Monthly Archives: January 2017

MONDAY ! REVIEW Art Quilt Design DVD with Carol Taylor

I loved this DVD so much I took it out of my library for a second time. It has had a big impact on my sewing and embellishment of fabric. Carol Taylor is a true fabric artist. The full title of the DVD put out by Quilting Arts TV, is Art Quilt Design, Strategies for Success.


You can learn how to work with textured fabrics to create wall hangings while balancing color, size and value to create a cohesive design. If this DVD had another title, I would call it, “Couching Concentric Circles with Carol”. When I looked at Carol’s work, I thought…well, I’ll never be able to do those beautiful, symmetrical spirals. However, with Carol’s detailed instructions, I was soon couching up a storm. In fact, couching has become my favourite technique. I pretty much couch everything I can lay my hands on.

In addition to excellent advice on planning your design, Carol offers finishing techniques using facings rather than bindings.

Who is this DVD for?
I’d say it if for people who have some sewing experience and want to do something pretty spectacular. If you have scraps of exotic fabrics, you will find a use for them here. I know as quilters we’re attracted to fabric so you probably have a lot you can work with right now.

I found this DVD in my public library. You can also download a version from for $14.95 (US I think). If you have to have the DVD, not the download you can find it on Amazon but it is much more expensive and ships in “one to two months”. I suggest asking for an interlibrary loan.


Okay - not perfect but my very first EVER attempt at couching. Done on fabric made up of scraps.

Okay – not perfect but my very first EVER attempt at couching. Done on fabric made up of scraps.

If you’re interested in the fabric made from small scraps, you might want to check out Friday’s blog post: FRIDAY ! FREEBIES Elegant Evening Bag from Scraps of Fabric.

There is a list of supplies and tools on the back of the DVD. We have many of these at Sweet Pea Quilting, including WonderUnder, Fray Check and batting. You’ll always receive at warm welcome at Sweet Pea Quilting.

FRIDAY ! FREEBIES Elegant Evening Bag from Scraps of Fabric

What can you do with tiny scraps? Today I’ll demonstrate with a free tutorial using scraps, Steam-A-Seam and decorative stitching. You may recognize some of these fabrics from last Friday’s bag.

The end result of all those scraps - an elegant evening bag.

The end result of all those scraps – an elegant evening bag.

Let’s get started.

You’ll need:

  • scraps of fabric that ‘go’ together
  • 12″ X 12″ Steam-A-Seam (you can use iron-on interfacing but you have to create it on the ironing board as pieces will fly as soon as you move them).
  • 12″ X 12″ lining fabric
  • 8″ X 8″ flap fabric, 8″ X 8″ batting, 8″ X 8″ sandwich backing fabric and 8″ X 8″ lining fabric.
  • Coordinating threads
  • Button or pin to embellish, if you want.
Step One: Organize and cut up your scraps.

Step One: Organize and cut up your scraps.


Be careful cutting the scraps. Without a ruler, it’s easy to cut yourself – as I did.

Step 2: Cut out a piece of Steam-A-Seam in 12″ X 12″. Fortunately, it comes in 12″ widths.

Step 3: Cut a backing fabric of 12″ X 12″

Step 4: Lay Steam-A-Seam on top of the backing fabric with the grid side up. Press lightly (important!). If you press too long you will destroy the second sticking effect of the Steam-A-Seam.

Press Steam-A-Seam Lite 2 on the wrong side of the backing fabric.

Press Steam-A-Seam Lite 2 on the wrong side of the backing fabric.

Step 5: Peel off the grid layer and you’ll feel that the top of your backing fabric is now sticky. Begin placing your scraps at random onto the backing fabric. One of the advantages of Steam-A-Seam is that you can reposition the pieces as you wish since it will stick again.

s10234Step Five: Once you’re satisfied with your layout, iron the fabric scraps on the backing fabric with a more thorough ironing.

5Step Six: Head to the sewing machine. Here’s your chance to practice your free-motion skills. You’ll see that mine aren’t yet that good but with all the fabrics, the lines won’t show too much….fortunately!


I used shiny gold thread to create a spiral on top of the free motion squiggles (the only word that can describe my messy free motion.)

I used shiny gold thread (on the front) to create a spiral on top of the free motion squiggles (the only word that can describe my messy free motion.)

Step 7: Prepare your flap. The flap measures approximately 8″ X 8″. Cut also batting and a backing fabric in the same size. Also, cut a lining fabric in the same size. To start, quilt the top of the flap. I used some straight lines in green and then did some decorative stitching in gold.

