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16 Aug 2017

A Taste of Honey Placemat Pattern: Honouring our precious pollinators

Who doesn't love the sweet taste of honey? These stylish and modern hexagon placemats showcase the Bee Creative and Bee Inspired fabric collections by Deb Strain. But no matter what colours you use, these placemats are sure to make a statement.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store




A Taste of Honey Placemat Pattern - detail

I love the quilting on the back. It reminds me of sacred geometry.

A Taste of Honey placemat back quilting

Our Bees Are In Danger! Why Bees Matter

OUR HONEY BEES ARE IN DANGER!
After being here for thousands of years, their population is declining and one species of bee is on the endangered list. It’s scary to imagine what would happen if all our honey bees were gone. Most of our non-grain foods are dependent on honey bee pollination. There are 90 different food plants that depend almost exclusively on the honey bee. When my husband and I heard several years ago that the bee population was declining, we planted more flowers and plants that would attract and feed them. Also, we use only non-toxic, natural pesticides.


honey bee on blanket flower
Photo by Monica Curry

Here are five things you can do in your garden to help the bees:

  • Plant bee-friendly flowers and flowering plants in your garden and yard.
  • Honey bees love weeds, i.e. clover, dandelions, so leave a few in your yard.
  • Don't use chemicals and pesticides to treat your lawn or garden.
  • Buy local, raw honey.
  • Bees are thirsty; leave a tray of stones and water to give them a place to drink.

Here are three good websites with information about honey bees and honey bee populations:

http://www.panna.org/our-campaigns/save-our-bees

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-lists-a-bumble-bee-species-as-endangered-for-first-time/

http://foecanada.org/en/

21 Jun 2017

Wooden Scissors Pattern Now Available!

About a year ago I posted my wooden scissors project that my husband and I worked on (see post HERE). This was such a popular post, I decided to make the pattern available for sale in my Etsy Store.

These would be a great gift for the sewist or quilter in your life. They would be a wonderful addition to any sewing studio. I think it would also be a great project for a woodworking student learning the basics of using a scroll saw.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store



wooden scissor pattern

wooden scissors pattern detail

wooden scissors pattern on the wall

4 Jun 2017

Blue Diamond Quilt Block

Who doesn't love a little bling? My cute Blue Diamond quilt block, designed in facet art style, would make a sparkling quilt.

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While designing my diamond I soon realized that the facet colours had to make sense. The biggest challenge in doing faceted art is positioning the colours so that they look just right.

blue diamond mini quilt pattern detail

Below is the inspiration for my little diamond quilt. This stunning quilt titled Bling was designed, pieced, and quilted by Katherine Jones. Bling won Best in Show at the 2017 QuiltCon Quilt Show, and you can sure see why. The details in this quilt are stunning! 

bling by katherine jones
Bling by Katherine Jones

18 May 2017

Hexagon Colour Wheel Mug Rug Patterns

I'm introducing three new mug rug patterns to brighten your home for spring. The bright primary colours against white, black,  and grey is a crisp combination. You could use these as potholders as well as mug rugs. They would look lovely in a modern kitchen. They would also be a great gift for an artist or art student. This is a good project for quilters just learning to foundation piece. Instructions assume basic knowledge in foundation piecing. The pattern includes instructions for all three mug rugs.
hexagon color wheel mug rug one       hexagon color wheel mug rug two       hexagon color wheel mug rug three

10 May 2017

Phone book paper for foundation piecing


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Earlier this year, I was able to get the Layer Cake™ of With Glowing Hearts by Grace Noel before it was sold out from pretty much everywhere. I'm using this gorgeous line of fabric to create a commemorative quilted throw to mark Canada's 150th birthday this year.

I decided to make my quilt using the Hunter's Star quilt block because I love the block and it ties in with Canada's fur trade history. Hunting and trapping, especially beaver, was how Canada began.

There are several ways to make a Hunter's Star block. I chose to use foundation piecing because it's the technique I'm most comfortable with. However, this left me with a dilemma. I needed 48 blocks to make the quilt, but I didn't want to use 48 expensive sheets of foundation paper for the project. I know phone book paper is used for strip piecing, so I thought I'd try using it for foundation piecing. I was very pleased with the results. The phone book paper printed beautifully with my inkjet printer. If this were a complicated template, it might be hard to read, but it was perfect for this block. This paper is very light but doesn't curl up with normal iron heat and it tears away easily. Honestly, if I could get my hands on some of this paper not printed I'd buy a box of it.

The Pros and Cons of Using Phone Book Paper for Paper Piecing

PROS
  1. Very light but strong enough to be handled.
  2. Prints very well in an inkjet (not tested on a laser printer).
  3. Tears away with no effort at all.
  4. Doesn't curl up with the heat. 

CONS
  1. Somewhat difficult to read the template
  2. Not a nice 8½" x 11" sheet of paper.
  3. Can't see through it.

