Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Academy of Quilting - Ripless Paper Piecing

Academy of Quilting - Ripless Paper Piecing

This class begins on Friday, February 19. It's a 3-lesson class with one lesson posted each week. The classroom remains open until March 28 so you don't need to rush to complete your project in the first 3 weeks.  And I'm with you every step of the way.
 Here's my version of the class project.

Here are pictures of projects made by previous students.
They show a wide range of colour and value choices.

You may already have some experience with paper piecing, sometimes called foundation piecing since the usual way is to sew onto a foundation.  This class will show you how you can achieve the accuracy that paper piecing gives without some of the extra steps.
The steps you WILL NOT do are:

  • create one foundation for every block you sew by printing or tracing
  • cut the foundation into individual sections - you don't cut it up and it is RE-USABLE!
  • sew with a very small stitch length that is extremely difficult to rip out if you make a sewing mistake
  • spend time removing the foundation from your blocks

Included in this class is a tutorial about fabric 'value' - no, that's not how much it costs!  It is the relative lightness or darkness of your fabrics. This can 'make or break' a quilt.  Here is an excerpt from the class:


It is generally thought that there are seven main values that we can select for fabrics. When you move from one to another, you are stepping up or down the value ladder. These are the steps we will consider using:

·         very light
·         light
·         light-medium
·         medium
·         medium-dark
·         dark
·         very dark
There are many more subtle variations in between each of these named values. It is the selection of values from the light, medium and dark that create the contrast we see in traditional quilt patterns. Here are two blocks. One has excellent value contrast and one does not. It is very easy to see the difference.


Dakota Star  in light, medium, dark at left and in medium and dark at right

Here are those same blocks arranged as quilts. Which quilt uses value better?  High contrast quilts make each block piece stand out. Low contrast is a more subtle approach. There will be times when you wish to use low contrast. A great use of low contrast is for clothing items. The important thing is to know the difference and choose the values of your fabric to create the effect you wish to achieve.

High contrast and low contrast

Both blocks in grayscale
Notice how the two blocks look in grayscale. The green reads as very dark. The melon color reads very light and almost blends with the background. This is a case where you must trust what your eyes tell you. No one would confuse the melon color with the beige background when looking at the colored version. The red grayscale shows the dark, medium and light medium values.  There are no extremes in this block.

Learn more about value and Ripless Paper Piecing in the classroom. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book Review - Freemotion Quilting Idea Book

I think a lot of quilters are like me - we enjoy learning! Even if we think we have all the answers, we can't resist seeing how other quilters approach an aspect of what we do.

For this reason I recently added the free-motion Quilting Idea Book by Amanda Murphy to my library. I have been free-motion quilting for many years but it is nice to see new books with more quilting ideas.

Amanda's book didn't disappoint. The first thing I love about it is the spiral binding so the book will lie flat near my sewing machine.

The book includes basic machine quilting tips that are also a  good refresher for those of us with more experience. There is a pattern for the table runner pictured on the cover of the book and Amanda shows several ways to quilt the runner, with reference to the designs included in the 'Designs' section of the book.

I think the 'Designs' and 'Blocks' sections are the best sections of the book. A wide range of quilting ideas are presented for many traditional blocks.  Quilters can use these ideas just as they are or they can jumpstart your creativity for your own particular quilt.

Later in this blog post you will see how I  used some of the design ideas in a table runner.

The book is a Stash Book, an imprint of C&T Publishing.

C&T has just announced the companion APP for the book too!  I bought it right away - I wanted to see how some of the material in the book would be presented.  Here is the first screen that you see when you open the APP:

And this screen shows one of the Allover Design Tutorials. This one is for 'Paisley'. You can see the Design Steps (what you see in my picture) PLUS there is an animation of the stitching PLUS there is a video with Amanda showing you how to stitch the design.

There is also a Video Library. Amanda shows topics like Getting Started, Loops Designs, Small Fills and more.

I used some of the information in the book when I finished the quilting for my Chic Flowers table runner. 

I used the 'Paisley' design in the dark blue portion of the blocks and stippling in the centres of the blocks.  

I adapted one of Amanda's ideas for quilting Flying Geese blocks for the flower 'petals.

This is a great book to add to your quilting library.

Friday, February 5, 2016

FIVE! New Patterns

I can breathe a sign of relief! I have been writing and drawing and testing since the beginning of January. And these FIVE NEW PATTERNS are the result. I'm thrilled with how the quilts came together and I think you'll enjoy the way they are made.

