Thursday, 18 December 2014

Youth Challenge - Alexa's Idea

Alexa Kalist, one of our 2014 Cantik Batiks Youth Challenge winners, had a wonderful idea for teaching youth to sew.  Make a simple stuffed animal (stuffie).  They’re easy, fun, and quick.  They can be stitched by hand and/or machine and the project is suitable for all experience levels. It’s a great way to unleash their creativity and build confidence.
Alexa designed an original stuffie and wrote the following tutorial.  I’m thrilled to share it with you.
I made my own stuffie, using Alexa’s pattern.  You can see him below and in the step-by-step photos.  His name is Mulligan.  He likes to collect lint and has a knack for finding lost pins and needles which makes him a handy fellow to have around.

I’d like to challenge our youth to make a stuffie.  They can use Alexa’s pattern or design their own.  Send your photographs, and the story of your stuffie, to  I’d love to share them on this blog.

Please leave a comment at the end of the post so Alexa can see how much we appreciate all her hard work. 
Jo Ferguson 

How to Design and Make Your Own Stuffie
By Alexa Kalist

Alexa's Stuffie
Have you ever wanted to make your own stuffed animal but didn’t know where to start? Well if the answer is yes, then this is a project for you. This is a step-by-step guide to designing, making a pattern, and sewing your very own stuffed animal.                                                    
1. Start by figuring out what you want your stuffie to look like. You might want it to be big, or really small. It’s totally up to you.
2. You can use the pattern that I’ve provided or you can make your own. Here’s a link to my pattern:


Here’s how to make your own pattern: 
STEP 1:  Start by folding a piece of paper in half.  You can use a simple sheet of printer paper if that’s the size that you want your stuffie to be, or you could use a bigger piece if you want a bigger stuffie.                
STEP 2:  Starting at the folded edge of the paper, draw half of what you want your stuffie to look like. 
STEP 3:  Keep the paper folded and cut out your ‘half shape.’ 
Now, when you unfold the pattern, you’ll have symmetrical shape that looks like what you want your stuffie to look like.  


 3. With the paper unfolded, pin the paper to the wrong side of your desired fabric. Draw around the shape, take off the paper, and with an adults’ help, cut out the shape. You can now repeat these steps on the fabric that you want for the back of your stuffie.

4. Now you’re going to want to make some eyes for your stuffie. Cut our some round white circles, the size that you want for the eyes, and some smaller black circles for pupils.                                                                
*TIP:  You can use the lid from something in your fridge to make these circles.
5. Sew the white circles onto the piece of fabric that you want to use as the front of your stuffed animal. Put another piece of fabric on the wrong side of your stuffie shape under where you want to put the eyes. Make sure that you’re sewing the eyes on to the right side of the fabric.
6.  Now that you can sew the black part (pupil) on top of the white part. You can also sew on a smile with some red thread or embroidery floss.  You can add any other embellishments you’d like.                                

*TIP:  You can use a glue stick to help the whites and pupils, of the eyes, stay where you want, while you are sewing them on.


7. You now get to sew the two sides of your stuffed animal together. Make sure that you face the fabric right sides together while you sew, otherwise, your stuffie will be inside out! Use a simple running stitch, and leave a gap of about 2 inches un-sewn.
8. Now that it is sewn all the way around, except for the gap that you left open, turn your stuffie outside-in, and stuff with polyester filling, or whatever you have on hand to fill it with.                                          
*TIP: You can use the end of a pencil to get the stuffing into all the tight spots like arms and legs.
9. You’re almost done! Just sew the gap closed that you left open with a needle and thread, and voila!!

You have yourself your own personally designed stuffed animal.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Posting for CQA/ACC Conference Coordinator

The Canadian Quilters Association/Association canadienne de la courtepointe is seeking an individual to plan and coordinate the Quilt Canada 2016 conference in a major centre in Ontario.  This will be a part time position beginning on the date of signing the contract and ending on the date of submitting final reports after the 2016 conference, no later than 30 days post conference.  The contract will be renewable annually on approval of both parties.  Compensation to be negotiated.

Skills Needed:

·                 Experience organizing events of this type or similar events
·                 working knowledge of computer software - esp. Word and Excel
·                 demonstrate oral and written communication skills
·                 demonstrated marketing skills
·                 demonstrated negotiating skills
·                 demonstrated leadership skills and ablility to work as part of a team

To perform this role successfully, an individual:
·       Must be proactive, logical, efficient and be able to multi-task.
·       Must be well organized, have effective time management skills and able to work within established timelines.

To inquire about this position contact the President at

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Giveaway on the 15th

Everyone loves a great giveaway and this is simply the best!
Head to our fb page this Monday the 15th and enter our amazing giveaway.

