Monday, September 28, 2015

Checking the Temperature at home and around the Globe

2015 is proving to be the busiest year I've had in a long time. Kicking off with the release of Make It, Take It closely followed by my amazing trip to Austin, TX for QuiltCon2015 (and the amazing ribbon win!) where I invested in my own learning and creative growth, I returned home full of excitement and energy for quilting. Soon after, I participated in my first Quilt Market (and met some incredibly supportive friends and inspiring mentors).  I also had a fun couple of days right here in Vancouver at the wholesale show put on by N.Jefferson in July, teaching from my book and meeting shop owners, fellow teachers and visiting reps. In between and all around those industry/guild events I've been teaching my Temperature Check quilt using my Improv Under the Influence piecing technique.

Improv Under the Influence by Poppyprint
Temperature Check, shown at Canada's national juried show, 2014

When I first made this quilt a couple of years ago, I felt a little tingle of excitement, thinking that it could possibly be a door opener for me to start teaching my own technique and pattern, instead of teaching patterns designed by others (which I've been doing for 12 years).  I could NEVER have predicted how far that little quilt would take me...and in the space of of the 12 months of 2015, I'll have visited and taught for all of these groups in some amazing places:

And still to come, all before the end of November (gasp!)
Plus, I'm still working hard to promote my book locally and have done 6 trunk shows this month, with a couple more scheduled in November.  It has been wonderful having the support of all of the local traditional guilds, as well as my pals at the VMQG.

People keep asking me if I'm exhausted and I can truthfully say, no!  It is all so exciting and because teaching fulfils me in so many ways, every workshop just gives me more energy for the next. I may spend the month of December (fully clear calendar) in a coma cuddled under a quilt on my couch, but for now it's go, go, GO.  The best part truly, is meeting and spending time with so many wonderful, like-minded people. I love making new friends as much as I love travelling.

Speaking of which, if you live in the Lower Mainland area and haven't yet had a chance to take my Temperature Check class to learn a super fun improv piecing technique, you are invited to join me at the Seymour Quilter's Guild on Wednesday, October 14th from 9:30 - 3:30 on the North Shore. The cost is only $45 for non-guild members and there are a few spaces still available. I'll be fresh home from Sweden with stories to share about the Scandinavian quilting scene. Let me know in the comments if you are interested and I'll put you in touch with the workshop liaison (make sure you leave your email addy for me)

Improv Under the Influence workshop

Some fabulous student work from the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild's Temperature Check workshop last year. 

Watch my Instagram for travel pictures from Sweden, or come back here in a couple of weeks for a photo essay of my trip. Because if you hang here, you know I like the travel pics ; )

Thanks friends.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Tinsel Time

I held off until after school started, but this Christmas project could wait no longer. As soon as I saw Cotton & Steel's fun Tinsel* line at Spring Market, I knew it would be perfect for making Lynne's Lonestar Circle quilt from my book. I'll be teaching this quilt for two local guilds in the coming months and I needed a full-sized sample. Students will have the choice of making a mini like the three I've made, or this 55" square version.  I'll also provide info on fabric requirements for creating a radiating design with only 5 fabrics plus background, or using two alternating colour ways like I did in this Tinsel version and this mini version.  Fact: the full size is more forgiving and actually an easier make than those mini versions!

>Tinsel Lonestar Circle

I've got a folkart-inspired appliqued tree skirt that I've loved for years but after seeing the Tinsel fabric in all it's amazing cuteness, I thought I'd try and make this project and transform it into a new tree skirt.  Then this incredible stroke of luck happened....

Tinsel Lonestar Circle

The centre points turned out perfectly. This is part careful planning, measuring, pinning and sewing, but also part quilting voodoo. How can I cut that gorgeous centre star right outta there? Not happening. 

Tinsel Lonestar Circle

Hello, new holiday table cloth.

