Author Archives: Stacey Day

Book Review- Free Motion Quilting for Beginners

Eileen took the time to read and review a new book for you to enjoy! Thanks Eileen!

I have just had the  pleasure of  reviewing Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners and those who think they can’t by Molly Hanson who blogs at SewWrongSewRight.blogspot.com.   I chose this book because, despite being a reasonably experienced quilter, my own machine quilting skills are in definite need of improvement.  While I can adequately quilt in the ditch, echo quilt, matchstick quilt, and quilt concentric circles, when faced with the thought of  lowering those feed dogs, I tense up and and would rather do almost anything else! 
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I read the book cover to cover.  Molly’s writing made it seem as if she was right there beside me, offering tips and encouragement, assuring me that even I could achieve good results.  She reminded me that key to learning any new skill is both practice, practice, practice and recognizing that early efforts are not going to be perfect.  That was a big yes! moment for me – I am always telling other quilters to not try to be perfect when they’re learning a new skill – but I had forgotten to apply that wisdom to myself.  Thank you Molly!!

Final B1278 Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners.indd
So I got to work, and, following Molly’s advice, I adjusted my workspace so that I could “sit pretty” with my elbows bent at a 90 degree angle while placing my palms and fingertips flat, thumbs touching, on my sewing surface.  Then, with book (Molly) beside me, and practice squares ready, I took a deep breath and gave it a try!

 Sample 2

In addition to sharing wisdom about machine quilting, Molly’s book includes 15 projects in which your new and/or improved machine quilting skills can be showcased.  Choose from tea towels, bags, ironing board covers, dog beds and quilts – there really is something for everyone!  I chose to make her Color Block Zip Bag, and found it the perfect size for attempting 2 designs -her favourite and most frequently used allover pebble fill, and swirl, another one of her most commonly-used quilting designs because of its versatility and good looks.  Molly’s instructions are easy to follow and well-illustrated.

Sample 3

Molly’s Color Block Zip Bag

  Sample 4 

My Bag!

Molly’s book is full of tips, tricks and reminders that really do help quilters overcome their fears and improve their skills, and I believe it would benefit any less-than-confident machine quilter.  She recommends only 5 essential tools for success – an open-toed darning foot, a cleaned and oiled sewing machine with an extension table, high-quality quilting needles and a sketch book – so I am sure most of us are well on our way!  However I am adding a 6th essential tool to that list – I don’t want to be without Free-Motion Quilting for Beginners and those who think they can’t by Molly Hanson!

 -Eileen C

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review- Vintage Vibe by Amber Johnson

The lovely Jade@ Stitch Mischief reviewed and wrote a great review for Vintage Vibe by Amber Johnson! Take it away Jade!

This week, I had the pleasure of my first ever book review. I jumped at the chance to review “Vintage Vibe” by Amber Johnson.

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As a lover of modern quilting, with a traditional foundation, I really loved the approach Vintage Vibe takes on quilting. It’s definitely “a little bit vintage, a little bit modern”. I especially loved the history of how Amber learned quilting with her grandmother “Gigi”. I can only imagine how precious these memories must be to Amber.

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There are 14 different patterns to choose from in a variety of sizes. And I fell in love with at least three quilt designs. There is also lots of quilting tips and instructions that would make this book appropriate even for one just learning the art of quilting.

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One quilt in particular, Vintage Vibe, won me over at first glance. The elegant simplicity of the design really gives the quilter a chance to focus on the actual quilting effect. I know I definitely have some two tone solid quilts in my future.

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I also really loved the bold elegance of this applique quilt (Growing Up). I’m not 100% confident with applique at this point in my quilting journey, but I hope to one day learn the skills needed to embrace this beautiful style of quilting.

