It’s Worth WHAT?!?- The Feather Quilt and a retreat

Last weeked I had the immense pleasure of attending one of Krista @poppyprint wonderful Quilting By the Bay retreats. Its a 13 hour day full of sewing, great food, and great friends. I managed to find a sitter for the entire day, so I was off and away bright and early that morning.

SDQ retreat

A gorgeous view in beautiful Lions Bay!

 

As usual, I brought waaay to much stuff with me, but I would rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it. My biggest goals for the day were to finish up a longterm project, by BTW challenge quilt for the Pacific NorthWest show, and do my Riley Blake MQG challenge quilt. If I had time, I was going to play with making some Anna Maria Horner feathers, since I love them so much! I was reminded of them from a recent Molli Sparkles post and decided I really wanted to make some at one point in the day.

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A table with a view, amidst my fellow VMQGers!

 

I did manage to get most of my blocks sewn together from the long term project, but got bored waiting for the iron, and decided to put the rows away ( I know, I know, only 5 seams left, it’s just not a priority right now) and star on my BTW challenge quilt. I made up a design using only the Black to White fabrics, in a very effective grayscale. I had purchased a whole bunch of Cotton and Steel Black and White fabrics, and ended up with none of them in the final design for the quilt. By the time I finished sewing up the 256 Half Square Triangles, I was pretty bored of that too. I just wasn’t feeling it (To put some perspective on my strange mood, this was the first time in almost 2 weeks that I actually spent any time on my machine. I was burned out, and feeling it. I made a skirt at some point in there, but it doesn’t really count. Garment sewing is a whole ‘nother creature from quilting).

SDQ Trimmings

Holy Trimmings Batman!

 

I had a big, bright bundle of Hadley by Denyse Schmidt in my bag, and the templates and instructions for the Anna Maria Horner feathers, and I decided to play around with that. Only, as I was digging for the big, colourful bundle, I instead pulled out the Cotton and Steel fabrics that didn’t make it into the first quilt, paired with a lime green C+S basic (Dotties Cousin is the name of the print). It hit me then, that these particular fabrics together would look exactly like seagull feathers! Living on the coast, seagulls are a stable fixture in the environment. At the beach, in the parking lot at the store, or pretty well anywhere there is a chance of free food. Especially along the pier and beach at White Rock, which is a favorite spot for us.

A table full of feathers

A table full of feathers

I worked my way through the pattern, made a couple tweaks, and had enough strips cut from my fat quarters to make 11 feathers. Perfect for the baby quilt size. I had just enough white to make the surrounds, but had to borrow the solid black for the insides because I mistakenly grabbed an old poly-cotton blend that just didn’t work with the other fabrics (Thanks @FelicityQuilts!). I finished sewing the feathers together at home the next morning, added strips to the sides to make the quilt wider, and then backed it in another C+S print. The next day I booked my time on the longarm, and got to it! I chose a pattern of curved/straight lines and bubbles. I believe its is called Effervescent? Either way, it’s from the book Step-By-Step Free Motion Quilting by Christina Cameli.

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Feathers (Unofficially called Squack!)

 

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Quilting detail! This is one of my new favorite background fills

I color bombed the binding, and then hand sewed the whole thing, label and sleeve notwithstanding. I love my Feather quilt so much, I decided to completely forgo the original design and use this in place as my BTW entry. As I was filling out the entry form, I got to the section that asks if you want to sell your quilt. I decided to use the Molli Sparkles spreadsheet to see just how much, exactly, this quilt was worth.

Feathers Cost Sheet

HOLY CRAP! ITS WORTH WHAT!!!!

Let me clarify a couple points in this spreadsheet. I am an award winning quilter, an author, teacher and lecturer. I have more than 15 years of experience quilting. $33/hour is reasonable for a skilled and experienced artist. Quilting cotton in Canada is expensive, with solids starting around $10/yard and designer prints upwards of 17.99/meter, and Cotton and Steel in particular is at the upper end of the scale. The shop I purchased them from charges 16.99/yard, and I only charged for the actual amount of fabric used. The longarm rental is a flat rate of $60/day. There technically would have been the cost of babysitting and the retreat in there, since thats where I was sewing, but I didn’t include it. Then there is the 23% that the PNW takes as commission for selling your quilt (12.5% for two NFP entities) so that 30% markup is really only 7% for myself. Not much, considering most businesses mark up their products 50% or more ( I worked at a shoe store once, and made the mistake of checking the invoice. Our cost, $5.00, our retail price, $89.99, that’s an 1800% markup!) And Canada Post is mega expensive, even with my discount card, and that cost is a low estimate based on what it usually costs me to package and send off quilts to the lower US.

