Monday, December 30, 2013

APQS expert in training

Over the holidays I had a bit of time to 'play' with the kids and this one especially was keen on trying Millie.  He knew exactly which fabrics he wanted to use, and how he wanted them assembled.
He was an expert from the start. Relaxed, focussed, and he knew what and where he was going to run those stitches.

I was equally impressed with how he caught on to using the controls of the machine. I was not allowed to help. So we practiced saying, toggle blue, toggle green..and away he went. 
He chose the colour - Aurifil 50wt in a turquoise blue. 
As I opened the drawer of thread, he gasped at all the colours and zoomed directly to the colour he wanted. No second guessing at all. 
I know right?  Like mother like son....thread candy!  Can you imagine his reaction in the Aurifil Warehouse?  

And even though it looks like someone scribbled the design...he really thought about filling the space and keeping the curves nice and rounded and flowy.

I made his little sample piece into a zipper pouch for his handheld device. 
I am so not a garment, bag, pouch sewer. 
at all. 
such a project reminds me of this always. 
And now I get reminders of my inept pouch making skills every time I see it. LOL

I did the same project with my other son. It is remarkable at how different this experience went. 
How he had no interest in being part of the camera action. 
How he had little patience and was indecisive of fabric and thread colour.

And how with his experience, I learned that my mag wheel adjustment from a few months ago is slightly incorrect - when the cutter is activated, it catches and jams on the needle - meaning, I need to re do my mag wheel adjustment and possibly retime my machine again. ARGHGHGHGHGH!

Totally not his fault, he just pushed the cutter button and the cutter jammed because of the needle positioning (my fault -mag wheel adjustment)

All for the love of my kids, right? 

And you thought my story had a happy ending!!!!

Happy New Year!  

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Peace and Joy...

Santa is coming!  I can finally relax and enjoy like this munchkin does...

I had a busy few weeks finishing up Christmas quilts and last minute gifts for clients....
This one was just a buttery soft flannel yardage, batting, and minkee batting that someone was making as a snuggle blanket for the kids.   So soft,  a perfect quick gift for someone!  Free hand loops, swirls, stars and hearts.
A beginner quilter made this lovely quilt for her daughter as a gift -  with minkee backing.   Minkee on anything just makes it so much more luxurious!      Freehand loops, snowflakes, swirls and holly leaves.
minkee backing....stitching patterns turn out so well with this fabric!
A sweet quick baby gift -  do you remember these Richard Scary books from the 70's  or am I the only one that remembers searching for the 'gold bug'  on each page!?
hands and hearts pantograph....
Finally, if you are looking for a last minute gift idea for yourself or a fellow quilter, these snips are amazing.  (famore cutlery,  aurifil poly thread) Plus,  they are rainbow finished metallic.  Super cool!

Wishing you all a lot of love, happiness and rest during this holiday season.   Spend lots of time doing nothing, being lazy,  slowing down, and enjoying the extra moments of nothingness that the rest of the year doesn't always bring us.     

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Random photos to share

It seems the busier I get with quilting on my longarm, the more I forget to take photos and to post photos of my work!   I have done many quilts lately, and have taken only a handful of photos when I remember to.   That will be my new years resolution -  post more of my work!
A customized letter A in a celtic font for a client-  little details like this make a quilt really special!  

Swirls and loops create a really beautiful flowing quilting design

Custom quilting - zig zag ruler work on the outer border,  pebbles on inner border, u-turn and ditch quilting on blocks to make some design features f a quilt 'pop' 

Pantograph quilting (Celtic Braid) on a beautiful chevron quilt

Something that always makes me giddy and satisfied is when people email me back with a followup comment on quilting work or send a photo.  This gorgeous southwest style quilt was one I did a few months back, and I received this gorgeous photo of it on display in the recipient's garden.  I'm sure my clients don't realize how happy it makes me feel with these little things...but I really love it. 

soft flowing lines and a few custom geckos placed throughout the quilt
My kids were super surprised of their trip away!   I can't complain about anything...not even the -30c weather I returned home to!   

