Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tutorials and more. . .

As you know, I am always looking for different 'stuff' on the web. Well, this one came to me with very little effort. Totally Tutorials is a directory of craft tutorials, how to's, patterns, recipes and more. There is a lot of stuff there and you will have to search through to find what interests you. Abigail's Craft's How To is another site to visit. Youtube has lots of tutorials! Just put quilt tutorials in your browser, and voila! Lots of stuff to watch. They are just short clips but generally helpful.

If you are interested in Electric Quilt, computer program for quilters who want to design their own quilts or just want to print out or resize traditional ones, check out the free tutorials here. I believe there is a new copy of the latest version waiting for me at home! I'm not into making quilts but Electric Quilt 7 has a lot more to offer that I might find useful. I'll let you know when I start using it.

Geta's Quilting Studio offers a free, easy to make quilt tutorial as well as lots of other free patterns.
Have a look at the free patterns listed on 3 Dudes Quilting.

These placemats caught my eye. There is no pattern but I think they are pretty easy to figure out. What a way to use some leftover pieces for a completely modern look.

Cluck Cluck Sew has lots of tutorials.
Friendship Bag Tutorial with lots more listed on the page.
The clip art at the top is free but credit goes here.
Enjoy searching through these!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I visited Quiltology - the urban quilt space this morning. This shop is located at 2625 Halsted Street, Chicago.  This isn't your typical quilt shop with thousands of bolts of fabrics from all over creation. They do stock 1000 + bolts of designer cotton fabrics from some of their favorite designers as well as patterns, books and kits. They are much more than a typical quilt shop - to quote their web site - they are a design studio, workshop space and speciality fabric shop committed to inspiring quilters, educating new sewers and fostering creative community. I spent some time just looking at the various fabrics before making a selection to purchase. It was a difficult choice. However, if I need to get more I can always do an on-line order. Here's three (among many) fat quarters that I did get. I love the vibrant colours of Kaffe Fassett. I'm thinking I just might make some interesting journal covers with them.
It was a very hot day (93F at 3 pm) for walking and I did a lot of it. I was very glad to get back to my daughter's house. Tomorrow will be a quiet day to give my feet a rest!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Busy Day

This afternoon I took a walk around Wicker Park and Bucktown, Chicago. Needless to say, I am tuckered out and in need of a relaxing evening. Hopefully there will be no thunderstorms tonight. I was in and out of many shops today but made purchases at only two and those were wool shops. First, I left my daughter's and son-in-law's new framing and art gallery (to be officially opened on July 2nd) and walked for ages to get to Nina, a well-knit shop on West Division Street. This is a beautiful store with lots of space as you will see when you visit their site. Before getting to the other knitting place, I explored lots of other shops on the way. The Knitting Workshop is located on N. Damen Avenue. This shop had some of the ribbon yarns I use for my fibre lace scarves so I purchased a couple of colours I don't have as well as a couple of glitzy balls of yarn. You can see two of my scarves to the left. If you are a knitter and are in the area, you will need to visit both these shops!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Soutache is a charming little shop on 2125 North Damen Ave, Chicago, which specializes in embellishments: ribbons, buttons, feathers & flowers. They have also introduced ribbon embroidery classes so that students learn basic stitches in order to create charming keepsakes and gifts. I did find some purse accessories including feet at this shop.
Check out some 'stuff'  on ribbon embroidery:
Annie's Attic
Piecemaker's free samples (scroll to the bottom)
Silk Ribbon Embroidery
Beginners Resources for Ribbon Embroidery, Tutorials, Patterns, Stitches
Tutorial on Ribbon Embroidery
From Threads: Beginners' Silk Ribbon Embroidery

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wedding Anniversaries

June has traditionally been referred to as The Wedding Month. Some brides seem to prefer this month for their wedding. My parents, who will both be 89 this fall, celebrate their 65th on the 22 of June. Yes, they picked June. However, that had more to do with the fact they were both teachers and school was out.

