Friday, October 31, 2014

Flowers on Friday

Zygocactus


Also known as Schlumbergera, this is a small genus of cacti found in the coastal mountains of south-eastern Brazil. Plants grow on trees or rocks in habitats which are generally shady with high humidity and are quite different in appearance and care from the desert-dwelling cactus. These cacti are treated as houseplants here.


I have good success getting my plant to bloom by setting it outside on the shady front porch on the North side of our home during the summer. 

You will often find these plants in your local floral shops at this time of year since they are also known as Christmas Cactus.  Water sparingly and why not give your plant a 'summer vacation' next year. Let me know if you have success!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flowers on Friday

Wedding Bouquets
 
Lindsay's bouquet included a piece of the trim from my wedding gown to wrap the stems of the beautiful flowers.
 
 
 
 
The Matron of Honour's bouquet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The WEDDING

Just a few quick pictures.....

The ceremony was at the Star Cinema in Sidney - wonderful, meaningful place for the happy couple. My husband and I decorated the window with wedding moving pictures........


 including a special 'movie-style' poster of the happy couple.
 
 


First dance....



Cutting the cake..................

 
 
A great evening of dancing, fun and memories!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Flowers on Friday

All activity this week has been wedding preparations.  Here are the mums that will decorate the ceremony and the reception. The pots closest to the edge of our front deck are covered so no deer or bunnies can get at them!




And here are the baskets all ready to go - safely in the garage!


Thursday, October 16, 2014

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 in September 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. I reviewed this marker last year and it is still my favourite marker.

Pat's company is called 'Come Quilt With Me', and you will find her books and more than 30 different templates on her website (www.comequiltwithme.com). 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.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Alaska Quilt Cruise - Part 2

The second stop on our Alaska Quilting Cruise was Skagway. Several of the quilters enjoyed excursions, including the White Pass Railway.  My husband and I enjoyed the train trip the first time we were in Skagway so wandered around the town instead. We found these amazing dahlias as we walked to the library to get a WIFI signal to check our email.

The next day was 'Glacier Bay Day' - what so many people come on a cruise to Alaska to see. The weather was slightly overcast, perfect for pictures.  We spent most of the day out on the deck. Some of the students were in the classroom at one point so we gathered on the deck with my Memories of a Glacier quilt for a photo op.



That evening we had our group Cocktail Party - and birthday celebration for the gals who had birthdays during our cruise. Isn't this a lovely cake they made for us!


Our final port in Alaska was Ketchikan. I raced to The Silver Thimble Quilt shop with my friend Peggy and then Alan and I were off for a CRAB-STRAVAGANZA!  I thought we would just get a small taste of crab...but it was amazing. First we went out on the boat to pull up a crab pot and learn about them. Then back to the Lodge for our meal. They just kept bringing crab as fast as we could eat it.  We didn't need dinner on the ship that night!
One more report to do - our final class and the trip home to Vancouver. I'll post that next week.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Flowers on Friday

Here is another arrangement from Holland America's Zuiderdam, taken while on my 
Alaska Quilt Cruise in September.



Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Sewing Machine is HUMMING!

Right after I returned from my fabulous Alaska cruise I worked on 3 new pattern designs to be released at International Quilt Market at the end of October.  The FEDEX delivery person was a 'regular' at my front door, delivering wonderful new fabrics from Northcott. Just when I was almost finished the first quilt, the next batch of fabrics arrived.

With the help of my friends Rose and Darlene (who handled fabric cutting for me) and my husband (who is now an expert cutting circles from fusible web) the first 2 projects were made for the upcoming Sandscapes collection by Northcott.

Eclipse is an adaptation of the Moon Rings quilt on the cover of my book Fat Quarter Frenzy (now out of print).

My method ensures perfectly aligned split circles on the half-square triangle blocks. The quilt uses fat quarters so is a great stash buster too. The pattern includes two colour options for this wall-size quilt.



Star Gazer is the quilt I taught on the cruise. My students used Artisan Spirit Shimmer for their lap-size quilts and the new pattern also uses the Sandscapes collection.

This pattern includes 3 sizes: Lap, Queen and Bedrunner. This is the bedrunner using the Coral colourway.

I'm also using the Moss colourway in this pattern. There are 3 different blocks for the design and they are not difficult to make. Quick piecing methods are used for the star points and strip pieced chain blocks pull the design together. This quilt is a good design to use a range of values of one colour combined with neutral backgrounds.














The third quilt uses solid fabrics. I just love how the quilting shows so well with these fabrics!  Chips and Churns (thanks Peggy F. for naming this one!) is a very easy quilt with large 15" blocks and simple construction. Final size for the quilt I made is a 55" square Cuddle quilt.



The pattern also includes Queen size. I used a pastel selection of fabrics from the new ColorWorks solids colours produced by Northcott for my quilt. The pattern also includes Country and Dramatic colourways.





