Sunday, 30 December 2012

We are taking a short break over the holidays and want to wish all our quilting friends across Canada and beyond a wonderful holiday season.

We will be back in the New Year with lots of great activities, including a fun new challenge and an update on our Stitch Across Canada!
Christmas Tree Rag Quilt Pattern
Free Pattern: Christmas Tree Rag Quilt

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Introducing Iona Harrietha

Iona Harrietha is one of CQA/ACC's professional members located in Welland, Ontario.  As a Long Arm quilter, pattern designer and teacher, she is a gal on the go.   

My quilting career began in 1990's. The funny thing is, I didn't even sew until then. I tried to rent a sewing machine for my first project because I was sure I would never use it again. When I went to the store, they had one I could purchase for $30.00. Good enough for sewing jersey vests for a hockey game. However, while I was in the store I spied these beautiful quilts hanging with signs on them for classes. Well, one thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I was asking for a sewing machine for Christmas and signing up for a January class. I wanted to try everything. I went from student, to teacher, to designer and now Long Arm Quilter.

I purchased my Long Arm quilting machine in the summer of 2011. I decided on a Handi Quilter Avante because I was familiar with the machine. I was impressed with how user friendly the machine was and the reasonable price. I choose to use 100% cotton thread as I like the weight of it and the way it shows a little more than the finer threads. I have purchased commercial pantographs, but am now designing my own. I thoroughly enjoy this because it allows me to use the perfect pattern for each quilt.

I began quilting for customers on a regular basis in March of 2012. I decided to start my own home based business called "Nonie's Needle and Thread". I have recently published my website which promotes the different aspects of my company, such as long arm quilting, my original patterns, actual and online classes.
Long Arm quilting has become more and more popular in the past few years for a couple of reasons. The first, I believe is because the Long Arm quilters have evolved into artists in their own right. They have moved outside of simple pantographs to custom work that truly highlights the quilts pattern and piecing. Secondly, I think the idea of finishing a quilt quickly is appealing. Sometimes its necessity, but really the bottom line is the more quilts you finish, the more you can make and the more fabric you can buy.

My tip for long arming or even free motion quilting on a domestic machine is to let the quilt tell you how it needs to be quilted. Look for open spaces and try to use a design that enhances the quilt’s pattern and the piecing. Sometimes the quilting can overpower the quilt and that should not be the objective of it. Keep in mind that the piecing was a lot of work and the quilting should show that off.

My tip for long arming or even free motion quilting on a domestic machine is to let the quilt tell you how it needs to be quilted. Look for open spaces and try to use a design that enhances the quilt’s pattern and the piecing. Sometimes the quilting can overpower the quilt and that should not be the objective of it. Keep in mind that the piecing was a lot of work and the quilting should show that off.


'Courtly Steps' 
Original Design by Iona Harrietha

3D Pinwheels
Quilted by Iona Harrietha

It has been a pleasure getting to know you Iona!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Fun Tips & Giggles #5

Tin Eye Labs is one of the most stimulating and inspiring places on the web for colour.

You simply have to try this.   It is free and takes 3 simple steps.   Click here to go to the website.

It will look like this:
On the right hand side it says 'Step 1'  and here you select up to 5 different colours.

You can see I chose the colours blue, green and pink.  So the computer searches the 10 million Creative Commons images on Flickr (these are the ones that people have allowed to be shared) and finds pictures with these colours.   

Now if you want to just focus on pink, slide your cursor over the 'Step 2' box of colour and adjust the percentages by dragging the pink box up and by deleting the other colours.   If you hold your cursor over the colour a little garbage can comes up and if you click on that, it will delete the colour.  Below I got rid of all the colours but pink.

If you see a photo you like, click on it and it will take you directly to that photo.

At the bottom of the page you will see 'Previous....Next', so don't think there is just that one page of photos for you to chose from!  

This is the best place for colour ideas and inspiration.  Let's see if you can spend just a few minutes on it!

