Creative Stitches 2014

Some of the fabric I purchased at the 2012 sewing show

Some of the fabric I purchased at the 2012 sewing show

Earlier today I was responding to a post on Facebook, and it reminded me of the Sewing trade show that comes through Calgary once a year – the Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive show. A quick Google search later, and it turns out the event is at the end of this month! (There’s also a show this weekend in Edmonton for readers in our province’s capital.)

Learn more about the shows by visiting their website:

Calgary show
September 26-27, 2014
Friday 9am – 6pm
Saturday 9am – 5pm

Last year I was astonished at the lack of advertising, and although I’ve received emails from a few different sewing/fabric/crafting places in the past week or two, none of them included anything about the show – I have yet to hear anything about the show for this year – so I suspect they might be significantly reducing the advertising for the show yet again.

This year’s show is also being held in a new location – Spruce Meadows which raises another challenge for some attendees – the previous location was on a C-Train (light rail transit) route. Calgary Transit doesn’t go to to Spruce Meadows; those of us who rely heavily on transit will have to walk from the nearest C-Train station for over an hour, take a cab, or take a second bus followed by a 50 minute walk. None of these are really good options. When there are major activities at Spruce Meadows, often shuttles are set up, though I don’t know if the same will be done for this trade show… I have sent a few emails inquiring – none of the websites address this transportation issue.

With this in mind, I suspect the show might be a bit smaller again this year, but I figure I’ll try to go anyways. There are only two classes that interest me, and I’m shocked at how many classes they’re now offering with a (frequently very steep!) fee to attend. Since previously all of the classes were held in curtained areas, and were often hard to hear – I can’t say that paying $60.00 for a 3-hour class is something I’d see a lot of value in. Most of the classes are also about 30% content and about 70% advertising for the presenter’s booth or shop (or both), so that brings the value down a lot as far as I’m concerned as well.  If anyone attends any of the paid workshops, please leave a comment with your impressions!

So.. consider this a bit of a heads-up to the readers who didn’t know about the show at all, and a heads-up for anyone interested in attending. Hopefully it will be an improvement over last year.

You can read about the 2013 show here.

You can read about the 2012 show here.

Visiting – clicking the image will bring up the run-book with class descriptions and a time-table, but just a warning… it wouldn’t open on Internet Explorer for me, crashed my Firefox, and would only print using Google Chrome as a browser.. so be patient!

Some of the cool quilts from the 2012 show:

Want some other impressions? Liz Africa from Janome Life has a post promoting the show, as well as an exact copy of the post on the blog Elan Life.

Out of Hand

Out of Hand in South West Calgary

Out of Hand in South West Calgary

I’ve been past Out of Hand, located in Lakeview shopping centre, a few times, but always thought that it was a tailoring or alterations shop. I walked passed a week or so ago, and realized that it’s actually a hand-sewing and quilting shop. I was quite interested in seeing some of the unique products they had, so popped out my iPhone for some quick (and sometimes a little blurry – oops!) photos.

Ribbon trim

Silk ribbons at Out of Hand

Silk ribbons at Out of Hand

Above I photographed a really nice selection of silk ribbon including beautiful gradient ribbons.  If I want to make ribbon flowers, I bet these would be wonderful for that purpose.

Blurry iPhone photo of rose-ribbon and spiked trim at Out of Hand

Blurry iPhone photo of rose-ribbon and spiked trim at Out of Hand

This second photo is the blurry one – but I thought that the spiked trim was really cool, and I could definitly see myself using it. They also had a small stock of that pretty ribbon rose trim – I bought some of this a while back, but haven’t used it yet.

A small selection of buttons

The shop also had a small selection of buttons – including loads of gorgeous rhinestone buttons.  I didn’t check out the prices of the buttons though – some of these I bet are really pricey!

Buttons at Out of Hand

Buttons at Out of Hand

Closer photo (and a little blurry) of some of the buttons above along with a further (and more clear!) photo of some of the other buttons below. This only represents about 1/6th of the buttons they had.  I love the black rhinestone buttons  above, and the clear rhinestone buttons below. I’ve bought some similar kinds recently for another project, but it’s nice to know about this selection as well.

Out of Hand also has a nice selection of extra-large buttons that I think would be great on chunky hand-knit items. (I don’t recall seeing yarn mind you.)

Buttons at Out of Hand

Buttons at Out of Hand


Teddy bear & stuffed animal supplies

Fur for teddy bears and other stuffed animals

Fur for teddy bears and other stuffed animals

I’m not especially interested in making teddy bears and other stuffed animals, but sometimes I’ve found finding these kinds of items a bit difficult, so I wanted to make a note of this as well. Shown above is a sampling of some of their fur fabrics.

