Friday, February 8, 2019

This and That

We've survived January, and February is already a week gone. Are you surviving winter by keeping busy with lots of quilting projects? Are you looking for something new to do? If you are interested in an opportunity to join a sewing group and make some new friends, the Multicultural Association is looking for people to come and sew on Saturday afternoons with a group of newcomers to our city. The group is meeting at Christ Church Parish Church at 245 Westmorland St, in a basement room - entrance off Charlotte St. parking lot, from 1-5pm, beginning Feb. 9. What a great way to volunteer your time and talents!

If you like star quilts and are looking for inspiration or ideas, here are links to 90 free star quilt patterns of  various sizes. There are stars of every size shape and design imaginable -  Sawtooth stars, Ohio stars, LeMoyne stars, Lone stars, Feathered stars, Friendship stars, Mariners Compass stars and more. Available as PDFs, there are 30 free patterns on each of these links:  here, here and here.

If you're looking for a pattern featuring hearts for Valentines Day, here is a link to 30 free hearts patterns for quilts. table runners and pillows, each available as a free PDF download.

Karen Neary of Amherst showed a small red and white table centre she did this past week for Valentines Day here, the pattern is available in her book Quilting Beauties.

Speaking of Karen, our wonderful Aurifil supplier, here is an article worth reading. Lots of good info on threads and thread weights.

This coming Monday evening, Feb. 11 is a Friends and Family event at Fabricville. It begins at 7pm. If you don't have an invitation yet, stop in to Fabricville this weekend and pick one up. Who can pass up 50% off fabric, patterns, notions, etc.?

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Happy New Year- happy new projects?

Happy New Year! Hope you enjoyed a restful and relaxing Christmas break, and feel refreshed and re-energized to tackle exciting new quilting projects this year. Just a reminder, registration for Quilt Canada 2019 in Ottawa is now open for CQA/ACC members. Click here for info on registration.

Are you participating in any Sew Alongs, Block of the Week or Month programs? CQA's Block of the Week starts next Tuesday, Jan. 15. More info here.

Darlene D'Eon of Nova Scotia has just released the instructions for her 5th Annual 52 Week Quilt Block Challenge. This year's block is the Jewel Box, great for using up scraps and leftovers; instructions are found here. The block is easy, using 2 four patches and 2 HST's, and finishes at 8". Darlene encourages everyone to share their finished blocks on Facebook or Instagram, using the hashtag #52weekquiltblockchallenge.

Sindy at Fat Cat Patterns has TWO new free BOM's underway. Both started this month and the January blocks are now available. For you gnome lovers, she is offering Gnome Grown with ten appliqué blocks, running until October (pictured at left). Yardage and cutting instructions, and the first month's block are available here.

The other is called Hen Party, also ten appliqué blocks running until October (seen at right). Block instructions are free for the month they are offered, after that there is a small fee per block.Yardage and cutting instructions,and the first block are available here.

Cindy at Quilt Doodle Doodles is offering a free BOM called Garden Sunshine. You can find the first month's block instructions here. For those of you who enjoy a variety of techniques, this might be fun as it combines piecing with either appliqué or embroidery- your choice!

Pat Sloan is offering a free Mystery BOM called Out of This World which is all patchwork and will run for 10 months, Jan. - Oct. As you might guess, it has a space theme.
Read all about it here.

Pat is also offering a free Block a Week Sew Along on Wednesdays, on a garden theme: A Flower Bouquet runs from Jan. - May. The blocks are traditional pieced blocks. Find all the info here.

EDIT Jan. 11... Here's another free BOM. For you fans of wool work and Buttermilk Basin, they are beginning a new Mystery BOM today called "Happy Holidays." I'd say it's a headstart on Christmas 2019! There will be  a new block offered on the second Friday of each month for 11 months. The centre will consist of 9 wool appliquéd blocks, followed by a wool appliqué section with borders that will finish into a quilt. As with most BOM's you must click and print off the pattern in the month it's offered BEFORE the next block is released. Click here for instructions and the first month's pattern.