Let's end with a little giggle for the day.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Hilary Rice

Today we have a guest blogger.   She is well known in the quilting world for her spectacular quilts and relaxed, creative workshops.   I am turning the blog over to Ms. Hilary Rice.

Did you know that moving house takes an enormous chunk of time out of your creative opportunities?  I certainly have had that fact waved in my face more than once in past years (having moved from Ontario to BC to Newfoundland), and particularly these past several months, as we returned to our origins in Ontario.  Adding to the diminishing time available to me was the planning of a wedding – our middle daughter was married this August, in Vancouver...   and being my daughter, most of the outfits as well as the bouquets were hand-made – this involved much sewing of dresses, kilts and vests, knitting kilt hose in addition to collecting hundreds of buttons and doo-dads to assemble into four funky and very unique bouquets!  I really must share a photo of the bride’s bouquet with you...  it just might spur you on to more creative endeavours of your own!  Just be sure to give yourself lots of time!! 

The move, returning to Ontario from Newfoundland, happened in early March.  We are feeling very much settled in and welcomed here in our new home, with the house pretty much unpacked and set to go, complete with pictures (and some textile art) hung. The studio space is another matter entirely.  You see we bought a lovely 6-acre property that has a beautiful (by horse-y standards) 3-stall stable on it.  We don’t have, nor do we intend to have, horses.  However, this 20 foot by 40 foot structure will make the most wonderful textile artist’s studio!!   

This is where my creative energy has been flowing this past while – all the time my mind is filling to overflowing with textile art ideas. I am scrubbing rubber mats and rough wood walls, in order to remove the final vestiges of “horse”, and bring up the “cool artist space” look!  Amazingly, the more I scrub, the more excited I am becoming with the idea of making this my creative space – my husband wanted it to be converted into a garage and his workshop.  But my studio it will be!  He has removed the stall walls, added electrical outlets in strategic places (including the ceiling), and is currently working on installing more windows and doors with windows, to let in the natural light. 

While in the midst of all this deconstruction-reconstruction, I recognize an intriguing parallel to my creative process.  Firstly, there is the vision of possibilities in the raw materials.  This is followed by some initial planning and thinking for logistical structure (which layer of materials goes under, which goes over etc.)  Then there is “the work” put into preparing the actual creative materials – for me this involves painting a base fabric (usually cotton, linen or silk), and taking the heat gun to a pile of colour coordinated synthetic fabrics, to prepare my palette of unique supplies.  

At some point soon (in our stable once the walls are scrubbed and some painting is done), the mats will be replaced on the floor, and then the workings of the studio will be set-up!  The light will flood in, making the entire effort so worthwhile...  just as an art piece becomes what it is meant to be.  With its completion comes that warm feeling of satisfaction.

It is even more thrilling to know that this creative space is being made to share with you...  because the plan is to offer in-house workshops here!!  I have realized there are many of you out there that are keen to learn some of my more unusual techniques, which are difficult to offer in a typical workshop situation.  This new space will be large enough to teach six students at a time, or perhaps a smaller intimate group will be interested in a fun, get-away-together-and-be-creative retreat.  I look forward to opening my new door (with windows!)...  to welcome you into my creative world.

I am seriously thinking of staging a wedding and having Hilary do my bouquets, anyone else with me?

Thanks so much for sharing Hilary!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Stitch Across Canada #3

Who needs the NHL, when we are in an all out race to get to BC in six months!   We are at the third month in our Stitch Across Canada Challenge.   Pull out the party hats as we are almost half way across our country!  Last month we grabbed one last poutine and said 'au revoir' to Quebec and started making our way through Ontario.   Our stop this month is Dryden.  It is the smallest community in the province of Ontario designated as a city.

Now what really shows dedication, is those guilds that actually record .5 of an inch.   Way to go Quilted Mouse of Calgary and Cochrane Quilters.   It would be remiss of me not to mention the guild that recorded .25 of an inch at the end of their total.  Love the enthusiasm Near North QG in North Bay!

