Thursday, June 11, 2009

Almost Done

The second quilt for my Mum is almost done!!!! Then I need to start and finish a quilt for a customer before next weekend. Whew! I think I can get it done. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can....actually, come to think of it. I promised the customer that it will be done. So, I had better get my act together and GET IT DONE!

I'll post pictures of all quilts as soon I find some people to hold the quilts up for me for picture taking.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The quilt is done!

I have completed the first and have started the 2nd of Mum's Quilts. I have also taken in 3 more quilts to be have my work cut out for me before the end of June.

I think I may have a touch of ADD.....i usually plug in my mp3 player and listen to music. I have it set to play everything at random. I am finding that I can only quilt for 15-20 minutes at a time with this setting. Recently my husband picked up a library book on CD. I copied it to the player and have enjoyed reading while I quilt. Best of both worlds. Now, I can quilt for much longer periods of time as I quilt by the chapter. So, I am squeezing in a bit more quilting so that I can get to the end of the chapter.

no new pictures today...I'll try to get some of the new quilt in progress and then completed pictures as I get done.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Custom Quilting

So, I said earlier that I would track my process of quilting my Mum's Quilt. It is so hit and miss that I sometimes don't touch my machine for over a week. But here is what I have done to date....

I "stitched in the ditch" all the sashing and border seams. The quilt blocks are "on point" and I wanted to keep things from stretching. I was also doing some other quilts at the time adn needed to stitch in the ditch for them as well. I don't use a walking foot. I tell my students to save their money for fabric and thread! I use a couple of straight pins to secure the seams. Never had a wrinkle or pucker this way. I used an 80wt bobbin thread for the top and bottom.

I also modified a quilting hoop by wrapping grip tape around it. I placed the hoop around the needle and used that insead of my hands in gloves to guide the fabric. I found that everytime I needed to move a pin, I had to take off BOTH gloves to do it. Don' t ask me why both gloves, but I guess I needed to remove both gloves at some time and my brain was imprinted!

Once all the s-i-t-d was done I could quilt "properly". I don't particularily like stitching in the ditch and consider the free form quilting the best way to go. Mum's quilt is a block of the month she did a few years ago...So, I quilted curved lines in each of the print pieces. I read somewhere years ago that we should quilt curved lines in straight quilts and straight lines in curved quilts. I do that and it works.

The center block and the side setting triangles are background fabric and were just screaming for something special. So, I changed the needle thread to a heavier cotton and filled in with a free form pattern. By making the blocks a bit different each time, I didn't have to worry about making a "mistake" and the blocks not being perfect.

The border is a combination of leaves and curls. I worked from the corners to the middle of the border and then back again adding more curles to fill in the spaces.

This quilt is almost done and now the worry is that I'll have enough of the needle thread to finish.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A quilt in progress

I do a limited amount of custom quilting. I "sit and sew" on a regular sewing machine and quilt free hand. Some customers ask for very specific designs, some tell me to "do whatever....I trust you". What a wonderful compliment and responsibility!

I have had two quilts (my mum's) here to quilt for over 2 years. She pays for me to go to an annual quilting retreat with her each June and I am expected to get her quilts quilted. I am very far behind. So, my challenge is to get these two done before I see her in June!

I have just finished a challenging more said about that other than now that I am done, I feel much lighter and want to get onto other projects.

Mum's orange quilt is one of them. I have decided to journal the process. I sat down yesterday and began the "stitch in the ditch" quilting around the blocks. I don't normally do this, but feel that the quilt needs this to keep the diagonal blocks from stretching too much. I want to do some really neat free form on the blocks and heavily quilt the background. We'll see once all the dreaded "stitch in the ditch" is done.

So, now off to put the plugs in my ears.....My music and stitch some more. I'll take and post a picture when this first step is done and try my best to record each step....just for interests sake.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

snow, snow and more snow

I went out shopping for new shoes sandles in sight for me. I had to get shoes that wouldn't allow any snow in! More snow this weekend. I want to put extra sweaters on because the air conditioning is too low....not because it is cold outside and there is a foot of snow on the ground!!!

