Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Quilt Canada Teacher - Coreen Zerr

Each year we choose carefully our teachers for our national conference, Quilt Canada. This year was extra special, as it is our 150th birthday. So it was determined that the line up of instructors to teach you had to be phenomenal.   You will not be disappointed!

Coreen Zerr, is one of our instructors. This quilter knows thread inside and out, and how she transforms her quilts by thread is simply unbelievable. Until you have taken a class with Coreen, you will have no idea of the power of thread on a quilt! 

A favourite of her students is Correen's Pet Pourri workshop.
Trust me when I say she will make your furry friend come to life!

101 - PetPourri
101 - PetPourri (Janome)
One Full Day Workshop
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $145.00
A workshop on how to create your favourite critter/pet from a photograph. Learn how to work with value and thread play, as well as trapunto to enhance the expressions of any animal you choose.

If you have a pet, love animals or just can't stop looking at these adorable quilts, this workshop is for you!   Sign up here.

This workshops is an easy way to  learn how to capture shading and expression of your favourite furry friend.

Don't delay, this is the most adorable class Quilt Canada has ever offered!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Kathy K. Wylie is coming to Quilt Canada 2017!

There is nothing more ideal than having a Canadian quilt celebrity  teach and be one of the feature evening entertainment at Quilt Canada 2017 to celebrate our 150th! Kathy Wylie is just that quilter!
If you know her or have had a workshop with her, you know exactly what we mean when we say she embodies Canadian quilting and all that it is! She teaches with the patience of a sweet mom, has the quilting knowledge compared to a genius and her quilts are exquisite, plus she excels at both hand and machine quilting! So every quilter can adore her!

If you haven't heard it yet, we know her evening lecture will sell out. So don't wait too long buying tickets.

It was fun to ask her to open up a bit so you can find out a bit more about who this amazing quilter Kathy K. Wylie really is, and why you will regret it, if you dont' take her workshops at Quilt Canada!

Tell us a bit about when you quilt, or what motivates you to do what you do.

The creative process brings me joy. I have been stitching and crafting since I was a girl, but quilting became my passion as soon as I discovered it in the spring of 1994. I guess I am motivated by that passion and by the thrill of discovery. Quilting can take so many forms, styles, genres and techniques – it just never gets old.

When do I quilt? Whenever I can ;) Winter and summer tend to be my quilting seasons; spring and fall are my teaching seasons. I like to do studio work during the day (designing, prep, machine work) and try to do a couple hours of hand work in the evening.

Tell us a bit more about your workshops that you are teaching at Quilt Canada 2017.

 106M - Designing with Diamonds in EQ7
One Half Day Workshop
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 08:30 - 11:30
Cost: $75.00
Take your EQ7 quilt design software to new heights with five diamond design challenges: stunning kaleidoscopes, classic nosegays, pictorial pieced backgrounds and much more!
Students need to have EQ7 installed and activated and bring their own laptop. In this class, we work on five different design exercises – all featuring diamonds.

Exercise 1: Fabric Kaleidoscopes – we learn about the Fussy Cut and Rotate Fabric Tools
Depending on the fabric choice, different kaleidoscopes can be virtually created – or auditioned.

Exercise 2: Drafting an Eight Pointed Star Block – we practice using PatchDraw with the Eight-Pointed Star grid.

Exercise 3: Blocks in an Eight Pointed Star Layout – we set blocks as diamonds into an eight-pointed star layout.

Exercise 4: Variable Point Layout – we set blocks as diamonds into a Variable Point Layout

Exercise 5: Photo Patchwork – we use the Photo Patchwork tool to create a diamond background layout from a photo and add applique motifs on Layer 2.

