Hints, tips and ideas galore!

October’s meeting was truly packed with good stuff. Right off the bat, as we signed in at the door, we each filled out a small form for December’s Secret Santa Mug Rug exchange, just names, favourite and least favourite colours were divulged. At the November meeting, those who have not yet drawn a recipient’s name will get the chance to do so, and instructions for the mug rugs will be disclosed… hope you’re all dreaming up designs already… my imagination’s running rampant!

Results of our first Block of the Month project were displayed for all to see. It’s always interesting to see the variety of fabrics picked by different quilters, and how the blocks come together. A name was picked out of the pumpkin and the “winner” gets to put the quilt together. BOM winner draw Oct17

As for the next one, well, Marilyn kept us guessing until later in the meeting to find out about it… read on to find out what it is! Let’s just say it’s a tad more complex than the envelope block!

Community Quilts had another wonderful month, giving away no less than six quilts. Many thanks to these ladies, who are making a difference one quilt at a time.

The Quilts of Valour team has a special request: they are asking for suggestions for their next project. Possibly something in bright colours? If you have any ideas, please contact Anne, Suzanne or Norine.

Linda passed along an invitation from Lions Gate Quilters’ Guild, who have space for our members to attend their COPS days (Creative Ongoing Process Session). These are social quilting days held from 9:30am to 4:00pm at Highlands United Church on Edgemont Boulevard in North Van. The next COPS days are on November 18th and December 9th. It costs $15, and please bring a plate of sweets or savouries to share. Contact the LGQG COPS Day co-ordinator to book your spot. Book sooner rather than later, because there is a cut-off time and the events will be cancelled if there is not enough interest.

If you’re like me, you like to see things demonstrated by a live person, not just a YouTube video. So how wonderful it was that this month we were treated to not one, but several “speakers” who shared some nifty tricks and ideas with us.

Glenna’s demo of how to make a Burrito pillowcase was a godsend! You’ll find an instruction sheet here.

Marilyn not only revealed our next Block of the Month, she also demonstrated the whole thing. This one’s called Migrating Geese.

Kory shared a great idea for those whose sewing machines have embroidery options for lettering.

The idea is to sew the “label” right into the binding, and the perfect example is one of the community quilts she had on hand. You can follow the online tutorial to which she refers.

A true labour of love is how I think of Linda’s Fidget Books, which are wonderful for patients with dementia, Alzheimers or other memory issues, or for kids. Using different textures, pockets, embellishments that can be opened, closed or simply moved, one creates a tactile experience that comforts. Some embellishments should be avoided, such as choking hazards (tiny objects and anything that can be broken off and swallowed), however, it’s a wonderful gift for a loved one… think: little secret pockets with rewards inside, fabric images, zippers, bangles, chenille, satin, velvet…

Cutting down on cutting is a good way to describe the Stripology “ruler” demonstrated by Les. As a bonus tip, she demonstrated a new-style rotary cutter with a horizontal handle and is easier on the wrist. Essentially, the ruler has slits in which to cut fabric in measured widths fairly quickly.

There are many ways to finish off one’s binding, and Sonia had another great method to share. This one uses the binding itself to measure where to cut.

Many thanks to Glenna, Marilyn, Kory, Les, Linda and Sonia for an inspiring gathering. Let’s do it again!

Tips for injury-free quilting from a Physiotherapist

Our September speaker certainly came at the right moment: with our sweltering summer finally giving way to Fall, we’re all keen to get back to our sewing rooms! For hours, no doubt, which could mean injuries if we don’t pay attention to how we’re sitting, standing, ironing and so on.

Deanna McMullen, registered Clinical Physiotherapist and co-owner of Aveeva Physiotherapy and Wellness Studio in North Vancouver, demonstrated how to sit at your machine, keeping arms and legs at a 90 degree angle, and one’s back well supported. Which makes the right chair at the right height very important to avoid common injuries, such as carpal tunnel issues, shoulder tendinitis, neck pain, tennis elbow, sciatic nerve pain and headaches (I bet we all relate!). Using an item to raise your non-pedal foot (telephone directory, anyone?) is also recommended, and be sure the pedal is close to you so that you’re not extending that leg, which can put pressure on the sciatic nerve. It’s all about that 90 degrees!