This month, Faye Martin from Queen's Quilters, NS wrote:
Queen's Quilters of Queen's County joined the Stitch across Canada last month with a small number of inches.This month,  we bumped the numbers way up. Show and Tell  for November included 2 of our charity initiatives of the year. Our 14 "Love Quilts" measuring 40"x 60" go to Family and Children Services and 2 larger quilts go to Queen's Manor. We also provide placemats to the VON to give out with Meals on Wheels Christmas deliveries.

Way to go Queen's Quilters for racking up those inches for such worthwhile causes!

Let's relax,  grab a cup of java... and go visit Dryden's official mascot - Max the Moose.  

Although we are halfway in terms of when the challenge ends, we are not quite halfway on the map, so we need to make up some inches in December to get back on track.  

We will see you next month, keep on stitching those inches!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Sshhh.... a little secret

I have a little secret to let out.   You all know about CQA/ACC's conference  blog that tells you about our upcoming conference Quilt BC 2013, and all the exciting events that are related to it, but did you know where Quilt Canada 2014 conference will be held?   None other than the beautiful Niagara Region in Ontario.  Marilyn Michelin, the Chair of the Local Organizing Committee or LOC as we call them,  sent a little message along:

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
The news is starting to get out there - Quilt Canada is coming to Niagara in 2014 at Brock University, June 11-14.
The Local Organizing Committee  and representatives from CQA/ACC have been busy organizing this national quilt show and conference, called the 'Wonders of Niagara'. It will truly be a wonder in Niagara, with quilts from across Canada in the National Juried Show, Canadian and international teachers, and many visitors coming from far and wide. Mark your calendars. 
If you need more information, please contact Marilyn Michelin, Chair  at

Local Organizing Committee and Board Members at Brock University conducting a Site Visit for Quilt Canada 2014

From left to right:  Jackie White-Board member, Effie Faubert-Merchant Mall Chair, Susan Bowslaugh-NJS Coordinator, Kathy Tucker-Board member, Gloria Meyer-Assistant Chair and Special Events, Gayle Szmurlo-Board member, Carol Ann Jess-Board member, Judy Kelly-Board member, Laine Canivet-Board member, Lynda Iannandrea-Workshop Chair, Marilyn Michelin-Chair.
Those not present:  Irma Bull-Publicity and Advertising, Linda Chambers-Local Fundraising, Fran Inglis-Entertainment and Program, Debbie McInnis-Hospitality, Alice Muller-Local Secretary, Jacki Morningstar-Local Treasurer, Karen Sirianni-Tours, Linda Oatley-Trend Tex Challenge/Silent Auction.

If you need more information, please contact Marilyn Michelin, Chair by email at

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Janet Barker

There is little doubt that Janet Barker is a very busy quilter. 

Tell us a little about yourself?
I live in Calgary with my husband Greg and our dog, Copper.  We are truly empty nesters, having just put our newly graduated daughter on a plane to take a job in Toronto.  Our son has been working in Silicon Valley for about a year now.  Whew!  Both of them off the university payroll and gainfully employed; we are proud parents, indeed.  My husband complains that I am filling our empty nest with quilting paraphernalia as fast as it gets emptied!  I have long since taken over our son's room and have designs on our daughter's room next.  

Other hobbies include hiking, biking, skiing and snow shoeing.  Living next door to the Rockies provides an awesome outdoor playground and gets me away from the sewing machine and computer.
Sunflower Power

What got you into quilting?
In the year 2000 my millennium project was to get rid of all of my excess fabric, mostly from sewing kids' clothing that my kids would no longer be caught dead in.  I decided to make gift bags.  That year I made over 50 gift bags - for friends, relatives, teachers, my Girl Guides.  I wanted to decorate some of the bags and decided on applique.  Well, the applique books are in the quilting section of the library, and I was soon hooked.  Now, of course, I own more fabric than ever!  Ironically, applique is my least favourite method of quilting.  I far prefer the geometry of piecing.

