Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Still Life in textures

Check out this Still Life quilt I made for a friend for Christmas. I love doing this stuff!

The pears are made up of different shades of green and pinkish fabrics and then stitched all over to blend the fabrics together. I added a reflection as if they are sitting on a glass table top. It turned out better than I thought and am very pleased with the results. Now all I want to do is make still life quilts!

Actually this is the type of work created in my new quilt art class so if you're interested, sign up. It starts January 17th. You can register buy clicking the button on the right or check out the Academy of Quilting. Come join me, its so much fun.

Website: Arbee Designs
Quilt School: Academy of Quilting
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Sunday, 28 December 2008

Applique and Quilting - my story

As an established quilter and designer, I often like to read about how others get started in the quilting world, where they began and why they are so passionate about quilting. Many times I am asked this same question - “how did I get started in applique and quilting?” – so I decided to write a post on my blog to share that information with my quilt friends around the world.

When did I first start Quilting? It began way back in 1982 when my mother-in-law wanted to learn to applique so she signed us both up for an applique quilt class. As a young dressmaker I had always worked with fabric, but never thought about making a quilt. This turned out to be a lot of fun and as you can see, I’m still doing it after all these years, but things have changed dramatically from that day and age.

When we went to the workshop we were told to think of a Nursery Rhyme, this being the theme of the quilt we would make. I chose “Little Bo Peep”, not sure why, perhaps it was because I was brought up on a sheep farm as a child or maybe I just liked the idea that a fence would look good in the foreground and was easy to make.

We equipped ourselves with cutting tools (scissors, no rotary cutter in quilting days back then) and fabrics, which included stretch knits, tulle, fleecy fabrics, felt and poly-cottons. Now I know you are laughing because we all know you just do not use these types of fabrics in quilting. In fact, as it was known, I didn’t have one piece of cotton fabric with me that day unless it happened to be a scrap from a skirt or dress I’d made previously.

During the workshop, we built up a small quilt, crib size. I had bright green poly-cotton grassy hills with a brown wooden fence in the foreground. On the hill behind the fence were some decent looking sheep made from wooly fleece fabric and dangly felt legs hanging below. I cannot quite remember if Little Bo Peep was present or not. All the applique shapes were zigzag stitched around, a sort of satin stitch but the zigzag wasn’t closed up enough to call it satin stitch, but it did attach the shapes to the background. There was no fusible webbing back then either. We stabilized all the shapes with iron-on interfacing. The pieces moved all over the place as we stitched (especially those stretch fabric shapes) and we worked around lots of pins, and I mean lots. Today, I use very few pins as I work, I could tell you why but I’ll leave that to your imagination.

That’s about all I can remember of my experience in the first applique class except that I truly did love my little quilt and was so proud of my effort. My daughters did too. Not only did they use it on their cribs (thanks to their mother) but played ‘house’ with it for many years later. Unfortunately, we no longer have this quilt. It was lost along the way somewhere in the many house moves we did. Neither do I have a photo, just a memory still stuck in my mind (of what I consider the most ugliest quilt in the world) that I can only share with words and a good laugh at the thought of how different the quilting world is today.

About the Author: Ruth Blanchet. To read more about Ruth’s progress in the quilting world, be sure to visit her website at
or join her at the Academy of quilting for some fun experiences in quilting and applique.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Double Sided Place mats

Christmas is right upon us and I know there is always those last minute things that need to be done. I wanted to share with you, one of my last minute creations. I'd invited friends for dinner on Saturday but had no time to replace the old used table mats so set about making some quickly early Saturday afternoon while giving instructions to my son on how to prepare the pork roast dinner as I sewed.

Of course, I don't do anything by half. All that trouble for a few days of Christmas wasn't for me so I made double sided place mats, Christmas on one side and every day use on the other. Now that's the way to go! You can really do anything and use them for various occasions. They are quick and easy. I had them made in no time at all with the exception of running out of binding fabric and needing to purchase more. No hand stitching on these and my binding technique looks great on both side. No doubt I'll put a pattern out soon!

The first photo is the Christmas side, the second is on the reverse side and the last is the four place mats on the table which is about to be set for dinner.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Bargello Quilting

I just had to share with you this award winning quilt made by one of my students in my Bargello Seasons online class. This quilt is the first project of four in the class, each Bargello increasing in difficulty as you work through the course. Jan won first price for her Spring Bargello at the State Fair in Western NC. Attached to the photo were her comments "Thanks again for a great class. Everyone who sees the quilts are blown away by the bargello style." Well done Jan!

This class is now open for registration. It begins 24th January. To find out more, please visit my website: More about Bargello Seasons...

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Photo quilt

Not many posts in the past couple of months, but that doesn't mean I haven't been busy. In fact, I made this little quilt for a friend for his birthday. Photos include his daughter with their first grandson. It was fun to make so I wanted to share it with you.