How to Print Your Template Onto Phone Book Paper

Because phone book paper has to be cut slightly smaller than normal letter-sized paper, use this method to print your templates.
  1. Copy your templates onto an 8½" x 11" sheet of paper.
  2. Cut out phone book pages to about 7¾ " to 8" wide.
  3. Cut a piece of white paper to the same size as your phone book paper.
  4. Cut out templates and paste or tape them down onto the smaller white piece of paper.
  5. Place phone book paper in your printer paper tray and adjust the paper width bars to the width of your paper.
  6. Center the template page on the printer bed and photocopy it onto the phone book paper.

17 Apr 2017

Pixel Beach Mini Quilt

Inspired by a day at the beach, Pixel Beach is a simple and elegant quilted wall hanging in a checkerboard of neutral tones. What a lovely addition to your summer beach house. Think warm summer sand, collecting pretty stones and sea glass on the shore while the gulls singing overhead. These were my inspirations for my new mini quilt pattern Pixel Beach.

11 Apr 2017

Recycle your Batting Scraps



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Over time, like most quilters, I end up with a lot of spare quilt batting pieces in all kinds of sizes. I don't throw any of these bits and pieces out, however. I keep them in a batting scrap box until I'm ready to recycle them. Here are three ways I recycle batting scraps. I hope this tutorial will encourage you to save your batting scraps and find a use for them.

USES FOR BATTING SCRAPS
  • stuffed toys
  • pin cushions
  • zipper bag stabilizer
  • bag straps
  • post cards
  • quilted coasters
  • One of the best ways to reuse batting scraps is to join them to make larger sheets of batting for your quilting projects. Below are two simple ways to do this.

ZIG-ZAG STITCH TOGETHER

1. Trim the rough edges of the batting.

2. Butt the trimmed edges together. Do not overlap them.

3. Join the two pieces with a wide zigzag stitch.


FUSE TOGETHER
I normally zig-zagged my pieces together but in a rush one day, I used a quicker method that I now prefer. I now recycle my batting bits by joining them together with fusible interfacing. It's so much faster than stitching them together, and they hold together very well this way.

YOU WILL NEED
  • batting chunks you want to join
  • rotary cutter
  • quilting ruler or regular ruler
  • strips of fusible interfacing. (I used Pellon Sheerweight interfacing, but a medium weight interfacing will work just as well. I'm also pretty sure there is such a thing as batting tape but the interfacing does the trick).
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Get your batting pieces and check if they are jagged on the edge or not (these are pretty jagged).



2. If the batting edges are jagged, trim a little off to make both edges straight.



3. Butt the two edges together as shown; don't overlap them.



4. Following the manufacture's instructions press the fusible interfacing securely to the batting.



5. This is something like what your batting will look like. Any puckers are not an issue because you won't see them once you sandwich your quilt.

5 Apr 2017

My Urban Pathway Table Runner Kit at Connecting Threads

The Connecting Threads Spring 2017 catalogue came in the mail this week and I was excited to see my Urban Pathway table runner quilt kit there. The kit uses Shiny Objects by Flaurie & Finch for RJR. The line has a gorgeous metallic print. Thank you Anita and all the gang at Connecting Threads!

Update: July 20, 2021
This kit is no longer available at Connecting Threads but you can still buy this pattern at my Etsy Store.


monica curry connecting threads magazine

shiny object fabric collection urban patheay




4 Apr 2017

Grand Piano Hot Pad

This cute Grand Piano quilted hot pad is sure to play a sweet note in your kitchen. The pattern uses one 10" square from your favourite Layer Cake and some black and white scraps. The keyboard is simple foundation paper piecing. The black bias binding completes it beautifully.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store



grand piano quilted hot pad pattern

This hot pad pattern measures 12" x 9" (30cm x 22.5cm), which is the size of a small standard baking pan or dish.

grand piano quilted hot pad pattern - detail 1

I choose bright colours to set off the contrast of the black and white keyboard. Any print would look gorgeous for this project, and the black binding ties everything together, but I think a print with even a little black in it really creates a nice balance of colour.

grand piano quilted hot pad pattern - detail 2

21 Mar 2017

TULIP BASKET Mini Quilt

I'm excited to be introducing my newest mini quilt pattern Tulip Basket just in time for spring. The basket is two paper pieced log cabins, and the simple tulips are done in hand-stitched appliqué. It measures 19" x 18" (47.5cm x 45cm). This mini quilt uses a soft taupe colour palette inspired by the beautiful quilts by Japanese quilt artist Yoko Saito.

Buy this pattern at my Etsy Store



tulip basket mini quilt applique pattern

I think the rich tones of the tulips are stunning against the quiet neutrals. If you have basic appliqué and paper piecing skills, you can make this cheery spring project in no time at all. Hand stitched appliqué or fusible appliqué are both suitable for this project.

tulip basket mini quilt applique pattern detail