Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Fun Tips and Giggles #2

We had such great responses to our first ever 'Fun Tips and Giggles, that we are back with another one!
Do you love going to workshops, but detest waiting in line to use the iron?   Here is a simple, fast and very inexpensive way to make your own mini ironing board using a TV tray.   Click here for the tutorial.  It took  23 minutes to make mine.

Do any of you have a lovely chair that you just can't part with but it desperately needs a new cover?   Our very own Vice President Judy Kelly came up with a fantastic way to cover her grandmother's chair.

Here is what Judy had to say about her 'Grandma's Going Green' chair.

Last spring when I moved into my new studio, I brought my Grandma’s old armchair with me. At the time I wondered what I could do to make it “fit in”?
I asked the ladies in my quilting guilds to save selvedges from their quilting projects. Every month they came with little piles of brightly coloured selvedges, so I quickly built up my stash! 

Reading the various names on the selvedges was exciting. One can only imagine what ”Chalking It Up To Success” or “A Quilters Home” fabric looked like?
During the summer I sewed the selvedges to a muslin base, layering a woven edge on top of a raw edge, so everything was covered. I removed the original upholstery fabric and used it as a template to cut my selvedge fabric . I then stretched it in place and stapled it with a heavy duty staple gun.

The chair “fits in” quite nicely and has a special place in my studio. I wonder what my Grandma would say if she saw it now?
Everyday, while raising her family, she practiced 'going green'and didn’t even realize she was doing it! 

Thank you Judy for the great idea and wonderful instructions!   I bet a few of you are going to take another look at that old chair in the corner of your room.

Lastly, your giggle for the day.

Photo: I sew relate to this!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Introducing Diane Carson

Here is a lady that accomplishes so much in a little amount of time, and has wonderful insight into the world of long arm quilting.   I am pleased to introduce you to Diane Carson.

Can you tell us a little about your quilting career?
My cousin called one day and asked if I would go with her to a local guild meeting. I was blown away by the show and tell. I signed up for a workshop right away. That was in 1985. In 1999 after my husband took a job transfer and I had to leave mine, I got to enjoy staying at home, so I began looking for something to do that would keep me home. I had never heard of longarming but read about it in a magazine and called the Gammill company for a video. Not long after that I ordered a machine over the phone without even a test drive. There were no dealers in Ontario so it had to come from MO.  Also lessons were only available in Springfield, Illinois at a  Machine Quilters Showcase which I attended every year for the next few years.   

Diane Carson with 'Pillars of Islam' 2010

When did you start long arm quilting?  
After I got my machine I quilted a few of my own quilts and some close friends quilts before I really got into the business in 2000.  

 "It's the Berrie's" Quilt Show June 2012

Tell us about the Canadian Machine Quilters Association.
In 2000 I was a founding member of the CMQA and our goal was to promote machine quilting and educate quilters. Now ten years later a lot has changed and we came to the conclusion that we had realized that goal. At Quilt Ontario 2011 we merged with CQA/ACC. There is no longer a CMQA, but in the end that is how you got me as a Longarm Representative for CQA/ACC. I hope longarmers can contact me ( if they have questions that need to be brought to the CQA/ACC Board and I would also like longarmers in Canada to feel they too can shine at Quilt Canada. A longarm category has been added to the NJS which is a great advancement for Longarmers and shows acceptance. This is a good thing that I believe came about because of the CMQA being there.       

                Viewer's Choice  "Fussy Cut Fixation"  CQA Ribbon

                Pieced by Anne Beaudoin, Quilted by Diane Carson

Why long arm quilting?  What is the perk or benefit of it that encourages people to try it and then pursue this avenue for quilting their quilts?  
For me it was being able to work at home and that is probably why some machines are bought. If you have to finish the laundry or housework before you get to the longarm, this business is probably not for you. It takes a lot of discipline and  is a lonely job most days.  The other perk is  meeting quilters and seeing the fantastic quilts being made today. I like to fit in at least 2 of my own quilts on the longarm every year, which sometimes is hard to do .  There are a lot of 'toppers' working faster then we are.

What do you see is the future for long arm quilting? 
Well I think we're here to stay and I see some very impressive quilting happening. I don't think you can stop the momentum.   

Do you think there is much more they can do to advance the long arm machine? 
This I'm not sure of, not having an advanced machine.  But I do try the new ones out  when I get to the big quilt shows.  They are really amazing. 

 In my spare time I take my friends to Quilt Shows

Can you give the readers some tips for long arm quilting? 
To the longarmers I want to tell them they are performing a very worthwhile and sometimes tedious task, but never under sell yourself. If we think we are not worth it, what will our clients think.  I have this saying in my studio. "There are 3 types of work, Fast, Cheap & Good. You can pick two. If you want it fast and good - it won't be cheap. If you want it cheap and good - it won't be fast. If you want it fast and cheap - it won't be good." 
If I had to pick one tip for the Toppers (our clients) I would ask them to please PRESS.  We can do a much better job for you when this one step is done. For me, a quilt is not quilted properly unless it has been stabilized with 'Stitch in the Ditch' ( a technique longarmers find difficult, time consuming and try to avoid), and if a top is pressed it makes this job so much easier.  
What is your favourite food while quilting?   
Well I am a lucky lady and every fall my husband and I travel to PA.  I get to the Amish fabric shops and he gets to the antique car shows which happen to be in Hershey . We usually bring home a years supply of chocolate. Do you know any quilters that would not like that?  Did I mention that the chocolate is all usually gone in 3 months so I switch to Chai Tea Latte. 

