Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Last Minute!!

Today, December 24, we are closing at 1 pm.  If someone is still shopping for you, have them call and arrange for a gift certificate.  You can pick it up during the sale and put it to good use.  It will be worth 30% more!

Year End Sale

Friday December 27 to Tuesday December 31
10 am to 5 pm
30% off all regular priced merchandise
Some other special offers
Thank you for your support.  Happy Holidays!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Stocking Stuffers

Here are a few last minute stocking stuffers you could get:

On the left, a cute pair of embroidery scissors with a retractable tape measure.  The tape measure has a magnet on the back.  I wouldn't put it on the sewing machine but if you have metal on your table or filing cabinet you would have a better chance of finding it when stuck there.

On the right is a Blingaling  LED flashlight.  It has a hanging hook.  One customer bought it for her elderly mother to hang on her bathroom for late night walks down the hall.  There is a small magnet on the back to attach it to metal.  There is a smaller band of lights on the narrow end.  I used one to find the blue box late one windy night.  It was way down the road by the conservation area.  I would want one if I parked in a parking lot and needed to walk to my car at night.  The full lights would blind someone who looked directly at it.

On the left is the mini Seam Fix seam ripper.  The white end pulls out the thread bits left after picking. 

On the right are Wonder Clips.  Most people use them for binding.  I love them for bag construction with foam batting.  They clamp on tightly where pins bend trying to get them through all the layers.  They hold multiple layers of fabric at tricky points too.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Block of the Month Programs

Our most attended classes are based on block of the month programs.  Each program is designed to happen over a set number of months: 8, 12 or 16 months usually. 

Some programs are a specific quilt done in specific fabrics.  The cost of the quilt is spread over the number of months evenly so you don't have to invest all the fabric at once.  Each month you receive the pattern for that part, the fabric to make it and often a class to teach you a skill.  At the end, your receive all the fabric for borders and binding but it has been paid for over the months of the program. 

Some programs are for a specific quilt but you can choose your own fabric and make it in your style.  You invest in the fabric up front but over the course of the program you learn tricks and tips for improving your quilting skills. 

For the coming year we have a couple of programs.  One is already spoken for so we can go on to the others.

'Words To Live By' by Primitive Gatherings and Moda.  The quilt features wool applique with pieced border.  It is in Primitive Gatherings colours and uses fabrics from previous fabric lines.  I found this description on the Primitive Gatherings website. 

  The quilt finishes 86"x86" and will include...12-wool applique blocks, one center applique  block, 4 border applique blocks, all the setting and border triangles, inner border and binding. The blocks each will have an inked word, flowers etc. All will be done on a cotton background with wool applique. The 12 wool blocks are12inches and the center block is 24" This will run 14 months.

I am waiting for more information but am really looking forward to the wool applique.

'Designer Showcase' Block of the Month program for beginners

This is a 16 month program. We will help you choose the colours that suit your taste and décor.  Here is their description

Designer Showcase Sampler is here! Sixteen talented designers created an original 12” quilt block that showcases their special talents. Read a little about each designer as you follow the directions to complete the blocks. Quilting techniques range from Flying Geese and Half-Square and Quarter-Square triangles, to Pinwheels, Log Cabin construction and more. Finishing at approximately 75” square when sashing and cornerstones are added, The Designer Showcase Sampler is a unique quilt that is sure to please!

Watch for details or drop in and ask for more information. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Perfect Baste

New Web Basting Spray!
No smell! -- No spotting!
Temporary Spray Adhesive for Textiles. The web spray pattern means less mess and better coverage. Great for appliqué, quilting , sewing and various paper crafts. Spray on the back of batting, appliqué pieces, paper pieces, patterns, templates and more and place your project in the perfect location for a temporary hold.
CFC free, Acid free, transparent.

Yes, I did copy this from a supplier's website.  I like this spray because it is a little less costly than other sprays, you can see where you have sprayed and it has less spray over.  Yes, it still gums up your needle a little but it is easy to wipe off the needle between stitching.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cut Loose Press

I shop Canadian first whenever I can.  With all the plant closures and job losses I think it is important to support Canadian companies.

