Calling All Local Quilters: Chilliwack PieceMakers Guild Is Going Virtual

As you may know, Chilliwack has two quilting guilds, a “day guild” and a “night guild”. I am the current president of the the Chilliwack PieceMakers Guild, the “night guild”, and will do some shameless promotion in this post 🙂 We have been very busy trying to adapt to the Covid situation. Our general meetings are every month on the third Wednesday night from 7 to 9 pm. We know that many quilters don’t like driving in the dark, especially in bad weather which is often given as a reason why they don’t want to join a guild that meets at night. This year, all our meetings will take place on Zoom, no driving involved. This is your chance to meet our creative group and join the fun. Zoom is super easy to use, you don’t need to sign up for an account, you just have to follow the invitation link. We ran two test meetings this past week for members to try out Zoom and had a lot of fun. Those who had never used Zoom before were surprised how easy it was. We are offering phone support and step by step walkthroughs, so far we have been able to get everyone connected, no matter how experienced or tech savvy they were.

Chilliwack PieceMakers Logo


If you are a local quilter (and local does not just mean Chilliwack, we have members from Abbotsford and Agassiz as well and would certainly welcome quilters from Hope etc… you get the idea) and would like to give our virtual guild life a try, please contact us through our website or leave me a message, and I’ll get you connected. Our September meeting next week will start slow, we want to make sure that everybody can find their way around Zoom, and we will mostly do Show & Tell, so everybody can talk about what they made during the summer. We will also have “Breakout Rooms”, a super fun feature of Zoom. If you have more than a handful of people in a virtual meeting, you can’t really get a real life conversation going, everybody will talk over each other, and you won’t be able to hear a thing. Zoom offers the possibility to divide participants up into a number of smaller rooms, and we will use this feature for our coffee break and randomly place a few people together in rooms to be able to chat and visit and meet new people. We will mix up everything once or twice, so it will be a bit like speed dating and much less intimidating than walking into a real life meeting where everybody seems to know each other.

For October, we have a virtual trunk show and quilting demonstration planned. You will be able to see everything on your screen in detail, much closer than you would be in reality. It will be like looking over the presenter’s shoulder.

We have to stay apart for a while longer but that doesn’t mean we have to be alone. If you would like to join us, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will help you get connected.



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Penguin Backing Fabric

You might have noticed that I didn’t post a picture of my sample block this month. I don’t have a huge fabric stash, that’s not the way I work. I come up with a design first, and then I hunt down the fabrics, and sometimes it just takes a while to find the right ones. But my first block is finally done and ready to show.


And I also managed to find backing fabric for the quilt. I don’t usually buy a lot of novelty prints but I like my backings to match the theme of the quilt, and of course I had to order this cute penguin fabric when I saw it online. And they even wear hats and scarves!



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Yes, I am still here…

These sure are scary times that we live in! If you wondered what happened to me, I needed some time to deal with the evolving situation and my mental health. I have been aware of what was coming for a bit longer than many of you. Having a pharmacy degree and a math major son, I understand the threat of exponential growth very well. In addition to that, COVID-19 seems to have spread in the WA square dance community before we were really aware of it. We usually danced in Kirkland, WA once a month, and we knew that in February lots of dancers suddenly seemed to be ill. But we didn’t know what it was until March 2, when one of them, a man in his 40s, passed away, and it was confirmed that respiratory failure due to COVID-19 was the cause. Several other square dancers tested positive afterwards, and while most of them are on the mend by now, one very sweet gentleman in his 90s is still in ICU fighting for his life.

(UPDATE: I just received the news that 92-year-old Wayne passed away today. What a sad day for our dance community.)

We had two square dancing weekends in WA planned for March and immediately cancelled everything. The last time we danced with any of the infected dancers was February 9, so we were not worried about our personal health. But there is a lot of mixing and mingling between BC and WA dancers. All events never took place in the end, and for good reason, but I started campaigning to close down square dancing here in Canada right away. At the time people still thought I was overreacting but as you know things progressed quickly. By the time square dancing was shut down and I started working on the quilt guild meetings, people had begun to realize that something was very wrong and we had everything cancelled before large groups were officially banned.

The last week has been one huge mental health emergency for me. I am usually very good at keeping my anxiety under control with progressive muscle relaxation and similar techniques but right now I find it very hard. I am sure many of you feel the same pressure. Be kind to yourself. Sometimes all you are able to do is make a cup of tea and sit on the couch. And that’s okay. These are scary times but we will get through this. It might just take a bit longer than we originally thought. The best thing we can do right now is stay home and avoid all unnecessary contact.

