J’s – Jem, June and Jane

3 Nov

Fellow Quilters,

It’s that time of year again, when my mom and I make a road trip from Canada to her winter home in Florida.  Last year was the first time I did this drive, and in snowy weather through Buffalo (so fun!), and I must say that I am enjoying the drive much more this time around, partly because I am more familiar with the route and also because the weather has been fantastic for a road trip – clear blue skies and warmer temperatures.  Today we drove through NY State, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  The hilly scenery was delightful!

We have an extra “passenger” onboard – a new addition to my sewing room.  A compact little Janome Jem Platinum is packed in my suitcase, along with 8 packages of fabric, each one a partially cut quilt top – my travel cutting mat is only 12” x 18” instead of the 36” x 68” one in my sewing room, so I did my preliminary cutting at home.  I will be working on the quilts as time permits over the next 2 weeks, and will bring the machine back in my carry-on when I fly home.  It is certainly small enough to fit under my seat in a padded backpack, and weighs only 12lbs.  Have you ever travelled with a sewing machine?  I did a google search to gather travel tips before I decided to travel with my machine.  I am curious to hear any stories, good or bad, or any suggestions that you have.

Somewhere that you DON’T need to bring a machine is Quilt Canada 2016, in Toronto next June 15th – 18th. Machines are being provided for the conference, thanks to Janome. I am delighted to be part of the faculty for Quilt Canada, and will be teaching my Simplified Double Wedding Ring class on Thursday June 16, as well as presenting my “Interesting Quilts from Unusual Fabrics” trunk show Friday afternoon.  I am joined by 16 other talented teachers from Canada, and 3 teachers from the US, including Thursday evening’s keynote speaker Jane Sassaman. Sign-up opened last week at http://www.canadianquilter.com/events/quilt-canada-2016.php.  I shall be reviewing the list of classes and lectures in the next couple of days to see if I can squeeze in some “continuing education” when I am not teaching or lecturing.  It’s never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks.

One of the quilt kits that I will be working on while in Florida is a project that I designed exclusively for The Canadian Quilter, the fabulous quarterly magazine of the CQA.  My project will be featured in the Winter issue, coming out next month.  Needless to say, I am SEW thrilled!  It features a really creative way to use STRIP-R’s, Northcott’s fabulous fabric with pre-printed 2” wide strips.  I’ll post a picture in an upcoming blog post.

Time to catch some zzzzz’s – I have another 9-hour drive tomorrow, maybe stopping at a quilt shop or two if I can! Cheers,

Patti

Memories and Quilting

7 Oct

Fellow Quilters,

Last weekend, Hubby and I had the honor and pleasure of celebrating the 80th birthdays of my BFF Karen’s parents with 58 of their closest friends and family. It was a surprise party, and mom Bev was overwhelmed when she saw her BFF Eileen, who she hadn’t seen in 20 years.

Eileen, Bev and I

Eileen, Bev and I

I had a chance to chat with the two of them, as they recounted stories of their earlier days.

The invitation specifically said “no gifts”, yet Karen’s parents have been a part of my life for 35 years, and I wanted to give them something special. What to do? The night before the event, I decided that a quilt was in order. I dug through my stash for some cream fabric, cut it into 5” squares and ironed freezer paper to the back of each square for support. I bought a rainbow-colored pack of permanent fabric markers. At the event, I passed out the squares at each table during dinner and asked each attendee or couple to sign a square. They could add comments or other things to their square if desired. The response was truly amazing, as each attendee worked on their square. So many of them took the time to personalize their squares, using several colors and adding motifs that tied them to Bev & Don. Here are some of the squares.Don & Bev's squares The biggest thrill for me was watching everyone creating their squares – they had so much fun! It was as if I had given them permission to play! I will combine the squares with photos of the attendees, and hope to have the lap quilt finished in time for Don’s actual birthday in December. I’ll post a photo of the quilt when it is completed.

Hubby and I will be making wonderful memories next February 13-27 when we cruise New Zealand and Australia with the Quilt Camp at Sea gang on the cruise of a lifetime. Many of the quilters on this cruise have cruised with organizers Pat and Len Tobin several times because they take care of all the details that make the cruise extra-special – daily door prizes, swag bags, extra treats, block exchanges and more. One of the nicest details, for me, is having the classroom space to use for sit & stitch (or chat) time with the other quilters. Some very special friendships have formed on these cruises, and new ones are formed each time, as new cruisers participate. In fact, the Quilt Camp at Sea motto is “creating friendships at sea, one quilter at a time”. I get the same warm & fuzzies on these cruises as I did at Don and Bev’s 80th birthday party, and am already “sew” excited about this upcoming cruise. I will be making my class samples next week for my sashiko class and my super-easy-stained-glass class, then preparing the kits for each student (all you need to bring is your basic sewing supplies, such as scissors and pins). There are still 3 or 4 spots in my classes, but the last date to sign up is Saturday Oct. 10 (Pat tells me that all of the paperwork MUST be done by Monday). Lots of spouses are going on this cruise, so Hubby will have company while I am quilting. (On the last cruise, Hubby took part in an on-board pub crawl organized by the cruise director!) Please consider joining Hubby and I for 2 wonderful weeks of summer Down Under in the middle of our winter – email Pat or Len at QuiltersAlaskanCruises@comcast.net or call (360) 456-3819 (Pacific Time Zone).