Having said that, I will order from US distributors at times.  One, Checker Distributors, came up with a great idea.  They are printing 1 page patterns at an affordable price.  Of course, each pattern has items you need to make it but I try to order the ones for tools you already have for other projects or things you may have bought and don't know how to use. 

Brenda Miller of 'Among Brenda's Quilts' designed this pattern using the rectangle ruler.

So when she designed this CLP pattern, I knew it would make good use of the same tool.

So, this runner 'Modern Mosaic' is proof that even an experienced quilter needs to read instructions.  This version is number 4!   Version 1- I looked at the picture, said "I made the other pattern, who needs to read."  Result was all the colours in the wrong places and a full set of triangles cut wrong (if you do this and use metric fat quarters you have enough in a fat quarter to recut one set of triangles).  Version 2- I read the instructions but made poor colour choices for the mediums and stopped reading before I cut one set of triangles wrong.  Version 3- I choose the right colours for the right places and cut all the triangles the right way the first time.  I did sew the rows together so the middle ones were going the wrong way but didn't see until the quilting was done.  Version 4- Read the pattern correctly, sewed the rows correctly, got the colour chosen correctly.  Moral of the story... read and follow the pattern!!

Excuse the photo.  Her pattern is the bottom one and the ruler you need is beside it.  The other pattern is for all the I Spy fabric you collected.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Calendars are a challenge to bring in to the store.  I never know which one will appeal to the greatest number of people.  Lots of people wait to buy it on sale and calendars cost more for shipping, usually.  We are outside the city and the big chain bookstores carried the same calendars. 

This year I ordered one, 'Primitive Quilts'.

I met the women from Primitive Quilts in Houston at Quilt Market.  I had such a great time talking to them I ordered the calendars.

The flash doesn't show off the warmth of the colours. 

The calendar doesn't have projects but references the magazine issue the project of the month was in.

There is a pocket at the bottom of the calendar to hold special notes and things.  I had never seen that before on a calendar.

I would be happy to order one of your choice if you let me know soon.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

You Know You're a Quilter When....

One snowy day when I was working on blog posts for December we started brainstorming endings for the thought, "you know you're a quilter when...".  The list is in the store somewhere but I am far away enjoying a rest.  Feel free to use any of the ones you find here or email me at themarshstore@execulink.com and I will add them to the list.

Here are a couple to start.

You know you're a quilter when:

Your stash has a home insulation R-value.
The lawyer says you have entered a binding contract and you are confused.
You enter a new city and want to use the GPS.  It automatically directs you to the nearest quilt shop.

Any ideas?

Hexagons and More

Hexagons are popular once again.  Only this time, there are tools and quiltmakers ready to help you piece easily and quickly.

Moda introduced Honeycombs this year.  These are precut hexagons that finish about 6".  There is a hard plastic template on the back with holes to mark the seam allowance points.  I am taking these with me when we travel.  I can hand sew anytime and will have a little quilt ready in no time.  Watch for photos.  For ideas faster, visit the Moda blog called Moda Bakeshop for free patterns.

Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts has been thinking about these and more.  Her tool, Hex N More, makes 4 sizes of hexagons, 60 degree triangles, half hexagons and more.  This fall at Quilt Market she introduced her new tool, Sidekicks.  Here is our display of her tools and some patterns.

Creative Grids has a new hexagon trim tool that works like the Pineapple Trim tool.  It makes sewing hexagons easier too.  Go to the Creative Grids USA website to see an instructional video.  I haven't ordered these yet.  Would you like me to?  Email through the website for The Marsh Store and let me know. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Woolly Woolly Things

The Marsh Store has wool things for quilters.  Brenda introduced a new pattern with your knitting friends in mind.  I started collection sheepish fabric so have a few fun choices.  I made a store sample of her 'Woolly Woolly'. 

