Thursday, December 24, 2009

Last Minute

This is the last Christmas post for 2009. If there is still someone looking for an idea for you then a gift certificate will be the best idea. Our sale starts on Sunday December 27 so the gift certificate would be worth 30% more!

Our annual sale runs Sunday December 27 to Thursday December 31. On sale at 30% off are all regular priced fabrics, notions, thread, books, patterns and batting.
Excluded are the Juki sewing machines, AccuQuilt GO and accessories and the Grace Frame.

We are open 10 am to 5 pm each day. I try to be down early and will open as soon as I start the coffee. I plan to be ready by 9am on Sunday. I expect to be ready by 9:30 the rest of the days.

Wishing you a wonderful day, tomorrow and always!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Quilt Kits

There are lots of quilters who like using kits. The pattern and fabrics appeal to them so they can get started making the quilt right away.

I always find it a challenge to make kits. Choosing a pattern is the easiest part. Trying to choose fabrics in colours to suit customers' taste is the hard part. Sometimes we go with the same fabric as the pattern, especially when the pattern is available online from the fabric company. Or, when Brenda has designed a pattern with a specific line of fabric which we ordered, like Northcott's 'Winter Sports' flannel line. Sometimes I like the pattern and try to choose fabric you would like.

We think it is important to take time to plan a quilt with you when you come into the store. Doing this could be thought of as helping you choose your own quilt kit. That way we are both happy with the choices.

Always remember we are here to help. Helping you choose fabric is the most fun I can have! It's my kind of playtime!

PS: Have you ever checked out the free patterns from your favourite fabric company?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

What More Could You Ask For?

There are only 3 days left to shop. That means 21 ideas have been posted so far. What else is left to talk about?

How about needles? I never seem to have enough needles or know where the ones I need are at that moment. So, if a quilter needs stocking stuffers, I would suggest an assortment of needles. Machine needles: universal needles in size 75 and 90, topstitch needles in 90 and 100 sizes (see Dec 12), quilting needles in size 90, embroidery needles, etc....

Hand sewing needles: quilting needles known as betweens in a variety of sizes, sharps as small as you can use, embroidery or milliners needles for binding, straw needles, etc......

I am getting the idea we should have a class about using needles. That way you could learn when and how to use the different ones. Using the correct tool at the right time always improves the quality of your work by making it easier.

Monday, December 21, 2009

BoNash For Art Quilts

I first learned about BoNash products in fibre art workshops. There are several items I just love.

The 'Bonding Agent 007' is glue in powdered form. Think fusible webbing as sugar. I use it with angelina and foil. In the past I have used it when I have nicked a fabric after quilting in a wallhanging. The hanging wouldn't get washed alot even though the glue does hold through washing and dry cleaning. Sprinkle a little in the slit, cover with parchment paper and iron until fused. It's great for clothing hem repair in a pinch. The hem never comes down but, if it does become loose, just warm it up with the iron to reglue it. They suggest their non-stick craft sheet but I use parchment.

Jane loves the BoNash Iron Shoe. The promotional literature says:

The Ironslide Iron Shoe fits easily over the base of your iron. Made of PTFE A space-age material that is non-stick. Nothing sticks, starch and fusibles wipe off. Nothing burns or scorches. Iron from cotton to silk or denim to lace without waiting for iron to cool. Iron over sequins, puff paint, glitter, motifs without damage. Eliminate the need for a press cloth.

Loving glitter and sparkle as I do, I recently played with the Pressure Sensitive Fabric Adhesive and the No-Mess Glitter Tower. The woman demonstrating at Quilt Market said the glitter is much finer than others so it sparkles more. Yes, I agree. Although some things on the counter still have bits of glitter on them so I am not sure about the no-mess label. I would love to show you my samples. The glitter at $30.99 is pricey but can be used in other craft areas such as cardmaking and scrapbooking. The PS Fabric Adhesive can be used with foils. The packaging has both a Bo-Nash logo and a Tonertex Foil logo so I am beginning to wonder if there is more of a connection with what we have known as Jones Tones. Hmmmmm?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Help for Speeding Up Your Binding Stitches

Time running out and so much binding to do? Here are 3 ways that may help:

1. Clover Needle Threading Cassette: Automatically threads and stores up to five needles. For sharps No.2 though No.10 and all other needles that can be fitted into the Cassette. Put your needles on in a bright light. You save time by quickly threading the needles.

