Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Let It Snow, Let It Snow

The sale started yesterday and there was quite a crowd.  Today there is a snow streamer coming off the lake so a narrow area is expecting 10-15 cm of snow.  The rest of the area will get less than 4 cm.  So it is a little quieter today but we are Canadian and it can take heavy snow to stop us!  Nellie will be digging in the snowdrifts soon.

The sale is 30% off all in-stock items: fabric, notions, books, thread and batting.  We have to count whatever is left starting January 1.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Last But Not Least

Wishing you the happiest of everything.  No matter which holiday you celebrate, may it bring you together with friends and family.  These are the people you quilt for and want to wrap in your warm quilty hugs wherever they are.  Your quilts are the way you go with them and try to keep them warm and safe.
We are off today to spend time with family.  We are at that stage where there are little ones again to remind us of Christmas past and make us look to the future.
The store is closed but, as a last minute present, you could make someone call, leave a message with phone number so we can call later to get a credit card number for the gift certificate you can pick up at the store during the sale.
Closed until Tuesday December 27 when the 30% off everything sale starts.

Merry Quilting!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Monthly Programs

Just one more reminder we are closed tomorrow.  It is the first regular working day we will be closed in 7 years.  We are closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

One more idea today.  We have a couple Block of the Month programs next year.  ‘Ginger Rose’ is an 8 month program from Andover Fabrics and designed by Nancy Murty.  Each month you receive a pattern and fabric.  The first 6 months are blocks.  You make 2 of each block.  Month seven is the sashing and month 8 is the outside borders.  The cost will be $23 per month.  You are welcome to come and sew here once a month at no additional cost. 

The second program uses Stonehenge fabric.  Here is what Northcott says about the program:

Northcott has partnered with From Marti Michell to create a BOM program that is the best of both worlds: Marti’s tried-and-tested comprehensive program combined with our outstanding Stonehenge fabrics, in two show-stopping colorways – Neutral & Brights. In either color combination, this double/queen-size quilt is sure to take center stage in any room. The suggested start date is April 2012, but sign-ups start now at your favorite quilt shop. We hope you enjoy this special program as much as we enjoyed putting it together. It promises to be a real winner!
I'm waiting for the information and store sample kit to arrive.  When that happens I will be able to determine the cost. 

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Time to Relax and Sit Upon

Reminder that we are closed Christmas Eve to spend time with family.  The sale starts on Tuesday December 27 and ends Saturday December 31.  Every regular priced item in stock is 30%0ff. 

As I write I am testing the ‘Gypsy Sit Upon’.  It still feels strange but I can feel my core strengthening as I wiggle around.  If it works like the packages says I may be able to plan my massage therapist visits a little farther apart.  It says:

A softly inflated flexible disc used in chair seats to prevent fatigue, reduce pressure on the tail-bone, and help relieve lower back pain, while strengthening the core muscles and improving posture. The Sit Upon can be used on hard or soft chairs, recliners, car seats - anywhere you sit for long periods of time! The Sit Upon should be placed in the chair with its smooth side facing down. The side with knobby texture allows air flow for cooler seating and promotes improved blood circulation. Because it is filled with air, it will stay soft and comfortable, and "one size fits all"!

I think I need to get more comfortable on it before trying to do piecing that requires accuracy.  Wiggle one way and you could end up with a wobbly seam…lol... but it is fun.  Last night I tried it on my sewing chair and then upstairs on a soft chair.   It felt like it kept my spine aligned a little better but I will need to keep using it to feel longer benefits.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Idea Source

Reminder we are closed on Saturday December 24.  We will reopen on Tuesday December 27 for our year end sale.
Days are passing quickly and shopping time is shorter.  There is still time to pick up stocking stuffers.  Print out previous posts or email them to your loved ones who are still stumped as to what a quilter would like to receive. 
I went grocery shopping for, I hope, the last time before the big day.  As always I checked out the magazine aisle.  Several new winter issues are out so there is a good chance you can suggest a magazine to that last minute shopper who doesn't have time to get to your favourite quilt shop. 
We carry the new Winter issue of ‘Quilter’s Connection Magazine’, a Canadian magazine.