Patterns for all 3 quilts will be available starting in early 2015 and I will notify my newsletter subscribers as soon as they are available. If you don't already receive my FREE newsletter, you can sign up on the right bar of this blog. A my free gift you will receive my 'On Point Quilts' basics. This design option is used for the Star Gazer quilt - you get more 'mileage' from blocks when they are arranged 'on point'!

I'm looking forward to seeing my quilts hanging in the Northcott booth at Quilt Market. But first....one more quilt to finish.  The one for 'someone's wedding'!







Monday, October 6, 2014

Alaska - Part 1

I came home from the cruise with a box of fabric waiting for me!  So, no time to write a report about our trip. The fabrics have been turned into quilts so I can finally sit down and write about the trip and enjoy looking at the pictures we took.

I met the students travelling from Vancouver Island at the Victoria bus depot and we boarded the bus with 14 sewing machines (THANKS Sawyer Sewing Center).  The bus took us onto the ferry, and directly to Canada Place in Vancouver. What a great way to travel! First on the ferry and first off, I didn't have to navigate, my husband didn't have to drive and our bus driver was lots of fun.




The embarkation process was simple - our suitcases and the sewing machines were wisked away as we arrived and we soon settled in to our stateroom. This is the view from our balcony looking at Canada Place. I love this image that invited visitors to Explore Canada. The images show the wonderful diversity of animals, birds and the things that make us Canadian.



Our home for the week was Holland America's Zuiderdam - one of those 'dam' ships!  This is the same ship as my Caribbean quilting cruise several years ago so I was in very familiar territory.


We were up bright and early the first morning to set up the sewing machines and get our room ready for the students. Peggy F. and my husband did a great job getting the machines set up while I arranged the kits and welcomed everyone when they arrived. Soon the machines were humming and there was a whole lot of 'quiltin' going on'!







Our first port of call was Juneau. They get 44 days of sunshine each year - and WE HAD ONE OF THEM!  My husband and I joined a tour to the Mindenhall Glacier where we had a chance to walk around the area and enjoy the great day.



Then a quick visit to Changing Tides quilt shop where I bought Cindy Shake's Berry Button Ravens! pattern. This is will be a wonderful remembrance of the trip. I also found earrings to replace the ones I lost on a teaching trip.  I had bought the original ones on the last quilting cruise to Alaska and had forgotten where I bought them. As soon as I walked in the door I knew they had come from Changing Tides and they still had a selection for me to choose from.
I'll post a few more pictures from the rest of the trip soon.




Friday, October 3, 2014

And the WINNER is......

Thank you to everyone who entered their quilts for the Patchworks Studio 1st Annual Flowers on Friday Challenge.  I was thrilled with the quality of the entries and the judge had a hard time selecting the winner!

Susan M. used my Rhododendron photograph as inspiration for her piece. When I told her about her big win she was surprised and thrilled to have her work recognized.Congrats Susan!


Rhododendrons - Susan M.

Rhotodendrons - closeup
This is my original photograph that inspired Susan.
Here is what my guest judge, Morna McEver Golletz, said about the contest entries:


All the entries really expressed the beauty of the photographs, and it was hard to choose the winner. Ultimately, I loved the dimension in the Rhododendron quilt and the abstract look of it. Congrats to all the entrants!

Morna is CEO and founder of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals. I have been working with Morna for many years and her assistance and insight is always right 'on track'.

Susan will be receiving a wonderful basket of goodies from me (Patchworks Studio) PLUS a one-year subscription to Quilter's Connection magazine and a copy of Kristi's Quilt, by Brandy Lynn Maslowski.

*****************************************************************************************
It's not too late.........................

I had a few people email me to say they just couldn't finish their entry.  I know that happened to others so I'm offering a 'second chance' to enter.  No prizes for late entries but I will feature your project in my online newsletter, here on my Blog and on the Patchworks Studio Facebook page. Here is a link to the original Challenge Announcement

I would LOVE to see what you create using Flowers on Friday as your inspiration.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Flowers on Friday

One of the exquisite floral arrangements on Holland America's Zuiderdam, during our Alaska Quilting Cruise. More to come in the next few weeks. 
 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Product Review - Marti Michell Templates and MORE!

Last fall I taught the Stonehenge Woodland Block of the Month at a local quilt shop - Calico Cupboard. This quilt was designed to use the Perfect Patchwork Templates by Marti Michell. Her company (From Marti Michell – www.frommarti.com) 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.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Thread Tracking

I spent a couple of hours last week tidying threads and entering my collection of King Tut, Rainbows and other threads. 



At the same time I added my thread inventory into Superior Threads new Inventory App. Now I have a record of the threads I have at my fingertips whenever I go shopping.



Here is info about the App:
http://www.superiorthreads.com/blog/2014/8/our-inventory-app/

Friday, September 26, 2014

Flowers on Friday

This week's flowers are arrangements made by my Mother for my daughter Lindsay's wedding shower last Sunday. Mom started with some purchased mums and then gathered fillers from my garden. Aren't these beautiful fall arrangements!







Here are a few candid shots from the Tea Party Shower in our back yard.