 106A - Quick & Easy Turned-Edge Applique: The Apliquick Way!
One Half Day Workshop
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 13:00 - 16:00
Cost: $75.00
Discover the Apliquick method for turned-edge appliqué. The innovative Apliquick tools provide unprecedented ease and precision for preparing fabric for hand or machine stitching – even miniature-sized. If you have always wanted to learn turned-edge appliqué, or struggled with it in the past, this system is for you. Apliquick rods will be available in class so you can try before you buy, but we’re sure you’ll want a set for your toolbox. Award-winning quilter Kathy K. Wylie has specialized in appliqué techniques for over ten years and she hasn’t seen anything like them!
There’s something here for everyone. For those who have never done turned-edge applique – or who have struggled with it in the past – the Apliquick method will make it very easy for them to get started and achieve excellent results. For those who enjoy turned-edge applique and have had success using other methods, Apliquick will allow them to take their applique to new heights – smaller scale, more detailed shapes. Once the applique shapes are prepared, they can be sewn by hand or by machine – appealing to both types of sewists.

 206 - Machine Cutwork: The Look of an Heirloom in a Fraction of the Time (Janome)
One Full Day Workshop
Thursday, June 15, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $145.00
Cutwork is a needlework technique where portions of fabric are cut out and the resulting holes are reinforced with embroidery. Learn how to create this heirloom needlework by machine in a fraction of the time.
There are four project options in this class: lacy snowflake; glittery snowflake; snowflake quilt block; stained glass snowflake.
Bring the beauty of winter indoors with one of these beautiful snowflakes!
Basically, you cut out a hole and then satin-stitch over the raw edges. The technique we will be learning in this class uses water-soluble stabilizer (like Solvy). I also teach my three-pass approach for satin stitching and how to miter the stitch to create perfect points. There are lots more photos and detailed descriptions on my blog,
 - layer two pieces of fabric wrong sides together and satin stitch over the cutouts. This creates a lacy or doily-type snowflake.

 - if you add a third layer of sheer sparkly fabric like tulle or organza, the glitter will shine through the cutouts.

 if you layer the cutwork onto a background fabric, the satin stitching appliques the snowflake into a quilt block.

 - and if you place different colored fabrics behind the cutouts, you create a stained-glass effect.

 306M - Peek-A-Boo Applique Leaf (Janome)
One Half Day Workshop
Friday, June 16, 2017, 08:30 - 11:30
Cost: $75.00
What happens when you reverse appliqué over patchwork? Peek-a-boo! Use strip piecing to create a vibrant green summer leaf, a colourful fall leaf, or even a red Canadian maple leaf. The result looks like patchwork appliqué! Use this technique to add unexpected detail to your appliqué, make exciting border designs, or transform those orphan blocks.
The concept behind Peek-a-boo Applique is using reverse applique over a patchwork block. Imagine the possibilities! The applique is done by machine, and I teach my three-pass approach for satin stitching and how to miter the stitch to create perfect points.  In this class, we will use simple strip-piecing to create a leaf block. It could be a realistic-looking leaf…

… or a patriotic maple leaf!

Once you get the concept, you can use peek-a-boo applique to use up orphan blocks or create innovative applique designs. How about a peek-a-boo heart with crazy patchwork or a peek-a-boo pineapple with a pineapple block?

406 - New Ways to Hexies: English Paper-less Piecing by Machine (Janome)
One Full Day Workshop
Saturday, June 17, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $145.00
Hexies – or six-sided hexagon patches – have traditionally been sewn together by hand using a technique called English Paper Piecing. But modern times have brought along new options and we will explore them in this workshop. Instead of basting hexies to paper (which needs to be removed), baste them to fusible interfacing. Instead of tracing and cutting dozens of hexies out of fusible interfacing, purchase them precut! And instead of whip-stitching the patches together by hand, sew them by machine in a fraction of the time using a 
I have been teaching how to sew hexagons together by machine for many years, including my very first time teaching at Quilt Canada in 2006! But this class has been updated in many ways including:

~ using fusible interfacing for the templates – which can stay in – rather than freezer paper, which must be removed.

~ using the Apliquick method for turning under the seam allowance

~ and arranging the hexies in other ways besides the traditional Grandmother’s Flower Garden.

Tell us something you are most proud of, it doesn’t have to be a quilting

Two years ago, while traveling in Phoenix Arizona, my husband and I decided to hike up Camelback Mountain. I only made it about half-way before I was huffing and puffing and could go no further. When we decided to return the following year, I signed up for a twelve-week training program to get in shape so I could try it again. I lost 25 pounds in the process.

What quilt are you most proud of?

