Both are truly quality items! Now that I’ve tried them, I wouldn’t be without the Protective Guides or the Ruler Holder! They adhere nicely and easily to our rulers. They protect our hands when using our rotary cutters and will work for both left and right-handed quilters. They are clear so see-through, therefore there is no obscuring of ruler lines. They come in several sizes and make picking up our rulers easy, too. You can see mine, below. – The brown areas are the adhesive strips waiting to be removed. I tried taking photos of them actually on my rulers but get too much glare, unfortunately.
The stands are beautifully crafted! They are perfect for holding my rulers (and yours) and come in several sizes. Mine is the largest. I found it difficult to take good photos because of light glare on the plastic, but this will give you an idea. Also because of the glare, it’s hard to see any of the protective guards on them. However, if you will click on either image or the following link you will be taken to the Quilter’s Cutting Edge website where you can learn more about these handy, useful tools and others, too.
Shocking! Yes, I must confess to being shocked. I had no idea how long it has been since my last blog post nor how infrequently I have posted this year!
As an Island Batik Ambassador the past 2 years (ending in February), I posted at least monthly. Since then, and still busier than ever, the time has fled by without my realizing just how much time had passed in regard to blogging.
I will make sure to get back to it at least once weekly, if not more often. Thank you readers, for staying with me!
Last spring, our lilacs bloomed beautifully, so I’ll start with some of the photos I had taken with the intention of sharing them here. Bit by bit, I’ll continue catching up.
Aren’t lilacs beautiful? What is your favourite spring-blooming bush? I look forward to your comments!
I am absolutely delighted to have found Ameroonie Designs and you will be, too!
Here is just one example of what you will discover on Amy Chappell’s Blog. Of course, you’ll find much more, so be sure to click on her link!
Don’t you just love her fabric carrots? The best thing is that they are quick and simple to make – and most especially, there is still time to make them before Easter!
I plan to make some and will show them here later. We will also leave some carrots out for the bunnies who keep visiting our back yard – not Amy’s though. Those are ours! The bunnies will get the real thing.
Have fun making your carrots! Send me photos of yours, too, and I’ll be very happy to display them here.
Recently, I came across this wonderful Fold-and-Sew method of making a Square in a Square quilt block quickly and easily. At the time, I was looking for a good pattern to use for a quilt to be given to my cousin for her birthday. The design, and especially the method, appealed to me very much. I had found my pattern! And, as if this one pattern wasn’t enough, many other blocks can be made using this method. Be sure to watch the video below and view them all! It will get your creative juices flowing!
There is some of what might be considered fabric waste with this method because the smaller square is a two-layer fabric area. However, if that concerns you, it’s easy enough to carefully cut away that second layer (being sure to leave ¼-inch seams and not to cut the top quilt layer). You’ll then have a set of 4-inch squares to use elsewhere.
I wanted to hang the quilt to take a better photo, but at the time, our Christmas decorations were still up. My husband loves decorating for Christmas and rarely leaves an inch of wall space undecorated – so, nowhere to hang it. I spread it out and did the best I could. My cousin’s favourite colour is green, so the quilt is all in greens. These beautiful greens are from various Island Batik‘s fabric lines – fabrics that Island Batik had sent me during the last 2 years when I was privileged to be an Island Batik Ambassador.
This Fold-and-Sew method adapts itself to other quilt designs too, so be sure to watch the video!
We really do need to be careful what we wish for. Many were hoping it wouldn’t snow yesterday. We got ice instead. Despite its beauty if you were on the inside looking out, snow would have been preferable and less dangerous!
Drum Roll! . . .
Winners of the Island Batik New Beginings
Congratulations Beth, Judi and Rachell!
I’ll be emailing you soon about claiming your free, one-year subscription to
The Quilt Pattern Magazine! You are going to love it!
My Goodbye As An Island Batik Ambassador
Today (February 1st) is the last day of my 2 years as an Island Batik Ambassador.
It has been a wonderful opportunity! I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the other Ambassadors and the challenges of creating new designs regularly – and of course, working with the absolutely beautiful Island Batik Fabrics! Who wouldn’t love all of that?
The monthly challenges this past year had me pushing my boundaries and coming up with designs I wouldn’t have otherwise. That was very special! I can’t praise Island Batik enough along with Katie Laughridge and Elizabeth Lynn Phillips who – to give you just a few examples – took care of us, inspired us, created our challenges, and sent us our fabrics. Two wonderful and very special women!
