Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive 2016

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

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

I’ve written in the past about the Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive trade show… in the past I really enjoyed the show, but over time it became less about sewing, and more about scrapbooking. Originally there were a number of free-to-attend classes and workshops, along with a few paid all or half-day classes… then it seemed to move to free “classes” that weren’t much more than sales pitches, and more paid classes. The vendors also seemed to shift away from the good out-of-town fabric and notion stores I adored (Gala Fabrics from Victoria, Great Notion Supply from Abbotsfort/Surrey, etc) and had more of the regular “women’s show” trade show vendors… less interesting to me.

So for several years I haven’t bothered to attend.

All the same… there is a class on redwork at the Calgary show this time around, as well as a few others, and I thought I’d share it to my local readers.

Continue reading

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.

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

Continue reading

Inspiration at Creative Stitches


As I mentioned in a previous post, I attended this year’s Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive! trade show – and I’ve already discussed some other elements of the show, but there were a few other photos I didn’t have a chance to share, that I thought I’d toss up for inspirations sake.

Three-dimensional poppy wall-hanging from Veronica’s Sewing Supplies which I really liked – though I didn’t end up getting the pattern or the kit.  I had already picked up a few other things, and I was trying to show some restraint with ‘new projects’. (Since I already have so many on the go…)


I think that this pretty Elk pattern was from The Sugar Pine Company (located in Canmore) although I could be wrong…


This one is called Monarch of the Valley, and it is of an elk – they also had a bear, a buffalo, and another elk as well.  (Click here for a shop selling this pattern – no recommendation intended – just one I found online since the Sugar Pine Co. didn’t seem to have it on theirs.)  I liked this mostly because of the black outlines around the element – I am guessing that several of the pattern pieces is cut out of black and then the fabric – with then the fabric cut slightly narrower – so that when layered on top of the black, an outline of black shows around each of those selected elements.

In Carola’s class on texture, she also brought out starfish, and the example below. Time was running short when we were in the workshop, so I didn’t get the chance to see it up close, but instead saw it in her booth later on.
The starfish were each sewn, slashed and stuffed, the quilting was done on “ugly” (her words) hand-dyed fabric resembling mucky water along the shoreline, and turned-and-stuffed pebbles as well.
The seaweed in this piece was made the same way she made the moss in the texture example art quilt that we spent the most time on in the workshop itself.  (By stitching with quilt-weight thread on several layers of wash-away stabilizer in a repeated pattern to build up the thread before washing out the stabilizer and then attaching the ‘seaweed’.



Steampunk hat

In the scrapbook area, there was a shop booth that had this awesome steampunk mannequin – made almost entirely from paper-crafting supplies! The outfit included a corset and bustle skirt, but what I really liked was the hat!

Steampunk hat

Decorated with gears, flowers, and goggle,s what I really loved about the hat was the huge scrapbook chipboard ‘clock’.


I found cogs similar to the chipboard clock…

clock faces

… and then also found the clock too.  Such a cool idea I’d love to try to replicate it – but… eh. I didn’t bother picking this up, again trying to show some restraint in the new-project-file.  I have so many projects on the go – including hats… that I didn’t want to add this – especially since the chipwood would restrict the wearing of the hat – being paper and all.  Plus, I think I know where I can get the chipboard clock faces (or the cogs if I wanted to go that way instead…) if I decide to attempt to do something similar in the future.

So.. that’s pretty much it in terms of the inspiration from the Creative Stitches show – and the last post I’ll have for the show (at least for this year!)

So… feeling inspired means I should have some completed projects to post at some time.. right?

Quilt examples at Creative Stitches

So earlier I wrote about the Creative Stitches & Crafting Alive! trade show in mid/late October and some general thoughts.  I then showed off some of the examples from one of the workshops I attended.

I didn’t mention that there were also two displays at the show of completed quilts in a sort of competition/exhibition.  One was all full-sized quilts (with a theme of patriotism or military or Canadiana I’m not sure exactly…) and I’ll admit that I wasn’t especially inspired by them, so I didn’t take any photos.  The other was more of an art-inspired, textile exhibition.  I found some of them really nice, and took a few photos.




