Friday, August 31, 2012

Do you do vintage?

Hi everyone:

Kitty hanky purchased at an antique shop on
Bainbridge Island - just because it was cute!
In my previous post I mentioned that I had purchased some vintage linens while on my recent vacation. I find these very appealing: each one is different and I wonder about their previous lives before they came into my possession. 
Vintage linens from antique shop on Bainbridge Island
Vintage linen detail
While I do enjoy the look of these textiles, I'm not quite sure what to do with them - once I've finished admiring them, that is. I was pleased to see these linens used in various projects while shopping at Esther's Fabrics on Bainbridge Island. They were kind enough to allow me to photograph the shop projects so I could share them on my blog.
Projects using vintage linens at Esther's Fabrics
As you can see, they've used various linens in a pillow and also used hand embroidered linens in a pincushion. 

Pillow created from vintage linens at Esther's Fabrics
Pincushions created from vintage linens at Esther's Fabrics

They also covered small notebooks with vintage hankies. 
Vintage covered notebook from Esther's Fabrics
They had several vintage napkins and tablerunners for sale in the shop - and I couldn't resist. Now I just need to decide which project I'll make with them!
Vintage tablerunner from Esther's Fabrics
Detail of vintage linen from Esther's Fabrics

There were also many other wonderful projects on display at Esther's Fabrics and I really enjoyed the combination of stitching and quilting in them. Here are a few that I noticed while in the shop.

Do you do vintage linens too? If you do, I'd love to hear how you use the in your quilting or sewing projects.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Vacation

Hi everyone:

Almost the end of August and that means that summer is nearly over, but we're still enjoying some sunny, warm days here in Calgary - even though the nights are definitely getting cooler and that sun is sinking earlier every day. With the end of summer comes the beginning of school and today was my first day back at work in the school office. I'm glad that I had a few weeks off to gear up for this hectic time of year! 

My family and I just got back from a two week trip in Portland and Seattle and we had a wonderful time. 

At Esther's Fabrics on Bainbridge Island
While I didn't visit many quilt shops, I did manage to attend the Association of Pacific West Quilters show in Tacoma this past week-end, where I tore through the vendors' mall and more than made up for not spending much before then! I also managed to view the wonderful quilts that were on display. Unfortunately, due to copyright regulations, I'm not able to post them on-line, but can assure you that they were exceptional. I was glad to see several entries from Canadian quilters, including Daphne Greig and Susan Purney Mark. I was thrilled to see Sonja Callaghan's "Halloween Quilt of Awesomeness" included in the show and loved the quilting done by Krista Withers of Modern Longarm Quilting. I have Sonja's patterns that she used in this quilt and really must do these up for Halloween.

I told you that I spent a bit of cash on quilty things while at the quilt show, and also at a few shops before that, so here's an idea of what found its way into my suitcase.
A few quilting treasures found at Powell's Books in Portland, OR
Tour of Martingale resulted in purchasing a few of their titles
Rick-rack, trim, buttons, beads and vintage linens
from Knittn' Kitten in Portland, OR
Fabrics from Esther's Fabrics on Bainbridge Island

A sampling of batiks from Sew Batik at the vendors' mall
Incomparable Buttons from The Steam Trunk Craft Works
at the vendors' mall (again)
Japanese fabric, linen, beads and sashiko thread from Shibori Dragon
 at the vendors' mall (one more time)

Needle felting kits from Esther's Fabrics on Bainbridge Island
(I'll bet you thought I bought these at the vendors' mall, didn't you?)
I also managed to find some vintage fabrics and linens while on the trip and will post these next time. I can't seem to resist buying vintage linens, napkins and doilies, although I never seem to know exactly what to do with them. The designs and hand work in them just appeals to me, I guess. I was interested to see several projects in Esther's Fabrics using these vintage textiles and will show you these in my next post. 

Now I'm off to put my purchases away - if I can find room, that is :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Book Review - Nature's Beauty in Appliqué

Hi everyone:

As promised in my last post, I'm reviewing another book where the projects focus on flowers. This time it's Nature's Beauty in Appliqué: Pretty and Practical Projects by Susan Taylor Propst. This is Susan's third book published by Martingale (I'll be looking at her other two books in a future post) and her projects continue to be stunning. 
There are nine small projects in this book which are all inspired by a wall hanging that Susan made entitled "Swan and Nessie". While this particular pattern is not included in the book (it's gorgeous!), Susan does include the project layout so you can create your own version using the flower patterns provided in the book.

