Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Hand Quilting Tips and a Modern Quilt Project

About our author:
Annette Millard is passionate about sewing and has worked in the sewing industry for many, many years and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. She currently enjoys supporting the Coats & Clark community writing blog posts about products and projects for the Coats Sewing Secrets Blog.

Quick! Fast! Easy! Instant! These seem to be the words we frequently think most important when we’re planning a task. Even our leisure lives become invaded with this mantra and too often, I find those same words crossover into my quilting and sewing life. So, let’s stop, even if just for a minute and think about why we quilt. What drew us to this magical art and what keeps it enjoyable? Was it speed? Probably not. So perhaps, slowing down and mindfully enjoying the process of what we can create with our hands could recreate the joy that first caused us to take up needle and thread.

And, so . . . Hand Quilting, a slow, mindful form of stitching that makes every project unique and distinct. Not “quilt in a day”, but a fabulous, purposeful, creatively, joyful form of quilting that connects our ancestral traditions with modern trends and recharges our passion for stitching. If you haven’t tried it, I have good tips, a marvelous thread, resources from your favorite experts and a beautiful project for you. And, if you’ve already discovered the amazing calm and fulfillment of Hand Quilting, you’ll enjoy adding even more info to your “by hand” file.

So let’s talk thread - one of the most important “tools” for hand stitching success! Coats and Clark makes a wonderful Hand Quilting Thread that is designed specifically for your hand stitching needs. You’ll find it in over 25 beautiful colors, so you’ll easily be able to match your fabrics. Many quilters find it’s best to choose threads that match each of the fabrics you are using as Hand Quilting stitches are larger than machine stitching and will be more distinctly visible. Other quilters suggest matching the thread color to the backing as those stitches tend to be longer than the top stitches so they will “hide” best in a matching color. You may find that you want to choose a busy print for your backing so that the threads that match your top fabrics will blend in well on the back, also. Whatever you choose, just be sure those swatches are tucked into your pocket when you go out to choose your thread!

Coats Hand Quilting thread has a glace finish and is made from a cotton wrapped polyester core that makes it strong as well as flexible. The polyester core is a uniform size, so it creates a smooth thread that holds up well to any stress we may put on it as we’re stitching. Click here for more information about this fabulous thread. You’ll find a download link for a PDF of those gorgeous colors, too!

Before you begin your Hand Quilting adventure, you’ll want to thread several needles with 45 to 60 cm lengths of thread, so you can efficiently keep stitching. Choose your needles carefully. Hand Quilting needles are betweens and a size 10 is a good choice. You’ll want an eye that isn’t too small to easily thread on a needle that is strong enough to slide through your layers of top, batting and backing. Click here  for a short, fun YouTube video on threading multiple needles onto one spool of thread.  Such a great idea!

Using a fairly short length of thread (none of those meter long lengths, please), will help prevent tangling and keep your working thread manageable. Lack of knottiness, is another one of the reasons I love the glace finish on Coats Hand Quilting Thread. Although many quilters use a waxing product to prevent knotting, the gorgeous finish on the Coats thread inhibits and resists knotting all on its own. The very last thing you want when Hand Quilting is to find unwanted knots in your working thread!

Now, what about those little stitches and how do you get them even? Well, here’s the wonderful thing about handmade - practice makes perfect and . . . it doesn’t have to be perfect! Seasoned hand quilters will tell you that the more you stitch, the more even it will become and if you examine those stitches up close, there are always variations and it’s okay.  To quote Marianne Fons, “Hand quilting is like going for a walk for pleasure rather than getting in your car to go somewhere quickly. “ Slow down, enjoy what you’re doing and the patience you’ll develop from the process will enrich your life in so many ways!

Sometimes, you just need a buddy to hold one hand while you Hand Quilt with the other, so here’s some help from our friends in the big, wide quilting world.
Click here for the Quilty Hand Quilting video, mentioned above, featuring Mary and Marianne Fons.
Now, click here  to learn Alex Anderson’s Top Three Hand Quilting Cheats. Thank you, Alex!
And, finally, click here for a marvelous Craftsy post on the Hand Quilting Stitches you’ll need to know, like you see in the photo above. Quilter’s Knot, Running Stitch, Tunneling and Rocking will soon become a natural part of your quilting vocabulary!