2. Finger Flashlight: Strap it to your finger so the light shines directly on the section you are stitching. You could even keep binding while the driver takes you to the receiver of the gift.

3. Foxglove Cottage Needles: I find a longer needle for binding makes it easier to sew as there is more to grasp and pull. I have used the Embroidery needles lately as they are long but still thin. When my fingers get tired the length makes it easier to grab.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Busy Times

What a busy day! But, my hair looks great thanks to Roland, the cranberry sauce and gifts are ready for the Tim family dinner tonight, and other family things are getting sorted.

Rather than an idea today, let's talk about the Christmas spirit. When Joan and I had the New Year Party in September we collecte donations for the Women's Rural Resource Centre in Strathroy. We delivered over $550 to the shelter and the woman who accepted the gift said it would be used for their Food Bank. Last Monday night the Sew Happy Quilt Group in Mt Brydges collected food for them as their need was still so great. Last night my book club friends collected donations of food for them because they heard the need was so great.

So today I hope you will think of those, especially women and children in shelters, who have such a basic need as food for Christmas. We keep our family and friends warm with our quilts and quilted items. Shall we keep others warm with gifts of food?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fons & Porter Glue Pen

Applique is something many people find challenging. Learning how to make smooth edges and small stitches takes time but everyone can learn tricks to improve their skills more quickly. Investing in quality tools to help will you progress also.

If you want to do needle-turn hand applique you would benefit by taking a class where the instructor knows the ins and outs. It is a technique I like for small pieces with curvy details but don't have much opportunity to practise.

If you use freezer paper hand applique, then the Glue Pen might be a time saver and the skill booster you need. With this glue pen you can apply a fine line of glue to the seam allowance on the edge of the freezer paper. The seam allowance sticks to the paper until the glue is washed out. The glue looks blue when you apply it but dries clear. Whenever I used a glue stick I ended up with sticky fingers and the applique pieces glued to lots of body parts and sewing tools. With the glue pen, I can apply a thin line and keep everything non-sticky! The refills make it reusable and saves the cost of a pen every time.

Sometimes a little tool makes all the difference.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Velocity Iron

We use an iron more often that most. Tim irons a quilt before putting it on the frame so you can imagine all the quilt backs he does. The Velocity Iron has made his job easier!

I couldn't express it better than QuiltSource so will copy some of what they say:

The new Digital Velocity V100 is the most advanced stand alone iron in the world. You can now enjoy professional ironing quality and speed with the simplicity of using a traditional iron. With a revolutionary and patented technology, the V100 incorporates an internal heating element and pump system that produces more steam continuously (up to 30g/min) than conventional irons. This guarantees a professional finish to your garments. The Digital Velocity doesn’t produce steam at the soleplate like traditional irons, but generates it inside, in a pre-heating chamber. With this advanced technology, there is no need to have a higher temperature in order to prevent water spitting. To save energy and water, the unique Eco-Intelligent™ system will stop the iron from steaming after 3 seconds of not detecting movement. Ready to iron again? Simply pick up the iron and begin pressing. Much loved by sewers and ironing enthusiasts, Steam Ready™ allows the user to iron continuously without the auto shut-off feature. When activated, the iron will not shut off, unless manually turned off by the user.

At $179 the iron is more than most but there may be a time when you want to invest in something to save you time and effort. Check out for more information.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Specialty Rulers- Day 2

EZ Quilting makes a great variety of rulers to compliment your squares and rectangles. I started by ordering the 'Easy Circle Cut' for Brenda's 'Circle Time' and 'Spin Off' patterns. Check them out at Then came 'Easy Hearts' for those wanting to do fusible applique. Next, someone requested the 'Easy Six' for stack and whack quilt cutting.

