. I think these will fit her for a couple of years. She loves those LadyBugs!

  I made a kimono for Alice and found 'spotty' leggings to go with it.

The other tradition is reading The Night Before Christmas and my DH was happy to tell the story.

Here is one other picture - this is my Mom (Great Grandma) with her great granddaughters.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Those Christmas Projects

Earlier this week I mentioned that I was busy in December sewing several gift projects.  Here are some of them.....and a few pictures of our family Christmas.

A made Garment Bags for my mom, my daughter and my daughter-in-law. I first saw these at Serge & Sew in Nanaimo last fall and thought they'd be fun to make.

The pattern is included in Cindy Taylor Oates' book Trendy Totes & Caryalls.

Along with sewing projects I did a bit of baking too.  I am a huge fan of The Great British Baking Show (thanks to my friend Jill who got me 'hooked').  I watched their 'Christmas Masterclass' episode a few weeks before Christmas and I was enchanted by Paul Hollywood's Chelsea Bun Christmas Tree. I thought it would be a prefect treat to take to my daughter's home to share in the afternoon on Christmas Day.  Here is my version of his recipe.


(Note - the PBS video may not be available in your area but 
the recipe is available through the Masterclass link above.)

I found the conversion to Farenheit from Celsius (used in the UK) in the recipe is probably incorrect. I suggest a hotter oven if you want the 'buns' to cook in the time listed. 

At 350F it took at least 40-45 minutes in my oven. Paul used 190C Fan.
That converts to about 375F Convection.

And finally (until I get more 'gift pictures' from my kids....) here is the turkey cooked by my son-in-law - all 20 pounds of it!  And my granddaughter, Alice's reaction!

I CAN'T believe how BIG that Turkey is Daddy!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The Canadian Sampler - How did I design MY Block?

Sew Sisters Quilt Shop invited me to create a block for their quilt project that celebrates Canada's 150th Birthday. They invited each designer to tell the story about their block design and I'm the feature designer on their blog.

Read about my Pacific Stars block on the Sew Sisters Blog HERE.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

What's on My Table, Tuesday?

Happy New Year!  And it's a very special year for Canada - our 150th Birthday!

My table was not 'silent' for the few weeks before Christmas but I was in 'gift production' mode and couldn't share what I was making. I promise to share pictures later this week.

My first project for 2017 is a new Convergence Quilt. I'm teaching this workshop at the Westshore Quilters' Guild later this month and thought it was time to have another sample to share with my students. 

I spent a few days re-acquainting myself with my stash (i.e. tidying up the MESS from my holiday creating) and found 4 pieces of fabric that I wanted to use for the new design.  Each one spoke to me in a different way.

First was this tropical fabric - I had just a small amount of this one. Perhaps I chose it because we had snow over the holidays and I was dreaming of a warm tropical garden!

I gathered these additional fabrics:

Color Flash I by Heide Stoll-Weber for Free Spirit
The PERFECT colours and amazing texture.

Artisan Spirit Shimmer by Northcott
Another perfect colour and the gold in this print goes with my tropical print.

and finally this one.....
Rhapsodie Coloree for Red Rooster Fabrics

How amazing is it that this is one of Ricky Tims' commercial fabrics,
since we ARE using Ricky's Convergence patterns for the workshop!

Here is my 'in progress' quilt. I added an improvisational border with triangles. The quilt is a bit 'yin and yang' - precision piecing for the centre 'convergence' and then improv for the borders.  But I think it still is 'in balance'.

I think this quilt suits me perfectly. I need to be precise, accurate, perfect when I write my patterns. But I use improvisation and creativity when I develop the designs.

Have you started a new project for 2017?  I'd love to see it.

Want to know more about 'yin and yang'? Here's the description from Wikepedia.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Christmas Present for ME!

I'm giving myself a very special present this year!  I've ordered the new Bernina Adjustable Ruler Foot (#72) plus a set of Bernina quilting rulers.

This new foot will work with my Bernina 440 model and I'll also be able to use the rulers with my HandiQuilter Avante.  

You may ask why I would get this foot since I have a longarm. Well, sometimes I have a smaller project to quilt and it is just easier to do the quilting on my domestic machine instead of having to load it onto the longarm.

I am a very good free motion quilter (have taught this for many years), but beiing able to use the ruler techniques we can use on a longarm on my domestic machine adds another tool in my toolbox.

Interested too?  I ordered mine from my friend Kathy at Snip & Stitch Sewing Centre in Nanaimo, BC.  This is a full service Bernina dealership and Kathy's staff have all the knowledge about Bernina.

Here's a blog post from Amanda Murphy about these new tools!


I've been a 'Bernina girl' since I convinced my mom to trade in our old Featherweight on a newer sewing machine back in the early 1970s.  I KNOW....don't frown....I wasn't a quilter then and didn't know the value of a Featherweight!  I just wanted to be able to do buttonholes for the garments I made. I was tired of making 'bound' buttonholes!

That first Bernina 831 was a workhorse - still have it!  I had it serviced ONCE in 30 years - but only because I'd heard that you were supposed to.  I cleaned it regularly, oiled it as was shown in the manual and I STILL have it. This machine sewed everything from garments for me and my family, curtain (LOTS of curtains), craft items and, finally, quilts.

When I wanted to do Blank Stitch Applique, I bought another Bernina - but I had learned my lesson and didn't trade in my 831.

My 1260 is going strong too! Another wonderful feature that was new to me was the NEEDLE DOWN option. My free motion quilting became SO much easier with this option. And the buttonholes...well there are several types!