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Jamie Wallen class

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Sparrow Studioz in Edmonton.  Jamie Wallen was teaching some classes, and I signed up for one of them.   I went up with  Little House Creations and her marvellous husband braved the snow and awful winter roads just for us.   

We did a lot of doodling to learn some of Jamie's signature styles   ...

This variation of a vine/feather was a really tricky one to do, but I like the edgy style of it. Obviously I need a lot more practice, but thought I would show you some of the ideas we were taught.

Just by varying the petals/feathers you get different looks to your vine.

And doing a mirror reflection of the vine will give you an even cooler style - great for borders and sashing.

A cluster of leaves  I can still hear him chanting 'chubby leaf, chubby leaf, chubby leaf"

Edgy swirls make up an edge to edge vine...

Using a few elements such as petals, swirls, chubby leaves, ribbons, you could really change this one up.  I loved doing this one  - just not sure how to translate it onto a quilt, however.

It was a great day and completely mentally draining, but so much fun!

It's been a crazy busy few weeks here at Urban Quiltworks.   Quilt tops for the longarm have been coming in steadily for the Christmas rush,  with a few made to order quilts to complete as well.   Add to that  Blogathon Canada,  school fundraiser committee deadlines,  teaching longarm classes with Bev and a Moda Bake Shop project in the works!    

Oh yes... and a surprise trip with the family that I have to pack/plan for during the day because it's a surprise for the kids!   I'm wiped!!!

My plate is full, but my enjoyment is fuller.  

 okay.. I admit.. my vacuuming was delayed for awhile. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Blogathon Canada winner!

Well,  I tried the random number generator thing and couldn't figure out how to post and link and all that kind of techie stuff that I should know. I went to use my children [s]again[/s].   I told them to think of a number between 1-233.  After they asked me what they get for this and I told them a hot meal for dinner, they discussed and both decided on this one:   

The winner is Joy!  
What an exciting adventure you have begun with your longarm. I have a midarm which is new to me and this winter I have vowed to move to the front of the machine and leave the pantographs behind. Those fabrics are so juicy and I can imagine a wonderful quilt in my mind. Thanks for the tour of your quilts and for the giveaway. Good luck to you on your journey.

Joy wins this gorgeous geometrics bundle!!  I will contact you via email!!  Congratulations!
Thank you so much everyone for participating in Blogathon Canada.  I need to tell you, that I have had such a crazy busy week that I haven't had a chance to visit our co-hosting bloggers yet!   aack!   I'm going to spend some time and visit and add new Canadian blogs this week when things are quiet.    I am so impressed with how many Canadian bloggers there are now! 
Thank you to Sew-Sisters shop for sponsoring this bloghop, and offering great giveaway prizes, and giving us the opportunity to connect through our blogs!
  I am very touched at the comments you all left me, and I will hold them close to me when I'm having a 'woe is me' day with creativity.    So. thank you!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sew Sisters Blogathon Canada

Hi everyone. It's my day today!    This is the Sew Sisters Canadian Blogathon.  

I have to admit I was very excited and a bit nervous about being asked to host.  I mean, you want ME.   And then the want ME. To talk about ME and show off?  Gulp!
I'll keep it quick.
I am Andrea and I live in Calgary, Alberta.  I am happily and proudly married, have two boys, a designer cat named Mojo, and a pseudo human lab named Jasper.

 While you may think of Calgary as cowboy town. I need to tell you it is also an amazing multicultural city.   It has big city feel with hints of small town love, and a ton of Canadian pride.  Close to the Rocky Mountains, and in the heart of the prairies.   Stunning scenery.  Awesome summer thunderstorms.  One of my favourite phenomenons in Calgary is the cold cold winter and the chinooks winds blow that blow through occasionally - it will be -20c one day and then +15c the next! 

You can follow me here on my blog 
 and I'm sometimes playing on instagram - my username is UrbanQuiltworks

I've been blogging for many years now and while it is a public place to show my work, I blog to document my quilting be able to look back at things I've done.  Almost every quilt I have made has been created from a sketch or idea in my head.  