Flourish on the Vine, 2011, 62” x 73”
Won the 2011 IQA Founders Award in Houston and the 2013 CQA Best of Show Award.

And what is your favourite food?

Bread! Not whole-wheat, but pretty much any other kind: multi-grain, sour dough, rye, baguettes, Montreal (the best) bagels, ciabatta… and I wouldn’t turn down a glass of wine with that!

Thanks Kathy! Are you convinced that you need one of her workshop? You should be, go here to register!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Gail Mitchell has a class for you at Quilt Canada 2017!

You were promised an incredible line up of teachers! Here is one that brings a smile to your face with the fun and unique classes she is teaching! Gail has captivated everyone with her useful yet gorgeous projects she can create from quilting! The best part is these workshops can be a delight for the beginner quilter! Fast and fun, and not to mention practical!  Wherever Gail goes these classes sell out!

It was so nice to be able to catch up with Gail and have a chat so she could share a bit more about herself with you. Read on to get the scoop!

Tell us a bit about your quilting habits.

I have been sewing for a long time.  And actually, I sew a bit almost every day.   I always have a few projects on the go.  Usually some small projects and one big project.   For small projects, the first time I make it, I call it a prototype.  And just in case it's the only one I make, I use my nicest stash fabric. Its not unusual for me to make the same small project several times.  I love finding shortcuts or better ways to achieve the same or better result.    I love how simple details like top stitching can really make a small project look so professional.    

This quilt (below) to be one of my all time favorite quilts that I made start to finish.  It's called Rainbow Lollipops by "Don't Look Now".     I made it for my youngest grand-daughter.    It's a twin size quilt, and on the sides that hang down, there are cute cats in the garden.  It features an orange cat, just like the one she has.    I made this "quilt as you go style" and machine quilted it on my domestic.   It just makes me smile.

Tell us about a couple of your workshops.

The Wallet Class is such a rewarding class, both for me and the students. It has such broad appeal. The wallet is done in a lot of small but easy steps.  We get it all done in a day.  Participants are so surprised at how easy it is to install the wallet clasp and how it just adds a professional look and function to the wallet.  At the end of the workshop day, participants are wowed at their project. They feel so accomplished.  They immediately want to go home and make another for a gift. As part of the class, I show how to make a perfectly fitted gift box for your wallet. it's made out of scrapbook paper. Everyone is amazed, at how easy it is. They smile. I smile.

The Secret Garden bag is just uber cute.  I initially developed this project for a little girl who was going to start school.   She was to take diabetic supplies with her every day. I wanted a girly bag with her name on it, but in a understated way.  She absolutely loved it.  It's a small project, but if you have children in your life, you will love finding ways to incorporate a secret name or message in your project. Also, if you just want to make the cute posies on a pencil case, you can do that too.    And just so you know, it's hard to make just one.  See my latest batch of pencil cases using the posies. 

Tell us something you are most proud of.

I'm really pleased that I can do meaningful volunteer work, doing something I like to do.   For example, I sew/piece quilt tops for a senior ladies hand quilting group. For  various reasons, these senior ladies don't have the ability to piece/sew any more. But they love to socialize while hand quilting these quilts.  When completed, they are used as an annual fund raiser for their church programs.  
After doing this for a dozen years, I came to understand what kind of quilt, both raises a lot of money in a raffle, and also served the needs of the senior ladies.  I complied all this information into an article titled "The Business of a Raffle Quilt" that was published by McCall's Quilting Magazine a few of years ago.   I had many people who said the article was spot on and were pleased that it was published.
And a final tidbit.   I have had a blog for a number of years.   It started out to be about sewing, my grandkids and a bit of cooking.    Now it is mostly post about sewing projects and if I can help explain something that I have learned, I will post about it in a tutorial.  In 2009, I did a picture tutorial of how I hem jeans.   Well, it is the single most read post on my blog and I love the comments that I've received from all over the world.   A link to the post is here.  

Gail is definitely teaching some 'must take' classes. There is something so satisfying about taking a class and having something you can use when you walk out the door!  Don't wait too long to register, you do not want to miss her classes!

