Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

May Santa fill your stockings with fabric and notions!

 I hope the season see you spending time with friends and family while taking a break from usual routines.
This is our first Christmas in our new home.  We are so happy to share it with our two children who are staying for a few days before heading back to their hectic lives.  It's not often that we are all together at once so for me, that's the greatest Christmas gift of all.

I had a wonderful visit with the Bluewater Quilters Guild at the end of November.  Unfortunately, I didn't take one photograph.  At their meeting I presented my Tips and Tricks for Quilters lecture.  The following day we had the Angles and Squares workshop.  What a great group of ladies.  We had some very beginner quilters in the group who gamely signed up for this one.  I can't wait to see the final results.

I have been working away in the studio since then.  Here is the Buggy Barn quilt that is finally finished and beautifully quilted by Shirley.

I love the colours!  The pattern calls for the inside stars to be brown but mine are in the blue green instead.  Intentional?  I'll never tell!!
This is the quilt that I accidentally cut the large star blocks to 8 inches instead of 8 1/2".  I was able to steam them larger and then Shirley quilted them down.   It looks perfect!
Everything except the backing was out of my stash.  Why does that feel like the quilt is free, I wonder???

I'm working on some new workshops for the coming year(s).  Actually I'm dipping my toes into the "modern quilt" direction.  Of course, I can't give up my colour and design theory to do that so I will have my own special spin on "modern".  Stay tuned!  Anyone want to be in the testing group?  Let me know if you do.

Shirley is away for awhile so I have a few quilts just waiting for her to quilt them.  With luck they will be local workshops.  I'll show you them once they are quilted.
Two workshop samples from patterns by Jaybird Quilts.

One of the new modern quilts is made of solid fabrics in two colour families plus a neutral and an accent.  I can't wait to teach this one!!!  Again, it will have to be quilted first before I can show you the photo.

Another workshop has a random pieced background.  It used up most of my lime green stash.  That's enough of an excuse for me to buy more fabric!
Still working on the lime green quilt.

The Marsh Store in Coldstream is having their annual Christmas sale from December 27 to 31 with 30% off everything in the store.  I'm sure I'll see many familiar faces there.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Clover Needle Cassettes

Hello Quilters!
This is one of my favourite products but I'm having trouble finding them.  I'm not sure if Clover makes them anymore.  If you see any in your travels, please let me know.
Clover Premier Needle Threading Cassette - <span itemprop="image">http://www.kenssewingcenter.com/images/30296-clover-premier-needle-threading-cassette.jpg</span>

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nova Scotia Teaching Tour

Hello Quilters!
I'm back from my Nova Scotia teaching tour.  It was a very successful two weeks both for myself and my students.  What a wonderful visit I had with old friends and a few new ones that I made on the journey.
My luggage was definitely "extreme"!!!!  Only one workshop was taught twice so I had lots of packing to do.  Air Canada wasn't too pleased to see my two huge yellow hockey bags full of quilts.  One bag was 49 pounds and the other 48.1.  The limit is 50 pounds.
My first stop was Mahone Bay where I stayed with my friend Barb Robson and her husband in their newly acquired 145 year old home right behind the famous three churches.
We had lunch with my bee.  Such a special groups of friends!!  I hardly get to see them but they are all very special.  Sandra hosted the lunch with delicious sandwiches and sweets.  The best part though was catching up with everyone's news.
Sandra's Pumpkin Display at Bee

The next day, Barb and I headed off to Avonport Discount Fabrics to our friend Faye's shop.  As usual, Faye had to ship my purchases home.  Faye has great fabrics all at incredibly reasonable prices so I always go overboard while I'm there.  It's a great opportunity to pick up fabric for backings and charity quilts
I am a member of the Mahone Bay Quilters Guild where I taught the Fireside Log Cabin and Colour Studies for Stash Quilters workshops.  At Monday night's meeting I presented my Tips and Tricks lecture.
Fireside Log Cabin in Mahone Bay

After a week with Barb and her husband I was taken to Lawrencetown to stay with another Barb and her husband.  They have a lovely home that they built overlooking the ocean on the eastern shore.  I especially liked the walking paths around their home and taking their dog Daisy with us.  The wonderful ladies of the Lawrencetown Sew-ciety spent the day with me doing the Scrappy Star Quilt workshop.  Lots of colour theory and fabric trading went on.  What a great day!

