Sunday, March 25, 2012

Catching Up

Last Friday I had the opportunity to take Anita Zoben's workshop "Applique Buffet" at my home guild in Ingersoll.  Anita is the Superior Thread Educator who's company is Cotton Mill Threadworks.
Anita knows more about thread than anyone you'll ever meet!
The workshop was great fun and I learned some new tidbits that I'll use on an "on the list" project coming up soon.  We were able to try out all of the different kinds of Superior threads, use two different types of stabilizers and much more.
Here are my samples from the workshop.  It was so much fun to sit and play with all the different threads on my new Juki.  You can see that I took several of the decorative stitches out for a trial on these samples.
Anita on the left chatting with some students.
Anita had many, many samples to show technique as well as the threads.  It just made you want to go home and lock yourself in your sewing room!!
Just a few of Anita's beautiful samples.

Saturday found me in with the members of the Mississauga Quilters Guild for my Colour for Quilters workshop.  It was nice to see so many familiar faces!  You'll be happy to know that they all passed the course with flying colours.  Thanks to all that took the workshop.

I'm on the road again tomorrow so I won't be home to do the Tuesday's Tip.  Yes, I know I could do it ahead but I'm just not that organized!!  Have a good week everyone.  I'll be visiting the Rouge Valley Quilters.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Replacing Rotary Cutting Blades

Today's tip is how to safely clean and change your rotary cutting blade.  In my many years of teaching I've seen many very imaginative ways that quilters reassemble their cutters after changing their blades.  Many bandaids and stitches have been necessary as well!
I clean my rotary cutters once a month by taking them apart, cleaning out the fabric dust, putting a drop of sewing machine oil on the black base under the blade and reassembling.  It's important to clean your cutters on a regular basis to prevent the buildup of fabric dust.  Fabric dust causes your blades to drag  and rotate unevenly while cutting.  This causes your blade to dull in certain areas and not in others.  We all know that can contribute to "skipping" while cutting and wearing out blades faster.
Take the cutter apart placing the pieces right to left as your remove them from the cutter.

Never touch a blade with your fingers!  Use a fridge magnet.

Use a scrap of cotton batting to wipe the fabric dust from all the surfaces and screw.

Notice the wear marks on the black surface showing uneven rotation because of a buildup of dust.
Put a drop of sewing machine oil on the surface before putting the blade back on.

If you're changing blades, write "old" on the old blade while it's still on the magnet.  That way you won't accidentally put the old one back in.  I keep a container for the old blades and use them for cutting paper and template plastic.

Put the cutter back together working from left to right to pick up the pieces.  The washer fits over the screw so it is curved up - "smiley".  

Using a Sharpie Marker, write the date on the new blade.  This will help remind you when it's getting old.

Please put a fridge magnet in your box of quilting tools along with a couple of bandaids......just in case!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy Quilting Day

Happy Quilting Day everyone!
Be sure to surf the web today as there are many free quilting sites doing special activities.
The Quilt Show with Ricky Tim's is free this weekend

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stratford Perth Museum Quilt Show

"THIS is a Quilt!" is a quilt show currently showing at the Stratford Perth Museum that myself and three friends visited yesterday.  The show is very much worth the drive and the museum itself a real treasure.  I have copied the information from their promotional email below.
These two quilts are from the museum's collection.  I just loved the colours and patina of the quilt made of half squares.  It's on my to do list so now I'm on the fabric hunt.  I should be able to slip in a little Stewart tartan too!
These photos were taken with my cell phone with no flash but you get the idea.

Pattern & Passion at the Stratford Perth Museum
More than 40 contemporary, small quilts from SAQA's traveling trunk show "THIS is a Quilt!" are on exhibit at the Stratford Perth Museum.

Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) and its 2,700 members from around the world, are passionate about art quilts.

These extraordinary pieces are complimented by a selection of traditional heritage quilts from the museum's own collection.

February 11-April 14, 2012

Open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00am - 4:00pm

4275 Huron Road (Hwy. #8)

Stratford, OntarioN5A 6S6


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Spray Basting

This week finds me machine quilting three quilts on my trusty Juki TL-98Q.  Two are for my home guild's newly formed charity group and one is a teaching sample for Quilt Canada.
I prefer to spray baste my quilts for quilting rather than pinning.  Spray basting keeps the layers together better and helps to cut down on wrinkles.
Here is the method that I use....

Painters Tape - Clips - 505 Basting Spray

The clips are from the dollar store.  I use the small and the large clips together.  Sometimes the larger clips work better on the corners.   Painters tape is strong enough to hold the fabric down but doesn't leave a sticky residue on the fabric or tables.  505 Basting Spray has less of an odour than other brands and works well.
Clip the backing tightly to the tables.  You can tape to the floor if you don't have tables.
Layer batting over backing and smooth out.

Layer the quilt top and smooth out.

Peel back the top two layers on half of the pile and spray baste.

Peel back the second half and spray baste.

Smooth the batting onto the sprayed backing on the first half.  Spray the batting.

Smooth the backing on the second sprayed layer and spray the batting.

Smooth down the top on both halves.

Now your quilt is ready to be quilted either by hand or machine.  The most important part of this process is to make sure the backing is really tight.  The action of folding the batting and top back and forth can cause wrinkles if the backing isn't tight enough.

This method of getting all three layers in place BEFORE spraying keeps everything manageable.  I used to spray the entire backing then try to get the full batting on top etc.  It was a miserable job to manage the entire batting as it invariably stuck to itself in the process.

