Friday, November 7, 2008

Janome love

Remember this?

This quilt is the one I was honoured with a Judge's Choice award from fibre artist Anna Hergert at the 2008 CQA National Juried Show. Since Janome sponsored the award, my quilt is now on view on the Janome Canada website! Yay Janome! And thanks!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A place for everything...

With new craft obsessions come specialized tools and accoutrements. (And, in my case, random embroidery floss purchases. Can't... resist... pretty colours...) Since I end up stitching in the living room, my supplies should be attractively housed, no?

So... embroidery box! I started with a naked, plain wooden box, painted it, glued on some cut-outs from an old pattern envelope and some Martha Stewart craft paper, and now my stitching supplies are stored in style.

I splashed out and bought a flower-shaped Martha craft punch to use, too. I couldn't help myself. (It is so much fun to play with!)

Obsession du jour

After spending my crafty time this past spring/summer attempting to clear the backlog of incomplete quilty projects, I found myself in need of a breather. Not a non-crafty breather (that's crazy-talk!), but a change-up from patchwork. Something new... cross-stitch and embroidery!

The embroidery and I are getting along like a house on fire, let me tell you. I started off with a wee tiny alphabet sampler, then moved on to two small Halloween projects from the "Just Cross Stitch" Premier Halloween Issue. Now I'm blazing along on a much larger project (which is a gift, so I can't show it) and getting others cued up and ready to roll.

Meanwhile, I also did a freestyle embroidery "sampler" (one floral design that used lots of different stitches), which I really enjoyed working on.

I have to say that thinking about fabrics and threads in a whole new way is a great, gulping lungful of fresh air.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's that time.

What time is it, you ask? Why, it's Sampler Class time! My seven-week intensive quilt/fabric/colour love-in is about to begin at the workroom! The bolts of fabric will be flying, my friends, flying!

One of the many things I enjoy about teaching this class is finding out how each person decided to take the class and what they bring to it. Some have dabbled in quilting before, others have been focused on garments, and some are brand-new to sewing in general, all of which I find extremely interesting.

So, welcome Sampler students! We're all going to have a great time!

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Season, New Tote!

My IKEA fabric bag was looking entirely too summery, plus I'd made it on the big side. By the end of August it was starting to annoy me with its too-large interior and non-divided outer pocket.

This bag was made with a vintage kitcheny print and a lovely chunk of a Japanese cotton/linen cross-stitch print. It feels great to wear and it's just the right size.

I'm ready for my favourite season now; bring on the pumpkins and changing leaves!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

9 Patch class!

Hello, all! Back at last, after all the start-of-school rush and bustle.

I can't believe my three-week 9 Patch class at the workroom is already finished; it just started! What a lot of fun! I get a huge kick out of seeing what fabrics students bring in to work with. Everyone came away with a really lovely quilt, including Josephine, who blew me away with her sheer ambitiousness and the joyful and unexpected choice of classic red and white gingham for her background. This baby is quadruple the size of the class sample!

You GO, Josephine! Well done!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stuff With Scraps #4

Still continuing my quest to complete half-done, orphaned projects into finished pieces...

The scrappy strips in the centre panel came from the cut-away backs of appliqued fan blocks. The chunks were too big to just chuck in the garbage in good conscience (and the fabrics were really really nice), so- a few long seams here, and some rotary strip-cutting there, and voila!

Pillow tops are a great place to try out some experimental, improvised machine quilting. I like the look of contrasting quilting threads, and I had such a good time on the top I totally quilted the backing, too. All that quilting makes the finished pillow very "tactile"- the kind of thing you want to just hold on your lap and pet...

Umm... that was too much information, wasn't it?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yo-Yos for Misers...

Don't hate me because I'm thrifty... Did I just say "thrifty?"

Make that cheap.

I've had an idea lately for a project involving yo-yos of different sizes. Having made a few the traditional way (a bit tedious), I was eyeballing the yo-yo maker gadgets at Michaels. They have them in a few different sizes...

for twelve bucks each... HELLO!!

There must be a better, cheaper way, my friends, and I have found it!

So get out those plastic yogurt and margarine container lids, because I know you save your empties, right? Right! Here we go...

[For another project, I had used a compass to draw circles (2", 3", 4") on cardstock and cut them out. Yay! Headstart!]

I traced a circle onto the back of a yogurt tub lid with an Ultra Fine Sharpie marker.

Cut out the plastic circle.

Using a single hole punch, notch out little bites of plastic at north, south, east and west on your disk. Just eyeball it; it will be fine.

Now, make notches in between the ones you just made...

...then notch between those notches. What we're looking for is evenly spaced notches about 1/4" to 3/8" apart. For a larger circle, you might be dividing the space between notches into thirds.

Punch 3 or 4 holes into the centre of the disk (or as far into the disk as your punch will let you reach).