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I chose to make a block from the Pretty Petals quilt pattern, which is a fun play on the traditional Dresden plate block. I found the size of the Dresden blades easy to sew. The pattern runs a bit on the generous size, so if you cut your fabrics for the blades as directed, you will have a bit of wiggle room to fussy cut if you choose. Personally, after cutting out the template provided, I realized that the Dresden plate wedge fits perfectly on a 2.5 inch strip of fabric, of which I just happen to have a big bin – precut and sorted by color. This was a really quick project for me.

(As a side note, I wish I had remembered that the circle template does not include the seam allowance, but I managed to make it work, just barely, with what I had cut out.)

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This block took me about an hour, start to finish. (I plan on using it in a little special project coming up…)

 

All in all, this was a great read, with a good variety patterns and fun techniques. I look forward to playing with several of the patterns in the future.

 

Happy reading!

 

Note: All photo credit (except for the last) goes to photographer Brent Kane, with the permission of the Publisher Martingale.

New Year, New Fun!

Happy New Year to all our awesome members!

We hope you had a great time at the January meeting. If you missed it, January kicked off with a ton of new group projects, challenges, and a block lotto!

 

Round Robin 2015 signs up were posted and filled. 11 out of 12 spots were filled, so if you missed out and are interested in participating, please email socialmedia@vancouvermodernquiltguild.ca to register. This will be a first come first serve spot for members only. *updated Jan 28*The Final spot has been filled!

IF enough people are interested who didn’t get a spot in  RR2015 or couldn’t commit for a whole year, there may be a Mini Round Robin started. The Mini Round Robin will run for 6 months and have spots for 6 members. Please email socialmedia@vancouvermodernquiltguild.ca to sign up.

The Round Robin has its own page now, so the information is organized and in a one place! The link is above the VMQG banner on the blog under Round Robin 2015

January Challenges

Our first nametag challenge was way back in 2010, and with all the new members who have joined us in the past year, there are a lot of new names to learn! WHat better way to introduce yourself then with a lovely handmade nametag?

Your nametag can be any shape, size, color, ect. The only requirement is, you guessed it!-Your NAME!

We also have a block lotto running this month. Make as many Raspberry Kiss Blocks as you like to the February meeting. Each block gets you an entry into the draw for a portion (or all) of the blocks. The more you make, the more chances you have, and the more blocks you can win!

Block lottos and guild challenges also have a dedicated page, where you can find all the information and tutorials. These pages will be active all year, so if you missed a challenge or want to go back and make something again the information will be there for you. The page is found above the VMQG banner at the top of the blog under Challenges. Hover over the Challenges tab to find the month, or click to the Challenges page and then choose the month.

Stay tuned for some more awesome stuff from your Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild, including some great workshops from our amazing and talented members!

 

December Challenge-Ornament Swap

The December challenge is the annual Holiday Ornament Swap!

Make a handmade ornament using whatever technique you’d like. Knit a yarn ornament? Sew a fabric ornament? Craft a folded origami star?  If you bring an ornament in, you’ll take one home!

The Ornament Swap is a fun tradition, and we hope that everyone participates.

2013 ornament swap group

(last year’s ornament swappers! thanks to Stacey Murton for taking the photo!)

 

Amy did up a Pinterest board of ornament tutorials last year, as well as a board of  projects that might be inspiring but don’t have step by step instructions, for those of you feeling ambitious!

Stacey Day has found a few more great links with lots of tutorials and ideas –

22 Fabric Christmas ornaments from Chicken Scratch NY 

101 Handmade Ornament Tutorials from Everything Etsy

25 Christmas Ornaments To Make from The Ornament Girl

Go ahead and check them out, i am sure you’ll find something!

Sew Much Fun!

For those of you that missed it, we had a Sew-In and the Holy Trinity Church on Friday Night. We had a lot of snacks, lots of fabric, and a TON of fun!

Here is a neat little photo montage! Remember, our next Sew-In is all day event at the Croatian Cultural Center on November 23.

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Book Review: The Modern Applique Workbook

Alright my VMQG peeps! Another great book to check out for you!