I hope you give this a try.  In the warmer months, I don't use the table but tape down the backing on the deck outside.  If the quilt is lined up to the slats in the decking, the quilt will stay straight.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Angles and Square in Elora

It was great to be back with The Grand Quilt Guild in Elora yesterday sharing the Angles and Squares workshop.  Several of the students had been in my workshops at the Wellington County Museum's Summer Arts Workshops so it was a great opportunity to visit with them again.

The variety of fabrics used by the 18 students was truly remarkable.  I suffered from a great deal of "fabric envy" yesterday.  You'd think I was short of fabric or something!!!
Here they are hard at work.

What a shame that I didn't get to stay a little longer.  The Elora and Fergus area is one of my favourite areas for poking into shops and going for walks.  After teaching for the museum for 4 years, I've accumulated a number of spots I like to visit in the area.  I'm going back to this guild in October so maybe I'll be able to squeeze in a little more visiting time.
Thanks to Judy and Doug for putting me up for the night.  Judy did a great job of organizing the workshop.  The Elora Legion was the location for this workshop and it worked out perfectly.  There was good lighting and no electrical problems and liquor on site.  I'm glad to report that no one felt the need to imbibe however.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesday's Tip - Foot Controls

Today's tip has to do with your sewing machine foot controls.
Many of us find that we end up in some very unusual postures as a result of the foot controls sliding on the floor while we're sewing.  I've finally found the ultimate foot control stopper after years of trying everything from rugs, rug liners, shelf liner etc. etc. etc.
Believe it or not the answer to this problem is...............YOGA MAT!!

I happened to be in Len's Mills Store a few weeks ago and they were selling pieces of yoga mats by the pound.  For just over a dollar I got enough yoga mat pieces to do 5 machines.  Now I'm thinking I should have some for under people's sewing machines to keep the machines from sliding on those plastic tables that are often in workshops.

While we're on the subject of foot controls, I thought I'd share another tip that can prevent the wires coming loose from the connections in the foot control.  Many of us are in the habit of winding power cords around the foot control to pack up.  This causes the plastic coating around the wires to crack and/or break where they meet the housing.  To prevent any wear and tear on the connection you can duct tape the wires to the housing so they can't be pulled apart.

When you are sewing, you should be sitting so that you are directly in front of and centred to the needle with the foot control directly in front of your knee.  Most people sew with their foot control off to the side.  Sewing that way will cause lower back pain.  Sitting in front of the needle will help to sew straight and avoid those "dips and dives".

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sara Parson's Show at the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre

Hubby and I took a trip this afternoon to Ingersoll for the opening of Sara Parson's gallery show at the Ingersoll Creative Arts Centre.  Sara is a graduate of the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design.  She works full time with children, painting in her off hours.

Sara works with acrylic on canvas and mixed media in the form of three dimensional objects.  They are great fun to look at with all of the trinkets, manipulated wires etc. attached to the very colourful paintings Sara creates.  Her paintings are optimistic, joyful as well as thoughtful.  Be sure to look through the binders of Sara's work on display too.

Sara's show continues at the gallery through March 25th.  Visit the ICAC website for gallery hours.  The gallery at the centre offers a new show every month highlighting local talent in many art mediums such as photography, quilting, painting, pottery etc.  I'll be having a show of my quilts there March 2013.

If you get the chance to see the show I think you'll enjoy it.  I'd love to see Sara design a line of quilting fabrics.  Her painting style would certainly translate well into fabric.  Hmmm.......I'll have to mention that to her!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Greenwood Quiltery Gallery Show

Greenwood Quiltery Gallery has kindly invited me to have a solo exhibit of my quilts for the month of June 2012.  There will be a wide variety of pieces in the show from traditional bed quilts to miniature art quilts.
It will be a challenge to select the quilts for the show and have enough quilts to take to Quilt Canada in Halifax at the same time.  My luggage might just be a little lighter than I had anticipated!!  Air Canada will be thrilled.
On June 15 I will be teaching the Log Cabin Chevron quilt workshop.

On Saturday, June 16th I will be teaching my "Colour for Quilters" workshop.  This workshop has a $10.00 kit fee.  We will be working with fabric swatches in the various exercises taught.

I'm not teaching at the Elora Summer Arts School this summer so I hope to see a few of my former students at these workshops to catch up.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Spring 2012 Studio Workshops

April 10 - Introduction to Machine Quilting - All skill levels.
                 Learn to quilt using your domestic machine.  Emphasis is on free-motion although we will be doing some straight line work using the walking foot.  Design marking and selection as well as batting will be discussed during this one day workshop.  Now full.  I'm taking names for another workshop on a date that is convenient to all.  Please let me know if you'd like to be on the list.

April 7 & May 12 - Irish Courthouse - Intermediate skill level.

Precision sewing techniques as well as scrap quilt colour theory will be taught in this two day workshop.  I will cover everything you need the first day but have scheduled the second day for a combination work day and to cover the assembly of the quilt top using the blocks made previously.  One spot left.
A waiting list for a second workshop is being made.  Let me know if you'd like to attend.

Upcoming workshops with dates yet to be scheduled.  (Please send me dates if you are interested)

1.  Colour Studies for Stash Quilters  May 9th
2.  Dyeing to Quilt Friday, July 13 OR Saturday July 14 - $125.00 includes fabric, dyes and chemicals.