Take some little sharp scissors and trim off those tiny sharp points of the notches so they won't catch on your fabric.

Your yo-yo maker is finished!! Now let's make a yo-yo...

Pin through the holes to secure the fabric to the disk.

Trim seam allowance to about 1/4" to 3/8".

Fold the seam allowance over the notched edge of the disk with your thumb.

With a threaded, knotted needle, take a stitch through both layers of fabric in the space of one of the notches.

Skip to the next notch space, and take another stitch.

Continue around the disk, taking a stitch in each notch space, and end up taking another stitch in the notch space you started in.

Push the needle through the seam allowance once again so the thread is trailing from the right side of the fabric circle.

Put down your needle and ease the disk out of the fabric circle you just stitched.

Gently draw up the thread, gathering the edge of the circle into a darling little pouch.

Holding tight, take a couple tiny back stitches, pull them snug...

... and then push the needle back through to the inside of the yo-yo to hide the thread end. Snip the thread.

Push the gathers flat and shape the yo-yo with your fingers.

There you go! You made a yo-yo for free!! Wasn't that fun? Yahoo for yo-yos!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Stuff With Scraps #3

Some of my teatowels are getting ratty, so I picked up a five pack at Canadian Tire last week. They are all solid neutral colours. I had the bright idea of doing a little embroidery motif in the corner of each, but then I have all those bits and pieces of cool vintage prints...

I really like the way they turned out! And they were really fast, too. I'll save the embroidery thing for something else, I promise.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Glutton for Punishment

I found another craft book from the seventies the other day; lots of crafty goodness. The Patchwork section has directions for Cathedral Windows patchwork. So, it looking to be fiddly and hateful and taking-forever-to-make, I decided to try it!

Behold! The Sample! For scale, those Japanese indigo squares are just shy of 2 inches square to begin with. It was indeed fiddly to make, but the effect is really cool. I did manage to find a little shortcut toward the end (of course). This will probably end up being a pillow. I know, not very creative, but do I really need a teacozy? Do I want to make it into a panel for a bag of some sort? No and no. So, pillow it is, but I'm open to suggestions.

Cathedral Windows Patchwork Beast: slapped and tamed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Floral Log Cabin

My mom has always loved Log Cabin quilts. And had I made her one? No. Bad daughter.

And now, guilty no more!! Here is the Floral Log Cabin I recently completed and gave to her for her birthday. I machine-quilted between all the blocks to hold everything together, and then hand-quilted two concentric squares in each Log Cabin block. In two and a half days. (I had a deadline, and, lucky me, only drew blood once.) The border is machine-quilted. As you can tell, I'm no purist when it comes to machine-quilting and hand-quilting; I will use both in the same quilt. It's about 60" by 70".


Next stop: 136 yellow and cream half-square-triangle squares from a long-abandoned quilt project! Stay tuned...

Thursday, June 26, 2008


So, I've been holding back on you. I'm pleased to report that my entry for this year's Canadian Quilters Association National Juried Show received a Judge's Choice Award.

I finished the quilt in time for the February deadline, bit my nails hoping to get in, and got word of my acceptance the following month. I shipped it out to St. Johns, Newfoundland for the show, and a couple days after the show opened, received an e-mail from the president of the CQA about the Judge's Choice Award.

I was giddy for days.

The quilt is called "Downriver Industrial," measures about 31" x 66", and is fused, painted, machine-pieced and machine-quilted.

Check out the saucer-sized ribbon! And No, I didn't wear it out in public. :-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


After a heads-up from my friend Ally, I arranged to get myself to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see and meet the wonderful Alex Anderson, Quilt Ambassador Extraordinaire and former host of HGTV's Simply Quilts. She gave a chatty and entertaining talk, sharing her lifetime of sewing and quilting with us, and then graciously spent several hours meeting us all and signing her books. Alex Anderson signed my book! We chatted! I met a famous quilter!!

Then I bought a whole bunch of fabric and ate some pie. Then I came home. All in all, I'd say that was a pretty great way to spend the day, wouldn't you?

(That thing in my hand is a photo album of some of my quilts, and I held it up because there is a photo of my daughter on the cover, and I wanted her to be in the picture. She's a quilter, too.)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Hello, gorgeous!

I scored this lovely Arrow Deluxe sewing machine over the weekend at a flea market. The belt is broken and she obviously needs a clean up, but look how pretty! They don't make 'em like this anymore (which might be a good thing, given the sheer, back-breaking heft of it). But...


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Shiny... Pretty...

I found these fabulous beads last Saturday at Golden Beads on Queen Street West. They were all two bucks a strand, and Buy Two, Get One Free to boot!! Usually, talk of quilt "embellishment" grates my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard, but these just might, might, find their way onto a quilt.