Archive | April, 2018

Samplers, Shopping and Snow

9 Apr

Fellow Quilters,

As I write this post, I am heading to Mont Ste Anne with Hubby to extend our ski season by 2 weeks and enjoy the fabulous French cuisine in the charming restaurants of Old Quebec City.  My goal is to still be able to fit into my ski pants at the end of our vacation – a daunting task!  It is April, and all my local quilting friends are done with winter.  Mother Nature, however, does not agree, and there is snow in the forecast for the next few days.

Despite the weather, I had a fantastic 5 days at A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge 2 weeks ago, teaching 4 classes, and presenting 2 trunk shows.  For the first time in my 5 years attending this top-notch event, it snowed.  Of course, being the lone Canadian teacher, I got blamed for the snow, not once but 3 times, and I’m okay with that – it comes with being a snowboarder.  I say, “Bring it on!”

The students in my classes did quite well, learning new techniques while enjoying the company of fellow students.  Unfortunately, I did not take pictures in 3 of the 4 classes – the only class in which I snapped photos was the Intro to Improv class.

Talented students in my Intro to Improv class

Talented students in my Intro to Improv class

More great improv blocks

More great improv blocks

The gals had a great time stepping beyond the boundaries of traditional piecing, and created some fabulous improvisationally-pieced blocks using fabrics from Northcott’s Willowberry collection, mixed with some ColorWorks solids and Artisan Spirit Shimmer.  It was a liberating experience for many of them, and I was as delighted with the results as they were.

I even took a class at A Mountain Quiltfest, from renowned quilter Karen Kay Buckley.  Karen’s specialty is applique, and I gleaned many nuggets of valuable information for future applique projects.  Not that I do much applique, particularly turned-edge, but the next time I give it a whirl, I will pull out my notes and incorporate Karen’s suggestions.  Karen spoke at length about the tools she uses, and I am inspired to build my own lightbox.  I also picked up a handy-dandy inexpensive compact foldable LED light for my travel sewing kit.

My new battery-operated or plug-in foldable LED light

My new battery-operated or plug-in foldable LED light

As in previous years, my trip to Pigeon Forge included a visit to the boot store, and once again I did not come home empty-handed.  I added a pair of dress boots to my collection of cowboy boots.

My new "dress" boots! I'm ready to hit the town!

My new “dress” boots! I’m ready to hit the town!

I tried on a couple more pairs that could easily have come home with me, however my luggage had no room, so I saved them for next year’s trip.  I have already been invited back for A Mountain Quiltfest 2019 – mark your calendar for March 19-23 – and will join renowned teachers Bonnie Hunter, Nancy Mahoney, Kay Nickols, Linda Hahn, Cheryl Sleboda and the inimitable Klaudeen Hansen.  I was Klaudeen’s cheering sidekick at the ever-popular Show & Tell event.  Several students from my previous classes also showed their completed projects, and it was thrilling to see them!  I am already looking forward to next year’s Quiltfest.  I may have to devise my own cheering apparatus for next year!

I have several projects on my plate currently, among them is finishing up instructions for 13 new patterns.  My meagre graphics skills are getting a workout!  So far, I have completed PC216 Mod Squad (using Shibori),

PC216 Mod Squad pattern using Banyan Batiks Shibori

PC216 Mod Squad pattern using Banyan Batiks Shibori

PC217 Abstract (using Primitive Lines),

My PC217 Abstract pattern, shown on the back cover of McCall's Quilting June 2018!

My PC217 Abstract pattern, shown on the back cover of McCall’s Quilting June 2018!

PC218 Morse Code (using Ikat Sketch),

PC218 Morse Code using Banyan Batiks Ikat Sketch

PC218 Morse Code using Banyan Batiks Ikat Sketch

and PC219 Sophie’s Garden (using Sophie),

PC219 Sophie's Garden pattern using Banyan Batiks Sophie

PC219 Sophie’s Garden pattern using Banyan Batiks Sophie

all featuring collections from Northcott’s new Banyan Batiks division.  I have also completed PC214 Oh Canada Chevron,

PC214 Oh Canada Chevron pattern using the STRIP-R fabric

PC214 Oh Canada Chevron pattern using the STRIP-R fabric

made with the new Oh Canada STRIP-R (pre-printed 2” lengthwise strips) – this quilt is made with only 3 fabrics! – and am working on a version for the Stars & Stripes STRIP-R as well.  Both patterns include a throw size that meets the Quilts of Valor guidelines.  I shall post pictures of the remaining new patterns next time – hopefully they will all be completed by then!

