Monday, January 31, 2011

Thank You Hamilton Quilters Guild!!!

A big thank you to the Hamilton Quilters Guild for having me come once again for a lecture and two days of workshops.  You all were enthusiastic and fun!  I'll see you next January for my Tips and Tricks lecture and the Colour for Quilters workshops.  Can't wait!

As you can see, this Saturday's blocks look amazing.  I'm always thrilled when the personality of the quilter shines through in her fabric choices. 

 You don't get that in a kit!!!

Again, the facility was great with lots of natural light and space for tables etc.  Barbara treated me to a lovely homemade lunch and Shirley kept my tea mug topped up.  A great day all round!
Here's a picture of Linda's Cobblestones quilt from the workshop I taught last year.  Fantastic job Linda!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Back to Hamilton!

Log Cabin Chevron - group 2 takes place with the Hamilton Quilters Guild tomorrow so I'll be heading to John and Anita's of for the night once again.  Anita was working on a really lovely scrappy 4-patch quilt last week so I'm excited to see how it looks quilted with the new King Tut thread.
Last week John gave me some sweet potato flour to experiment with.  This flour is gluten-free.    I experimented last week by making a pineapple carrot cake replacing the wheat flour in the recipe with  sweet potato flour and dark teff flour with xanthan gum.  The resulting cake was moist but too sweet.  I didn't take into consideration the sweetness of the sweet potato flour so I think I would cut the sugar amount in half next time.  I'll put the recipe as I would use it next time on my recipes page.
I managed to get the machine quilting and binding finished on the Simple Squares quilt.  As I said in an earlier post, I just made this design up but I'm sure there's lots of variations out there.  This one would fit a twin bed.  The fabrics are mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics using the shot cottons for the narrow bands.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Block of the Month - Part 2

We had a great day yesterday with part 2 of the block of the month we're working on.  Here you can see the first month's blocks completed.  Carol and Beryl are busy getting their blocks ready for the next month. These photos are taken in my mother's apartment attached to our home that I'm now using as a teaching facility.  Six students comfortably in the space.  With its own kitchen and bathroom,  plus all the natural light, it's great for teaching.  When we have company, we move the tables out and have a separate suite for them.

The next set of instructions for the Postage Stamp Quilt Along is up on the site.  My blocks are ready to be assembled into the top.  Anyone else joining in?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Log Cabin Chevron workshop

My workshop with the Hamilton Quilters Guild yesterday was great fun.  The workshop was held in a lovely addition to an old church.  It's so nice to teach in such a great facility with natural light.  The quilters all worked hard and took in the lessons on value and colour.  The quilt has a lot of work in it but rewards you with a unique quilt with the quiltmakers' personal stamp on it.

Here is Betty busy at her sewing machine and her blocks and chevron.
The other quilters are hard at work with their blocks.

Thanks for a great day, ladies!  It's always a pleasure to spend a day with the Hamilton Quilters Guild.

One of the great pleasures of being a travelling quilting instructor is the number of friendships made all over the country.  While I was in Hamilton, I stayed with my friends Anita and John of Cotton Mill Threadworks.   John has introduced me to Teff flour.  Our daughter is unable to eat gluten or lactose and the teff flour has no gluten.  It is the closest thing to wheat flour we have ever used and we have had great success converting regular recipes to gluten free ones with the use of this flour.
Since I was there......... I indulged my thread collecting tendencies with the new King Tut thread colours.  King Tut thread is my favourite for machine quilting.
Anita has a very informative newsletter and blog on her website.  If you get the chance, take Anita's thread workshop.  You'll learn more about thread and your sewing machine in one day than you would believe!  I've never met anyone that knows more about thread, needles and stabilizers.

Friday, January 21, 2011

On the Teaching Trail

I'm just heading off to teach the Log Cabin Chevron workshop for the Hamilton Quilters Guild.  Yes, that's the same group that I did the Colour Harmony lecture for a while ago.  Great bunch!  Here's the quilt we'll be making.

The colours aren't very good in the yellow version but fairly true on the black version.  The black quilt I made to replicate an antique quilt that was in a decorating magazine years and years ago.  The quilt in the photo was flung over a chair in the background of the photo but I just loved it.  I tried to be true in colour and fabric as well as the arrangements of the blocks and strips.  That's why some of the blocks in the black version do not hold true to the usual method of constructing a log cabin quilt.