Monday, September 21, 2015


Ahhhh, the good old days. The days when we all hung out on Flickr, sharing our photos, participating in conversations and sending our happy little mini quilts, pouches and mugrugs to far away friends in swaps.  Angela started a new hashtag on Instagram for showing our old #flickrfaves photographs to new friends who may not have been on the quilting scene back then.  I know not all of you use Instagram, so I thought I'd repost some of my older work that you may not have seen before (also, most of what I'm making these days I can't share quite yet because they are for challenges or gifts or publication in the future).

Les Petites Mugrugs2 by Poppyprint

Remember when we all started making Mug Rugs? These were two I put together with some leftover "twofer" corners cut off from some flying geese for another projects. All French General fabric. January 2011

300511 black - starry night treeskirt complete- by Poppyprint

This was one of two tree skirts I made using a pattern by Carol Turznik (mamacjt on Flickr). Carol kindly granted me permission to teach this as a class and it was a lot of fun! December 2010

Poppyprint - mugrug pears 3

Here's another mug rug made for a Flickr swap, September, 2010. This pear design went on to become a  bolster pillow pattern published in Stitch magazine.

Spring Fling mini QT for lmdesigns (March '10)

Another sweet little art quilt given away in a swap. The theme was Spring Fling and completely unbeknownst to my partner and I, we both made a tiny quilt featuring a nest with 3 robin's eggs for each other! Sometimes swaps can have the most surprising results. 
March, 2010

MuuMuu-Bijoux by Poppyprint

This wallhanging was made in 2004 after a workshop with local teacher Barb Mortell, who taught the free-pieced paper dolls. It was my first 'original design' quilt and the first time I'd tried free-cutting and piecing curves with a rotary cutter and making improv-pieced flying geese. The quilt is called Mu-Mu Bijoux and is a remembrance of my late mother-in-law and her Maui muumuus.

Baby storm at sea

This baby Storm at Sea was made for our former babysitter when she had her first child. I made it 10 years ago from all the soft Moda florals that were so in style back then at our local shops.

birdhouse fence wool mini by Poppyprint

Here's a favourite of both my husband and mine. It was sent away in a mini swap with a 'house' theme. It's all wool applique and an original design inspired by a photograph I took near my parent's cottage in rural Ontario. A local resident has placed unique birdhouses on top of a row of fence posts by a hay field. 

Allium mug rug by Poppyprint

And finally, I think this is my most-viewed Flickr photo, with over 6500 views. I'm not sure how that happened, but I think it was featured on the Explore page and then used in a bunch of inspiration mosaics for mugrug swaps. I actually kept this one because I was so pleased with how it turned out. It was my first ever project using Essex Linen, which started quite a love affair for me - it's my background of choice for special projects!

September has been so busy for me already. I presented 5 trunk shows/lectures in the space of 8 days to local traditional guilds, taught an Improv Under the Influence workshop, hosted a day retreat, delivered our son to university, made 3 mini quilts and a lap sized quilt top, completed a special gift, made two Stepping Stones table runners from Make It, Take It, and provided many, many Mom Taxi rides for our daughter (who has started supervised driving, thank goodness). In another week, I'm off on a very exciting adventure to Sweden, where I'll be teaching 3 workshops. I'm also helping organize a showcase of Modern Mini Quilts for the VMQG; we are showcasing our quilts at the Vancouver Quilter's Guild show on October 23 & 24.

2015 is a crazy, exciting, amazing year so far and the fun will continue right through to December. Somewhere in the next two months I need to make the QuiltCon entry that I'm dreaming about and get a start on some Christmas gifts. 


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sunday Sept. 20th Sale at Sew-Sisters!

It's the alliteration sale of the year!
Looking for something to do on Sunday? Brew a cuppa and shop in your jammies. 

Stock up on quilt backs, apparel yardage and anything else you might need. 
I kinda love the flat rate shipping included in the deal, too. 
Check it out right here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Stepping Stones Table Runner Samples & Teaching

This fall is very busy with trunk shows!  I'm having a great time visiting many local guilds sharing the projects from Make It, Take It with traditional and modern quilters alike.  The table runner that I pieced for the book was quilted by Krista Withers, so after Quilt Market and my spring trunk shows I sent her that one because I knew she loved it and well, she's awesome so she should have it!  I needed to make another and why make one when you can make two?!