Ok, enough complaining. I am busy working on next month's Stash Buster sample. These monthly events have been fun. We have seen some really great quilts. Astrid and Joanne have completed their top from January. The border really finishes the quilt.
Joanne has also completed her Chocolate Delight quilt top. the top pictures is my sample (still not complete) on the design wall. The bottom is Joanne's quilt - completed!!!!
This Friday we are doing the Garden Path...assorted greens and floral coloured prints. I want to get some more FQ cut for swapping and then need to get a head start on next month's Flying High.....

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Time Gets Away

It is amazing how quickly time gets away from us. We have been back from Vancouver just over a week and it feels like I never left. Our classes are filling up and we are excited about the coming spring. Lots in store for us at Needleworks.
I wanted to add a few here goes.

These are pictures of two recent students who completed their Quilter's Primer class. In this class students stitch 6 (12") blocks, join them with sashing and borders, layer, quilt and add binding. I have found this method to be the best for beginner students. There are not that many decisions to make other than chosing fabrics, which leads to greater success. And believe it or not, its all done in 5 weeks (3 hours each) with a bit of homework.

I have also completed custom quilting a quilt this week. This is a lovely quilt to work on. Once I got into the rhythm of just flowed.

A closer look of the quilting.
The you can see the quilt details. I used Wonderfil Silco Multi thread for the front and back. Blends beautifully.

Now all I have to do is finish the next quilt on the table....this has taken a very long time....and get to the pile I have stacking up. I'll try to post more pictures of custom quilts on the web page as I complete them.

Just had to show off Astrid's Winter Ice Stash Buster Quilt Top. We will be working on the Chocolate Delight this Friday evening and I'll have more pictures to show.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I'm back

What a wonderful weekend we had. We took two days to drive to Vancouver from Calgary and then another two days to drive home. I visited a number of sewing stores....bought a whack of books, some notions and yarn for more socks! I even knit 3/4 of a sock for an up coming birthday present! Now to find the time to do the other one!

As I can't find my camera!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

touring Vancouver

We had a lovely day yesterday runnning around Vancouver. Had supper with Kasey and Mark.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


We arrived yesterday! We drove on Thursday to Hope and then worked our way into Vancouver yesterday. Hit a few quilt shops on the way and today we go downtown to check out the fashion fabric stores....then on the Granville Island and the market!

Jerry has already been out twice this morning with the dogs and taken them for walks. He is enjoying the relaxed timed. I don't think I have wound down yet. Still too wired from working long hours. I am having trouble with the twilight time of the day. Haven't been out in the late afternoon or early evenings in months as I have been teaching most afternoons and evenings.

Kasey is Kasey. Her apartment is very cute. I have brought her a sewing machine and I am sure she'll be sewing some stuff for her apartment soon. She has a baby quilt planned for a friend. We'll see if we can get some rotary cutting tools today and some fabric for her. She'll be sewing up a storm in no time.

We went to Stella's Tapas Bar last night for supper and ate the best creme brule I have ever had!!!! Never again will I think of that jelly blob that most think of as creme brule. I did take a picture, but it was of the empty bowl!!! We also had a couple of other tapas......mussels, brie, wontons and hummus!!!! Great.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Road Trip!

If all goes well, Jerry and I will be off to Vancouver tomorrow morning. We are going to celebrate our engagement anniversary and to visit Kasey, our youngest daughter. We have a rental to drive and are looking forward to a whole day (or two) of not being able to do anything! I plan to take some needles and yarn and get started on a pair of socks for my Son In Law for his birthday....maybe read a book....and definately sleep along the way.

I have a list of shops to visit and want to see how things are done on the west coast!

I'll take pictures and post them when I get back.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

no classes today

We have no classes today at the store, so I may get some work done. Still need to download some pictures so I can post them.....maybe when my chores are done.

We had a stash buster event last night. Lots of laughter and great cutting and sewing. All participants brought (from their stash) dark blues and whites. Very interesting what we considered dark blue....we ranged from a medium/bright blue to a very dark blue/black. We had fun cutting and swapping then sewing our blocks.
Here are some of the blocks made. I am glad that we added more medium toned blues....adds more interest.....and before anyone comments on the blocks (some are not right....they are left). The two on the bottom left were cut in the opposite direction to the instructions. As long these gals continue to cut their blocks in the same direction, they won't have any problems.
I am working on a queen size quilt...that means 144 blocks! The goal is to get our quilts done for the next month event. Any that do will get a prize as well as a discount coupon!

