Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful day!

from Give & Take Applique DVD

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow Days = Sew Days

This was the view in my back yard last week! Okay Mother Nature....we've had enough now! Where I live on Vancouver Island we normally have very MILD winters. The grass stays green and we only have a few days of cold weather. 

But this year has been DIFFERENT and I mean WHITE different!  We had another snow storm earlier this week and there is no green grass to be seen.

I have been feeling a bit 'house bound' this week so took the opportunity to quilt some small quilts so I can share with the Parksville Quilt House Guild next week as part of my Northcott Fabrics Lecture.

Here are the 3 quilts I quilted last week during my Snow Days.

This is Galaxy, designed by Sue Beevers. Sue used Northcott's ColorWorks Concepts fabrics for this small quilt. This will be a fun donation to my Guild's Baby Quilt program.
The next quilt is Route 66. This uses the UrbanElementz collection by Patricia E. Ritter.  This quilt uses pre-fused applique shapes designed by Patricia and she has lots of other appliques available too.  I think this will be perfect for my daughter's small trailer when they go camping in the summer.

For this quilt I used some new Longarm Templates that I got at Quilt Market last fall.  These are Oval CTemplates by HandiQuilter.

And this is where I used the centre oval for custom quilting:


The third quilt has been quilted and I just have to add the binding.

This is Shattered Crystals by Pine Tree Country Quilts.  It showcases an amazing Digital Panel fabric called Expressions.  I used SuperiorThreads MicroQuilter thread and a pantograph for this one.  This thread is ON SALE and it is great for texture without 'in your face' thread colour.

I have the same quilt with black accent and hope to work on that one next week.

This fabric will be delivering to quilt shops in April. There are some wonderful projects you can make with this collection!

I had a fun week making use of my time while the snow fell outside. The rains have come and I'll see that green grass soon!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Product Review: Heat Press Batting Together™

Do you have 'offcuts' of batting that you'd like to be able to use? This is the product for you!

A couple of years ago I bought a roll of Heat Press Batting Together™ to see if it would work. The roll is 13.7 metres long (15 yards) and 3.8 cm (1½ inches) wide, enough for lots of joining. And it was SO easy to use.

The product reminds me of fusible tricot interfacing; it is a soft material with glue on the back side. Here are the simple steps:
1 - Cut a straight edge on the 2 pieces of batting you want to join.
2 - Place the edges together, but not overlapping, on your ironing surface.
3 - Cut a piece of 'tape' the length of the batting and place it glue side down with the batting edges in the middle of the tape. 

4 - Press lightly with your iron.

It is the heat of your iron that makes the product work, not the weight of the iron. You just need to have the iron at the proper temperature. The package instructions include information for irons WITH Teflon plates and WITHOUT Teflon plates. I can't remember if mine is Teflon so I used the instructions for irons without. They recommend slightly under the WOOL setting for cotton and cotton blend battings. 

The first batting I tried was Hobbs Heirloom which is an 80/20 blend (80% cotton/20% thin polyester). The product worked just as it said it would and my two pieces of batting were now one usable piece.

The product made a white area where the pieces were joined so I wondered if this would affect a quilt made with white fabric. I set up a small sample and did some free-motion stitching over the area to see if the tape would affect my stitching and whether the white tape would show through. I had no problem stitching and there is no shadowing.

I also tried 100% polyester batting, this time Hobbs Polydown. I used the recommended setting (synthetic) and just skimmed the iron over the tape. The glue melted easily and the product did not make the batting stiff.

The shop owner where I bought the Heat Press told me that she has used it with both Quilters Dream cotton and Legacy 100% wool batting and it worked well for both types. So, if you have small bits of batting lying around get some Heat Press tape and make a larger piece for your next project.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What's on My Table, Tuesday?

Today I am sewing the binding on a small quilt I quilted yesterday.  It is Route 66 by Patricia R. Ritter of Urban Elementz.  It uses Patricia's Urban Elementz fabrics and fusible appliques by Northcott.

 I am sewing the binding to the quilt by machine. This is fast and very secure. This is one of the 'finishing' styles that is included in my Fine Finishes Workshop.  I'll be teaching this class for the Parksville Quilt House Guild later this month.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Addition to the Patchworks Studio Store

I have a few Convergence Quilts books (by Ricky Tims) left from the workshop last week.  Are you intrigued by the great quilts made by my students? You, too, can make a Convergence Quilt - and more!  

Ricky offers lots of creative guidelines but no hard-and-fast rules, so every Convergence quilt is a unique work of art.

• 4 projects walk you through the steps of making Convergence quilts
• Quilts look complex but are fun, easy, and, best of all, creative to make
• Use any fabric from commercial prints to hand-dyed
• Add decorative touches such as appliqué to dress up your projects
• An infinite number of looks from one ingenious technique 

Only 4 copies left - order your copy TODAY before they're gone.  
Price is $34.95 Canadian (aprrox. $24.00 US) plus shipping.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Convergence Quilts - Westshore Quilters' Guild

Last Saturday I spent the day with members of the Westshore Quilters' Guild and they created Convergence Quilts.

