When holiday and birthday shopping comes around and my family asks for suggestions, I often pick a book that I've seen promoted or advertised but might not buy for myself. So last year I received Printing by Hand - A Modern Guide to Printing with Handmade Stamps, Stencils and Silk Screens by Lena Corwin.
The book takes a light approach to a number of techniques and guides the reader through good instructions and excellent pictures. I admit its a nice bit of eye candy with interesting textile designs but didnt really grab my interest as I'm used to more meat in my books. But this book would suit someone just begining to play with textile paints and definitley someone who liked creating home decor items such as cushions and table cloths.
What I really appreciated with this book was having a spiral binding that laid flat when the book was open, I wish all my books did that!!!
Come and sail away with Cathy Miller, the Singing Quilter and me in September 2013 as we travel from Quebec City to New York with stops in Charlottetown, PEI, Sydney and Halifax NS, Bar Harbor, Maine, Boston and Newport, Rhode Island. Once we disembark in New York, there's an optional 3 day tour of New York with visits to fabric shops, museums and more shopping! So much fun!
Cathy and I have great classes planned for the days that we are at sea, kits are provided and all you need to bring is some basic sewing supplies, how easy is that!
Spouses, partners, friends and family are welcomed and will find lots to do when you are in class.
We'll be on the Holland America MS Eurodam, a luxurious ship with wonderful amenities to offer.
If you'd like further information visit our website at: http://fallcoloursquiltcruise.wordpress.com/ there's also contact information for John and Margaret, our travel agents.
School might be out for the summer but quilters can have fun all year long! If we are fortunate there are quilt shops or guilds near to use where we can take workshops and learn great new techniques or brush up our skills in a classroom. But perhaps our schedules don't give us the opportunity or maybe we just cant get to a workshop nearby us.
Sometimes we can take the opportunity to travel to a place like Grand Rapids, MI for the next AQS show www.americanquilter.com or we're on the road this summer and we can visit the Pacific West Quilt Show in Tacoma www.apwq.org But sometimes is just great to learn in the comfort of our own homes with our own sewing machines and fabrics at hand!
So where can you go to learn online? I am lucky to be one of the faculty at www.quiltuniversity.com a resource that has been operating for more than 12 years, has over 120 different workshops to take and offers a FREE introductory class. Sign up for their newsletter and check out some of the great techniques that you can learn.
When discussing online learning I am often asked how the classes are step up. My reply is generally like any other place to learn. The classes are set up at specific dates, the lessons are posted once a week and progress over 3-5 weeks. There is an opportunity to ask questions of the teacher and meet other students in the Discussion Forum and send in pictures of your work for the Gallery. You can participate in the class as much or as little as you want, but I think that students get the most from the class when they take part in the discussions and ask questions.
At www.craftsy.com there are several great learning opportunities from well known instructors. The classes cover a range of different techniques and can be purchased at any time, they are not set in a calendar.
If you are keen on mixed media and doll making as well as quilting, then www.joggles.com might be a good place to check out. They offer a wide range of hand and machine embroidery, book making, doll making ans sketchbook classes. Joggles gives the lessons as PDF downloads and offers an opportunity to meet other students.
Do you have other favourite places to learn online? Id love to hear from you!
Newspapers and magazines are full of book reviews for the summer, with suggestions on what to pack for the beach or the cottage. I admit I have my share of fiction (I love a good sci-fi thriller) but I often go back to my bookshelf and pull out a couple of older books to have a second or third read through.
I pulled out Fearless Design for Every Quilter by Lorraine Torrence and spent some time reviewing the ten chapters or exercises that focus on Design Principles and Elements and then Design Sources and Inspiration. Lorraine worked with a critique group that met and worked through the exercises, showing their work and adding comments on their thoughts and processes along the way.
I think this book would be an excellent addition for a critique group to use, in fact, Lorraine gives tips on setting up your own group. A good book to add to your summer reading!
We tend to think of the pretty
or decorative items for our studios when planning a renovation but one of the
most critical elements of a good studio design has to be what we place on the
floor. When looking at flooring,
think of these critical elements:
don't want flooring that we can slip or trip on
can often be on our feet for lengthy periods cutting fabrics
-what kind of flooring will fit into our budget
When I was
planning my studio I considered many options, some were impractical, some too
expensive, but I'd like to tell you about the possibilities:
Probably the least desirable choice, concrete is
hard on your legs and feet, but anti fatigue mats could be used. It can be
cold, but that maybe appreciated in hot weather. Concrete is easy to clean and
can be painted in a wide variety of colours and patterns. It also maybe the
only option if you are working in a garage.
Lino is probably the cheapest option, it can
often be installed by a non-professional, there are almost limitless design and
pattern options. You might consider the peel and stick tiles.