Or, there was one at the grocery store called ‘Quilt Trends’ which says it is the premier issue.  No matter the title, a magazine always features the newest fabrics and techniques to inspire you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Specialty Rulers

Creative Grids has been making rulers for a while now.  You recognize them because they are clear plastic with black markings.  There are fuzzy looking circles on the underside which have texture to keep the ruler from slipping. 
So now they are creating interesting specialty rulers for those who have all the basics and are looking for something different.  I ordered three of the double strip rulers last summer but didn’t have much chance to try them so I took the 600 ruler to the retreat in November.  I figured this one might appeal to those crazy quilters making the ‘One Block Wonder’ quilts (make multiple hexagons from a large print fabric).  You could cut multiple stacks without moving the ruler.  The strips would be cut 4 ½”. 

When I read the instructions I discovered the ruler is designed to use with 2 ½” strips.  Sew two strips together and use the ruler to cut out accurate triangles.  The top point is missing, i.e. flat, so matching triangles is much easier.  I sewed together the two strips, cut the unit into two pieces 20” long and inverted one strip over the other, butting the seam allowances.  I was able to cut pairs.  The hexagons went together nicely.  To build them into a wallhanging I cut background triangles the same size and used markings on the ruler to cut half triangles to finish each row.  I added a small border in the background colour and a wider outer border.  Here is what I came up with:

There is a double strip ruler for 45o kaleidoscope blocks, perfect for traditional kaleidoscope or spider web quilts.  In a new flyer are new rulers for Storm At Sea, Drunkard’s Path and others.  You can check them out at   Go to the Notions tab, click, click on Vendors, click on the letter C and choose Creative Grids from the list.  I will be ordering from this US supplier in January so let me know if there is something you need for one of the forthcoming snow days…
I decided Nellie needed a special pillowcase for her store pillow and made it yesterday.  Here is Nellie trying it out.  Notice she is cuddling a matching squeaky toy.


Monday, December 19, 2011


What do buttons have to do with quilting and why would a quilter want buttons in her stocking?  Maybe not every quilter would but there are quite a few of us who would love it.  Buttons are little and don't take much storage.  One button costs less than a metre of fabric and most fat quarters. 

Growing up we had a red plastic cigar container that held buttons.  Those buttons were memories of clothing worn and made.  They provided hours of fun sorting and sharing stories of their origin.  Many families saved buttons from old clothing in case one was needed to repair a clothing item. 

Later, I moved out and met Tim.  I didn't have my own button container so when we were at an auction I bid on someone else's collection.  I thought one of the 4 containers would be enough but the auctioneer put them up as one lot.  I was the lucky winner, taking home all four!  There were 8126 buttons in all.  (Not that I took the time to count them all!)

Since then I have added more from yard sales and other auctions.  Old sewing boxes and machine cabinets store all kinds of button surprises.  In July 2004 we purchased the store but didn't start the quilt shop until March 2005.  During January and February the antique business at the store was slow so I took the time to sort my button collection into colours.  Now, whenever someone comes in and asks about buttons, we pull out the jars.  After dumping the buttons into a tray, the customer can pick out the perfect ones.  Fill a bag for $1.

This fall I made Brenda's 'Everything Goes Bag".  She added a D-ring as a decorative element on the pocket but all I could think of adding was buttons.  However most of the buttons in my collection are small for such a grand bag.  So I had to add more large buttons.  Dill makes a line of funky large plastic buttons so we started an inventory of them. 

So at your family celebrations this season why not pull out the button jar and share stories for the next generation to take with them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Gift of Time

What quilter couldn't use more time?  Now you are visiting friends and quilters bring along your calendar and plan to spend some time with them next year.

March 23-25, 2012     Material Girls Retreat                  $250

Spend your days sewing and laughing with quilters.  Cost includes 2 nights accommodation based on double occupancy with breakfast, meals and snacks on Saturday, individual sewing table, retreat project and more.  Hosted at the Cambridge Conference Centre.  Sew all day and all night if you can.  No cooking, no housework, just a ton of fun.

