July 28, 2023

My First Quilt With Michelle Peters

Around here, the last Friday of the month is My First Quilt interview day and today I'm excited to share my interview with Michelle Peters. Michelle owns Watergirl Quilt Co in Ontario, and we first connected in 2020 when she contacted me about teaching workshops through the shop, which I had so much fun doing. She has a Newfoundland connection as well, which you'll read about 😊
My First Quilt with Michelle Peters | DevotedQuilter.com
Here's what Michelle had to say when I asked how people can connect with her: 

Check out our online store, class offerings and events at www.watergirlquiltco.com 
You can also follow @watergirlquiltco on Instagram, Youtube and Pinterest. We are most active on Facebook.  Watch Michelle live or on replay, every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 9am EST at our Facebook page for tips, tricks and closeups of new merchandise. Join our private Facebook Group called Share Your Creations Watergirl Quilt Co. to share your journey with others, to be inspired and to encourage other quilters in our community.

And now, here is Michelle's first quilt! Isn't it a fun one?
My First Quilt with Michelle Peters | DevotedQuilter.com

What year did you make your first quilt? What prompted you to make it?

I started quilting in 1989. I had finished high school one semester early and I wanted to use my free time before going off to university to learn something that was just for me to enjoy. I took a full semester, learn to quilt class at St. Lawrence College in Brockville, Ontario. We met 3 hours each week. I didn't even know how to use a sewing machine when I signed up. Luckily, the college provided sewing machines because all I had was my Mom's old Singer machine in the cabinet, not very portable. I remember being so scared! Jean was a wonderful teacher and we made placemats, pot holders and small projects. The quilt that consider to be my first quilt was started in that class but not completed until 1996. My first quilt was also my first UFO! 

What techniques were used in that first quilt? Did you quilt it yourself?

So my first lap quilt involved machine piecing, needle turned applique and I quilted it by tying yarn knots in the corner of each block. I used all teacher themed fabrics because I wanted to use it one day in my classroom when I became an elementary school teacher. That quilt either hung in my classroom or was on my rocking chair for 24 years. Now I show my ABC quilt to my customers who are learning to quilt to show them that we all started out at the beginning, making simpler projects. Well, most of us started that way! 

Who taught you to make the quilt?

Jean Boyd, a well know quilter and pattern designer in our area taught me and many others. Everytime my husband and I run into Jean, my husband says to her, "This is all your fault" and we have a laugh. Well, I think Jean is getting tired of hearing it!

Are the colours you chose for your first quilt ones you would still choose today?

Oh my goodness, no way! So my first quilt was all reds and blacks because it suited the novelty theme. I prefer to sew with fabrics that are very bright and cheerful like turquoise, oranges and fabrics such as those by Alison Glass and Tula Pink.  
My First Quilt with Michelle Peters | DevotedQuilter.com

Did you fall in love with quilting right away? Or was there a gap between making the first quilt and the next one?

I did fall in love right away. My Nanny in Newfoundland had made quilts and I loved them but with me living in Ontario, she never had much chance to teach me. I was really proud to make potholders for Nanny as a quilt-as-you-go project in that class. I continued to sew until I moved to Japan where I didn't have a sewing machine. I tried hand piecing during the years I lived there but didn't care for it. Looking back, I wish I had known about English Paper Piecing because I am a huge fan now and do EPP everyday. A few years after returning from Japan, I made my first king size quilt using upcycled kimonos I bought in second hand shops. I made a friend through quilting and I went to her house every Wednesday evening for almost a year. She lent me one of her sewing machines and we would talk about our lives while sewing. After making that quilt, I decided it was time to invest in my own sewing machine and that was 2011. Since then, I am obsessed with sewing and quilting and must spend time in my studio every day for my self care.

Where is the quilt now?

The quilt is now at my store, Watergirl Quilt Co. as a reminder that we all begin somewhere, we all improve and learn, and to remind me that dreams can come true. I wanted so badly to be a teacher and I was for 24 years. The hobby that helped keep me sane throughout my teaching career also, became my biggest passion and so I left teaching to open a quilt shop. My first quilt reminds me that we should be open to the journey.

Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell yourself as you made that first quilt?

I would have told myself, don't be scared or nervous. You were born to be creative and you are capable. Everything you make is beautiful even if the techniques don't turn out the way you hoped. The imperfection is the beauty. 

Anything else you want to share about your first quilt?