I never would have put this quilt at almost $900, but there it is! Personally, when I make a quilt for myself and as gifts, I don’t take cost into account. Especially with gifts, because friendship is priceless. But if you go and read through the We are Sew Worth It series from Hunter Studios, Molli Sparkles, and Sew Mama, Sew, it starts to make sense. When someone seeks out out to request a quilt, you are spending a lot of time, energy and money to make said quilt. Our time and skill has worth!

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Paper Piecing 101 Workshop

On September 28 at the Croatian Cultural Center in Vancouver, I have the pleasure of running my first workshop for the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. Iam teaching Paper Pieceing 101-Stacey Style!

Also referred to as Foundation Piecing, paper piecing is one of my favorite techniques to use when quilting, especially when I want perfectly matched points in teeny tiny spaces. I have half a dozen books on different techniques for paper piecing, and my method is a culmination of all those. 

Here are some examples of projects I foundation pieced. 

Fossilized Amethyst

Fossilized Amethyst

Rainbow Star

Rainbow Star

Cartwheel Mini

Cartwheel Mini

The Long Road Home

The Long Road Home

By the end of the workshop, students should have at least one finished sample block, be able to measure and cut fabric for foundation piecing accurately, and have a basic understanding of how to number a blank foundation. I will also be spilling all my tips and tricks to keeping my thread tension tight, ripping paper, and joining small pieces into big ones. 

The sample block is called The Goody Block. It finished 15″ square, so a single block can quickly become a pillow. 

Poppin' Pillow

Poppin’ Pillow

A pair of blocks will make a small wall hanging. 

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And a group of Eight will make a dynamic Lap Quilt. 

Workshop Complex

The possibilities are endless! I really hope the class fills up, I think it will be fun. I may even bribe with treats! *wink* The workshop is also open to non-members, so if you find yourself in Vancouver, BC at the end of September, why not take a workshop with yours truly? You can register at the next meeting, or email amy(AT)vancouvermodernquiltguild(DOT)ca. 

Sewing with the VMQG

Last night was Sew-In night for the VMQG. This is the first one I have been to in a long time, and the first at our new location. Its a bit of a drive from my place, ut well worth it. The space is open and they have air conditioning! Woo hoo! Very important when you have irons and machines all running.  OUtlets are few and far between however, so we had a power chain running.

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I brought a couple projects with me that I haven’t had time to work on at home. This way I could only work on those things! I was able to finish my Watermelon Dragon from Anne’s design.

Watermelon Dragon

Watermelon Dragon

And I cut out the pieces I need for a log cabin memory quilt. I am making it for my friend’s sister’s grandmother-in-law.

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Her favorite colors are Purple and Teal, and its will be a gift for her birthday.

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Nothing like a pretty teal monochromatic group of fabrics!

There is also a huge table for basting, and our work spaces are quite large too.

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I bring my Janome 6600. My grandma gave me this machine 12 years ago and it runs like a dream still. She bought it the year I was born. Its also really quiet too, which is good for having a conversation with my fellow VMQGers.

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Our president, Holly, getting ‘er done!

We all seem to accomplish a lot at these sew ins. Amazing what some time out of the house can do!

Yesterday also marked the 5 month mark of my participation in Quilt Design a Day, and toda is my 100th post! woo hoo! Quite a few milestones this weekend.

We are off to the beach today, I hope everyone has a great weekend as well!