April 12-14, 2012     Quilter's Shop Tour

Book these dates with a car load of friends and tour the area quilt shops.  Each of the nine stores will feature 20% off regular priced fabrics.  Pick up a free pattern at each store.  Get your passport stamped to win the $1000 Grand Prize (about $110 to each store), the west $500 prize or the east $400 prize.  Each store has a daily prize worth $50, ballot with purchase. 
I have been ordering new fabrics with April events in mind. 

April 26-28, 2012      Piecemakers Quilt Show            St Marys ON

I am a member of  the Huron-Perth guild and am looking forward to being a vendor there too....five minutes later...better get going!  I have a few things to finish and get registered in January or February...yikes...

May 1-5, 2012      Quilts of Denmark                    Ailsa Craig ON

The Ailsa Craig Community Quilt Festival group are bringing the quilts and quilters of Denmark to our area this May.  Look for more information and book workshops through

July               Yours To Discover Shop Hop

Plan now by starting at  

That should be enough for now.  Looks like we are in for tons of fun this spring! 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

More Little Tools

Last week a notions sales rep dropped in so I ordered a few new things to blog about.

1.        Heirloom Crease Marker-  it’s a Hera marker made of plastic.  Quilters use them to mark a temporary quilting line when marking as you go.  It can be used for creasing fabric folds or paper folds.  It can be used for rubbing on stencils or stickers.  $5.99

2.        Heirloom Finger Presser- often seem in wood but this one is plastic.  A quilter will use it to hand press seams until she feels like going to the ironing board.  It is useful for folding and pressing by hand when paper piecing.  $5.99

3.       LED Lighted Tweezer and Magnifier-  earlier I included magnifying tweezers but these go one step farther.  The package says ‘handy lighted tweezers for home, craft and hobbies.  I like the idea of using it for beading.  $9.99

4.       Sulky Tool Kit-  as they say on the website “contains every tool the home sewer most frequently uses and needs. All in one convenient, easy-to-pack and carry kit. No more searching for your tools. They will be right within reach or with you all the time whenever you need them.”  $32.95


Some day I'll figure out how to get all these pictures lined up nicely.  Have a great day!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Quick! I Need a Gift!

We have so many shop samples with fabric that is no longer available or ideas we are done featuring.  If you need a finished item, let us help you.  Prices are below reasonable and cost of materials.  There are some unquilted samples for those with the time to quilt.  Here are a few:
4 placemats $15
Bagette  $10
 Tablerunner quilted by Tim

That's a few of the possibilities.  They will be available during the sale,Tuesday December 27 to Saturday December 31, along with a number of others.  We would appreciate your help in reducing the number of store samples.  Thank you! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rulers + BlocLoc

A quilter can never have enough rulers.  After the basic rectangles and squares, you start to collect special shapes.  For the beginner, here is the order to suit many projects:

6 1/2" by 24", 12 1/2" square, 6 1/2" square, 3 1/2" by 24", 4 1/2" square if you like working small, 20 1/2" square

After that you can collect rulers suited projects.  There are hundreds of rulers and templates to collect.

However, if you are experiencing challenges, here are some rulers to help you trim to size for bias squares and flying geese.  I know I have trouble cutting and accurately piecing those squares and triangles with fractions having 8 on the bottom- 5/8" 7/8".  So I sew them bigger and trim them to the perfect size.  No one knows and I can be more accurate at the next step.  Three years ago at Quilt Market in Pittsburgh we met a couple selling their own brand called BlocLoc.  They designed and manufactured themselves.  This fall they were at a trade show in Toronto and now have a Canadian distributor so the rulers will be more accessible to Canadian quilters.  They say
  •  Bloc_Loc™ is a revolutionary new channel technology to allow you to accurately "square-up" a half square triangle block while eliminating slipping and ruler rock completely.
  • Flying Geese:1.5" x 3" Flying Geese Square up ruler. Fitted with the Bloc_Loc groove Locks on to both seam allowances at the same time. Square up your Flying Geese blocks in less time and with far greater accuracy every time! Works on all Flying Geese block methods. You will never take the top of a Goose again!! 1/4" seam allowance all the way round. Mistake free!!