107 - Secret Garden
107 - Secret Garden (Brother)
One Full Day Workshop
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $135.00
Kit Fee: $10.00
Learn to use your free motion quilting skills in a different way. Embellish your small projects using contrasting thread. Embed a secret message for a fun surprise. Your whimsical little flowers will have a colorful bloom and your stitching will highlight the bloom and define the stems and leaves. Embed a hidden message or name in the stitched grass for a fun surprise. Kit includes fabric, die cut fusible flowers, zipper, batting, design and pattern notes.!
207 - Batik Smart Wallet
207 - Batik Smart Wallet (Brother)
One Full Day Workshop
Thursday, June 15, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $135.00

Kit Fee: $37.00
This 6-hour workshop will lead participants through the steps to create this beautiful wallet. This wallet includes a zippered pocket, two currency size pockets and 12 credit card slots and a versatile 1” slot that will hold most smartphones or a pair of glasses. It has a useful wristlet strap. This project is constructed in three parts before the final assembly is complete. Many short-cuts and design details will be learned and participants will leave with their project completed. This Canadian designed wallet is specially designed for women who carry a smartphone in addition to other usual wallet items.
Participants will purchase a prepared kit of batik fabrics, interfacing, a zipper, purse hardware, and the pattern. The kit will have all the pieces cut and the pieces that require the interfacing, will be fused. With the prepared kits, participants will be able to begin the sewing construction immediately enabling them to finish their project in the class.
Participants will be using the straight stitch on their sewing machines, and some short seams will be thick. Participants should know how to use a rotary cutter and mat and should also be able to sew 1/8” top-stitching with the aid of one of the presser feet on their sewing machine.
307 - Oh Canada Quilt
307 - Oh Canada Quilt (Brother)
One Full Day Workshop
Friday, June 16, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $135.00

KIt Fee: $8.00
This is a fun modern Canadian patriotic quilt. Make this quilt to commemorate Canada's 150th celebrations. Won't you be the envy of your neighbours when you hang this over your railing on July 1st.
Each of the 10 flag blocks has 6 colored fabrics of same color value and a white background for the maple leaf in the center of the block. In the first part of this class, we will cut our fabrics into flag kits followed by a kit exchange. Next, we will construct the first block. You will not get all 10 blocks done on the class day but you will have a very good start. You will be able to finish at home, so no need to bring the batting, backing or binding to the class, unless you are a cracker jack sewer!
You will be assigned/responsible for 1 color (6 fabrics in the same value. ie: all mediums). You will buy one half meter (20") of each of 6 fabrics of the same color. It's good to have a variety of textures such as stripes, dots, floral and plain fabric in your color group. Your group of 6 fabrics will make kits for 10 flags of the same color - one kit for you and 9 to exchange. If more than 10 participate, we will exchange using a Draft exchange. Just like the NHL. It's fun.
Quilt size: 48" x 60"
407 - Domesticated Feathers
407 - Domesticated Feathers (Brother)
One Full Day Workshop
Saturday, June 17, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $135.00
Do you love the idea of doing your own free motion quilting of your small projects on your own domestic sewing machine? This class will help you step up your current Free Motion Quilting Skills. If you are a confident stippler, this class might be right for you. The class will lead you through stitching two types of free-form feathers as well as some complementary designs such as swirls and pebbles.

Coreen Zerr is coming to Quilt Canada to teach you!

If you are a Canadian quilter that follows fibre art, Coreen Zerr will be on the tip of your tongue as one of Canada's extraordinary fibre artists!
Her work has been stopping people in their tracks for years! What she can do with fabric and thread is unbelievable.  The best part is we are bringing her to Quilt Canada 2017 to teach you! You do not want to miss signing up for one of her classes.

Luckily we were able to catch up with her to find out a little bit more about this talented quilter.

Tell us a bit about your quilting.

My quilting is mostly in the form of fibre art- thread play and thread work or "painting" as I like to call it. Using thread and the needle as my medium I love to create realistic art in the form of Landscape or "Critters".  I see inspiration in any nature really! There is always way too many ideas for quilts in my head with so little time to do them. I take lots of photos and/or my friends share them with me. Thread is always my weakness I confess!

Three Dimensional Thread Play for Landscapes workshop

I love to teach techniques that I have played with or conquered to create effects in original fibre art. In my workshop Thread Gourmet- I will teach you several of these tricks for texture and perspective in your art.