First is a design using a panel. I've done these before, but usually with a 'kids print'. This one is part of Northcott's ColorWorks Concepts collection. The panel is called Cosmopolitan

That made me think of the drinks, in martini glasses and happy hour. So that's the name of this pattern - Happy Hour. I designed foundation paper pieced Martini Glasses for the border and the coordinating fabrics worked well - big dots and zigzags. Very 'happy' drinks.

Quilt Size: 56" x 75"
Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Selecting the correct VALUE for your fabrics makes the other 4 patterns work. Stonehenge Gradations Brights have the whole range of values and I used these quilts for these quilts.

Value is not the 'colour' of the fabric; it is how light or dark the fabric is. And you can't say a fabric is light or dark unless you compare it with another fabric.

Here's an excerpt from my online class 'Ripless Paper Piecing' at the Academy of Quilting:


Value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of fabric. The key item in this statement is the word 'relative'. This means that you need to compare one fabric to another to find out if one is lighter in value or darker in value than the other one.

Here are pictures of pairs of fabrics. Which one is lighter than the other one?

It is easy to answer the question for the first pair of fabrics - the fabric on the left is lighter. In the other pair it is a bit more difficult. The different colours make it harder to decide. What if the colour was not there?

Here is the same picture converted to 'grayscale'.  The fabric on the right is the lighter one in the pair.


My Ripless Paper Piecing class begins February 19th. You'll learn more about 'value' and my unique method for Paper Piecing in this 3-session workshop. Enroll here.

So....back to the patterns:

Patio Lanterns uses values from 4 different colours. This quilt is 48" x 60", suitable for Confident Beginners.

This design would work well in a monochromatic scheme too. Here's an option in shades of white to gray to black.

Illusions uses pre-cuts! 

Northcott's Gradation Brights Tiles (10" squares) have 42 squares with all the values of one colour. I had a difficult time deciding which colours to use for the cover but finally chose Amethyst (my birthstone) and Indigo. Adding the white fabric added a pop of contrast to this design.

This wall quilt is 52" square and I recommend using the Bloc_Loc ruler to square up the Half Square triangles for this design. (Read my review of the ruler here.

Order YOUR PATTERNS today!

Prickly Paws also uses pre-cuts. This time they are FLANNEL - oh so cuddly! The pre-cut bundle includes one Fat Quarter of each fabric - a total of 18 Fat Quarters (light, medium and dark values in the 6 different colours). I added the darkest Indigo for the border.  

This lap size quilt is 52" x 75" - but you could make it larger with another stack of Fat Quarters! Easy piecing for this one too.

And the last pattern is a 'strips' quilt. This quilt is a modern vision of geese flying over fields on their long migration. 

I selected the Lagoon Stone Strips
(40 - 2-1/2" strips) plus one light fabric and one dark fabric for this 
57" x 71" quilt.  

I know you'll love my fun way to make those geese - fewer seams required to make your piecing faster.

All the patterns are in my online store now. See details and the Supply Lists for each pattern too. 

Order YOUR PATTERNS today!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Chic Flowers - The Quilting

Last week I showed you my 'in progress' class sample for my Creative Curve Ruler workshop at Kaleidoscope Quilt Company (see that post here).

Well I finished the quilting and binding on Tuesday and I love, love, love it!  I don't often take a whole day to quilt a table runner but I just couldn't stop myself. I started by outlining the blocks and the flowers. Then I marked a grid in the white setting triangles with my Clover Fine Washout Marker (tested first, of course). I stitched those lines with Superior's Bottom Line thread in white.

It looked fine but I wanted more 'punch'. I had a quilt longarmed by a local quilter a couple of years ago and she used a 'back and forth' design in some of the blocks. I loved how those areas receded and the around that stitching were higher. So I decided to give it a try.

I marked the squares that I wanted to STITCH IN with my Clover Air Erasable Marker (of course I tested it on the fabric first to be SURE it would fade away).

Then off I went.  This is quilted on my domestic machine (Bernina 440). I didn't use the stitch regulator - just my free motion foot, feed dogs lowered.  It was fun to see if I could stitch from one square to the next without having to cut the thread. After the fourth setting triangle I had discovered the most efficient stitching pattern!

I did more quilting on this piece.  I'll tell you about the other parts next week.

The workshop is on Saturday, March 12, 10 am - 3 pm.
  Contact the store at 778-455-4715 for more details. 

Here's their website too:

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Binding Design

I finished a quilt for a new pattern last week. Go! Fish will be a pattern for
Island Batik. I used an upcoming Island Stack (10" squares) plus a turquoise background for this design. My original plan was to use the turquoise fabric for the binding.