I soon joined a charitable quilting group at our church.  The fabric is donated but we supply the thread, machines, expertise and time.  I learned so much from the wonderful ladies in this group without spending a fortune on fabric.  My first half square triangle quilt was interesting - so much bulk in the seams!  In fact, pressing instructions have become one of my biggest complaints about a lot of patterns that I see.
Falling Leaves

I also learned a lot about colour and value in scrappy quilts since we never had enough of any one fabric to make a whole top.  Before I retired in 2006 I was a geophysicist for 30 years.  In this profession we use pattern recognition to try to decide where to drill for oil and gas.  Colour plays a huge part in this, especially with the 3D visualization used nowadays.  I guess I honed my colour skills on the job and transferred them to quilting. I have been told so many times that I have an eye for colour that I am actually starting to believe it!

I joined a 30 member guild in about 2004 and immediately attended their retreat without really knowing anyone.  What a great way to get started!  My guild has been, and continues to be a huge source of inspiration, education and friendship for me.  When I started publishing patterns a year ago, the ladies in the guild tested quite a few in a very short time.

You can see her patterns made up in different colourways at her etsy shop.
Dancing Maples

 What are some of your favourite things about quilting
Over the past decade I have discovered that I really like designing, and actually making the quilts is just a necessary component of the design process.  I am a much better starter than finisher and have a plethora of UFO's tucked away in closets and drawers.  I think that I am like a cat - I need staff.

 What is your next quilt related goal?
My next quilting goal is to get more teaching experience.  Oh, and I have to make a wedding quilt for my son before next July.  Hmm, and I want to get my latest six designs pattern tested and published.  What can I say, I am a multi-tasker.

What is your favourite food to eat while quilting?
 And last but not least - chocolate, anywhere, any time.

Garden Maze
You can also follow Janet on Facebook.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Challenge Time

This is the post where you are going to be inspired, motivated and encouraged to jump into the fun and pick a challenge to try.  Have you ever participated in one?   If you are a newcomer to challenges, our pin cushion challenge is the perfect one for you.   

Pin Cushion Challenge

Do you like the idea of a challenge with a chance to get published, win some fabric and not spend a year creating the project?   If so, this challenge is for you!   Every quilter uses pins, whether it be to hold their piecing together, attach sashing, or accidentally sew them into the binding!  This challenge is super easy, you get to use your imagination, scraps of fabric and you don’t even have to mail us your entry!  If you have never entered anything before, why not give it a try?  How thrilling it would be to see your work published in a national magazine!  This challenge is due December 10th, 2012, so get started!

Your Favourite Food  - 2013 Annual Youth Challenge

Are you a wonderful quilter who wants to ensure this craft continues on for generations? Of course you are!    CQA/ACC has the perfect challenge for you.  Teach a young person to quilt.  There are so many rewards in this challenge, you will encourage a youth to learn a new skill, they have the chance to win fabric donated by Northcott Fabrics, and you have a chance to win a year renewal of your membership.  This challenge closes February 28, 2013, find all the details here.

TREND-TEX CHALLENGE – 'Sunshine and Vines'
Join the fun and assist with CQA/ACC’s major fundraising effort. Create a small wall hanging to be auctioned at Quilt BC 2013.  Trend-Tex Fabrics Inc. has again generously donated the fabrics for the challenge kits.  Find out all the details.

Why not try one of our challenges?   You have nothing to lose and will have fun, create art and maybe win a prize!

Serenity Point
'Serenity Point' by Susanne MacDonald
Viewers' Choice, 2012 Trend Tex Challenge

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Stitch Across Canada - Month #2

Canadian  quilters across the country are putting in an effort that has never been seen before in the history of quilting!  With determination and thread they are trying to get from Newfoundland to British Columbia, and if last month was any indication of their perseverance, they are going to do it!