Here are a few ideas for a wedding or anniversary gift:
Double Wedding Ring Quilt, a traditional favorite.
Cupid's Own Quilt Block
Double Heart Quilt Block
Heart Can Quilt Block
Pride of the Bride Quilt Block
True Lover's Knot Quilt Block
Quilt Patterns through the ages - informative
Paper Pieced Heart 
Wedding Quilt - lots of other free patterns here
Wedding Themed Cross-Stitch Patterns
Bride & Groom Cross-Stitch Patterns

Monday, June 21, 2010

Chinese Connection

I took a visit to Chicago's China Town. The weather was hot but the food was delicious! The area has a lot of little shops with all kinds of nooks & crannies. I did see some beautiful hand embroidered pictures of various sizes. I didn't particularly like the frames but that could be fixed. No, I didn't purchase one although I was tempted. Some were done in single strands of silk while others were done in magnificent gold work. I liked the koi fish embroidered in gold and silk.
I did take some pictures around the area of some ceramic tiles with Chinese motifs. That will be on a future post as I'm not set up to transfer pictures at the moment. You'll just have to wait and wonder (grin). On that note, here is some eye candy with a Chinese connection.
Chinese Coin Quilt
Chinese New Year
Chinese Lantern free pattern
Chinese Fan Quilt Block
Chinese Dragon
Art Quilt by Diane Wright
China Rose by Melody Crust
Chinese Embroidery
Chinese Silk Embroidery
Antique Chinese Textiles 
Photo Gallery
Asian Art - this one is not Chinese but worth a look. The pictures are beautiful!
The photo above came from here.
I did find out that in my search for Chinese hand embroidered gold work, that I had more success when I searched for Chinese metallic & silk embroidery.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Perfect Bag - book review

I just purchased The Perfect Bag: 101 Stylish Looks From Simple Patterns, by Linda McGehee. View and create bags from the elegant, for a night on the town, to a quilted tote bag. This book has one basic pattern in four different sizes to create more than 101 different handbags by adding embellishments, pockets, zippers or by changing a strap or handle. All you need is your imagination or get inspired by viewing the gallery of bags. This is a very colourful book with lots of tips and easy to follow directions.

Author Linda McGehee
Published 2006
Krause Publications
ISBN 13 digit: 978-0-89689-409-9
ISBN 10-digit: 0-89689-409-6
Check out her web site.

Friday, June 18, 2010

500 Art Quilts

500 Art Quilts was edited by Ray Hemachandra and juried by Karey Bresenhan. It is a great little coffee table book as well as one to have in your studio or beside your bed. Most of the art quilts are shown one per page (there are exceptions). Each piece of art is featured with the name of the artist, title, date, size, materials and techniques. I think it is a great book of inspiration for anyone. However, I did note that the quilts date back to at least 1989 and I would have liked to have seen newer work from all the artists (just a personal note).

One of my friends, Karen Colbourne Martin, has a couple of art pieces in the book. Check out more of Karen's wonderful pieces at the Craft Council On-line gallery.

Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Lark Books
Language: English
ISBN - 10: 1600590580
ISBN - 13: 978-1600590580

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


As a young child, I loved to play with dolls. In fact, I learned to sew and knit by making doll clothes. It kept me busy for hours and hours. I'm sure my mother appreciated that! One fall I entered one of my dolls in the annual acricultural and craft fair. The baby doll was dressed in a white christening dress and matching cap and booties. It was my own design and stitched by hand. I won first place! I still have that doll.
Since summer vacation is almost here, I thought that some of you have young girls in your life who might like to try something new. Or you might like to make something for a child or grandchild.
Here's a few patterns of dolls and other stuff:

Kitchen Art

I was looking at some awesome art pieces a few minutes ago. I can't wait to see them framed and hanging on a wall. I will post pictures at a later date. A couple of the pieces had a kitchen theme. That got me thinking of quilted art to make for your cooking/eating area. Some of the following is not for the wall but to use everyday. Have Fun!