We started a selection of wool charm squares and hand dyed bundles from In the Patch designs.  I met the designer in August and had a wonderful chat about wool.  I would show you the Christmas ornaments I am working on, but not until I have given some away.  I will be beading them later today. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Make a Better Tote Bag

There are tons and tons of patterns for tote bags; free, online, designer created patterns, quilt as you go and more.  No matter how I make them, I always like to use foam batting.

Foam batting is made by several companies and each has its own merits.  All brands are foam between 2 layers of stabilizer. Some stabilizers are woven, some not and some are fusible.  The batting is easy to sew through. 

I first started using the batting when my friend Brenda, of 'Among Brenda's Quilts and Bags', designed her bags with it.  I have several of her 'Everything Goes Bag'.  The current version is made with Robert Kaufman Christmas fabric.

I also used it for my version of her 'My Monster Bag'.

Back to tote bags, I used it in this charm tote bag and notice how it stands up.  No bending down to the floor to grab this one.

Or this one.  Both of these bags are Whistlepig Creek patterns.

The foam batting scraps make wonderful makeup bags or travel bags where the extra protection of the foam cushions more fragile items.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Stonehenge Rainbows

Northcott's Stonehenge line keeps getting better and better.  This year they have added Rainbow brights and co-ordinates.  These are great for kids quilts, art quilts and all things bright. 

This photo has to be extra large so you enjoy all the luscious brightness, so needed on these short days. 

These fabrics will be included during the Year End Inventory sale.  The sale start Friday December 27 and runs every day through to 5 pm Tuesday December 31.  I will be working on Sunday December 29 but be nice if you come.  It's my day off and my birthday but I will be here for you.
The sale is 30% off all regular priced inventory. 

Coming in January:  Stonehenge Rainbow brights in flannel and Rainbow pastels.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Diamond Rect Tool by Deb Tucker

I always wanted to make a 'Storm At Sea' quilt in blue and white.  But I don't like templates and like to sew big and trim to size (see post about pineapple log cabins too).  Thank you to all the quilters who are thinking of me and designing tools to make it possible!

Deb Tucker of Studio 180 keeps designing tools to make it possible for me to fulfill my quilting dreams.  This year at Quilt Market in Houston, I was thrilled to see her newest tool. 

You need to cut the centre diamond accurately so the clear instructions and diagrams helped make it possible.  You need to sew an accurate 1/4" seam when adding the small side triangles but that works out after a couple of tries.  Then you trim the triangles using the tool so you have perfect seam allowances which makes perfect points.

I tried a 'Storm At Sea' block.  The Diamond Rects made the sides pieces work well.  I used her Square2 ruler for the square in a square and came up with this:

This is a corner square.  There is another one in the diagonally opposite corner.  Between comes all the other colours of the colour wheel.  I designed it using EQ6 so will show you if and when the quilt is pieced.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pineapple Trim Tool

I love log cabin quilts and have made quite a few but I never thought I could make a pineapple log cabin block.  Thanks to Creative Grids for another great tool to make our piecing easier.

I followed a pattern for fabric selection and colour placement.  This runner is all fruit colours in light and dark Kona cotton.  We have the border fabric used in the pattern photo.  I can imagine doing a 2, 3 or 4 colour block for a larger quilt top.  It was that easy and accurate!

Google 'pineapple quilt images' and see what you can make.  There is a new book on order all about pineapple quilts.  Watch for it too.  Hmm, maybe a scrappy one with all the little leftovers?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Books

Who doesn't like a new book at Christmas?  This series I ordered at Quilt Market.  They sell for under $20 and have about 11 or more projects in them.  Most projects are taken from other books by this publisher so check inside. 
Jacquie Gering (see yesterday's blog post) designed the cover project for 'Table Toppers'.
The men's travel bag in front had PUL or waterproof fabric inside. 
We have several more titles.
I met Lynette Anderson at Quilt Market.  I am a fan of her fabric!  The 'Mending Fences' fabric line is coming in January and is featured in this book.  She has changed fabric companies and is with RJR fabrics now.  Her 'Quilter's Garden' fabric line is booked to come in March.  There is a free pattern on the RJR website.  Saw the quilt.  Love it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Jacquie Gering Is Coming

Here is something new to add to your Christmas list.  Someone, you or a loved one, can order online for either event.  Go to Hyggeligt website for tickets starting December 12, 2013.  The links will be open tomorrow.

