Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Ladies, thank you for your great response to the request for Slab blocks for Calgary. I have a box ready to send off today with 39 blocks (a veritable rainbow!!)
PLUS a full size quilt top that was generously donated!! THANK YOU so much for your help. I'm sure the recipients in Calgary and surrounding area will be thrilled to receive these "quilts of love" from their fellow Canadians. Cheryl has had a very good response. I will follow her blog and be in touch with her later in the summer, and I'll let you know (if I can) how many quilts they were able to assemble with the donated blocks. Thanks

also to the members who kindly gave a monetary donation as well  to help with the cost of battings, backings, etc. You know who you are! And lastly- Barb P. - thanks for the box! It was the perfect size - it's packed and ready to go. Oliver (who loves playing in boxes) thought he might like to go along to Calgary too, but I couldn't fit him in...
Enjoy this beautiful summer weather we are finally getting!! I'm off tomorrow on a 12 day vacation.. If anyone else has blocks for Calgary, you'll have to mail them yourself- the link is in the previous post to contact Cheryl for her mailing address. And thanks also to anyone who did mail their own- I know of at least one FQG member who is out of province but was sending her own blocks. Thanks to all!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Quilt Blocks for Calgary...

LADIES:  I just found out about this project tonight. I have re-posted below the entire post that Cheryl put on her blog. This is a call for quilt blocks only. Not entire quilts. Just 15.5" blocks. I bet there are very few in our Guild who don't know someone in Calgary or other affected areas in Alberta. And whether that person or family you know was affected by the recent flooding or not, wouldn't you like to do something quick and easy to help out with the recovery efforts? If so, please read on and consider making one or more blocks to send off soon to help this great project...

If you are interested in making a block or two.. or three...  and you can get them to me (Linda Hubbard) by noon next Wednesday July 17th, I will mail them all together. Seems silly for each person to mail their own. I'm imposing the noon Wednesday deadline as I am leaving Thursday to be away for 2 weeks so I would have to have them by then. If that's too soon for you, you'll have to mail your own. Please note she does want all blocks in by July 30th - you can read that post on Cheryl's blog here.   The clock's a-tickin'...  I'd love to hear from you, by phone or email, if you are participating and intend to drop your blocks off to me. Please read the "directions" below- I have added Cheryl's suggestion of "stay-stitching" around your finished block, about 1/8" from edge...
I now have Cheryl's mailing address if anyone wants it to mail your own block(s)... Please attach your name to your block if you are dropping it off to me, as Cheryl wants to put all names on the quilt labels.

Just One Slab

Just a slab. One slab. Grab some scraps of fabric and sew them together.

I'm putting out a call to all my quilty friends out there. Maybe you can't spare the fabric or time or postage to send a whole quilt as we try to recover in Calgary and Southern Alberta. That's okay. But I bet you can make just one block. And the more of you that can make and send just one block, the more quilts we'll be able to donate. I will put all the blocks I get together into quilts. With an army of local long armers lined up to donate their time we will get some beds and hearts covered in no time.

Here are the basics:

Make a slab 15.5'' square. You can insert the white bit or not, that's your choice. Just aim to make your block in a single colour. Make as many as you like.

Our inspiration for these quilts is The Missing U quilt from Sunday Morning Quilts.

How do you make a slab? If you have the book, refer to the directions on pages 48-49. If you don't have the book let me summarize how to make a slab:

Take two pieces of fabric and sew them together. Do that a few more times. Then start sewing more pieces to those first pairs. Sew groups together. Add additional pieces of fabric as necessary to get up to your finished size. Start with small bits or big ones, it doesn't matter. Raid your scrap bins and go with what you've got. Once you've squared up your block it is helpful to sew a stay stitch around the edge of the block. Just a regular stitch, about 1/8'' of an inch from the edge of the block. It helps prevent seams splitting when the block is going to get handled repeatedly before final assembly.

Feel free to grab that top image and share it on your blogs/web-sites. Tell the world about how you made your slab. Link back to this post if you do.

When your block is done and you're ready to post it, send me a note and I will gladly send you my snail mail.

Thank-you so much for continuing to think of us here in Southern Alberta. Now that the emergency situation is behind us it is time to think about recovery. Quilts go a long way towards that.

*If you are interested in donating complete quilts or tops, make sure you check out this information.*

Thanks so much to Bea Long (Monica W's sister) of Grand Falls who sent me this info. Below is one of the blocks Bea has made to send. Thanks Bea for sharing the news of this worthwhile project with us! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Perfect Quilting Weather!

Hello! I hope your summer is going well. It seems we have one of two extremes- rain, rain, rain or heat and humidity - both are perfect for sewing and quilting. You can't garden when it's raining- perfect for quilting! And when it's too hot and humid to be outside- stay indoors and work on your quilting projects! Just kidding of course, but I do hope you are finding some time for your favourite hobby...
I don't know how many of you receive the regular newsletter from Superior Threads, but since they allow the educational portion of their newsletter to be shared, I thought I would post some of their info on threads. They have just started a new series of educational pieces on Threads, and this is the  first one, taken from the mid-June 2013newsletter. I hope you find it useful.