Like the Sunflower quilt that Carola showed us – this one was most likely made by discharge (bleach).  I think that the artist/quilter started off by custom-dying the background fabric in the gradation from green to yellow to orange to rust, and then used a stamp or something to bleach out a few leaves “falling” down to the ground.

Notable is that the leaves do vary in size, but the largest leaves are near the bottom while the smaller ones are towards the top.  This gives the impression of distance.  The boldest quilting seems to be a wind blowing down, while the background filler quilting is geometric.

This quilt is called “Blown into my yard III” and is by Margie Davidson from Edmonton, Alberta.

She writes ” Having grown up in Ontario the memory of vivid red and orange maple leaves is a part of me. Maple leaves are my favorite leaves to sunprint with when I am painting fabric. But a maple tree is rare here in Alberta where I have lived for half my life. I seek them out.  My neighbor has one. The next closest, a silver maple is 20 blocks away. I am always delighted when the maple leaves from that neighbor’s tree are blown into my yard.”

(I suppose that means that rather than discharge, this is a sunprint?)



The next quilt is called Crows and Crabapples and is by Emilie Belak from Grand Forks, BC.

She writes “A crabapple tree in front of the dining room provides beauty and entertainment year round. the crows occupy a linden tree by the compost bin watching for the daily scraps. Combining these two seemed like fun. Crows are definitely not unique to British Columbia and you might have multitudes of your own. Let my crows span the distance gap from west to east and bring you smiles and cheer.” 


I like the imagery of the crows, and the bright pops of red along with the dark brown branches and dark birds is very bold against the varied blues of the background.  I really like the background itself too – it looks so subtle from a distance, but up close you can see that it is loads of little rectangles all lined up and appliqued (fused) and stitched down to the background to create one layer of quilting on top of which the applique is added.



The next quilt I really like, but can’t even imagine reproducing in any way – it is called “Kanaka Creek Sunset” and it is by Vivian Kapusta from Maple Ridge in BC.

She writes “Kanaka Creek is named for the Hawaiians who worked across the Fraser River at Fort Langley.  The pilings were used at the turn of the century to tie up log booms by the Abernathy and Lougheed Railway & Logging Co. The Kanaka Park is one of my favorite walks along the banks of the Fraser.”

With the lighting in the room I wasn’t able to get as good of a shot of this as I would have liked to really represent what it looked like.  Basically it seemed as though the quilt was as much a quilt as it was painting with thread.  The sunset in particular was really well done (and really blown out in the photo so you can’t really see it at all… ) with all of the yellow threads coming from the ‘sun’ in the centre.

Looking at the details- it also looked like the fabric was more dyed and painted than pieced, which was kind of cool, and an interesting way to reproduce the image.

Milky Way

The final quilt that I really liked and took a photo of (there were many more quilts than just this, but only a few that I really liked) is called Too Far Away by Pat Findlay from Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The exhibition was put on by the Fiber Art Network of Western Canada, and represented artists/quilters from Manitoba, Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.

Milky Way

About Too Far Away, Pat writes “…In this piece I have focused on the most obvious image in the night sky – the Milky Way – and one image that is seen in the same way throughout the world.  I have futhur tried to include many generations of man, by including the oldest religious symbol know – the triple spiral, which has been adopted and used by many belief systems in our history.” 

The triple spiral is used in the background quilting of the piece, and in addition to beading the piece extensively (I would suggest that the beading is creating the “art” of the piece much more so than the quilting…)  the artist also used silver paint to expand the “milky way’ around from just the beads.

The eye is really drawn to the one very large glass piece which is not a bead I suppose – as it is sort of couched onto the quilt with silver threads, and framed in small white beads (possibly hiding the base of the silver threads?) Some of the larger white circles might also be buttons instead of beads, since they seem to be flat.  This is actually something that I think would be a lot of fun to try to reproduce.  It sure would be fun to collect all of the beads!

Milky Way