…and then an interruption

I had been really excited to find the shop, make a few notes, and take few photos of the unique items they had at Out of Hand. One of the staff people had seen me taking a few discreet photos (I’m careful not to get people in the shots as much as possible) but then another shop clerk came by and let me know that they didn’t like photos in the shop. I’m not quite sure why, as she was quite brisk and didn’t invite conversation on the issue. It could be that she didn’t want people comparing prices or knocking off ready-made items? Not sure… So, unfortunately the other noteworthy items I can only tell you about, instead of sharing by photos.

  • Tiny little charms – kittens, puppies, crowns and more. I think these would be cute for Victorian Crazy Quilts or charm bracelets.
  • They had a small but interesting supply of dupioni silk, but their prices were quite a bit higher than the other places I usually get silk from – they were asking $29.50/meter!
  • They had yardage covered in feathers – so unusual!
  • Their quick bias (for stained glass quilts) was also quite expensive – they were asking $19.50 for 11 yards – I’ve bought the same stuff for $5.00 for 11 yards in Vancouver.
  • They had some super-cute laminated cotton (including an adorable black, white, and red Scotty dog print) that would be perfect for rain coats or waterproof totes. This was also expensive I thought, at $28.50/meter, but honestly I see this fabric so rarely, that I don’t have much to compare it to! I’ve seen it in a really tiny quilt shop in BC, and at a quilt shop on MacLeod Trail, but in both locations the selection was minimal.

Have you been there?

Have you visited Out of Hand? What did you think of the little shop? Let me know in the comments below! You can find them here:

Out of Hand
12-6449 Crowchild Trail SW
Calgary, Alberta
toll-free: (888) 263-3353
phone: (403) 217-4871
fax: (403) 249-1778

Dachshund tunnel bed

On Facebook I’m part of a group devoted to people who are devoted to their dachshunds, and a while ago a fellow member posted about a bed with an attached blanket which created a bit of a cave for her dogs.  Dachshunds love to dig and tunnel, and one of mine seems especially keen on burying himself in blankets, with just his tail sticking out.

One of my dogs showing off his new bed while his brother looks on!

One of my dogs showing off his new bed while his brother looks on!

When I got a new pillow, I decided to make a similar kind of ‘tunnel bed’ for my dogs, mostly so I could have a little bed near my computer when I work.  (Of course, they still have their bedroom beds too! Spoiled dogs!)

It’s basically just a zippered pillowcase, with a lined blanket over top, and stitched down in the side seams.  The top blanket isn’t as tall as the pillowcase, but much wider, allowing for more wiggle room underneath.  I used quilting flannel (flannelette) leftover from the dog blankets I made last year for gifts, and from a quilt I’m making for myself as well! The pillow slips into the zippered pillowcase, but can come out easily for laundering.

One of my dogs showing off his new bed while his brother looks on!

One of my dogs showing off his new bed while his brother looks on!

Migrating purple geese quilt

"Migrating Flying Geese" quilt top in purples, pinks, and greys from the Jelly Roll fabric selection

“Migrating Flying Geese” quilt top in purples, pinks, and greys from the Jelly Roll fabric selection

After getting well under way with the Modified French Braid quilt, I started work on the quilt using the purples and dark pinks from the Moda Jelly Rolls that I had picked up.

Like the other quilt, I got my pattern/idea from Pinterest, rather than going back to the Jelly Roll ideas I had pondered back in December 2011 when I first was interested in Jelly Roll fabric collections. Of course, the problem with just looking at pretty pictures instead of actual quilt patterns, is that I don’t really know the names of any of the patterns, or have any of the techniques – so I sort of have to make them up myself!

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Modified French Braid quilt

Modified "French braid" quilt top in green, pink, purple and white.

Modified “French braid” quilt top in green, pink, purple and white.

As I wrote in Jelly rolls (and other baked goods), after picking up small batik Jelly Rolls of quilting fabrics (and subsequently making two mini quilt tops) I finally hunted down two real quilting Jelly Rolls along with two coordinating prints from a quilt shop.

The colours in this Eva by EverGrey from Moda fabrics were mostly lime greens, pale and bright pinks, purples, burgundy, and a few blacks.  While I liked the majority of the colours, the greens didn’t really appeal to me. I decided to split the rolls (I had bought two) to combine the purple and darker pink/burgundy fabrics together, and then the greens, pinks, and blacks together.

From there I went to Pinterest…

I did some searches for “Jelly Roll Quilts” on Pinterest, and came up with a few ideas (along with the same ideas I had thought about when I wrote Peanut Butter Jelly Roll back in December 2011 when the notion first caught my attention.