I would dearly have loved to stay on longer (had I been accepted), but there are other things I must get to, tasks to complete, and new adventures to move on to. One of my new ones will be starting to teach piano lessons next week. (I’m excited about that!) I’m also looking forward to making quilts for Project Linus and contributing to The Quilt Pattern Magazine‘s Kennel Quilts more often than I’ve previously had time for. (I already have 20 tops ready to turn into Kennel Quilts.) Of course, I’ll continue blogging here and on my Quilts for Sale Blog, too. Lots to do! Always!
I hope you’ll all keep visiting, reading, subscribing, and commenting too! I look forward to hearing from you.
New Beginnings is the perfect theme for this first month in a New Year! As all of you who have been following our Island Batik Blog Hop already know, we Ambassadors were assigned and challenged with this theme. (If you haven’t been following go back and visit each stop on the blog. You won’t want to miss any of it, nor the prizes. Look for the schedule and prizes down below.) Each of us has specific Island Batik fabric lines to use along with our choices of other Island Batik fabrics. Mine is Gone Fishin‘. These are the fabrics from that line which I received. There are more in this line so be sure to click on any of these fabric photos to visit Island Batik and view them all.
Obviously, I could have created a quilt with a fishing theme, which would have made perfect sense. However, one of my earlier Island Batik quilt designs was “Under the Sea” and although a quilt with a father introducing his son or daughter to fishing would have been ideal, I preferred trying something different. Instead, what came to mind was a memory of beginning friendships. The summer I turned 5, my family moved to a different city. I quickly met a boy my age who lived just 3 houses up the street and we became fast friends. That reminded me of a silhouette I had once seen and fallen in love with – one that would suit the theme perfectly. It can be found in many places online, but unfortunately has been copied and posted without the required credits and copyright information. I spent a long time searching for the missing information and finally, and thankfully, discovered one image which included the artist’s name. With a further search, I found its talented artist and designer – Viktoriya Yakubouskaya and her website. I was excited, then absolutely delighted when she granted me permission to use the silhouette in my project. (Thank you, Viktoriya!) That’s how my project was born. Be sure to take the time to click on Viktoriya‘s name to visit her web pages, learn more about her, and visit her blog (the link to it is near the top of her web page). There, you will see more of her wonderful work, and possibly even find something special that is free! Without further ado, here is her darling silhouette.
Isn’t it adorable? Don’t possibilities and a wealth of memories come immediately to mind? – My original plan was to use the usual black for the silhouettes, but I chose the dark blue from this Going Fishin’ line instead and am very pleased with the result. Here is a closeup of that section of my quilt. I’m delighted with it, too. Once permission was received, I immediately knew the scene I wanted to create – a lovely sky, a landscape, a path up a hill to a one-room schoolhouse, and of course, these 2 children. I liked the idea of 2 New Beginnings – frienship and starting school. However, for some inexplicable reason, the first time I actually started working on my project and each and every time I returned to it, my plans kept changing. Mostly, they simplified. My visions of appliquéd landscapes changed to the intriguing use of strips and the quilt-as-you go method. I fused the appliqués then sewed along their edges with a straight stitch. We were asked to use at least 8 fabrics from those given along with any other of the batiks we wanted or needed. Looking at my fabric photos above, then visiting the Gone Fishin’ web pages to see the rest of this line, you will surely be inspired to create the perfect quilt for the fishing-loving men and boys in your life! You can see that I did include a fish pond in mine.
PRIZES To Be Won!
3 Free One-Year Subscriptions to The Quilt Pattern Magazine (TQPM)! Three lucky readers will each receive a 1-year free subscription. That amounts to a full year with about 60 quilt patterns which includes BOMs, plus Book/Tool Reviews, and Articles. You will also thoroughly enjoy Island Batik Ambassador Anna Branch‘s always-interesting monthly musings. 3 StepsTo Winning:
- Post both your comments about today’s blog and your answers in our comment section (found at the top just under today’s blog title).
- Find the fabric number on Island Batik‘s Gone Fishin’ page which goes with this fabric and include it in your comment.3. Visit The Quilt Pattern Magazine‘s website. Look around, then let me know what one thing you like best about it. 4. You must enter before 4 p.m. EST. on February 1, 2017.