One of the topics I cover in this workshop is over-dyeing fabric to make it appear antique.

The yellow version's colours were selected by choosing the same colours in the same percentages as they appeared in a photograph in a British gardening magazine.  I often use this method to obtain original colour combinations.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Look what Bill brought!!!

Bill is our trusty mail delivery guy.  Unfortunately, he's caught on to the fact that these packages he keeps having to deliver have fabrics in them.  "Another quilt in the works, Heather?" he asks, grinning.
I have no idea what I'm going to do with these but I'll let you know.  These are samplers from  4 1/2" x 40" strips.  These samplers are from Parisville and Soul Blossom lines that I haven't seen in our area at all.  They package everything beautifully and even manage a hand written message in every parcel.

My panels for the Postage Stamp Quilt-Along are done so I'll be ready for the next step.  Some friends came over to my teaching studio last night for a little dessert, tea and sewing so I managed to get these ready while enjoying their company.  There's something about spending time with people as enthusiastic about quilting as I am that's good for the soul.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Colour for Quilters in London

Saturday found me in London at Joyce's Sewing Shop teaching "Colour for Quilters" to a lovely group of women.  There were twelve intrepid souls who fought their way through the snow and terrible road conditions to take this workshop.
Here they are.........hard at work with their colour swatches.  We worked on colour temperature, value, using a colour wheel, bases, contrast and many other fun exercises with the fabric swatches you see piled along the centre of the table.

Well done!!  It was a pleasure to spend the day with these enthusiastic quilters.  Thanks to Diana for bringing the delicious squares.

I'll be back at Joyce's Sewing Shop to teach Colour for Quilters again on Saturday, March 12th.  If you are in the London area, come and join us.

Of all the classes that I teach, those that deal with colour theory are my favourites.  There's something about helping people to understand that learning about colour is not scary in any way.  It just needs to be broken down into manageable portions.  I find that women are terribly hard on themselves when it comes to colour.  For some reason they believe that because they are female, they should be born with a complete understanding of colour.  This is how I explain it......
You listen to music all your life but that doesn't mean that I can sit you down at a piano and you can play me a song.  Colour has to be learned like any other skill.

It's my hubby's birthday party tonight with the family.  We'll be enjoying a beef curry with basmati rice, pear chutney dinner followed by his favourite Lazy Daisy Oatmeal cake with ice cream.  All his favourites!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hamilton Quilters Guild visit

It was a pleasure to be invited back to the Hamilton Quilters Guild once again to present my lecture entitled "Colour Harmony".  They are such an enthusiastic and friendly group of quilters that I always enjoy my time with them.  We had an hour to talk about colour, how it works, what to look for and how to select colour recipes for quilts.  Afterwards the quilters came up to speak to me and to view the quilts that I had brought.  Thanks Hamilton Guild!!

 Here they are waving hello........

I told you they were a friendly bunch!

The first set of instructions are up for the Postage Stamp Quilt Along.  I have my fabrics all ready to go.  The jelly roll strips are Moda's Botany collection that I've had in the cupboard for far too long.  What a great opportunity to make a quick and easy quilt and clear out the cupboard a bit.  The yellow backing fabric I picked up at Avonport Discount Fabrics when I was in Nova Scotia in the Fall.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Looking out my Studio window

I'm in the middle of packing for my lecture in Hamilton tonight.  Looking out my window, this is what I saw......
She's eating my periwinkle in the front garden.  It has been quite cold and snowy here lately so the local deer at getting desperate.  They have eaten their way through our cedar trees and are now in the gardens.  You can see the "melts" where they've slept in our orchard.

String Quilts at the Nursing Home

Yesterday I spent the day at my Mom's nursing home teaching string quilting to some of the residents.  We were piecing strings of fabric to 8 1/2" squares of paper.  We used an old phone book for the papers as the ink won't rub onto the fabrics and tears away easily afterwards.  The beauty of doing string quilt blocks is that it doesn't matter if the sewers maintain a consistent 1/4" seam allowance because the blocks are all trimmed to size later.
Some of the residents who participated had very limited vision and/or mobility.  Mom has Alzheimer's but spent most of the morning helping us sort the strips for the sewers.  My two sewing machines have knee lifts which really came in handy for most of the people using the machines.  Many couldn't reach behind the machines to lift up the presser foot.
We have 12 more blocks to make before we can make the quilt top.  One more day should do it then I can put the top together and we can put the quilt in quilt frames for people there to quilt on.