Check them out at   There you can see the video demonstration.  We have a variety of ruler sizes and combinations.  I'd love to demonstrate.

PS  I am a little late today as I attended the Poplar Hill Lions Ham and Turkey Bingo last night.  Unfortunately I didn't win a ham or a turkey.  As Tim says, it would have been cheaper just to buy one at the grocery store.  But then you aren't supporting the work the Lions do in our community.    Maybe at the Easter bingo.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time To Learn

A quilter needs to give herself the best gift of all, time to learn.  No author, artist or composer created their best work without years of study, learning and development.  It became apparent to me when reading and looking at the life work of Picasso.  He took years to develop his technique, going through periods of exploration to determine and create his greatest works.  When I see a name on a class list or when someone registers for a class, I think ‘What can I teach her?’  Turns out she is taking the class because it is a technique or skill she wants to learn more about and see if it is something that will become a part of her style.  Or, sometimes we just want to have fun with other quilters. 
Everyone is at a different place in their journey as a quilter.  Beginners should be encouraged to enjoy their progress and not compare their work to the quilter who has tons of experience.  A quilter who makes exquisite log cabins may take an applique class for the first time.  You can always try it and decide if it is the first and last project you will ever make in that technique (insert feathered star blocks for me).   Maybe quilting is a way for us to connect to and make friends with in a less stressful way than with family and work. 

This time of year with its long days and dull weather makes me think too much.  (see above).  Yesterday I started cleaning and sorting.  Three bags of books that all friends have read, three bags of toiletries and gifts from the gifts-just-in-case-we-need-something stash to the women's shelter and 2 bags of magazines to the guild made little dent.  Today I will lighten the load of stuff some more.  Tomorrow will be interesting new tools.....promise!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Pillowcases are a big thing since some smart cookie figured out the easier way to sew them.  Called the hot dog, sausage or burrito method, this technique makes fast sewing of the top cuff.  Sew a French or enclosed seam down the side and along the bottom to finish it off.  Email us at for the directions or search on YouTube for a video.

The London Friendship Quilters’ Guild made a huge pile of pillowcases for a residential home for children.  Each child having to stay gets his/her own unique pillowcase to remind them someone is thinking about them and cares.

I make pillowcases to use as wrapping paper for toys.  I tie it closed with ribbon.  It takes as long to unwrap as paper, you can put the toys back in the case to tidy up and the recipient has a good quality fabric pillowcase to last the year.  I also recommend them as a couch napping pillowcase.  When we had room for an actual couch I made a flannel pillowcase and enjoyed many a Sunday afternoon nap on it.

Do you have trouble thinking of gifts for young men?  We have football, hockey, soccer, basketball, skateboarding and gaming fabric so you can make them a single or pair of pillowcases.  Anne made up some pillowcase kits in football team colours.  She made a sample in her Denver Bronco team colours.

Pillowcases are a great beginner sewing project.  So if you are teaching young ones to sew, it is simple and useful.

We have put all Christmas fabric, patterns, whatever, on sale for 30% off the regular price.  That makes the Christmas pillowcase kits $6.30 plus tax.  Since you can sew them up in 15 minutes you can have enough made for wrapping awkward shaped gifts in no time. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Thread, Thread and More Thread

A quilter can never have enough thread.  No matter what you use, always choose the best quality you can afford.  The old saying ‘You get what you pay for’ applies to thread.  Why spend hours on a quilt you treasure and use cheap thread that will break, deteriorate or wear the fabric?  You can never have enough thread so it is something your giver will know you are going to use, especially on projects that use a much thread in reverse sewing as straight ahead stitching.