As I arranged the parts on my design wall I realized I wanted a 'bottom' for the quilt so the fish weren't just swimming in 'space'. This isn't a true pictorial quilt; it is more abstract. But what I was seeing in my mind had a 'bottom'.

I decided to use some of the darkest squares for half-square triangles and pinwheels for the bottom area. I then realized that turquoise binding around the entire quilt wouldn't work well. I needed to change the colour of the binding along that darker area.

The bottom area of Go! Fish - quilt is 60" wide (and 72" high - the part you can't see yet)

Here are the steps I used to accomplish this: 
  1. Measure along the bottom of the quilt and up the left and right side to the spot where I wanted the binding colour to change. This told me the length of dark binding I would need. I added 18" to that measurement to allow for joining the turquoise binding.
  2. I divided the measurement by 38". I always use 38" as a strip length when calculating binding. It allows for joining the strips diagonally and for mitered corners.
  3. Then I cut my dark fabric strips, prepared the binding and sewed it onto the quilt. I didn't sew right to the spot where I wanted the turquoise binding to start. I stopped about 4" before that point on each side and allowed an additional 5" of binding beyond that spot.
  4. Then I measured the remaining perimeter of the quilt (for the turquoise binding). Again I divided by 38" to determine how many turquoise strips I would need.
  5. I prepared the turquoise binding. To join it to the dark binding on the left side I marked the spot on the dark binding where I wanted the binding colour to change. Then I joined the turquoise binding at that spot. I used a diagonal seam for this join, just as I do for all binding seams.
  6. Then I sewed the last bit of dark binding and the turquoise binding to the quilt, stopping 10" from the spot where I stopped sewing the right edge dark binding. I determined the spot where I wanted the dark binding to end and then joined the two binding edges at that spot and sewed the last part of the binding to the quilt. 
I am very happy with the result! 

The pattern for this quilt will be available in a few months. 
Sign up for my e-Zine and you'll be the first to know!

Here is a great video tutorial for joining the ends of
your binding strips 
with Sherri Bain Driver from McCall's Quilting.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Another 'Creative Curve' Workshop

Last weekend I started another class sample using Sew Kind of Wonderful's Creative Curve Ruler.
This one is for my workshop at Kaleidoscope Quilt Company in Mill Bay.


I selected some Island Batik fabrics and Northcott's ColorWorks navy for the blocks. The high contrast makes the flowers 'pop' - just what I wanted. For the setting triangles I auditioned a lot of different colours but most of them seemed to eliminate the impact of the blocks. My final choice was white Toscana which has high contrast with the navy. Just the look I was going for. 

The workshop is on Saturday, March 12, 10 am - 3 pm.
  Contact the store at 778-455-4715 for more details.

I am working on the quilting and finishing. I have been referring to Amanda Murphy's new book, free-motion Quilting Idea Book.

I will do a review of the book soon.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Three New Kits

I told you yesterday about my big TIDY of my main fabric cupboard. As I sorted my fabrics I gathered the ones needed for 3 QUILT KITS.
Each kit has the Patchworks Studio pattern PLUS all the fabric for the top, binding and co-rdinating backing fabric.  All you need to add is the batting. 

***US Customers: when you pay with your credit card, the exchange rate
difference between Canadian dollars and US dollars will
result in a 25% to 30% discount for you.***


Dominoes & Checkers - Quilt Kit
Cuddle up with this easy lodge-style quilt.
Fabrics are Mountain Lodge Flannel by Northcott
Quilt size: 56" x 64"
Only 2 kits available.
Complete kit: $205.95 Canadian
(includes flannel backing)
Zigzag Zoo Kit
This pattern includes a baby quilt (40" x 48") plus pattern for a pillowcase and pyjama bag.
Fabrics are
Safari Adventures by Northcott.
Only 2 kits available.
Complete kit: $149.95 Canadian
(includes backing for the quilt)
Tie Rack Kit
Dashing tweeds and dapper twills inspired this modern twist on a 'tie' quilt.
The menswear prints are Northcott's
Man About Town collection.
Quilt size: 48" x 64"
Only 2 kits available.
Kit price: $139.50 Canadian
(includes backing)

Monday, January 25, 2016

New Year Tradition

January can be downright DREARY here on the West Coast. And this January is definitely cool and gray. But there is a PROMISE of great things to come. Here are hardy species tulips (and far too many weeds) starting to burst forth from in my front garden. The tulips do this every year. And every year the bunnies eat them before they bloom!  I'm trying to come up with a way to keep bunnies out of the bed so I can enjoy the flowers. Must get a plan in place soon or they'll be eaten again. If you have ideas for me, drop me a note! It can't involve killing the bunnies, though. 