Three of those with the right answers included in their comments will be chosen via a computer-generated random number generator. Three of those with the right answers plus their comments will be chosen via a computer-generated random number generator. AND . . . For Everyone! – A Free Mug Rug Pattern from The Quilt Pattern Magazine! To get your Free Mug Rug, click on the image above and play the game. AND . . .
Sign up for TQPM’s Newsletter and get Free Hot Pad Patterns from too! Click here for those.
AND . . .
More Chances to Win! – Fabrics!
Hop Schedule & Fabric Lines
January 9 – Coastal Mist Stone Cottage Quilts
January 11 – Drizzle
January 13 – Fresh Catch
Bejeweled Quilts by Barb
January 16 – Glowing Embers
Purrfect Spots Designs
January 17 – Lake Life
Freemotion by the River
January 20 – Blushing Blooms
Desert Bloom Quilting
January 23 – Gone Fishin’
Maria Michaels Designs (That’s me!)
January 26 – Twilight Blush
January 27 – Happy Harvest
For Quilts Sake
January 30 – Jolly Holly
January 31 – Frost
I’m not sure whether, some time ago, I posted this here or on another of my blogs. Even if it happens to be a repeat, it is well worth reading again – and laughing! Lots of laughing!
This is a speech given at a conference on quilting (Quilt Canada 2010) by Allan Fradsham, a criminal court judge in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, where the conference was held. All quilters will enjoy this, smile, laugh, and nod their heads all the way through! Enjoy!
When, some years ago, Gloria told me that she was going to build upon her years of sewing experience, and take up “quilting”, I thought she was telling me that she was going to take up a new hobby or a new craft. I was completely oblivious to the fact that what she was really announcing was that she was taking up membership in a tightly knit (if you’ll pardon the expression) group of individuals whose loyalty to one another makes motorcycle gang members seem uncommitted, and whose passion for quilting activities makes members of cults look positively disinterested. As is the case with many spouses, I was completely unaware that there existed this parallel universe called quilting.
However, to be completely unaware of a world-wide sub-culture operating right under our noses and in our homes is a bit obtuse even for husbands. But there it is, and here you are. And, most oddly, here I am. You might wonder how all this came to pass; I know I certainly do.
I cannot now identify what was the first clue I detected indicating that Gloria had entered the fabric world equivalent of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. It might have been the appearance of the fabric. Bundles of fabric, mounds of fabric, piles of fabric, towering stacks of fabric. Fabric on bolts, and stacks of small squares of fabric tied up in pretty ribbons (I later learned these were “fat quarters” which to this day sounds to me like a term out of Robin Hood). The stuff just kept coming into the house as thought it were endless waves crashing onto a beach. And then, just like the waves, the most amazing thing happened: it would simply disappear. It was as though the walls of the house simply absorbed it. Metres and metres (or as men of my generation would say, yards and yards) of fabric would come into the house. It would arrive in Gloria’s arms when she returned from a shopping excursion. It would arrive in the post stuffed in postal packs so full that they were only kept together by packing tape (these overstuffed Priority Packs are the equivalent of me trying to fit into pants I wore in law school). These packages would arrive having been shipped from unheard of towns and villages in far away provinces or states or overseas countries (I am convinced the internet’s primary activity is not to be found in pornography; that is just a ruse, the internet’s real function is to facilitate the trafficking and distribution of fabric). Wherever we went, be it in Canada, the U.S., Europe, wherever there was a collection of more than three houses, Gloria would find a quilt shop from which she would pluck some prize from some bin with the enthusiasm and unerring eye of an archaeologist finding a new species of dinosaur.
And of course, the reason that there are quilt shops everywhere is because there are quilters everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. A few years ago, Gloria had been visiting her sister-in-law in Kelowna. While there, she found and purchased a Featherweight sewing machine. I understand that making such a find is a matter of such joy that it may eventually attract government taxation. When it came time to fly back to Calgary, Gloria worried about what the people at airport security would have to say when she tried to take the machine onto the plane. She need not have been concerned. Now, airport security takes pride in preventing me from carrying onto a plane a small squirt of toothpaste left in a rolled up toothpaste tube if the tube in which it is lodged did at some point in the distant past, contain a prohibited amount of toothpaste. My spot of toothpaste is a national security threat. However, when it came time for Gloria to go through security with the Featherweight, which is made of metal and has needles in secret compartments, airport security came to a standstill. Why? Were they about to confiscate the machine, and detain the person who dared to try to board with it? Of course not. They gathered around it in awe and admiration, asking Gloria questions about where she had found it, and expressing admiration for her good fortune in finding it. And why did Gloria get such warm treatment when I am shunned for trying to maintain some degree of oral hygiene? Well, the answer is obvious; the assembled airport security staff were all quilters, complete with the secret handshake.