Thinking of summer Down Under reminds me of my last post, as part of the EQ7: Seasons Row-along.  Since my row was snowmen, I asked readers to comment on their favorite thing about winter.  While a few readers mentioned crisp fresh air and snow-covered trees, most of the comments seemed to favor crackling fires and snuggling under quilts to escape the cold. (I really think those readers need 2 weeks in the south Pacific next February!)  Congrats to Edna L. for posting a comment – she has won a packet of Toscana suede-like texture fabrics courtesy of Northcott.  I also want to mention winners of my STRIP-R post on Sept. 10th.  Packets of the luscious Artisan Spirit – Ambience fabrics went out to Lori W., Carol J., Shirley J., Lisa E., and Ellen M.

Also along the “winter” theme, I have had numerous requests for a pattern for my Stacked Presents quilt featured in The Quilter magazine a few years ago.

Stacks of Presents holiday version

Stacks of Presents holiday version

The pattern PC185 Stacked Presents is now available at www.quiltwoman.com and includes 4 sizes from wall hanging 32” x 37” to queen-size 90” x 108”.  You can make it in holiday fabrics, or choose bright or elegant fabrics for a completely different look.

Stacks of Present twin size using Artisan Spirit Shimmer

Stacks of Present twin size using Artisan Spirit Shimmer

Stacks of Presents queen-size elegant version

Stacks of Presents queen-size elegant version

To my fellow Canadians, have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Hubby and I will enjoy turkey and pumpkin pie with our boys and extended family.  Since the pear tree in our backyard has a bumper crop, I will be making Pear Cranberry crisp as well:

Pear Cranberry Crisp

Combine 4 cups cored diced unpeeled pear, ¾ cup cranberries, ¾ cup chopped walnuts, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp ginger & ¼ cup flour, and place in a greased 9” x 13” dish.

Combine 1 cup oatmeal, 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup brown sugar and ½ cup butter or margarine until mixture is consistent and crumbly.  Loosely spread over fruit mixture.  Bake at 350degrees for 30-40 minutes or until fruit is tender.  Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Cheers,

Patti

Patti’s Frosty Friends for Seasons Row-a-long

22 Sep

Fellow Quilters,

Today is a beautiful Fall day in my neck of the woods – bright sunshine and temperatures that are hovering around 70°F (22°C). The leaves are turning and I am enjoying a bowl of pumpkin pie ice cream – yum! Canadian Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away, and we often have a dusting of snow at the family cottage where we celebrate with turkey and homemade pumpkin pie. This early snowfall means that winter can’t be far away, and that means another season of snowboarding, skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, and snowmen. To help you welcome winter, I have designed a row of frosty friends as part of my participation in Marian Pena’s EQ7: Seasons Row-a-long. This is week #4 in this fun event, and I am joined by 5 other talented quilters today. Thanks to Marian for organizing this, and thanks to all of the quilters who have used Northcott’s Toscana suede texture in their rows. Check out all of the terrific rows and blogs below:

 

Visit the other designers who are participating in this Row Along.

Here is the entire list of participants, including this week’s participants.

Read all of the rules for the giveaways HERE and have fun! September 1, 2015 Marlene at Kissed Quilts http://www.kissedquilts.com

Lynn at Thimble & Mouse http://thimblemouseandspouse.blogspot.com/

Doris at The Quilting Queen Online http://thequiltingqueenonline.com

Janine at Quilt Art http://quiltartdesigns.blogspot.com

Bea at Be A Quilter http://www.beaquilter.com

Anneka at Stof Genoeg https://stofgenoeg.wordpress.com/

September 8, 2015

Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts http://sewfreshquilts.blogspot.com/

Carol at Fun Threads http://funthreads.blogspot.com/

Amy W. at Sew Incredibly Crazy http://sewincrediblycrazy.blogspot.com/

Marian at Seams To Be Sew http://seamstobesew.com

Anneke at Stof Genoeg https://stofgenoeg.wordpress.com/

September 15, 2015

Reeze at Morning Glory http://blog.morningglorydesigns.net/

Marian at Seams To Be Sew http://seamstobesew.com

Jennifer at Sew Hooked http://sewhooked.com/

Carol at Just Let Me Quilt http://www.justletmequilt.com/

Anneke at Stof Genoeg https://stofgenoeg.wordpress.com/

September 22, 2015

Carla at Create In The Sticks http://createinthesticks.blogspot.com/

Patti at Patti’s Patchwork http://www.pattispatchwork.com

Nancy at Patchwork Breeze http://patchworkbreeze.blogspot.com

Marian at Seams To Be Sew http://seamstobesew.com

Linda at Linda Franz http://www.lindafranz.com/blog/

Anneke at Stof Genoeg https://stofgenoeg.wordpress.com/

September 29, 2015

Amy H. at Country Junktion http://www.countryjunktion.com

Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal http://quiltshopgal.com/

Marina at Sews To Be Sew http://seamstobesew.com

Loreen at Loreen’s Schoolhouse Quilts http://loreen.typepad.com/loreens_place/

Anneke at Stof Genoeg https://stofgenoeg.wordpress.com/

My row of snowmen started out looking like this in Electric Quilt.EQ image Now, I don’t normally do appliqué or embroidery in my quilts, so designing this block took me out of my comfort zone. The eyes, mouth, buttons and even the carrot nose were easy with the tools available on the appliqué layer in the block drawing board, but the arms were another matter. I had fun making the twig arms in EQ and learned more about EQ along the way (you can teach an old dog new tricks!).