I'm sure there are many other free BOM's and Quilt Alongs out there, please let me know if you are aware of, or participating in, others that I could add to this list. The more the merrier!

To finish with a chuckle, I bet many of us can identify with this...  (found on Facebook)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

What’s New?

If you have been a fan of Quilting Quickly magazine, you may be wondering why it’s no longer on the newsstands. It is still there... just under a new name. It’s undergone a bit of a makeover, and will now focus on the use of pre-cuts. Its new name is Pre-Cut Patchwork. New title, same great content. You should be able to find the Jan./Feb. 2019 issue on the newsstand now.

CQA/ACC is running a block of the week, beginning in the new year. “50 Blocks - 50 Weeks.” Each Tuesday, beginning January 15, a new pattern for a 6” block will be released. on the CQA/ACC website. They won’t be hard blocks, and they’ll be fun! No cost - all free! No need to sign up, just visit the website each Tuesday. Why not plan to join in the fun?

For you Kaffe Fasset fans, watch for the new Kaffe Fasset Collection of Aurifil threads from our friend Karen Neary.  You guessed it - it includes 12 of the scrumptious colours that Kaffe is known for. Now in stock on Karen’s site at
Scroll to the bottom of her site to see other new thread collections now in stock. They're all yummy...

Registration for Quilt Canada, taking place in Ottawa June 12-15, opens for CQA members on Jan. 7 and on Jan. 28 for the general public. All info on the conference can be found by clicking here.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Did you know..?

There is always more to learn! No matter how long we've been sewing and quilting, how knowledgeable and experienced we think we are, there is always more to learn. Here are two useful tidbits that I picked up recently...

Is there a right and wrong side to batting?  Yes, there IS a difference. Here's the explanation I found online:
Most battings these days are needle punched onto a scrim, a fine polyester mesh whose purpose it is to stabilize the batting and prevent it from migrating into balls of batting over time. The process of needle punching creates a right and wrong side to the batting. If you are having a problem with your batting bearding or poking through the backing fabric when you are quilting it, it may be that you are putting your batting into your quilt upside down. Here's what the APQS website has to say:
"If the batting has been "needle punched" then it has a right and a wrong side. Your quilting needle should penetrate the batting on the right side. Load your quilting frame with the batting's right side facing up. To find the right side of the batting, study the surface carefully. The right side will have more indentations or "dimples" where the manufacturer's needle-punching machine pressed the fibers together. The wrong side of the batting will typically be rougher, with more small "pills" or balls of batting. It will look like a worn sweater that needs a "shave." (Warm and Natural batting's right side is the "dirty side.")"
So now we know!  :)  I always have layered my quilts with the "smoother" side facing up and the rougher side against the backing, "just because", but now I know WHY we should always do it this way... Click here for a Youtube video with good illustrations to watch....

What does the word Mako mean on my Aurifil thread spool? For all you Aurifil lovers, have you noticed the word Mako on your spool? I recently asked Karen N. what this means. Here is her explanation:
"Mako is a cultivar of Egyptian cotton which has an extra long staple, meaning the fibre can be spun into a finer filament than most others, without breaking. Lots of threads are marked Egyptian cotton, but Mako cotton is the cream of the Egyptian crop. Aurifil uses only Mako cotton for their threads.
In the picture is a spool of Aurifil 50 weight and one of another brand of 50 weight. Even though there are 300 more metres of thread on the Aurifil spool, it is a bit smaller in diameter than the other because the strands are finer."

And now you know!

Monday, November 19, 2018

Nov. 20 meeting rescheduled

It seems Mother Nature is against us getting together!! Due to the impending storm and snowfall, our Nov. meeting has been rescheduled to Sat. Nov.24 at 9a.m. The planned workday will go ahead after the meeting, with Kathy T. demo-ing a number of machine applique techniques. Check your email for a more detailed message from our co-ordinator.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

October wrap-up and on to November!