For those of you who are local and use my quilting services, I will continue to quilt for others. I will post an update on the “Quilting Services” page on how I have been handling this without any direct contact. My regular customers have been wonderful in accepting these changes and dropped off bags on my doorstep and discussed quilting options on the phone and via email. But I will have a lot more time to work on my patterns, and I am trying to get my head back into the right place to be able to do this.

I am happy to announce that I have another BOM project with nine blocks almost ready. It should have been ready two weeks ago before the situation started to escalate but I will get my act together and get it ready over the weekend. So stay tuned for next week, and we should be able to start on April 1. In the meantime, please be safe and stay home and healthy.



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Wild Roses

This pretty floral quilt in blue and yellow was made by Linda. She asked for low density quilting, and we picked “Ginger Flower” for her quilt, a floral swirly pattern that picks up the five-petal flowers of the outer border fabric.

Wild Roses




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Butterflies

Nancy made this pretty butterfly quilt using floral fabrics in soft colours. She stitched around the shapes using a machine blanket stitch and switched from matching thread to contrasting threads after a while to make the quilt more interesting. The quilting design is called “Wild Wind”.

Butterflies




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Mrs Buckingham

Mrs Buckingham moved in with me right before Christmas. She wasn’t exactly a Christmas gift, I just happened to find her at this time of the year. Mrs Buckingham – in case you are wondering – is a beautiful vintage Singer treadle machine, a Model 15. All my vintage machines have names, just my modern computerized Pfaff machine is just “my sewing machine”. For some reason I could never think of a good name for her.

Mrs Buckingham gave me a bit of a headache too when I tried to find a name for her. It wasn’t until I opened the drawers and found the original manual in one of them. In neat handwriting it was marked “Mrs Buckingham”. I am assuming that this was the name of the original owner, and it only seemed fitting to choose this name for the machine.

Before I started my quilting business I used to write a personal sewing blog, and I posted pictures of all my machines when I acquired them but I have never written about my collection here. For anyone interested, here is a quick overview. Most of these machines came without a manual, and I did some research to figure out the model numbers. I am fairly confident they are correct but I am not an expert, so please don’t yell at me if you find a mistake 😉

Noelle

My first vintage Singer was this black Featherweight, her name is Noelle, and I have pieced quite a few quilt tops with her. She was my travel machine back in Germany and accompanied me to retreats and other sewing events.

Sweet Caroline

When we moved to Canada and our boxes hadn’t arrived yet, a friend gave me her mother’s Singer machine from the early 60s… meet Sweet Caroline, a Singer Slant-O-Matic 403 special. I was able to get a darning foot and even used her for free-motion quilting.

Hope

This is Hope, the first machine we purchased in Canada, a Singer 201. My husband found her on Craigslist, the owners were moving and wanted to get rid of her. The power cord was missing, and we decided to risk it and purchased her anyway. We were able to use Sweet Caroline’s power cord for Hope, and she was in great shape, just needed to be cleaned and oiled.

Heather

Then my husband discovered that he liked working on vintage machines and started looking for them on Craigslist and at garage sales. This is how Heather moved in with us, a Singer 128 vibrating shuttle 3/4-size machine.

Cleo

At a garage sale, we found Cleo, a Singer 127. She is closely related to Heather, the only difference is that Cleo is a full size machine. My husband was still pretending, by the way, that he was buying these machines for me…

Sugar Fairy

This is the one machine that I really wanted, and we searched for quite a while before we found my little “Sugar Fairy”. Noelle, my black Featherweight is a European machine, and because of the different voltage I couldn’t just plug her in after we moved to Canada. So instead of getting a voltage converter, I started looking for a white Featherweight with North American voltage. Makes sense, right?? These white machines are much less common than the black ones and more expensive but we finally managed to find one in good shape and for a good price.

