Thursday, May 29, 2014

Paper and fabric and glue - oh my!

Hi everyone:

I was working on finishing up one of my quilt projects when a mixed media publication caught my eye. Who am I kidding? I was flipping through the copy of Sew Somerset I bought at the Ujamaa Grandma's sale, trying to avoid finishing one of my projects (binding - yuck!). I wouldn't usually have purchased this type of publication with its mixture of paper and fabric fibre arts, but since I attended International Quilt Market last fall I'm starting to look more at fibre arts and mixed media.

While I was in Houston I took a class with Lyric Kinard where we collaboratively created small mixed media pieces with the intention of creating "ugly art". In creating these pieces we were actually learning various principles of composition, such as having a focal point, repeating elements in a design and using complementary colours. 

Have a focal point
I was initially hesitant to try creating these small art pieces, but once I started gluing fabric and trim to the background, there was no stopping me! 
Use complementary colours - blue and orange
Try repetition in the embellishments
It was almost like elementary school - just pick and stick. With no expectations or goals, I was free to add anything I wanted to the piece and it was okay. 
Use odd number of elements
No one was judging what I added and guess what? The end results weren't ugly at all! They were actually quite fun and joyful. 

What we created in the class - these were the ones I got to bring home
Creating these small pieces is a great creative jumpstart. Not sure what to create for your next project? Try making a small fibre art piece with a combination of fabrics and embellishments. If you don't like the end result, you haven't used a lot of your time or materials. If you do like the end result, you've got a piece of fibre art to give as a gift or decorate your studio and you can now expand this into a larger project. And the best part? It's fun!

Do you like to create fibre art pieces? Sharewhat you've created in the Comments section below.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Free Motion Quilting Bliss

Hi everyone:

Since I've added the Janome Horizon 8900 QCP to my sewing machine stable, I've been working on improving my free-motion quilting skills and really feeling good about the results. I'm finally getting into the rhythm and achieving the results I've been striving for. So satisfying! The additional features on the Janome, such as the speed control and start/stop button certainly help me with my free motion quilting. I can set the speed for the rhythm I like and then I only have to worry about coordinating my hands to that rhythm. 
My Janome Horizon 8900 QCP snug in her cabinet
 Of course practise makes perfect and I've been practising on the Scattered Squares quilt from the Inspired Modern Quilts by Elizabeth Hartman on Craftsy. This project is composed of 100 - 4" squares, so lots of opportunities to practise quilt motifs. Following the advice in Design it, Quilt it by Cindy Needham, I stitched in the ditch through the entire project - or ESS - every stinking seam - as Cindy calls it! This really helps to stabilize the quilt and then you can do the rest of your quilting without pins and not have to worry about the layers shifting. 

I decided to try a different motif, not in each square (yikes, there are 100 of them!), but in each of the 5 different fabrics in the quilt. That seemed more manageable and would allow me to get in some good practise for each motif. The only thing left to decide was what motifs I wanted to practise!
Scattered Squares with various quilt motifs
I decided to try some feathers, again from Cindy Needham's class, as well as some wavy line and pebbles from Machine Quilting Negative Space by Angela Walters. I also tried some squares and swirls from Angela's class. 

negative space online quilting class at

I used The Bottom Line from Superior Threads in both the top and bobbin so you would see the texture, rather than the thread. 

After I felt that I was familiar with these quilting designs, I decided to quilt some wall hangings that have been waiting to be quilted for some time (years). I used pebbles in the background on both of these quilts. I was pleased with the results.
Wall hanging #1 all done!
Floral wall hanging finally quilted
The Scattered Squares quilt is partially completed and I use it for a warm up before I do any free motion quilting on a larger project. It's always a good idea to take some time to warm up before tackling the "real" project - just like you would do before exercising. It doesn't take long - ten minutes or so - and you'll find that you'll really notice an improvement in your quilting.
Scattered Squares with lots of squares completed
Do you practice before you start quilting your projects? What tips do you have for improving your free motion quilting skills?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Winning Name

Hi everyone:
Photo courtesy of
First, let me say thanks for all the suggestions I received for the name of my new monthly newsletter. There are certainly a lot of imaginative readers out there! It was a tough choice, but I decided to go with Chatterbox Times. I wanted to keep at least part of the company name so readers would relate it to Chatterbox Quilts. Thanks to SewCalGal, who will be choosing 3 Chatterbox Quilts patterns as a thank-you for her suggestion.