So the question is ‘What is the best kind of thread?’  The first answer is always, ‘Whatever kind your machine likes.’  Somehow each sewing machine works better with one brand of thread than another.  It has little to do with the manufacturer because the same brand of machine can work best with different brands of thread.  If a project is not going well with one thread and you have tried the list of fixes (rethread the machine, change the machine needle, clean the bobbin and bobbin casing), switch to a different brand.  You never have to blame yourself again.  Give the spool to the cat to play with or use it for basketball practise.  Try something different and tell the sewing machine how much happier it will be.  One reason we carry King Tut and not Sulky Blendables  is the longarm machine has a definite preference. 

I prefer to sew with cotton thread.  I like the way it feels and it never melts with a hot hot iron.  But there are different weights to thread.  There is no industry standard for weights but something with a 50wt is great for piecing.  If you are sewing straight lines any 50 wt will do.  If you are sewing multiple points that meet in the middle, Superior Masterpiece is definitely a finer 50wt so it really takes up less room in the seam allowance.  If you are sewing 8 pointed stars and are blaming the fabric for all your troubles, try switching to a finer thread.  It’s amazing what a difference it makes.  I’ve even set aside my cotton fixation and used a Wonderfil DecoBob 80wt thread.  But then, going back to the saying about buying the best you can afford will lead you to Silk 100wt by Superior.  You could even be tempted to try a Mariner’s Compass! 

There is machine quilting thread and hand quilting thread.  There are metallic threads and rayon threads.  My head is now spinning.  There is so much to know and tell.  I’ll save the rest for blogs in the new year.  Hmm… how about some demo days or play dates?!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Little Means a Lot

Last Thursday evening the store was invited to bring our wares to sell at the London Friendship Quilters' Guild.  Thanks to Anne for her help!
Not only were we able to meet with quilting friends but we got to witness their generosity as well.  Members brought in a stack of placemats to donate to 'Meals on Wheels' in London.  The recipients will get a beautiful placemat to enjoy through the long winter days, knowing someone is thinking about them.  I forget the total number but it has to be close to 100.  The stack had too many for one person to carry. 
Placemats are quick to make up to show someone you care about them.  I'm thinking about a senior without a partner or a couple who don't have family near by, a student or young person on their own, the frazzled single mother who is your favourite cashier or anyone who needs to know someone takes time to think about them.  They only need one or 2 placemats, not the whole matching set of table decor.
I like making placemats out of fat quarters with no binding.  I get to interact with fabrics I love but will never make into a quilt, try a new machine quilting pattern and use up bits and pieces of batting that are too small for other projects but too big to discard (can't bring myself to say 'throw out').  Here's how:
1.  Take the number of fat quarters you want to use for the tops.  I use 4, 6 or 8 but you could use 3, 5, etc if they are not being given as a set.  Press, stack and press together.  Eight is a pile is tricky so use a new large cutting blade.
2.  On paper, draw rectangles to represent the finished size of placemat.  If making 4 placemats, divide to rectangle into 4 sections, unevenly.  If 6, divide into 6.  If 8, divide into 8.  Choose the one you like best as the master pattern. 

3.  Cut the pile of fat quarters into the pieces of your place.  Shuffle the piles.  Leave pile one alone.  From pile two, take the top fabric and move to the bottom.  On pile three, take the top 2 fabrics and move them to the bottom of the pile.  On pile four, take the top three fabrics and move them to the bottom.  Continue this way until all piles are shuffled so each placemat has one of each fabric. 
4.  Each layer is a placemat.   Sew the pieces back together.  You may have to trim some edges to make them even but this is not an exact method and all placemats don't have to be identical. 
5.  Trim all placemats to be the same size.  We have a 20.5" ruler to make it easier.
6.  I like to layer the batting, back right side up and top right down on the backing.  Sew around the outside edge, leaving an opening to turn through to the right side.  Trim batting to seamline.  Turn.  Press and topstitch around the outside edge 1/8" and the 1/4" for stability. 
7.  Machine quilt.  I like to try different designs.  I don't do much machine quilting so I like to try different ideas.  In a hurry, I go zig zaggy all over.
Here are 4 fat quarters.  They are quilted in rectangles (presents), tress, icicles and ski slopes (wavy overall)

