Friday, August 26, 2011

Work. Play. Design.

Bernie and I have been servicing sewing machines in schools this summer.  By the end of the year these machines are in pretty rough shape.  In fact many of them sound like tractors and can't form a stitch.  We open them up, clean them out, oil them and give them the TLC they need.  When we put them back together they purr and stitch beautifully.  Very rewarding.

My Niece, Lauren, came to visit the other day.  I was sort of boring because I was entering data into the computer so she decided to head outside to take some pictures.  I love her perspective.  Beautiful.

I was given many special moments as I walked around the yard with the camera.  I snapped photo after photo and started to see more than just a rock...
Wool is one of my favourite fibres to knit with so that could be influencing me...I see the profile of a sheep.

Speaking of knitting.  The other evening my dear friend Brenda and I got together for a knit night.  She surprised me with this beautiful shawl that she knit for me.  A treasure.
 As a little girl I spent a lot of time with my grandma.  I loved her very much.  She always had a ready smile and laughter to her was like breathing...she also made great pies...My grandma loved roses and I think about her every time I see or smell them.

As I was photographing the wild roses and thinking about grandma I swear this rose was smiling.

To Grandma with Love.  I miss you.

Dragonflies.  I have tried to photograph them but they always seem to be on the move.  Then to my amazement this happened...
She...I think she's a she...just sat there while I held my camera inches from her face.  Wow.

This little critter, along with his elusive partner in crime, stole all the Hazel nuts off our trees.  They will be well fed through the winter.
Back in the studio.  I have been teaching quilting for many years.  One question I'm often asked is "How do I know what quilt pattern I should use?" My answer..."The quilt will reveal the pattern to you as you work on it."  I know this sounds like I'm evading the question but I do believe this to be true. While working on my spool quilt I could envision feathers that gracefully flowed off the spools but the actual quilting pattern wasn't clear to me. Yesterday I decided to try a few things.  I took my Truflex flexible curve ruler, placed it onto an open area, bent and twisted it until I found the shape I wanted for the spine of the feathers.

I then found a feather pattern that looked like it would work.  I enlarged the pattern, changed a few of the plumes to fit the area, traced one of the patterns onto a sheet protector and placed the feather on the quilt top.
I soon realized that just one tracing would not allow me to see what the feathers would look like in all the open spaces.  I ended up tracing enough feathers for the entire quilt.  My original idea looked awful!  I wanted the soft portions of the plumes to be on the inside edges of the borders.
 So after turning the feathers this way and that I finally came up with the answer. 

I love how the feathers gracefully fill the spaces around the spools.

Audio books.  I enjoy reading but since I haven't figured out how to read a book and quilt at the same time I listen to audio books.   I have access to thousands of books online through British Columbia Libraries.  I can download and transfer books to a portable device such as iPhone or iPad.  I'm currently listening to True Betrayals by Nora Roberts.  Next up is Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  What books do you enjoy?

If you would like more information on Truflex rulers and free motion quilting on a domestic sewing machine visit  Here you will find inspiration, DVDs, notions, rulers and more.

Just a few of the DVDs in my library.

Happy Quilting,


Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Stitch in Time...

A stitch in time saves nine. Translated to...a timely effort will prevent more work later.  This proverb came rushing back to memory after a failed attempt on my part to save time and effort.  While working on As the Spool Turns, rather than take the time to hand applique the undulating vine, which is my preference, I decided to stitch it on by machine using the mock hand applique method.  After carefully selecting a spool of 50 weight DMC that matched the background fabric and Sulky Invisible I got to work.
The mock hand applique stitch looks like a blind hem stitch, only much, much smaller.  With a stitch length of .5mm and a width of 1mm, a size 60 Microtex needle and the threads above, this stitch is virtually invisible...except on the lovely Batik background fabric used in this quilt.  The irritating, I mean, tiny holes produced looked awful!  I had stitched down 60" of the vine before deciding to see how "pretty" it looked.  To my horror all I could see were the tiny holes along the edges of it.  I knew then and there that the vine had to come off and the stitches removed.  Therein lay the problem.  How to remove all those little, invisible stitches.  I set the work aside for a couple weeks until I could face it again.  Yesterday I had a go at removing those pesky stitches. I grabbed a seam ripper and began to chop away at the threads I ended up cutting the threads AND my background fabric. See those little holes next to the big gash?  I was trying to remove the stitches that occupied those tiny holes...

Then I gathered these tools...
Thank you Sandi Moffatt for the adorable scissor fob you gave me at Sock Summit.  I just love it. 

I attempted to wedge the point of the safety pin under a stitch and then lift with the tweezers, which would hold the stitch only part of the time, and clip the stitch with scissors.  It was tedious.  I continued on at a snail's pace.  Then inspiration hit, I was struggling with the tweezers and kept thinking if only I had a tool to hold the treads and pull...
I had those stitches removed in no time.  Then came the task of fixing the gash.  I have used a product called Fray Check for many years.  It is liquid plastic and inert.  Note:  Never attempt to put the tip of the Fray Check to your work and squeeze.  This can result in a disaster.
I always...since the last disaster...squeeze a dab of Fray Check on a plastic bag, gather a small amount onto a toothpick and gently touch the toothpick to the surface of the quilt then I place a protective cloth over the damp area and press to dry.  Works like a charm.

