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.

Monday, August 29, 2016

More New Patterns

My pattern publication process starts well in advance of the final release. I create all my designs using Electric Quilt software, usually before fabrics are released to the marketplace. Then, when it is close to the time when fabrics will be delivering to quilt shops I write the final pattern, have it printed and start shipping patterns to distributors, shops and quilters.

This week I have 2 more patterns designed with fabrics that will be delivering to shops in October and November. 

First is a sweet children's project using Northcott's Tee Pee Time flannel collection. I called this pattern Let's Camp Out.

We loved taking our children camping and my daughter and her family are continuing this tradition. My granddaughter, Alice, (only 5 months old) has already been on 2 camping trips this summer!

The pattern includes 2 sizes:

The 38" x 45" quilt starts with the 36" wide panel and is a quick and easy project.

The 56" x 74½" twin size quilt is perfect for YOUR little camper.

Skill level for this pattern is beginner and above.

This quilt would be great with your choice of fabrics too.



 The second pattern also uses a panel. This is a digital panel designed by Phillip Allder. Supporting fabrics are used for pieced and plain borders to frame the picture of the leopard.
Quilt size:  66" x 51"
Skill Level: Intermediate
Fabrics: Naturescapes Kotiya by Northcott


More patterns are in the works for release in the next few weeks.  I'm just having the patterns reviewed and then they go to the printer.  Stay tuned!


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Improvisational Curves Workshop

Did you watch some of the Rio Olympics? I found that I couldn't tear myself away from some of the competitions. The athletes inspire me with their dedication to being the best they can be. I even moved my sewing machine into our family room so I could watch some of the events.I didn't really accomplish a lot of sewing!

I did have a quick teaching trip to Illinois just after the Games began. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with the Hearts & Hands Quilt Guild in O'Fallon. I presented a lecture and students joined me the next day for my Improvisational Curves workshop. Here are several new samples that I shared with the guild.

Improv Chains

Creative Curve Runner

Curves & Wedges

I will be teaching this workshop in Lethbridge in mid-September for the
Lethbridge Centennial Quilt Guild. Will I see you there?

Do check my teaching schedule to see if I will be in your area this fall or in 2017.  If your guild or shop would like me to visit, please get in touch.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

New Pattern

I'm pleased to announce another new pattern - The Pond.

The branches of a weeping willow drift down over a tranquil pond filled with lily pads in this restful wall quilt. This quilt uses strip piecing and appliqué.

Quilt Size: 45" x 53"

Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Artisan Spirit - Shimmer Echoes
by Northcott

The pattern includes 
5 different colour options. 

The picture to the right is the
Earth & Ebony colourway. 

The other options are shown below.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Product Review - Marti Michell Templates and MORE!

A couple of years ago I taught the Stonehenge Woodland Block of the Month at a local quilt shop. This quilt was designed to use the Perfect Patchwork Templates by Marti Michell. Her company (From Marti Michell – has a wide range of templates, specialty rulers, patterns and books. The Block of the Month used two sets of templates to make the 12 blocks in the quilt and the pieced sashing.

The wonderful thing about Marti's templates is that the extra 'corners' have been removed. You know what happens when you sew patchwork; you often have little 'ears' of fabric that need to be trimmed off. These are already removed with the templates. And some shapes are very difficult to piece since you may not be sure where to position the two fabric pieces.


I used two other tools along with the templates when demonstrating the monthly blocks to my students.

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. It is easy to hold the template in place with one hand, cut one side and then turn the mat with my other hand to cut around the rest of the template accurately.

Look closely at the photographs of the isosceles triangle and side triangles. You will see that the corners are precision designed so the cut edges match perfectly. You just need to match and sew. Since the corners are trimmed away there is less bulk in your seams and with sharp angles you are eliminating the pointed end of a triangle that is most likely to get knotted up in the throat plate of your sewing machine.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

New Patterns

Baker Street

This distinctly masculine flannel quilt
will keep you cozy all winter!

Easy cutting and sewing makes this a fun, fast design.

Quilt Size: 45" x 63"

Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Fabric: Haberdashery by Northcott

A picture of the SUPPLY LIST is included online - so you can easily gather your fabrics.

Flourish Monograms

Soft colours, blended textures and subtle alphabet panels
are combined for these simple-to-make quilts.

Use remaining 'letters' for fun Soft Blocks.

Quilt Sizes: 56" x 69" and 34" x 47"

Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Fabric: Stonehenge Monogram by Northcott


Select fabrics from your stash and use a substitute for the 'alphabets'. This is a fun basic pattern that includes my easy method to make Quarter-Square Triangles.

