Sunday, 30 December 2012

We are taking a short break over the holidays and want to wish all our quilting friends across Canada and beyond a wonderful holiday season.

We will be back in the New Year with lots of great activities, including a fun new challenge and an update on our Stitch Across Canada!
Christmas Tree Rag Quilt Pattern
Free Pattern: Christmas Tree Rag Quilt

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Introducing Iona Harrietha

Iona Harrietha is one of CQA/ACC's professional members located in Welland, Ontario.  As a Long Arm quilter, pattern designer and teacher, she is a gal on the go.   

My quilting career began in 1990's. The funny thing is, I didn't even sew until then. I tried to rent a sewing machine for my first project because I was sure I would never use it again. When I went to the store, they had one I could purchase for $30.00. Good enough for sewing jersey vests for a hockey game. However, while I was in the store I spied these beautiful quilts hanging with signs on them for classes. Well, one thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was asking for a sewing machine for Christmas and signing up for a January class. I wanted to try everything. I went from student, to teacher, to designer and now Long Arm Quilter.

I purchased my Long Arm quilting machine in the summer of 2011. I decided on a Handi Quilter Avante because I was familiar with the machine. I was impressed with how user friendly the machine was and the reasonable price. I choose to use 100% cotton thread as I like the weight of it and the way it shows a little more than the finer threads. I have purchased commercial pantographs, but am now designing my own. I thoroughly enjoy this because it allows me to use the perfect pattern for each quilt.

I began quilting for customers on a regular basis in March of 2012. I decided to start my own home based business called "Nonie's Needle and Thread". I have recently published my website which promotes the different aspects of my company, such as long arm quilting, my original patterns, actual and online classes.
Long Arm quilting has become more and more popular in the past few years for a couple of reasons. The first, I believe is because the Long Arm quilters have evolved into artists in their own right. They have moved outside of simple pantographs to custom work that truly highlights the quilts pattern and piecing. Secondly, I think the idea of finishing a quilt quickly is appealing. Sometimes its necessity, but really the bottom line is the more quilts you finish, the more you can make and the more fabric you can buy.

My tip for long arming or even free motion quilting on a domestic machine is to let the quilt tell you how it needs to be quilted. Look for open spaces and try to use a design that enhances the quilt’s pattern and the piecing. Sometimes the quilting can overpower the quilt and that should not be the objective of it. Keep in mind that the piecing was a lot of work and the quilting should show that off.

My tip for long arming or even free motion quilting on a domestic machine is to let the quilt tell you how it needs to be quilted. Look for open spaces and try to use a design that enhances the quilt’s pattern and the piecing. Sometimes the quilting can overpower the quilt and that should not be the objective of it. Keep in mind that the piecing was a lot of work and the quilting should show that off.


'Courtly Steps' 
Original Design by Iona Harrietha

3D Pinwheels
Quilted by Iona Harrietha

It has been a pleasure getting to know you Iona!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Fun Tips & Giggles #5

Tin Eye Labs is one of the most stimulating and inspiring places on the web for colour.

You simply have to try this.   It is free and takes 3 simple steps.   Click here to go to the website.

It will look like this:
On the right hand side it says 'Step 1'  and here you select up to 5 different colours.

You can see I chose the colours blue, green and pink.  So the computer searches the 10 million Creative Commons images on Flickr (these are the ones that people have allowed to be shared) and finds pictures with these colours.   

Now if you want to just focus on pink, slide your cursor over the 'Step 2' box of colour and adjust the percentages by dragging the pink box up and by deleting the other colours.   If you hold your cursor over the colour a little garbage can comes up and if you click on that, it will delete the colour.  Below I got rid of all the colours but pink.

If you see a photo you like, click on it and it will take you directly to that photo.

At the bottom of the page you will see 'Previous....Next', so don't think there is just that one page of photos for you to chose from!  

This is the best place for colour ideas and inspiration.  Let's see if you can spend just a few minutes on it!

Let's end with a little giggle for the day.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Hilary Rice

Today we have a guest blogger.   She is well known in the quilting world for her spectacular quilts and relaxed, creative workshops.   I am turning the blog over to Ms. Hilary Rice.

Did you know that moving house takes an enormous chunk of time out of your creative opportunities?  I certainly have had that fact waved in my face more than once in past years (having moved from Ontario to BC to Newfoundland), and particularly these past several months, as we returned to our origins in Ontario.  Adding to the diminishing time available to me was the planning of a wedding – our middle daughter was married this August, in Vancouver...   and being my daughter, most of the outfits as well as the bouquets were hand-made – this involved much sewing of dresses, kilts and vests, knitting kilt hose in addition to collecting hundreds of buttons and doo-dads to assemble into four funky and very unique bouquets!  I really must share a photo of the bride’s bouquet with you...  it just might spur you on to more creative endeavours of your own!  Just be sure to give yourself lots of time!! 

The move, returning to Ontario from Newfoundland, happened in early March.  We are feeling very much settled in and welcomed here in our new home, with the house pretty much unpacked and set to go, complete with pictures (and some textile art) hung. The studio space is another matter entirely.  You see we bought a lovely 6-acre property that has a beautiful (by horse-y standards) 3-stall stable on it.  We don’t have, nor do we intend to have, horses.  However, this 20 foot by 40 foot structure will make the most wonderful textile artist’s studio!!   

This is where my creative energy has been flowing this past while – all the time my mind is filling to overflowing with textile art ideas. I am scrubbing rubber mats and rough wood walls, in order to remove the final vestiges of “horse”, and bring up the “cool artist space” look!  Amazingly, the more I scrub, the more excited I am becoming with the idea of making this my creative space – my husband wanted it to be converted into a garage and his workshop.  But my studio it will be!  He has removed the stall walls, added electrical outlets in strategic places (including the ceiling), and is currently working on installing more windows and doors with windows, to let in the natural light. 

While in the midst of all this deconstruction-reconstruction, I recognize an intriguing parallel to my creative process.  Firstly, there is the vision of possibilities in the raw materials.  This is followed by some initial planning and thinking for logistical structure (which layer of materials goes under, which goes over etc.)  Then there is “the work” put into preparing the actual creative materials – for me this involves painting a base fabric (usually cotton, linen or silk), and taking the heat gun to a pile of colour coordinated synthetic fabrics, to prepare my palette of unique supplies.  

At some point soon (in our stable once the walls are scrubbed and some painting is done), the mats will be replaced on the floor, and then the workings of the studio will be set-up!  The light will flood in, making the entire effort so worthwhile...  just as an art piece becomes what it is meant to be.  With its completion comes that warm feeling of satisfaction.

It is even more thrilling to know that this creative space is being made to share with you...  because the plan is to offer in-house workshops here!!  I have realized there are many of you out there that are keen to learn some of my more unusual techniques, which are difficult to offer in a typical workshop situation.  This new space will be large enough to teach six students at a time, or perhaps a smaller intimate group will be interested in a fun, get-away-together-and-be-creative retreat.  I look forward to opening my new door (with windows!)...  to welcome you into my creative world.

I am seriously thinking of staging a wedding and having Hilary do my bouquets, anyone else with me?

Thanks so much for sharing Hilary!