Maybe I should have twigged to what was happening when the washing of all this fabric led to having to replace our washing machine, which was clearly not designed for such industrial use. Now, let me pause here. I understand that there is an intense debate within your world about whether or not fabrics should be washed upon purchase. I do not wish to be caught in any cross-fire between the two camps, for all I know, as an outsider, I may not be authorized to even know of the controversy. I do suspect that if men were making the decision, quilting would involve lot less fabric washing and a lot more beer drinking.
I did eventually discover where all the fabric went. It went into drawers, cupboards, shelves, and, eventually it completely filled up a closet, which took up one full wall in Gloria’s newly built “sewing room”. What we now call Gloria’s “sewing room”, we used to call “the basement”.
I have discovered that one of the art forms mastered by quilters is the ability to purchase container loads of fabric, conceal it in the house, and camouflage the purchase so that it slips right under the nose of the unsuspecting spouse. As a loving and obedient spouse, I have on many occasions found myself in quilt stores where I serve two useful functions: I can reach bolts of fabric stored on top shelves; and I can carry numerous bolts of fabric to a cutting table. However, I have also started to listen to what is said in quilting stores, and one day, in a little quilting shop in the heart of Alberta farming country, I heard something that made it clear to me that quilters are so clever and, dare I say, devious, that there is really no sport for them in fooling we naive husbands. Gloria had decided to buy some fabric (which is similar to saying that Gloria had decided to breathe), and had gone to the till to pay for it. Upon running through Gloria’s charge card, the clerk quietly said, “Now, when you get your credit card statement, don’t be alarmed when you see an entry for our local feed store. We run our charges under that name so that if a husband looks at the credit card statements, he will think that the entry is just something he bought at the feed store for the farm”. That sort of financial shell game would make Goldman Sachs proud. I knew at that moment that there had been a major and probably irrevocable shift in the world’s power structure. I concede it is basically over for the non-quilting husband.
As you have been told, I sit as a criminal law judge, and as such I often find myself sitting on drug trials, or issuing search warrants in relation to drug investigations. I must say that the more I learned about the quilting world, the more I started to see similarities between that world and the drug world. It has caused me some concern.
We all interpret events from our own perspectives using the lessons we have learned through life. When I saw the extent to which Gloria’s collection of fabric was growing, I began to worry. In the law relating to drugs, the amount of a drug one has in one’s possession is an important factor in determining the purpose for which the person has the drug. For example, if a person is in possession of crack cocaine (to use a drug with an addictive power equivalent to fabric), one look at the amount of crack the person possessed. If the amount exceeds the amount one would realistically possess for personal use, then one may reasonably draw the inference that the purpose of the possession is not personal use, but, rather, it is for the purpose of trafficking the drug. So, you can imagine what I thought when I saw Gloria’s collection of fabric grow to a point where she readily admitted that she could never use all that fabric in several lifetimes. I reluctantly concluded that I was married to a very high-level fabric trafficker. Mind you, in order to qualify as a trafficker, one does have to part with fabric, and I see very little evidence of that happening.
In fact, the more I thought about the parallels between the quilting culture and the drug culture, the clearer the similarities became. Consider the jargon. I have learned that this vast collection of fabric, which is stored in our house, is a “stash”. Well, drug dealers speak of their “stash” of drugs. Gloria speaks of doing “piece” work. In the drug world there are often people who bring together the crack cocaine dealer and the buyer; think of a real estate agent, but not as well dressed, through perhaps somewhat less annoying. Those people speak of breaking off a “piece” of crack as payment for bringing the parties together. Sounds to me like a type of “piece work”. Those who transport drugs are often called “mules”; I have frequently heard Gloria refer to me as her mule when I am in a quilt store carrying stacks of fabric bolts (or did she says I was stubborn as a mule?). Well, it was something about mules. And I should think that this whole conference is a testimony to the addictive qualities of quilting.