After piecing the blocks and putting them into a row, it looked like this. DSCF1380I and Susanne, my piecer and right arm, were not looking forward to making all of those tiny black circles for the eyes, buttons and mouth. What to do? Being the crafty gals that we are, we grabbed an orange permanent Crayola fabric marker and some black and brown fabric paint. Voila! These guys had character in no time flat!DSCF1383 DSCF1384 I think I shall add a border and turn this row into either a table runner or a small quilt to hang above a doorway.

For instructions on making this row, click here – Patti’s Frosty Friends pattern. There are some awesome prizes being given out in this Row-along, so don’t forget to enter.

Northcott Fabrics   6-8 Yards of Cotton that feels like silk!
You are allowed ONE entry per week, so don’t enter this one from every blog. (Multiple entries will be disqualified. Value of $60-$80 is based on $10.00 per yard cost of fabric.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Fat Quarter Shop   $25.00 Gift Certificate.
You can enter at each of the blogs featured this week! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

I am also giving away a prize! Please post a comment on my blog by midnight September 26 telling me your favorite thing about winter for your chance at a packet of Toscana fabrics. Enjoy the rest of the Row-a-long and thanks for stopping by.

Cheers,

Patti

STRIP-R’s for Quilters

10 Sep

Fellow Quilters,

Today is a great day! Not only am I blogging on my site, but I am also a guest blogger on the McCall’s Quilting blog, where I am talking about my Bevels project in the November 2015 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts (http://www.mccallsquilting.com/blogs/?p+10996).

Bevels quilt

Bevels quilt

Needless to say, I am thrilled that McCall’s has featured my quilt in this issue AND that they asked me to be a guest on their blog. The Bevels project uses one of my fave new fabrics – it’s called a STRIP-R (pronounced “stripper”), and it is a pre-printed fabric with 21 2” wide strips across the width of the fabric – think “jellyroll already sewn together”. How cool is that?!? I pitched this idea to Northcott’s Creative Director Deborah, and she has included STRIP-R’s in about a dozen current and upcoming collections so far. In fact, I am using a STRIP-R from the Porcelain Blue collection for a project in the February 2014 issue of McCall’s Quilting, out in November. Here’s what the Porcelain Blue STRIP-R looks like. I can’t show you the quilt just yet, but I will soon (it’s so pretty – classic blue and white!).

Porcelain Blue STRIP-R

Porcelain Blue STRIP-R

The STRIP-R that I used in the Bevels project is from the Ambience collection. Creative Director Deborah also designed and included another innovative pre-printed fabric in this collection – it is called No-Sew Circles and looks like orange peel, or interlocking circles.

No-Sew Circles fabric from the Ambience collection

No-Sew Circles fabric from the Ambience collection

Isn’t this equally cool?!? I designed 3 projects using the No-Sew Circles – they are almost as much fun to work with as the STRIP-R’s. Here are pictures of Ambience Medallion, Candied Peel and Strips of Peel (patterns are available from http://www.quiltwoman.com).

Strips of Peel

Strips of Peel

Candied Peel lap-size

Candied Peel lap-size

Ambience Medallion wall-size

Ambience Medallion wall-size

One of these projects also uses STRIP-R’s. Now, if you’ve visited my blog before, you know that I like to give stuff (fabric) away. Today I would like to give away 5 packets of fabric, each containing a ¼-yd of the 8 textures plus a 1-yd piece of the STRIP-R and No-Sew Circle fabric in one of the 5 other colorways of Ambience (you can see the other colorways at Northcott.com/Ambience Hint: the Bevels quilt uses the lagoon colorway). For a chance to win, please post a comment by midnight Friday Sept. 11 telling me which of my 3 Ambience projects uses No-Sew Circles AND STRIP-R’s, and tell me which color packet of Ambience fabrics you’d like to win. And don’t miss the chance to win a packet of fabrics on the McCall’s blog too – they are giving away packets of the lagoon colorway (click on the link at the top of this page Fto visit them).

Cheers,

Patti

Every Which Way to Celebrate 100 Blocks Volume 11

7 May

Fellow Quilters,

Hi There, and welcome to Day 4 of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 blog tour!  I hope you’ve had a chance to visit the other bloggers on the tour this week.  There have been some great posts.  I really enjoyed Nancy Mahoney’s on Day 1, as she explained how she arrived at her Twirling Rose block #1052.  Or how about Karyn Ashley-Smith’s post yesterday, where she showed a quilt made from her Crocus and Daffodil block, and done in Stonehenge?

My block is Every Which Way #1040, containing 9 arrows that get shorter as they get closer to the center of the block.

