Monday, March 30, 2015

NB Contemporary Quilt Award

Please Note: The Entry Deadline for this Award is Monday April 6, 2015.

New Brunswick Contemporary Quilt Award

The Marco Polo Quilters Guild and the New Brunswick Museum are proud to present the biennial, juried New Brunswick Contemporary Quilt Award (NBCQA).

The award winning quilt will be purchased for the permanent collection of the New Brunswick Museum. 
The award was conceived by Kathy Coffin, a member of the Marco Polo Quilters Guild, who generously donated funds raised by the sales of her original appliqué pattern of the Purple Violet, a beautiful design depicting our provincial flower.
The purpose of the NBCQA is to ensure that quilts made after 1960 in New Brunswick are represented the New Brunswick Museum’s collection.  In the past 50 years or so, there have been major changes in quilt-making tools as well as in the methods used for making quilts.  Some quilts have moved off beds onto walls and, with this expansion in their use, different styles of quilts have developed.  Ultimately, if it is to tell the most complete story, the New Brunswick Museum’s quilt collection must include examples of what has been happening in quilt-making in New Brunswick since 1960.  

The following criteria will be considered as part of the selection process:
        * The quilt must have been made since 1960.
        * The quilter is a resident of New Brunswick.
        * The quilter is a member of a New Brunswick quilt guild.
       * Workmanship will be reviewed closely.
Submission procedures:
       * Deadline for Submissions: Monday April 6, 2015
       * Submissions are restricted to three pieces per quilter.
       *  Initial selection will be made from photographs.  Two photographs of each piece must be submitted: an overall view and a view of details.

Quilters are urged to submit pieces of all sizes and approaches.
       * Please include an artist’s statement, which might also include the story behind the quilt and any other pertinent information that may be of interest to the jury.
       * The jury will choose up to three submissions as finalists. Quilters will be notified by telephone to arrange delivery of selected quilts to the jury.
       * The NBCQA winner will be announced and the award presented at the Gala Opening of the Marco Polo Quilt Fair.
       * The jury reserves the right to hang the winning quilt at the Marco Polo Quilt Fair.
       * The other finalists’ quilts will be awarded Honourable Mention at the Marco Polo Quilt Fair Gala and at the jury’s discretion may be displayed also. 

 Jury Procedures:
       * The jury will consist of five members selected by the Marco Polo Quilters Guild and the New Brunswick Museum.
       * The jury reserves  the right to approach quilters and encourage their submissions in order to increase the array of submissions
       * Depending on submissions and funding, the jury reserves the right to present more than one award.
       * All jury decisions are final.
Submissions should be addressed to: New Brunswick Contemporary Quilt Award, New Brunswick Museum, 277 Douglas Avenue, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2K 5L6

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tip Time

Following are a number of tips shared by our members at our monthly meetings. I will add to this list each month with the most recent tips at the top of the list. This list is by no means complete... if you gave a Tip this year at one of our meetings, could you please get in touch with me so I can add it here.
You can easily access this post at any time by clicking on "Tip Time" on the sidebar.

*Best Press can get expensive. You can make your own substitute by mixing 3 oz. cheap vodka with 24 oz. water (or 1 part cheap vodka to 8 parts water.)  ~ Barb F.

* Reading the info on the package or wrapper of batting is very important. It will tell you whether the batting has been preshrunk for you (most are not), how much shrinkage to expect when it is washed, and, very important, how much space you can leave between your lines of quilting. This varies from 1.5"-2" to 10".   ~ Linda H.

*Dritz makes a mini iron called Dritz Petite Press Portable Mini Iron. It is very useful for pressing small seams and pieces. ~ Marg K.

*Lee loves her Gypsy Gripper, a tool which will attach to a  ruler with suction cups, to prevent the ruler slipping while rotary cutting fabric. ~ Lee M.

* Pressing long strips of binding is sometimes awkward, as the length twists and falls off the board. Pinning a strip of fabric an inch or two wide to one end of your board and then passing your pressed binding under that strip will help hold things in place. ~ Jean K.