Stepping Stones Table Runners by Poppyprint

The combination of Essex linen and Briar Rose used in the original runner was just too sweet to pass up, so I kept everything pretty much the same when I made these two new ones. The runner sews up quickly - it is so fun to make!  I was anxious to try straight line quilting using Krista's Ghost Shape Quilting instructions in the book. PLUS, I treated myself to a new Juki TL2010Q over the summer and I figured this would be the perfect small project to give it a go.

Stepping Stones Table Runners by Poppyprint

Stepping Stones Table Runners by Poppyprint

Unfortunately, the walking foot that came with my machine was a dud and I was unable to use it. After some online research and an S.O.S. call on Instagram, I was advised by several other Juki users to just go for it and quilt using the regular sewing foot with the presser foot pressure turned right down to the lowest setting (in other words, almost no pressure on the foot). Walking foot be damned!  (Note: my dealer arranged for an immediate replacement walking foot to be sent directly from Juki and I have received it, but not yet tried it).

Stepping Stones Table Runners by Poppyprint
The circles are machine appliqued using my "Fabric Stickers" method described in my Crop Circles Table Runner tutorial on the left sidebar. I used a shortened & narrowed blind hem stitch to secure them to the quilt top.

The results were pretty darn good considering I didn't use a walking foot. Some of the straight seams show signs of drag, but I can live with that. On the second one, I stabilized those longer seams between blocks and beside the pieced sections with stitch in the ditch.  Ultimately, I'm just picky and would prefer longarm results with a home machine, which just isn't going to happen. I'm trying to lighten up and find satisfaction in a job done the best that I can do with the equipment that I have.

Machine binding on my Juki

Where the Juki totally rocked was the binding. I applied my regular 2 1/4" double fold binding to the front of the runners, then pressed it to the back, mitering the corners. Using Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It and a dry iron, I basted the binding to the back.  Then, still using the regular sewing foot I slowly and carefully stitched in the ditch from the front. The machine performed beautifully, even with the uneven thickness of fabrics under the foot (6 layers of binding fabric plus quilt sandwich under the right side of the foot and only the quilt sandwich under the left side of the foot).  With my Pfaff, the snap-on "stitch in the ditch foot" regular popped off when I tried to do this.

I'll be keeping one of these runners for my trunk shows (two more this week!) and gifting the other one soon. If you are a quilting teacher, I highly recommend this project as a complete beginner quilting class that includes: rotary cutting techniques, accurate piecing, flying geese construction, machine applique, quilt basting, marking & straight line quilting and binding.  Check out the copyright statement in Make It, Take It - as long as your students each have a copy of the book, you're welcome to teach any of the projects. Please do!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Good Neighbors Pin Cushion Party plus a mini tutorial & giveaway!

It is a party! A pin cushion party! We're celebrating the release of Amanda Jean's sweet new fabric line from Connecting Threads called Good Neighbors. We've all made pin cushions to showcase the prints and there will be blogposts all month long.  You'll see at the end of this post an extensive list of bloggers supporting Amanda Jean - everyone is so excited for her and her first fabric line.  Although it was a really busy time, Amanda Jean and I did manage to meet each other at Spring Market and exchange a couple of hugs. I hope we will get to meet again one day and have more time to hang out and talk quilting!  I think that her contemplative, sincere style (and devotion to scraps) really come through in her fabric design.  Just look at these great colours and uncomplicated patterns:

Good Neighbors Charms

I especially love Leaves Array (bottom left) and cross stitch (fourth row, the red/blue/grey lattice prints on the right side).  The stripes on the bottom row are ideal binding fabrics!

Big mouthed thread catcher from Make It, Take It with extra pinwheel piecing!

Good Neighbors is the perfect line of blending fabrics with all of the great colours and sweet little prints. I wanted to use as many of them as possible, so I added some tiny pinwheels to the Big Mouthed Threadcatcher pattern out of my book. I've been making these threadcatchers for so many years, in fact I know I've made well over 200. It's fun to change things up by adding some special piecing the thread bag.