My original block done in Artisan Spirit - Shimmer

My original block done in Artisan Spirit – Shimmer

Using 1 fabric for each arrow seemed a natural choice, and Northcott’s Artisan Spirit – Shimmer has a range of 9 gradated fabrics in each delicious color palette.  I chose the sunglow palette for my block.  My quick scan through 100 Blocks Volume 11 revealed another block done in Shimmer sunglow – Jennifer Shifano Thomas’ Aloha Flower #1014.

While perusing the issue, I noticed blocks done by several Northcott pattern designers:  #1028 Moon Star by Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods, #1029 Basket Star by Marjorie Rhine of Quilt Design NW, #1042 Swirly Whirly Floral by Kate Colleran of Seams Like a Dream, and #1066 Fruit Smoothie by Karen Bialik of The Fabric Addict (done in Northcott’s ColorWorks solids).  I put them into Electric Quilt along with my block, downloaded Northcott’s Celebration 2 collection, featured in our advertisement, and began to play!

Here are the blocks done in Celebration 2.  I used the pieced background block of Kate’s block, leaving the appliqués off.

Karen's block

Karen’s block

Celine's block

Celine’s block

Marje's block

Marje’s block

Kate's block

Kate’s block

My block

My block

Once the blocks were done, it was time to put them into quilts.  My block did not seem to want to play well with the other blocks, so it was my least favorite combination.  I would like to explore other options with it, such as having alternate blocks where the arrows go from the center out toward the edge (reverse the direction of them).  I think it would also make a great single-block quilt when enlarged to 36”.  However, most of the other blocks played nicely, although the Karen/Marje block doesn’t line up quite as well as the other 3 combinations.  What do you think?

Karen & Celine's quilt

Karen & Celine’s quilt

Karen & Marje's quilt

Karen & Marje’s quilt

Kate & Celine's quilt

Kate & Celine’s quilt

Kate & Marje's quilt

Kate & Marje’s quilt

Kate & Patti's blocks on point

Kate & Patti’s blocks on point

Kate & Patti's quilt

Kate & Patti’s quilt

It’s giveaway time!  I will draw 3 names: one for a copy of the magazine, one for a bundle of Celebration fabrics, and one for a bundle of Shimmer fabrics.  For a chance to win, please post a comment on my blog by this Friday at noon, telling me which quilt is your favorite.  For more chances to win a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 11, don’t forget to visit the other bloggers on the tour this week at  http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/

Thanks for dropping by, and please visit again soon.

Cheers,

Patti

Celebrations & Another 100 Blocks

4 May

Fellow Quilters,

Another great issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks (#11!) is hitting the newsstands this week, and once again I am participating in the blog tour for the launch.logo

I really enjoy participating in these tours.  I usually scan the issue, searching for designers who are also part of Northcott’s pattern design team, or blocks that feature Northcott’s fabrics, and recreate these blocks in the collection that Northcott has advertised in the issue.  There are 7 blocks in the current issue that fall under this umbrella, including my own block – a big Woo-hoo!  Because I have a block in the issue, I have been invited to blog on Thursday as well, so I shall do “my usual” on Thursday’s blog – please come by then and check out the blocks to choose your favorite for a chance to win a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 11.  For this post, however, I thought I’d share a bit of something more personal.

The collection that Northcott has advertised in this issue is Stonehenge Celebration 2, perfect for Independence Day, with waving flags, stars and fireworks.  That got me thinking about the things we celebrate.  As I write this post, I am sitting at my kitchen counter, with the tantalizing fragrance of peaches wafting through the kitchen.  Now, I live in Canada, and peach season is still 3 months away.  For the month of August, I buy basket after basket of juicy peaches, eating them for breakfast, dinner and night-time snack.  My favorite thing to do with them, however, is make peach pies – from scratch, including the pastry, with a lattice top.  Yum!!  You need in-season peaches to make pies.  The ones you buy in the middle of winter just don’t cut it.  When I was a kid, my mom would pack my brother, sister and I in the car and drive to the Niagara region about 2 hours away to pick baskets of peaches for preserving.  Yes, I know it was child labour, but there is nothing better than eating a just-picked peach warm from the sun while filling your basket.

I spent the past week in Florida, getting my mom packed up from her winter home, and driving her back to Canada.  As we travelled up through the top of Florida and into Georgia, we passed billboards announcing PECANS.  Hubby’s ultimate favorite pie is pecan pie – gooey and thick with pecans.  After passing several of these signs, I suggested to Mom that we stop and get some.  We pulled off the freeway to a roadside stand.  Right beside the pecans were baskets of peaches – golden nuggets of Georgia sunshine.  They lured me. The young guy manning the stand knew how to sell.  “Would you like a taste of one?” he asked, and handed me a wedge of deliciousness.  It tasted just like the ones I picked when I was a kid.  “They’ll be ripe in 3 days or so,” he said. Our journey is a 3-day trip.  “Sold!” I said.  The basket of peaches went into the back seat, and the heavenly fragrance filled the car for 3 days.  We enjoyed them when we stopped to stretch our legs, and there are just enough left to make a peach pie for Mother’s Day this weekend.