*Jean K showed us a new method of hanging a quilt, using a monkey hook and cable clamp- these are available at places like Kent or Home Depot. ~ Jean K.

*A colour wheel can be very useful when making colour/fabric choices for a quilt. They can be purchased at Michaels (use your coupon!) or Endeavours or anywhere that sells art supplies. ~ Carole C. and Lee M.

* It is important not to overfill your bobbin to prevent tension issues. 3/4 full is preferable, and don't wind at a high speed as it will wind too tightly, stretching the thread. ~ Lee M and Marj D.

* Several tips for removing red wine stains: a mixture of blue Dawn and peroxide will remove red wine stains. ~Sandra N.  Pouring a generous amount of Perrier water on a red wine spill, followed by blotting with paper towel also works. ~ Gwenda M.

* Running  a good lint roller over the pinked edges of a jelly roll before unwrapping the roll will remove much of the lint and little bits. ~Jeanne Kaye S.
A lint roller purchased from a pet shop does a great job as it seems to be extra sticky, in order to pick up pet hair. ~ Sue R.

* Placing a yoga mat under your cutting mat will help prevent slipping. ~ Barb P.

* A knitting stitch holder works well for holding safety pins. ~ Sally L.

* If you have a project requiring  a large number of cut strips, plastic clothespins will help keep each group or size organized.  ~ Sue. R.

 * Do you have cones of thread that are impossible to use on your sewing machine because they wobble so? If you take an empty plastic spool apart, and insert the spool end into the cone until it fits snugly, the cone will sit perfectly on your spool pin without wobbling. ~ Linda H.

* If you have trouble threading clear monofilament thread into your needle (it IS hard to see!) simply colour the tip of the thread with a black marker. Problem solved!  ~ Linda H.

* Keeping a good magnifying glass such as a philatelist's glass by your sewing machine makes  threading easier. ~ Jane S.

* If you find your legs and feet tire quickly when standing at your cutting table or ironing board for long sessions, consider buying the interlocking foam squares that you see for children's play areas, to stand on. The childrens' ones are usually brightly coloured but you can also buy plain colours. They come 4 in a pkg, and include the edge strips for a straight edge, at Canadian Tire, Home Depot, etc. Two tiles with straight edges added measure about 25" x 48".  ~ Linda H.

* If you have ever melted a plastic bag onto your hot iron, you have a mess! Scrape off as much as you can while it is warm and soft. Then spread a generous amount of table salt onto a piece of old fabric and rub the iron back and forth over the salt. This should remove all the remaining melted plastic. ~ Linda H.

* Placing a sticky note on your machine with the needle type and size is so much easier than trying to read the size of the needle ON the needle. Of course you must remember to change the sticky note when you change the needle.  ~ Lee M.
Another suggestion is color coding your needles with colored markers, similar to what Schmetz now does. ~ LaVerne D.

* During her demo at our April meeting Jean showed us how she "quilts in thirds" cutting her batting into three sections and quilting one section at a time, to keep the bulk more manageable. She cuts lightweight fusible interfacing in strips approximately 1.5" wide, and uses a light touch with the iron to bond the sections of batting together. ~ Jean K.

 * If you have a spare bed that is not used often, it is a great place for "storing" extra quilts and wallhangings. Just spread them flat on the bed and pile them up! You may even want to cover them with a sheet, to keep light from fading them and protect them from dust. So much better to store them flat rather than folded which creates hard-to-remove creases. ~ Jean K.

* Lee keeps her guild nametag in her car, so if she "forgets" it when packing for a meeting, at least it is as close as the parking lot! Great idea! ~ Lee M.