Are you ready? Feeling better now? Good! We have a beautiful Modern Traditional Quilt for you that features both machine and hand quilting. It’s the perfect combination of tradition and modern style and you’ll love making it. You’ll machine quilt some areas of your quilt then finish with beautiful hand echo stitching around the white sections. Coats chose lovely Free Spirit solids, but you may want to use prints or dynamic florals. Put your “hand” to it and make it your own!

Click here  for the quilt project that includes a link to the PDF tutorial. Full color to make it clear for you!
In Summer, my very favorite thing about Hand Quilting is it’s portability. Take your charming, calming stitches along on your next road or day trip and carry it along to the kids’ sports practice. And, for even greater joy, get your friends involved, plan a gathering and invite those kids, too. Stitching is always better in community and a Play/Hand Quilting group will make your Summer the best ever!

Thursday, 23 June 2016

An Email that shows the Kindness of Quilters

This email was received by a Board member. Quilters truly are remarkable people with very big hearts! Read on:

Our local quilting group The Huron Shores Quilters have devoted the month of May to making quilts for Fort McMurray.  We had the local paper The North Shore Sentinel do an article on our efforts.

We have just sent the first 14 quilts to Erie Quilt Art in Calgary and have about a dozen more in the process of being finished.  We hope to have the rest off by the end of June.

I have, "courtesy of the North Shore Sentinel", attached a photo of our group with many of the quilts, 

Each of our quilts has a label indicating it has come from the Huron Shores Quilters of Blind River, Iron Bridge, Thessalon and Bruce Mines in Northern Ontario, along with an email address.    

It was the CQA who first let us know about sending quilts through Erie Quilt Art - so thank you.

Linda Stemp
Fort McMurray Quilt Project Co-ordinator

Huron Shores Quilters

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Cross Stitching DIY Project

Cross Stitching DIY Project

Join us as we welcome an adorable project from one of our amazing sponsors WonderFil Specialty Threads!

This hand-made project makes a great personal gift for any special family or friend, and is simple enough to complete even for beginners.

Here are all the materials you will be needing for this project:

  • 1 piece of 11 count aida cloth 7”x8” (will vary based on size of design)
  • Size 22 tapestry or darning needle
  • 12wt Fruitti, a 100% Egyptian cotton thread <link to:> (Colors used in our project: FT20-Storm, FT10-Roses, FT15-Carnation)
  • Pattern: <link to site> (pictured: “Thank You for Being My Friend”)
  • Embroidery scissors
  • 6” Cross-stitch hoop
The first step is to choose the pattern you would like to cross stitch with your personalized message. We used a free pattern from this great website where you can find a variety of different designs for your cross-stitch.

For the full tutorial on this DIY project visit the blog.

With Love and Threads,

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Q&A With Ana Buzzalino!

Q&A With Ana Buzzalino!

Join us as we welcome an adorable project from one of our amazing sponsors WonderFil Specialty Threads!

Calgarian Fibre Artist and Quilt Instructor

For the full Q&A visit the WonderFil website.

Ana has been a teacher on a variety of quilting techniques for the past 20+ years. Some of the recent workshops have focused on free-motion quilting and surface design. She is currently working on a new series of work that includes mixed media and is a frequent contributor to quilting arts magazine and quilting arts tv.

Many of ana’s quilts have won several awards at local and national shows, and have been juried into major international shows.

Wonderfil is proud to have counted ana buzzalino as part of our teacher program since 2009.

For the full interview / Q&A with Ana Buzzalino visit the WonderFil website.

For great tutorials, DIY project, and more visit the blog.
With Love and Threads,

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Chevron Embroidered: Pillbox Pincushion

Join us as we welcome an adorable project from one of our amazing sponsors WonderFil Specialty Threads!

 The WonderFil team would love to share with you a wonderfil little project that would not only be fun, simple and easy to make, but also useful. For this project we decided to use the WonderFil’s Razzle and Dazzle threads.

The Razzle and Dazzle threads are perfect for hand embroidery, the silky soft 6 ply rayon thread adds a beautiful shine and sparkle to any project. Simple stitching and the usefulness of the pillbox make it the perfect project to try your hand at embroidering. This is a great project that can simply be modified and customize. Have fun with the pattern and design, these pillbox pincushions make the perfect little gift.