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Petal Pinwheel Challenge and Upcoming Workshop

Monday night was the annual outdoor meeting of the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. I have missed it every year from being out of town, but this year I finally got to go. It was so much fun sitting at Trout Lake with my fellow VMQGers. We had a great turnout considering its summertime, and we are now officially over 100 members! Way to go VMQG! This was the meeting where we showed off our MQG Petal Pinwheel challenge quilts. I got mine back from Joan that afternoon and quickly sewed the binding on before I left the house, then hand stitched it to the back during the meeting. I love a hand turned binding!

It took forever to get a good picture of it though, since it was super windy that afternoon. My patient husband stood there battling cats and kids and peeking neighbors so I could finally get a good shot to enter in the challenge. I drafted a template and then played with the orientation until I got the movement I wanted, without slapping you in the face with a pinwheel =)

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The best catless, kidless, peeking neighborless picture I could get when the wind was down. Yes, I know there is still a kid in it =)

I fussy cut the prints and added Cotton Couture Solids in Sun, Kryptonite, Watermelon, Coral, Aqua and Orange. The background is CC in natural. I ordered Khaki but it was a little too green tinged to work. I have other plans for it, probably a QDAD =)

Spinners

Spinners

I paper pieced the tiny pinwheels. They are 3″ square and I offset them around the outside, again to mimic movement. Joan quilted it perfectly again, with spinning straight lines that I just love! The little details in the center of my spinners are perfect! I chose the Peg a Plenty print for my binding and cut it on the bias. I love a bias stripe binding! (Have I mentioned I love bias binding??)

I also announced a paper piecing workshop that I will be teaching in September. I am very excited to be teaching. Paper piecing is my favorite technique. You can do so much with it! Its a beginner class so I will be showing my students how to pre-cut strips for full coverage, how to do the piecing, how to adjust a block when needed, and all the tips and trick to good piecing skills and well made blocks. The pattern is really easy and from Amanda Hines Kattner of What The Bobbin? Her July 21 QDAD was a perfect foundation ready block and it also has the bonus technique of a Y-seam, and she happily sent me the image file. Woo hoo!

For those of you interested, block details, quilt ideas, and  sign up for the workshop will be available soon on the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild website. There is no pattern fee for this one. Hope to see you there!

StaceyDay_Logo

 

 

 

Book Review: Becoming a Confident Quilter

I was recently given the opportunity to read and review a copy of Becoming A Confident Quilter by Elizabeth Dackson, who you may (or should) know as the blogger behind Don’t Call Me Betsy.  I love quilt books, and have amassed quite a collection. There are some I like, some I LOVE, and others that just don’t get there.

Becoming a Confident Quilter

Becoming a Confident Quilter by Elizabeth Dackson

Becoming a Confident Quilter is definitely in my Like shelf, and only because my Love shelf needs a bit of rearranging before I can move it on up there!

I really, genuinely enjoyed Elizabeth’s writing. I thought it was well thought out, greatly informative without overloading, and the quilt projects are fun and increase in steady increments from super simple to more complex in an easy transition.  You can definitely tell that Elizabeth comes from an instruction background (she used to teach doctors how to use technology, not as easy as you might think it would be!). This book is perfect for the immediate beginner- if you have never sewn a quilt in your life, Elizabeth will get  you going!

Monterey Square

Monterey Square

So lets review:

Elizabeth’s personality comes out in her writing, making you feel  like you are sitting in a classroom listening to her speak.  The instructions are clear and concise, easy to understand and follow along. The lessons are well thought out and in a logical order for someone to learn the basics.

Deconstructed Beads

Deconstructed Beads

The section on stash building is a refreshing change to the standard color wheel basics. She goes over how to choose fabrics, how to build a functional stash to pull from, and goes over the more common pre-cuts and how to utilize them. Elizabeth also covers the basic quilting tools you need to get started, plus some fun extras to make your sewing life a breeze.

X Marks The Spot

X Marks The Spot

The project diagrams are clear and colorful, and easy to follow. Each project has a story behind it and how it relates to the lessons, and where it fall in your repertoire of skills. The construction diagrams are easy to read as well.

Polaris

Polaris

The sections on finishing your quilt is very informative and well laid out. Elizabeth covers various options for backing, basting, quilting and binding, and presents the information in a straightforward and easy to understand manner. There is also a glossary of the most commonly used terms, advice on how to read a quilt pattern, and a resources for support and information for a new quilter.