 What is the difference between Quilting and EmbroideryThreads?

A generation ago, there were very few thread choices.  It was almost is if one type of thread was used  for every project, whether that was piecing, quilting, clothing construction, upholstery, and so on.  Times have changed and much better quality products are available today.  Thread has become more specialized to enhance and improve our sewing projects.  
There are differences between quilting, embroidery, bobbin, applique, serger, upholstery, and, construction threads.  In this newsletter we will discuss the differences between quilting and embroidery threads.  Other threads will be discussed in future newsletters.

Quilting Threads
The most common machine quilting threads are cotton and polyester. If you have heard “don’t use polyester in your quilt because it will tear the fabric,” that is the biggest myth in the quilting world. (Click here to read about that myth)

Cotton Thread Facts
Low Quality   Short staple cotton.  If the label does not specify the staple length, most likely it is short staple.  Companies do not print “short staple cotton” on the label because that is nothing to brag about.
Medium Quality   Long staple cotton.
Highest Quality   Extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton
Egyptian cotton   99% of cotton products labeled as Egyptian cotton are lying.  Egypt does not grow enough cotton to make all those “Egyptian cotton” bed sheets, towels, clothes, and threads. In fact, Egypt grows less than 1% of the world’s cotton. Countries such as Greece, Mali, and Syria grow more cotton than Egypt. So why is the term Egyptian cotton so coveted?  Egyptian cotton is the best grade and most manufacturers want that label on their cotton products, whether honest or not.  I’ve even seen labels stating “Egyptian cotton, Made in India.”  As far as I can discern, Superior is the only thread company that can honestly say “Extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton.” We buy our extra-long staple cotton in Egypt and turn it into King Tut and MasterPiece thread.  
Mercerized   A term printed on the label when there is nothing else to brag about.  It tends to divert your attention from the fact that it is not Extra-long staple Egyptian-grown cotton.  Mercerized cotton is a good thing and nearly all cotton thread is automatically mercerized during the production process.  Whether the cotton labels states Mercerized or not, it probably is.

Polyester Thread Facts
Spun poly is a less expensive grade of polyester threads. It has a fuzzy appearance similar to cotton and produces some lint when sewing.  It is primarily used for clothing construction, including serger thread.   It is stronger than comparable wt. cotton threads.  Our spun poly quilting thread is Poly Quilter, a #30/3-ply variegated thread which is in the heavier thread category. Our new Tailor Made thread is also spun poly and recommended for clothing construction and serger applications, not quilting.
Multi-filament polyester is smooth, lint free, and stronger than spun poly. It is more expensive that spun poly threads and is a much cleaner thread, meaning very little or no lint.  Threads in this group are Bottom Line, So Fine #50, So Fine #40 (variegated), and So Fine #30.
Trilobal multi-filament polyester has a nice high sheen.  Traditional trilobal poly is not as strong as regular multi-filament polyester, but a new HTT (High Tenacity (strength) Trilobal) polyester has recently been developed.  Magnifico, Fantastico (variegated), and Twist are HTT polyester threads.
Poly-wrapped poly core thread is made with a multi-filament polyester thread core and then wrapped with a spun poly thread.  The appearance is like cotton due to the outer spun poly wrap, but it has the strength of multi-filament polyester due to the inner core.  It is less expensive than a 100% multi-filament poly thread. Omni is poly-wrapped poly core thread.

Embroidery Thread
1. Embroidery threads usually have a looser twist than quilting threads.  The tighter the twist, the less the sheen.  
2. Depending on the machine and embroidery speed, embroidery threads may not require the strength of a quilting thread.
3. Most embroidery threads are two-ply to preserve the high sheen.
Due to the three differences just described, embroidery threads are usually less expensive than quilting threads.

Rayon    Traditionally, the most common embroidery threads have been rayon.  Rayon is a half natural/half manufactured fiber with a beautiful sheen.  The problems with rayon threads are twofold:
a. most rayon is not colorfast (meaning bleach-safe), and
b. rayon is a weak fiber.  
Rayon production also causes substantial pollution so the U.S. banned domestic rayon production many years ago.

Polyester  For a high sheen look, the best thread for embroidery is trilobal polyester or HTT (high tenacity trilobal poly). These polyester threads have a sheen equal to that of rayon, are stronger, and are colorfast.  HTT polyester is much stronger than regular trilobal poly.

Is there a thread that is suitable for both quilting and embroidery?
Many threads can be used for both.  It depends on what look you want to obtain in your project. Some people embroidery with cotton because that is the look they want.  Some quilt with polyester because they like a high sheen thread or a strong, very fine thread.  If you want both high sheen and high strength for both embroidery and quilting, the best choice is HTT polyester such as Magnifico or Fantastico (variegated). These are like hybrid threads, combining two features into a single thread.  Magnifico is much stronger than regular trilobal polyester threads.  It has already replaced our former Highlights (regular trilobal poly) line of threads. It is available in 200 solid colors.  Fantastico is the exact same thread type, but in variegated colors.  There are currently 20 colors of Fantastico available, but over 100 more are in process.

Used with permission from Bob Purcell,