With a few simple seams and a little stuffing, you will be moving your pins into their new home before you know it.


  • Wonderfil dazzle - 6180, 3130
  • Wonderfil razzle – rzm03, rzm15
  • Wonderfil designer -  white - ds426
  • Linen fabric, 1/4 yd.
  • Fusible fleece, 1/4 yd
  • Fiberfill stuffing
  • Button


  • Rotary cutter
  • Ruler with 60 degree angle markings
  • Fabric marking tool
  • Soft sculpting doll needle

Basic supplies

  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Hand sewing needle,
  • Iron
  •  Pressing surface

For the full tutorial on this DIY project visit the blog.

Make sure to visit our booth at the Quilt Canada 2016 in Toronto from June15–18.

With Love and Threads,

Monday, 13 June 2016

An Alternative to Invisible Monofilament Threads

Join us as we welcome an adorable project from one of our amazing sponsors WonderFil Specialty Threads!

Looking for a better alternative to invisible monofilament threads? Most of us know invisible thread as clear nylon or polyester that come in "clear" or "smoke" colour and resembles a fishing line. Some of the most common complaints are that they have a lot of stretch, become brittle or break easily, cannot withstand heat, can turn yellow, don't feel very soft and will sometimes cut into the fabric. These threads also tend to have a shine, meaning they still show under the light.

InvisaFil is an excellent alternative as it is an ultra fine 100wt thread, meaning it is thin enough to disappear into the fabric. It is also a cottonized polyester which reduces the stretch in the thread and gives it a matte finish, allowing it to blend into the fabric even further. InvisaFil is soft and silky to the touch, making it an excellent choice for quilts, and is also ideal for stitch in the ditch, hand or machine appliqué and English paper piecing because of its super fine weight, resulting in extremely flat seams (as you can see pictured).

For great tutorial, DIY project, and more visit the blog.

Make sure to visit our booth at the Quilt Canada 2016 in Toronto from June15–18.

With Love and Threads,

Thursday, 9 June 2016

We Made It Counting Inches Across Canada!

A final report on the Counting Inches across Canada..... drumroll please....

Yes, we were able to accumulate enough inches to travel from Lethbridge, AB to Toronto, ON (actually Mississauga, ON) where Quilt Canada 2016 is about to start in less than a week.
Looking forward to seeing all the wonderful quilts in the National Juried Show, Invitational Show, Trend-Tex Challenge and many more quilts on display to see. There's merchants/vendors to visit, workshops to take, lectures to be at - so much to see and do June 15-18, 2016 at the International Centre!

Black Gold Quilt Patch Guild didn't have time to count the inches of their
 60 of 215 quilts that have been made for the Fort MacMurray residents.

Thanks to all the guilds who participated this year and especially all those guild members who took the time to count the inches and then send them in to be counted!  Quilters are the best!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

“Awesome Appliqué for All!” Workshop with Brother at Quilt Canada 2016

Brother is one of our generous sponsors, and is guest blogging today. 

“Awesome Appliqué for All!” Workshop with Brother, at Quilt Canada 2016 on June 16 & 18

Calling sewers of all levels! Make customized, stunning appliqués for all your quilting, embroidery, home décor and crafting projects.

We can’t wait to meet you! Join us at Booths 308, 310, 312 and 313 on June 16 at 1pm, and June 18 at 11am.

Come get hands-on experience with THE Dream Machine and the ScanNCut! Read on to see how they’ll help you make projects you’ve only dreamed of!

Join us and discover zillions of ways to make appliqués!

• Learn how to make a quilt block with Brother’s ScanNCut and THE Dream Machine XV8500D.
• Create custom appliqués with ScanNCut for any of your quilting projects.
• Scan the shape you want and add beautiful stippling automatically around your appliqué. No computer required!

THE Dream Machine

THE Dream Machine is our most powerful, technologically advanced combination machine ever, with 100 new or improved features. Here are four ways THE Dream Machine makes embroidery fun & easy:

• At 10.1”, THE Dream Machine has the largest high-def LCD in its class—so you can view your creations in crisp, vivid colours and navigate like you do on a smart phone or tablet.
• It has our largest needle-to-arm, and 56 square inches of workspace—enough for a rolled king-size quilt!
• You can scan handwriting or line art, and then watch as it’s transformed into unique embroidery designs. Plus, you can draw directly on the LCD!
• You get dozens of Disney™ characters—like Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Snow White, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse—with every machine. And you can add them to any of your projects!