Quilted Kitchen Patterns
Free Kitchen Patterns 
Free Standing Applique
Granny's Treasures
Quilted Kitchen
Coffee Tea Quilt Patterns
Teapots, Cups, Coffee Mugs


Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Dandelion

What to write about? That is sometimes a dilemma. However . . . I just checked one of the blog updates and came across some interesting embroidery. This is the time of year we see lots and lots of dandelion flowers growing. Did I say flower - well those yellow weeds you see everywhere. My mother has often said that when she goes not to waste money on flowers but to just pick a few old dandelions for her. Morbid, I know, as she is alive and kicking at 88, but when I was a wee child, I picked many a yellow dandelion and presented them to her. In fact, all of my landscapes have a few yellow French knots to represent those flowers.
You can see an embroidered dandelion here. This is not a free pattern but I thought it was interesting. But you will find a nice embroidery pattern from Devon Bear Designs and another one from Robert Kaufman.      Here's a small dandelion fibre art quilt to see.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Going on vacation . . . be organized!

School will soon be finished for another year and families will be going on vacation. If not a lengthy vacation then day trips to the beach or on picnics. In any event, I found some sewing/quilting projects that might be useful.
Back Seat Vehicle organizer
Travel Tips 
Baby Wipes Case
Travel Pillow
Picnic Tote and Tablecloth 
Sew Great Travel Accessories 
Travel Jewelry Case
Travel Bag Patterns and Projects 
Pot Holder Travel 'Sewing Project' Kit   - this is a quick project!
Travel Sewing Kit 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Maybe Birds. . .

I haven't touched a needle and thread or a sewing machine in over a week! That doesn't mean I haven't thought about new future projects. I would like to do more 3-D work. Maybe birds . . . I made some framed pieces of birds years ago but nothing since. I am also going to be doing more city scapes of St. John's. Now that View From The Rooms is framed and entered into the member's exhibit at Devon House (Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador), I feel a need to do more. I have some other ideas to experiment with. However, for now, check these out:
Humming Bird Quilt Pattern
Birds of a Feather
Bloomin' Birds
Applique Bird Patterns
Bird Patterns
Little Birds
Stacking Birdie Applique Block

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Patchwork Pattern Maker

Isn't the internet wonderful! Regardless of where you are (and you have an internet connection), you can read about all kinds of things. I just came across a reference to the Patchwork Pattern Maker on the Victoria & Albert Museum site.  This on-line program allows you to transform any image into a patchwork quilt. All you have to do is upload any image and convert it instantly into your own quilt pattern. Here's the photo I just did and the pattern made from it. This one is medium complexity (20 x 20 squares). I'm assuming the squares can be any size you want. Give it a try. It's quite easy to do!
This piece was a test for a larger one with five houses. It needs quilting in the sky as it sags a bit.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Grumpy Goat Studio

Have you had a chance to check out The Grumpy Goat Studio blog? Cara and Pam make the most amazing wooden carvings by hand! They are whimsy, colourful and so much fun. Here's one they did for Icebergs in June, at Alexis Templeton Studios.
They are also painting their images on canvas. I like both methods of their work. Check them out!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Making Stencils

I came across an interesting article on stencils and paintstiks on  the Cedar Canyon Textiles web site. They were advertising a new book, Design Magic. I liked the design on the front cover and discovered, as I read further along, that it was made from stencils. These were commercial ones.
Stenciling is a great way to customize your textile art.