I ran out and bought myself a copy of The Modern Applique Workbook by Jenifer Dick as soon as I heard it was available. I tend to stalk the publishing websites for things I might be interested in, and this one was at the top of my list. I am the type of person who prefers hard copy books to digital (hurrah for full color pictures!) and I have to say that this is one of my favorites.

The Modern Applique Workbook
The Modern Applique Workbook

As most you know, I have been having a love affair with applique. My first quilts were applique, and it is a skill I am always pulling out in the course of my quilt making. I always seem to find myself using raw edge techniques, which are fine, but I have always wanted to brush up on my turned applique. There are some projects that a good crisp turned block would be much better than raw edge. Even the stitch and flip interfacing technique just doesn’t have the same look. Jenifer explains step by step her techniques for perfecting the turned edge applique and securing the pieces with the invisible zig zag method.  A big reason I was drawn to the book was Jenifers introduction. Her journey into modern applique is very relatable, we have all had one of those ah-ha moments when a technique just works and becomes more than you ever thought it would.

 

So what is modern applique? Jenifer lays it all out for you in an easy to understand, straightforward manner. From tools to fabric selections (she includes batiks! AWESOME!), Jenifer is able to create a modern aesthetic while maintaining a balance with the traditional roots of the technique. Her instructions are easy to follow and the diagrams and pictures are clean and concise. She even includes a well rounded section about fabric prep-whether you pre wash or not, it has useful tips and tricks for fabric prep. The first 60 pages are so are all instructional and specific to the technique, which is fantastic because as far as I can tell it covers everything you could possibly need to know about Modern Applique.

 

The technique itself isn’t anything new, applique has been around for a very long time, but the process is broken down in an easy to follow, detailed step-by-step way that makes this book beginner friendly. I have other books outlining a similar process, but it seemed so daunting I never even tried. Jenifer’s writing style practically drags you by the arm and shoves you into a chair with the supplies, and holds your hand through each step, after which you look and say “Oh my gosh WHY did I not try this before?!” she comes across as upbeat and friendly, very easy to read! from sharp points to concave curves and ovals, you get everything you need to make the quilts in the book, including a well rounded and easy to understand section on reverse applique. Her bias tape and straight grain tape techniques are to die for as well. This is one I am adopting into my repertoire of techniques immediately!

OKay, onto the projects!

The Modern Applique Workbook includes a variety of projects in different sizes for you to try out your newly learned skills. Each project has a forward that includes tips on fabric choices and a list of the techniques used, as well as the page references for each, making going back to look stuff up super easy. The photography is wonderful, you get a full shot and a detail shot of each quilt, as well as specific quilting and binding tips and instructions for each quilt. That has to be one of my favorite details in the book, that each quilt is explained individually from start to finish, instead of the cookie cutter “Basic quilt making and finishing” chapters in most books. Don’t get me wrong, they are useful and probably industry standard, but the individualized attention to each quilt really makes THe Modern Applique Workbook stand out.

The written instructions are detailed, yet flexible, which I like but others may find daunting, because there are no traditional layout diagrams. Any piecing is illustrated, but the applique itself is visually placed. That is the nature of applique, you are usually going off a photo, but because the pieces nest together so well you don’t have to worry about lining up overlaps exactly or ruining your project. It definitely add a planned improv feel to your projects, but almost guarantees that no two projects will look the same.

My favorite quilt is the cover quilt, Star Bright. Such a fun retro shape with a ton of flexibility in fabric choice and layout! I can think of a few fabric pulls for this quilt, the hardest part will be narrowing it down.

The Modern Applique Workbook
The Modern Applique Workbook

I am also really drawn to Mod. Again, a fun retro vibe without feeling like your wading through the shag carpet in your grandparents living room. The quilting in each is spectacular, both done by Angela Walters.

Mod
Mod

Fall is adorable and its a good thing everyone I know is having babies. FYI, you all get this quilt!

Fall
Fall

For beginners, Birds is a easy one to start with. Cute and fun, would also make a great gift!