The Bride's Quilt in Halifax

Next I went to Dartmouth for the Mariner's Quilt Guild.  Again I got to stay with a friend, Deanne in her lovely home.  We had a great time catching up with each other.
The Mariner's group took two workshops with me.  The first day we did The Bride's Quilt and the second day we did the Log Cabin Chevron Quilt.  We had two wonderful days together at the workshops held at St. Mary's University in Halifax.  Karen Henry kindly had me over for supper while I was there.  Again, it was great to catch up with a friend.

Deanne wins for the tidiest stash ever!!!!
Next I was off to Cape Breton for a few days.  It was a real treat for me to stay with Anne Morrell-Robinson.  I've known Anne for years but had never been to her neck of the woods before to stay with her.  What a lovely place she and her husband have in the Margaree Valley in Cape Breton.  It is quite remote.......I loved it!  I even managed to spot two moose at her place to make my trip complete.
This is the scene from her studio door as we were getting ready to leave...

The workshops in Cape Breton took place at the community centre in Belle Cote.  Those brave ladies of the Celtic Quilt Guild took both colour workshops back to back.  They rose to the challenge but I think they were very tired when I left!
Colour Study boards...beautiful ladies!!!
Julie was kind enough to drive me to the airport in Halifax for the trip home.  
It was an exhausting trip but I loved every minute of it until.............
I had to fly with Air Canada.......
Who put me on stand-by even though I had purchased my tickets in August and had checked in 14 hours before the flight.
I have never met a group of employees who give you the impression that customers are really a nuisance.  I'm sure it would be easier to run an airline without paying customers but I'm pretty sure they'd be out of a job in that case.  It was a frustrating return trip but I finally made it home.

A big THANK YOU to everyone in Nova Scotia who made my teaching trip such a success.  It takes a great deal of planning and time to make the workshops happen and I really appreciate how smoothly everything went.  To my billets......you spoiled me rotten!!  Thank you!!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Five Star Quilt Guild Quilt Show in Lucknow, Ontario

Hello Quilters!
I spent two lovely days with the members of the Five Star Quilt Guild at their quilt show held in Lucknow.  The guild put on a quilt show with all the right ingredients....quilts, draws, bargain table, merchants mall, tea room and a speaker.....ME!

Friday at 10:30 I presented my Colour Harmony lecture to about 50 people who were attending the quilt show.  Friday afternoon I presented my Tips and Trick for Quilters lecture to about 60 people.  It was hard to get an exact count but this one was crowded!

Saturday I presented the Tips and Tricks again at 10:30 then my Trunk Show at 2:30.  This is a photo of the stage with two of my quilts hanging as a back drop.  I really liked the twinkle lights around the stage so I wouldn't fall off!

I can't say enough about the guild members.  They worked very hard to put on a wonderful show.  The ladies working the kitchen were amazing.  I don't know how many meals they served but on Friday the line up was out the door!

There were 3 merchants at the quilt show with a good variety of fabric, patterns, kits and notions.  They were Threads that Bind from Maxwell, ON, Greigs Fabrics from Lion's Head, ON (no website) and Mothers' Fabric from Wiarton, ON.  Great job ladies!!  I came home with a pattern and some thread.  Did I mention that I have a thread problem?????

Here are some photos from the show.  The quality isn't great as I took the photos with my iPhone.  The iPhone takes good pictures but I can never hold it steady enough.

Congratulations to the members of the Five Star Quilt Guild for such a successful show.  It was a pleasure to come and share the excitement of the show.

I'm in the middle of packing for Nova Scotia.  My two big yellow bags are full and I haven't packed any clothes yet.  I might just end up wearing the same outfit for 14 days!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Did You Hear That Scream?????

Hello Quilters!
Yes, that scream came from me in my basement studio yesterday afternoon.  Did you hear it?  No, it wasn't a mouse or a ghost or even a nasty pin prick.
It was me trimming my pieced blocks to eight inches square.  No, I didn't cut myself with the rotary cutter................The blocks were supposed to be trimmed to 8 1/2" square.  Agh!!!!!

If you'll notice on the ruler pictured above that I used to trim the blocks, it actually says "8" Bias Ruler" right on it.  Why I thought it was an 8 1/2" ruler I'll never know.  DUH!! 
Luckily, I never use steam to press my quilting so by steaming the blocks, I got them to "grow" to 8 1/4" square so I just have to fudge in the last 1/4".  I think it will be a beautiful quilt with so many things to teach in it.  Great for students!  Let me know if you'd like to be one of them.