As of 3 pm Thursday December 12, the workshop is full.  Watch and listen in January to see if we can book another date for an additional workshop.

I'm still not a blogging expert so the links may not work, starting December 12.  So use the information to get you to Hyggeligt and go from there.  and, don't mind the photo placement.  It's one of those days.

Jacquie Gering is a modern quilter whose name is starting to pop up frequently in quilting blogs and magazines.  She has a pattern in the latest 'The Quilt Life' magazine, a free pattern for a tree skirt on the blog SewMamaSew and her own blog (google Tallgrass Prairie).  Her book, 'Quilting Modern' may already be on your Christmas list.  Last night I discovered she made the cover quilt for the book, "We Love Color".

Jacquie is coming to the London area in April.  She is speaking on Thursday morning, April 10, in London.  Tickets are $20 plus HST and are available through the website,  . 

She is presenting a workshop on Friday April 11 in Coldstream.  The workshop is $85 plus HST.  It is limited to 20 people so register early.  The workshop description is taken from her website:

Join Jacquie for a full day workshop focusing on the improvisational Slice
 and Insert piecing technique from the book Quilting Modern:  Techniques and
Projects for Improvisational Quilts. Learn the basic technique and a new
adaptation, a foolproof strategy for matching inserts, simple techniques for
adding complexity to a design as well as how to work with even width and
wedge shaped inserts.  Combine simple sewing with a new skill and create
your own linear design.  Jacquie will share quilts from the book as well as
new designs to inspire you.

Chantal from Hyggeligt in London, Joan from Sew Creative in Mt Brydges and I, Shirley from The Marsh Store, are working together to make this experience available to you.  We worked together for the July Shop Hop last year and want to continue trying new adventures for our customers. 

Details and more information are available at the stores so drop in and ask. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Colour Reference

Lots and lots of quilters say they need help with colour.  There are lots and lots of books, resources and people to help.  Look at magazines, especially food and décor ones, for ideas about what colours appeal to you. 

Dritz has a colour wheel that you can carry with you when looking for fabric.  I have had a larger version for years but this purse size one is a much easier tool to carry.  We can use it when you come looking for fabric.  The picture isn't the best but if you can make it out, the wheel has holes in it so you can lay the opening over the fabric and see what hue it is.  The smaller centre wheel turns so you can see which colours are complimentary and analogous.

Google is another great source of information.  I googled color wheel and up popped lots of great websites on colour theory.  The more you read and look the more you understand and know.  Have you ever looked for the Panetone colour of the year?  Check out 2014.  Look for the list of the top 10 colours for 2014 and go to Moda's website to see the fabrics coming in the spring.  Notice anything?  Now go and see what colours they think we will be wearing this coming spring and summer.  Now you can astound your quilting friends and non-quilters with your fashion forward quilts!  Wedding season will be fast approaching....

Monday, December 9, 2013

Electic Seam Ripper

Have you ever spent hours unsewing?  My record is about 4 hours after mismatching a queen size quilt design.  I could have used one of these!  In the 4 hours I could have had it unstitched and resewn properly.

Some people have been using a personal care product called a mustache trimmer (also used on other facial parts) with some success.  At retreat in November a quilter had one of these ones and highly recommended it.

Galaxy Notions has released this as a notion for quilters.  The electric seam ripper comes in a more quilterly purple. 

Looks like a winner to me!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

More Notions For Cutting Accurately

As well as notions for under the ruler or plastic templates, there are notions for the top of the ruler to help mark your place so you don't cut the wrong size. 