Thank you so much Diane for the insight into the world of longarm quilting.   If you hear a knock on your door, it is just me asking for some chocolate.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Fun Tips and Giggles #1

Have you ever wanted to print something off the internet, such as a quilt tutorial, but did not want all the extra 'stuff' that shows up when printing?   Here is a free and very easy to use solution.   It is called Print Friendly.

This site allows you to type in a url (webpage) and it transforms it right onto the screen into an easy to read document that you can print without getting all the excess stuff.  Or you can email it to your friend and they can print it.

 It gets better than that, you can choose to get it with or without images, which when downloading a tutorial, sometimes you get  more than you need in a paper copy format.

 It also allows you to download into a PDF format.  This is a great website to use for quilt tutorials,recipes and so many other things.

Now this is camping!   Eliza Fernand goes around with her tape recorder and camera and records stories about quilts.
Courtesy of Eliza Fernand

In the last 'Canadian Quilter' newsletter, Sandra Reford wrote an article and showcasing several quilters.  One struck a cord and I googled it and found Gordana Brelih's fibre art.   If you want inspiration, you should check out her gallery.   Are there any galleries of quilters that you look to for inspiration online?  If so, leave a link in the comment section.

I will sign off with how my husband sees my machine.
Found here on Facebook.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Introducing Kathy Tidswell

Kathy Tidswell is a remarkable quilter.  Her workshops are so varied and unique, and that is reflected in her  breathtaking gallery of quilts.  Kathy is  down to earth and her students adore her classes, so much so that she was CQA/ACC's Teacher of the Year in 2005.  Interviewing her was just like sitting down  for a cup of coffee with a good friend.

Please tell us a little about yourself outside of your quilting career.
My two children are grown and out of the house.  My daughter lives in Norwich England and my son in Stratford Ontario, so visiting isn't as  frequent as I might like. My husband has his own business repairing scientific equipment and travels quite a bit. I enjoy going with him when I can spare the time. There is never a problem entertaining myself while he is working. There are always museums, art shows, quilt shops and even shopping. We also enjoy travelling when he isn't working.
My dad is 90 and still lives in his own home about 100 km away. I try to spend a day a week with him making meals etc. We have a large property and a house that was built in 1784 so there is always work to be done. I enjoy gardening and we have just started a new rose garden.

How do you come up with an idea of a quilt and getting that onto fabric?
The design idea for a quilt often takes  longer than the execution. I muse on ideas, consider and also try different techniques to accomplish what I want to do. I prefer finished edges and often create a lot of extra work for myself.
Ode to Vulpes vulpes
This wall quilt was juried into the 2006 Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery Grand National themed exhibition "Wildlife".

Many of your quilts have animals in them, why is that?
Animals are a source of inspiration for me. I was trained as a biologist and I gravitate towards all things in nature and the great outdoors.

Great Horned Owl
3D Thread Applique

You have mastered the art of both 3D Thread Applique and Thread Painting, can you define the difference between the two?
 I consider 3D Thread applique a subset of Thread Painting. The 3D thread appliques are made using just one technique. I have developed the technique on my own. You can never really "discover" something new because someone else will  have already developed it but I didn't find the technique in a book or anything. I just started making birds because I felt that the stitches really looked like feathers. In order to write notes for my first class, I had to keep going back to the sewing machine to see what I actually had done. I have considered writing a book and the idea is appealing, but the fact that it consumes your life for up to two years has held me back.

Thread Painted

What are some of your favourite aspects of quilting? 
I really enjoy teaching. It is very fulfilling to give students some tools and watch them fly. I have taught the last 5 summers at the edVentures vacation summer learning program in Fredericton and my "away" teaching seems to come in fits and starts. At QC 2012 I taught 4 full day courses and gave a professional development course so that was pretty hectic. My husband has just built, in our house,  a teaching studio that will accommodate 6 students. He has recently given me a "dig" that I have not yet used it. This coming fall is quite hectic, so I have not yet organized a series of classes, but I envision having a block of 4 or 6 classes where students could build upon the knowledge gained each week and have time to practice at home.

This wall quilt was juried into the CQA/ACC National Juried Show in St. John's, Nfld. 2008

Wearable Art  at the NJS is not one of the  popular categories to enter, can you give the readers some encouragement on this?
I find entering National Juried Shows to be stressful. I put a lot of pressure on myself when making a piece that I want to be worthy of a show. I think that that is just a personality trait. I want to enter the shows but I certainly don't find it relaxing. I enjoy creating "one of a kind" garments. Years ago I saw things from the Fairfield fashion show and decided they were suitable only for the fashion runway. I decided I wanted to make unique garments that could be worn in a normal setting, so that is why I have gravitated to Wearable Art in the NJS. It is certainly no more difficult than making a quilt.

How often do you get into your studio/quilting space?
 I try to get in my sewing room at least 3 times a week.  I produce thread paintings that are framed and sold at a gallery  and arts and crafts sales, so I spend more time working on these than on quilts.

Bank Machine Blues

What are some highlights in your quilting career? 
I was pretty excited when I got the phone call that I had been accepted to teach at my first Quilt Canada back in 2000 but the highlight of my quilting career has definitely been receiving the CQA/ACC Teacher of the Year Award in 2005.  I am  also quite excited about being invited to teach in Luxembourg this fall.

What is your favourite food to keep you quilting these masterpieces?
At a meal I love prime rib roast beef, and as a snack unsalted peanuts.

We look forward to hearing more about Kathy's 'in house' classes.  No doubt they will be popular!