Here are the results of their day. GREAT JOB everyone!

And here's our class picture.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What's on my Table, Tuesday? The Yin & Yang Convergence Quilt

A few weeks ago I told you about a new teaching quilt sample I was making for a Convergence Quilts workshop.  I shared this 'in progress' picture. At that time I wasn't sure what quilting motifs I would use and whether to bind or face the quilt.

Well, this quilt has evolved and I'm happy to say it is now complete!

I did decide to use a facing. You can see in the picture above that I had a dark blue outer border. After I completed the quilting I decided that border didn't belong on this quilt so I cut it off. I 'faced' the quilt instead.  I think it looks much better that way.

I also decided to add another element to this quilt - Monstera leaves (one of my favourite motifs).  The focal print is very tropical and I thought this motif would enhance that feeling. I sewed around my leaf design with Jane Sassaman's Sew Sassy thread. The outline was so faint that it didn't show up well.

I decided to complete all the other quilting and think about my options for the leaves.

I used Rainbows threads in different variegated colours for the different ares of the quilt.
The same quilting design was used throughout.
Once the quilting was finished I had a couple of ideas for the leaves. I tried a small amount of Shiva Paintstik in a small area of 1 leaf. I didn't add a lot of paint because I really wanted a 'ghost' image of the leaves. It didn't work all that well - I was afraid to add more paint in case I lost the translucence I wanted.

So I pulled out my box of other paints, inks, etc.  I had some Liquitex Inks. They are transparent - and that was the quality I wanted.

Of course I tested on scrap fabric first!  I also had some Shimmer powders that I'd never used. I added a bit of the green shimmer to a blend of yellow and blue ink and I achieved the 'ghostly' image I was after.  It's still quite subtle so I may add more ink.  I coloured close to the leaf outline. I'll live with it for now and let you know if I do more embellishing for the leaves. Perhaps more stitching inside the leaves, or more colour, or....

If you have suggestions I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Taking Classes Online

When I was a fairly new quilter I signed up for a class at my local quilt shop. It was a 3-session class with one class scheduled in the evening for 3 weeks in a row.  At the time I was a busy mom and I worked outside the home too.

I made it to the first class just fine. I learned all about making templates, cutting my fabric and began work on a Mariner's Compass block. That block was only part of the quilt. The other area included Storm at Sea blocks.

I managed to do a bit of the homework for the class on the weekend and then life got BUSY. I remember sitting with my family helping my kids with homework when the phone rang. It was the store, asking if I was coming to the class that night. The class had started and I lived almost 40 minutes from the shop. I didn't attend that class - and was so embarrassed that I didn't go to the third one either! 

This is approximately what the project was supposed to look like:

That project languished in a drawer in my studio for years and years. I had all the instructions to make it but every time I looked at it I remembered how I had forgotten all about the class and I just couldn't get motivated to finish it.  I finally gave everything to my friend Jill and she finished the quilt and donated it.  I was so glad it found a home!

This was long before there was a thing called the Internet! There was no way to stay home and learn anything. 

Can you relate to my story? Perhaps you have never forgotten to attend a class but you probably have struggled to pack up your machine, find all the tools you might need and get yourself and all the 'stuff' to a class. I remember a student of mine forgot a very important part for one class - the foot pedal for her sewing machine!  Luckily the shop where I was teaching had a machine they could lend her for the class.

Did you know that I teach online classes?  This is through the Academy of Quilting and most of my workshops are On Demand. That means you can start anytime that works for you. All the classes have several lessons but you don't need to wait a week or more between lessons. Work at your own pace, fit it into YOUR schedule.

See my classes here.

This week I'd like to tell you about the Ripless Paper Piecing class.  This has been one of my most popular online (and in-person) workshops for the past few years.  

We all love to be accurate when we piece our quilts. One of the ways to ensure this is with 'foundation paper piecing'. There are changes we make to our sewing machine and some preparation to do for this technique. 

With my 'RIPLESS' method there are no adjustment to make for sewing and the preparation step doesn't take as much time.  But the real saving is what happens after you sew your block!  You save both TIME and PAPER because there is no need to rip the paper from the back of your block and throw it away.

Intrigued?  Here is the class project.  It is not large and you can probably pull fabrics from your stash; you can make the quilt in your two favourite colours.

As a bonus in this workshop I talk a lot about how 'value choices' are so important when you choose fabrics for your quilts. I think this is a section you will refer to over and over as you continue your quilting journey.

So....remember, this class is ON DEMAND - you can start today, or tomorrow, or next week.  And you can fit the 3 lessons into YOUR schedule.

Play the video to see what some previous students created in this class:

Hope to see you in the classroom!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sharing Quilts

Susan W. sent me pictures of quilts she and her friend Johanna made using some of my designs.

First up is a Mystery Quilt that I hosted through my newsletter a couple of years ago.

Here is Susan's version

And here is the bed runner that Johanna made with the same blocks.

Great job ladies!!

As an added bonus,Susan also sent this picture of the batik star quilt that she made from a class that I taught with its recipient - Sophia.  What a sweet little girl Susan!

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 myself....you 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!