Monday, June 20, 2011

Stay tuned

If you think I've forgotten my blog you're wrong.  Sorry friends but we are in the midst of moving and all the fabric, threads, patterns and sewing machines are on their way to our new home.

As soon as I can I will post some new projects and thoughts.  And of course I'll be looking for my new favourite quilt store!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More than one project

Fabric Collection
Any serious quilter is usually working on more than one project at a time.  In fact the joy of quilting is knowing that the next project is already begun!  This quilt began a while ago - the photo shows the arrangement of fabric at one of my favourite quilt shops in Calgary because of the amazing collection of fabrics.  I find it very helpful when a store carries a fabric collection, fabrics that are created to coordinate together or be used as blenders .  You can check-out My Sewing Room, they began in a much smaller shop and have really expanded in their newer location.  As well as carrying fabrics the walls showcase many projects to inspire yet another project.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

What would you call it?

The Border is on

The Baby's Quilt
The sashing is complete and the border is attached, the top of the quilt for Jason and Susan's expected baby is done. With the blue border on, it takes on the water theme.  The border really helps to POP out the blues in the embroidery.  

Did I mention that we are going to be grandparents?

Uncle Phil is building a crib, what a handmade nursery they will have.

Does anyone have any name suggestions for this quilt?

We are going to be moving house soon and I think the design wall is going to need to be packed away for a few weeks.  The embroidery machine is packed, but I'm not quite ready to pack my sewing machine.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Salsa Nights Complete

Here it is.  Salsa Nights complete with Jason and I holding it.  It's taken quite a while however the final product is worth every cut, every stich!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Baby Quilt's on the Design Wall

The Baby quilt is coming along.  16 embroidered blocks, each to reflect an underwater theme!  I love the coral sashing that runs in between, and how it draws out the colours of the threads used to make the characters.

Below is an explanation of my thinking using the design wall.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Baby Quilt - Lobster block embroidered

I'm making a quilt for Jason and Susan - it is 16 embroidered squares.  You might have already seen the Gecko!  Here's the Lobster  - a little longer and fuller video of the Janome 350E doing it's magic!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Red Deer Quilt Show photos

There were so many good quilts at the show on the weekend - here's just a few more photos!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Red Deer Quilt Show

Gorgeous colours
Yesterday and today was the Quilt Show in Red Deer....since we were in the neighbourhood we decided to take it in...well, I took it in while Fred went to test drive some cars...and then joined me for lunch and a quick tour around the centre.

Wedding Dress Quilt
There were plenty of gorgeous quilts on display.  This one was made from old wedding dresses  by a multi-generational quilting family - grandmother, mother and daughter - the detail was exquisite!  Another prize winning quilt.

This isn't the largest of quilt shows, but it did have some good displays, provided lots of inspiration and many good kits for sale!  I could have spent a fortune...but only picked up a few things I had been lookng at.

Quilt Store Displays
 Do you attend quilt shows?  If you do, do you look for special deals?  Do you take in the teaching seminars?  There were many women (and a few men) picking up a number of purchases, you could pick out the experienced show attendees - they were the ones that brought their own shopping bags on wheels for their great finds!
Quilts on Display

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Embroidering the Gecko

Trying a new project with my embroidery machine.  Stay tuned for news on the project!  I'm very excited about this one.

Here's the video of the beginning...and a photo of the final product!  I love the colours of the different threads.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Salsa Nights 4 - Trimming the quilt

I love using my rotary cutter.

If you are going to quilt you will need a good rotary cutter - it's so much easier and precise than cutting with scissors. As you can see I am wearing a klutz glove so I won't cut myself if I slip.

I made this quilt for Jason - it has taken a very long time! But one of the finishing steps for a quilting project is trimming the quilt, with of course your rotary cutter and acrylic ruler.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Salsa Nights 3

Paper piecing allows for clean details
 Now all the blocks from Salsa Nights are added to the design wall.  The main blocks are 12", and you can see the row above and below which is the row made up of the paper pieced block joined with the cornerstones. between each of the blocks is also a block made up from the paper pieced blocks.  Now to sew all the rows together to create the quilt top.