Highlighter Tape-  I have written about this tape before and love it so much I will again.  I am sure this comes from the office supply store (although I've never seen it there).  It is coloured clear repositional tape that comes in a variety of colours.  You tear off a piece at a convenient length and stick it to the top of your ruler.  It marks the cutting line so you don't have to go looking for the right line every time. 

Here I have used the tape to highlight the correct size cutting lines on the rulers.  I find it more useful on the long ruler but would need blue or orange tape to contrast with the yellow lines on the ruler and with the green cutting mat.  I have shown how you can use it to highlight 3 lines in a pattern so you can find your place easily.  It helps with the long lists of cutting instructions that start patterns.  Knitters and cross-stitchers find it useful for charted patterns.

Glow Line Tape comes from Omnigrid.  It is half the width of the one above, comes 3 colours in a package and works in much the same way.  The temporary stickiness lasts for moving the tape a couple of times.  It doesn't leave residue on the plastic if left for a little while. 

Qtools  introduced this plastic triangles not too long ago.  The purple ones on the ruler under the package show how to use them.  They are made of a heavier plastic than the tapes so they last much longer.  The points of the triangles point to the line you are using and the circle in the centre allows you to see what is under the plastic. 

You could use the different colours on one project if you have to cut the same size strips out of several fabrics for a project.  I do like these very much!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Notions to Help Cutting Accurately

When you are starting out, one of the most frustrating first steps is cutting accurately with a rotary cutter and ruler.  It's hard to see and remember the line to follow.  The ruler slips and the cutting blade swerves.  There are always the expensive notions to make cutting more accurate but most of those are outside our budget or we need to invest more in fabric to start stash building. 

Today, let's look at a couple of products to help stop your ruler from sliding.  Most of us use the ruler with the yellow marking made by Omnigrid.  The same company makes green lined rulers called Omnigrip because there are textured areas on the bottom of the ruler that helps it grip the fabric.  The same company makes a clear plastic product for you to cut to size and place on the back of the yellow rulers to provide more traction.
I have used this on the back of the long ruler and really like it.

Creative Grids makes the rulers with black lines and textured or frosty looking dots on the back.  The frosty dots provide traction between the ruler and the fabric or cutting mat.  They have to be imported into Canada by individual quilt shops from an American distributor so they tend to be more costly, especially when the exchange rate drops.  They are great rulers though.  If you see someone using one, ask if you can try it out.

True Grips are small circles that you add to the back of the ruler.  You can place as many as you need and reposition them to suit a project's cutting needs.  When you peel one off the paper backing it looks like a donut.  The little centre circle comes away.  These little ones are great in the point of a triangle ruler like Studio 180s 'Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star.  It keeps the fabric under the narrow point from slipping.  We used them with Marti Michell templates too. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Binding Tools

Like everything else in the world, there are lots of ways to end up in the same place.  Choosing the one that works for you takes time and testing.  People ask me what kind of sewing machine is the best.  I ask them what kind of car is the best.  There is not one right answer to either question.  You have to test drive both vehicles and sewing machines to see which one works best for you, your budget and your lifestyle.  You wouldn't buy a great big embroidery machine and expect to take it to classes easily.
The same theory works for binding.  There are lots of videos on YouTube to watch.  There are lots of tools to try.  This time of year you could have lots of quilts, tablerunners and placemats to bind.  It is a great time to test different techniques.  If you are giving it away to non-quilters they will love it no matter how perfect your binding is.  If the recipient is not too thrilled with a handmade gift, he/she won't notice your binding efforts either.  After you have tested several and decided what works best for you, bind the gifts for your quilter friends so they will be impressed.
The trickiest and most controversial part of binding is how to connect the ends once you go around and get back to the beginning strip.  Current practice expects you to sew the 2 ends together.  There are 2 popular tools (although I don't use either and would help you if you want to come and sew the ends together at the store).
The picture is fuzzy but you can see it is the Fons & Porter binding tool.  I have used this one and made it work.  The second time I had to hunt for the instructions, which I needed because I forgot how to use it.  If you are better organized this is a good tool.