Precious Stones

Precious Stones

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and I can’t wait to get started on a couple of the quilts.  I would recommend it to any quilter, whether just starting their quilting journey or those who are well on their way!

Happy Stitching!

Stacey

Teaser

Its fun working on a quilt that is not mine. One of my fellow VMQG members made a knitted wrap shawl for me in exchange for quilting her sampler quilt. At first I was hesitant. I always had a hard time quilting my own things, how on earth was I going to be able to do it for someone else? I managed to procrastinate for about 3 weeks, but finally I pulled out the quilt and had a grand ol’ time quilting it. Nancy hasn’t seen it yet, so I will wait to post the finished pictures of her quilt. I think I am going to make her wait until show and tell at the next meeting to see it. 😉

I think I might need to think about a long arm……

 

StaceyNancy's Quilt 008

 

CQA show Awards!

I am very excited to announce that Sapphire Star won 2nd place in its category at the Canadian Quilter Association National Juried Show this week! I was speechless, and more than a little red, going up to receive my certificate. A huge thank you to the judges and my fellow quilters. A bonus was I got to view the show before it officially opened this morning. All the quilts were amazing, and the winner of the Best in Show certainly deserved it! I have never seen stippling that small in my life!! I will post more pictures this weekend when we officially view the show and I have my camera with me.

Sapphire Star

Sapphire Star

To add to the excitement, Janet Archibald, one of our very own VMQG members, won the Award for Excellence in Domestic Quilting. Way to go Janet!!! I hope she gets to come to the show this weekend and see her ribbon!

SAMSUNG

Flowers for Cynthia by Janet Archibald

Phew, what a week! Lots to share!

Hello everyone! It has been a very busy week here, so I haven’t had time to do much blogging. I say week but in reality the last 15 days have been go go go!Between play-dates and appointments and pick ups and drop off I have had time to finish up all my 3×6 bee blocks and get them in the mail, catch up on my Modern Mystery Quilt, keep up with the Cathedral Window QAL, and make/hunt down some props for my little man’s 6 month photo session today. Throw in some grocery shopping and a sudden change in the weather read: from Indian Summer to torrential rain overnight  and voila! Lots of excuses not to vacuum….. =)

I realize that this is the west coast, and normally by the start of October the rain has moved in, but it was so beautiful for so long. Thanksgiving weekend was so warm people were still out in shorts. We were going to go to the Pumpkin Patch and have ourselves a grand old time yesterday, but record rainfall coupled with a rainfall warning quashed that faster than you can say “eh?” I did get to try Harry’s snowsuit. I don’t think it fits quite right yet……but it sure is warm!

Do I look impressed?

Can you tell I don’t like the rain? I’m from Northern Alberta. It may be -40, but at least the sun is shining and your not soaked! Anywho….onwards!

It seems lately that everything I make heads out the door. I feel like I have been sewing like a madwoman but have nothing to show at the guild meeting tonight.

Here, this is my stack of finished blocks that need more to complete whatever I was going to do with them, 1/2 of the checkerboard for a show quilt,  and all the pieces to a mystery quilt that I can’t for the life of me figure out how the end result will look….*chirp chirp*

However, I do have a cute little project that I whipped up last night as a photo prop that I can take with me. If Harry is going to be a dragon for Halloween, he needs a Princess to kidnap (and probably try to eat).

She looks so happy, just wait until the dragon starts gumming her head =)

The dress fabric is my favorite colorway from Treasures of the East by Hoffman. The teal/aqua colorway was the challenge fabric in 2010. I also picked some up in the fuchsia and sunset colorways. I can’t seem to find them anymore, so If anyone comes across either colorway, please let me know! Poppins Quilt Parlour in Penticton, BC still has the challenge fabric for anyone looking to nab some. They do phone orders!

I drew her face on with Sharpie markers. I think she looks suitably princessy!

You can find the pattern here as well as the tutorial. I just winged it with mine.

I was also doing some pinning while watching TV the other night. This is why you don’t leave your pin box where the cat can get to it!