I haven’t bought a vintage machine since 2015 but all my other machines are electric, and when Mrs Buckingham crossed my path, I figured that I really needed to add a treadle machine to the collection 🙂



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Life Happens

“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.” And life happened again, and I had to readjust. I was planning on doing a Christmas post last weekend and then take some time off over the holidays. Then my dad passed away last Saturday. He had been sick for years, it started with a stroke in 2007 and went downhill ever since. He spent the last two years in a care home, fell asleep on Friday night and never woke up again. It was as peaceful as possible, and I am especially grateful that he wasn’t hooked up to any machines and that there was no effort to resuscitate him. Naturally I spent a lot of time going back and forth with my mom, trying to work out the arrangements, book a flight to Germany etc. I will be gone until mid-January. Boy, am I glad that I decided not to start another BOM at the beginning of the year.

We had most of it sorted out on Christmas Eve and were able to have a nice, quiet Christmas with our son, enjoyed good food and each other’s company. I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays as well. Here is a picture of this year’s handmade Christmas cards that I made in a last minute frenzy one weekend in November. I always purchase the fabrics right after Christmas, when the holiday fabrics go on sale, so I have a design and material ready for next year but of course I never find the time to actually make them before I absolutely have to. My Scan N Cut simplified the process a lot this year, it would have been almost impossible to cut out the shapes by hand.

Thank you to all of you who keep visiting and reading and commenting, have a wonderful happy and healthy New Year 2020!



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Black Friday Sale 2019

Once again, I am joining the general frenzy that sets in right after Thanksgiving in the US by providing a Black Friday discount code. And once again, I have been really creative… (not). Enter the code BLACK2019 during checkout and receive a 20% discount on your purchase. The coupon code is valid until Dec 2, 2019 11.59 pm PST and works only on my website. Happy shopping!



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Preemiequilts 2019

Before going to Germany, I made another set of preemiequilts, using my tested and tried layouts. Simple patterns, not too many seams, only light quilting, those are the requirements of the German group that makes them and donates them to the hospitals. They are quick and easy to make, use up leftovers and are for a good cause. I am happy to take some with me whenever I go over to visit.

Preemiequilts 2019



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In Berlin and Potsdam

I am back from my trip to Germany. In fact I have been back for a week, but it took me a while to readjust to the time zone change and get organized. Writing blog posts is at the bottom of my to do list right now, so I will leave you with a few pictures from my trip today. It was very hot in Berlin pretty much the whole time, luckily I had taken my Yellowstone hat which made walking around in the sun a little easier.

Sanssouci

Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam




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Leavenworth

May is a busy month with lots of square dancing. Square (and round) dancing is the one thing I always make time for, no matter how busy I am with quilting. Last weekend we headed to Wenatchee in Washington for the Apple Blossom Weekend, and our route took us right through Leavenworth, Washington’s “Bavarian Village”. Before you ask, no, it is not very authentic, it is more a North American vision of Bavaria and very touristy, but it is still pretty and a nice place to visit, and the weather was gorgeous. We had an early supper sitting outside on a balcony and enjoyed the view. The one authentic place in town we found was the Bavarian Bakery, and we took one of their German whole grain breads home with us. A very nice weekend getaway!

Leavenworth 4




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The Perfect Backing Fabric

I wasn’t even planning on buying backing fabric yet for the Tuxedo Cats but I happened to find the perfect fabric last week, so I snatched it up before it sold out. Maybe it isn’t 100% perfect since the cats are completely black but it is close enough for me with the mostly black and white (okay, silver…) design and I especially love the green eyes. It is probably a Halloween fabric, it is a Hoffman fabric line called “Full Moon”. Sorry, I can’t tell you where you can get it as I bought the last 5 yards that were in stock but there might be a few online stores that have some left.

Full Moon Cats

Eigentlich hatte ich gar nicht vor, jetzt schon Rückseitenstoff für den Tuxedo Cats Quilt zu kaufen, aber dann bin ich über den perfekten Stoff gestolpert und habe zugegriffen, bevor er ausverkauft war. Vielleicht ist er nicht 100%ig perfekt, da die Katzen komplett schwarz sind, aber das schwarz-weiße (okay, silberne…) Design und besonders die grünen Augen gefallen mir richtig gut. Vermutlich ist es ein Halloween-Stoff, er stammt aus der Serie “Full Moon” von Hoffman. Eine Bezugsquelle kann ich leider nicht angeben, da ich die letzten 5 Yards gekauft habe, die am Lager waren. Aber vermutlich gibt es noch einige Online-Shops, die ihn im Sortiment haben.



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Header Photo: "Third Weekend in October" Pieced and Quilted by Beatrice Rieske, Design by Ruth Powers of "Innovations"
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