Daffodil Tote Bag from Nature's Beauty in Appliqué 
Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
As indicated by the title, the projects in this book range from table runners to tote bags to pillows, all practical and great for gifts. They are appropriate for quilters who have had some experience - probably a little advanced for the new beginner quilter. The patterns all include appliqué (obviously!) and Susan provides detailed instructions for hand appliqué, using freezer paper, as well as information on turned-edge and fusible web appliqué. 
Campanula Neck Roll from Nature's Beauty in Appliqué 
Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
There is also quite a bit of information on choosing fabrics so your projects will be successful. If you can't quite find the right fabric, Susan also provides tips on painting fabric to get it just the right shade. I appreciated the information on quilting that she included in the book, including suggestions for quilting the background and the appliqué.
Dahlia Tote Bag from Nature's Beauty in Appliqué 
Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
Susan's instructions are quite detailed and she also provides you with alternate colour ways or suggestions for each project, such as using a pre-printed panel, rather than the appliqué for the tote bags. Nice to know that you can make these projects without the appliqué and they are still just as beautiful and practical.

Swan Wall Hanging from Nature's Beauty in Appliqué 
Photo courtesy of Martingale and Company
I mentioned earlier that the pattern for "Swan and Nessie" was not included in the book, however Susan does have a wall hanging pattern featuring a swan in the book. Although it is simpler, "Swan Wall Hanging" is just as lovely and elegant - and would be quicker to complete.
If you're looking for a project to make as gift for a friend or for yourself, there are many wonderful patterns to choose from in this book. 
I'll be taking a look at another one of Susan's books in my next post.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review - Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts

Hi everyone:

Happy August 1! It's hard to believe that summer is halfway done already. We have such a short summer in Alberta: it really doesn't start until July (it's always rainy in June) and sometimes ends as early as September with the first snowfall (usually not much, but it is snow!). I've been enjoying the warm days these past few weeks and the flowers that are (finally) blooming around our deck. I'm not much of a gardener, preferring the container/pot type of garden, but do love the wonderful colours of the flowers. For the next few days I'm reviewing books that have patterns to bring those gorgeous florals inside and into our quilts.

The first book is Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts by Nancy Mahoney. You know me, I'm all about the fast and fusible is my favourite appliqué technique, so I was excited to check out this book.
Photo courtesy of Martingale
Nancy has provided us with 11 quilt patterns which range from large wall hangings to throws or smaller bed quilts. Most of these designs feature pieced or patchwork block backgrounds with floral appliqués on top. The backgrounds are simple which allow the appliqués to shine, without distracting from or competing with them. The patterns are easy enough for beginner quilters and more experienced quilters would find them quick projects. They all could be done in a variety of fabrics from '30s prints to bright batiks. 
Night Blooms from Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts by Nancy Mahoney
Photo courtesy of Martingale
While I expected these projects to all be fusible web appliqué, Nancy provides information in the book for other appliqué techniques as well, such as using spray starch and plastic templates. You can decide which technique you will use when making these quilts.
Orange Marmelade from Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts by Nancy Mahoney
Photo courtesy of Martingale
These designs are not complicated, yet the addition of appliqué to the pieced background gives the illusion of a complex quilt. Being easy to make with complex results is always good in my books! I also like the fact that Nancy provides quilting suggestions for each quilt. This is helpful information for both beginner and experienced quilters. While I can decide on my own quilting motifs, I really appreciate knowing what the pattern designer used on the sample quilts (for those days when I really can't decide on which quilting motif to use).
Precious Peonies from Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts by Nancy Mahoney
Photo courtesy of Martingale
These are happy, simple projects that could be completed in a few days. I could see making a wall hanging from these designs with a table runner for your dining table too. They'd also be wonderful for summer quilts in your bedroom or guest room, bringing some of those wonderful florals into your home.
I'll be looking at more flowery quilt books in a few days, so check back with me then.