I started off with the greens, and a design inspiration that looks like a modified (blown out) French Braid block/method.  The original creator (who blogs at “Anne & Will” made this up as a baby quilt with three shades of blue, two shades of green, orange, yellow, brown, and off-white fabric.  Of course, I didn’t see her tutorial until after my top was already completed.. but she started with strips 4.5″ wide, where as my strips are only 2.5″ wide from the Jelly Roll.  Since I didn’t see her instructions, I ended up starting with the French Braid method from the Quilters Cache instead, and then just modifying it to be similar to what the inspiration photo suggested.  The ‘original’ French Braid uses short strips all the same length, and then trims off to make one narrow strip of ‘braid’ – but I liked this stretched-out variation better.

Piecing the quilt top

Modified "French braid" quilt top in green, pink, purple and white.

Modified “French braid” quilt top in green, pink, purple and white.

I started out with two very short strips of fabric for the starting triangle, and then little by little added in the additional strips alternating from one side to the other.  Sometimes I did multiple strips on one side, and once in a while I’d throw in a narrow strip too.  When the quilt was about as wide as I wanted, I trimmed three edges square, and then started working downwards instead. Really, that’s as about as much planning went into this.  I did arrange my fabrics so that it would start out mostly dark, then green, then pink – but really when it got nearer to the end, I mostly was looking for strips that were long enough, more so than being super concerned with the colours.  I also reserved 6 strips for the back/binding.

The backing

Modified "French braid" quilt back - just a pretty pink, purple and off-white stripe.

Modified “French braid” quilt back – just a pretty pink, purple and off-white stripe.

Once the quilt top was done, I just stored it away for a while.  I wanted some time to mull it over – and to come back to it being excited about it again, rather than picking apart everything that I’d done not-quite-right.  I picked out some great pink striped fabric to bring the pinks out in the quilt (It’s “London Cats” by Benartex). I sandwiched the quilt top and backing around some quilt batting (the low-loft needle-punch cotton batting versus the high-loft polyester fiber-fill kind of stuff), quilted along some of the diagonal lines, and then moved on to binding.

I bound the quilt using some of the leftover pink and green printed fabric strips, by sewing them, turning and pressing, and then hand-stitching them in place. I tried doing it by machine completely, and just didn’t like the result.. oh my poor fingers!

For the purple fabrics…

Once the majority of the quilt top with the greens and pinks was complete (and I had to stop because I needed to find the backing fabric) I moved onto the remaining fabrics from the roll; dark pink, purple and burgundy fabrics.  I’ll write more about this in another post.

Creative Stitches 2013

Last year (in October) I attended the Creative Stitches trade show, and this year I attended the show once more in September. I would have written about it sooner but I had a number of posts lined up… and I needed a bit of time to think about the show too.

Last year I was concerned that the show was going downhill, and this year that thought continued. It appeared that there were far fewer vendors than usual, and some of the ones I really look for (A Great Notion Sewing Supply out of Surrey and Abbotsford, along with Gala Fabrics from Victoria, Vancouver and Hong Kong) weren’t there this year.  A few others that I like (The Sugar Pine company out of the nearby Canmore and Steam Trunk Craft Works out of Surrey, BC) were there, but neither had anything I was looking for this time around – especially since I still have things to sew and craft-up from the show last year!

I only got a few things at the 2013 Creative Stitches show

I only got a few things at the 2013 Creative Stitches show

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On-point Jelly Roll

It seems like ages ago that I first wrote about the half-sized batik jelly rolls that I picked up… it was actually back in December 2011, and although I started the top back then, I only finished not too long ago.

up close - on-point jelly roll quilt

up close – on-point jelly roll quilt

Where it all started

In my various fabric-store wanderings, I kept being attracted to Jelly Rolls – the rolls of narrow strips of fabric pre-made by fabric mills/fabric designers especially for quilters.  I know that at this point, Jelly Rolls are a bit out-of-date, but I’m also late to the quilting party, so bare with me! As much as I liked them, I didn’t love the price point – most of them were in the $40-50 range, which seemed expensive to me (considering I’d also want to pick up coordinating fabrics, etc…) so I held of picking one up for a long time.

Then, when out at a department store, I found much more affordable rolls – only $15 for a variety of batiks including medium blue, bright blue, green, orange, purple, and pink along with a few fabrics with multiple colours dominating the design.  It wasn’t until I got one of them home that I realized that they were only half-sized rolls, so I went back to pick up a second.  (Plus, I wasn’t interested in using all of those colours together in one quilt).

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