Under side of decorative stitching.

Under side of decorative stitching.

Continue step seven by placing the flap and lining, right sides together and sewing around three sides leave open the side that will attach to the back of the bag.


Turn and press the flap and do an overcast stitch on the raw edge. I placed the flap about 3" down the back and in the center from right to left. Stitch, press and turn over. Then top stitch.

Turn and press the flap and do an overcast stitch on the raw edge. I placed the flap about 3″ down the back and in the center from right to left.

Stitch, press and turn over. Then top stitch. Don't top stitch all the way up or you'll not be able to apply the lining.

Stitch, press and turn over. Then top stitch. Don’t top stitch all the way up or you’ll not be able to apply the lining.

Step 8: Prepare the lining and, if you want, a pocket. Cut the lining the same size as the bag fabric, 12″ X 12″. If you want a pocket, create one now and sew it to the right side of the lining. Be sure to put it far enough down so it doesn’t conflict with the seam sewing the bag to the lining.

13Step 9: Create a strap for the bag. I couldn’t find a nice metal one so made one from a braid using two strands of necklace leather and one strand of white and gold ribbon. Mine is about 30″ long.

Tip for braiding without help - stick one end under your sewing machine needle and braid from there.

Tip for braiding without help – stick one end under your sewing machine needle and braid from there.

Step 10: Assemble the bag. Sew the side seams on the main fabric and on the lining. I left about 3″ open on one side of the lining so I could turn it inside out later. Attach the straps to the outside of the main fabric at the seams. Now, put the right side of the bag in the pocket made by the lining. The lining will be right side inside and wrong side (seams showing) outside. Be sure the strap, flap and everything is stuffed inside. Now, match the seams of the lining and main fabric all the way around. Sew.

Step 11: Finishing. Turn the bag right side out. Press and then top stitch all the way around the top of the bag. I broke at least one needle sewing over my straps so be careful.

Step 12: Embellish. I started out using a pretty button from my favourite button supplier, Mission Clay Works, but then wasn’t sure if I liked it. Here are some options using various sparkly pins. See which you like best…nothing is also an option since the flap is nicely decorated already.


Another view of the finished back of the bag.

17 18 19 20

Sweet Pea Quilting carries everything you’ll need for this project. I used Steam-A-Seam Lite 2 which provides the stickiness without the bulk. You’ll always receive a warm welcome at Sweet Pea Quilting.

Don’t Forget this Friday’s Free Pattern at Sweet Pea

Friday launch of Friday Freebies is almost here….

The launch of our new pfreepatternquestionrogram is just two days away and we have to say we are excited about it. No purchase required, free patterns given out for one day only, this Friday January 27th.

Buy a kit if you like ours or rummage through your stash. This project sews up quickly, is not complicated and would be suitable for man, woman or child depending on your fabric choice.  

Our fabric choice starts off with an ode to Canada’s upcoming 150th birthday, so this would also make a great gift or a keepsake to commemorate the occasion.

Gail made the store sample and it looks great! This program are meant to inspire you and keep us all quilting, I am confident we will succeed. See you Friday.

You’ll always receive a warm welcome at Sweet Pea Quilting. We’re open Friday from 9:30 to 4:30.

MONDAY ! REVIEW Intuitive Color & Design by Jean Wells


Today’s post is about a book by Jean Wells. She has written multiple books and this one is being revised and will be republished in July of this year. In the meantime, you can order this one on or through Jean’s website. More details below.

What’s included in this book?
The book is 96 pages with lots of full color illustrations. Jean Wells takes you into fresh territory where you use your own vision to design and piece free form quilts that will surprise even you.

The book includes 11 creative exercises to develop your use of color, design and piecing. They include some 3-D wall quilts. Jean shows you how to take photographs and journals to find inspiration and how to develop your ideas into quilt design. Here’s an example.

A very quick look at Jean's process.

A very quick look at Jean’s process.


In addition, Jean provides some innovative finishing methods to show off your quilts at their very best.

Who is this book for?
I would say this is for an experienced quilter who wants to take their quilting to another level, a quilter with the confidence to make mistakes and willing to learn new techniques.

