Coming up with original teachers’ gifts is far from easy. While some years I leave things too late and jump in with the class group gift certificate, I usually try my best to make something as a show of appreciation for all the hard work my kids’ teachers do on a daily basis. In years past, I have made hand warmers, zippered pouches and fabric buckets. For this Christmas, I found a great tutorial for fabric trays by Noodlehead and my search was done.
This was the perfect project to try machine embroidering some letters from my Nature Walk alphabet that has recently been digitized by OESD. I am very new to machine embroidery, so am learning as I go. Janome Canada generously loaned me a Memory Craft 450E to try my hand at it and, while I will tell you I love hand embroidery, watching this being done by machine is quite magical and the result is far more refined, interesting and textured than I had imagined. I love it! And, for those of you who haven’t tried one of these machines before, let me tell you the best part: the only work you have to do is change the spool of thread and press the start button! So excellent!
Here are a few progress shots of one of the letters being stitched. I really like that the “P” presser foot directs your eye to exactly what is being stitched while not hiding any of the action:
I could have just use the suggested colours that come with the embroidery files, but I had fun tailoring each letter to the recipient… trying to remember the colours she tends to use or wear most. Knowing the total number of colours needed to complete the design and where each colour would be used (the file gives you all this information), I created my own palette for each letter and thus ended up wth some truly personalized gifts.
Wanting a neutral exterior to the trays that would wear well, I opted to use “Pollen Burst” and “Hop, Skip & Jump” and the binding is either “Stepping Stones” or “Little World”, all from my Nature Walk collection.
I could see these being used to contain some jewellery on a dresser, keys and phone on a console in an entryway or if it were for me, some yarns and threads from my latest hand sewing project on a side table in the living room.
A few technical notes:
– To properly fit a letter in the bottom of the basket without possibly cutting off some details with the corner darts, I adjusted the size of the cut fabric for both the interior and exterior to 9″ x 12″ (starting with a larger piece all around to create the embroidered letter first, and then trimmed to the correct size).
– I switched the thick interfacing to the exterior fabric and the thinner one to the embroidered fabric (opposite to what Anna suggests in the pattern). This avoids too much bubbling on the interior.
Happiest of Holidays to you all!
The winner from this post of the Tamara Kate Charm Pack is Janie M who said “I am always drawn towards blue. Your quilt is simply stunning thank you for the detailed tutorial.” Congratulations Janie! I have sent you an email.
Blue was definitely a popular choice for quilting fabrics in my oh-so-official poll. While aqua and teal have shown up a lot in my fabric collections, blue is not a colour I have used much. That is until the past few months. I hope you will like the next collection to come your way. It’s still in its initial phases (I’m anxiously awaiting my first strike offs any day now), but it definitely features BLUE in many of its playful prints.
Can’t wait to share it with you!
Today Janome Canada is featuring the last of three blog posts I did to walk you through creating the Whatever the Weather Quilt. Day 1 was about quilt layout and picking colours, Day 2 tackled piecing the quilt top and dealing with all those angles (there really aren’t that many) and today, Day 3 talks about how I quilted it.
To wrap things up, I am offering 2 charm packs of all 72 coloured Tamara Kate fabrics I used in the quilt. You can enter on the Janome Canada blogpost for one and right here for the other.
To enter, leave a comment below telling me what colour fabrics are your favourite when you are making a quilt. Entries close next Wednesday, September 28th at 6pm EST. Contest open to Canadian residents only.
A new quilt, a Quilt-Along and a free pattern all in one!
The Whatever the Weather Quilt made its debut earlier this summer at Quilt Canada in Toronto in the Janome Canada booth. I created it to mark the launch of the Whatever the Weather Sewing Tote Collection that features this bicycle logo I designed (Those of you who know me from my early days on Spoonflower may recognize it as part of my very first fabric design that won the “rain” contest).
A little about my design thoughts: I wanted to design a quilt that was inspired by the bicycle in some way and the element that spoke to me the most was the fun wheels. The theme of “Whatever the Weather” played out in the rainbow of fabric choices that I chose to pull from each and every one of my collections with Michael Miller Fabrics, while the ground is made up of a number of low-volume black on white Michael Miller prints.
Come join me for a 3-part series Quilt-Along over on the Janome Canada blog starting today and make your very own Whatever the Weather Quilt! There is a link to the free downloadable pdf there too.
Psst… There just may be a co-ordinating fabric give-away at the end of the series.
Happy rainbow making!
As a Canadian designer it is a regular frustration that what I design is more readily available in the US and overseas than here in my own backyard. Finally I can say I had a hand in designing something specifically for the Canadian sewing market… a set of sewing luggage, manufactured by Blue Fig, available through Janome Canada.
This collaboration was one of those “dream come true” projects for me. I had the honour of having a design from my portfolio used as the embroidered logo for all the bags in the collection. We started with 4 different designs, tried a few colour options, presented options to a highly astute & educated focus group (i.e.. my fabulous quilt guild) and landed on this fun, light-hearted design.