If you weren’t there, you missed an impromptu demonstration of the “ironing board dance”… move along with the iron instead of leaning over and possibly pulling something in your back!

Deanna also had us practising stretches that might alleviate some of these aches and pains, or avoid them altogether by taking breaks every 30 minutes or so and doing a few before things start hurting. Her complete presentation can be read here, and look out for an email with the link to an illustrated instruction guide to the stretches. If necessary, consult your doctor or physiotherapist about problems you may be experiencing.


Paul Krampitz – Working with Wedges

Paul Krampitz’s Working with Wedges Workshop was well attended, with members enthusiastic about learning something new and sharing the process with quilting friends.

Paul Krampitz WorkshopArmed with our wedge templates, we learned how to cut our fabric into angled pieces and sew them together to create interesting effects.  We started with the basics, creating our own block.  Later, Paul showed us some variations such as angle cutting striped fabric and using pieced strips in our blocks.

Continue reading “Paul Krampitz – Working with Wedges”

Carola Russell – Choosing the Right Needles, Thread & Feet for Quiltmaking

Carola RussellCarola Russell, owner of Carola’s Quilt Shop on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast, gave a presentation  at our May meeting.  It was all about machine needles, quilting threads, and presser feet, and how choosing them wisely can lead to more successful projects and more enjoyable quilting. Continue reading “Carola Russell – Choosing the Right Needles, Thread & Feet for Quiltmaking”

Paul Krampitz – From Traditional to Modern Quilter

Our April meeting featured a presentation by Paul Krampitz, who has made the creative journey from traditional to modern quilter.

Paul’s quilts illustrate how new and exciting designs can happen when quilters change up conventional blocks and layouts.

This was a lively presentation, with a great trunk show, and lots of ideas for modern quiltmaking.

More information:
Paul’s Blog
Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Member Spotlight – Paul Krampitz
Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild
Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, Modern Quilt Studio, pioneers of the Modern Quilt Movement
Color Catcher Sheets, protection from colour bleeding


A quilt made by Paul’s grandmother.

Paul KrampitzPaul Krampitz

One quilt – two sides.

Paul Krampitz

Changing up the log cabin block.

Paul Krampitz

Paul made this quilt with fabrics he acquired on a journey through Africa.

Paul Krampitz

Paul’s Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild quilt.

Paul Krampitz

Paul’s award winning quilt.

Paul Krampitz

Playing with circles.  This is the front.

Paul Krampitz

Playing with circles.  This is the back, with special effects from Paul’s fabric processing technique.

Workshop possibilities.

Julie Plotniko – Popcorn Can Quilts

popcorn cans
popcorn cans

Julie Plotniko, Vancouver Island quilting instructor, gave her presentation called “Popcorn Can Quilts” at our March meeting.

As someone who makes their popcorn on the stove top in an old pressure cooker with a tin pie plate for a lid, I was unfamiliar with popcorn cans.  Julie, however, had amassed a collection of popcorn cans over the years as a result of providing snacks to many young people who billeted at her house.

The popcorn cans were often decorative, and she found another use for the empty cans – storing scraps of fabric.  Julie stores her scraps by colour, and they are often used for community quilts and quick-and-easy projects.

Julie’s presentation was full of ideas, tips and techniques for turning scraps into interesting quilts.

These are some of Julie’s quilts made with patterns suitable for scrappy projects – Chinese coins, four-patches, half-square triangles, log cabins, and other designs.

Fabric Art by Daniella Amit

Daniella AmitDaniella Amit gave a presentation at our February meeting.  She began her career in landscape design, and now works in fibre art, jewelry, and interior design in her business La Penna Design.

She has been featured on the North Shore Art Crawl, and her art has been shown at the annual Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver.

Daniella teaches techniques for working with many mediums that can be used to create clothing, personal accessories, and soft furnishings.

Her creations incorporate a variety of mediums besides fabric such as metal and beads and a variety of techniques such as fabric dyeing, eco printing, and embroidery.

Delicate silks, textured materials, washes of hand dyed colour, glints of metal, decorative stitching, and other touches come together in works of intriguing fabric art.