This is the book required.  Another great book from The Buggy Barn people called Crazy or Not.  I got this copy from Kalidoscope of Quilts in Exeter, ON.  The quilt I'm working on is the one on the cover done in golds and reds.  These quilts are just so much fun to make!

Teaching season is in full swing.  I had a really terrific visit with the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild over my birthday weekend early this month.   We had the two day workshop on Scrap Quilts that was held at the Nepean Creative Arts Centre.  What a great facility!  They have everything happening there from dance, drumming, painting etc. etc.  If you live in the area, you might just want to check what they have available.  Right across the street is Wallack's Art Supply.   Need I say more???

My wonderful Hubby gave me a brand new high tech drafting table for my birthday.  LOVE IT!  It will be tremendously helpful for my work with pictorial quilts.  He got it from Curry's Art Supply in London.

Last weekend I shared my "Colour For Quilters" workshop with students at Cornerstone Quilts and More in London, ON.  We had 9 enthusiastic quilters in the bunch.  Most of them very beginner quilters so it was nice to give them colour lessons at the beginning of their quilting journeys.

Hubby was away in Michigan this weekend for a photography trek.  He brought me these fat quarters!!
He knows the way to my heart is batiks.  I think I'll keep him!!!
 Our quilting group here in the subdivision is making quilts for wheelchair patients at the area nursing home.  These are two of the four that I've made.  It was a great excuse to try some new designs and use up some scraps of fabric, batting and flannel.
Made with 2 1/2" and 4 1/2" squares.

Made with 1 1/2" strips.

I'm off to Lucknow for Friday and Saturday to present 4 lectures over the two days of the Five Star Quilt Guild's quilt show.  The show is being held at the Lucknow Community Centre at 694 Willoughby St. in Lucknow.  My lectures are at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. both days.  Stop by and say "Hello!  I read your blog."  It promises to be a great event.

On October 29th I leave for my 2 week teaching tour in Nova Scotia.  The packing is the worst part but I'm really looking forward to seeing some old friends and making new ones.
Happy Quilting!

Check out the Home Workshops tab for information on a new winter workshop.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Quilt Season Begins!

Summer has passed and the busy Fall season of quilting begins.
My calendar is full of workshops to be shared all over Canada once again this season.
I will be in Ottawa the first weekend of October.  Ottawa will be a great place to celebrate my birthday that weekend as well as having the opportunity to see family outside of work time.

Hubby and I had a wonderful trip in August.  We stayed for 3 days in Amsterdam then boarded a cruise ship to Stavenger and Bergen in Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Newfoundland and disembarked in Halifax.  My good friend Barb and her husband picked us up in Halifax and we had the most wonderful day of sightseeing before heading home once again.

Here are a few photos of our trip.

Stavenger, Norway

Reykjavik, Iceland
Nanortalik, Greenland

St. John's, Newfoundland
It was a wonderful trip to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary.

Since getting home I've been working like a madwoman in the studio.  My Juki TL-98 wasn't working during the summer because I had worn out the foot control.  There was a problem getting a new one so the machine quilting and finishing on a few things had to be put on hold.  I could still use the F-600 machine but it doesn't machine quilt like the other one.  Once I got the foot control replaced the thread trimmer foot went so that's on order now.  I use my machines much more than the average person so it's no wonder I wear the poor machines out!!  With luck, the new foot controls will allow me a couple of more years on this machine before it's too tired to continue with the hard use.

I managed to finish this beauty this week!!!  Yahoo!!!  After several long months of work....



The quilt below is called "Fractured".  The pattern is in the the latest book by Kathy Doughty of Material Obsession entitled Making Quilts.  The fabrics were all from my stash except the backing.
If you just want to have a fun and easy project, I highly recommend this one.  It was so much fun to make!!

My friend, Shirley quilted the Fractured quilt for me using a perfect thread in oranges, reds and purples.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August Already!

This summer seems to be just flying by!  It must be living in cottage country that makes the time go so quickly.  We have been enjoying bike rides, the beach, pickle ball (a new craze that's a cross between ping pong and tennis), visitors and more.
The beach is beautiful and the water warm enough for me to enjoy......that's warm!
I had a great visit with the Haliburton Highlands Quilt Guild where I presented my trunk show lecture one afternoon and taught Colour for Quilters the following day.  I was spoiled rotten by Lindy and Barry who kindly allowed me to stay in their lovely home.  They have the most wonderful Bulldog named "Spike" that I became quite attached to in my short stay.
The view from Lindy and Barry's dock.