If you haven't already signed up to receive Chatterbox Times (I love the new name), please enter your information in the right sidebar. I'm just finishing up the first issue and expect it to be out in mid June. 

Teeka working on Chatterbox Times
I know I already asked for your help in naming this monthly digest; now I'm asking for more help. While I have lots of information that I can hardly wait to share with you in this new venue, I'd like to know what you'd like to see in Chatterbox Times. After all, I'm writing it for you, my quilty readers. 

  • Are there questions about quilting techniques that you would like to know? 
  • Do you want to see photo tutorials
  • Should there be a question and answer section

Charlie doing research for Chatterbox Times
Whatever you'd like to see in it, please let me know. Just post your requests in the comments section below. 

And don't forget to sign up for Chatterbox Times.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Time is Running Out!

Hi everyone:

Have you entered your suggestion for the name for my monthly digest yet? Time is running out and I really need your suggestions. 

First, sign up to receive Chatterbox Quilts Digest (it will soon have a new name, but I'm going with this one for now). Enter your information in the right sidebar and you'll be all set to receive it eau month or you can enter your information here.

Next, think of a name for this monthly newsletter where you'll receive:

  • Information about quilting techniques and helpful tips
  • Advance notifications about new pattern releases
  • Prior notice of upcoming videos. You do know that I have a Youtube channel, right? (Look forward to exciting changes in this area soon - really soon.)
  • Cute cat pictures!
This quilting stuff is tiring, but so much fun!
Finally, enter your name suggestion in the comments below. You can even enter more than one suggestion, but be sure to do this in separate comments, please. I might miss a suggestion if they are all in one comment.
Posh Pets e-pattern is a great choice and easy to make
Entries can be submitted until May 19, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. I'll choose my favourite name on May 20, 2014 and if you are the reader who suggested it, you'll win three Chatterbox Quilts e-patterns (downloadable PDF's) and I'll even let you pick which ones you'd like. 
Hoot-mon! e-pattern could be yours as well as two other patterns of your choice
A chance to win three FREE patterns and your name in my next blogpost as the winner - I think this sounds like a great opportunity and I know how creative you are, so I'm excited to see your suggestions in the comments below. 

Look for my blogpost after May 20, 2014 where I'll announce the new name of the monthly digest. I'm so looking forward to reading all your suggestions.

P.S. Tell your quilty and crafty friends about this contest so they can post their suggestions too.

P.P.S And don't forget to sign up to receive it.
Teeka and Charlie will be helping me figure out the winner

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

New Ways to Connect with Chatterbox Quilts

Hi everyone:

I'm excited to tell you about a new way that I'll be communicating with you, my quilty readers.
No, I won't be telephoning you - we'd be on the phone for hours! 
You know that I have a Facebook fan page as well as a Facebook group. I also have several Pinterest boards where I post more than just quilty things. You can see what's happening in my day on Instagram, when I remember to take photos, that is. If you aren't following me on these platforms and would like to, I'd love to have you join me.

Yes, I love social media, but some of my readers only receive my blogposts and miss out on all the other things that I'm doing. And some people aren't on these social media sites (yes, shocking, I know!). So I've decided to publish a monthly digest

In this monthly newsletter you'll receive:

  • Information about quilting techniques and helpful tips
  • Advance notifications about new pattern releases
  • Prior notice of upcoming videos. You do know that I have a Youtube channel, right? (Look forward to exciting changes in this area soon - really soon.)
  • Cute cat pictures!
Charlie doing yoga to loosen up for quilting

Here's where I need your help.

I need a name for this monthly digest, so I'm asking my quilty readers to help me out. 

Post your suggestions for the name in the comments below by May 19, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. MST. I'll announce the winning name after May 20, 2014 and if you're the reader who suggested it, you'll receive a prize: three Chatterbox Quilts e-patterns (downloadable PDF's) and I'll even let you pick which ones you'd like. 

