Friday, May 20, 2016

All the Acronyms

So, recently I took an advanced FMQ class with the VMQG and made a QAYG baby playmat with the results.

I like to take Free Motion Quilting classes every couple of years just to work up my mojo and build confidence while trying new designs. There are so many great books, classes and teachers out there to learn from.  This class was taught by fellow Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild member Stacey Murton (hushrules on IG). She recently learned from some of the best modern quilters at QuiltCon and brought back some of her new found knowledge to share.

FMQ practice by Poppyprint

Ideas for free motion designs are endless, but it is always a good idea to start at the beginning and get into the flow with some simple swirly, loopy, meandering lines. While I regularly revert to my safe swirly stipple for a quick finish, one day I'd like to take more time with a special quilt and custom FMQ elements of it with individual motifs. It is wonderful that authors Christa Watson and Christina Cameli are supporting those of us working on domestic machines!

FMQ practice by Poppyprint

FMQ practice by Poppyprint

FMQ practice by Poppyprint

Some of these designs came from Stacey's class handouts (overlapping whorls, swirls + hooks, water and pebbles seen above), while the ones you see below came from Christina Camelli's book First Steps to Free Motion Quilting (puzzle pieces, interlocking circles & lines, tendrils and mussel shell thingies seen below).  I didn't mark anything on these practice sandwiches, I just started quilting. I think that with something like the puzzle pieces and interlocking circles & lines on a real quilting job, I would use a hera marker and ruler to lay out a grid of lines to follow in order to keep things fairly uniform and parallel.

FMQ practice by Poppyprint

FMQ practice by Poppyprint

FMQ practice by Poppyprint

I like medium sized motifs, like the swirls and mussel shell and paisley flower shapes. I find it more difficult to work smaller, as with tiny pebbles. Stacey suggested drawing pebbles like figure 8's but when I tried that it was tough to stay circular - mine ended up looking like tear drops. More practice required!  I thought the tendril/vine one would be super hard since backtracking with a darning foot is rather daunting for me, but turns out it wasn't too bad after all. 

Having the new Juki TL-2010Q has been a major help for me.  The machine purrs along beautifully and I do not have any difficulty with tension or thread breakage. The fairly low extension table is a bonus as well. I keep my speed in the middle range of the machine's tortoise to hare scale and actually move my quilt fairly slowly. I learned to do this from Christina's Craftsy class  "Free Motion Quilting Essentials" which is on sale for $24.60 Cdn* until Saturday.  I must say, slowing everything down helps to keep my shoulders more relaxed and I have more control over motif shapes and stitch length (no more 1/4" long stitches on curves!).

I didn't do all of this work in the class - these are fairly big FQ sized sandwiches. I completed two of the four while on retreat the week after class. After trimming them up, I joined them together using Marianne's tutorial here.  I've sent this off with some VMQG members to display and possibly be our raffle prize at Vancouver's Mini Maker Faire, June 11-12.

*I'm a Craftsy affiliate, which means if you click on the link and end up purchasing a class, I will receive a small commission. I promise to think of you when I buy my next latte.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Happy Birthday, Queen Victoria!

It is a long weekend here in Canada thanks to Queen Victoria having a birthday. The Monarchists among us like to refer to this weekend as May Two-Four (hehe). In other words, the number of beer bottles there are in a full case. It's a well-known camping/bush party/bonfire kinda weekend. Ahem. I have a feeling Vicky was more of a sherry kinda gal.

BUT, you can party in your jammies while enjoying some great sales this weekend!!  First up is Sew Sisters, offering 20% off on continuous yardage cuts with flat rate shipping in Canada and to the U.S. ON MONDAY ONLY.

There's a 15% off sale happening Saturday till Monday at Fabric Please! with code QUEENSBDAY

And a little bird told me that a perennial favourite, Drygoods Design will celebrate their 5 year online anniversary with a great (online only) sale TOMORROW, Friday May 20th!!

If you're looking to pick up some Cotton & Steel at 33% off, Mad About Patchwork has some Lucky Strike for you in their amazing sale section!

Picnic: Picnic Blanket in Teal

Have fun shopping!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Latifah Saafir is coming to Vancouver!

