New pattern available!

I’ve recently published the Pancakes pattern over on Craftsy. If you’re interested, it is $6USD.

This marks the start of me trying to put myself out there more! 🙂

Hank also shares the space

Remember this post where I gave my husband a painting nook in my sewing room? Well now the dog has got involved.

He had been digging in the other cupboard to find a cosy corner to lay in (when it’s not sunny and he’s sprawled in the rays on the floor) so instead of letting him lay on all sorts of stuff, I tidied it out and made him a space, so now both of the boys have their own spot…

I made him a cupboard den #instahank

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I didn’t get a picture sadly, but yesterday morning, he pulled a quilt over him too so he disappeared snugly in the pile and it was so cute, I felt bad telling him sewing room time was over!

It’s a Scraptastic Tuesday!

I made progress on an old WIP I’ve not touched in a year- YEAH!

It’s huge, I ran out of floor space

My scrappy log cabin quilt needed 64 blocks to be completed and I had made 46 of them and stopped, packed up and moved country. So I’ve been making the remaining 18 in the evenings when Alex has been working. I will be giving away my big box of strings at my next guild meeting because I am done with these scraps. I probably had enough to make 64 blocks for the back too…. Seriously these two carrier bags are full of strips left over!

I’m going to quilt this on the longarm and rent some time- it’s 96″ square, or it will be when I have the blocks all sewn together – a little too big for me to be happy basting it and quilting it on my domestic machine. In fact, this will be the largest quilt I have ever made. True story. I want to put easy straight lines in the colour bits and feathers around the white. Straight line plan may change depending on if Bernina have improved their ruler foot. Apparently the rental machine has gone without for a while because the metal gets stressed by bumping rulers over and over and then it literally breaks from stress fractures. There has been a new ruler foot developed in the last few months, so I may be in luck!

I am getting my mojo back. I am working on four or five projects at once but that’s how I like it to be, dipping in and out of a few things each day. It works for me. Today though, its a teaching day.

Linking up:

Scraptastic Tuesday

Oh yeah remember this?

So I had this list at the start of the year…

And things have taken a longer time, with different order and approach, so it looks like this now:

I have however nearly finished a quilt for a magazine (not yet written up) and I don’t think I will make another Hank quilt now, I think I will make a horse quilt for the Stampede quilt show. In addition, I have made progress on two WIPs and done a little towards my summer target of the Quilt Workout pattern. I’ve also started cutting out my late spring magazine project, so things are a lot more fluid. My sister’s wedding is now not happening (this year anyway) so I will be around early summer still. I don’t care about those clothing alterations and my bee words can wait too.

Target for this weekend is to finish up the first magazine quilt and cut out for a second (it’s cheaper to post two at once) and write up a pattern for release. If I get time I may start designing my horse quilt too. Maybe. I have to plan the first half of my class on Tuesday night and maybe make some handouts. They make me feel more comfortable. Did I tell you that my class went well, it was scary at first but I felt like I really passed on some good tips and didn’t forget a thing. I love sewing right now, LOVE it. I don’t have enough time in the day for it.

So sorry by the way, I have a few people to reply to still because my email still won’t send. I am really hoping it will be back to normal any day now.

A Finish – the yellow dress

I find it difficult to be completely satisfied with garment making but I refuse to make a muslin because of the extra time and money; maybe I need to decide which is most important! So this dress is finished, not without issue, though I finally understood how vents work and I learned to make a lapped zip from a video tutorial. I struggled to understand the pattern and bodged the zip twice until I finally looked into it, then got it right straight away! It has been a project where I have learned a lot for future garments, that’s for sure.

Caution: Bad photos taken at night with an iPhone on 3 second delay!

At the very start (and possibly the reason I put it off for so long) I used interfacing that was too heavy for the neckband. I’m hoping it will soften in the wash…. but the crinkly edges really annoy me! I may add some topstitching to try and smooth it out once it’s out of the washer.

The armhole facing was fixed by ripping it out, shortening it and actually reading the instructions properly. With a touch of trimming like it says to do, this actually looks good now. I also adjusted the princess seams a bit because the armholes were a bit gap-y. I think that works.

I probably should have checked before uploading that you couldn’t tell I was wearing socks with tights because my feet were frozen….