I think it fitting that the design chosen is the first design I ever created for fabric when I was designing on Spoonflower (It won the first weekly Spoonflower contest I entered, which in turn gave me the encouragement to pursue fabric design with gusto). Feels like things coming full circle for me.
The bags are such great quality! They are so sturdy and the fabrics are soft, yet durable (we chose grey as a nice neutral ground, which I think quilters will approve of). They are all loaded with a multitude of handy zippered pockets for all those rulers, presser feet, scissors and other accessories we always need to have on hand.
Here’s the line-up: There is the wheeled sewing machine carrier that holds most large sewing machines (I use the Janome Memory Craft 8200 & it fits like a glove). It has super-smooth ballbearing wheels, steel frame, top- or front-load options, a stabilizer strap for machine safety & extra side handles for getting it in and out of your trunk. The shoulder bag, project tote can carry a small machine or current projects & has an adjustable strap and extra pockets. The notions bag has a total of 12 clear pockets in a range of sizes for anything & everything you may need for your project. And below, the mini carrier, touting a cute pillbox design, can be used with or without the handy thread trays (included) for stylish storage & travel.
The bags are available through Janome Canada dealers across the country. Click on the “find a dealer” button at the top right of this link, click on your province and scroll through the list for contact info. If they don’t yet have them in stock, just ask them to please bring some in.
In celebration of the launch, there will be a few giveaways of different bags over the next bit of time. I will do my best to direct you to the appropriate spots when they happen over on my Instagram feed, so stay tuned.
Hope you like them as much as I do!
A dream job came my way last Fall. One that I was so excited to get up every day and pour myself into. With great excitement, I can finally let you know that not one, but two colouring books that I illustrated are now shipping to stores.
First, there is The Artist’s Alphabet, which is an elaboration on Nature Walk ABC, the alphabet panel from my latest fabric collection.
There are more elements on each page than in the fabric, giving you more nature to delight in colouring.
The pages are perforated, allowing for sharing, framing & hanging you artwork, and the book contains multiples of each letter, so you will have no problem spelling names and inspirational words.
The second book is Words of Wisdom.
Over 90 unique pages (again perforated) full of inspirational words and phrases to help push us to great heights, remind us to think positively and get us out of that funk we sometimes find ourselves in. Here are a few examples of what you will find inside:
The books are published by Eccolo. The quality of their products is impeccable and they did not disappoint when it came to putting together these two books that I am so proud to have my name on.
You can find the books here & here.
If you have a store and are interested in carrying the books (perhaps to co-ordinate with my Nature Walk fabric line) you can contact Eccolo directly: firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 787-686-8486 ext. 107
So, we had a challenge… To sew something amazing with the Nature Walk ABC panel. The team at Michael Miller Fabrics & I were delighted with the creativity shown in the challenge and now we have our three winners!
Third place went to Paola of Sweet Julia who created this adorable dress for her daughter. The ABC panel with the dress body & knots in the rich amber colour of Little World (coupled with the cowboy boots) is truly delightful.
Second place was taken by Sherri Noel of Rebecca Mae Designs for this truly awesome sewing machine cover. Her creation of words with the individual letters is skillfully done and just perfect to house her beloved machine.
And our winner is Candice Ayala who, with some incredible painting help from her daughter, Abigail won our hearts with this Mori dress.
Congrats to all the winners! I hope you enjoy your new fabrics coming your way and Abigail and Candice, I hope you have as much fun with my colouring book as you did with the dress.
A few of you have asked now, so I thought I’d do a proper post on co-ordinating Cotton Couture solids with NATURE WALK.
Firstly, in case I haven’t mentioned it before, or if I have and you missed it, Nature Walk is printed on Cotton Couture base cloth, which is a finer and lighter fabric than regular quilting cotton, so the CC solids are really the best option for incorporating solids into the mix for your projects so that there is a consistent weight and feel when finished.
So… What works with what?
Here are the colours used in the letters:
Most of those will also co-ordinate with the other prints in the collection, but here are some more:
I hope this is helpful in planning your projects!
OK, all you wonderfully talented sewers out there, Michael Miller Fabrics & I have a challenge for you!
Yesterday, as a bit of inspiration, I guest blogged on the MMF site about the many ways I sewed with the “ABC Nature Walk” panel for Quilt Market a couple months ago. Now it’s your turn. We want to see how creative you can get with this panel!
Of course there are some cool prizes! Lots of NATURE WALK and COTTON COUTURE fabric up for grabs and something I’ve been keeping a secret… I have a couple of adult colouring books in the works. You could be one of the first to get your hands on a copy of one, based on ABC Nature Walk.
The Artist’s Alphabet, published by Eccolo
So, hop on over to the Michael Miller blog for all the details and get sewing! If you don’t yet have any of the fabric, it is easily available at most online stores (and hopefully at your local shop too… Just ask).
Can’t wait to see what you create!