Friday, August 26, 2011

Where is Chatterbox Quilts?

Hi everyone:

I was recently reflecting on how many fellow quilters and fabric enthusiasts I've met through my blog and my Facebook page. I've enjoyed making new friends on-line and appreciate the support that you've given me. I've also found that it's a great way to keep in touch with existing friends across the country. 

It occurred to me that while some of you may know where I am on-line, there are probably others who aren't aware of all the places Chatterbox Quilts is on the web. So I thought I'd bring you up to date. Are you ready? Here goes:

You're already following my blog, so you know I'm here.
Manga Kitty appliqué template by Jamie Hirst for Chatterbox Quilts
Did you know that I have a personal Facebook page, as well as a Chatterbox Quilts fan page? I try to keep my fan page for quilt related items.

I'm on Twitter as CBQuilts, if you like to tweet.

I have a Youtube channel, although there is only one video there - yet!
Learn how to make Vintage Hearts from my Youtube video
I also have an Etsy store, where you can find both my epatterns and my paper patterns. I also have appliqué templates, embroidery patterns and stuffie patterns there. 
Frog face appliqué template available at my Etsy store

I have a website where you can find out more about me as well as listen to some of my earlier podcasts. 
Hoot appliqué template available at my Etsy store

If you're a quilt shop owner, you should know that you an order my patterns wholesale from The Pattern Peddlers

You do know that I have some free projects available, don't you? You can find them on my blog and on my website.
FREE Flourishing Hearts pattern - available on my blog
Whew! I think that's it - at least for now. 

I hope that you find something entertaining, interesting or educational wherever you find me on-line:)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

WIWOW - August 24, 2011

Hi everyone:

Can you believe that it's already August 24? Wow, where has the summer gone? While I always have high expectations of accomplishing many quilting related items - such as actually quilting, the reality is that life often intrudes and sometimes I don't get as much accomplished as I had hoped to. I did get to go on vacation, visit with friends, spend time with my children and organize my quilting studio, so I guess it wasn't such a bad summer after all!

This past week I've been shopping with my children to get new clothes and items for school. I've also been busy cleaning getting ready for a visit from my parents next week. 

In my organizing and cleaning frenzy, I've come across a few projects that weren't quite done. I made some binding strips for several quilts that needed them. They're not actually sewn onto the quilts yet, but hey, you can't do everything at once, can you?
Cute Circus Cat fabric
I also re-discovered a small quilt that I had made using a pattern in Pat Sloan's Favorite Techniques book. The pattern looked fast and easy (it was) and I thought it would be perfect  to showcase some cute fabric that I had in my stash. I quilted it using free form stars and circles, which suited the central fabric. In addition to showcasing the novelty fabric, this pattern would allow me to try a single fold, machine binding technique. The binding is stitched to the back of the quilt on each side one at a time. You then fold it over to the front and machine stitch it down. It sounded pretty straight forward and I wanted to see if this would be quicker than my usual double fold binding technique. 

Of course I also had to add a sleeve to the quilt and this took a little bit of time. 

I also thought that it would be nice to zigzag the binding down, rather than just using a straight stitch. Really, so much more interesting.

I discovered that it really takes a bit more time and effort to use a zigzag stitch for this technique.
Front side of quilt showing zigzag stitches to hold the binding down
I also realized that this technique wasn't quite as quick and easy as I had thought it would be - at least not for me. I think that the stitches were supposed to catch the binding seam on the back of the quilt - mine didn't. Perhaps if I'd chosen the straight stitch instead, that might've been better.
Back side of quilt showing how the zigzag stitches
don't overlap the binding as it should - oops!
Sorry, Pat, but I think I'll be sticking to my double-fold-stitched-on-the-front-folded-to-the-back-and-hand-sewn-down-binding technique. It might take me a bit longer, but I like the finished product better and that's really what it's all about.
Portion of the quilt all done and ready to be hung
Do you ever machine stitch your bindings down or are you a hand-sewn-binding type of quilter?

Monday, August 22, 2011

WIWOW - August 17, 2011

Hi everyone:

Sorry I missed my Wednesday post, but I have a good reason. Really, I do! I was working on a gift for my daughter's birthday. I couldn't show you what I was working on or it would ruin the surprise. Since it was her birthday on Friday (Happy Birthday, Sarah!) and she has received her gift, I can now post it.

Since Sarah is a huge Harry Potter fan, I made her a Harry Potter doll. Here's a quick tutorial on how I did it.

I used the Harry Potter design from her embroidery pattern (you can find it here - FREE!) and increased it to 140% before embroidering it on muslin. 

I then selected some appropriately wizardly fabric for the back of the stuffie and cut out a rectangle approximately 11" x 5".

I created a template for the back of the stuffie by tracing about 1/2" outside the embroidery lines on the embroidery pattern. 

I then traced this back template on medical paper (see through, sort of like onionskin paper - for those of us who are old enough to know what that was). 