Lastly, the body is a bit long, so the zip bulges a little bit, and I only did the usual three measurements, so I hadn’t considered I’d have to shorten the bodice. Not sure what I’m going to do about that yet, maybe I’ll just always wear a cardigan over the top so I don’t have to take the zip out and undo the hand sewing I did on the waistband lining….

So they’re all the flaws but the positives are – I managed a straight hem, I learned about zippers, I now know that my body – which is usually way too long for tops to stop revealing my belly – is actually short on dress patterns and can plan accordingly, the waistband is nice, the hip measurement is good, the fabric is cute!

An unofficial finish along entry!

Mini Tutorial: Starch substitute for 37.5c!

I have a mini tutorial for you today on how to make your own starch substitute – like Best Press or Flatter for a few cents. The credit for this idea shouldn’t go to me though, I was told about this by Jackie who I used to work with, and she in turn was told about it by someone in her quilting guild in Okotoks, so this is passed on wisdom that I am now passing onto you.

My experience with the products you can buy is mixed. Best Press was great when I started using it, but then I tried the scented stuff and my lungs do not cope with it well at all. There are no ingredients on the bottle either so I’ve no idea what it is that is irritating my lungs, a little bit scary. I find the unscented one a bit hard to find because most people seem to prefer that one too! Then Soak’s Flatter – I love the Fig fragrance, but I find it’s pretty expensive stuff so that’s usually off the cards for me. So, onto my tutorial!

I took an existing empty bottle from Best Press, and Sulky Wash and Gone soluble stabiliser. Any soluble stabiliser will do, it has to be the stuff for embroidery that completely washes out.

For this size bottle I only need 5cm across the width of fabric, which is where I get the 37.5c price from as it’s $7.50 a metre where I bought it. If you’re filling a bigger bottle, you will need proportionally more.

Cut into tiny bits and put into the bottle.

Add water, the lid and shake. That’s it!

This was the crinkliest scrap of fabric I could find that I had, so I gave it a squirt and press and it worked awesomely! I checked back the next day and there’s no residue, it works really well.

Let me know if you try it!


P.S. Email still being crappy, I will reply to everyone that posted on my last post once my computer starts letting me send email again!

On blog following

Recently, I have felt a little bit paranoid about not having enough blog followers, comments, etc to fulfill my side of the marketing and publicity once my book is out there in the World, and this is part of my contract, as well as something I feel organically responsible for. My day job is marketing, I should have this tied up.

A simple search shows Maureen Cracknell’s blog – for example – has 63,000 followers on Bloglovin alone. That’s just an insane number and it’s hard not to feel inadequate when your blog has been going for a year and a half longer and has 280.

With Instagram gaining in popularity, and more of the blogs I like to read popping up in my reader less and less as they switch over to micro-blogging, it feel even more like shouting into the void. I used to get double-figure comments, now I’m lucky to get 3. Has my viewing figures got lower, or has interest and engagement dwindled? Is it since moving away from my old circle of sewing friends in the UK? Did they artificially prop me up? Is it because I’ve posted less recently? How long will blogs be relevant for?

And content, what content do people actually want from blogs? I know that I like reading posts about idea development, quilt psychology and politics, recaps of shows I’ve not been able to go to.  Thoughtful and reflective posts, I guess a bit like this one. I know they are the ones I comment on most often. Are a lot of posts out there now just simply blog hops, sew alongs and simple tutorials that have been done 100 times already?  I skip through a lot of posts so I bet you do too.

What do I want to achieve from my blog? I don’t want to post every day with every microscopic detail, if I have nothing to say that day I won’t say anything. I don’t think I want to do weekly giveaways, or be tied to posting about sponsors once a week. I think that content can get dull if it is regimented, even if there is free stuff potentially up for grabs. How do others feel about this? My blog is almost like a diary for me, I look back at what happened when, at how I have developed, and I hope if people are interested enough to do that too then they will see that you can develop as a quilter significantly in just a couple of years (this blog started as a jewellery making blog!), and it will be a positive thing all round.

I’ve made peace with the idea that I’m not going to be one of the big shots, I’m going to stay true to me. I’m going to post what I want and not get bogged down with getting followers from having a huge giveaway, or feel I need a sponsor to be successful. As the Good Life Fitness advert on the radio goes, “Don’t strive to be better than everyone else, best YOURSELF”.


P.S. My email is down at the moment, so if you have contacted me I won’t get it for a little while.