The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild is super excited about our upcoming visit by Latifah Saafir, one of the founder of the Modern Quilt Guild and an incredible designer. Latifah will give a lecture on the past, present and future of modern quilting on Friday, May 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the MEC head office (Great Northern Way near Clarke). There are still tickets available for the lecture at $15.

In addition to the lecture, non-members are invited to fill the few spaces we've still got left in the Rocket 88 (Sunday) and Molehills (Monday) classes! Please see this post for full details and Paypal links. 

Rocket 8 by Latifah Saafir


I'm excited for the GlamClam class on Saturday (sorry, sold out!). I need to get cutting!! Hope to see you at the lecture if you're local and can make it.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Modern Selvage Quilting - a book review & giveaway!

"Unsuspecting, a creatively inclined woman walks into a yard sale; a quilter walks out."

This happened to Riel Nason, Canadian author, mother, quilter and lover of selvages. She left that yard sale with a huge box of random fabric for $6 and proceeded to cut out her very first quilt with fingernail scissors because they were the sharpest pair in the house.

I haven't (yet) met Riel, but I've thoroughly enjoyed seeing her fun and original selvage quilt creations, first on Flickr and now on IG.  When it comes to creating with selvage edges, her imagination knows no bounds! This is a person who mounted one-woman show of Hallowe'en inspired selvage projects entitled "1/4-inch Scream". Awesome!

Her new book Modern Selvage Quilting contains instructions for 17 projects using selvages. 

"Selvages are like ticket stubs you keep from a fabulous show"
(how true!!)

Like Riel, I was smitten after discovering selvage quilt projects online. Jodi's remarkable selvage dress was my first introduction to the concept of saving and using selvages (I'd tossed them for years before realizing they were usable. Gasp).  Then I came across Riel's adorable snowman quilt . By that time, I'd started saving selvages. My first projects were very small - some cute little mini coin quilts, then some larger spool quilts and finally my prized Selvage Colourblock Quilt (made from 4 years worth of selvage-saving).  After that quilt, I figured I was done and gave all of my leftover selvages away, except for those incredible linen Echinos with shaggy edges and interesting text.  Those I've kept. 

If you were like me and have yet to discover the fun of saving and making with selvages, you'll find Riel's book is an excellent resource. She covers everything from cutting (just how much printed fabric should you cut off with your selvage edge, anyway?) to sorting, planning, measuring, pressing, sewing and ultimately creating projects efficiently with your selvages.  You'll also find tips on how to label, quilt and care for your selvage projects.

You'll find a variety of projects, in addition to the expected quilts. One that I would normally find too cutesy (a window valance) actually takes on a meaningful kitsch when made for your sewing room with favourite selvages. I also love the lattice pillow (above) - it would look perfect in any modern sewing space, or living room for that matter!  

Definitely the most unexpected quilt design in the book for me is the selvage medallion quilt - it is a great modern pattern that I think would be really fun to make. That X border is so good.  It almost makes me want to start saving my selvages again!

Have you got a selvage collection? If not, are you keen to start one now that you know there's a book full of cool modern projects you can make with them? C&T will give one random commenter a free copy of Riel's book (a US winner will receive an actual paper copy, an international winner will receive a digital version). Leave a comment that includes, or links to, your email address (if I can't contact you, I'll choose a new winner) and tell me about your favourite selvage-y project!

ETA: The giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to commenter #42: Bea, you've won a copy of Riel's book!

Check out the rest of the tour here:

May 10 Riel at C&T Publishing Blog
May 11 Cindy at Live a Colorful Life
May 12 Yvonne at Quilting Jet Girl
May 13 Diane at Butterfly Threads Quilting
May 16 Krista at Poppyprint
May 17 Casey at The Studiolo
May 18 Leanne at She Can Quilt
May 19 Sandy at Upstairs Hobby Room
May 21 Riel at The Q and the U

Sunday, May 15, 2016

#MayisforMakers - Pattern 2

Even though I purchased this the other day, I'm just now getting a few minutes to share my second indie pattern purchase for Lindey's initiative May is For Makers.  I've made two successful skirts in my short lived garment-making career. The first one was wrap-around and accompanied by a reversible vest. Made in Grade 6 home-ec and modelled in the Eastview Elementary School fashion show (Oakville, ON, circa 1979). I'm sure there's a photo somewhere...perhaps it's best hiding in my parent's basement.