On the Design Wal

6 blocks

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Salsa Nights part 2

 As I mentioned in the previous post there were various techniques that were learned during this process.  The big learning in this was learning how to paper piece.  This technique has you lining up each piece of fabric with a paper pattern and sewing on the lines.  The purpose of this is to give you great points on your triangles without having to attempting to have the seams line up.  Sound like it should be an easy way to sew if you are sewing on lines - right?  Well in the end it does make it easier, but the process was very challenging for me.  It does help to take a class and practice the technique a bit to get the hang of it.  For good instructions on how to paper piece here is a link: bellaonline,
perfect points

I really liked the colours that were used in this quilt.  When I chose this quilt I had my oldest son in mind for the quilt knowing he would enjoy the colours used in it, had I known that the finishing kit for this included paper piecing I may not have so eagerly ventured on.  As I work outside the home time is not in abundance for quilting, thus this quilt has taken me quite a long time to complete.  After I had completed the 12 blocks over the year I then launched into the finishing kit.  The first few instructions included Block A - Cornerstone - make 20.  Triangle Sashing - Unit A - make 31 (seven step process), Unit B - make 31 (six step process).  Ooops, this will take awhile, stay tuned...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Block of the Month - Salsa Nights

I've done several quilts using Block of the Month - through a store that has provided an efficient and economical method.  This isn't true of all Block of the Month programs, many are quite expensive.

Block of the Month is a measured way to complete a quilt.  There are many offerings available from quilt shops and internet shops.  As the name indicates you complete one block of a quilt each month.  Several years ago I started the program with Along Came Quilting in Calgary.  On the third Saturday of each month many of us would pickup our block kit containing the instructions and fabric to be completed for that month.  On the third Saturday of the following month we would return with the completed block to show that we were keeping up with the program, then pick up the next block kit.  At the end of the year we had 12 blocks that we could put together to create the quilt.  An earlier blog post entitled My Second Quilt features my first quilt titled Tropical Breeze was completed this way.

Another year I worked on Salsa Nights, there are a few blog posts that will feature some techniques I learned to complete (or almost complete) this one.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Christmas Quilt from fabric panel

Since I began to quilt I have wanted to incorporate embroidery into my projects.  Last year I was fortunate enough to finally save up enough money to buy myself an embroidery machine.  After practicing for some time I felt adequate enough to bring quilting and embroidery together.
A snowflake embroidered on the quilt

A beautiful cardinal and the emboridery
The project I chose was a lap quilt using a wintry print and adding snowflake embroidery.  My Mom loves Cardinals (Fred: "the birds not the catholics") and the material had a lovely cardinal as part of the pattern.  This came from a panel of material.  This is a very creative way of taking a piece of material using it productively for a great end product.

I actually started this during the summer when we were camping - I take my sewing machine away with us and work on some of my projects in our trailer.  You can read about some of our camping trips here.  It was wonderfully satisfying to see this come together nicely.
Christmas gift 2010
The quilt
Embroidery on the edge

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sewing in Circles

We drive from Edmonton to Calgary on a regular basis.  And along the way we often stop in Red Deer - to grab a tea for me, coffee for Fred.  Sometimes we top up the tank with fuel and if we have a bit of time I love to pop into another one of my favourite shops - The Red Deer Sewing Centre.

That brings me to add to my list of "things I love in a quilt shop"!  Okay so it isn't really a quilt shop - it's a sewing machine and supply shop.  First of all - they know my name.  I feel like I have a connection there, like I'm important to Karen (the owner).  She's patient and knowledgeable.  She spends time in helping me find what I'm looking for or takes the time to show me something new.

As I've continued to add feet and attachments for my sewing machine this is the place that I keep returning to - they have an excellent selection and if it isn't in they will order it for me.  I've even taken a class or two here.  This week I spent some Christmas money in acquiring a circular sewing attachment.... hmmm, never thought I would want to sew in circles!!