Mom and I shared lots of laughs, good times and great meals over the past week.  It was a rare treat to spend an entire week with her, and I have much to celebrate on Mother’s Day.  After I dropped Mom off, I arrived home to a spotlessly clean house (even the windows were clean!) and dinner on the table.  I guess I’ll be making a pecan pie too.

What about you?  What have you celebrated recently, or will be celebrating in the coming weeks?  Post a comment on my blog by noon on Tuesday May 5th for a chance to win a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 11 and a packet of Stonehenge Celebration 2 fabrics.  Enjoy the blog tour (http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures), and see you again on Thursday!

Cheers,

Patti

Going in Circles

29 Jan

Fellow Quilters,

Co-worker Jennifer nearly fell over today when she saw me writing this blog post.  “You can’t do a blog post today – you’ve already done one this month,” she said.  As if I only do one per month!  Well, that’s pretty much true, actually.  “Oh, but today is special,” I said.  “I am participating in the Quilter’s Newsletter’s Best Tradition With A Twist Blog Tour.”  This special issue hit newsstands a week or so ago, and contains 21 creative projects of all sizes.

Cover of Tradition with a Twist by Quilter's Newsletter

Cover of Tradition with a Twist by Quilter’s Newsletter

Nine of the quilt designers are blogging about their project this week, including yours truly.  Here’s a list of the others:

January 27, Janet Jo Smith at www.dyesmithy.com

January 28, Twisted 9 Patch, www.jendalydesign.com

January 28, Emily’s Nonsense, www.rOssie.blogspot.com

January 29, Jennifer Parks, www.jennykaequilts.wordpress.com

January 30, Nancy Mahoney, www.nancymahoney.com/blog/

January 30, Natalie Barnes, www.beyondthereefpatterns.blogspot.com/

January 30, Gigi Khalsa, www.quiltersnesletter.com/blogs/insideqn/

My modern quilt guild (www.facebook.com/barriemodernquiltgroup ) has really got me thinking modern these days, so when Quilter’s Newsletter sent out the call for “tradition with a twist”, I thought “modern”.  Northcott had just introduced the Artisan Spirit – Shimmer pre-cuts, including fat quarter rolls, so I chose 3 coordinating rolls (hibiscus, peacock and mineral).  Then I took the traditional circle shape and modified it in some blocks by making it an oval.  Additionally, I changed the scale of the blocks: the main blocks are square, but I made my sashing blocks rectangular, necessitating my cornerstones (the blocks at the intersections of the sashing blocks) to be small squares, with smaller circles in then.  Here is my quilt:

My Going in Circles quilt

My Going in Circles quilt

Since I was thinking “modern”, I did not add any borders to my quilt.  With the quilting, I emphasized the circles in the background squares and rectangles, and did free-motion spirals in the circles and ovals, all with a variegated thread.  The circles and ovals are fused in place, and when I do fusible appliqués, particularly large shapes, I like to “window” the fusible webbing – that is, I remove the center of the fusible by trimming ¼” inside my cutting line before I fuse it to the fabric.  With this quilt, I could use the centers of the large fusible circle pieces for the small circles.

Quilter’s Newsletter has a yummy bundle of Shimmer fabrics to give away, so for a chance to win, please post a comment on my blog by 9am tomorrow (Friday) telling me your favorite method of appliqué.

Artisan Spirit - Shimmer in the pansy colorway

Artisan Spirit – Shimmer in the pansy colorway

I will draw 2 names, and the 2nd name will receive a bundle of fat quarters from Northcott’s Mandolin collection that just arrived in our warehouse.  Like the Shimmer collection, Mandolin has a hint of metallic, adding to the elegance of it.

Mandolin collection

Mandolin collection

I think this collection would be perfect for the sashiko class that I will be teaching on the Australia/New Zealand cruise that I am going on next Spring (Feb. 13 – 27, 2016) with Quilt Camp at Sea.  Here is a picture of my original quilt.

Sashiko sampler

Sashiko sampler

I can already picture it in Mandolin, can’t you?  For a chance to win the Mandolin bundle, please tell me if you’ve ever been on a quilting cruise, and where it was, or where you would like to cruise to if you haven’t yet tried a quilting cruise.  That’s 2 chances to win – 1 for telling me your favorite appliqué method, and 1 for telling me where you have or would want to cruise to with some quilting “buds”.  Good luck!

Cheers,

Patti

Backwards and Bobbin Work

26 Jan

Fellow Quilters,

I’ve been thinking about you!  Around this time last year, I posted about learning new skills in snowboarding, particularly riding switch (backwards), and how that correlated to machine-quilting skills (see my Splats post).  I endeavored to practice switch every weekend, and if I did, I would surely be competent by the end of winter.  Despite my intentions, I found a million excuses not to practice – the snow conditions weren’t perfect enough, I might injure myself and not be able to attend a scheduled upcoming event, too many obstacles (a.k.a. other skiers) on the hill, etc.   Needless to say, I was not competent at switch by the end of the season.

