Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Available: quilt studio helper

Hi everyone:

I know that most of you could use a helper in your quilt studio - someone to give you fabric suggestions, positive comments on your designs and maybe even do a little typing, if you're a blogger. I'm fortunate to have someone in my house who fulfills all these requirements and doesn't even cost me a penny to do it. No, I'm not talking about my husband, nor my children. I'm talking about Teeka, my quilting cat.

Teeka is always willing to come down to my quilt studio and check out what's going on. She'll even get right up close to my quilt projects and let me know if she approves of my design and fabric choices. 

In these photos you can see Teeka "commenting" on my latest GO! project. I think she approves!

In addition, she's only too happy to do a bit of typing for me when the need arises.

Do you have a "helper" in your studio? I'd love to hear all about him or her.

If you don't and you're looking for a little extra help, Teeka is available at reasonable rates.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Hearts for you!

Hi everyone:

You'll remember that I promised you another heart inspired project and here it is! I've recently been investigating a site called issuu. It's a great place to where you can publish information, such as magazines and catalogues, as well as patterns. There are lots of interesting items to browse through on this website, including a few of my own patterns. I've just uploaded another one while still in the Valentine's mood.

For those of you who do hand embroidery - or those who would like to try out this handcraft - I've published a little heart stuffed ornament for you to enjoy. Just click on this link and you'll see my most recent pattern, Flourishing Heart. I've done it up in two colourways so you can see what it would look like in bright colours, as well as more traditional ones. 

If you're needing some help with basic embroidery stitches, you can check out my website for photos of how to do these.

I hope you like this little pinlow (pincushion/pillow) and make a few for yourself or to give as gifts. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Treat

Hi everyone:

Well, it's that time of year again when everyone's buying chocolates and sending flowers. Yes, it's finally Valentine's Day and I hope you're enjoying a wonderful day with your special someone. If you don't have a special someone, I hope you'll indulge yourself with something just for you.

I've been working on a few things to share with you all - and they're even low-cal and non-fattening!

You know that I love my Accuquilt GO! cutter and have already been making lots of little items with it. What you don't know is that I've been working on a sweet little wall hanging for a few weeks and have finally gotten it to the point where I can share it with you. This is my first vid-orial (video tutorial) - or perhaps I should say - slide-orial, since it's a slideshow with a voiceover - and I'm delighted to finally have it ready to post. I've published it to my Chatterbox Quilts channel in youtube, where I hope to post other tutorials in the future.

I whipped this little project up in no time. A few appliqués cut with the GO! cutter, a little bit of stitching, a few embellishments and voilà, it was all done. I think it took me ten times longer to do the photography, set up the slideshow and then record my instructions! All that behind-the-scenes stuff can be very time-consuming. 

I hope you enjoy this project and that you are inspired to make one like it. Better yet, see what you can come up with using your GO! dies and your imagination. The possibilities are endless!

Check back later this week for another Valentine's Day inspired project.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Book Review - Simple Graces

Hi everyone:

It's a snowy day in Calgary - just the type of day to spend indoors browsing through your quilt books and picking out your next project. If you need any suggestions, here's a book to try!

Simple Graces: Charming Quilts and Companion Projects by Kim Diehl is another book filled with wonderful projects. This is Kim's fifth book with Martingale and Company and as expected this is another book chock-ful of exciting pieced and appliqué designs. This particular book includes not only bed quilts, but also other patterns for companion projects, such as a pincushion, lampshade and table runner, just to name a few. A great way to coordinate your entire house!

Not only are there a variety of projects in the book, but you'll also find quiltmaking instructions as well as information about appliqué techniques, including using wool in your appliqués. Kim includes various "Pin Points" throughout the book (as she has in her previous four books) to provide you with additional tips to help you create the projects in the book - or any other project, for that matter. 

There is lots of interesting and informational reading in this book while you're drooling over the beautiful designs. 

One of the projects that I really like is "Bittersweet Briar". I love the motion in it and think that the circles in the flying geese border add a unique touch. Kim provides instructions for making this quilt in both cotton and wool: the light version in all cotton and the dark version in a mixture of both fabrics, using the cotton for the background and the wool for the appliqués. 

One of the larger projects in the book is Petal Pusher", with its cascades of Dresden flowers. I like how Kim has added vines and berries to give it a softer and more updated look, while still retaining its old-fashioned charm. 

She also updates the churn dash block in "Front Porch Posies". The addition of flowers, vines, berries and 
leaves gives a charming look to this 
traditional pattern.

The variety of projects in this book will appeal to quilters who would like to make a small project for a gift or to try a new technique. You can try your hand at wool appliqué by making one of the pincushions or perfect your piecing skills while constructing "Pie in the Sky". Whether you're looking for a table runner project or want to make a bed-size quilt, you'll find lots of choices in Simple Graces.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pssst! Have you heard about the Accuquilt giveaway?

Hi everyone:

Okay, maybe you've heard about it, but maybe you've had your head down quilting and haven't yet heard that there is another opportunity to win an Accuquilt GO! cutter. Yes, I said an Accuquilt GO! cutter! Not only that, but you could win one of three dies as well. That's a chance to win 4 different Accuquilt products. And there are lots of ways to enter too. Are you excited yet? I sure am. Now you'll want to know all the details and how to enter.

SewCalGal is hosting the giveaway and you can visit her blog to see all the various ways you can enter to win one of these fabulous items. 
But maybe I shouldn't have told you about this opportunity. Maybe I should've kept this to myself so I would be the only entry and could win all the prizes. But I guess that wouldn't be very fair, would it? 
So hurry over to SewCalGal's website and enter before midnight PST on February 14 and maybe you'll get a nice Valentine's Day surprise.

Back to quilting!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Book Review - House Party

Hi everyone:

With all the snow that we've been having it's a great time for browsing through my library of quilting and embroidery books. Today I'd like to share "House Party: Coordinated Quilts and Pillows" by Sue Hunt. 

The publisher, Martingale & Company describes this book as follows:

"Discover six great pillow projects, each accompanied by a wall hanging. Designs range from traditional to contemporary and feature a variety of techniques."

I think this is a great idea as you can coordinate your decor by creating beautiful wall hangings as well as throw pillows. While I call these wall hangings, you can also use them as table toppers or thrown across the back of a couch, as Sue suggests in her introduction. 

The projects offer a way to decorate your home throughout the year as there is a seasonal quality to them. "Snowflakes" with it's paper pieced snowflakes would be perfect for the type of weather we're enjoying at this time of the year, while "Spring Baskets" or "Umbrellas" reminds one that warmer spring weather is just around the corner. "Summer Flowers" and "Hot!" would be great in bright summer colours and "Fall Walk in the Park" has a more muted and somber tone.

There are a variety of techniques in this book from appliqué to string piecing and paper piecing and the pillow projects would be a great introduction to a technique that you may not yet have tried. Sue provides detailed instructions for her designs and includes information on paper piecing and freezer paper appliqué. 

I was delighted to see information on making piping, rather than buying pre-made piping, as well as covering buttons, again without having to purchase button kits. These techniques could be used to embellish other projects, such as small accent pillows and pincushions too. Sue also provides information on making the pillow back, so you can remove the cover for washing.

I have several favourite designs in this book, but I think that my favourite is "Fall Walk in the Park". I like the somber background with the bright splashes of "leaves" and the oriental feel of the project. "Umbrellas" with its brighter palette also reminded me of Japanese quilt designs and I could see quilting this with some sashiko designs.

Lots of detailed instructions, a variety of projects and a chance to learn some new techniques - "House Party" has it all.