This one is the TQM binding tool.  It works if you cut your binding 2 1/2" wide.  I like mine cut 2 1/4".   If you want to avoid rulers and math calculations, this one will work for you.
Creative Grids has a binding tool for turning corners that are not the usual 90 degrees.  It made turning 60 degree corners make a lot of sense and work out beautifully.  They have great instructional videos which make using their tools so much easier.
Ready, set, go and bind!

Laser Cut Applique

Laser cut appliques are fabric with fusible webbing attached which have been cut for you.  The precise cutting is often more complex than you would do on your own. 

The centre block of the July Shop Hop featured a laser cut blue heron.  Until next year, the applique is available only with the 'Silhouette' quilt kit.

Creative Iron Fusible Applique designed by Nancy Zieman is a line of appliques.  They come in a variety of sizes depending on the design.  I have seen them mounted on fabric and framed. mounted on a stretcher frame and appliqued to wallhangings.  I want to do a 'Chocolate Therapy' wallhanging with a border of fabric with chocolates and chocolate chips.  I'd best get sewing.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Anne's Border Placemat

Anne works at The Marsh Store and thinks of ways to use the things I order.  Last month (or in October) she came up with a way to use border prints.  I love border stripes and order lots because they make such beautiful borders.  Here is her method for 4 quick placemats from half a yard of border print.

Choose about 16 to 18 inches of a border print.  Cut into 4 identical sections.  I like to line the 1/4 mark/line of the ruler on a line of the print to cut.  That way you have a sewing line to follow.

Choose an accent colour to go on the top and bottom of the placemats.  Cut one 2" strip for each placemat.  Subcut each strip in half. Sew one strip to the top of the border print.  Sew one strip to the bottom of the border print.  Press away from the border print.

Cut backing for each placemat.  Make the back about 1 inch longer and 1 inch wider than the placemat.  Cut a scrap of batting for each placemat at least as large as the backing.

Place the batting on a flat surface.  Place the backing on the batting with the right side up.  Place the placemat top on the backing, right sides together so the placemat top is wrong side up.  Sew a 1/4" seam around the placemat, leaving an opening of about 3 inches.  Trim the batting to the sewing line.  Clip the corners to reduce bulk.  Turn the placemat right side out through the opening.  Press, pulling out the corners to a point and the sides so the fold is right at the stitching line.  Quilt some lines of the border print to hold the layers in place. 

Hot off the ironing board.  To close the opening you turned it through, topstitch about 1/8" away from the outside edge.  Then I like to topstitch a second line about 1/4" from the outside edge.  For easy quilting, follow lines in the fabric design until there is enough quilting to safely wash the placemats.  The batting you choose will tell you how far apart it needs to be quilted.  Off to finish 4 placemats!

Enjoy or gift.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Precut FabricPart 2

Well, seems like all my planning, to make everything line up nicely, didn't work in the last post. 

Here is another precut by Timeless Treasures.  The 'Treat 6Pack' is 6" strips cut the full width of the fabric.  There are 2 strips of 20 different fabrics.  That means it is equivalent to 2 jelly roll strips plus an extra 1 inch, for the same price as a jelly roll or Treat Strip package. 

I forgot all about the line of Cantik Batik line of precuts called Gems.  Here is the equivalent of a jelly roll called a Gemstone and the charm pack called Gemsquares. 

This is a selection of precuts from the Moda line called 'Soho Chic'. 

Here is a Hoffman line of batik precuts.  They produce a collection based on a theme.  Each collection has 6 colourways with names based on the theme.  The three above are Pacific, River Rock and Volcano.  The Bali Snaps and Bali Crackers are in new packaging.  On the back is a list of the fabrics in the package, a colour sample, the name of the print and the Hoffman product number.  No more guessing which fabric is which as it is all there for you!