Last spring when Tim and I went to 'Quilt Market' in Pittsburgh, I went to a presentation by Darlene Zimmerman. I couldn't resist her line of 1800 reproductions so ordered the fabric and patterns. Then I found out the patterns call for the 'Easy Dresden' (with more possibilities than plates or fans) and the 'Companion Angle'. Of course there is always something that just looks interesting, so along came the 'Tri-Recs' and 'Tall Triangles'.
If you want to see the rulers, tutorials and free patterns, take a few minutes to check out

Golden Threads Quilting Paper

I've been a fan of this paper for quite awhile even though I don't use it often. A couple of days ago I tried making fat quarter placemats using the method whereby you draw the pattern on paper, stack the fabrics, cut through all layers and shuffle the fabrics. In the photo I used 4 Thimbleberries fat quarters from my stash. I used freezer paper but will switch to Golden Threads paper so I can make multiple copies of the pattern.

The No-Trace Marking Method for stencils or my pattern method: Trace your design onto one layer of golden paper. Stack multiple layers of paper underneath. Unthread your sewing machine and stitch through all layers to creates holes in the layers below. Take one layer and lightly iron to project. It can be ironed on once. Cut or sew, following the holes. Tear away the paper.
Golden Threads Quilting Paper also acts as a stabilizer for all fabrics and tears away easily after stitching. It comes in rolls 20 yards long, in widths of 12", 18" and 24".

Monday, December 14, 2009

Special Rulers- Day 1

Once you have the basic rulers, long and a couple of squares, you are ready to look at specialty rulers. There are so many I will take a couple of days to feature ones you would like to add to your collection.

Eleanor Burns, 'Quilt In a Day', designed a 'Triangle Square Up Ruler' to help quilters piece more accurately and put bits of fabric to use. Instead of cutting each and every triangle for bias squares, sew first and use the ruler to trim the triangles to the perfect size. The first ruler works for bias squares up to 6 1/2". Recently she added a larger ruler for squares to 9 1/2". I just checked and saw a video on how to use it. Or, come in and I will show you how this great ruler will save you time and make your piecing more precise.

June Taylor has a line of rulers called Shape Cut. We have the 'Shape Cut Too' because I have dreams of cutting some stash into 1/4" pieces to knit (My latest skill to learn). Imagine the great bags you could knit from favourite fabrics, that have spent years sitting on the shelf, yearning to be used. The ruler has slits spaced half an inch apart so you can run your rotary cutter without slipping. If you have difficulty cutting along the outside edge of the ruler, this ruler line would help. Check out the other rulers in this line at

Remember special orders are 25% off. So if we don't have a ruler you want, check QuiltSource and we will order it for you.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Retayne: Dye Fixative

Retayne is a dye fixative. Everyone needs this! I learned from the guest speaker at the last Huron-Perth Guild meeting that vinegar and salt do not fix the modern chemical dyes. When natural dyes were used they did the trick. But now, even though fabric bleeding occurs a lot less often, there are times the dye will run.

I love to hand dye fabric but was not so fond of the rinsing. After 20 minutes of rinsing, you let the fabric sit for 5 minutes. When you start rinsing again, it looks like you hadn't done any yet. But, after soaking the fabric in Retayne for 10 minutes, not a speck of dye comes out. It saves hours of work and tons of water.

You can use Retayne to stop colour running in your regular wash too.

You may have heard of Synthrapol. This product is more like a soap. Dyers use it to remove any sizing or other fabric treatments from fabric before dyeing. It helps the fibres be open to chemically bond with the dye. After dyeing, use it to scour the fabric clean of residue.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Titanium Needles and Frosted Donuts

Superior Threads have joined the list of companies providing titanium needles for home sewing machines. I have tried them and loved how long they last. The Superior website says:

These new titanium-coated needles have an ultra thin coat of titanium nitride layered on the surface to extend their productive life by five to eight times that of conventional needles. Most professionals recommend changing the needle every project or, if you count, every 8 hours. Imagine having a needle that will last 40 to 60 hours. This is equivalent to saving 80% on the cost of needles.

