Thursday, March 16, 2017

Show 'n' Share

I received this picture from Jean B. a while back. Jean made this quilt to celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday. She used my pattern True North to make her quilt. Great job Jean!



This pattern is being updated to include an additional version using an 
upcoming Northcott Oh Canada collection called Our Home & Native Land.




I have also designed Crossroad Squares using this collection.



These new patterns (and several more!) will be available in about a week. 

Sign up for my FREE NEWSLETTER for my
Special Offer Announcement
when you buy these patterns.

You will receive a free pattern as my gift
when you sign up.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What's on My Table, Tuesday?

Finally back in the studio and sewing!  I'm working on 'slab' blocks for the Canada's Big Quilt Bee, a great project to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. 

Here is a sneak peak at my first couple of blocks



 and my table covered in fabrics for more blocks.



I will show you my completed quilt soon. It's going to be BRIGHT!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Looking for Northcott fabric?

When I was at the Parksville Guild earlier this month I was asked to talk about my work with Northcott fabrics. My relationship with Northcott goes way back. The first magazine article I wrote used a Northcott Christmas collection. That was almost 20 years ago!

Some of the quilters wanted to know where they could buy the fabrics for many of the quilts I showed during my presentation. I told them about Northcott's Product Finder and thought you might like to learn about it too.

The Product Finder is a way for quilters (and sewists) to search for a store in your area that purchased a fabric you are looking for.  If you go to any Collection Page on the Northcott website you will see the Product Finder on the right side of the screen.



Northcott has created a video to show you how to use the Product Finder.  The link is below. 

So, next time you are looking for a Northcott fabric you can use this tool. The results are for North America only.




NOTE - the screens shown in the video are slightly different from Northcott's current website since there are lots of NEW COLLECTIONS since the video was done.  

Here are the basic steps:

1 - Choose PRODUCTS from the top menu bar and then click on one of the pictured groups (Coming Soon, Current Collections, Stonehenge, etc.)

2 - Select the COLLECTION from this screen.

3 - You will see the PRODUCT FINDER on the right side. The video describes how to use the tool.









Monday, March 6, 2017

Product Reviews - Decorative Cutting


Updated info - FISKARS makes decorative blades for the 45mm rotary cutters too. 
Check your local quilt shop or crafting store.
***********************************

There is lots of FUN to be had with your rotary cutter.  Did you know that you can use your rotary cutter to make a pinked edge? Or a scallop or wave? I use the Decorative Rotary Cutting Blades from Olfa.

These blades fit your 45mm rotary cutters; you simply remove your straight blade and replace it with a decorative blade. I first used one many years ago when making a model for a local shop and rediscovered them when planning a project to teach on my  Caribbean Quilting Cruise last January. I wanted my students to create a Caribbean Cottages scene with bright fused fabrics and hand embroidery. These decorative blades were perfect for adding a decorative edge to the fused appliqué shapes.

Caribbean Cottages by Carol Stewart

I have also used them to cut a decorative edge as the final step for my collaged greeting cards and quilts.
Check your local quilt shop for this fun addition to your rotary cutting system.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful day!

Hearts-a-Plenty
from Give & Take Applique DVD

Monday, February 13, 2017

Snow Days = Sew Days

This was the view in my back yard last week! Okay Mother Nature....we've had enough now! Where I live on Vancouver Island we normally have very MILD winters. The grass stays green and we only have a few days of cold weather. 

But this year has been DIFFERENT and I mean WHITE different!  We had another snow storm earlier this week and there is no green grass to be seen.


I have been feeling a bit 'house bound' this week so took the opportunity to quilt some small quilts so I can share with the Parksville Quilt House Guild next week as part of my Northcott Fabrics Lecture.


Here are the 3 quilts I quilted last week during my Snow Days.

This is Galaxy, designed by Sue Beevers. Sue used Northcott's ColorWorks Concepts fabrics for this small quilt. This will be a fun donation to my Guild's Baby Quilt program.
The next quilt is Route 66. This uses the UrbanElementz collection by Patricia E. Ritter.  This quilt uses pre-fused applique shapes designed by Patricia and she has lots of other appliques available too.  I think this will be perfect for my daughter's small trailer when they go camping in the summer.




For this quilt I used some new Longarm Templates that I got at Quilt Market last fall.  These are Oval CTemplates by HandiQuilter.

And this is where I used the centre oval for custom quilting:

 




The third quilt has been quilted and I just have to add the binding.


This is Shattered Crystals by Pine Tree Country Quilts.  It showcases an amazing Digital Panel fabric called Expressions.  I used SuperiorThreads MicroQuilter thread and a pantograph for this one.  This thread is ON SALE and it is great for texture without 'in your face' thread colour.

I have the same quilt with black accent and hope to work on that one next week.

This fabric will be delivering to quilt shops in April. There are some wonderful projects you can make with this collection!

I had a fun week making use of my time while the snow fell outside. The rains have come and I'll see that green grass soon!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Product Review: Heat Press Batting Together™

Do you have 'offcuts' of batting that you'd like to be able to use? This is the product for you!