The other very exciting project I am working on is a fabric collection – whoop whoop!! It is for the Banyan Batik division, and will be part of the Fall 2018 sample release if all goes well.  I have been on a steep learning curve, without any formal training in illustration, and Creative Director Karen Gibbs is patiently guiding me along.  I am surprised by just how much I am enjoying the design process.  Taking that first step to put pen to paper was terrifying, however it has been quite a rewarding experience.  There is still a lot more work to be done before the collection is finalized, so I’m keeping me fingers crossed that we meet the deadline for the release.

One of my recently-completed projects was purging my sewing room.  This was done out of necessity – Hubby and I listed our house for sale.  The kids have moved out, and we figured this was our chance to sell it before they think about moving back (LOL!).  Hubby met with the stager while I was at QuiltCon, and noted her recommendations for each room – “Remove this, relocate that”, etc.  When she got to my sewing room however, she just rolled her eyes, sighed heavily and said, “Do what you can in here to make the room look less cluttered”.  Clearly, she was not a quilter!  I should have taken “before” and “after” pictures, but the “before” picture would have been embarrassingly cluttered, probably bordering on hoarding.  Having seen a few quilters’ sewing rooms in my travels, I know I’m in very good company!  Hands up if your sewing room is too cluttered for photos.  Now that I’ve cleaned mine, I have full access to my entire cutting table – all 36” x 72” of my cutting mat instead of the previous 22” x 54” that was not covered with piles of stuff.  I am not using it though, since I need to keep the room spotless for any potential viewings.  Instead, I have a make-shift sewing room at the ski cabin that will suffice for now.

During the purging process, I took a good hard look at my Stash of projects, most of them being older pattern kits.  With those 13 new patterns, I have enough to keep me busy for a while, so I have been donating quilt kits to the guilds I have spoken to recently.  It has truly been a weight off my shoulders to de-stash, and I highly recommend it.  It gets rid of the guilt of having unfinished (more like un-started!) projects that are likely also unwanted.  In reality, if I had wanted to make them, I would have done so years ago.  Now I am free to start new projects, and perhaps even purchase new fabric.  Speaking of which…

Michelle Dunn of the online shop Kallisti Quilts  was the guest speaker at my LQG last month, showcasing her comprehensive selection of unique Japanese and African fabrics, and I somehow ended up purchasing a bundle of to-die-for Japanese yard-dye wovens.

A lovely bundle of 16 Japanese yard-dyed fat 1/8's from Kallisti Quilts, destined for a special project

A lovely bundle of 16 Japanese yard-dyed fat 1/8’s from Kallisti Quilts, destined for a special project

Did I mention that I have a sewing room chock-full of fabric, and a 35,000-square foot warehouse at my disposal?  I have a project in mind, however – a modern lap/throw quilt for a friend – and this bundle will be perfect.  I shall use one of my new batik patterns, testing it on this bundle.

Speaking of batiks, in my last post, I asked for your comments regarding your favorite magazines.  I randomly selected Christi, Sherry Southgate and Gloria at glorybquilts to receive some Ketan.  Please email me and I’ll get your prizes out to you.  By the way, survey says… Quiltmaker seems to be the most popular, and print versions are still going strong, although downloads have their benefits.  Thanks to all for sharing your thoughts.

Speaking of Quiltmaker, I just read the latest issue, and I love it!  DSCF3907The theme is sampler quilts, and there are some fantastic examples, such as Diane Harris’ red-and-white Nebraska quilt,

Diane Harris' fantastic Nebraska quilt

Diane Harris’ fantastic Nebraska quilt

and Scott Flanagan’s Carnival – it’s brilliant!

Scott Flanagan's innovative Carnival sampler quilt

Scott Flanagan’s innovative Carnival sampler quilt

At last Fall’s Quilt Festival, I was inspired to pick up the Electric Quilt Dear Jane cd and a fat ¼ bundle of Kaffe Fassett fabrics.  This issue of Quiltmakers may be the impetus I need to start my quilt – after the patterns are written…  What’s on your quilting bucket list?  Let me know by April 17 for your chance to win some Canvas, Northcott’s modern texture in 32 luscious shades.  Good luck!