Once the quilt is completed we hope to donate it to "Quilts of Valour" for the wounded soldiers serving in Afghanistan.

This is Rosa who just loved the string quilting.  She's hoping to make a string quilt for her own bed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sunday.....Inside and Out!

This is what it looks like outside my front door looking down our driveway...........  There are deer tracks everywhere.

It's snowing quite a bit and blowing so............  I think I'll just stay in and do this.......
Over the holidays I managed to complete two quilt tops so now I need to get them quilted.  This is the first one.  I just made up the pattern but it's done as a Courthouse Steps quilt with mostly Kaffe Fassett fabrics.
I'll post a full picture when the quilting and binding is done.  This one will fit a twin size bed.
My trusty Juki will be working hard the next couple of weeks to get these done.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lemon Chicken Tagine

Santa brought me a Emile Henry Tagine for Christmas.  I was able to use it for the first time this week.
For those who may not know......a tagine refers to both the contents and the container.  A tagine is a dish made from glazed clay, which has a lid like a pointed hat, allowing the steam to circulate inside.  All recipes cooked inside this type of dish are also called tagine.  You can cook and serve in the same dish.

Before you use the tagine for the first time, you must boil milk in the bottom of the tagine and let it cool.  This will season the dish and seal it.
 For this recipe you will need:

4 chicken thighs
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 preserved lemon
2/3 cup green olives
1 onion, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried ginger
1/2 tsp. saffron
5 sprigs flat parsley, chopped
5 springs cilantro, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

 In the hot base of the tagine, fry the chicken pieces in olive oil, adding the onions, ginger, saffron and salt and pepper.  Add one cup of water and the sliced preserved lemons.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

 Add the lemon juice and leave to cook for another 15 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the olives, parsley and cilantro.

Serve over basmati rice or couscous.  Couscous is more traditional but we had some rice in the fridge.

Take 1 kg. (2 lbs.) washed lemons.  Rub them with salt and cover them with 1 kg (2 lb.) salt for 12 hours.  Put them in a container with the salt, cover them with water, add 10 tbsp. vinegar to stop them from turning black, and add some bay leaves.  Add 10 tbsp. peanut oil, and leave at room temperature for one week.

OR you can buy them already made up.  I was lucky enough to have a friend give me a jar.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Check out  for their pillow party for bloggers.
I can tell that I'm going to be distracted by all the fun stuff on the quilters' blogs this year!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Postage Stamp Quilt Along is having a Postage Stamp Quilt Along.
I'm a big fan of Postage Stamp quilts so this looks like something I will be participating in.   Want to come along?
I'll be posting my progress.  There is a button icon that I can put on my blog as a link but I haven't figured out how to do that yet.  Still learning........
In the meantime, here's a photo of one my postage stamp quilts called "Links to the Past".  This design was based on an antique quilt.  There are 5,219 pieces in this quilt that finishes as a large queen.  Those little squares finish at 1".  Whenever I'm cutting fabric for a quilt I cut any remaining scraps into 1 1/2" squares.  Eventually you have enough to make a quilt.  Usually those squares are made into 9-Patches then I design with those.  WARNING:  Postage Stamp Quilts are addictive!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year Begins!

January 1st always holds a whisper of a promise for me.  A bit of a mystery as to what will unfold in the coming months.....everyone's "box of chocolates".  Of course, my teaching schedule lets me know where and when I'll be places but not the people that I meet and the adventures along the way.  Heaven knows air travel is about as adventurous as it gets these days.  If I get patted down one more time......I'll have to start charging! Who knew a chubby, middle-aged quilter could be so shifty-looking as to require one so very often?

Our daughter married a wonderful man in August.  It took me until Christmas to finish this quilt for them.  It's a Scrappy Bargello from a method on Quiltville.  Bonnie does her quilts in scraps while this quilt is made from batiks using a palette that I put together to represent the colours of Prince Edward Island since the groom is from there.