Where can you find this book?
If you’re willing to wait, you can buy the new one from in July. The current edition is available from now.   It’s also available at the Vancouver Island Regional Library in the following locations:

Location Call No. Status
Campbell River Non-Fiction ANF 746.46 WEL DUE 01-30-17
Courtenay Non-Fiction ANF 746.46 WEL DUE 01-27-17
South Cowichan Non-Fiction ANF 746.46 WEL DUE 01-27-17

The book is also available from Jean’s website at

Here at Sweet Pea Quilting we have all the supplies and tools you need for both traditional and innovative quilt making. You’ll always receive a warm welcome at Sweet Pea Quilting.

FRIDAY ! FREEBIES – Cross body bag with quilted chevrons.

After last weekend’s bag making activity I got the idea to look for interesting bag patterns for our FRIDAY ! FREEBIES. I found quite a few excellent free online tutorials. I thought, for this week, that I’d focus on “How to Make a Cross-Body Bag | with Jennifer Bosworth of Shabby Fabrics.”

Screenshot from

Screenshot from

You can view this tutorial for yourself here. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Jennifer’s instructions are clear and very carefully illustrated. You can download a PDF file of all the measurements for the bag from Jennifer’s website here.

The bag you see in the background – turquoise with chevrons – is the one she is demonstrating here. I admit I was pretty surprised at how small it was. I made one error (maybe I made more) and cut the body a half inch short but the overall bag size is about 10″ tall and  8″ wide. That was much smaller than I expected. However, as an evening bag or fun light-weight summer bag, it would be perfect.

The chevron pattern uses a quilt-as-you-go method. You piece directly onto the fusible batting. I used fusible medium-weight interfacing in mine. You have to be very careful about matching the sides of the chevron.

Here’s the bag I made. I’ll explain a few modifications I made below.

My version of the bag

My version of the bag

I was lucky enough to receive some wonderful batiks (probably Hoffman since they came originally from Sweet Pea Quilting) from my sister-in-law at Christmas and decided to use them, and a fabric I created (mauve with flower stamps) to make this bag.  I made a few alterations. First, I accidentally cut the bag 1/2″ less tall. Secondly, Jennifer calls for a much wider straps. She cuts hers 6″ and I cut mine 4″. I like the size of strap I made as it fits with the ‘dainty’ character of the bag.

There is a pocket on the front of the bag but I also added one to the lining. To do that, after cutting the lining, I cut, interfaced and sewed a rectangle and then sewed it onto the lining about 2″ from the top of the back of the lining. I think every bag needs more than one pocket.

As you can see, once again I used a decorative button to finish the project. I like this bag much better than I thought I would. Measuring takes a bit of time but it was worth it.

A few more photos of the bag and fabric.

Back of Bag

Back of Bag


Front Pocket


Simple inside pocket. You could add two if you wanted.

My hand-printed fabric.

My hand-printed fabric.


What to do with Steam-A-Seam

I recently took an online course in Landscape Quilting by Gloria Loughman – see review of her book here. She is Australian so when she mentioned Steam-A-Seam, I thought perhaps it was an Australian product. Imagine my delight to find that Alvina had it in stock and knew exactly what it was. I asked her about using Steam-A-Seam and below you’ll find her answer.

Sweet Pea Quilting sells Steam-A-Seam by the meter.

Sweet Pea Quilting sells Steam-A-Seam by the meter.

There are numerous types of this product available. Some work better than others.

I prefer Steam-A-Seam Lite 2 for two specific reasons.

  1. You can temporarily affix it to your project, put your project up on a display wall and the pieces will not fall off. That is not the case for a few other varieties on the market, they do not temporarily stick to your project.
  2. Steam A Seam Lite 2  is also very thin. So if your project has numerous layers of fusible webbing in one section, it does not become too stiff. So for example if you were appliqueing a bird, you would have numerous colours or shades of colours and some would overlap the other. Other products are thicker so your project gets bulkier and then does not lay flat. Too bulky making quilting it a bit difficult too as the threads will break if you are going through too many layers.
By Gloria Loughman - The layers and contours are made possible by the use of Steam-A-Seam.

By Gloria Loughman – The layers and contours are made possible by the use of Steam-A-Seam.

A tip from Alvina:
Since all Fusible Webbing does not apply the same , have the same shelf life or are the same thickness, keep a label that identifies which brand and type you are using. That way, when you go to use it, your entire project will finish the same. If you mix and match with scraps you have at home you never know what the end result will be.

I decided to try this product last weekend. A friend had received a new-to-her Pfaff sewing machine for Christmas and needed a refresher course in using it. It was several steps up from her last machine. After introducing her to various functions of the machine, we decided to make some tote bags.  You can imagine the fun – us sitting side by side with our machines, cutting, ironing and sewing these bags.