Ilse and Isabelle brought their fabric art inspired by one of Daniella’s classes.

A Textile Tour to Morocco

map-of-morocco-worldtlasWe started off our quilting year with a presentation by three of our members.

Bev D, Ilse and Isabelle J went to Morocco last fall on a textile tour.  We were taken into another world.  Their photos, videos, stories and souvenirs introduced us to the crafts and fabrics of Morocco, as well as its culture and landscapes.  We saw images of silk thread from the agave plant, the pouring ritual of mint tea, craft cooperatives and marketplaces, the street life, and the exotic architecture of this North African country.

Thanks to these three adventurous travellers for their presentation and to Bev D for sharing the beautiful photographs below and the text to go with them in this post.

(music: Olodum by Jesse Cook)


The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.  It is the second largest in the world.


The Riad Salam where we stayed in Fez.


One of the narrow walkways in the Fez Medina.  The donkey is used to transport hides to the tannery inside the Medina.


Our camel ride to our night on the desert.


The Assalam Cooperative where the women make rugs, embroider and do many crafts to support themselves.


A quilter’s dream, wall to wall fabrics – silk and cotton.


Lunch at the home of our hosts at the Cooperative.


Ait Ben Haddou is a very old village perched on a large hill.  Originally inhabited by Jews and Berbers.  Now only ten families left.


One of the many looms we saw making beautiful carpets, bed coverings, pillow covers, etc.


Walking through the Essaquira medina.  Beautiful silk items which were hard to resist.

The New York Beauty Block and Tips for Quilters

Two of our members entertained us with presentations at our November meeting.

Ivory Spring free pattern

The New York Beauty Block   Marilyn talked about the variations and possibilities of the beautiful New York Beauty block and brought samples to show us.

The blocks are constructed with paper foundation piecing.  Marilyn suggested using freezer paper and a smaller stitch length for easier removal of the paper afterwards.

Patterns can be found online at sites such as Pinterest, Craftsy, and Etsy.  Some patterns are free, such as the quilt to the right.   Marilyn recommended a book by Karen Stone, who is well known for her intricate New York Beauty quilt designs.

New York Beauty
beginnings of a New York Beauty block

Tips for Quilters   Lorna talked to us about great quilting tips she has collected over the years from “Sew Many Tips” in Fons & Porter magazines, including how to store fabric strips, how to keep your foot pedal from slipping, how to keep track of your machine needles, and many others.  Here’s one of them from the handout she gave us.

“Centre Attraction – to align a quilt top and backing for a quilt sandwich, first fold the top into quarters, marking the centre and sides at the folds (with safety pins).  Do the same with the backing.  You can also sew a small shank button temporarily in the centre on the right side of the quilt top (I use a safety pin) so that you can easily feel the centre through the layers, which helps to match the centres.  Align the sides at the marks.”

a tableful of quilting tips

Many thanks to Marilyn and Lorna for all their preparation and for sharing their quilting knowledge and enthusiasm with us.

Lorna and Marilyn
Lorna and Marilyn

Our October Meeting – Creating with Scraps

Our October meeting was a busy one, and quilting with scraps seemed to be a common theme.  There were lots of ideas for creating something new out of scraps and keeping us stitching over the winter.

Anne gave a presentation about making watercolour quilts.  She has a clever system for storing small squares of fabric that are easy to access whenever the creative urge strikes.  She cuts pieces from fabric left over from projects and stores them in foil pans, which stack nicely.  She “paints” her quilt on her design wall, taking her time with the creative process.

Diane introduced us to a new project called “Mystery Scrap-it.”  Part 1 started out with an unconventional way of cutting fabric into scraps.  As Diane says, “this mystery project is to free your mind from conventional patterns and to try new techniques, embellishments and stretch the imagination.”

Eleanor talked about Canada’s Biggest Quilt Bee, initiated by the Canadian Quilters’ Association for Quilt Canada and Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.  Our guild will be making slab block quilts for Ronald McDonald House.  It was suggested that including some children’s fabric in these blocks would be a good idea.

CQA quilt bee
Eleanor’s slab blocks