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.
  
PLUMERIA

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!
  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Reminder - Attic Windows - Online Workshop


Class starts on Friday. Sign up today and learn to design and make you own unique quilt.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Pattern - Zigzag Zoo

My latest pattern uses Northcott's Safari Adventures fabrics. I love the friendly animals in this print - giraffes, lions, monkeys, elephants, zebras, crocodiles and impalas! My pattern uses the animal border for horizontal rows. Simple 'zigzags', four-patch blocks and 'fast flying geese' are used in the other rows. This is a fun and easy quilt. Size is 40" x 48".

Also included in the pattern are a pillowcase and a pyjama bag. Both these projects are well-illustrated and sew up very quickly.

Safari Adventures is Northcott’s latest collection in support of Quilts for Kids Inc., a charity creating quilts for children with life-threatening illnesses or those who have suffered from abuse. A portion of sales from Safari Adventures will be donated to Quilts for Kids. Visit www.quiltsforkids.org for more information. 
Buy the pattern at the Patchworks Studio Store.

I saw all these animals (and more) when I visited relatives in South Africa in the 1980s. Here are a few pictures I took when my Aunt and Uncle took me to Kruger National Park.









Friday, February 20, 2015

Flowers on Friday


More flower pictures from Hawaii this week.  These are some of the flowers around our condo in Waikoloa.













Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Upcoming Workshop - Attic Windows

My Attic Windows Workshop at the Academy of Quilting is OPEN for registration. This class is a bit different from what you might expect.  Theme (or scenic) prints are great candidates for an Attic Windows quilt.  I will show you  how to explore a variety of window options to suit your fabric and how to design your own one-of-a-kind quilt. You will learn to select the supporting fabrics and sew traditional mitered windows with my fool-proof technique.

I'll be with you every step of the way using the fabulous Discussion Forum where all students can share their ideas and photographs.

This is a 3-lesson class that begins on February 27th. I am sure you have fabric that would look wonderful in 'windows'.  Join me to design and make your own Attic Windows quilt.

Our classroom will remain open until April 6 - that's plenty of time to work on the lessons and to share your creations with your classmates.

Click here to ENROLL IN THE CLASS TODAY.

by Ethel
Here are some pictures of previous students' quilts to give you an idea of the wide range of designs you can make in this class.  
Sherry's Quilt
Norma's Tuscan Images, printed on fabric and then 'windowed'





Friday, February 13, 2015

Flowers on Friday

This week I am in Hawaii, on the Big Island.



This hibiscus was blooming at Hula Daddy coffee plantation. 



I visited there while on a one-day bus tour organized by Quilt Passions as part of their Quilting on the Beach Retreat. 


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Quilt Passions Retreat - Kona

Had a great time yesterday teaching my students about machine Quikting with decorative stitches. We sampled stitches first and then created a small quilt filled with tropical leaves and flowers. 



Great job everyone. 

Here is a close-up.  Sara (and her husband Glenn) hosted us at their home. She's on the right in this picture. 






Product Review - Sidekick Ruler

A product I found recently is an interesting ruler. It is Sidekick by Jaybird Quilts (www.jaybirdquilts.com). It can be used to cut '3 shapes in 4 sizes': diamonds, 60-degree triangles and half triangles. I also picked up one of their patterns at the same time. Seaside uses the diamond shape to make a modern-looking table runner. I decided to try it out, making a smaller piece for a cushion cover.

I cut 2-1/2" wide strips, left them folded and, following the ruler instructions, cut pairs of diamonds from my strips. 
Step 1

Step 2

Step 3
I played around with an arrangement for my diamonds and when I was happy with the layout I sewed the first pair together. I realized I needed to leave an extension above the seam line when sewing the diamonds together. This must be exactly 1/4" or your diamonds will not line up in a neat row. The first one turned out fairly well but I figured there must be a way to be more precise.


I turned to Marti Michell's Deluxe Corner Trimmer & Hand Piecing Aid for help. It worked beautifully. There are 6 popular corner angles on the tool (45, 90, 60-degrees and more). You can trim corners so the patches will line up precisely for sewing. 


I left the diamonds stacked together, placed the tool on top, using the 60-degree area and carefully lined it up with the cut edges. Then I trimmed the corner off the stack of diamonds. 



Now the diamonds line up perfectly with no little 'ears' to trim off after sewing.




Another feature of the Trimmer Tool is small holes that are exactly 1/4" from the edges. You use this part of the tool to mark dots on your pieces for hand piecing an accurate seam allowance. So, if you are working on a hand piecing project give this tool a try.







Friday, February 6, 2015

Flowers on Friday

Today's post is my African Violet that started blooming last week. 



My plant sits on the windowsill in my studio, facing West. It must like it there!

The botanical name is Saintpaulias. They are native to Tanzania and adjacent southeastern Kenya in eastern tropical Africa.

My tips for care of these plants: never get water on the leaves; water from 'below'

I put water in the white ceramic container, set the plant pot in it and let it draw the water up until the top feels slightly moist. Then I tip out any extra water in the ceramic pot.

I let my plant dry out before I water again.

Do you grow African Violets? What are you tips for getting them to re-bloom? Share your experiences.

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 late...to 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 (www.guidelines4quilting.com). 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. 





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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!