A couple of years ago I bought a roll of Heat Press Batting Together™ to see if it would work. The roll is 13.7 metres long (15 yards) and 3.8 cm (1½ inches) wide, enough for lots of joining. And it was SO easy to use.




The product reminds me of fusible tricot interfacing; it is a soft material with glue on the back side. Here are the simple steps:
1 - Cut a straight edge on the 2 pieces of batting you want to join.
2 - Place the edges together, but not overlapping, on your ironing surface.
3 - Cut a piece of 'tape' the length of the batting and place it glue side down with the batting edges in the middle of the tape. 

4 - Press lightly with your iron.

It is the heat of your iron that makes the product work, not the weight of the iron. You just need to have the iron at the proper temperature. The package instructions include information for irons WITH Teflon plates and WITHOUT Teflon plates. I can't remember if mine is Teflon so I used the instructions for irons without. They recommend slightly under the WOOL setting for cotton and cotton blend battings. 

The first batting I tried was Hobbs Heirloom which is an 80/20 blend (80% cotton/20% thin polyester). The product worked just as it said it would and my two pieces of batting were now one usable piece.
 

The product made a white area where the pieces were joined so I wondered if this would affect a quilt made with white fabric. I set up a small sample and did some free-motion stitching over the area to see if the tape would affect my stitching and whether the white tape would show through. I had no problem stitching and there is no shadowing.


I also tried 100% polyester batting, this time Hobbs Polydown. I used the recommended setting (synthetic) and just skimmed the iron over the tape. The glue melted easily and the product did not make the batting stiff.

The shop owner where I bought the Heat Press told me that she has used it with both Quilters Dream cotton and Legacy 100% wool batting and it worked well for both types. So, if you have small bits of batting lying around get some Heat Press tape and make a larger piece for your next project.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

What's on My Table, Tuesday?

Today I am sewing the binding on a small quilt I quilted yesterday.  It is Route 66 by Patricia R. Ritter of Urban Elementz.  It uses Patricia's Urban Elementz fabrics and fusible appliques by Northcott.




 I am sewing the binding to the quilt by machine. This is fast and very secure. This is one of the 'finishing' styles that is included in my Fine Finishes Workshop.  I'll be teaching this class for the Parksville Quilt House Guild later this month.








Friday, February 3, 2017

Addition to the Patchworks Studio Store

I have a few Convergence Quilts books (by Ricky Tims) left from the workshop last week.  Are you intrigued by the great quilts made by my students? You, too, can make a Convergence Quilt - and more!  

Ricky offers lots of creative guidelines but no hard-and-fast rules, so every Convergence quilt is a unique work of art.

• 4 projects walk you through the steps of making Convergence quilts
• Quilts look complex but are fun, easy, and, best of all, creative to make
• Use any fabric from commercial prints to hand-dyed
• Add decorative touches such as appliqué to dress up your projects
• An infinite number of looks from one ingenious technique 


Only 4 copies left - order your copy TODAY before they're gone.  
Price is $34.95 Canadian (aprrox. $24.00 US) plus shipping.


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Convergence Quilts - Westshore Quilters' Guild

Last Saturday I spent the day with members of the Westshore Quilters' Guild and they created Convergence Quilts.

Here are the results of their day. GREAT JOB everyone!



And here's our class picture.


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

What's on my Table, Tuesday? The Yin & Yang Convergence Quilt

A few weeks ago I told you about a new teaching quilt sample I was making for a Convergence Quilts workshop.  I shared this 'in progress' picture. At that time I wasn't sure what quilting motifs I would use and whether to bind or face the quilt.




Well, this quilt has evolved and I'm happy to say it is now complete!

I did decide to use a facing. You can see in the picture above that I had a dark blue outer border. After I completed the quilting I decided that border didn't belong on this quilt so I cut it off. I 'faced' the quilt instead.  I think it looks much better that way.


I also decided to add another element to this quilt - Monstera leaves (one of my favourite motifs).  The focal print is very tropical and I thought this motif would enhance that feeling. I sewed around my leaf design with Jane Sassaman's Sew Sassy thread. The outline was so faint that it didn't show up well.

I decided to complete all the other quilting and think about my options for the leaves.



I used Rainbows threads in different variegated colours for the different ares of the quilt.
The same quilting design was used throughout.
Once the quilting was finished I had a couple of ideas for the leaves. I tried a small amount of Shiva Paintstik in a small area of 1 leaf. I didn't add a lot of paint because I really wanted a 'ghost' image of the leaves. It didn't work all that well - I was afraid to add more paint in case I lost the translucence I wanted.


So I pulled out my box of other paints, inks, etc.  I had some Liquitex Inks. They are transparent - and that was the quality I wanted.

Of course I tested on scrap fabric first!  I also had some Shimmer powders that I'd never used. I added a bit of the green shimmer to a blend of yellow and blue ink and I achieved the 'ghostly' image I was after.  It's still quite subtle so I may add more ink.  I coloured close to the leaf outline. I'll live with it for now and let you know if I do more embellishing for the leaves. Perhaps more stitching inside the leaves, or more colour, or....

If you have suggestions I'd love to hear them!