Never content to do something simple when something decorative is possible and because the fabric was just a bit short, I decided to do a special appliqued pocket. I cut a section of the paisley form from the fabric, using Steam-A-Seam to apply it to the pocket, ironed it in place and then sewed around it. To make it further complicated, I did two rows of couching with coordinated fabric around the outside, a decorative metallic stitch pattern in between and then added a bit of metallic thread to the paisley form.

Close-up of applique using Steam-A-Seam

Close-up of applique using Steam-A-Seam

We lined our bags in whatever was available in my stash – orange for me and beige for my friend and added buttons. I’ve mentioned these buttons before – they are hand-made ceramic buttons from ceramic artist, Molly Magid ( Each year when she sells at the Christmas market, I stock up.

Somewhat the worse for wear after a long day of sewing and tea drinking, I hold bags for both of us.

Somewhat the worse for wear after a long day of sewing and tea drinking, I hold bags for both of us.

You’ll always receive a warm welcome at Sweet Pea Quilting. Come in and ask Alvina about your project and how you can incorporate Steam-A-Seam.





MONDAY ! REVIEW: Fluff and Stuff DVD from Batts in the Attic

I’ve been sewing for over 50 years – almost 60 (I started in my cradle of course) and I learned some very useful things in this DVD that I had never heard before. This version of “Fluff and Stuff” was done in 2004 and Paula Reid of Batts in the Attic, has revised it now. You can get the latest version on her website – details later in the post.

UPDATE: I emailed Paula and asked about the difference between the older DVD and the new one. Here is her answer. “The new version has a newer, more updated machine and some new content.  I added a visual demonstration of how to determine which way to go on machine tension, also illustrations of battings and such.  So many new battings and notions have come out since I made the first one that we definitely had to do a new one.  I also think the basting demo is a little clearer.”

Cover of revised version of DVD available on Paula's website

Cover of revised version of DVD available on Paula’s website

This DVD is about machine quilting even very large quilts with your home sewing machine. I was impressed with what she was able to do. Paula has a business doing machine quilting for customers and has quilted over 1200 quilts since she started. She describes herself as “something of a perfectionist” and she does tell you how to machine stitch with great attention to details.

In this DVD she covers the following topics:

  • Effects and expected results of using different battings for your quilts including which are easier for the beginner to use.
  • Needles – which to use for synthetic batting, which to use for what and how often to change them.
  • Threads – what to use in a variety of situations:
    • What to use for ‘stitch in the ditch’
    • What to use when you have a contrasting backing
    • What to use for decorative stitching
    • How to know when your monofilament is too old to use successfully
    • How to wind monofilament on your bobbin and when to use it in your bobbin.

Some of the tools that Paula recommends are:

Availability of this DVD

I got my version of this DVD from my public library. The same 2004 version is available at the following locations for the Vancouver Island Regional Library:

Location Call No. Status
Ladysmith DVD DVD 746.46 FLU Available
Nanaimo North DVD DVD 746.46 FLU Available
Nanaimo Wellington DVD DVD 746.46 FLU Available
Qualicum Beach DVD DVD 746.46 FLU Available


You can buy a revised version on Paula’s website at  or, if you want to start right now, you can purchase Paula’s class at Craftsy . See the preview here:

A few of the threads in stock at Sweet Pea Quilting.

A few of the threads in stock at Sweet Pea Quilting.

Downsides and Upsides:

I really can’t say enough positive things about this DVD. As an experienced sewer, I still learned lots of valuable information.

At Sweet Pea Quilting we have many of the tools and supplies mentioned in the DVD. Here is a partial list.

  • 505 temporary basting spray glue.
  • All types and weights of batting including polyester,100% cotton batting and a blend of 50% cotton and 50% bamboo which is very popular. All are low loft.
  • Basic threads and all types of decorative threads including Monofilament nylon in clear and smoke. 50 wt cotton, and metallic are Mettler Brand.Rayon is 40 wt. by Sulky.
  • Needles including: Jeans/Denim 80/12, Microtext Sharp 80/12 and metallical of Metafil 80/12.Jeans/Denim 80/12
  • Quilting gloves (instead of batts)
  • Markers we have Frixion pens, they are temp and remove with steam and Charco Markers in yellow, blue and white which can be washed out.

You’ll always receive a warm welcome at Sweet Pea Quilting in Parksville.

New Wide Quilt Backing – Fireside

Today we want to tell you about a fairly new-to-the-market product, called Fireside. It is a 100% polyester product, 60 inches wide so suitable for quilt backings. It is similar to Minky, but better.