* When planning to make a quilt larger than what your pattern states, give it some thought. Many simply think "I'll just make more blocks." But it could be much easier to increase your block size slightly. Sit down with graph paper and pencil and sketch out your block in a larger size and see how it can "fit your bed." It's not hard to cut strips 1/2" wider, or whatever size you need, and much quicker than making many more blocks.
I once taught a workshop for a lap quilt with a log cabin variation block. Strips were cut 2" wide, yielding a 6" block. 63 blocks were needed (7 blocks wide by 9 long.) Two students wanted to make it double bed size - one contacted me, one didn't. I "did the math" and calculated if strips were cut 1/2" wider, it would give an 8" block and a double bed size quilt with the same number of blocks (63). The other gal who thought "I'll just make more blocks" was not happy when she realized she would need 117 (6") blocks to cover the top of her double bed! So it's worth it to take the time and do a little planning. Making a slightly larger block is much quicker and easier than making many more blocks. ~ Linda H. 

* If you are a Princess Auto shopper (now open in Fredericton, near Costco) you might want to pick up one of their rotary cutters. It may not be quite as sturdy as an Olfa or Fiskars, but for under $7.00 it would be great for crafting, cutting paper, etc. For that price, worth it just for the blade! It is a standard size, 45mm blade. ~ Marj D.

* If your machine bobbins have very small holes to thread your thread end through (such as a Pfaff) you might find this helpful. "Eez Thru" floss threaders by Gum, found in the dental products aisle, are perfect for helping to get threads, especially fine ones like Wonderfil, pulled through the small bobbin holes. ~ Jean S.

* When Lee explained an issue with getting rows of laid out blocks from the floor to her sewing area, Lois suggested the use of an old sheet. Lay blocks/rows out on the sheet. Roll it up from the bottom, just leaving the top row of blocks exposed. Unroll as you progress with sewing the rows together. Barb F added a picnic tablecloth with a flannel-like backing also would work well. ~ Lee M, Lois M, Barb F

 * This product was purchased and tried recently and found to work very well. You can find it at Bed, Bath and Beyond. We likely all should have this in our sewing areas- who has not gotten her iron yucky with some sort of fusible product? ~ Sandi M.

* Another product to consider having on hand is Shout Color Catchers or something similar. These pick up and hold any stray colour/dye molecules that are floating around in your wash water if something in the load is bleeding colour.

* If you find the eyes of needles seem to be getting smaller these days, and therefore harder to thread, you might want to try these Spiral Eye side-threading needles. The thread slips in easily from the side. Easy Peasy!  Available from ~ Linda H.

* Many useful items for our sewing spaces can be found at retail outlets other than fabric shops and quilt shops. Jane gave us an impressive list of things she buys at "other" stores, for use while sewing/quilting such as: cording from a fishing supplies store, tips for ends of cording, heat shrink tubing and dental picks from Princess Auto, and large clips for holding your quilt on a frame from the Dollar Store. She also reminded us that clear nailpolish will work if you are out of Fray Check. ~ Jane G.

* Insul-Bright is a product now available locally which is great for use in potholders, oven mitts, hot pads and even placemats! It is a poly batting with an insulating metalized film layer. ~ Deanna M.

* Stencils/templates are now available for marking grids!  Gail showed us a stencil for marking multiple parallel lines without moving the stencil. It would work well for marking cross-hatching.
~ Gail M.

* Have you ever tried glue-basting? Some use it on their bindings. Lee suggested another use. We all like our seam allowances to lie nice and flat when we press our tops before sandwiching. Sometimes when there is bulk at intersecting seams, the pressed seam allowance will flip or twist when you sandwich the quilt, so a tiny dab of school glue along the length of the seam in the trouble spots followed by pressing will tame it into submission and make it behave!  ~ Lee M.

* Ziploc bags are so useful for storing many things in our sewing areas. Finally, ziplocs are now available with tabs which make them easier to open, especially for arthritic fingers.  ~ Jean K.

* Looking for a way to store quilts without folding them? (Folds leave creases that eventually become difficult to remove...) Try rolling them around pool noodles if the quilt is not too large. If it is a bed size quilt, visit your local flooring/carpeting business. They often have large rolls from linoleum that they'll be happy to part with. Wrap the roll in a clean old sheet, then roll your quilts on, then perhaps another sheet to keep the dust off, tie to prevent unrolling, and store under your bed. ~ Donna Y.

* The soft foam "toe separators" for doing your own pedicure are perfect for holding a few bobbins if you are going to a workshop or class, and don't need to take your entire bobbin collection. You can find these at the Dollar Store. ~ Susan D.