A treat for me!  Great food in Minden.

 My Juki TL-98Q that I use for both piecing and machine quilting needs a new foot control so my machine quilting pile remains undone.  The part had to be ordered from Miami so it could take awhile to get here.  In the meantime I'm working on the Juki F600 that I normally just use for decorative stitches, machine applique etc.  I've been piecing a quilt on it and it is just fine but not as fast as I'm used to!

My Mom had her 86th birthday on July 23rd.  Mom suffers from Alzheimer's and lives in a nursing home in London.  We took her out for lunch at her favourite restaurant where she had her favourite meal.  She doesn't always know who we are, but she's quite happy to go for a ride in the car.
This is a photo that my cousin took of Mom holding my cousin's dog.
Happy Birthday, Mom!

Before my Juki conked out, I managed to get this tote bag made for a friend of mine who is going through treatment for breast cancer.  I thought a tote bag would be handy to carry things to all the appointments and treatments she'll be receiving.  The tote has inside and outside pockets and a zippered top.  
Pat's Tote Bag
Several of my students have told me that they would like to work on two-colour quilts.  This is the first one that I completed last week.  Shirley quilted it for me and did a fantastic job!!!  Let me know if you are interested in taking the two-colour quilt workshop.  Several sizes of each quilt will be available.  I'm working on the next one now.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Monday, July 1, 2013


This week has been a week of FINISHES.  I celebrate that as there aren't many of those!!!
I finished hooking my Locker Hooked Rug.  This took me about 2 years but I didn't work on the rug continuously.  It's one of those projects that I would put away for awhile then drag out again.  I'm sure you know all about those.....

I'm thrilled with this rug and can't wait to start another.  Mary Maxim's sell the 1/4" canvas.  This has been ordered along with the product that you paint on the back of the rug to keep it from slipping.  This solution also helps to "glue" the fibres on the back.  Apparently you apply the rubberized backing solution with a paint brush and let it dry.  It's completely washable.  I have the feeling that this rug is going to be around forever.  It weighs a ton!  Best of all it lies perfectly flat.  I used up some truly ugly fabric in this project by cutting it into one inch widths.

The North Lambton Quilters Guild show was held at the Lambton Heritage Museum this weekend.  Thanks to all of you that made the effort to attend.  We are very pleased with the attendance as it broke the last show's attendance by a huge amount.  Personally, I think the desserts offered in the tea room were responsible for bringing lots of people in.....YUM!  

Below is my challenge quilt entry for the show.  We were to make a doll quilt that had a childhood memory.  The quilt needed to have one stuffed element, used 3 different types of fabric and had to have an activity built in.  A tall order!  

My quilt depicts the rabbit I had at age 12 named "Pepsodent".  For those of you too young to know, Pepsodent was the name of a whitening toothpaste at the time.   The rabbit is made of white paisley minke fabric.  The little bunny (took me 4 hours to make!!!) comes off by untying the ribbon so you can play with her.  There is a pocket on the back of the quilt to put the little bunny in to sleep.  The carrots are made of flannel.  My friend Nancy donated that fabric from a backing she was putting on her quilt.  I left the freezer paper in the carrots so they crackle for another activity.   Anyway, I won Viewers Choice for my challenge and won............

Batik strips and fat quarters as well as $20.00 in gift certificates from the quilt shop Ye Olde Fabric Shoppe in Stratford.  

This is my polar bear quilt top.  I need to get it quilted but need a few more threads in order to have everything I need.  I'm having trouble with the bobbin thread coming to the surface so I have some technical work to do with stitch balance etc.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

I'm Back!

Hello!  Yes, I took a blogging break for awhile but I hope to pick it up again.
Thank you all you local readers who gave me the "shove" I needed.
When I set up this blog I was hoping that it would generate some teaching/lecturing opportunities.  So far, that hasn't happened.
The most unexpected thing has been that friends far and wide check in to see what's new.
So.....leave me a comment now and again so I know you're out there.  Those stats might just be fiction, you know!

Things have been busy here at the new house.  I'm quilting two Mondays a month with the quilters in my community here.  They are a warm and welcoming group of fun ladies!  I enjoy spending time with them all.  We made some charity lap rag quilts from flannel and denim last month.  Those quilts are being sent to the women's shelter in Goderich.