In my role as a Sherpa, I have accompanied Gloria on various quilting expeditions, and I have been impressed by many things. One is, as I have mentioned, that no matter where one goes, there will be a quilt store. The proliferation of quilt shops makes Starbucks outlets seem scarce. One day Gloria led me into a hardware store, which seemed odd to me, that is until I discovered that, as I walked towards the back of the store, the store had become a quilt shop. The metamorphosis was extraordinary, and very crafty (if you will pardon the pun). At that moment, I knew how Alice felt as she followed that rabbit down the rabbit hole. Suddenly, one was in a different universe.
Another thing I have learned is that the operators of quilt shops have great business acumen. In one of Gloria’s favourite shops, upon entry I am greeted by name and offered a cup of coffee. If the grandson is with us, he is allowed to choose a book to take home. It is all so friendly that I don’t even notice that I cannot see over the growing pile of fabric bolts which fill my arms. I wish that my doctor did such a good job of distracting me when it is time to do a prostate exam.
I have learned that quilting is both international in scope and generous in spirit. I have learned that quilters are quick to assist those in need, and that they have always been prepared to stand up for what is right. For example, I think of Civil War quilts, which often conveyed messages about the Underground railway for slaves escaping to Canada. I think of the One Million Pillowcase Challenge, and the Quilts of Valour project. At one point, I thought of suggesting the creation of an organization akin to “Doctors Without Borders”, but decided that an organization called “Quilts Without Borders” would indeed be illogical.
And of course, there are the resultant quilts. We have quilts throughout the house. They adorn beds, chesterfields, the backs of chairs. They are stacked on shelves, they are stored in drawers, they are shoved under beds, they are hung on walls. There is even one on the ceiling of the sunroom. They compete for any space not taken up with the fabric, which will eventually result in more quilts. I live in a cornucopia, which disgorges quilts instead of produce. I have decided that quilts are the zucchini of crafts. But who can complain? Quilt seriously, each one is a work of art, and an instant family treasure. While family members and friends are delighted to receive them, I churlishly begrudge seeing them go out the door.
Though I tease Gloria about the all-consuming nature of her obsession, I am constantly amazed at the skill necessary to create those works of art. I stand in awe as I watch her do the mathematics necessary to give effect to (or correct) a pattern. When she quilts, she combines the skill of an engineer, a draughtsman, a seamstress, and an artist. Her sewing machines require her to have, as she does, advanced computer and mechanical skills. She knows her sewing machines as well as any Hell’s Angel knows his Harley. She uses measuring and cutting tools and grids, which would challenge the talents of the best land surveyors.
In short, I am very proud of what Gloria does, as each of you should be proud of your own skills and creations. They are impressive and very evident at this Conference. On behalf of those of us who wouldn’t know a binding from a batting, I simply ask that when you finally and formally announce that you have already taken over the world that you find some simple tasks for us to do to justify our existence. You might call those tasks… the QUILT PRO QUO.
Gloria and I very much appreciate your warm hospitality this evening.
In closing, the hotel management has asked me to remind you that those found cutting up the table cloths for quilting fabric will have their rotary cutters confiscated and forfeited to the Crown.
September’s Island Batik theme was Bountiful Harvest and our quilts were to be table toppers. Unfortunately, I missed it because of a problem with my leg that didn’t allow the use of my sewing machine for too long a while. I have finally caught up with that assignment!
I used Island Batik’s Precut Strips to create this Harvest scene. Unusual, I know, but I chose leaves for my Harvest because they are so important and useful.
- They are like gold to organic gardeners because they provide so many nutrients.
- Mow over them several times and the results make a good mulch.
- Use them as a weed barrier when planting.
- They are fun for children to play with.
- They make a lovely crunching sound when you walk on them.
- They are beautiful.
- They can be added to compost piles.
- Children can have fun collecting, pressing them (by placing them between the pages of a heavy book for a few days), identifying them, and save them in notebooks – and/or place the leaves between 2sheets of waxed paper and press them briefly with an iron for a few seconds. Allow to cool, then cut them out.
Can you think of more uses and reasons for appreciation? Leave a comment with your suggestions, please.
Starting from the top of my runner, the first strip, to my mind, was just perfect for a wonderful evening sky. The next provided the forest that dropped all those leaves into the meadow below. Island Batik’s Precut Strips are not only beautiful, they are very hand to work with. The leaves were raw-edge appliqued and I used a variety of fabrics from a variety of Island Batik fabric lines. I had fun creating it!