Thread Gourmet- A Menu of Techniques workshop

Dancing with Your Feed Dogs Down is the course I encourage all beginners of free motion to try because there are no rules! You are stitching naked branches and doing your thread work in one colour (usually black)  on the top of your quilt before sandwiching. This way you can make your stitches different sizes, cross over your threads and if you get a thread throw up on the bottom it won't matter because it ends up in the middle of your quilt! It is a great exercise in "practice", a term we all hear about learning free motion but in this case you are actually making a piece of art while you practice! 

Dancing With Your Feed Dogs Down workshop

Tell us something you are most proud of.

I am proud of all the accomplishments of my students- it is such a thrill to see them become very talented artists on their way to great success!

Manitoba Homecoming, Lenten Seascape and Eyes of the Wise are some of the quilts I am most proud of but I have many favourites!
Eyes of the Wise

What is your favourite food?
I hate to confess...I love soft ice cream.

Here are all the workshops that Coreen is teaching at Quilt Canada 2017.

101 - PetPourri (Janome)
One Full Day Workshop
Wednesday, June 14, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $145.00
A workshop on how to create your favourite critter/pet from a photograph. Learn how to work with value and thread play, as well as trapunto to enhance the expressions of any animal you choose.
201 - Thread Gourmet- A Menu of Techniques
201 - Thread Gourmet- A Menu of Techniques (Janome)One Full Day Workshop
Thursday, June 15, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $145.00
Experiment and refine your palette in all types of Thread Painting- from 3-D thread work to free motion stitches to create shading, dimension and life to your projects. Workshop is technique orientated where you are welcome to bring along projects for guidance.
301M - 3-Dimentional Thread Play for Landscapes
301M - 3-Dimentional Thread Play for Landscapes (Janome)One Half Day Workshop
Friday, June 16, 2017, 08:30 - 11:30
Cost: $75.00
A workshop designed to further your skills in free motion thread play for landscapes. Design elements will be demystified and techniques explained to create depth.
In the workshop, participants will create and learn 3-D effects with products and thread work, create texture by working with threads in free motion zigzag
301A - After The Lovin'
301A - After The Lovin' (Janome)One Half Day Workshop
Friday, June 16, 2017, 13:00 - 16:00
Cost: $75.00
So now that you have fallen in love with thread painting- what now? This Workshop is focused on different techniques for finishing your art -from a fool proof slick way to finish the joins in your binding, how to make a “facing” for your piece instead of binding that shows, create a proper hanging sleeve, and how to block and hang your art so that it lays flat on a wall or in a show!

401 - Dancing With your Feed Dogs Down
401 - Dancing With your Feed Dogs Down (Janome)One Full Day Workshop
Saturday, June 17, 2017, 08:30 - 16:00
Cost: $145.00
Thread paint a stunning silhouette of a tree! Liberate your free motion skills with this wall hanging and learn how easy it is to “draw” with thread to create any tree.
If you are yearning to learn free motion, but have been scared off by “trying to stipple quilt” this workshop is for you! Liberate your skills to create this wall hanging with “NO RULES”!
Absolutely No drawing experience necessary.

Well, there is not much more to say about Coreen. She exudes talent beyond belief and if you are lucky enough to take her class, you sure won't regret it.  Sign up now, before it is too late!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Mystery Box Challenge

CQA/ACC Mystery Box Challenge

Countdown to Quilt Canada 2017

Have you ever wondered what is in a Mystery Box filled with quilting goodies?  Now is your chance to find out!
Starting Feb 25, 2017 and ending just prior to Quilt Canada 2017 in Toronto, all provinces and territories will participate in the Mystery Box search!

Throughout March to June these mystery boxes will be hidden in locations across Canada.   A picture of the location of these "boxes" will be posted on facebook and Instagram, each Saturday from March until June, and the first one to find it, claims the box of quilting happiness! You do not have to be a CQA/ACC member to find the box!

A week prior to the actual Saturday of the event you will see “advertising” on social media what  province or territory the box will be hidden.  