It's nice to have a 'backup' machine with more of the stitches I like to use. There are a couple of stitches on this machine that aren't on my 440 - you just can't have enough 'stitches'!

(PS - I have since received a wonderful gift of a Featherweight from my late Aunt so that makes 4 machines that I own).

Monday, December 12, 2016


It came a bit too early for a White Christmas, but the West Coast had it's first snow storm in a couple of years last Friday.

Luckily I had already decorated this tree with Christmas balls the weekend before.

The temperature warmed up over the weekend but it was nice to have a 'taste' of winter while it lasted.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Pantone Colour of the Year for 2017 is...........GREENERY that I LOVE!
This is how it is described:

A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

What's on My Table, Tuesday?

MUST get this zipper done today so I can move forward on this project - it's a gift, no hints!

Are you still making gifts too??

Friday, December 2, 2016

Meeting My Goals

One of my goals this year was to update the Workshops information on my website. I'm happy to say that this task is DONE!

I have updated the descriptions for all the workshops and added more pictures, particularly of student's accomplishments in 'project oriented' workshops. 

I have also made it easier for Workshop Coordinators to see all my offerings in one place by creating a printable PDF file that they can share with their committee and guild members.

My schedule is filling nicely for 2017 but there are a few spaces left. A few bookings are 'percolating' for 2018 as well.

If you would like more information about any of my workshops, email me and I'm happy to work with you to tailor a special learning experience for you and your group.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Product Reviews - Free Motion Tools

I have taught Free Motion Quilting for many years and I thought it would be fun to tell you about a few products that I've tried to help me control my quilt as I stitch on my home machine.

Noble Notions makes Quilter's Grip and Quilter's Tips.

Quilter's Grip is a set of 2 odd-looking blue plastic shapes, one for the right hand and one for the left. They are easy to get on and off and they helped me move the quilt fairly easily for free motion quilting. However, I found my hands became cramped if I used them too long.
Quilter's Tips are harder to get on and off but they also worked well. I didn't have to put one on every finger to gain more control. I didn't have to remove them if I needed to trim threads but threading the needle if I changed threads took a bit more practice since I wasn't used to having something on my finger tips. They can also be used when hand sewing to get a better grip on your needle.

I normally use Machingers quilting gloves when free motion quilting. They are thin so my hands don't get hot and the rubberized ends of the fingers give good control of the quilt as I move it under the needle. I think I will continue to use these instead of the 'grips' and 'tips'.

Recently I had a student in a free motion quilting class who was using Grip & Stitch™ quilting disks from Clever Craft Tools. I tried them in class and I think they are a great option if you don't like to wear gloves when free motion quilting.

Do you have a favourite product that gives you more control when free motion quilting? Tell me about it and I'll share it here on the Blog.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Last take 30% OFF Classes

This is the LAST DAY to take advantage of

These classes are presented through the Academy of Quilting.

Attic Windows - Design and Quilting - $30 US  now $21 US

What's in your Attic Window? Is it a country or woodland scene? Wild animals or fish in a pond? A bright children's print? Theme prints are perfect for windowing. I will show you how to explore a variety of window options to suit your window fabric and how to design your own one-of-a-kind quilt.  You will work with graph paper and some easy tools to design your quilt.

You will learn to select the supporting fabrics and sew traditional mitered windows with my fool-proof technique. This is both a design and sewing class and is suitable for confident beginners with rotary cutting and basic quilt making skills.

Paper Piecing Paradise $40 US  now $28 US

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! During this class, you will learn 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. You can make the layout as shown in the class sample or rearrange the blocks to create a sampler or a completely different scene.

This is a paper piecing starter class, suitable for beginners with basic quilt making skills.

If you have found foundation piecing difficult in the past, I know you will learn to love it in this class.

Ripless Paper Piecing - $30 US  now $21 US

This is one of my most popular 'in person' workshops! This small project will pay big dividends. You will learn how to foundation piece without sewing through the paper. Using this easy method, you will have perfect points without spending hours removing tiny scraps of paper with tweezers. You will also save time and thread by being able to sew with a regular stitch length.

A bonus in this class is learning all about value. that is the relative lightness or darkness of fabrics. This is an essential skill for anyone who works with colour!

I will continue to guide you as you choose a quilting design and bind your project with a single fold binding. Skill level: Easy.

Seminole Piecing - $30 US  now $21 US

Seminole Piecing is a patchwork method used by the Seminole people of south Florida to enhance their garments.

I will show you how to create eight bands of patchwork using simple rotary cutting and basic piecing techniques. The magic comes when you cut the units apart and sew them back together. You will be inspired by her suggestions to use the bands to trim garments and home décor items.

You will make a tote bag, bolster pillow and wall quilt in this class and will have lots of ideas for more projects.

Level: Advanced beginner and up.

Too Easy Stained Glass - $30 US  now $21 US
This is another one of my most popular workshops!

Let’s face it. Quilters love fabric, but some fabrics are hard to use. Those wonderful landscape fabrics will not be the same if we cut them into tiny pieces. What to do? I have the perfect solution. Framing your quilt with leading lines creates an often surprising new view of your fabrics, drawing the eye in and giving greater attention to your focus fabric. You will learn a no-bias, no-glue stained glass technique.

As you make a small project, I will show you the Too Easy steps that set this approach apart from other methods. You will then explore further design options for a variety of fabrics and sizes.

All Levels.

Don't miss this great opportunity to SAVE 30%!

Register TODAY