Here are a few ways to make your own stencils:
How to Stencil Fabric
Fabric Painting With Stencils
10 Tips for Fabric Painting
Videos for Making Stencils for Fabric Painting
FAQ's about Fabric Painting
How to Make Stencils

Monday, June 7, 2010

In All Its Glory

I thought I would share this piece, In All Its Glory. It was first exhibited at the Grand National Quilt Exhibition, Ontario, Canada. This textile piece represents a small part of the Newfoundland coastline. The rocks are made from bits and pieces of silk which are hand appliqued to the background. I take lots of photos of rocks, play around with the images, and then print them onto white silk. Enlarging a rock often produces interesting results. I will then cut this up to make rocks for the picture. For this image, I also used commercial green cotton which I cut in short strips and pulled some of the threads to make a fringe. Snipping the fringe makes the grass lengths irregular. The lupines were stitched free motion on the sewing machine, stiffened with fabric stiffener, and stitched in place.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Canada Day Projects

Canada Day, often referred to as Canada's birthday, is celebrated on July 1st. Formerly known as Dominion Day, it is Canada's national day. How well do you know Canada? Try out these Quiz Questions! If that doesn't interest you, maybe a quilting or stitching project is right up your alley. Well, here's a few Canadian Themed Free Patterns to try:

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Piecemakers' Banner

 I had an email from my friend, Judith, in British Columbia yesterday. She sent me this picture. It was posted in the local Chilliwack paper, titled Fraser Valley countryside unfurled on Piecemakers' banner.
From left, Lyn Robinson, Pauline Thompson, Janet Skulsky, Judith Peckham and Sandra Lounsbury. These quilters are some of the members of the Chilliwack Piecemakers Quilting Guild who helped create this banner of the Fraser Valley.
Check out the news article here.
The first thing I saw on the photo was the blue sky! Why, you wonder, was that so special? Up to that point, we hadn't seen much sun for the last two months! It was getting depressing. Well today made up for a bit of that. It was a gorgeous, warm sunny day and I spent most of it outside. Let's hope we get more days like today. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Icebergs In June - Alexis Templeton Studio

Alexis Templeton is a potter who lives and works in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. I fell in love with her work years ago and as a result, own pieces of her work. Whenever I have company, some of her pottery makes an appearance.
Her studio's theme at the moment is Icebergs in June. As she writes on her card, "June is often when icebergs arrive on our shores - if they're going to come at all, of course. To celebrate a phenomena that never fails to take out breath away, I've invited local artists to help fill the studio with their interpretations of these majestic ice castles." The crystalline iceberg plates featured in the picture will be included too. These plates are fantastic! I will be adding one of these to my collection.
Featured Artists include
Cara and Pam of the Grumpy Goat Studio
Janet Davis' print Spring Ice, Norton's Cove Studio
King's Point Photography by David Hayashida, King's Point Pottery
Judy Cooper, Textile Designs  Iceberg Art Cards,
Christine Koch's prints Iceberg with Aurora I and II
Diana Dabinett's silk painting
Glace, Rare Iceberg water

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Straw Needles

I was just reading about different stitches and needles to use for embroidery. Most stitches can be created by using regular embroidery needles. However, according to Mary Corbet, using the right needle is the key to making perfect French Knots and Bullion Knots. On her blog she says that using a straw needle or milliner's needle is the perfect tool for making these stitches. If you have any of these on hand, you will notice that the shape of the straw needle is different from other needles. There is no bulge around the eye therefore making the shaft and the eye the same size the full extent of the needle. So when you pull the needle through a series of thread wraps, it goes through easily without the eye getting caught up in the wraps. Check out the rest of her article and see a picture of straw needles.

A couple of years ago, I did a three year hand embroidery course. Over the months, one of the class members kept saying that she only joined the class to learn how to make French Knots. This got to be a bit of a class chuckle. After the course was finally finished, we had an exhibit of all our work. We called it, "All I ever wanted to learn was French Knots". In fact most of the ladies who took this course still meet every Thursday evening to stitch, thus the name FETE (friends every Thursday evening).

Tanja Berlin has a lot of information on her site about embroidery needles.
Check out Victorian Embroidery and Crafts for information of selecting the right needle for your project.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Show & Tell - Eastern Edge Quilters

Here are some of the Show & Tell quilts from the June meeting of the Eastern Edge Quilt Guild.

 The Dragon Fly quilt top isn't finished yet. Quilting to follow.
This one is reversible!

Child's Quilted Growth Chart