Celebrate Canada's 150th Birthday and the countdown to Quilt Canada 2017 by participating in this search! Use and look for #QuiltCanada15.

We would like to thank Riley Blake Designs for the inspiration and sharing their knowledge with us.
Participating sponsors are:

Saturday, 11 February 2017

10 Tips That Make Quilted Bag Sewing a Cinch

Zoë MacDonald is E-Commerce and Social Media Manager at Canada’s largest manufacturer and wholesale distributor of quality sewing, quilting, and knitting supplies. Crafty lady and recent quilting convert, she is keen to share her love for the latest in notions.

10 Tips That Make Quilted Bag Sewing a Cinch

It’s simply the most practical way to take your quilt with you – and who wouldn’t want that? A few thoughts to keep handy for your next one.

Choose a simple pattern with a large enough surface area for quilting

1. You’ll want your pattern pieces to be big enough to support miniature quilts and to show off the piecing. A simple pattern will also help reduce the number of (thick) intersecting seams and help to reduce bulk.  

Swap batting for heavier weight interfacing

2. To give your bag some body, you will want to use an interfacing that is firm but flexible like the (aptly named) HeatnBond Firm & Flexible. Since it’s a bit thick to pin, you will want to adhere your pattern pieces with 202 before cutting them out with your rotary cutter. 
Bonus: Once dry, pattern pieces will regain their stickiness for later use when ironed.

Build mini quilt tops that cover the surface of your pattern pieces

3. Build mini quilt tops that will cover the surface of your pattern pieces. For those interested in marking half-square triangles the quick and easy way (Hi!) use a specialty gauge designed for this purpose. Reheat pattern pieces to cut out from mini quilt top and backing. Use numbered pins to keep your rows in order when piecing and pressing until they are assembled.

Swap pin basting for 505

4. Though flexible, bag interfacing is thick and can be hard to pin without distorting it. Use 505 instead (from the middle outwards, on the fabric not the fuzzy stuff) between both layers to secure your sandwich. 

Avoid marking quilt stitches by choosing a geometrical pattern

5. Choosing a geometrical quilt pattern will allow you to simply follow your piecing when finishing the quilting stitches – creating pretty and consistent shapes on the inside and out. For bold stitches, try a Sulky 12 weight thread (like I did, in Dusty Navy and Petal Pink) or 30 weight Cotton available in Solids and Blendables. With either, a 90 or 100 size Topstitch Needle will work best. (I would suggest treating yourself to a Schmetz Chrome Needle). 

Add feet to bag bottom

6. Your work should be on a pedestal. Add four or eight feet (even twelve, for a large bag) to the bottom of your bag before quilting. An extra piece of interfacing where the feet will be located will add stability and extend the life of your bag. 

Skip the lining by binding your bag instead

7. Show off the opposite side of your stitches by skipping the lining and binding the bag instead.
Confession: I used pre-made double fold binding. While I'm fully converted on the joys of making your own, I liked this colour so much that I didn't bother.  

Use basting glue & clips instead of pins for bag assembly and binding

8. For putting your bag together and the initial binding application (I would recommend doing this in two steps), binding clips are perfect.  However, when you are attaching the binding overlap, Quilters’ Basting Glue is best to achieve the precision you need. It can be tricky to match up your binding at the best of times, but it is especially challenging when you are working with layers of bag interfacing – around curves!

Use webbing or pre-made straps

9. Thanks to the bag-making trend, there are a ton of options for pre-made and professional-looking bag handles. Simple webbing also works quite well and can be cut to any length. Of course, making your own straps can be fun, but these super strong and simple options let you get back to the quilting part sooner. 

Add a long strap that's removable and adjustable
10. When your barrel bag is filled to the brim, a longer strap will make carrying it more manageable. It also gives you an excuse to add a little extra hardware like rings and swivel hooks and makes the bag much more versatile. (Don’t forget to include a slider to make the strap adjustable.)

Set aside extra pieces for smaller bag accessories
Bonus tip! Go on and buy a little extra fabric! Those bonus pieces will come in handy for inside pockets, wallets, or pouches and are the perfect outlet for playing with different patterns using the same mini blocks. Secure these to the inside of your bag with swivel hooks and rings

Happy Sewing!