Carpet or carpet tiles
I had carpeting in my basement studio for many
years, it was warm but I had chosen a creamy beige Berber that showed dirt,
threads and stains very easily. I usually steam cleaned the carpet once a year
and vacuumed frequently but pins and beads were often lost "forever"!
If your studio
does double duty as a guest room, then carpeting might be the only option, I
would recommend a medium light or darker value and remember a loop pile will
often grab hold of pins and not let them go, even with vigorous cleaning!
If carpeting is your best option then consider
the peel and stick carpet tiles as a less expensive option.
Rubber or composite flooring is often found in
gyms or play areas for children, it is rather expensive. It is very easy on the
feet and legs, although colors are limited. It will be marked or dented by
Cork has many redeeming qualities, it is
warmer than other laminate or wood floors, it's a renewable resource, and it
has some cushioning properties. Cork flooring was my first choice for the
floor in my studio. Unfortunately, the cost of 324 square feet with underlay
was going to be over $2500.00, too high for my budget.
Perhaps your studio is in an older building and
you are fortunate to have some sort of hardwood flooring. Lucky you! If
you have it in your budget, it might be an option, however if the flooring is
varnished or treated it might be susceptible to scratches and marking.
Laminate flooring was the final choice for my
studio, we purchased it on sale and also bought the best quality underlay
we could find. Once we had taken up the old carpet, we discovered that the
cement floor was terribly uneven, too uneven to lay the laminate, darn!
Fortunately I have a talented son in law who laid a plywood subfloor to level
it out. I was surprised that there was a 2" difference from one corner of
the room to the opposite side.
My husband laid the floor and I love the look.
DIY or professional installation? Consider the
cost of hiring someone to install your flooring if you don't want or are unable
to do it yourself. Most flooring installation is fairly straight forward, but
if you run into problems like I did, then going to the professionals might be
your best route.
Additional flooring: consider placing anti
fatigue mats in areas where you are standing for periods of time such as in
front of the cutting table.
Place mats under chairs to protect surfaces and
prevent wear in front of sewing machines and computers.
You can save money by using or repurposing
furniture in your studio, but don't skimp on flooring, buy the best that you
can afford. It will pay off in years to come.
Cheryl Wall is a BC quilt designer and
author and I'd like to introduce her by discussing her new book: “At
Home with Country Quilts” features 13 new patterns I’ve designed.My first book, “Country Comforts” also published
by Martingale, sold very well and was such a fun experience, that I wanted to
do it again.
Some of the props used in the pictures are
my own so the book feels very personal.My patterns typically use rich, warm country colours and aren’t terribly
fussy or complicated to make.
Can you tell us about your background and interest
in fabrics and quilts?
As I mention in the introduction to the
book, I didn’t care much for sewing in high school so if anyone had told me
back then that quilting would be my career choice, I’d never have believed
them!I made my first quilt in the
mid-1980s, (before the invention of the rotary cutter—back in the stone age!)and made another one a year or two
later.It took awhile for the passion and
self-confidence to take hold.The first
quilts I made used templates and I stuck very close to the colours used in the
patterns I bought.Eventually I learned
to trust my instincts in choosing fabrics and altering patterns to suit my
personal taste.It wasn’t until the late
1990s that a sister encouraged me to try designing a pattern myself, which I
did.At the time, I was working as an
administrative assistant but wasn’t terribly happy in my job so I began to
think about starting a pattern business, allowing me to quilt full-time and be
my own boss.In 2003, I quit my day job
and started “Country Quilts”.
What other designs do you work on?
Since starting my business, I’ve designed
over 100 patterns, including a few BOMs.My first BOM, “House Sampler” was published in 2003 and continues to be
one of my best sellers.
Where else can we read more of your
In addition to the two books published by
Martingale, I wrote a book called “Welcome Home” published by Kansas City Star
in 2011.The main project is similar to
my “House Sampler” BOM in that it’s made up of several sections.I also self-published four pattern books and
have had patterns published in several magazines, including McCall’s Quilting, Quick
Quilts, Quiltmania, Quilters’ Connection, Canadian Quilter, Create and Decorate
and Les Editions des Saxe (in France).You can see all my patterns on my website, www.countryquilts.ca.
I also have a blog, www.cheryl-countryquilts.blogspot.ca,
where I share photos of shows I attend, tutorials and free patterns, and other
events in my life.As soon as my book is
released on June 12, I’ll be having a giveaway on my blog—so if you’d like a
chance to win a copy, sign up as a follower and keep watching for updates!
Do you teach and/or lecture as well as
I’m a terrified public speaker so I much
prefer to design and make quilts.But, I
have taught beginning quilting in my home to a few people at a time and have
done some trunk shows for local guilds and book signings where I can talk with
quilters one on one.Much less scary for
How can quilters find out more about you?
Newsletters, contests, special offers for
my readers etc. the interview and pictures will be posted to my blog which is
linked to Facebook but will also be featured in my newsletter