You could win Twirling Whirlies e-pattern
Sorry, mountains are not included
You're all so creative, that you may even have more than one suggestion. That's great! Just enter them in the comment section below, ensuring that you leave a separate comment for each suggestion. I wouldn't want to miss any of them!

After you've left your name suggestion, fill in your email information in the right sidebar on my blog or enter your information here so you'll be all signed up to receive Chatterbox Quilts Digest (it will soon have a new name, but I'm going with this one for now).

Look for this area on the right sidebar to enter your information

A chance to win three FREE patterns and your name in my next blogpost as the winner - I think this sounds like a great opportunity. I'm really looking forward to reading your suggestions as I love connecting with other quilters. There's always so much I learn from other creatives. 
I enjoy chatting with other creatives - I learn so much
I can hardly wait to start this new way of communicating with all of you.

P.S. Tell your quilty and crafty friends about this contest so they can post their suggestions by May 19, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. too.

P.P.S Remember to sign up to receive "digest winning name suggested by you, my quilty reader" each month.

You'll see more of me each month

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Hi everyone:

(This post contains affiliate links which means, I will be compensated if you purchase after clicking these links.)

First let me wish all the mothers reading this post a very Happy Mother's Day! I hope you are taking time today away from the household chores and responsibilities and doing something fun and enjoyable. The laundry and dusting can wait for another day!

While we're enjoying Mother's Day, there is another celebration going on as well. Craftsy is celebrating their third birthday and are having a Flash Sale to celebrate. 


You won't want to miss out on Craftsy's Birthday Flash Sale! Get select online classes at up to 50% off for a limited time only. You won't see so many classes with prices this low again soon. Hurry, offer expires May 11th at 11:59pm MT. Shop Craftsy's Birthday Flash Sale!

Online Quilting Class
Two classes that I have already enrolled in are on sale: Free motion Quilting a Sampler with Leah Day and Design it, Stitch it: Hand Embroidery with Jessica Marquez

Both are great classes and I've learned so much from both of these instructors. My favourite part about learning with Craftsy is that you have the classes forever and you can review lessons to ensure you are understanding the technique. You can even quilt or stitch right along with the instructor!

Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of my Mother's Day with my family - who have already done laundry and are making me my favourite dinner tonight. I hope that you have a terrific Mother's Day with your family - and that you don't have to do the laundry :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

You Can Never Have Enough Fabric, Can You? Part 2

Hi everyone:

If you haven't read my last blogpost, you might want to do so before you read on…

So there I was with my bags stuffed full of fabric, buttons and trims and there were still more rooms and items to look at buy

While I wasn't really interested in the yarn - and there were balls and balls of it - I did think it would be worth my while to check out the specialty fabric room. Surprisingly enough, I found a few items that I had to add to my purchases. 
Wooly fabric - perfect for a sheep applique or stuffie
Love the colours in this oriental brocade 
The reverse side is just as beautiful
And there were also quilt stencils, and I picked up a few of these too. I can definitely justify these purchases as I only have two quilt stencils in my studio. Now I have a few more.
Quilt stencils to add to my studio 
I had to pick up just a few more stencils
I had finished the main floor shopping - well, I did go back to the button room to grab a few more bags of buttons - and it was time to go upstairs to the books and patterns area. I couldn't miss out on the books at this sale as they were two for $1.00. 

Such a deal! The only problem was  that it was difficult to get near the quilt books and then I had to  remember if I already had these books in my library! 

With over 400 books in my craft library, I sometimes forget if I own a book. In any event, for the price it didn't really matter if I did buy a duplicate book, which I didn't.
BOM patterns from Indygo Junction
I also picked up a few patterns and a magazine. This issue of Sew Somerset is a few years old, however there are lots of creative sparks in it.
Lots of design inspiration in this issue
By now my bags were full, my arms were sore and I still had to carry everything down the stairs and several blocks to my car. Thankfully, my quilting friend helped me carry my purchases out as I'm not sure that I could've made it on my own. Then it was home and time to sort everything out and put it away. And get the cat's approval.
Teeka approved
And it's snuggly too

Monday, May 5, 2014

You Can Never Have Enough Fabric, Can You? Part 1

Hi everyone:
Don't you think there's room for a few more fabrics in this cupboard?