Thursday, January 26, 2017

Taking Classes Online

When I was a fairly new quilter I signed up for a class at my local quilt shop. It was a 3-session class with one class scheduled in the evening for 3 weeks in a row.  At the time I was a busy mom and I worked outside the home too.

I made it to the first class just fine. I learned all about making templates, cutting my fabric and began work on a Mariner's Compass block. That block was only part of the quilt. The other area included Storm at Sea blocks.

I managed to do a bit of the homework for the class on the weekend and then life got BUSY. I remember sitting with my family helping my kids with homework when the phone rang. It was the store, asking if I was coming to the class that night. The class had started and I lived almost 40 minutes from the shop. I didn't attend that class - and was so embarrassed that I didn't go to the third one either! 

This is approximately what the project was supposed to look like:




That project languished in a drawer in my studio for years and years. I had all the instructions to make it but every time I looked at it I remembered how I had forgotten all about the class and I just couldn't get motivated to finish it.  I finally gave everything to my friend Jill and she finished the quilt and donated it.  I was so glad it found a home!

This was long before there was a thing called the Internet! There was no way to stay home and learn anything. 

Can you relate to my story? Perhaps you have never forgotten to attend a class but you probably have struggled to pack up your machine, find all the tools you might need and get yourself and all the 'stuff' to a class. I remember a student of mine forgot a very important part for one class - the foot pedal for her sewing machine!  Luckily the shop where I was teaching had a machine they could lend her for the class.

Did you know that I teach online classes?  This is through the Academy of Quilting and most of my workshops are On Demand. That means you can start anytime that works for you. All the classes have several lessons but you don't need to wait a week or more between lessons. Work at your own pace, fit it into YOUR schedule.

See my classes here.

This week I'd like to tell you about the Ripless Paper Piecing class.  This has been one of my most popular online (and in-person) workshops for the past few years.  

We all love to be accurate when we piece our quilts. One of the ways to ensure this is with 'foundation paper piecing'. There are changes we make to our sewing machine and some preparation to do for this technique. 

With my 'RIPLESS' method there are no adjustment to make for sewing and the preparation step doesn't take as much time.  But the real saving is what happens after you sew your block!  You save both TIME and PAPER because there is no need to rip the paper from the back of your block and throw it away.

Intrigued?  Here is the class project.  It is not large and you can probably pull fabrics from your stash; you can make the quilt in your two favourite colours.



As a bonus in this workshop I talk a lot about how 'value choices' are so important when you choose fabrics for your quilts. I think this is a section you will refer to over and over as you continue your quilting journey.

So....remember, this class is ON DEMAND - you can start today, or tomorrow, or next week.  And you can fit the 3 lessons into YOUR schedule.

Play the video to see what some previous students created in this class:




Hope to see you in the classroom!





Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Sharing Quilts

Susan W. sent me pictures of quilts she and her friend Johanna made using some of my designs.

First up is a Mystery Quilt that I hosted through my newsletter a couple of years ago.

Here is Susan's version


And here is the bed runner that Johanna made with the same blocks.



Great job ladies!!


As an added bonus,Susan also sent this picture of the batik star quilt that she made from a class that I taught with its recipient - Sophia.  What a sweet little girl Susan!


Monday, January 23, 2017

New Book

Love your sewing machine? I've added an excellent book to my store. It is all about Machine Techniques to help you make the most of that great tool you have!

Nancy Fiedler (the editor) is a Janome Educational Coordinator and she has gathered an amazing group of sewists, designers and quilters to create this book.

You will learn to use your machine and its attachments to their full potential while creating great projects for your friends, home and family.

You'll learn to embellish and enhance quilts and home dec items. There are 10 projects in the book.

This is a great reference for anyone wanting to use interesting sewing machine methods in their work.





The book is only $12.95 Canadian. Order your copy today!



Here are the techniques and projects in this book.
I have tried many of them
they are fun and make my work unique.


This is one of the projects - definitely different and FUN!


Add this book to your library today.

Only $12.95 Canadian. Order your copy here!


Friday, January 20, 2017

Quilters' Lessons - Lining Applique Shapes

I am starting an 'occasional' blog series today. As I wander around the internet I often find interesting tips and techniques articles that are useful for all of us. I'll be sharing the best ideas and instructions every few weeks.

First up is a technique for all fused appliqué fans. I have run into this problem myself....you want to use a light coloured fabric for your appliqué and you want to put it on a dark background. The dark background can 'shadow through' and change the colour of your appliqué . Or if the background is a print, you can see the print through your shape. 

I ran into this issue when making the igloos and polar bears for my Our Home and Native Land quilt in my first book, Quilted Havens. The background behind both these shapes included Northern Lights fabric so my white fabric no longer looked white. 




I used batting behind my shapes (trimmed slightly smaller than the igloos or polar bears). It added a bit of padding to these shapes as a bonus. However, I had to be very careful to position the batting correctly so it didn't extend beyond my applique shapes. I remember it being a bit difficult with the polar bear legs. I think I had to trim some wisps of batting after I stitched around the shapes.


I found this great McCall's Lesson about using an additional layer of fabric instead of batting. Here is the link:
Have you had this problem with fused appliqué? How did you solve it?