Well, I am once again in snowboarding lessons, and this past weekend, instructor Tim tried oh-so-patiently to give us some tips on riding switch (again, or is that still?).  After the lessons, I went back out on my own and practiced some more.  It is slowly coming along.  At one point yesterday, I was way out of my comfort zone, going fast enough to really hurt myself if I fell.  Fortunately I didn’t, and this gave me a boost of confidence. It will take weeks, but I will try harder this year, and hopefully achieve my goal. As my fellow students would attest, you can teach old dogs new tricks, and our group is living proof.  Howard, my most-senior classmate, is 70 years old.  He is still nursing an injury from a fall in the terrain park last year, but he is gung-ho about mastering switch.  Go Howard!!

Hubby and I recently spent 9 days on a 32ft sailboat in St. Martin/St. Barts with my BFF Jennifer and her friend Terry.  Hubby and I sailed in the British Virgin Islands a few years ago with Jennifer, and the sailing was delightful.  Since I am not really a sailor, I was assigned the position of cook. When Jennifer asked if we would join her for the St. Martin trip, we jumped at the chance.  Jennifer and Terry are seasoned sailors, and Hubby is also quite comfortable in windy conditions.  Me, not so much.  Well, let me tell you!  We faced some significant waves (20ft tip to trough) and wind, and they had to harness me to the boat to quell my nerves.  I was once again the cook, and Jennifer was determined to keep me from getting seasick so that she could have gourmet meals every day.  I think I was too scared to be seasick!  The good news is that I survived, and even became somewhat accustomed to the rolling sea.  Hubby and I went snorkelling one day and saw sea turtles, lion fish, a moray eel, lots of colorful fish and a nurse shark.  It was great!  Here are some pics of our trip:

Captain Jennifer at the helm

Captain Jennifer at the helm

View of St. Martin from our boat

View of St. Martin from our boat

Terry, Jennifer and I at the dining table

Terry, Jennifer and I at the dining table

Jennifer works on navigation while I prepare dinner in the galley.

Jennifer works on navigation while I prepare dinner in the galley.

Now that my sailing vacation is behind me, it’s time to get back into quilting.  My guild (www.regionofyorkquiltersguild.ca) is having a show March 28 & 29, and I have a lengthy list of projects that I want to have ready.  On January’s To Do list is my project started last June in Lenore Crawford’s class at Quilt Canada. It is a small fused wall-hanging, and requires some painting to bring it to life.  I have not painted anything other than walls and ceilings, so this will be a challenge.  Time is running out, so I had better just take a deep breath and get ‘er done!  I am the challenge coordinator for our show, and the members are busy completing their entries to be handed in next month for voting by the membership.  I haven’t started mine yet!  It is my early February project.  And I have 2 sets of 3” nine-patch blocks from a block exchange a few years ago.  The quilts for these are designed, but at this point, it is unlikely that I will get them assembled, let alone quilted – one is queen-size and the other is king-size!  Unless we have a week-long snow storm, these 2 projects will remain UFO’s. Did I mention that I am teaching at A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN March 17 – 21? I attended last year and it was a total blast – tons of vendors, and the quilts in the exhibit were amazing.   But I digress.  My modern quilt group pushes me to think outside the box, so I shall try to make my challenge modern, and use some modern quilting.

I was working on my new pattern Florentine Floor for last Fall’s Quilt Market trade show, and wanted to use some really heavy thread for some of the quilting, as the fabric had a busy background that competed with the quilting.  I stopped by the Superior Threads booth to see what they had, and decided that Razzle Dazzle would work.  I wanted to use it in the top of my machine, but Mother Superior a.k.a. Heather Purcell said I would need to put it in the bobbin, necessitating me quilting the quilt from the back.  I had not done that before, so, unconvinced, I tried it in the top.  I now know why Heather is Mother Superior, because she was right, of course!  After 2 minutes of practice, I had the tension balanced, and went about quilting the quilt from the back on my sewing machine.  Voila!  It looked amazing, and I am so pleased with the results.  I will add this to my technique toolbox, and won’t hesitate to try it again.

Florentine Floor twin-size quilt

Florentine Floor twin-size quilt

Detail of the bobbin work done with Razzle Dazzle

Detail of the bobbin work done with Razzle Dazzle

Have you tried bobbin quilting?  Do you have any advice to pass along to those who have not ventured down this path yet?  The fabric collection that I used for my pattern is Stonehenge Medici.  Post a comment about bobbin quilting sometime this week (by Friday night) for a chance to win a bundle of Medici fabrics.

Cheers,

Patti

The Christmas Countdown is on…

17 Dec

Fellow Quilters,

Why is it that the days in December seem 2 hours shorter and my To-do list is 2 hours longer?  Can we postpone Christmas for a week or so?  No point – I still wouldn’t be ready!  Inevitably, someone on my list will get a “potential” gift, a.k.a. an I.O.U.  The people on my list have wizened up over the years, and stopped requesting gifts that might need to be made.  Now they ask for gift cards.