ScanNCut is the world’s first home & hobby cutting machine with a built-in scanner. With its 300-DPI built-in scanner, it’s the only cutting machine that can take your scanned images, photos or hand-drawn sketches, and turn them into unique cutting designs. No need for a computer, software, or pricey cartridges!


We’re proudly displaying our “I[heart]CQA/ACC” poster. That means, we’re offering special discounts to all CQA/ACC members throughout the show. Be sure to show us your CQA/ACC pin!

Marcie Baron
HAD Marketing Manager, Brother Canada

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

An Amazing Group of Quilters Get Ana Buzzalino

When the Board of Directors of CQA/ACC landed in Lethbridge AB back in June of 2015 we had no inkling of what was going to take place during the week of Quilt Canada.  Let me clarify that! We knew that the Local Organizing Committee  (LOC)had been working tirelessly for 2 years to prepare for this conference. We had no doubt they would put on an incredible show and be well organized.

But what we weren't prepared for was the hundreds of extras they did for CQA/ACC. They had their cars with Quilt Canada logos on them, every meeting room had their special touches added to them. And the organization blew us away. They introduced us to a 'jump sheet' where they knew what was happening minute by minute, where it was and who was in charge!

And that is not even the best part. These quilters (and Merv) were genuine, delightful and happy.  They constantly smiled and laughed, despite the hours of work they were putting in... and what I will never forget is when we finally had to say goodbye, it was like they took a part of our hearts.

Leading the LOC was Kathy Oliver, and here is what she has to say:

The Local Organizing Committee for Quilt Canada 2015 was thrilled when the CQAACC granted them a $1,500 bursary to sponsor a workshop using a Canadian teacher.  After much discussion, we decided to ask Ana Buzzalino, a well-known teacher from Calgary to come and teach two workshops on April 23 and 24, 2016.  

Some of the committee preferred more traditional quilting and some leaned more toward art quilts so we decided to ask Ana to do both. 

Ana was willing to take up to twenty students so we agreed to open up the workshops to other members of the Lethbridge Centennial Quilters Guild who had provided so many hours of volunteer work for Quilt Canada. The hall at Parkbridge Estates is our favourite venue for workshops and it was available for rent that weekend.  The bursary did not cover all our expenses but it allowed us to cover Ana’s fee and her expenses.  Each participant then paid a small registration fee that covered the rent and provided lunch and refreshments for 40 eager learners. 

Janet Thompson hard at fun.

The first day was devoted to learning Ana’s method for making a New York Beauty block that would be used for a funky pillow top.  She uses fun-dation paper to paper piece the arcs and it does not have to be removed.  Yeah! No more picking out pieces of paper forever.  

Ana demonstrating

Ana was a patient and knowledgeable instructor who guided the group through sewing curves and using partial seams to put the pillow top together. She loves free motion quilting and generously shared her expertise with us.

Wendy Bushell

The second day started with a demonstration of using inktense pencils on fabric.  Ana has a fantastic ability to blend colours and create realistic fruits and vegetables.  She provided numerous images to the group and each person worked on their preferred choice.  

The afternoon was spent learning how to use Transfer Artist Paper (TAP) and again everyone worked on different projects.  We purchased kits from Ana which contained a number of images that we could play with in the future so the fun will continue.

It was a great weekend of sharing and camaraderie which everyone enjoyed.  We had a lot of fun working together on the Local Organizing Committee for Quilt Canada and it was wonderful to get together again.  

We certainly appreciated the bursary and extend our heartfelt thanks to the Canadian Quilters' Association for making these workshops possible. 

Submitted by Kathy Oliver, Chair of Local Organizing Committee for Quilt Canada 2015 in Lethbridge, Alberta

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Artisan opportunity with Janome

CQA/ACC just received this request from Janome!

Are you an active sewist, quilter or designer? Do you love making things with fabric and thread? You may be a candidate for the Janome design team. 