I centered this traced template over the wrong side of the embroidered design - it's transparent enough to do this - and then placed the rectangle of back fabric, right side up, underneath it all. The sandwich was: back template, embroidered design, wrong side up and then the backing fabric, right side up.

I stitched on the traced line of the back template, leaving an opening at one side for turning. I used pinking shears to trim about 1/4" away from the seam allowance, ripped off the paper template, turned the stuffie right side out and then stuffed it firmly. When it was plump enough, I hand stitched the opening closed. 

Here's the result!

Sarah was quite pleased with the doll and it was very quick to do. You can see how well Harry fits in with Sarah's other Harry Potter paraphernalia. 

I have also used a similar technique to create my FREE Flourishing Heart pattern
Flourishing Hearts in two colourways
I am also working on a pattern for a family of owl stuffies, which will be published in a few weeks.
Hoot - the dad

Screech, the mom and Whoobie, the baby

Do you like to create stuffies for those special little people in your life - or even for yourself? I'd love to hear about your creations.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Campfire Fun!

Hi everyone:

Camping, s'mores and summer just seem to go along hand in hand. If you haven't had the opportunity to roast some marshmallows over a campfire this summer, this is the next best thing! AccuQuilt, and Fons and Porter are joining together to offer you a chance to win big. Here are all the details:

Join in some campfire fun for a chance to win great prizes totaling over $1500!  Fons & Porter,, and AccuQuilt have teamed up to provide us all with a huge giveaway on Facebook.  Simply “Like” these Facebook pages and gain access to all three sections of a secret code that unlock your chance to win!  Follow the camp trail on the bottom of each sponsor’s page and it will take you to the next campground to retrieve the next section of code.  Once you’ve captured all three pieces of the secret code, go to and enter the full code to register to win! 

Your summer camping trip begins at AccuQuilt, so get GO!-ing at!/accuquilt?sk=app_10467688569

This contest starts today and continues on until August 29; winners will be announced on August 30.

Don't miss out on this great opportunity and good luck!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

2011 Pets on Quilts Show

Hi everyone:

The event has finally arrived and I'm excited to show off my little pets. Don't know what I'm talking about? SewCalGal hosts an annual Pets on Quilts show, giving both bloggers and non-bloggers the opportunity to share photos of their pets - quilty and real - as well as the chance to win some great prizes. Entries are accepted from August 15th to the 19th, so if you have a quilt, a pet on a quilt or a design in EQ7, be sure to check out the 2011 Pets on Quilts Show at SewCalGal for all the details and to see the other entries.

I'm sure that some of you are familiar with my two cats, Charlie and Teeka. They're often found in my quilt studio, "helping" me with my latest creations. How else would I know which fabrics will make the cuddliest quilts? They can be harsh critics, but their advice is always purrfectly correct! 

While great friends, their personalities couldn't be more different. Teeka prefers to supervise the creating of the quilts, 

Teeka on the cutting table supervising another project
(not thrilled that this is a wall hanging and not large enough to lie on)
while Charlie has no reservations about climbing right in and snuggling down.
Charlie on my 5 & Dime quilt

As you can probably tell, I'm a cat lover, but in reality, I love all animals. We have previously had two labrador retrievers, but are currently servants to Teeka and Charlie, as well as two fire belly toads (I don't let them on the quilts!). 

I guess it's my love of animals that inspires many of my quilt designs. While I don't have an owl as a pet (although my daughter, Sarah, would love to have one like Hedwig in Harry Potter) I have several owl patterns, and have a few more in the design process. Here are some of my quilty pets!

Hootie - a stuffy pattern in 3 sizes
It's a Hoot! (a free pattern on my website) and Hootie
Hoot-mon! - my first owl pattern
I've also recently completed a wall hanging using AccuQuilt GO! dies which has - surprise! - cats and dogs in it. I call it Posh Pets as I used Moda's Posh fabric line for this quilt. I'm currently working on the pattern instructions for this quilt and hope to have them out in the fall.
Posh Pets using the AccuQuilt GO!
Calico Cat and Gingham Dog dies
Detail of Posh Pets
I have a table runner in the works which uses AccuQuilt GO! dies, although it's not quite completed yet. I'll be using Fresh when I teach my Let's Get GO-ing! class at Bow Bench Retreat this fall. 