* Recycling is smart these days, we throw away so much plastic! I try to re-purpose as much plastic as I can.
Fererro Rocher containers: the 200g. size are the perfect size to hold 2" and 2.5" squares (or rectangles) that you may be cutting for a scrap project. They take up very little room at the back of my cutting table.

 The larger size (8.5" square) is great for holding balls of perle cottons (nicely contained, well fitting lid, easy to stack and see through so you know what you have.)~ Linda H.

* The little plastic "tables" from a take-out pizza box make handy bobbin holders when turned upside down. I sometimes use a lighter weight thread and want to keep those bobbins separate from my normal bobbins, as it's difficult to tell just by looking at them that they are "different", so stacking them on these little holders works well, I know at a glance that those are my finer threads for my Miniatures. ~ Linda H.

* Temporary Sleeve.  If you are planning to put a sleeve on a bed quilt for our upcoming show, you might want to consider a temporary sleeve, if you had planned to remove it after the show. This method is quicker to do and easier to remove after as well. Prepare your sleeve as usual - cut a strip of fabric 12.5" wide by the width of your quilt minus an inch or two. "Hem" the ends by folding in 1/4" twice, press and stitch- this finishes the ends nicely and assures your sleeve will be just a bit shorter than the width of your quilt. Now fold the sleeve right sides together and stitch the long seam. Press seam open and turn sleeve right side out. Pin sleeve to wrong side of quilt across the top edge, assuring the top edge of your sleeve lies just above where your binding meets the backing (but not so far up as to show on the right side of quilt.) Now turn to the right side and, by machine, stitch in the ditch between binding and quilt with clear monofilament thread (or thread to match quilt top) and a stitch length of about 3-4 (8-10 stitches per inch). This secures the top edge of the sleeve, and now you only have to hand-stitch the sleeve's bottom edge across to secure it.
~ Sue R.

* The super dooper sticky rollers (which are washable to restore their stickiness) are wonderful for removing threads, pet hair, etc. from quilts as well as your clothes. Wash them with Blue Dove liquid dish soap to restore their stickiness.
 ~ Linda H.

* There are small pads of 1/4" graph paper on the market now, they measure 4" x 6" - great to have in your purse when you're out and about and see inspiration for a quilt block. It is so much easier to sketch it out on graph paper. I got mine at Targets, but they are no doubt available elsewhere. Mine were two pads in a pkg. for about $5.00. ~ Linda H.

* Recycling. If you are cutting up scraps into squares, rectangles or other particular sizes/shapes, they can be stored in plastic salad greens "bins". These are "free" storage units - once you've had your salad, just  rinse out, let dry and they are ready to re-purpose in your sewing space. You can sort by color, size, or shape.
~ Lois M.

* Mitred Corners.  Most of the time we use mitred corners to finish edges on projects such as tablecloths, with the mitre on the underside.  But if we use the mitre on the top and insert another fabric or fabric/batting combination, we get another version of this technique.  A one metre cut of nursery print, with wide borders and mitred corners, is the perfect backdrop for a piece of Minkie tucked under the borders.  Top stitch the inner edge of the border and you have a quick baby blanket that is soft and cozy. This method is also an alternative to binding placemats and is great for co-ordinating fabrics.
~ Jeanne Kaye S.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Meeting Follow-up, Updates and Other Good Stuff!

Tomorrow is the "official" first day of spring.. let's hope we see these soon.
Wasn't our meeting this week great? So much good info given by our three presenters. A big Thank You to Gwenda M., Jean K. and  Trudy C. for a wonderful talk on quilting - long arm, machine and hand quilting. Lots of good info and tips for everyone!

Here are a few "follow up" items from Tuesday night:

It was mentioned that we might have some workshops with Elaine Quehl if there is sufficient interest. Click here for a link to her website if you'd like to have a look at her work and review her list of class offerings. Give it some thought.

