Welcome!

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Welcome to our shiny new home. We are a small volunteer group trying to make a difference in the lives of Canadians through our love of needlework and quilting. We work with everything from single panel quilts for premature infants to multi-square custom designs for those with unique needs – children facing live-long challenges, First Responders who have been injured or become disabled in line of duty.

We are always looking for new faces to join our merry band. We are volunteer, which means you supply your own materials. We do help with quilt fabrics and batting as well as supplies for stitchers upon request. Our premature infant quilts have no deadlines, but we do try to complete and deliver our special request quilts in a timely manner. Most of our request quilts can take from 6 months to a year or more to complete. Our group is most active on Facebook, and the links to our page and workgroup are listed on the right. Though you do not need to join us there, we do suggest it as a way to share in the process of these quilts. Besides, we think we have one of the nicest groups of compassionate people around!

 

The Journey of a Square – Part 1

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I stitched this cozy little cabin as a spare square for any quilt that needed it. With the simple lines and bright colours, I knew it would be great on any child’s quilt. Instead, it ended up being needed for a recently completed RCMP request quilt. My edges are whipstitched so that they don’t fray. The fabric on this measures a generous 12″x12″, not including any selvage.

So, what happens to the squares once they are stitched? I wash mine and press them, then send them on to our Project Coordiantor. She gathers all the needed squares, washes them, presses them, and roughly trims them to match. Then, they get sent on to the quilter along with the fabrics Kim has chosen and any other supplies necessary. But what then?

I had Andrea, the quilter walk me through this process on just this one square, and I learned a LOT. There are SO many steps involved and each one is critical. This cabin square was a last minute replacement, so she had to wait for it to arrive. While she was waiting, she prepped all her border and sash pieces. Each stitched square or pieced blocked is trimmed then framed.

The first thing she did was decide where to trim it. Our finished squares are 9″x9″, with 1/4″ seam margins all around. She uses a clear template to allow her to get just the perfect placement. Notice all that lovely extra fabric poking out from under her template. I did my job well as a stitcher – plenty of fabric for the quilter to work with, nicely centered. (I did not sign my square, so she did not know who stitched it!!)

Andrea says, “It’s really important to make sure the selvage is outside the 9.5 inches. Quilts are made with only a quarter inch seam allowance, and if you leave that 1/2 inch selvage on, part of it is going to show!” Yes, we have had this happen! We try to have our blocks be a uniform size so that they look perfect on the finished quilts.

Andrea happens to have access to a construction-type serger that not only captures that cut edge but also sews a seam in one pass. The Aida cloth that the hand cross stitchers use frays a LOT, we whipstitch the outer edge, but not where she has trimmed. These quilts will be used, so we want them to last a lifetime or more.

She will put the black border on all four sides of this block to match the other blocks she has prepped. Here’s the back of the finished block (thankfully, I was neat in stitching this one, and my back actually looks pretty nice!) You can see that all the cut edges have been nicely captured in the serging. It’s really a nice touch, don’t you think?

And, here is the front of our square, all neatly bordered and ready to join the other blocks Andrea has already prepped.

I think this is going to be one fantastic quilt, In our next post, we will look at the steps Andrea took to assemble the top.  (The completed quilt has not been presented yet, so we can’t show you everything.. yet)

So, until the next time, Happy Stitching and Happy Easter (or Passover)!!

Happy Holidays!!

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As our third year winds down, we are all busy scrambling to get our homes all ready for the upcoming holidays as well as finish all that Christmas shopping. Many of us still have gifts and decorations to finish, too.

15123262_1404546916252826_4128187628144507006_oOur quilters have been busy turning some of our squares into quilts for premature infants. It’s not only something we enjoy doing, it’s also a great way for our quilters to see how easy it is to work with Aida cloth. I know, that sounds strange but most quilters work with the poly-cotton quilting fabrics. Aida is a lot thicker and stiffer than what they are used to, even after we wash it. There are more pictures in our Premature Infant Quilts Gallery as we simply have too many to post here!!

Our final quilt for 2016 will be heading to the quilter in early January. It’s hard to believe because we don’t have that many pictures up in the gallery of the squares, but we are all stitching like crazy to make this happen. We have also started assembling some of our Quilter’s Block Party pieces into quilts. We should have pictures soon.

It’s always exciting around Canada Stitches. We have several quilt requests already for next year. If you are a quilter, machine embroiderer, or hand cross stitcher and want to get in on the fun, please do contact us and we will be more than happy to let you join our merry crew.

Until next time, Happy Stitching! And may you and your family enjoy the warmest of holidays!

A busy time

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It’s a very busy time around here. We have 1 child’s quilt ready to be quilted and two more in the stitching process. We also have one Canada Stitches for RCMP quilts going, in it’s final stages of stitching before it goes to the quilter in mid-November. Add to that working with Honour Quilts on their British Columbia group of quilts and you have some very busy stitchers. We do have another child and another RCMP officer to start after the beginning of the new year.

We also found ourselves in need of more labels for our Canada Stitches for RCMP quilts and put out the call. Up until now, each machine embroiderer has pretty much come up with their own label ideas. It works, yes. Then, I had the brainstorm. Why can’t we have a file for our machine embroiderers that has all the text, and that I can give to our stitchers without fear of license violations? Not all of our embroidery crew feels confident about doing custom lettering. I approached one large machine embroidery design company that I have dealt with in the past. They barely gave me the time of day and said it was impossible. Each embroiderer would have to purchase the file for themselves and add their own lettering. Really?

Then I turned to Jen of Jen’s Embroidery Designs. One of our ME stitchers found her last year and we all went nuts over all the fantastic and hard to find Canada related designs. Not only did Jen agree to help us, but she donated her design time to make not just one, but two designs for our quilts. This wonderful lady has a site full of gorgeous designs for machine embroidery – including the best collection of Canadiana we have ever seen. Add her can-do attitude and you have someone that deserves our business. She deserves yours, too. You will find her proudly linked on our right sidebar. If you can’t find what you want, contact her and see what miracles she can do for you.