Luckily I found them all (magnets are wonderful wonderful wonderful!) and I have yet to be stuck with a pin! It did inspire a pincushion design however, but more on that to come!

Tomorrow I will be posting my Scrappy Star block pattern, no tutorial yet though, so please be patient with me! I start a temporary job as a nanny for my friend who just welcomes their little boy yesterday morning. I have all the fabrics for her new baby quilt, I just need to get to it!
Happy Quilting!

A Moment of Discovery

Do you ever have those moments where you go, know why didn’t I think of that? That’s what happened to me the other day while reading Felicity’s blog. She posted about her Craft Buds month entry, and mentioned that she got her book from the local library.

“SAY WHAT? The library has modern quilting books? Well, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before!” I said to myself.

Needless to say I promptly went online and searched around the Surrey Public Libraries website, and boy, do they ever have quilting books. Not just modern quilting, but any kind of crafting book. And new ones, modern ones! Tula Pink, Elizabeth Hartman, Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, and not one but three Kaffe Fassett? My library card now holds a coveted spot in my purse, and I almost have the numbers memorized to log in online and reserve books, but because I am a new cardholder my limit is 10 books at a time. I laughed when she said that, 10 is more than enough to keep me occupied for 2 weeks. I maxed out my limit the first night (better on a library card than a credit card) and have 8 books on order. I have to bring the lot of them back this weeks and exchange them for the next batch (Quilts from the House of Tula Pink is in this batch, yippee!)

While digging through my little trove of quilty goodness, getting inspired and copying templates, I discovered something about myself.  A couple of the modern quilting books were centered around minimalist quilting, or had projects that fall into that category. As much as I can appreciate the design and time that goes into them, I found myself thinking more and more that these were not things I would make for myself. Only one color and a plain white background…? I am not a minimalist!

I love to put as many colors as possible in my quilts.

Rich, vibrant prints and blenders with a tone-on-tone black background? Yes please!

Batiks? Let me at ’em!

Don’t get me wrong, I really like many of the modern quilts I see, and there are many that I would like to/will eventually make. I love anything Tula Pink, I think Pat Bravo makes some amazing fabric lines, and the use of solids is stellar, and I love the projects that come up in the blogs I follow that put a modern spin on the traditional quilts. Don’t even get me started on the amazing quilts of Kaffe Fassett! I just can’t make a quilt with only 3 fabrics in it when there are so many out there just calling my name. Use Me!!

Flights of Fancy, using Nest by Tula Pink for Moda

I am looking forward to this week’s mail, my order of Rock n Romance by Pat Bravo for Art Gallery Fabrics will be arriving! Hurray! I ordered a fat quarter bundle from The Intrepid Thread. It has all the prints with an equal number of matching blenders. I am going to use these to make the Starburst Quilt.

Happy Quilting!

VMQG Pincushion Swap

My guild, the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, is participating in a nationwide pincushion swap! I am excited! I love swaps, its is so much fun to send your work out and get something back in the mail. Its like Christmas! You can find more information on the swap at the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Blog. You can also find information about the guild and how to join. We love to see new faces and quilts! Everyone is welcome, there is such a wide inspiring range of talents!

Holly, of (Holly’s Red Bike), Felicity posted a couple pincushion tutorials on the VMQG blog ( thank you Holly for the correction) and I was immediately drawn to the Cathedral Window Pincushion over at My Go-Go Life. I have always wanted to try a Cathedral Window quilt, but have never gotten around to it. This pincushion was the perfect way to the try the technique, and now I am hooked. I am going to tweak it a bit and try a couple of things out. I really enjoy all the tutorials Kim has on her blog, and I hope you all head on over and check it out!

For my pincushion I used a Kona Solid in Linen for my square, and used Moda Bliss for my pops of color. The grey polka dot in the center was a random fat quarter I picked out of my stash. It might be a Riley Blake fabric….

I had so much fun making the front and realized I has some good scrappy pieces left over so I decided to have fun with the back too! I also made a covered button with the leftover scraps from that, and voila! A Cathedral Window Pincushion. I am going to make some more for and exciting event coming up with the guild, but more on that later!

Enjoy the tutorial and as always,

Happy Quilting!