I spend a lot of time in my studio at this time of year and I always want to start 'fresh' for the new year. That means re-connecting with my fabric stash - I try to tidy the fabrics, re-sort them into their proper places; sometimes they are in bins by colour of fabric type and sometimes they are folded and stacked on my shelves. I accomplished part of this earlier than usual. I took a day just before Christmas to get my main fabric cupboard in order.

PS - you can't see what is going on at the bottom of the cupboard - bins and stacks of fabrics and supplies that need sorting!


I wish I could say the rest of the studio is tidy. I have been sewing a couple of quilts so there are leftover fabrics to sort and put away, notes for future patterns that need to be filed in my office and tools and supplies to put where they belong (so I can find them when I need them the next time!) I try to follow that old saying.... A place for everything and everything in its place. How much time do we spend looking for things? I resolve to put everything IN ITS PLACE when I am finished with it.  
 So, what will happen when I reach for my Rainbows, Fantastico and Magnifico threads? I sorted them on the weekend and they are in a NEW place. Will I remember where they are?

Do you have an 'after the holidays' tradition in your studio? I would love to hear about it. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Two New Patterns

I designed both these patterns last fall and the patterns are now ready to order.

The attic windows arrangement in Meadow Lark showcases this shaded landscape fabric. Northcott 'Strip-R' fabric makes the striped border very easy and the applique detail is optional.  The pattern shows 3 different colourways: Teal, Orange, Indigo.

Quilt size:  62" x 59"            Skill Level: Confident Beginner

Fabrics are Northcott Artisan Spirit 'Nature Studies' and they'll be in quilt shops in February.

Kalahari was inspired by the popularity of 'row' quilts. The fabrics are based on Paleolithic cave paintings of Southwest France. Some blocks are paper pieced for accuracy.

Quilt size: 55" x 70"    Skill Level: Confident Beginner

These are also Northcott fabrics - Stonehenge Primitives and they will be in stores in February too.

Both these patterns are available at the Patchworks Studio Store.

I have 4 more patterns almost ready. Stay tuned for those..........

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Upcoming Workshop - Quick Curve Ruler

Last October when I was at International Quilt Market in Houston I visited the Sew Kind of Wonderful booth and was BLOWN AWAY by their wonderful quilts. All these quilts use the Quick Curve Ruler.

So I stopped to see a quick demo and I was HOOKED on how EASY it is to use this tool to make perfect curves. I bought the ruler and started playing with designs late last year.

Now you can learn how to use this ruler too.  I am teaching a few workshops in the local area beginning next month.

First class is at Cloth Castle on Friday, February 19th.  I developed this design that I call 'Paper Chains'. I reminds me of those fun paper chains we made at Christmas when I was a child.

Class is 9:30 - 12:30 and you can register now by calling the store at 250-478-2112. Or why not visit in person to see the sample and select fabrics for YOUR Paper Chains. Class is $45 and includes the pattern for my quilt design.


 I will also be teaching a 2nd workshop at Cloth Castle in April to show you how to use the Quick Curve Mini ruler - I will be working on the class sample later this month. More fun and unique designs can be made with this ruler too.   I'll post the details and photo in February.

Amrit from Kaleidoscope Quilt Company also invited me to share the Quick Curve Ruler with students at her shop. I have a different design in progress for that workshop on Saturday, March 12, 10 am - 3 pm.  Photo coming soon.  You can call the store or drop by to save your space for this workshop now.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Sneak Peak - Go! Fish

I have been spending part of each day for the last few weeks working on a new project. No....I'm not taking part in one of those 365-block-a-day projects. Though it did cross my mind to do one. It would use up some of the stash, right. How hard would it be to do JUST ONE BLOCK every day? 

Then I came back to reality.....I have enough PRIORITY tasks; I don't need even one more. No 365 blocks on my TO DO list....

So, back to MY project.  It is a new design using upcoming Island Batik fabrics. I love working with these bright colours............
Strips for some of the alternate blocks - cut and joined end to end.

I also love my Bloc-Loc ruler for squaring up Half Square Triangles - these ones are 1-1/2" finished and they are PERFECT.
Squaring up the blocks on the kitchen counter while watching the hockey game.

One last seam to join the rows together....

Can't wait to see the entire top put together.
Test-fitting the backing fabric so I can load it onto the Avante and start quilting.  Now...decisions, will I quilt it?  Suggestions welcomed!

Hurray! The backing is plenty big enough!
 I'll let you know when the pattern for this quilt is ready.