Tim uses Superior Thread in the APQS longarm machine with great success. Masterpiece is a fine cotton piecing thread he uses in the bobbin and applique lovers use for handwork. However, if you applique and want a fine cotton thread, you don't want to invest in a spool of each colour. So Superior created 'Frosted Donuts'. There are 36 colours of Masterpiece thread, each 85 yds on a prewound bobbin, contained in a bobbin saver. The 'Frosted Donut' retails at $48.99. You can use the bobbins in sewing machines but check the information at the Superior Threads website, to see if they work in yours.

Friday, December 11, 2009

BoNash Ironing Board Cover

Bo Nash has been a favourite company of mine for quite awhile. I love the bonding powder and have used it in so many ways.

Last May when Tim and I went to the trade show, 'Quilt Market' in Pittsburg we saw the ironing board covers. Tim had used pine plywood to make a larger rectangular ironing board for ironing quilt backs. We covered it with several kinds of batting and muslin. So, at the show, we saw the BoNash ironing board cover and ordered them right away. I will copy and paste the promo write up because I can't say it any better:

Reflective Ironingboard Cover. Cut your ironing time in half. The “Fit & Stick” cover is made from a space-age fabric that reflects the heat of your iron BACK to the garment, effectively ironing both sides at once. Not only that, “Fit & Stick” actually sticks to your ironing board so it doesn’t move around when you’re ironing. Fits any size board and comes with its own foam pad. If you have to iron, you have to have Stick N Fit. Reflects 300% more heat than a regular cotton cover and... stays put.
Also, fusible webbing (WonderUnder, Steam-A-Seam, Misty Fuse) do not stick and can be rubbed off with a cloth. Guess how I
The size for a regular board is $29.99 and the giant size is $49.99

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Bali Pops in 6 New Colours

Hoffman's Bali Pops are 40 strips, each 2 1/2", of beautiful batiks. Continuing the food related names, they created 'Green Tea', 'Cotton Candy', 'Berry Bliss', 'Mocha Mint', 'Spumoni' and 'Cappuccino'. The pops work with any pattern calling for jelly rolls, giving it a batik flavour. The nice thing is the pops can be used with other batiks in a stash reduction project.
If you need to extend the strip selection, we can cut your own batiks into 2 1/2" strips with our AccuQuilt Studio cutter. We can cut 5 strips of 5 fabrics (means 25 strips) in 1 minute for $0.45. It doesn't have to be batik so you can make up any jelly roll pattern fast and use up stash fabric in a flash. I had log cabin strips ready in no time.
If you are looking for a quick and easy project, try 'Babs 'n' jas designs' pattern called "My Wild Irish Rose'. It took little time to have a 52" square quilt top with little of the Bali Pop left over.
So many ideas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Design Walls

When making wallhangings and quilts there are times when you need to lay out the pieces to see the overall effect. You could be working with traditional blocks you may be auditioning sashing and borders. If you are creating as you go, a design wall helps you sample alternatives as you go.

If you are using a multipurpose space, like the guest room, you need something that goes up and comes down easily. I have used flannel sheets, bought at garage sales by my mother-in-law, and tacks or masking tape.

Fons&Porter introduced a design wall for quilters that fills all your needs. Its flannel side allows you to arrange patchwork, quilt blocks and quilt sections on it without pinning. There are 2" grid lines which are easy to see. The 60" x 72" size is excellent for home or to take to class where space is at a premium. There are diagonal lines for aligning blocks on point. The retail price is $28.99

If you use removable mounting hooks to put it up, then you can take in down in a flash and store it away until the next project. If you are in the middle of a project, you can fold it into the design wall. It will be in the right order when you take it out and hang it again.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Quilter's FabriCalc

This is my favourite thing to use at the store! A few easy buttons and you can find out how much fabric you need for backing, borders and binding. If you need hundreds of squares or triangles, it calculates how much fabric you need in seconds, both in inches and metres. At $59.99, it is the type of present a gadget lover may get for you. But, I know some people have a calculator and haven't had the time to practise. We will be having 30 minute classes in the new year so you can learn how to use it. The classes will be repeated as often as needed and planned to build skills over several months.