Here are 6 fat quarters.  I still want to try 8.  I figure they would look good placed in the middle of a table for a modern style tablerunner look.
So makes lots, give away many and know you have brightened some one's world.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Children's Book Fabric

Quilters tour quilt shops looking for fabric.  Shop owners choose from thousands and thousands of swatches to build a selection of fabric for their store.  It stands to reason each shop has a different selection based on the owners' preference and how she/he sees the world.  Personally, I cannot work in pastels or little prints.  I try to order some for the store but with limited success.  If you visit The Marsh Store you will see this when looking at baby fabrics.  I look at the lines of beautiful baby fabrics but can't make a decision so go to the brights and feel at home. 
Having spent most of my elementary teaching career in the school library means I can decide on fabrics that are book or game related.  I am so happy quilt fabric manufacturers are finding and printing work by popular authors and illustrators on fabric.  What a great way to connect a child's environment to traditional books and get her/him hooked on reading.  You still have time to make all your favourite little ones a pillowcase from bookish fabric.  Here are some to choose from:

Eric Carle- The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Grouchy Ladybug
Eric Hill-    Spot the dog books, popular with younger ones

Noddy- from the British series

Veggie Tales- also on television

Dr Seuss- Cat In the Hat, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

Berenstain Bears- charm squares and layer cakes with bolts due in February 

Thomas the Train-   I'll be making pillowcases to wrap some Christmas gifts but don't tell...

I best get off and sewing. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Scissors of All Sorts

Scissors are a great gift for quilters to give or receive.  They are the one gift you can get in multiples and keep. You need scissors in your sewing basket, in your workshop kit, by your sewing chair and for travelling.  You need scissors for fabric, paper and special projects.  You need snips, shears and needle nosed.  Here are some we have:
Pretty scissors
Applique Scissors
Little pretty scissors
Large Spring loaded
Great basic

You get the idea.  Tools can be taken for granted so take time to clean your scissors blades.  I've heard cutting paper doesn't dull scissors but does leave a coating on them which makes them feel less sharp.  Wash with soap and water to remove the coating.  I will put them in the oven on a very low temperature to dry any water that could cause rust.  Turn on the oven no higher than 140|F, set the timer for 3-4 mintues and turn off the oven when  the timer goes.  That way you remember to turn the heat off.  I leave the scissors in for awhile longer.  Low temperature shouldn't melt plastic handles. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Little Things To Make Quilting Easier and Safer

Here are a few little tools to make your work easier or less painful.

    Thermal Thimbles!  Finally something for those of us whose fingers get in the way when ironing.  Silicone finger tips, like the old rubber fingers used in offices, protect you when you want to press tiny pieces and need to get a finger in close to help keep the seam flat.  The package has 3 sizes, one of each, for $5.99. 
 This is the Fons & Porter Luma Lighter.  It makes threading machine needles a snap. This spring-loaded threader has an ergonomic soft grip handle that fits comfortably in the hand. An added feature is the LED light for better visibility.  If your machine doesn't have a needle threader and you have reached a certain age, this is for you!  It is $14.59

Tweezers with Magnifying Glass... and it's attached!  No more looking for glasses.  The tweezer part can swing away from the tweezers making the magnification larger.  I think about removing the itty-bitty pieces of paper when paper piecing.  Maybe I could use the tweezers to hold thick thread while I try to thread a needle.  I would save looking for a second pair of glasses.  Or finding and pulling out tiny bits of thread caught around the bobbin casing.  Time and trouble savers for only $7.49.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Among Brenda's Quilts