Fresh tablerunner using AccuQuilt GO! birds and Rose of Sharon dies
(another pattern variation uses the heart and Rose of Sharon dies)
I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my "pets" and encourage you to check out the other entries at SewCalGal's 2011 Pets on Quilts show.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WIWOW - Aug. 10, 2011

Hi everyone: 

 Yes, it's Wednesday again and I've been working on some new projects, including a new quilt design using the AccuQuilt GO! Tumbler die. I'm also working on something for my daughter's birthday, but that's a secret for now (sorry, Sarah, nice try!).
AccuQuilt GO! 6 1/2" Tumbler die - already used this in another project too
If you haven't noticed, I have a thing for appliqué - specifically fusible web appliqué. My friend, and fellow quilting addict, Cathy Keevill, of Pine Freckle Forest, likes to tease me about this predilection I have for appliqué since I always manage to sneak in some in practically all my projects. 
Appliqué even on my pincushions!
If you follow Cathy's blog, you'll know that she's been working on some quilts that seem to need an extra element to finish them. We discussed one quilt in particular and I suggested that a bit of appliqué might do the trick. I don't think this is really what she wanted to hear, probably because this would mean quite a bit more work, just when Cathy thought she was almost finished this project. But it's undeniable - sometimes a quilt just needs a bit of appliqué - or even worse (in Cathy's opinion), embellishment. 

Which brings me to the project I am currently working on. Fairly straightforward, just alternating patterned and plain tumbler blocks. But they definitely need something. 
These plain blocks are just a little too plain!
What could it be? Appliqué, of course! So, I pulled out some of my other AccuQuilt GO! dies to see what would play nicely together. I thought that flowers would be suitable for the design and fabric I was using in the quilt. The Rose of Sharon (I use this die a lot!) and Feathers dies came to my rescue. First I cut out all of the die shapes on both dies in paper so I could play around with the arrangement on the blocks and this is what I came up with.
This will be appliquéd onto the plain blocks.
See, doesn't that make all the difference? I'm also considering adding a yo-yo or a button (yes, Cathy, these would be dreaded embellishments!) to the centre of the flower, but will decide on this once the top is together. 

Now I have to cut out the appliqué shapes and get this quilt together. That's if one of my other projects isn't calling out to have some appliqué added to it :)

Do you add embellishments to your quilt projects, and if so, what are your favourite ones to use? 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Threads, threads, threads

Hi everyone:

Thanks to all who commented to give me suggestions about thread storage. For the present I have put the spools into smaller boxes, by type and manufacturer, in the thread drawer. The cones are standing up by themselves (wedged in is more like it!). I'll have to investigate some better method of arranging them in the future. As well as my readers' suggestions, I also found other ideas on thread storage on the internet. 

I liked this idea from Sonya at Sonya's Snippets. She is using the same type of rolling cart that I am (although she has much more thread than I do) and tried to use the shelf liner as she suggested. I found that the material wasn't thick enough to prevent the cones from falling over when I opened the drawer. Perhaps using several layers might help. 
Photo courtesy of Sonya at Sonya's Snippets
Mona is also using the same type of rolling cart and has glued in dowels to keep the thread cones in place. While this is a great idea, I'm not sure that I want to do anything that permanent since I tend to move things around sometimes, but those thread cones would certainly stay put!
Photo courtesy of Mona's comment on
thread storage solution on Quilting Board
I like using this type of a cart for thread storage as I am able to see the colours of the threads easily just be pulling out the drawer. This would be difficult to do this if they are in a non-transparent box or tin. The idea of a clear plastic box, such as Cathy suggested, would be ideal - if it fits the various thread cone sizes.

I see more storage shopping in my future:)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

WIWOW - August 3, 2011

Hi everyone:

Okay, I know it's Thursday, not Wednesday, but due to some technical problems I wasn't able to get this post out yesterday. 

While I had plans to accomplish lots yesterday, I spent most of the afternoon and evening trying to connect a wireless printer to my laptop - without success, I might add. I know you're thinking that this is a fairly simple thing to do - and it is if you are using a Mac and only want to add the printer to the Mac side of things. The complication arises when you're using Parallels to run Windows on your Mac and you're trying to hook up a new Canon copier to the Windows side of things - not quite as easy. Needless to say, hours were sucked up by myself and hubby trying everything we could to get this new printer to work on the Windows side. If you have any suggestions on how to connect a Canon MG5220 wireless printer through Parallels, send me an email. We'll be trying some other ideas perhaps tomorrow once we've calmed down a bit!

I'm still working on the studio clean-up and am almost done. The storage in the sauna is now completely done and full - unless I can find some way to squeeze in a little more fabric (hanging from the rafters maybe?).
Panels, novelty fabrics and collections

More novelty fabrics with cat and dog fabrics to the right

Black and whites and more novelty fabrics (yes, I have lots of these)
I have also sorted and stored my batiks, arranged by colour, as well as my Halloween and Christmas fabrics. 
Part of the batiks sorted by colour

Batiks on the bottom and holiday fabrics,
as well as some landscape fabrics on the top

I'm now working on my "colour wall". I've finished the whites, creams and yellows and hope to finish up the rest of the colours in the next day or so. 

Although this has been a lengthy process, I think it has been worth it. Now all of the various types of fabrics have their own homes and I found some treasures that I had forgotten all about. Rediscovering these fabrics has given me fresh pattern design inspirations. So it was definitely not a waste of time to sort out my fabrics. Now I just have to try to keep them organized this way...

Do you organize the fabrics in your quilt studio, and if so, into what categories? I'd love to hear about your fabric stash:)