There's a couple of quilt shops I've decided I'm not returning to - they have hurried me out or given every indication that I'm in their way.  I've never had that feeling at The Red Deer Sewing Centre.  Customer service is what's at hand here...and for me it makes the difference.  In this day of on-line ordering I could probably be a quilter and never enter a store.  However quilting has a community element to it, a sense of working in a world where people share a particular passion.  Finding a store that understands that is both satisfying and adds to the joy of the journey.

Did I ever mention she got me hooked on an embroidery machine?  More on that another time.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What does it take to be a favourite quilt shop?

I've mentioned before that I like to seek out quilt shops as we travel. Last year when we were in Spokane, for example, I had a list of quilt shops I wanted to visit and one day we put them into our TomTom and set out to find them. We did find them all - except one that turned out to be an internet only store that was out of some one's home...but that's a blog entry for another day. If I am travelling for work I often try to allow an extra 15 - 20 minutes on the journey to make a quick stop if I know of, or come across, a quilt store en route.

Once I've found the shop, I soon know whether I am going to want to come back. How so? Here are a few of my thoughts...

I consider the fabric - does the store have a good variety?

  • do they carry fabric collections?
  • does the colour selection connect with the what I like to use?
  • how are the fabrics displayed and organized
Does the store inspire me? - I must admit, I like to see samples of inspiration hanging on the walls, from the ceiling and other shelves or tables around the store.

  • I do find that a good selection of patterns along with fabric pre-packaged in kits very enticing.
How am I treated? - is the staff friendly, helpful, available. If I am looking around or ask for something, do they tell me they are closing in 10 minutes?

 When I am in my 'quilting mode' I am looking to enter a quilting community, one where I feel like I fit. This is my hobby, where I get to spend some time doing something I can get lost in and be creative, even if only for a short period of time.

You'll will be able to follow a few more of my favourite quilt shops along the way.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Quilt Design Wall

Once you have your quilt blocks made, the next part is to arrange the blocks in an order that is most appealing. You can do the arranging on a table, perhaps on the floor if you have some space, but a great idea is using a design wall. The video shows a design wall that you can hang letting you place the quilt blocks on it and rearrange for better placement. The video is really self-explanatory. I made this video for my friend Kathy who had asked about it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My second quilt

After the first quilt and the learnings contained in putting that together I wanted to learn how to do triangles.  I visited Along Came Quilting where I learned they had an upcoming "block of the month" quilt that featured learning to do triangles.

In each month we picked up a new kit containing instructions and fabric for the block.  When we returned with the completed block each month we would receive one more to add to our quilt.  Over the year the quilt emerged - 12 blocks for 12 months.  Each month a new technique was tried in putting together the block.

This second quilt came out nicely and has been what we've used on the bed of the trailer since I completed it.  It is Fred's favourite.

The colours are bright and inviting and when it isn't in the trailer it can be found in the van when we're travelling in the winter - a "just in case" quilt should we need to keep warm.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Desktop Calendar for the Quilter

Christmas morning brought many wonderful gifts for quilting - a couple of new feet for my machine, some fabric, some fussy cut rulers and a new rotary cutter.  I also got a 2011 Desktop Quilter's Calendar by Debby Kratovil and Jean Ann Wright.  It has quilts and blocks of inspiration for every day of the year.  Even though we are almost 2 weeks into the year I finally got it opened today.

We've been on the road again and away from home.  However as I noted in my last post I did get to The Sugar Pine Co. and I'll mention a few others in days to come.

The calendar reminds me how quickly the days are going by, how very quickly time rushes past us.  That's one of the things I love about quilting - it is a wonderful way to spend time.  It is time slowed down, concentrated in an effort that is both satisfying and productive.

As well quilting reminds me of the time when a quilt was made, when pieces were cut and brought together in a project, I remember the effort of each part and often a new learning in it.