The second was a cute skirt that I still wear, with a yoke waist band (is that what it's called?), invisible side zip (for which I consulted a free Craftsy tutorial) and cute inserted panel of Echino selvages.  Just to prove that it's completely wearable in public, here's a pick of me sporting it in London and the 2013 Fat Quarterly Retreat!

With Di, Sonia and Jo 

I haven't got much of a waist, so I do prefer a flat front skirt because gathers just don't do me any favours.  Here's my next clothing challenge: The Maude Skirt by Lazy Seamstress (find the pattern at FabricSpark! by clicking the link). Sounds like the perfect pattern for me! Plus, those pockets looks fab.

I'm not sure when I'll get around to actually making a muslin, but I'd love to have this ready for my trip to Quilt Canada in June! I've got some lovely chambray purchased at Drygoods Design last year that should do the trick.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Geode - a Mini Quilt

This sweet little expression of colour reminds me of the crystals you find inside a geode.  On the outside, a geode is typically a non-descript round-ish grey rock. However on the inside, if you are lucky when you smash it open with a hammer, you discover a tiny magical world of perfect crystals. Typically quartz (often purple amethyst), calcite or dolomite crystals form over hundreds or even thousands of years as water trickling through a cavity in the ground leaves behind the mineral components as crystalline deposits.


I was starting to feel like this little project was taking a geologic amount of time to complete. After all, it is only 15" square and it has been two years in the making!  Why do we do this to ourselves? Delay finishing a project when really, there is only another hour or so required to get it done? If you've got a better answer than good old fashioned procrastination, please share so that I can learn and stop doing this!


The center block of 'crystals' are teensy little two-fer triangles cut off the corners of this project. Each half square triangle measures 1/2" finished.  I pieced them together to form colourful little square in squares without an overall quilt design in mind.  Next, I created a 9-patch by adding low volume squares around the crystal block. I even used a precious piece of poppyprinted white linen I found in my scrap drawer. Gradually, more ideas came to me and I settled on the green bias tape (appliqued using this method) to frame the little block. I used a flexible curve ruler to draw the wiggly shape on the low volume background fabrics with a pencil (the line is covered by the tape when it is folded over).


Realizing the quilt wasn't yet finished, the tiny circles were hand-appliqued on. Then this poor little quilt top sat for over a year. Sometimes on my design wall. Sometimes thrown over a pile of other fabric on top of a cabinet. Many times folded up and brought to retreat, only to remain folded up until I got home.  FINALLY, last week Geode made it to the basting, quilting and binding stage. Phew.

Geode by Poppyprint

This little gem (couldn't resist) is going in the mail as a reciprocal thank you gift for a special friend who surprised me with her generosity once. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Sew Together Bag for #MayisforMakers

What a satisfying project!! I can't believe it has taken me so long to jump on the bandwagon and make this super cool and useful Sew Together bag.  I'm sure one day I will make more, but for now this one is for me and I just love the clever design of it.


The penguin linen blend was a long ago purchase from SewMeASong that's been curing in my stash awaiting the perfect project. Seriously, these guys are so cute!  I used linen mochi dots in lime for the side panels and two Carolyn Friedlander prints on the inside and pocket linings. The binding is a favourite of mine: Heath in green from Alexander Henry. I quilted the outside panel to byAnnie's Soft and Stable to give the bag body and prevent it from collapsing when it was loaded with stuff and unzipped.



When I posted a progress shot on retreat, a friend shared her brilliant tip of hammering the side seams of the linen prior to attaching the binding (really! With a hammer!). This was a lifesaver to achieve a relatively even binding application, because all of those linen layers are really thick! I sewed this project on my Juki (if you have one, then you know how small the stitchplate hole is) and in the final inch of stitching the zipper ends to the bottom edge, I bent one topstitch gold-eye needle and broke a second. Yikes.  Not bad, though, considering all of those layers that easily divert a lesser quality needle on it's way through.  Ironically, the "thick fabric" stitch plate that I've had on back order since last November was in the mail pile awaiting my return home from retreat.

I found the photos in the posts from this sewalong very helpful when putting the pockets together.

I'm still searching for my week 2 indie pattern purchase for #mayisformakers...what are your favourite indie patterns?