Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One Word Wednesday


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Books on Sunday - Printing by Hand

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!!!

ISBN 9781584796725

Lena does a cute blog titled "wee textiles", worth checking out:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fall Colours Quilt Cruise

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: there's also contact information for John and Margaret, our travel agents.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Learning Online - three Great Websites

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 or we're on the road this summer and we can visit the Pacific West Quilt Show in Tacoma 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 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 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 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!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

One Word Wednesday


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Books on Sunday - Fearless Design for Every Quilter

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!

ISBN 9781571205766

Visit Lorraines website at: to see more of her books and patterns.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Simple Stained Glass Quilts

I have copies of my Simple Stained Glass Quilts book available for a special promotion!

Just order the book here:
And get a free fat quarter of landscape fabric! Perfect for a gift or treat yourself!
Tell me in the order which fat quarter you want!

Scene A

Scene B

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Choosing Studio Flooring

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:

  • Safety-we don't want flooring that we can slip or trip on
  • Comfort-we can often be on our feet for lengthy periods cutting fabrics 
  • Cost -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 heavy furniture.

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.

Other considerations:

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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

One Word Wednesday

Apple Pie

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Meet Cheryl Wall - Country Quilter

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 writing?
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,

I also have a blog,, 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 write?
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 me!

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

Monday, July 2, 2012

Photo Illusion Workshop

I taught at the Parksville Quilt House Quilters Guild last weekend and our workshop on Sunday was working with photos, learning how to print onto fabric and put the pictures into a small wall hanging.

We had so much fun!

Deb used the seashore as her inspiration.

Margaret had pictures of ponies in the fields of Wales.

Peonies was Brenda's inspiration.

And Joyce  had lovely Wisteria in her pictures.

Thanks everyone for a great time!