Check out what is up for grabs!

The Go Iron travel iron has a rubber ring around the handle for a comfortable ergonomic fit.  The non-stick soleplate heats up in 30 seconds.  And best of all it can be used as a dry iron or with continuous steam.

The iron cleaner is a glue stick style applicator, which makes removing stains from the soleplates safe and easily.

Simply apply thin layer to the soleplate of iron set to 6°C, rub with a rough cloth to remove debris and then run the iron over a cloth to remove any excess debris remaining and you’re done!!

Stop by our fb page on Monday!!

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Member's Approach to the Trend Tex Challenge - 1

Lezley Zwaal shares her story about designing and making her quilt entry for the Trend-Tex challenge. These are her thought processes - presented in several instalments. Watch this space for the next instalment!

Do I or don’t I?
Each year I look at my schedule that appears to be free and clear for working on the challenge for the CQA/ACC conference.   2015 looks no different – and so, the fabrics are ordered!  Life gets busy and a little time passes. Finally a package arrives in the mail!  

Trend-Tex Challenge Fabrics 2015

OH!  I forgot I ordered the challenge fabric!

I clear my desk and the package is quickly opened….
My first thought is “Oh my goodness – what am I going to do with this?”

OK – a cup of tea needed.

First in the process - Ideas

Photography is a hobby – and this year alone I have some spectacular subjects – from home in Edmonton, to Tofino on Vancouver Island to 4 weeks in Europe – Holland and France.  I should be able to find something!  Beach winter sunset, spring flowers, birds, windmills and rural Holland, Rotterdam – the city awakes, 24 hours of Le Mans auto race, Juno Beach and remembering WWII, Vimy Ridge and remembering WWI. 
I start scanning the files for photos that may speak to those colours….What am I going to do with that fabric that looks like kernels of corn still on the cob?
Oh – I should note that at this time I have not read the entire instruction set, nor gone back onto the website.  My search is with those colours in mind.
I have a difficult time with abstract.  I need to have a product that people cannot interpret the design as I envision it. So I start with a real photo, and then use the artistic licence to remove an item not needed, or add something to get the “feeling”.
But first – I have to choose the photo. There are just too many pictures, but finally I cull down.
starfish at Tofino, BC

prairie train trestle

Of course, now I read the specifications – and see the kite logo for “blown away”.  

I think there’s a photo that I have of my dad flying his kites!  But I didn’t take it – one of my sisters did.  

Now I’m on a hunt to find that picture. 

Continued in next installment - finding that special photo...

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Registration - it's here!

Registration for all the fun and educational activities at Quilt Canada 2015 is officially open now! Well actually it was open several days ago. But there's still room for you in all of our classes/workshops. Don't miss this opportunity to take a workshop with our wonderful teachers! Register now!

At this point, registration is only open to CQA/ACC members (as of Nov 26th). However it is worth it to become a member if you want to register for more than 2 one-day classes or one 2-day class. As a member, you'll save $25 per day. It is well worth the price and you get a subscription to The Canadian Quilter quarterly magazine, which is a great all-Canadian resource for local quilting news along with your membership. What a great incentive to join! Plus great workshops too!

Schedules and descriptions for all the workshop classes are available on the CQA/ACC website. You can register online to purchase tickets to Weeks Ringle's lecture "Transforming Traditions: Modernism and Quilts", the Closing Banquet and Ceremonies, a logo pin and more.

If you are not a member, registration opens Jan. 14, 2015.

So don't waste any time -  Register today and prepare to be blown away at Quilt Canada 2015 in Lethbridge, AB June 4-6!

Sunday, 30 November 2014

First Time NJS Quilt Entry Winner

Veronica's winning entry
Veronica Puskas, now of Niagara, ON was asked to write about her experience entering a quilt into the National Juried Show (NJS). Her beautiful piece, called “Pillars of Strength” was the winner for a First Time Entrant into the National Juried Show 2014. Here is her story:

I never thought of entering my quilt into the NJS until Roberta Masecar, as part of our quilting group saw my piece when it was nearly done and said that it should be entered in a juried show. I had never heard of it until then, so I checked on line. I started entertaining the idea, then thought "What the heck? I've got nothing to lose and I'll learn something here."
Close-up of hand

I had made this quilt in memory of my Mom and Gramma. It took me on a journey while making the pieces. I was actually going to piece what the actual picture shows and that is Mom's ugly woollen trousers and the ugly canvas leggings on their kamiit (boots). I learned what the traditional trousers and leggings should look like by asking family and friends.

(2014 was the first time for online registration into the NJS. Of course, no matter how hard CQA/ACC and the software writers tried to make it a smooth run for everyone, there were glitches.)