Brenda Miller has been a friend for years.  I knew her as an artist through the Strathroy Art Group.  She had worked at the store before she developed her pattern line that keeps her on the move these days. 
On a trip to California Brenda dropped in to visit Hoffman fabrics and has established a working relationship with them.  We get excited at the thought of free fabric but imagine it arriving with the expectation there will new quilts and bags created, made and the pattern published on a very short timeline!  I wouldn't know where to start and would be totally overwhelmed.  That usually results in little getting done.
This year Brenda has shown her versatility in designing embroidered quilts, strip friendly quilts and bags.
 On Monday I started 'The Noel Advent Calendar'.  If you are interested, rather than a traditional class, you could book a time to get started and come once a month to sit, stitch and work on the embroidery.  When you are ready to go on, advice is available.  Now that the long snowy days of winter are due to arrive it is a great time to start a handwork project.  Snuggle under a quilt with a bright light close by and relax with a needle and thread.
We have 'Granny's Attic Toy Shop', 'Angels Watching Over Me' and 'Snow Angels Pillow' to try. 
Check Brenda's video on YouTube and learn how easy these quilts are.

The 'Everything Goes Bag' is Brenda's newest bag pattern.  There are pockets on the outside and enough pockets on the inside to carry all the modern technical devices (phone, netbook and tablet). 

I made a Christmas version to take shopping.   There is a zippered inside pocket for extra security too.  A 'new to quilting' foam batting makes the outside firm so it sits up and is less floppy than other bags.  The foam dried out really quickly when the strap didn't get entirely into the car and was driven close to the wet road from downtown London to the south end.  Just so you know and don't have to try that yourself.

Go to Brenda's website, to see the new 'Bali Cream Crackle' and 'Bali Fruit Swirl' using the new line of Bali Pops while I get breakfast.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Like Christmas

Some days it's just like Christmas here.  Months ago the sale reps came and fabulous fabrics were ordered. Time goes by, work gets done and suddenly, one day, the delivery truck pulls up to the door.  A big heavy box comes in, all tightly wrapped and hiding its secrets.  You try to remember what you put on the list, knowing the supplier could have sent all or part or just bits of what you want.  It's such a surprise and just like Christmas.    Today we got:

2 boxes of new Bali Pops: 6 Key Lime and 6 Watermelon.  We still have Plum Pudding, Cherry, Blueberry and Coconut.
A Hoffman colour card for the over 360 Bali watercolours.  Now we should be able to tell what colour sample you brought in and want to match!

Berenstain Bears charm packs and layer cakes from Moda.  We ordered bolts of several prints but they aren't due for release until the new year, February.

and we received some bolts of this, with just three backorders.

Summer Breeze II by Sentimental Studios for Moda
Bask in the beauty of warm, sunny yellows, soft sky blues and deep cobalt as refreshing as a dip in the crisp, cool ocean waves. Flourishing florals, Jacobeans, and delightfully airy blossoms will whisk you away with the Summer Breeze.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I Love Books

All kinds of books.  When I was an elementary teacher I spent most of my years as a teacher-librarian.  I marvelled that I got paid and a budget to go and buy books for all ages in all subject areas.  I spent hours reading to children.  So would you be surprised to know I have about as many books as some guild libraries?  Now that we have a quilt shop I put all I learned about building a collection of library books into building a collection of fabric to suit a wide variety of quilters.  I wish we could have one of every quilt book but there wouldn't be room for fabric, notions and patterns.
Today I want to tell you about 2 books that I think are great reference tools to help you learn about choosing colours and designing quilts.
"A Fiber Artist's Guide to Color and Design" by Heather Thomas for Landauer Publishing
         Landauer has been putting out a series of books on the basics and beyond which have hardcovers but spiral bound inside.  This means the book lies flat as you are using it in your sewing room.  I love the way Heather has laid out the sections with clear language and great pictures.  She shows you all about colour with great quilts to show how each illustrates the use.  Then she goes into the elements and principles of design.  Finally there are practical workshops to let you experiment. 

'Adventures In Design" by Joen Wolfren for C&T Publishing
        This would be your next step in developing skills to apply to quilt making.  I will never get to this level but by reading the book and thinking how you might do the exercises has to help.  You get a deeper understanding of the quilters who create the works of art on display at major quilt shows, seen online or enjoyed in print. 