I was only 18 years old when I began my quilting journey.  I would love to see more young people taking up textile related hobbies and hope that us, the "elders" can encourage and offer opportunities to young people to try different experiences. When I signed up for that quilting class, some kids teased me that I was doing "old lady stuff". I am glad to see that attitudes are changing. I even have 2 fifteen year old boys who work for me and their peers think it's just fine. I could never have imagined that when I made that first quilt, I would one day create my own quilt shop and community. What a blessing!

Thank you for sharing your first quilt with us, Michelle! I love that you're spreading the love of quilting to so many more people now through your shop!

July 20, 2023

TGIFF - A Swap Mini (Take 2)

 Welcome to TGIFF! This week I'm sharing a finish that's not mine, but is mine! How's that for confusing? 😄 As part of the Canadian Modern Quilt Collective's first mini quilt swap, I made a mini that I sent to Laurie. You can see that here. But since it was a swap, that means I also received a quilt made for me, and I wanted to share that today.

This mini was made for me by Marilyn (she's @quilter_eme on IG). Isn't it fabulous?
Shore to Shore mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I love the improv curves and the hand stitched details.
Shore to Shore mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I love the pieced back, too.
Shore to Shore mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
Marilyn lives in BC, which means this little quilt traveled clear across the country to reach me. She took the quilt to a beach on the west coast to work on the binding, so I took it to a beach here on the east coast for pictures after I received it. It truly went from shore to shore!
Shore to Shore mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I love that I get to own this beautiful mini quilt, and it's going to have a special place in my sewing room. It's the perfect size to hang on the closet door, so I think that's where it will go.

Now, what have you finished lately? Link it up below, and be sure to visit some of the other links to celebrate their finishes, too.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

July 06, 2023

TGIFF - A Swap Mini

Welcome to TGIFF, the party where we celebrate all things finally finished! My finish this week hasn't been a long time coming, but I had to keep it mostly secret, except for a few sneak peeks, so it felt like a long time. Now that it's finished and in the mail, I'm writing about it here, but I won't share it on social media until it has been received. That means you're getting to see it first!
Starry mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
The swap was organized by the Canadian Modern Quilt Collective, run by Amanda Brown, and everyone who signed up was given the same fat quarter bundle from Camelot Fabrics. It is amazing how different the quilts all look, considering we started with the same fabrics!
Camelot Fabrics bundle | DevotedQuilter.com
My partner, Laurie, said she doesn't care for purple, so I left that fabric out. I used two blocks from the Women of Wisdom quilt, making two of each of them. That allowed me to use all of the fabrics, minus the purple, with one fabric as the binding. Laurie also said she likes graffiti, so I chose to do relatively simple piecing, with intricate flow (or graffiti) quilting. I had so much fun with the quilting!
Starry mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com

Starry mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com

Starry mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com

Starry mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I used the leftover fabric to piece the back, too. My dislike of figuring out how to fit pieces together to make a backing isn't quite as strong when I'm only fitting a 24" square quilt, especially when I have fairly large pieces leftover to work with. I also had enough of the green leftover to make hanging corners.
Pieced quilt back | DevotedQuilter.com
Once the front and back were pieced, I pulled out a scrap of batting (yay for using another scrap!), and got to the best part - the quilting! I considered custom quilting the stars, with the flow quilting only in the background. I also considered quilting each square in a different colour, probably to match the background. In the end, though, I chose to do flow quilting over the whole quilt using Aurifil 1231. I worried it might take away from the piecing too much, but also wanted it to be noticeable since grafitti isn't subtle, so I just went for it.

I had a partial bobbin of 1231, so I started with that for the back. Once that ran out, though, I realized I'd never have enough if I kept using it for the bobbin, too, so I switched to 2110 for the bobbin. The switch is noticeable on the back, but hopefully Laurie won't mind (and it is on the back, after all). Apparently I didn't think to take a picture of that before mailing the quilt, though.

Even with 2110 in the bobbin, I was playing thread chicken. I kept reminding myself not to quilt too small, and really hoping the 1231 would last.

It didn't. I was sooooo close to being finished when I ran out of thread! To make matters even worse, if I hadn't used that partial bobbin at the beginning, that would have been enough thread to finish. Ugh.
Thread chicken loss | DevotedQuilter.com
No shops near me (like within less than a 7 hour drive) carry Aurifil. Getting a spool shipped to me would take well over a week, and I didn't want to pay shipping for just one spool, so that wasn't really an option. There are a few quilters here in town, but none use Aurifil. I figured my only option was to pick up a small spool of Guttermann thread, assuming the local shop had one in a colour close enough to match. Of course, the shop is only open a couple days a week (have I mentioned I live in a very small, rural town?), so I had to wait to see what she had.