Cheryl Arkison's recent visit with a trunk show and three days of workshops  encouraged us all to have more fun with our quilting. She encouraged us to relax and lighten up a bit, and give ourselves "permission to play." Participants in the workshops learned about modern quilts, improv piecing, using up small scraps, and putting a modern spin on traditional blocks. She reminded us that it is okay to "just play" - to feel liberated from the need to "make something"... no product required - just focus on the process and feel free to experiment to discover what we do and don't like. A good reminder to us all!

Cheryl has written three quilting books, Sunday Morning Quilts, A Month of Sundays and You Inspire Me to Quilt, and also has patterns available for purchase. Visit her site here for more info.

Shown here are several of the quilts she shared with us in her trunk show.

Thanks to Lee M. for these photos from the trunk show.

Today is Nov. 1, which means it's the first day of the Row by Row After Party! For those of you who didn't get to a certain shop to acquire this year's Row by Row pattern, or purchase a kit, you can do that now. If there was a far-off shop whose pattern you loved but you couldn't get there to receive it, now is your chance.
Click here for a list of the Atlantic Canada shop participants, and here for Canadian participants further afield.
Click here to find shop links which show their RxR block. It seems this list is incomplete though, so click here for complete lists of shops which participated, with their contact info.

Also today the final pattern for the free Christmas Block of the Month Gnome for the Holidays is available from Fat Cat Patterns. Have you been participating? If so, you'll want this final installment to complete your project, click here. I wonder if we'll see any at this month's meeting during Show and Tell?
If you've become (or always were!) a gnome lover, you might want to check out the next Gnome BOM, beginning on January 1, 2019.
See Gnome Grown here.

If you've been doing the Hallowe'en BOM, BooTacular, this month's free pattern is ready now too. Click here for it.

TrendTex Challenge fabrics are now available from CQA/ACC. The cost is $23.00 for CQA/ACC members and  $28.00 for non members. Click here for the rules and info on ordering a kit.

Are you participating in any other BOM's or Sew Alongs?  Temecula Quilts has started a Secret Santa Sew Along. It's not too late to join in and get caught up. The quilt (finished size 43" x 56") is scrappy so yardage totals are made up of a variety of prints- great for using up some scraps! Colours they've used are reds, greens, tans/browns and lights for the background; of course you could choose your own colours if you wish. Each week's instructions are posted on Friday mornings. The final "reveal" of the quilt will be Black Friday Nov. 23. Available now are the fabric quantities here, and instructions for the first two blocks here and here. Step three will be posted tomorrow- a great project for this rainy weekend coming up!

If you know of other BOM's or Sew Alongs that are just getting started, and might interest your fellow members, let me know and I'll add them here.

What are you sewing on today?

Monday, October 15, 2018

October Meeting Coming Up!

I saw this on Facebook yesterday and it made me smile, so I thought I’d share it with you....

We stitch. It is what we do. We stitch for warmth and comfort. We stitch to celebrate. We stitch to grieve. We stitch in protest and in support. We stitch for friends, for family and for strangers we will never know. Like the ancient pyramids, the power of our craft rises from a firm base of friendship and community to an apex of strength that will stand the test of time.

That about covers it, doesn't it?  

Our October meeting is this week. Have you been working on a fall or Hallowe'en project? If so, please bring it to share with us as well as any other items for show and tell, library books to return, toonies for our thread raffle draw, wear your nametag, and be ready to sign up for upcoming workshops/workdays. Our program is Improvisational Quilts, so if you have any examples of Improv quilts to share with us, please bring them along too.

Linda Hubbard now has an Aurifil thread colour chart if you need to check on a certain colour, or do a comparison.  She will bring it to each meeting. 
Karen, our Aurifil supplier, will be sending in another order next week, so if there is a colour you want/need and don't see it on her site, now is the time to let her know and she will order it in. Or if there is something you wish her to special order for you, she'll do that too. Let Linda H know by this Friday Oct 19, or contact Karen directly at 
New to her inventory is 80 weight Aurifil, wonderful for English paper piecing and hand or machine applique, and Karen says she loves it for stitching a binding as it just melts into the fabric. You can quilt with it too!  :) It's available in two collections, or individually. You can read about it on Karen's blog here.