If you’ve been extra good this year and your significant other is looking for something special for you, I have the perfect suggestion:  a 15-day Australia & New Zealand cruise for mid-February 2016!  The folks at Quilt Camp at Sea  (www.quiltcampatsea.com) have asked me to teach 2 sets of classes on this cruise, so I will be doing hand sashiko

Sashiko sampler

Sashiko sampler

and fusible appliqué landscape.  The hubby has once again offered to carry my bags.  It seems like such a long way off, but I know that spots fill up quickly, and some of my classes are already full.  Pat and Len do such an amazing job of taking care of every detail on these cruises, and many of the cruisers already booked on this trip have been on several previous cruises with our group.   My quilting “bud” Dodi Poulson is also teaching on this cruise, and I am really looking forward to cruising with her again.   Dodi and I taught on the Panama cruise earlier this year, and her classes are always popular. Now, some of you are asking “What if I don’t have a significant other?”  Treat yourself, of course!  This will fit nicely in your own stocking.  Hands up, all those who put stuff in their own stockings.  I do!  Heck!  My stocking would be half-empty if I didn’t.  I put in “fun” stuff like new silicone spatulas, emery boards and tubes of hand lotion.  Of course, it would be nice to get quilty stuff like cones of variegated King Tut thread and packs of rotary cutter blades, but my family doesn’t even know what a rotary cutter is.

Speaking of quilty Christmas stuff, I was featured yesterday on Electric Quilt’s blog – they are doing a Christmas Countdown, with 21 days of free projects. 16-PattiCarey-Slider I posted the project that I made with Northcott’s Christmas Traditions collection that was patterned in Quiltmaker magazine’s Quilts From 100 Blocks earlier this year.  If you get a chance, pop on over to EQ’s blog and see all of the projects (http://doyoueq.com/blog/2014/12/ ).  My friend Linda Franz of Inklingo is today’s featured artist, and she has some terrific give-aways on her blog.  In 2015, I want to learn more of the fabulous features built in to EQ (wow! – a New Year’s resolution already).

I used EQ to design my eye-catching Emerald Dawn quilt featured in the January/February 2015 issue of McCall’s Quilting. patti-article It is made with the Artisan Spirit – Falling Leaves collection by award-winning Canadian fiber artist Elaine Quehl.  Elaine hand-dyes her own fabrics, and Northcott’s Creative Director Deborah Edwards managed to recreate Elaine’s look with printed fabric.  There is even a pre-printed fabric that looks like one of Elaine’s quilts.  The spread in the magazine looks fabulous.  I was especially thrilled to see that Sherry Bain Driver highlighted my quilt in her column on quilting.  The quilt has a fairly wide outer border, and I stretched myself with my quilting in the border to break it up and modernize it.  Sherry noticed!  Elaine’s next collection is Poppy Passion, based on her Poppy quilt, and I can’t wait to play with this one too!  The colors are luscious.

Speaking of quilting, I am waaaay behind on quilting tips for you!  In my post from forever ago (April), I said that I would include a quilting tip in each post this year.  I am 5 tips behind, so let’s get started.

1)  I baste the layers of my quilt together with a basting gun.  My favorite is the June Tailor or Avery Dennison one because the needle is small.  I don’t like the June Tailor Micro-tack because, while the needle is very small, the tacks are too short for my method of basting.  Use the needle of the gun as you would the tip of a safety pin.

Take a small "stitch" with the needle of the basting gun

Take a small “stitch” with the needle of the basting gun

To baste the layers, insert the needle down through all 3 layers at a slight angle, then come back up through to the top at a slight angle, taking only 1/8” of backing fabric.  Use your index finger on your other hand to hold the quilt down while you bring the needle back up and push the fabric onto the needle while you “click” the gun (push the tack through the fabric).  You can’t take a big “stitch” of backing fabric because the tack isn’t very long.  Notice that all 3 layers are held tightly together and cannot shift. Be careful not to put too much sideways pressure on the needle or it will break.  I always have 1 back-up needle just in case.  I put my tacks 8” apart because I am free-motion quilting and there is no pull on the quilt from the feed dogs on my machine.  It takes me 5 minutes to baste a small lap quilt, and 20 minutes to baste a queen-size one, including layering time.

2)  I wear Quilter’s Gloves by Nancy Odom.  They are the best $10 you will spend.  Once upon a time, I took a workshop from Laura Heine, and noticed that she had cut the finger tips off of her gloves.

Nancy Odom's Quilters Gloves with the tips cut off

Nancy Odom’s Quilters Gloves with the tips cut off

That day, I also took a workshop on ergonomics for quilters, and learned that the less pressure we apply with our hands and specifically our fingertips, the easier it is on our arms, shoulders and neck.  I went home and cut the tips off my gloves too, and now I don’t need to take my gloves off every time I need to wind a bobbin or rethread my needle.  I had actually worn holes in the tips of my gloves and darned them closed (by hand!).  You really want the palm of your hand to be the part of your glove making contact with your quilt – it has a much bigger surface area than the tips of your fingers.  Think of this like car tires – you have much better traction with big fat tires than with skinny tires.  Your gloves should be snug, so that when you move your hand on the quilt, your hand is actually moving the quilt and not just moving inside the baggy glove.

3)  Do not watch the needle.  I guarantee that it will just go up and down.  Instead, look where you want your next segment of quilting to be.  Here’s another car analogy:  When you drive, you look down the road where you are planning on going instead of looking at your hood ornament.  If you look where you are planning to stitch next, you will avoid boxing yourself into a corner and your quilting will be much smoother.