A selection of Fireside Colours

A selection of Fireside Colours

New technology makes it soft and cuddly
It feels like cotton even though it is not. What makes it different? In the normal manufacturing process of polyester plush fabrics like fleece or Minky, all of the threads are straight,  similar to what your front lawn looks like. Lots and lots of blades of grass standing straight. With Fireside, the threads curl, that curl gives Fireside  a more rounded finish. Your finished project is soft and cuddly.

Easier to Use
For those of you who quilt your projects yourself,  I am told this product is easier to quilt with than Minky. From a Long Arm Quilting stand point, we have quilted numerous quilts using Fireside and they turn out beautiful. Both products weigh about the same so not worry that your quilt will be heavy.

In Stock Now
We stock this product in the store and have it in a variety of colours from soft pink to charcoal. There are 40 colours in total so lots of variety with this product. Try some out on your next quilt project, we are pretty sure you will like it.

Come in to the store and check out this product. You’ll always receive a warm welcome.





Two New Quilting Inspiring Things in Store

Who doesn’t love something free? Our first new store event/s is our monthly free pattern. You have to come in to the store to get it but we all know that a trip to Sweet Pea Quilting is a delight.

Welcome to Sweet Pea Quilting in Parksville, BC

Welcome to Sweet Pea Quilting in Parksville, BC

Join us at the store Friday January 27th 2017 for the launch of our new free pattern program. Each month on a selected date, which we will announce in advance, we will be giving a free pattern. No purchase required; we are just giving it away.

Come on in, pick up your free pattern. While you are there, see what fabrics we chose as we will always have a finished store sample on display.

If you like our sample, kits will be available. Wanting to use up your stash, no problem we are just trying to inspire you to continue to quilt. Something new each month might just do that. The project will never too big or complicated. Stay tuned each month as we will post on Facebook as well as send out an email to store customer’s giving you plenty of notice when our Free Pattern Friday will be.

WITH GLOWING HEARTS – Celebrating a 150 years of Canada

Trend-Tex-Fabrics introduces an exciting quilting challenge featuring their exclusive fabric collection designed by Canadian Grace Noël and produced by Moda. Winning quilts will be displayed at International Fall Quilt Market 2017.

With Glowing Hearts Fabrics

With Glowing Hearts Fabrics

The good news is that we have these fabrics in stock right now. Alvina and Gail have made a quilt from a selection of these.

Glowing Hearts Quilt

Glowing Hearts Quilt

Happy Quilting! We look forward to seeing you soon and serving your creative needs in 2017.





MONDAY ! REVIEW: Patchwork City by Elizabeth Hartman

Good Monday Morning Quilters and Sewists! Did you enjoy the wildly changing weather forecasts all weekend? A truer word/s was never spoken than those by weather forecaster on a weather channel this weekend. It was something like, “There is a great uncertainty in the forecast this weekend.” It made me laugh out loud.

patchworkcity1Today, I’m reviewing a wonderful book by Elizabeth Hartman, Patchwork City, subtitle, “75 Innovative Block for the Modern Quilter“. This book is chock-full or ideas with 75 modern quilt blocks. The book includes three quilt block sizes, 8″ x 8″, 5″ x 8″ and 5″ x 14”, each with a lively name. Some examples are: Favorite Sweater, Bowling Alley, Emergency Exit, Magazine Rack, Carpool and Laundromat. As well as easy-to-follow cutting charts and instructions each block is shown in 3 different fabric combinations.

patchworkcity2 patchworkcity3

Inside the back cover of the book is a pocket with full-size freezer-paper templates for a number of cut pieces from the blocks. Each block in the book takes two pages and includes:

  • A photo of the block
  • A drawing of the block with the segments clearly marked
  • Fabric Requirements and Cutting
  • Instructions for making the block
  • Two alternate versions of the block.

None except that I dislike the cover – much too busy I think. I thought at first it was a comic book.

The book is very clear and easy to follow, use and understand. It provides patterns that would work for you, if you prefer a modern style or perhaps for a quilting gift to a younger generation that prefers angles to flowers.

Who is the book for?
I’d say definitely for intermediate to advanced quilters. Intermediate knowledge and tools needed.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: C&T Publishing / Stash Books (Nov. 7 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1607059517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607059516

Where to find the book:
I found mine in the public library. You could try interlibrary loan service if you don’t find it. You can also buy from for $26.85.