I've been wondering where to put my desktop calendar - I suppose it could go on my desk at work - that's the logical place, but would I get any work done.......  So many patterns, so much fabric, so little time to quilt!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Sugar Pine Co. Canmore

It's open!

When travelling I keep my eye out for quilt shops.  Quilt shops come in lots of sizes and shapes - some are quite small, packed tightly with everything the owner can squeeze in, others are large and well layed out.  No matter to the quilter - just the right piece is always worth looking for! 

(Growing the stash is another objective of the quilter.)

 Today we were in Canmore and so we stopped into The Sugar Pine Co. - a favourite spot of mine.  And since we stopped in I was able to get a couple of pieces of fabric for a current project!
fabric galore

The Sugar Pine Co. is a favourite because of the numerous projects that are hung on the walls and around the shop.  It is truly inspiring - truly motivating.  They have very small lap quilts and large complex quilts.  As well they are very good at putting the patterns and fabric into kits so that you can duplicate what is on display. 

However if you would rather pick out your own fabrics to give the pattern a different look - well there's plenty to choose from.

Part of a quilt hanging inside
I think one of the owners now recognizes us when we walk in!  He always smiles and welcomes us.  Travelling around the province lets us see many quilt shops and this is definitely one of my favourites.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quilting is not for the faint of heart

No one enters into quilting half hearted. 

It is the kind of hobby or art work, if I can be that elaborate in description, that requires a fearless commitment.  By the pure cost of a good sewing machine you must be willing to equip yourself with this major investment.  Secondly, by nature quilting means buying fabric - often before you need it.  A good fabric, good colours, a good sale - and there you have begun your stash!

Know what a stash is?  It's the accumulated pieces of fabric that are awaiting their call to be part of an heirloom.  It is those saved bits that will fit perfectly into a project that is started and awaits a certain look or combination.

Quilting is not for the faint of heart.  It is for those who are willing to work at detail and do it with passion knowing that the final product is worth every muttered frustration.

This recent article in The Globe & Mail by Oliver Willms outlines something of the way quilting sweeps away not only the quilter but all who share their residence.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Quilting Begins

I've always liked working with my hands.  Always liked creating something that was nice to look at and had function.  In High School I was taught to sew clothes...with some success! 
But I didn't find much joy in it.  It was more frustrating than fullfilling.

So having a sewing machine is something I've always had.  When we came to Alberta I was looking for a hobby and as we explored Calgary I stumbled across a quilt store by the name of Quilter's Cabin.  The name intrigued me so I went in... I was hooked.  The quilts were beautiful, there were wall hangings, placemats, table runners, lap quilts, there was more than just warm coverings for a bed.  They were works of art.  This seemed like something I would enjoy.

Quilter's Cabin was offering classes and so it seemed a good starting point to sign up.  I hauled out my old Kenmore machine and headed for my first lesson.  I'll leave the story of that class for another post, but let's say they weren't impressed with my machine.  However I did get this first quilt made and I was proud to piece it, put the batting and backing together and then complete the binding to finish it off.

It's a basic quilt - the purpose of this class was to learn the basics of quilting.  If you are going to quilt you need to know how to use the rotary cutter (bought my first one on clearance at Michaels!), acrylic rulers, understanding a quarter inch seam and building the blocks!  Quilting includes reading and understanding the pattern, being able to choose appropriate colours and fabrics, and knowing how much to purchase.

Quilter's Cabin no longer exists but that's where I got my start and this was my first creation.  The feeling of satisfaction that comes from seeing this from beginning to end is wonderful.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A combined effort

From concept to reality - that didn't take long now did it?  Wendy and I had had this conversation:

Me: "I have an idea."

Wendy: "What is it?"

Me: "What if we put together a blog that combined my interest in photography and blogging with your interest in quilting."

Wendy: "That sounds interesting."

Me: "What would we call it?"

Wendy: "Let me think about it, we don't need to do it now do we?"

Me: "Of course not."

24 hours it is.  I love the title and the idea.  So soon you'll begin to see some photos and videos that we hope you'll find both interesting and helpful.