Sewing every spare second

Over the weekend I continued where I left off on the last post.

I decided to put my yellow dress together first. I got quite far…

And then got angry, frustrated and sweary. I tore the zip out at least three times trying to get it to sit right. I find sewing pattern instructions are really vague about this part. So I made it up myself which worked after unpicking the top section and making it fold over more at least three more times, that was until I put the dress on and because it was a little tighter than it perhaps should be, my fold unfolded and it became an exposed zip. I have hand sewn in a lining too so it won’t be an easy one to adjust so I think I will fix it with some topstitching. Not ideal. If I could find somewhere locally or online that sold 22″ invisible zips, I’d be tempted to buy one and take to my one day sewing retreat on Sunday, but so far, no luck.

Then the armhole facing bagged out. I think it probably stretched as I sewed it in and that looks horrendous. I only did one sleeve, and it looks like that will be fixed with topstitching too.

So I was a bit put off, and decided I needed to sew something else before I fell out with all forms of sewing entirely. I cut out parts for my Sesquicentennial quilt (including the panels which apparently are printed not square and vary slightly in seam allowance, wtf?) until I found that I posted my only piece of black solid with some others for book photography.I went and bought more solids on Sunday, but for the meantime, it got folded up and put to one side for when I want to make the maple leaf blocks. This will be a really quick quilt when I get going.

Yeah really, he wouldn’t move.

Then I decided to sew together Thumbtacks. Which turned out to be more complicated than I thought as there are no extra seam allowances on the triangles since it was stack and whack. I found a fix through trimming, and it worked well, so I sewed all 36 blocks together!

It’s smaller than I wanted it to be by about 12 inches each direction, so I am going to add some ivory borders with a pop of another Rifle Paper Co print between them. I think that will work nicely!

Loving it

I shipped off the last requirements for my book today, and emailed over all of the images and second draft copy yesterday. Whilst I have enjoyed the process and would do it all over again, its so liberating to be working on a completely different style again. I treated myself to start a new project with Rifle Paper Co fabrics.

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I also finished the last of the bee words that I was several months overdue on, so another relief!

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I have lots of sewing plans for the weekend, I’m sure I will be back blogging all the more! Tomorrow, I’m coming for you, yellow dress! I also want to relook at my sesquicentennial quilt design for Canada’s 150th birthday. If it’s quick, I can see myself making a quilt in a day!

In other news, I have a new laptop because my old one was making popping and clicking noises, so it was only a matter of time before hard drive failure, so I’m installing stuff and moving files and other boring stuff. I also tried axe throwing for the first time on Wednesday night and LOVED it. I was pretty good too and beat my coach 😉

Kerry throws an axe

Maybe I will blog again tomorrow! We will see.

Classes with me

I’m going to try out teaching. I’m gradually getting a bit more assertive and confident so I reckon it is worth a shot. I used to get so embarrassed at public speaking right up to only a couple of months ago so it will be good for me. These classes are up to 8 people, so totally doable and it means I’ll be able to work with everyone individually too.

Here are my classes, held at My Sewing Room, Calgary. Give them a call if you want to book! The list of requirements for each class are also downloadable from their website.

EPP Cushion

Learn a relaxing – and historical – hand piecing technique, English Paper Piecing (EPP)! Use up your scraps and learn three different basting methods to make traditional paper hexagons wrapped with fabric, then stitch together as many as you want! This class will give you the opportunity to slow down your stitching and try the way a lot of our great-grandmothers made quilts. It’s also a great way to tackle difficult shapes and conquer Y-seams!

Bonus instructions on creating a small cushion will be provided for when you’ve made enough hexies.

Price: $35

Dates: February 22nd 6-9pm, April 2nd 1-4pm, May 2nd 6-9pm

QAYG Venti Tote

Use up your scraps and try relaxed piecing with this improvisational technique and make a fantastic storage tote! Using the pattern as a starting point, you will learn the piecing method and quilt it as you add each fabric piece. You will also learn to make your own bias tape and some bonus techniques to make following the pattern easier. Using your leftover scraps, you will make a bag which reflects your unique style.

Price: $65

Dates: March 7th and 14th 6-9pm, April 13th and 20th 6-9pm

P.S. Anyone know of quilt shows in Canada- particularly Western Canada – except for the Festival of Quilts in Calgary? I could really do with a show to challenge me over the next few months without posting quilts over to the UK!