Big mouthed thread catcher from Make It, Take It with extra pinwheel piecing!

I remembered to use quick piecing and cutting technique that I'd learned somewhere along the way of my quilting career...I just can't remember where! Perhaps a magazine, or a long-ago workshop?  Here's how it works:  you start with two squares and end up with eight 1/2 square triangles! For my thread bag,  start with two 5" charm squares RST, draw both diagonal lines, corner to corner. Sew 1/4" on either side of the lines. Make 4 cuts: cut on the drawn lines and the horizontal and vertical middle. Presto: eight 1/2 squares!!  I trimmed mine to 2" before piecing them into pinwheels/broken dishes blocks.

8 half squares from two 5" charms. 

8 half squares from two 5" charms.

8 half squares from two 5" charms.

8 half squares from two 5" charms.

Connecting Threads would like to send a Canadian or US resident a charm pack of the Good Neighbors collection.  Just leave one comment here (your email must be linked OR written into your comment in order to win) and I will choose a random winner in a week's time. Good luck! {ETA: Comments are now closed, thank you for stopping by!}

9/1/2015 Amanda Jean – Crazy Mom Quilts
9/2/2015 Anna – Noodlehead 
9/3/2015 Mary – Mary on Lake Pulaski
9/4/2015 Svetlana – Sotak Handmade
9/5/2015 Debbie – Esch House Quilts
9/6/2015 Holly – Bijou Lovely
9/7/2015 Carla – Grace and Favour
9/8/2015 Faith – Fresh Lemons Quilts
9/9/2015 Vanessa –  V and Co.
9/10/2015 Anna –  Thimbleanna
9/11/2015 Krista –  Poppy Print Creates (you're here!)
9/12/2015 Erin –  Why Not Sew
9/13/2015 Lee –  May Chappell
9/14/2015 Alex –  Tea Ginny Designs
9/15/2015 Cheryl –  Nap Time Quilter
9/16/2015 Penny –  Sew Take a Hike
9/17/2015 Amy –  During Quilt Time
9/18/2015 Debbie –  A Quilter’s Table
9/19/2015 Anne –  Spring Leaf Studios
9/20/2015 Melissa Corry –  Happy Quilting
9/21/2015 Amber –  One Shabby Chick
9/22/2015 Nettie –  A Quilt is Nice
9/23/2015 Adrianne – Little Bluebell
9/24/2015 Cindy –  Live a Colorful Life
9/25/2015 Amy –  Diary of a Quilter
9/26/2015 Chase –  Quarter Inch Mark
9/27/2015 Rene –  Rene Creates
9/28/2015 Erin –  House on Hill Road
9/29/2015 Nicole –  Modern Handcraft
9/30/2015 Teri –  Connecting Threads

Thursday, September 3, 2015

My Favourite Thread Deal

I'm happy to pass along the news to you lovely readers that my blog partner Sew Sisters has a fabulous special on this month!

Deal of the Month - September - Aurifil 50wt 1300mt 3 Pack

This is the only piecing thread I use, ever. I've been piecing with Aurifil 50wt (orange spools) for over 10 years and all of my quilts are wearing perfectly fine with no broken seams (side-pressing works, people). I've been growing my collection of 40 wt Aurifil (green spools) colours as well and am enjoying it immensely for quilting!  28 wt (grey spools) remains my top-stitching thread of choice for work on bags, pouches, sashiko by machine, and anywhere that I need a punch of colour.

The special is for a multi-pack of these three perfect peicing staples: white, dove and black. I'll be buying one right after I post! Get them while they're hot, right here.   I think I'll also check out Tula's extra wide Free Fall backing fabric in 6 different colours and have a peruse through Jeni Bakers Curiosities line that just arrived!

Free Fall - 108" Wide Backing Navy
108" wide Free Fall - navy

Curiosities - Fresh Encounters - Curious Bunnies Calm
Look, it's George!!

Happy Shopping!