Birds
Birds

 

Overall I would recommend The Modern Applique Workbook to anyone. Beginners will love the step by step, detailed instructions, and experienced quilters will love making the more complex shapes and adopting Jenifers techniques for applique.

 

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Stacey

 

Book Review: Playful Petals

Hello my VMQG friends! Stacey Day here, with another book review for you! Please enjoy responsibly!

Yesterday I sat down and pulled out my copy of Playful Petals by Corey Yoder. I love applique, and I love orange peels so of course I was keen to dive in. I was definitely curious as to just how many projects could be made using a single shape. Quite a few would be the answer. You can find some great pictures here on Corey’s blog.

Playful Petals

Corey uses the single petal shape in lots of fun, innovative ways. The book includes both quilts and matching pillows, which is fun if you want to have matching throw pillows with your lap quilt. (I can never have enough!) The quilts use a combination of piecing and fusible web applique to keep things interesting, and to save you from the monotony of just press, peel, stick, press, repeat. There are multiple petal templates included, so you could scale down a project if you wanted by choosing a different petal shape. Most of the projects are pre-cut friendly, and will tell you which precut in the fabric requirements, so getting started is as easy as grabbing that fat quarter bundle or layer cake that has been languishing in your stash and put it to good use. The petals are also scrap friendly. What a beautiful way to use all those little bits and pieces!

The writing is easy to read and understand. She outlines her process and includes a fun bit of history as to how she got started quilting and why she centered on applique. She explains her method and shows you different options for stitching the applique pieces to the background fabric. The stitching instructions also include tips for perfect stitched petal points. She also gives you a layout for optimal petal placement that you can refer back to at need. Her method uses less fusible web than you might think, and ultimately creates less layers to sew through in some of the multi-petal patterns. She also gives you tips on picking a good fusible web, choosing threads and the effects they have, and some tips for using pearle cottons and decorative stitching.

Scattered Blossoms
Scattered Blossoms 

Corey also includes a great section on precuts and fabrics. Each of the common precuts has a small overview, and then she goes into other printed fabrics and how to use the different scale prints to your advantage. The fabric section may be a bit small, but it is to the point and includes all the information you need to help pick fabrics for the included projects.  The finishing section is complete and her techniques are pretty standard, but she has included a fantastic pillow cutting chart! It gives you the backing sizes to cut for square pillows from 12″-24″, and a rectangle pillow as well. It’s super helpful when you want to resize your pillows.

Daisy Feilds
Daisy Feilds

This book is definitely beginner friendly. The technique is easy to learn and remember, and it can be applied to any shape not just petals. The patterns aren’t over-complicated, but they are fun! You could easily make a quilt in a weekend, and the pillows could be done as a same day gift for sure. The written instructions are very easy to understand and follow. The quilts are made of blocks with applique that are sewn together, making construction easy. It also makes it very easy to resize a project by adding or subtracting blocks.

My favorite quilt in the entire book as to be the cover quilt, Rainbow Petals. It is so fun and cheerful, the petals are plump and can only be described as jaunty!  I can see myself making this to use in my nook (aka the armchair in the sewing room) to read under.

Rainbow Petals
Rainbow Petals

Second upon my favorites list, and another want to make, is Tossed Petals. This reminds me of a garden path strewn with petals. There are hundreds of cherry blossom trees in Vancouver, and the streets would be littered in blossom petals in the spring. This would be very fun to do with  bright petals and a low volume background. The block is easy to construct and the layout is straightforward.

Tossed Petals

The tossed petals block is my favorite petal block in the book, so I decided to whip up a pillow following Corey’s instructions to the letter. I have been doing fused applique for years, I made my first quilts with fused applique and almost no piecing, and I still found some tips and tricks that make the construction that much easier.