I've been teaching quite a bit.  Here are some photos of the lovely ladies of the guild in Brockville.
The took the Colour for Stash Quilters class.  They made story boards of palettes using photos.  I'm really thrilled with the work they did and how enthusiastic they were about learning a new approach to choosing fabrics for a quilt.  Well done!

I'll be teaching this workshop quite a bit in the Fall.  For a teacher there is no better reward than seeing students "get it".  If you've taken the Colour For Quilters workshop, this would be a great second workshop to take.

My friend and fellow quilt artist/teacher Karen Henry stopped by for a weekend between teaching gigs.  Karen is an amazing quilt artist and also a fellow recipient of the Canadian Quilters' Assoc. "Teacher of the Year" award.  The annual Art Studio Tour was on that weekend too so we enjoyed touring to see the many talented artists in this area.  Of course, we made Karen navigate!
Karen enjoying some Southern Ontario sunshine. 

This barn was at one of the artist's home.  I was thinking of my friend Janet when I saw this.
Get out the paint brushes, Janet!!!

I taught a new workshop on Locker Hooked Rugs.  What a fantastic way to use up some ugly fabric strips!  With all of the strip exchanges I've participated in, I had some priceless ones!  The strips are cut 1" wide and worked on a regular latch hook 1/4" canvas with a special locker hook.
Ignore the cat printed on the canvas.  The strips are random.

Rolls of 1" strips of fabric are wound onto a cardboard tube.

The locker hook.

I love hooking these rugs and can't wait to start my next one!
If your group is looking for workshop that's a little different, book this one day workshop!

Hubby and I are really enjoying our new life here in the woods.  The landscaping is pretty much finished.  Just the downspouts and stairs from the screened porch to the patio need to be done.  Most of the people that we worked with to build the house have been just amazing.  BUT it will be nice to have the house to ourselves at long last.  
We've had some interesting visitors here too......
This very old snapping turtle laid eggs right there!

Deer come on the property quite a bit.  So far he hasn't found my herb garden.
I'm afraid my herbs are going to end up as a deer buffet!

I'm working on a new pictorial quilt of three polar bears.  This quilt is not as detailed as the Angel quilt but has several challenges as well.  Below is the starting up photo.  With luck I'll have a finished photo in a couple of weeks.

Thursday through Sunday is the North Lambton Quilters Guild's quilt show at the Lambton Heritage Museum just outside of Grand Bend.  I have two quilts in the show.  Please drop by!!  There are merchants and a lovely tea room too.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Peterborough and Michigan Retreat

As usual, I'm behind on my blog posts.
My projects all seem to be nearing completion but not ready to share.  In other words, I have a great deal of machine quilting to do!
Last week I enjoyed my visit with the Kawartha Quilters in Peterborough.  Thanks so much for making me so very welcome.  Ruth and Terry allowed me to stay on their lovely farm just outside of Peterborough.  I fell in love with their black lab named Bear and their donkey (so cute!) named Jack.
The Peterborough gang had me do my trunk show lecture and also the Colour for Quilters workshop.
Here they are cutting and pasting swatches of fabric to complete their colour exercises.
I drove home after the workshop on the Thursday getting in quite late that night.  Crossing over the top of Toronto is always a challenge.  Luckily, Ruth had packed me a huge lunch so I ate the leftovers while "parked" on the highway.
Friday was our annual retreat at Memories Manor in St. Clair Michigan.  This was my third year going to this retreat.  I'm always impressed with their hospitality there.  Each meal the dishes and table decorations change.  At the end of the retreat, each person get a package of postcards that contain the recipes, compete with pictures of the meals we've had.  What a thoughtful idea.

You can see that we each had a table and Ott Lite as well as a big rolling chair.  At this retreat, we shared our room with some scrapbooking ladies.  They were doing some beautiful pages and we really enjoyed getting to know them.

I sent this quilt to my friend and fellow quilt artist, Gail Hunt a couple of weeks ago.  Little did I know at the time that she was going through some very difficult times.  Fate took a hand and she received the quilt when she most needed it.  Gail is a fan of red and purple so I knew as soon as I'd put the binding on that this quilt was hers.  It seems strange to give the gift of a quilt to a fellow quiltmaker but you can be sure that it will be appreciated and cared for.
For some reason the challenge quilts didn't show up when I made the post earlier.  It shows just fine on my computer but a number of people have told me that they just have a blank space show up.  Here's a photo of my "Winter" challenge.