While I was waiting, I ran into one of the other local quilters at the post office, and showed her the picture of my thread chicken loss. She suggested I come to her house to see if she had a spool of Glide that would be close enough, so I did...and she did!
Thread chicken loss | DevotedQuilter.com
I timed myself doing that last bit of quilting, and it took 7 minutes. That's how close I was to having enough thread. Fortunately, the Glide blends almost perfectly, so you'd have to know where to look to see the difference. Can you tell where the Glide thread is in this picture? Even if you can tell, it's a pretty good match, isn't it?
Free motion quilting | DevotedQuilter.com
We've had a long run of rain, drizzle, and fog (RDF), followed suddenly by a couple of very hot and humid days. On one of the hot days, I escaped to the beach to put my feet in the water, and I took the mini with me for a photo shoot. We don't have sandy beaches around here, but I do love this rocky one.
Starry mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
It was really windy, hence the rocks weighting the quilt down. Even with the rocks, just after I snapped this picture, the wind grabbed the quilt and tossed it into the air. Fortunately, it sent it flying towards me rather than towards the water! Oh, and do you see the iceberg across the bay? I could see several from the beach that day 😊
Starry mini quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
That's my finish! What have you finished lately? Link it up below, and be sure to visit some of the other links to celebrate their finishes, too.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

July 04, 2023

2023 Mid-Year Review

We are now into the second half of 2023 (how did that happen?), which means it's time to do a quick check on my progress towards my goals for the year. I'll be linking with Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl, where she's hosting a check-in at the end of each quarter this year.

So, how have I done on my goals so far?

1. Keep making small quilts

So far this year I've finished 5 quilts that were baby size or smaller, including Berry Pi. You can get the free Berry Pi pattern here.
Berry Pi quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com

2. Make new placemats

I'm still stuck on picking a pattern to replace our current placemats. Why is it so hard to commit to a pattern? I have no idea, but it's definitely keeping me from moving forward. I love using denim for the placemats, and I'm half tempted to simply remake the denim log cabin ones we have now, though with different colours.

3. Learn to sew pants

Nope. Still dreaming about doing it, but haven't actually done it yet 😆

4. Release 4 new patterns

So far this year I've only added one pattern to my shop, which was Scrappy Playground
Scrappy Playground quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
Photo credit: Kitty Wilkin

I'm planning to have a second ready before the end of July, and there's still plenty of time after that to add two more before the year is over!

5. Women of Wisdom Easter QAL

Yes! This year's Easter QAL was so much fun, and had nearly triple the enrolment of the 2022 QAL. This is the first of my two quilt tops. I made this one before the QAL, to test the pattern, and to show everyone what we'd be making. I made the second during the QAL itself. Neither is quilted yet, which means I now have 6 QAL quilt tops waiting to be quilted. I know what I need to focus on during WIPS-B-GONE this year!
Women of Wisdom quilt | DevotedQuilter.com
I already know the theme for the devotions for the 2024 QAL, and I've been pondering the individual devotions. I soon need to start making a list, so I can keep track of them.

6. WIPS-B-GONE 2023

Well, it's not time for this one yet, but it will be happening come October, if for no other reason, then so I can get some of those QAL quilt tops turned into finished quilts! Instagram has made some changes to how we view the posts on hashtags, which will make it harder to award prizes, and to be sure I'm seeing everyone's posts. I'm not happy about that at all! I don't understand why they have to 'fix' stuff that's not broken!

7. A secret project

Oh, happy dance, happy dance, happy dance! This one is a big YES, and I am so excited it is out in the world. I've been dreaming, planning, and designing for the Stash Artists membership since November or early December, and I finally got to launch it last week.
Stash Artists | DevotedQuilter.com
Now there are founding members joining the membership, and I couldn't be happier with the response. Reverberate is the first pattern available for members to download as soon as they join.
Reverberate quilt pattern | DevotedQuilter.com
The next pattern will be available to members on Thursday, after the doors close tomorrow night. If you're not a member yet, it's not too late! Go here for all the details, and become a founding member today!

Getting Stash Artists ready to open its doors for the first time has been the single biggest project of the year, involving a lot of time spent working on my laptop. I'm excited to see how the second half of the year unfolds, especially as I get to share more Stash Artists patterns, and work on reaching these other goals.

Did you set goals for the year? If so, how are you progressing towards them?