PS - the Soft Blocks can be made in ANY fabric.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Embellishing - Working with Fluffy and Fuzzy Threads

Welcome back!  Did you miss my previous 2 posts about Embellishing my Old Growth quilt?

First instalment about Bobbin Quilting is here.

Second instalment about Couching Thick Threads is here.

Here again is the completed quilt.

In this final post I will be sharing how I use fuzzy threads - they can't go in the bobbin and if I use them in my Free Motion Couching foot they just get 'squashed down' and all the fluffy-ness is gone.

The left edge of this photograph shows the fuzzy threads.

This picture shows the type of threads I'm talking about toda.

It s the wonderful texture of these threads that made me buy them in the first place!  Notice how the top thread and the third thread have an area of fairly even thread and then there is an amazing thread hanging from that thread!  That's the part I LOVE and I was determined to figure out how to use them.  These are knitting yarns - yes, check out your local yarn store for some amazing embellishment threads!

These fibres must be 'couched' just like the thick threads but I don't want to zigzag over them. That pulls all those fibres connected to the main thread to the center and the beauty of the fibres is lost. I went back to the definition of couching from hand embroidery:

"In hand embroidery, couching is a technique in which yarn or other materials are laid across the surface of and fastened in place with small stitches of the same or a different yarn."

Laid across .... and ..... small stitches of the same or different yarn........ 
That's what I needed to do. Fasten the fibres at intervals with some sort of stitches!

I set my machine for a zigzag stitch, wide enough to cover the main part of the fibre. This is fairly narrow for the 'hanging thread' type fibres. If you use wider threads you need to set the machine to cover the main part of your fibre. In some cases it might be fairly wide.

I dropped the feed dogs which meant that the zigzag would just stitch on top of itself - like a 'BAR TACK'. That's exactly what I needed to do.  

This is a slower process but very effective. I used a machine sewing thread that would blend with the fibres, placed the fibres where I wanted them and stitched a 'bar tack zigzag' over the threads. Then I just moved to the next place without cutting my top and bobbin thread and tacked the fibres in place again.

Here's a closeup picture. I held 2 threads together for this thread so I could get more of the hanging part onto the quilt.

And this is the area of sky where I wanted to show moss hanging from my trees.
You can't easily see where I tacked this thread

In several areas I left the threads hanging loose. 
That's my hand under the threads so you can see what this looks like. 
There is a bar tack above my hand, but no tacking below.

That's the final instalment for my Embellishment series....until I make some more discoveries!  

I hope you have learned how you can use thick, fuzzy and fluffy threads to embellish your quilts. I'd love to share pictures of YOUR quilts. Click 'Contact' at the top of the page to send them to me.

Have a great rest of your week!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Need to make a QUICK Baby Quilt?

Here's the quick baby quilt I made for my son's friend and his wife. I thought you might like to make one too.

I decided to make 9" finished blocks using a variety of bright prints and solids to see what I could come up with. I didn't plan this quilt in the same way as I do for my published patterns. I just worked on my design wall as I made the blocks. 

My main motivation was 'QUICK' so I added some plain blocks the same size as the pieced blocks. 

I didn't want a normal 'straight set' for this quilt. I wanted the blocks to appear more scattered across the quilt. I decided to add 'spacers' the same size as the frames used for the pieced blocks.

As I worked on the wall I realized that all the rows would end up the same vertical length if I included the same number of 9" blocks (pieced or plain) and the same number of  'spacers' in every row.

My decisions became the 'rules' for this quilt:
  1. All the pieced blocks would be EASY and all the same size.

  2. To make it faster I would use plain blocks, the same size as the pieced blocks.

  3. To make my blocks go 'further' I would add 'spacers' the same size as the frame used in the blocks.

  4. I would include the same number of squares (pieced or plain) and the same number of spacers in each vertical row so each row be the same length.
After I made the quilt I re-created it in Electric Quilt software so I have a way to permanently keep my design in case I want to make it again. 

I also thought this idea would work for a larger quilt too. This quilt is 65" x 82". The outer border is 5-1/2" wide (finished).  The fabrics I used in this quilt are Northcott's Artisan Shimmer Echoes (Earth Colourway).  This fabric will be delivering to stores in October.

Here are the instructions for the parts of these quilts.

 If you prefer larger blocks (or have a group of blocks in your stash), just make the plain squares the same size as your blocks and make spacers that match the width of the blocks.

Send me a picture if you make one of these quilts.  The really are fun to make.