Now for those pesky holes that started all this in the first place. 
I love Best Press.  It is a wonderful product that puts body back into fabrics and can make tiny holes disappear.  I sprayed a little onto my background fabric, pressed and the tiny holes were gone.
Note:  I prewash all my fabrics before they go into my quilts so using best press at this point will not shrink my fabric.  Fabrics that have not been prewashed may shrink when starched.
With holes gone and knowing that the little vine will cover the gash I'm able to continue on. 

Today, with small dabs of Roxanne's Glue-Baste-It!  I will baste the undulating vine to the background fabric and begin to hand applique using my favorite needle and  thimble while listening to an audio-book.

Lesson Learned.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Beautiful Day

I was here yesterday...
 The Creative Edge is a lovely quilt shop with an excellent staff.
This is Lauren working on a new project.  She brightens my day.  Lauren always has a ready smile and lots of knowledge.  If you ever need a quilt quilted she's your gal.  You can contact her through The Creative Edge. 

I taught the last As the Spool Turns class yesterday.  These ladies finished their quilt tops.  I'm so impressed with their use of color, their precision piecing and applique.  Great job ladies.
Here's Tricia Brown, on the right, holding up her As the Spool Turns quilt top.  That's me on the left helping out.   I just love the colors Tricia chose.
Here's Ethel Snow, on the right, proudly displaying her quilt and having fun at the same time.  I love the rich colors she chose for her spools and applique.  A lot of work but worth it.  I can hardly wait to see their quilts hanging in the next quilt show.  Who knows?  Maybe mine will be there too.  I believe in miracles.

The Creative edge is such a pretty shop I just had to take a few pictures to share with you.
Who's that guy at the counter?  Could it be Bernie of

Day Retreats have been scheduled.

Has this ever happened to you?  As mentioned in my previous post we are offering day retreats here in our home.  All Sewers, Quilters, Crafters, Sewing machines and Skill levels are invited to join us to... 

Build a Better Relationship with Your Sewing Machine
If your relationship with your sewing machine isn’t what you thought it would be when you bought it, if tension is making you tense, this class is for you.  In a relaxed and fun atmosphere Bernie and Shelley will guide you to a better understanding of your sewing machine and help you discover capabilities you may not even know it has.  Learn tricks of the trade that will make your sewing experience much more rewarding.  

Date:  Saturday September 10th, 24th or October 29th
Time: 10:00a – 3:00p
Cost: $60.00 Includes coffee, snacks, lunch and a kit.
Maximum per class: 8 people

If you have any questions or would like to join in on the fun you can call me at (604)506-0241 or email me at

Happy Sewing

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Beginnings...

As the title suggests changes have occurred in my life since I last posted. 
A trip of many miles found me thinking that maybe I can get over motion sickness.  I found that if I kept focused first on winding the wool, then on my knitting and didn't look up, I was able to knit in the car after all. Ahhh sweet success!

 At the beginning of July I attended The Cloth Shop retreat at Edenvale for five wonderful days of quilting, lively chatter, eating and relaxing.  It was the best retreat ever.  I even finished my Mom's quilt top.  She loves chickens and lives at Crooked River Ranch so this is called Ranch Chicks.  Now just to get it quilted.

Upon returning home from the retreat I started packing up my studio and all other household items in preparation for moving to a beautiful home with studio in South Surrey. 

In the middle of July I attended the Class of 1981  Sam Barlow High School reunion.  I had a wonderful evening catching up with friends. Photos can be viewed on my Face Book page Shelley Scott Tobisch.

Three days after the reunion I drove back down to Portland, OR  to attend the Sock Summit with Brenda, my quilting and knitting buddy.  We "Had the Time of our Lives" joining in with hundreds of knitters for a Flash Mob outside the Oregon Convention Center...I felt so knotty.  You can see the video on my Face Book page or Google Sock Summit Flash Mob. 

We also attended knitting classes and thoroughly enjoyed a class with Mary Scott Huff learning how to knit stranded color work socks.  Mary was both entertaining and very informative.  I highly recommend her to anybody who wants to learn stranded color work.  A brilliant and talented lady.

Now back at home with no plans to travel for a bit I'm working on getting home and studio organized.

There is a large class room area here and day retreats will be offered soon.  The retreats will include coffee, tea, soft drinks, snacks, lunch, learning, fun and much more in a relaxed atmosphere.  The grounds are beautiful.  People are encouraged to take breaks, walk around, get some fresh air and enjoy a day of quilting.

I'll post more information as soon as the schedule is complete.  If you would like to inquire about the retreats please email me at or call me at (604)506-0241 I look forward to hearing from you.

September is quickly approaching and now may be the time to think about getting your sewing machine serviced.  You can contact Bernie at (604)505-9287  He will be happy to set up a time to service your sewing machine in your own home.

Happy Quilting.