I was recently perusing my fabric and realized that I could use a few more wool fabrics. Some cottons as well and perhaps a linen or two. 
Some of the items in my embellishment bin
I then moved on to the trim bin. Buttons - yes, I had some, but these could always be supplemented. Lace? Well, I really could use a bit more in a narrower width. 

Am I stocking a store? No, just my own "I have to have more of this in case I need it someday" stash. Thankfully, the annual Ujamaa Grandmas' sale was happening in Calgary and I knew that I'd be able to find a few (!) things to top up my cupboards.

And did I! I decided to go on Friday afternoon (they are open from 4:30 to 7:30) rather than Saturday morning just in case the good stuff would be picked over by then. Besides, it was supposed to snow on Saturday (which it did!) and I didn't want to be standing out in the snow waiting to get in to the sale. 
Yes, Spring in Calgary means snow
Good thing I went Friday! I could hardly find anywhere to park, but managed to abandon the Zoocrew about two blocks away. I ran into a quilting buddy, so I had someone to chat with while waiting 40 minutes in line. They were only allowing a certain number of people into the building (it's held in a church) at one time. Apparently the Fire Department was a bit concerned at the number of people crammed in the building at previous years' sales - I can't imagine why. But I digress… 

After getting into the sale, I had a tough decision to make: go downstairs where the fabrics, notions and yarns were or go upstairs where the books and patterns were. I decided to go downstairs: it would be easier to go upstairs with fabric later than to go downstairs and drag around books while I fabric shopped. A good choice I thought. 

First I went into the Notions room where I managed to find some bags of buttons. Just a few.
Vintage button love
I also noticed some lace trim, which I tucked into my shopping bag. 

Ooh, Battenburg Lace trim
And there were even some embroidery hoops. Couldn't leave them.
Love the little oval hoop
I passed on the large bag of shoulder pads (one of the parents at my school scooped these up after the sale - can you believe that nobody bought these?) and the many sewing machines that were available at $10.00 or $15.00 - that's Canadian, eh? Prices are a bit cheaper than that if I was talking American $$$. I then proceeded to the quilt room.

This year there were actually two quilt rooms and then the books and patterns were upstairs. I only bought a few pieces of cotton. 
Gotta love cat fabric
Really, it's so cute
And look - there's a Featherweight in part of the fabric
I know, hard to believe, but I had just purchased lots a bit of fabric while at the Central Alberta Quilters' Guild show a few weeks previous. (If you haven't seen what I purchased there, you must check out my recent post). 
Yup, only four cuts of cotton
I wanted to check out the wool fabrics, so I stuffed the cotton in one of my shopping bags (I had brought three of these) and made my way out to the main room.
Luscious woollen fabric
The main room had fabrics sorted by colour and size of cut and then these fabrics were folded and piled up on tables. I mean, piled up! There were volunteers available to add purchases to your tally sheet and also pull fabric out for you - an almost impossible task if you were already hauling around a bag or two of buttons and trims, like I was. Thank goodness there was a volunteer to point out the wool that matched the plaid that I already had in hand and managed to find more fabric that would coordinate. At $3.00 for a 2-3 metre piece of fabric (again Canadian measurements, so that's 3" more per metre than a yard), I couldn't, and didn't, pass up these gems. 

Wool fabric and linen-type fabric
Love the colours in this wool
I also found a brown Harris Tweed type fabric and purchased the 3-4 metres for $4.00. I almost feel guilty that I won't be using these for garment construction - almost. More fabric to feed my shopping bag.
See the Harris Tweed type fabric on the left?
I have lots of it
By now I was loaded up with two bags full of buttons, lace and fabric (sounds like Baa, Baa, Black Sheep, doesn't it?) and I still hadn't checked out the books, the other quilt room or the fancy fabrics. While cottons aren't too heavy, wool fabric is and this was what one of my bags was completely stuffed with. But there was more fabric to be inspected and those patterns and books upstairs. On I went. 

Wow, I'm starting to feel as hot and tired as I was getting at the sale just writing about it. I need to take a break and put away some of my purchases. In my next post, I'll continue  the Ujamaa Grandma's sale saga. 

Did you go to the Ujamaa Grandma's sale this year or have you ever been to a similar sale? Post your story in the comments. I'd love to hear about your experience.