Friday, January 30, 2009


Just got dropped off at work. The parking lot is a serious skating rink! I love the warm weather, but it plays havoc with the snow melt and we have a huge snow pile in the lot and guess where is runs when it melts? You got it....right past my front door! So now I have to spend the rest of the day in dirty pants......thank goodness I landed mostly on my butt AND was wearing my long coat, so my bum is ok, just some dirt on one knee.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beginner Quilting

Another class last night. I taught the 2nd lesson in my beginner quilt class (Quilter's Primer). I had opportunity to do a bit of my own sewing. The ladies are really motivated and don't chat much. We were doing half square triangles (HST). Usually I demonstrate on sample fabrics and this time I decided to demonstrate on a project that I am working on. So, in addition to the students getting all their blocks done, I got some work done too.

I am trying to get a few blocks ahead of my class for Friday night. We are doing a "Stash Buster Event". I have a number of students coming in for a planned scrap quilt class. What I mean is that we are using selected fabric choices from our stash. This is a monthly event....this month we'll be doing "Winter Ice" using dark blue and white fabrics. The block is a variation of a Buzz Saw or Delectable Mountains block. Next month the quilt is called "Chocolate Delight". Think of a box of chocolates with cream centers. So, lots of dark and medium browns, and burgundies and creams, light browns and pinks.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

last night's class

Last night I taught 3 students in our 6 week pant/skirt class. Two of them wore their finished skirts to class!!!! One was thrilled, she had never had such a well fitting skirt. The other decided that because there was a bit of a stretch to the fabric, she should have made it a bit smaller. So, now we are working on finishing the 1st skirt (for one student) and fitting and sewing the 2nd skirt and 2 pairs of pants! I must say these ladies are sewing with a mission. Even though they (we) do chat and visit, they get lots done.

I am thrilled that I can help these students be creative and confident with their sewing skills. Sewing clothes doesn't really save you any money, but when you have patterns that fit, in fabrics you like, you can easily whip up new and individual wardrobes in no time at all!

Tonight is our 2nd in the Quilter's Primer (beginner quilting) class. I'll have to start taking regular pictures and posting them for all to see!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

taking a blogging course

I am taking a course on blogging....learning how to set up and operate a blog page. I expect that this will take up another big chunk of my time....time that I don't really have. I work very long hours and maybe this will give me an opportunity to "veg" for a while. I have read that journalling is a good here goes.

I hope to be able to share pictures of my latest sewing projects. I sew almost every day in one form or another and right now need to get some quilts and t-shirts done before I start anything new....right!!!!! I always start something new, but never seem to find the time to get them finished. Maybe if I wrote a list......I'll get the list started, then not finish it. So, won't start that.

At Needleworks, we teach a variety of classes in sewing and quilting. I had a beginner adult class last night with 4 very eager students. Some had never touched a sewing machine before! We started on a simple tote bag project. I wrote the pattern and have published it and sell it at the store. Super simple, but very practical. Tonight I am teaching a skirt/pants class. We use Kwik Sew patterns in many of our classes and the ladies are using the Easy Sewing book. 6 weeks on fitting and sewing skirts and pants. Next they'll do T-Shirts. On Wednesday (today is Tuesday), I'll teach the 2nd of 5 lessons in our beginner quilting class, Quilter's Primer. I wrote and published the book in 1999 and am currently trying to edit it with better graphics. The class is small (I prefer smaller classes) and the ladies are doing a great job. Thursday night I have off....actually, I am going to a sew night with a group that I belong to and then teach again on Friday night. Late nights aren't that bad, its the early mornings that are tiring. But, I love teaching and get excited all over again when students are excited and succeed in their project.

I haven't even started on our kids classes!

customer work

this is a sample of what our customers can do. Mary picked up most of the fabric at our recent Swap & Shop. She fussy cut, then added borders. Great job!

my web page

Here is the link to my web page at Needleworks. We offer all kinds of sewing and quilting classes for adults and children.