Once you start working with it, you will be hooked! It is a wonderful tool for stash busters

Monday, December 7, 2009

Great New Thimble

There is a great new thimble on the market from Clover. It came out this spring and has been featured in magazine articles about best new items.

The tip is dimpled metal with a raised ridge. The main thimble is made from flexible rubber. The package says the scallop design of the rubber keeps your finger cooler by the air flow. It comes in 3 sizes: small, medium and large. The retail price is $11.75.

I am not a thimble wearer but do like the feel of this one. The rubber sides can be used to grip a needle when you need a little extra traction.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mary Ellen's 'Best Press'

It's a wonderful life since 'Best Press' entered the sewing room! I grew up helping with the ironing, everything from shirts to underwear to bed sheets. How I wish I had this back then.

'Best Press' really makes ironing easy. I was amazed at how easily the creases disappeared from the fabric left folded in my stash for years and years. So this morning I went looking for some old linen and tried it on a wrinkly tablecloth. Ten presses across the cloth with a hot iron did nothing so I sprayed on 'Best Press'. The wrinkles were gone in 2 swipes. It's almost enough to pull the tablecloths out for Christmas!

'Best Press' is available in 3 sizes. Try the 473 ml (16 oz) size first ($9.99), because it comes with the spray, and then refill it from the 999.59 ml (33.8 oz) size for $18.69. If you are using it up quickly go for the 3.9L size (1 gal) which we special order so you receive 25% off the $56.26 regular price. There are several scents to choose from. Since I have allergies to flowery scents we order scentless or lavender. You can request Caribbean Beach, cherry or rose if they appeal to you. Check out the scents and sizes at

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Quarters

'Christmas Quarters' look like a present so whether you buy one for yourself or receive one as a gift, it will make you smile. We put 4 to 6 fat quarters in a clear bag and tie it with ribbon. Some days we have fun choosing the fat quarters to put in the bag so it is ready to go. Someone can choose the fat quarters so we can make a present especially for you.
Feel free to recycle the bags and make your own Christmas present for a quilter friend. Hmmmm....maybe I can reduce my stash by making presents this year and find some new stash additions by next Christmas.....

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quilter's Connection Magazine

Support a new Canadian magazine for quilters with a subscription! A Christmas present for you and the magazine publisher. There is a new issue coming anytime now so if your giver wants to put the first one in your stocking they can pick it up here. The magazine is sold only in quilt shops and not major retail stores.
I have a few names on my list of people who want me to save them a copy instead of getting a subscription.
Check it out at Look for the 'Among Brenda's Quilts' ad in the next edition.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Collins Project Travel Case

Looking for something special to put on your Christmas list? How about the Collins Project Travel Case?

In 4 different prints, this travel case measures 13.5" by 14" by 2.5" and sells for $52.99. It has a solid frame to protect your project. There is a removable shoulder strap and an identification card on the outside.

Inside there is a matching pincushion, vinyl zippered pockets for your notions and an elastic strap and buckle hold bits and pieces in place. This makes it the perfect way to organize your tools when you travel to a class.

We have the black/white/red version in the store now. If you want to check out the other 3 colour options go to and give us a call. We usually get for you in 2 days. Or, send your giver to get a gift certificate so you can personal choose your favourite.

There is a lesser priced but similar product from Sullivan's but you have to like bright pink. Email for more information.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fons & Porter Marking Tools

Choosing the right marking tool is like being lost in the forest. You get turned around every time you think you are headed in the right direction.

Fortunately for your Christmas stocking, Fons & Porter products have a number of products to suit different marking needs. For those who want to use pencil, their mechanical pencil makes a fine line that can be stitched over to cover it. The pencil lead comes in black and white with refills.

Or, they have water soluble graphite pencils that wash out. We have had a couple of quilts come in for quilting that were marked with pencil. The quilters were having trouble removing the pencil marks and would have loved the marks to wash out with water.

Brenda has been using the water soluble markers which look more like pencils. In fact the side of the marker says 'watersoluble all surface pencil'. The package comes with 1 white and one black. They can be sharpened to a point so you can keep sharp.

Remember always always always test the marking tool on a scrap before using it on a quilt!! Most water soluble products become permanent when ironed!! Be aware!