Let's pop in a few statistics.   In September, 39 guilds entered their inches, in October 61 came out and tallied their totals!  Way to go quilters.

The total inches doubled from September to October.  Here we are all the way to almost Val D'or Quebec.   (The black and white quilt block is marking our progress each month.) We are making a stop here till next month, so everybody better practice saying this:

Ou se trouve le plus proche magasin de la courtepointe?  (Where is the nearest quilt store?)

This guild demonstrated the caring and compassion of Canadian quilters.   Anne Marie Pearle writes:

Our guild, Paradise Village Quilters in  Nova Scotia, is adding our inches to the challenge of Quilt Across Canada.  To date, we have 10,878 inches.   We have been very busy the past couple months.  One of our main contributors to this are all the baby/children quilts we are making for the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax.  I think this is also motivating to many of our guild members to finish some of those UFOs so we can add up more inches.  We  are so very pleased to be able to add this big a number for such a small group (30 members).   

Can you believe the dedication of this little group?   You guys have spirit!

Keep racking up those inches quilters, and we will see where we go next month!

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Fun Tips and Giggles #4

Do you love going to quilt shows, yet sometimes travelling can be a little difficult?   How about seeing the 2012 quilt winners of the Des Moines AQS show right from your own home?
Click on this link and enjoy a wonderful show.

Do you want to see one more quilt show?   Go grab a cup of coffee and pull up a chair and take a peak at the 2012 Pacific International Quilt Festival at this blog.

'Never Again...Again' by Joan Dorsay
1st Place - 2012 NJS
Excellence for Traditional Wallquilts and Bed Quilts from Books/Patterns

Here is a quote found on
"You haven't had enough coffee until you can thread a sewing machine while it's running."

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Meet Regional Representative - Shona Barbour

I would love for you to meet this bright vivacious quilter who is CQA's Regional Representative  for North West Territories.   I have been fortunate enough to meet Shona and she is full of passion about quilting and promoting it in Canada.   The perfect combination for an ambassador of CQA/ACC.   Read on to learn all about Shona Barbour.

You recently signed on to be a Regional Representative for CQA/ACC, tell us what your motivation was.
I signed up to be the NWT Regional Representative in 2010 when the position become vacant. I am involved in a few other activities (yoga and curling) and really believe that having a national organization is important for growing and promoting an interest. I am also involved in Guild activities both in Yellowknife and Inuvik and felt like I had good connections in 2 of the larger quilting communities in the NWT.
Fabric Arts show quilt

Tell us a little about yourself? 
I am originally from Yellowknife and moved to Inuvik in 2004 after graduating from the University of Alberta with a degree in Native Studies. I am definitely a Northerner and feel truly rooted in the NWT. I have always been involved in both arts and sport and love the idea of being able to combine both into my life. I don’t see people as either an athlete or an artist but rather that you can and should enjoy both. 

My interests in art started with a very strong arts program in high school in Yellowknife and then increased with art history classes in university. As for sports I have participated in 5 Scotties Tournament of Hearts for curling and continue to be a member of Team Kerry Galusha out of Yellowknife, NWT. I am also a certified/registered yoga teacher (Ashtanga yoga) and am planning/hoping to run a half marathon in the next year.  

How long have you been quilting? 
I have been quilting since 1999. I was introduced to quilting by my Godmother at a time when I needed some more patience in my life! It was a great time to be introduced to textiles arts as the rotary cutter, etc was in full use and the modern quilting movement was beginning not too long after that. I think those things have kept my interest as a younger quilter.
Summer Quilt

How often do you quilt? 
I try to quilt almost every day; whether it is sewing binding in front of the tv or spending a full day in my studio. I have an old workshop in my house that is set up with 2 machines and contains ALL my quilting materials and fabrics. I feel that when you have a full room or studio set up you can get a lot done in even just 10 minutes. I used to quilt in the morning but now I use that for my gym or running time. In addition, the Inuvik Quilting Guild meets every Monday night and depending on curling travel I usually attend these evenings.