Do you listen to Podcasts? I have just recently found one podcaster I thought you might like to check out as well. Brandy Lynn Maslowski does a weekly podcast called Canadian Quilt Talk and currently there are 74 episodes. Topics range from inspiration, techniques, ergonomics, and planning your studio to interviews with well known quilters such as Ricky Tims, and Canadians Kathy Bissett, Ionne McCauley, Daphne Greig and Monica Kinnear-Whalen, among others.  Episode 58 features Elaine Quehl, and Episode 40 features Leah Day, who Jean K spoke about (the binder she showed with all the free motion designs is Leah's.) So check Brandy out! Download a few of her podcasts for when you have a long drive, your daily walks or time in your studio. I bet you'll like them as much as I do! Click here.

Here is the link to Leah Day's website:   Check out all her Free Motion designs and Youtube tutorials. She is one talented young lady!

And some Updates:

March is National Quilting Month, and this Saturday, March 21, is National Quilting Day!! So be sure you plan some time in your studio space to celebrate!! If you are not familiar with The Quilt Show with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson, this is a good weekend to check it out. To celebrate International Quilting Weekend, ALL shows are FREE to everyone this weekend! You can watch as many as you have time for. What a wonderful resource and a wealth of information. Be sure to take some time to check it out. You won't regret it.  Click here.

 We've heard some wonderful tips at our meetings lately. I am starting a list here on the blog, and there will be a link on the sidebar to quickly and easily take you to the list. I will add to it each month with the most recent tips at the top. If you have given a tip this year, please remind me of it as I cannot remember them all, and we want the list as complete as possible! You know how to reach me: leave a comment here, send me an email or give me a jingle on the telly  :)  I'll post the Tip Time List next week, but it will be an ongoing growing "work in progress"....

Lastly, I have added a "Subscribe by Email" button to our blog. You will see it on the right at the very top. If you add your email address in the box and hit "Submit", you will receive an email each time there is a new post here on the FQG Blog. That way you won't miss anything. No one will be able to see your email address (not even me!) and it will not be given out to anyone, no worries. Just another service to our members!   :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Did you know that March is National Quilting Month? And this coming Saturday, March 21 is National Quilting DAY? I hope you are celebrating in fine style. Are you working on a special project? Or perhaps finishing up something wonderful for our upcoming Show? Whatever your project I hope you're having lots of fun with it. Perhaps we'll see it at Show and Tell?

Speaking of our Show, have you sent in your Entry Form(s) yet? We are waiting...... It's very difficult to plan a Show when we don't know what we're going to have to display, so please get your entries in to Kathy T. as soon as possible. It will really help out the Committee.

Our March meeting is March 17 - St. Patrick's Day.  Maybe we'll be visited by a leprechaun or two...? Don't forget your Show and Tell items, library books, nametags, and chequebook if you plan to sign up for a workshop. See you there. Will you be wearin' the green?

Last month's meeting was very informative, and lots of good tips were passed on. We all enjoyed JoAnn's presentation on what's new on the market and at The Christmas Crab Quiltery. (Ladies, if you haven't used your coupon yet, it expires this week. Just sayin'.) If you recall the discussion on the wonders of Blue Dawn (the answer for returning your washable sticky roller to its ultimate super-stickiness) you might find the following link useful. Click on it for 20 more uses of Blue Dawn  around the home:

And, to end with a chuckle, here's one more use for Dawn. Let us know if you try this and it works...

DO NOT wash your hair in the shower!
It's so good to finally get a health warning that is useful!!! IT  INVOLVES THE SHAMPOO: IT RUNS DOWN YOUR BODY WHEN YOU SHOWER WITH IT.
I don't know WHY I didn't figure this out sooner! I use shampoo in the shower! When I wash my hair, the shampoo runs down my whole body, and printed very clearly on the shampoo label is this warning,"FOR EXTRA BODY AND VOLUME."
No wonder I have been gaining weight!
Well! I got rid of that shampoo and I am going to start showering with Dawn Dishwashing Soap. Its label reads, "DISSOLVES FAT THAT IS OTHERWISE DIFFICULT TO REMOVE." Problem solved!
If I don't answer the phone, I'll be in the shower!