PLayful Petals Pillow 009
My Scattered Blossoms Pillow

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I picked some of my favorite blenders and prints for the petals, and I used a pair of fat quarters in Kate Spain’s Cuzco for the back and binding. That bright pink is my favorite! I used a simple orange peel motif for the quilting, and using Corey’s suggested sewing lines I quilted the entire thing without backtracking once. I chose to use a raw edge straight stitch to secure the petals. Mostly because it was way too late to pull out mymulti stitch machine. It came together easily and I love how it looks!

Overall these petals certainly live up to the description of Playful. It is beginner friendly and has some tips and tricks for the experienced quilter as well.

Until next time,

Happy Stitching!

Stacey

*I would like to note that it was next to impossible to find stock photos to use here. I finally stumbled across some on a Pinterest board that linked back to a file on Connecting Threads. I do not know the origin of the photos, but can only assume they were taken by the photographer who shot the book.*

Photos reprinted from Playful Petals by Corey Yoder.  Published by CT/Stash Books.

Book Review – Stack, Shuffle, and Slide

Welcome back friends!

I had the opportunity to review another book for the VMQG. This time around I pulled Stack Shuffle and Slide by Karla Alexander.

Stack, Shuffle and Slide
Stack, Shuffle and Slide

I am not much of an improv quilter, not by a long shot. There is something about randomly sewing things with no plan that scares me. The one time I tried I ended up with a set of fairly symmetrical blocks that looked planned.  Its this reason that when I started into Stack, Shuffle, and Slide, I could not put it down. I sped through the whole thing, and re-read a couple chapters, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Now, I have to be honest, I hadn’t heard of the stack the deck technique used for the projects in the book, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. What I got was a versatile technique combining structured techniques and modern improv cutting. The result is a quilt style suitable for any quilter and experience level.

Loosely Woven
Loosely Woven

Stack Shuffle and Slide patterns can be as structured or as improv as you want. The quilts themselves are very easy to customize. In fact, Karla includes tips for fabric selection and cutting ideas at the start of each. She also gives you her inspirations and why she chose to make each quilt.

Karla writes in a friendly manner that makes the instructions easy to understand. The patterns are well written and straightforward, with plenty of diagrams and illustrations to highlight key points in the techniques.

Reflections
Reflections

 

Her quilts are the perfect combinations of styles,  so I am sure anyone could find at least 3 quilts in the book that they like (Go ahead, get the book and prove me wrong!) There are 15 quilts to choose from in a wide variety of sizes, and almost all of them can be increased in size by cutting some extra blocks.

Simple Simon
Simple Simon

The projects for the most part are simple, there are a few that are more complex, but the instructions and diagrams are well written, so as long as you aren’t rushing through you will be fine no matter what your skill level. The simple patterns are perfect for quick gifts or a day retreat.

Paint Chips
Paint Chips

Most of the quilts use smaller cuts of fabric so its really easy to pull from your stash. Prints, solids, it doesn’t matter, as long as you keep to the suggested values you will keep the essence of the quilt design.

Dot Dash Click
Dot Dash Click

My favorite quilt is a toss up between Dot Dash Click and Simple Simon. Both have an eye pleasing aesthetic to them and I can’t wait to start pulling fabrics to see where it takes me.

Hang Ups
Hang Ups

 

Overall I would recommend Stack, Shuffle and Slide to pretty well everyone, but especially those quilters who enjoy the improv process or have always wanted to try but get stuck, like me! I think the stack the deck technique is simple enough for anyone to learn and use, and the number of patterns included means there is something for everyone. The book is easy to read and understand, the patterns are clear and well written, and her designs suggestions make it easy to tailor the quilt to suit your own personal tastes. An A+ in all categories!

Windmill Way
Windmill Way

Until next time,
Happy Stitching!
Stacey

Book photos reprinted from Stack, Shuffle, and Slide by Karla Alexander. Photos by Brent Kane; Published by Martingale.

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 Day

staceyinstitches.wordpress.com

Book photos reprinted from Becoming A Confident Quilter: Lessons and Techniques Plus 14 Quilt Patterns by Elizabeth Dackson.  Photos by Brent Kane; Published by Martingale.