What are your favourite techniques? 
I consider myself a traditional piecer. I enjoy putting fabrics together that you might not expect to go together and also to combine commercial and hand dyed fabrics. This is a good lesson I learned during a class with Carol Soderlund. I have taken quite a few art quilting classes but don’t like to store all the supplies/materials for this in my own home. I try to limit my textile time to traditional quilting and Procion MX dyeing.
Hand Dyed and Printed Quilt

What are the challenges you face quilting where you live?  
The challenges of being a quilter in a remote location?!?!?! Actually, I cannot complain too much. As I travel on the World Curling Tour I am on the road a lot and know all the quilt stores in various cities that are close to curling clubs (Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Regina, Saskatoon, etc). Some people really get into internet shopping but I tend only to do this for dyeing supplies. Machines tend to fit under the seat on airplanes (remember to take out the needle) and so I bring my sewing machine with me every so often to get it serviced. I think the biggest challenge with not having a quilt store in the area is that it is hard to keep the interest of beginners. We have a lot of people who take our Guild’s beginner class but then it is hard to move onto another project or get inspired without a quilt store for inspiration.

There are 5 communities in the NWT with quilting groups (Inuvik, Yellowknife, Tuktoyaktuk, Fort Smith and Hay River), plus a couple other communities where there are a handful of quilters. All these groups send me reports for 'The Canadian Quilter' newsletter so I feel we have a good voice for northern quilters. There are a few of us who travel to Yellowknife frequently for classes as the Yellowknife Quilters attract amazing, world class instructors. These connections are key!
Is there anything you want to tell our Canadian quilters?
Eventually, I would love to see the smaller version of Quilt Canada (alternate year event) come North of 60. I think we might be  far off from doing this (volunteer base, facilities, etc) but it is something that I often thinking about pursuing.

I think it will be great seeing where Shona ends up in Canadian quilting, one thing is for sure, her passion is contagious.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Fun Tips and Giggles #3

Do you ever create a fantastic quilt for a room and then get stuck in figuring out what paint colour is going to match it?   Wonder no more.   There is a fantastic and easy program on the internet that does it for you.   ChipIt matches your picture up with paint chips that corresponds with the colours in your quilt.

It is done in 2 easy steps.
1.  Go to the website.

2. Click on the 'Upload an Image' button at the bottom and find a picture you want to upload.  It doesn't have to be a quilt, can be a picture of anything.

Once it uploads, to the right of your quilt, are all the paint chips with names and number that correspond with the colours in your quilt.

You don't need to login to do this.  If you wanted to do a few or save a particular one, the login procedure only requires name, password and email.  Very easy to do.

Now, if you are wondering where to find this particular paint 'Sherwin-Williams', click on this link, type in your postal code, and it shows you the stores near you that carry this paint.

Photo: Indeed!  -Jessica

Friday, 5 October 2012

Stitch Across Canada - First Update

This is so exciting!  Our first month of our challenge to stitch right across Canada one inch of stitch at a time is completed.   We did fantastic, we started at Newfoundland and managed to get right through that wonderful province and are just on the tip of Nova Scotia.  It is amazing to see the participation from our member guilds.  Way to go!
The top 5 guilds were:
1. Nanaimo QG
2. Sudbury and District Quilting and Stitchery Guild
3. Waterloo County QG
4. Norfolk County QG
5. Parksville Quilthouse QG

Now what the Waterloo County QG does to inspire members to count their inches is pretty fun.   At each meeting the quilter with the most inches wins a prize.   A tape measure!  Is your guild doing anything to inspire members to get quilting?

See the black and white quilt block on the coast of Nova Scotia?   We have left Newfoundland and are heading west.  We have just got our oil changed, filled up our tanks, packed our snacks, and the convoy of quilters is ready to roll!

So Canada, get quilting this month so we can wrack up the kilometres on our highway and let's head  out to British Columbia by the end of February!