JanomeCanada is looking to grow its team of artisans and makers. If you are interested in discussing opportunities, please bring a portfolio of PHOTOS (sharing on your phone screen is perfect) for an informal chat with Debbie during Quilt Canada 2016.  Email to set up a time to meet.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Introducing Fabric Designer Tamara Kate and Giveaways!

What a thrill to CQA/ACC when we heard that a fabric designer was going to have a booth at Quilt Canada 2016! We were able to grab a few minutes of Tamara Kate's time to find out a little more about this extraordinary woman!  You are going to want to read to the end to find out some very exciting news for those attending Quilt Canada 2016!

Tamara Kate is a licensed fabric designer with Michael Miller Fabrics. She is selling fabrics from all 7 of her collections, as well as copies of her 2 just-released adult colouring books. Come peek into her world of colour and pattern. (Booth 148a)

Tell us a little about yourself?  

I have been designing fabric for 3 years now with Michael Miller Fabrics, with the last, Nature Walk, having come out a few months ago. Two colouring books that I illustrated last fall have just been published, and should hopefully soon be available in Canada. I also recently teamed up with Janome Canada to design the logo for a sewing tote collection. It’s a set of luggage to carry your sewing machine and accessories with you in safety and style.

Do you quilt? 

Yes, I have been quilting for the past 3 years. Whether making quilts to help market my fabric collections, for corporate clients or for my family and friends, I almost always design my own. I strive to emphasize colour above all, keeping things on the simpler, more modern side. I started by hand quilting (which I still love, but don’t seem to find the time to do lately) and then gathered the courage to tackle machine quilting once I got my hands on a fantastic Janome machine. I am a walking foot girl to the core.

Starry Migration

Big & Juicy

Give us a tiny glimpse into the world of a Canadian fabric designer?

While not exactly what I would consider glamorous, for me it was and is truly a dream job. Each collection can take quite a bit of time to create and I tend to jump around a bit in terms of how I create designs. My very first collection, Flight Patterns, was a watercolour one, then I created a few that were entirely computer generated. Now I am back to the watercolour though, and loving working by hand again. 

Flight Patterns

Once I have, what I feel is a balanced collection of prints (variety of scale, direction, some geometrics, some more linear prints, etc) I pitch different colour options that Michael Miller then sends to the mill half-way around the world to do some test prints (strike offs). We go back and forth (hopefully not more than twice) tweaking things here, trying different variations there, and hopefully you, the quilter end up with something you will love working with in the end. The entire process, from when I start designing to when the fabrics are available in stores can take about a year.
Like my quilting, my design work is largely about colour, which I adore. I try to evoke happy, youthful feelings in my work, while telling a story (without necessarily always being geared toward children). 

Helen's Garden

Picking a favourite collection… well, you know that’s like asking me my favourite colour or child… next to impossible. I suppose the last is usually my favourite, as it is still fresh for me. In this case, Nature Walk, a collection based on my weekend wanderings with my family has a lovely light, etherial quality, and as is the case with many of my collections, emphasizes little flying creatures (the happy ones, that is).

What’s next on the horizon for you?

In the past year, I have been branching out to other licensing opportunities. This means that my designs will be available on other fun products. A few examples are: I have a line of bath accessories (shower curtains and all those cups and dishes we love) that will soon be available in the US & Canada, a line of dishes should be coming up at some point next year and I have been working hard on a whole range of colour-your-own stationary products that are offshoots from my colouring books. Of course I will continue designing fabric, working on my next collection this summer.

What is your favourite food?

How do people choose just one? I will go with what I am craving today, a good curry chicken roti. I grew up in Trinidad which is home to amazing cuisine from a variety of its people. Roti, for those who have not been lucky enough to try it, has its roots in Indian cuisine, but is quintissentially Caribbean. It’s a folded flatbread filled with a beautifully flavoured curry.

Thank you Tamara! Can't wait to meet you in your booth, now here is the exciting part that Tamara just unveiled:

There will be a daily draw for a limited edition Tamara Kate tote bag, part of the brand new "Whatever the Weather" bags created by Tamara for Blue Fig's popular designer series of sewing totes. The collection is designed for sewists on the go, and is suited for multiple brands and sizes of machines, sewing accessories, threads and project supplies. See the collection at both Tamara's and the Janome booth. Enter to win daily at Tamara's booth, 148a.