Don't forget about Elm City QG's show later this week at Gibson Memorial Church, 183 Gibson St.
Fri. 10-8pm, Sat. 10-4pm. Vendors and refreshments, $5.00 admission.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

September Meeting is coming up!

How can it be mid September already?! The summer has flown by and we're lucky to continue to enjoy beautiful summer weather and warm temps.
Our September meeting is just two days away. Are you ready? Please bring your enthusiasm as we launch into another year of fun and friendship, learning and honing our quilting skills! Our September newsletter is out and our program and workshop committees have a great lineup for us. Don't forget to bring your completed membership form and cash or cheque if you haven't already renewed, your nametag, any outstanding library books, tips to share and of course your Show and Tell items.

Congrats to Jeanne Kaye Speight and Marj Deveau (and any other members I might have missed) on their ribbons won at the Exhibition.

September is National Sewing month. What are you working on? I haven't spent much time at my machine this summer with the lovely weather calling me outdoors, but I have a stack of projects waiting for me once cooler temps set in!

There is a long list of shows and events on the sidebar at the right, don't miss out on these fabulous shows - support your fellow guilds! The first in the lineup is the fabulous yearly show by KVQG later this week.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Whew! Is it hot enough for you? I am soooo grateful for our heat pump which we set to "cool" for a/c on these blistering hot days... I am happy to remain indoors when it's this hot! If you are the same, and looking for something to do until this heat wave passes, here are some things for you to check out...

First of all, for you Aurifil lovers, check out Karen Neary's latest blog post here to see the new collections and thread colours she now has in stock. (47 colours now in the 1300 m. spools!!) It's great to see her business growing. Aurifil is such a  wonderful thread and you just can't beat Karen's prices. I will continue to collect thread orders over the summer and place an order once we have reached the required amount.

I have a fair bit of colour in my garden right now, but on these hot days, I turn to the colour in my fabric stash for "playtime." If you love bright colours, you may like Kaffe Fassett fabrics. Here is the link to a number of free patterns, using Kaffe's fabrics. There are patterns for quilts, runners, pillows and totebags - something for everyone if you are craving some colour in your life!

At one of our winter meetings, I showed a needle organizer I had made for my sewing machine needles. I had said I would add the link to the directions to this blog, and then promptly forgot. Sorry! So here it is... It's a five part "series" of instructions, the link for the next day's directions is provided at the bottom of each post.

I made a few changes to mine - made it smaller (fewer pockets), rounded the corners and did a continuous binding, and used just one size (2.5mm) of twin needle rather than the three sizes suggested. If you decide to make one of these organizers and have never stitched on vinyl before, I would suggest you buy a small amount of vinyl and see if you have any trouble stitching on it. The directions recommend a teflon (non-stick) foot; I didn't need one as I didn't have any trouble but you might have a different experience. So it's a good idea to try the stitching on vinyl first, as I suspect few people have a teflon foot and they are pricey...

Is anyone working on Christmas projects? Hmmm, thinking of snowflakes and snow covered evergreens might be a good way to cool off!!  If you are participating in the free Christmas Block of the Month  "Gnome for the Holidays" at Fat Cat Patterns, the July block is now available. Check it out here.

Covered Bridge Quiltery in Riverview NB has just announced their new BOM - Winter Wonderland, which combines pieced and machine appliquéd blocks. Call the store if you are interested in joining (506-386-2888). They are already sold out of fabric kits but you can still join to receive the pattern each month. The quilt can be seen in the shop, or on their Facebook page.

I have updated the list of summer and fall quilt shows in our area, on the sidebar. If you know of others, let me know and they'll be added. There's quite a good list, so if you're travelling, don't miss your chance to check them out!

EDIT:  One more thing.. In case you haven't heard already, Mardens in Maine is discontinuing their practice of giving guild members a 10% discount, as of the end of this month.
 Also, you may not know that Sande Gunning of River Gallery is no longer selling fabric. They are preparing to move to Ontario, and she has sold all her inventory of batiks and cottons. She is  continuing her wool business for now.  SUPPORT OUR LOCAL SHOPS, LADIES!!!!