Apparently this was the first time that on-line registration took place and I thought that went very well except when I had to change the size of the image. Some of the pertinent information got lost. When I finally got an e-mail confirming my entry was accepted, I found some of the information was wrong. After a few emails, the information was corrected.

I had started this quilt based on a class by
Nancy Bergman "Zapplique Don't Sweat Quilting the Human Figure" in 2008 I had to start over because I used the wrong materials. This class took place six months after Mom passed away. I was so happy that my piece got accepted that I cried. I could not believe it! I contacted my family and friends and they cried with me as well.
In making “Pillars of Strength” I auditioned different colours of fabric and threads until I was satisfied. I learned how to thread-paint and how to use mixed media other than fabric such as distressed Typar for the rocky hills, tulle for shading and yarn for snow. 

After the piece was quilted I agonized over every little detail: the quilting; straight edges at 90 degrees; ensured there were no waves; stitching on the binding was straight; all pieces were secure; and the hanging sleeve was made according to the instructions. Susan Bowslaugh gave me a very good tip with respect to binding - to use same coloured fabrics as the quilt top. It added another level of difficulty. When I fretted over little things, I listened to my own heart when well-meaning family and friends were saying that my quilt was perfect the way it was. In the end I was right in doing so. When I did not know what to do with it anymore I knew my piece was done.

I hired a professional photographer to take pictures of the quilt. I believe this to be key as your photo must give the positive first impression. The camera and lighting are key to very good, clear photographs. This investment is worth every dime and penny. If you have gone through all that you did to get your piece entered and not invest in this, unless you are a professional photographer, you run the risk of not getting accepted. I didn't want to take that risk.

For me as a first time entrant, this process of entering the National Juried Show was a nail-biting, thrilling roller-coaster experience. It was all worth it in the end when /I saw my quilt hung up with those whose quilts were of high calibre. To me it is like giving birth. You forget all the agony and frustrations that goes with trying to make your piece perfect. And throughout making my piece, I kept hearing my Mother when I just wanted to give up and do a less-than-perfect job "You can do better than that!" What I learned from this process was that I CAN do it. I feel more confident now that I can go through this process again. There is a lot of competition out there with great quilts in the shows. And you learn what you are made of. I felt so honoured to have been part of that.

Veronica’s quilting experience:

I am a self-taught quilter who started in early 1995. I had remembered the embroidered or tied woollen blankets that my Gramma used to have. I learned to quilt by buying quilting magazines and trying out the patterns, not realizing there was a local guild. I made tons of mistakes but I learned a lot too. About two years I finally joined the Yellowknife Quilter's Guild and took as many classes as I could take juggling family and work life. I was lucky to have been part of the Guild as they brought in masters: Jan Krentz, Gail Garber, Libby Lehman, Gloria Loughman, Nancy Bergman to name a few. I felt stifled though in the end before we moved here (Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON) as I wanted to get more into the art quilts. Just two months after we moved here, I was invited to be part of a quilting group that was interested in learning to make different art quilts. I learned a lot from them and they, the Thread Hedz, have given me the confidence to try different media and methods. 

As an Inuk living in southern Canada, the North will always be a part of me and it shows in my art quilts. I remember stories of Nuliayuk and what a powerful sea-goddess she was. I like to incorporate well-known images such as the Inukshuk, or an igloo.   


Veronica Puskas

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Christmas is coming...

Christmas is coming - and it’ll be here before you know it.

Have you thought about shopping at CQA/ACC for that gift for a certain someone who loves quilting, but has everything or maybe just wants something different? 

Well, we have a few gift suggestions for you to give or maybe even to drop a hint for yourself to receive.

A subscription to our popular magazine, The Canadian Quilter that is filled with tons of reading, quilting ideas - it’s Canadian too - and you get a membership to CQA/ACC thrown in as well.

 Or might we suggest a trip to Lethbridge for Quilt Canada in June 4-6, 2015 – this could include admission tickets to the National Juried Show, a workshop or two from well-known teachers, the final dinner/banquet. Registration for members opens Nov. 26th, 2014.

One of 37 quilts in the show
Any quilter would love to receive our greeting cards from the 'It's Time For Colour" travelling quilt show. Buy a selection of 10 cards for $35 plus $5 postage; wrap a beautiful ribbon around 3 or 4 and presto - you have two or three delightful hostess gifts.
Lastly, consider one of the "It's Time For Colour" quilts before they are all sold.  
Cards or quilts - you’ll be supporting the Children’s Wish Foundation too.

Blank cards of the quilts

More blank cards of the quilts
These can all be found available online. For magazine subscription and (gift) membership click here.

For various Quilt Canada 2015 events, click here or for Registration for Quilt Canada 2015 items.

They’re all just a click away! And your shopping is done!