4)  Use heavier thread (King Tut is great) and choose something that contrasts nicely with your quilt.  When you can see your stitches, your quilting tends to be more evenly-spaced.  You will need some larger needles, such as 90/14 and 100/16 Jeans needles, so that the thread can run easily.

5)  When I stipple, I work from the bottom edge of the quilt up toward the top edge of the quilt.  This is opposite to how most quilters sew – we sew from top to bottom.  However, I find that if I quilt top-to-bottom, I am constantly backing into an area that I have already quilted, particularly if I am using a matching thread that is hard to see.  The sewing machine foot blocks my view of what is behind it.

When we went to Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, we took our graphic designer Ghazal, who is taking quite an interest in quilting.  Ghazal was like a kid in a candy store as she walked the show floor.  She saw a pattern that she had to have, in a book by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr called Transparency Quilts.  Ghazal set a goal of having her Jewel Box wall hanging done by August 1.

A jubilant Ghazal with her Transparency quilt

A jubilant Ghazal with her Transparency quilt

On our lunch hours, she worked diligently on her quilt while I provided instruction, including the 5 tips above.  She was a terrific student!  Her finished quilt is hanging in her home.  She is now onto her 3rd project, a quilt for her bed.  Ghazal’s style is modern, and it is refreshing to see the quilt world through her eyes.

I took on another interesting non-quilting project this year – my cousin asked me if I would make his daughter’s grad dress.

Emma and her prom date

Emma and her prom date

I made her mother’s wedding dress 25 years ago, and was honored and delighted to make Emma’s grad dress.  It was fun to go back to my garment-sewing roots, and this project certainly tested my skills and knowledge of dressmaking.  Emma showed me a picture of what she wanted, and I took it from there.

Emma with her friend

Emma with her friend

Some garments are engineered, and this was one of them (the top part of the dress had no back).  The sewing was fairly simple, although it was “interesting” sewing with the beaded fabric that I used for the top.  Emma looked stunning in her gown, and I was thrilled with the result.

May your holidays be filled with peace and joy, and of good food shared with great friends and family.

Cheers,

Patti

Earth Rhythms Rocks 100 Blocks

18 Nov

Fellow Quilters,

Today is my first day in sunny Florida, after a 3-day road trip driving my mom down to her winter home from Toronto.  It is also my day to post as part of the Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 10 Blog Tour.  How fabulous to be sitting outside in balmy weather to write this!

This issue of “100 Blocks” means that 1000 unique blocks have been custom designed for Quiltmakers’ readers – quite an accomplishment, I think.  I have participated in several of the blog tours and it has been great fun playing with many of these designs.  For this issue I again jumped at the chance to play.  I scanned the issue for blocks by designers who design patterns in partnership with Northcott, and found 4 – #961 by Karen Bialik, #976 by Chris Hoover, #989 by Celine Perkins & #998 by Shayla Wolf.

I recreated the 4 blocks above in Electric Quilt.  Then I downloaded the fabric collection that is featured in Northcott’s advertisement in this issue (Stonehenge Earth Rhythms).  It is so easy to download fabric collections into EQ7 from Northcott’s website – simply click on the “Download Fabrics for EQ” button.  I know that the quilt that I create in EQ7 will look identical to the real thing, without cutting into any fabric.  I can switch fabrics until I am happy with the final result, then start cutting.

Karen’s block was actually easiest for me to design as a quilt.

Karen's block

Karen’s block

It is so pretty in the Artisan Spirit Shimmer fabrics that Karen chose for her block.  Here’s my version using Earth Rhythms.

Karen sent me a sneak peek of a quilt that she has designed that uses her block, and it is stunning.  I think it will be featured in the next issue of “Quilts From 100 Blocks”.  Karen is a prolific designer, and her designs for Northcott continually impress me!  Not only does she design patterns, she also runs a terrific quilts shop, The Fabric Addict, in Lethbridge, AB.

Chris Hoover is also a talented prolific designer, and she also used Artisan Spirit Shimmer for her block.

Chris' block

Chris’ block

Chris designed Northcott’s 2013 Block of the Month program with the Shimmer collection.

Here is Chris’ block in Earth Rhythms.

 

 

Celine's block

Celine’s block

Celine Perkins has had a block included in “100 Blocks” for as long as I can remember, and I enjoy playing with her blocks.

Here is my Earth Rhythms version.

 

 

Shayla's block

Shayla’s block

Shayla Wolf and her mom Kristi are Sassafras Lane, a fairly new pattern company.  Shayla is young, and her designs tend to be modern, so I was not surprised to see that her block for “100 Blocks” was modern.

Here is my version with Earth Rhythms.

 

 

Of course I had to play with the blocks in some different layouts.

Chris', Celine's & Karen's blocks in a quilt

Chris’, Celine’s & Karen’s blocks in a quilt

Shayla's block in a quilt

Shayla’s block in a quilt

And of course I always give away fabrics, and the folks at Quiltmaker are giving me a copy of “100 Blocks Volume 10” to give away as well.  So…. for a chance to win the magazine and some Stonehenge Earth Rhythms fabric, please post a comment on my blog by noon tomorrow, telling me your favorite BLOCK and QUILT in this post.  Please visit the other blogs in the tour as well, and happy Quiltmaking!

Cheers,

Patti