One of my quiet proud accomplishments to design and create tutorials through Moda Bake Shop (see tutorials tab at top of this page).    It was a way that I could keep up my teaching skills, challenge myself in a new way, and hopefully help others learn to make simple, beautiful quilts...for free!  

I love simple clean lines. Simple piecing.  I love rectangles.  I am inspired by graphic patterns and European design. 
 I am known to take photos of random graphic patterns I find, including:
 trench coats in the airport;
 men's graphic button shirts (no I'm REALLY not hitting on you, I just really like your shirt fabric) 
and McDonalds play place walls.

Another quiet proud moment is my newest journey of becoming a longarm quilter.  This has been so much fun for me. I mean really?  I'm doodling on fabric people!  With colourful thread!  I love dense quilting and I can say that I am addicted to the texture my machine can make.

Quilting and blogging have introduced me to many beautiful things, especially the friendships and the kindness of fellow quilters out there.    

This blog hop is super to get to know fellow Canadian quilting bloggers. Each day this week will feature different Canadian bloggers and giveaways.
 Today I get to share my day with fellow Albertan, Katherine .  She is also having a giveaway, so visit her blog for a chance to win a prize ! 
Also, today the folks at Robert Kaufman are generously sponsoring a giveaway over at the Sew Sisters blog!

If you've lasted this long, I am making it worth your time.... I too am having a giveaway!
  This stack of gorgeous graphic fabrics for one of my lucky readers,
 just leave one comment to enter...please please please make sure you are not set as a no reply comment. (Google this if you aren't sure). 
I will need to contact you if you are a winner!
Giveaway is open to international participants as well! 

Geometric Prints Bundle courtesy of

And to keep you even busier -  here are a few fellow Alberta bloggers to follow, several of whom I have met through blogging and am now friends with in real life!

Little House Creations
Colleen Quilts Too!

Thanks for playing!
Comments are now closed!    I will draw a winner on November 24!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tool to share

Ever get a dark thread that you missed showing through your quilt?
This little tool has been great!  It's a microscopic crochet hook
Compared with the size of a mechanical pencil lead:

Poke it through your fabric and grab that stray thread with the hook.  It will not make a noticeable hole because it is so tiny 
It takes a wee bit of 'fishing' the thread bit it works well!
It's called the soft touch thread pick.  The one I got is by clover. Picked it up at Michael's in the crochet aisle. But I'm sure a quilt shop would have this too.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Metropolitan Man

Metropolitan Man.

A quilt inspired by men's suits and ties.  
I have envisioned making a series of quilts with men's suiting fabrics, silks and shirt fabrics. GQ style quilts made with shades of greys, taupes, and tweeds.   A fine suit with a pop of colour.   I flip through men's magazines and am captured by the texture and the contrast within these high style wardrobes.    High style men need some high style quilts to match their urban lifestyle.  
  Not all men want a Montreal Canadiens (sorry honey) or a John Deere quilt.     

I picked up a whole bunch of 100% British wool suiting at my local fabric shop a few weeks ago.    Found a few coordinating shirting fabrics to go with the fabulous mauve and greenish gold silks.  I don't know.  It just all came together really cool.   

Very simple block designs to showcase the quilting, but also show the pops of colour that one would see in a men's suit.     

This was so much fun to quilt
I'm thinking of doing some more quilting in the middle of those light grey blocks to stabilize them more.  I do love the puff that the non quilting gives though -  and the effect of a turtle neck texture! But, sadly, it needs to be stabilized more.

 In my process, I learned that wool suiting is a pain to work with.  It's stretchy, flimsy and difficult to press.   I learned that silk is the same.  Put them together and you have one hot mess.    

 So, there you have it.   Metropolitan Man. 

65x 65" 
Made with 100% wool suiting fabrics, silk, and a wee bit of cotton shirting.

I really want to try leather mixed in too.  Or Pleather.  or Leathaire....