Lapel Stick-The Ultimate Accessory

This company has been putting alot of effort into getting quilters to use their product this past year.  And for good reason.  As someone who is glue stick challenged (as I usually end up with my fingers glued together and the pieces not sticking) this is a very useful product.  Rather than try to make up my own description, here is what the company says:

Ultimate Accessory for Quilters, Sewers, and Crafters

Temporary non-toxic acid-free fabric adhesive that goes on in seconds and dries clear for Quilting, Sewing, Crafting, and Embroidery - replaces baste stitching, pinning, tapes, spray adhesives, and stabilizers. No more messy sprays or getting stuck with pins and it won't gum up your needles or machines! LAPEL Stick is water soluble and safe to use on cottons, wool, polyester, blends, felt, linen, and leather.

Need I say more?!  Good, because it is Sunday morning, my one day of the week off.  I haven't had coffee yet, need to do some Christmas shopping, do laundry and get some groceries. Yikes, better run....

Friday, December 2, 2011

Frixion Pens

What a lot of chatter has been generated by quilters using these pens!  Pilot has been making these pens since 1986 (says their website) but some smart quilter introduced them to the world of quilting.  They are thermo-sensitive gel pens which are removed from paper by friction or from fabric by heat.  They come in a variey of colours but black and orange are the favourites at this shop.   If you haven't been following their use in the quilt world here is an update:

1.  Good news.  A gel pen that marks on fabric and is easily removed by running a warm iron over it.  Unlike water soluble pens, the ink is not set by heat.  Anyone who has run a hot iron over the blue marking pen knows how hard it is to get rid of the lines.

2.  Bad news.  After spending time marking you decided to give the fabric a little press and removed all the lines! 

3.  Good news.  The marks from Frixion pens reappear at -10C.  Place your fabric in the freezer and all will reappear.

4.  Bad news.  The quilt you shipped by airmail to the quilt show arrived with all the pen marks showing.

5.  Good news.  We learned that all the pen marks will wash out and you have no marks to reappear.  Wash quilts before shipping to shows.

That is the story so far.  If there are any more developments we will be sure to hear.  I still want to see if a hair dryer will remove the marks.  If you were to arrive at a show with your lines showing, it could be an easy fix in the hotel room.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

'Deck the Holly' Snap Sack

Need a hostess gift in a couple of hours?  Want a project you can start and finish just for fun?  Snap Sacks include a pattern and fabric for a small project.  All you add is thread, batting and time.
Anne made our sample of 'Deck the Holly'.  It includes all the fabric for the top and a cute red backing.  We have a demo die for the Accuquilt GO that cuts a Christmas tree, snowflake and holly with berries.  So for this Snap Sack we even precut the holly leaves and berries, with WonderUnder on the back.  Just peel, fuse and stitch!  That will save you about 20 minutes.
Feel free to use your own stash and make enough for all your holiday social engagements.  I was going to say you could start on next year's bazaar items but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves...but, then again, I have already ordered fabric for next Christmas.....

Welcome To December 2011

It's time again to think about holiday gifts for quilters to give and receive.  There are some great new tools, gorgous new fabrics and wonderful new books and patterns.  How can we have so much fun?! 

My number one favourite new tool this year is Clover's Wonder Clips'.    Clover says:
The Wonder Clips are great alternatives to pins, especailly when working with heavy weight fabrics, piles and vinyls. It can hold layered sections of sewing projects such as handle connectors to handbags and piping without distortion. It holds quilt bindings while sewing and it's easy to see and easy to find when dropped on the floor. Works well with Sergers!

I love them when making baskets or bags.  They are like a clothespin and hold multiple layers in place.  There is no shifting of layers as there is when pinning.  For binding, they clamp on and have no sharp points.  They say there are 1/4" and 1/2" markings on the flat bottom so you can line them up for even topstitching but I'm still working on perfecting that use.  It may take awhile. 

They come in packages of 10 or 50.  At $7.99 for 10,  they make a great hostess gift for quilting friends.