But there's more, I enjoyed the process so much that I decided I would write an e-book on photo printing. It is now on the market and it includes the layout for this quilt with full instructions. You can find it here: How to Print Your Own Photos on Fabric

I hope you'll find it useful!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

More about online classes

christmas online class
I've certainly had lots of fun with my new online quilt school. It is amazing what the students are doing and I just adore watching their projects grow. We still have the class open, so that if anyone wants to jump in now, they can. You really don't miss anything. However, in the meantime, I have another Christmas class starting in Stained Glass Applique. I took my traditional Stained Glass poinsettia and have created a whole new look with the addition of colored bias rather than black. It's been fun creating this new look. Of course, you can do either in class. In fact, if you just want to purchase pre-made fused tape, this makes for a quick project. Quilting is all done at the same time.
I hope you'll join me!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Learn to make an applique Holly Wreath online

Well I just had to share my excitement. Today is the official opening of my new online class at the Academy of Quilting website:

The actual launching of the Academy of Quilting site happened today and tomorrow our first class begins. I also added a preview of some things you'll find in the class. Just to give you an idea, here is a clip from the preview:

"Press all seams to one side as directed.

To do this, always start by pressing the seam flat as sewn to set the stitches and fabric before opening the two sections.

Position the section with seam to be pressed towards on top (usually darkest fabric), then use the tip and side of the iron to fold this top section over the seam.

Pressing is done from the right side of the block, however always check the seam on the back to ensure it is pressed correctly and lays flat."

This is a fun class where you'll learn lots of tips and tricks in applique. Come join all the other students who have already joined up and make some new friends.

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

zodiac online quilting class

I just had to share with you all this wonderful jacket that one of my students made in my zodiac class. What a great idea! In my class you can make any or all of the zodiac signs. You can make cushions, totes, banners and a full zodiac quilt. It's a lot of fun. This class is starting again on the weekend, 4th October so hope you will join me. You can find out more details here: Zodiac Class

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Online quilting classes

My Christmas online quilt class now has a sign up button right here on my blog. In this online class you will learn several different methods of applique, both hand and machine applique. I am also giving several options to quilt the wreath and the best part is, we will be done in plenty of time for Christmas. Hope you will join me at The Academy of Quilting.

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Free Poppy pattern

I'm sitting here wondering how many of my readers realize that when you sign up for Arbee Designs free newsletter, they also get a free poppy pattern worth US$8.00 (hardcopy). It's a fun block to make and you can download it free as soon as you join our quilt group.

For current news, free quilting tips & quilt articles, discounts & specials plus much more, join our quilting club for free

enter email address & click submit

click here for more info

But you know what, I think it would really look good on my quilter's tote so I think I will go make a new one right now. I'll just add a border to bring it up to the right size for the tote. For those who have not seen my quilter's tote, you can see it here: Quilter's Tote I made this when I was attending quilt classes, it was great to have all my quilting tools in one place.

Ok, off to find some fabrics and begin quilting.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

The Academy of Quilting - online quilt classes

The Academy of Quilting is here. I've been working on this one for much of the year and now we are open. This is my 11th online class, so looking forward to the new school surroundings. I hope you will all join me as we make this delightful Christmas Wreath ready for our festive celebrations.

We learn several styles of applique in this class, you can even stitch it by hand if you like, and I have various styles of quilting to choose from. The class starts 18th October, 2008 and has 3 lessons which takes you from beginning to end of the project. Come and share some fun with me and other quilters in the class.

For more information about The Academy of Quilting and The Holly Wreath class you can follow these links...

The Academy of Quilting - online classes for quilters - open now

The Holly Wreath - online class - starts October 18th

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Quilt art

I had a lot of fun making this quilt. It began with my daughters visit (to California) a few weeks back and since she and her boyfriend love animals so much, we took them to the San Diego Zoo. What a glorious day. We took lots of photos and I decided to use one in this small quilt I made for my quilt art class. This is just one idea we use for making several small quilts in the class. Great news is, I have a new session of this class starting at the end of the month. The classes are held in Anaheim, California. If you'd like to find out more click here: More about my quilt art class. For those not in the area, I'll soon have this available as an online class as well, please let me know your interest: Register your interest for the online quilt art class here

We had a great time during my daughter's visit. Not only did we go south, but we also went to Beverly Hills and Hollywood. The houses were amazing and the stars in the sidewalk were something I've always wanted to see. Now she has gone back to New Zealand, we miss her, but we do have wonderful memories in the quilt that will last forever.

Ruth... PS check out my other classes. I have them listed on my schedule which is now online at: Class Schedule I hope you will join me. Happy Quilting!

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Free motion quilt - how to quilt video

I've just uploaded a video on how to quilt free motion style. I am sure it will help you get started. I love this style of quilting as you can do so much with it. I even use it for applique now. I will be adding this sort of thing to my classes and so would really like to get some feed back on it.

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Quilter's Run

For the past month or so I've been busy using Hoffman's fabric special Southern CA quilt run fabric to make a new design especially for the quilt run starting this weekend. I have my quilt hanging in Timeless Quilts, Anaheim so hope those doing the run stop by and check it out.

The fabric is beautiful with all its bright colors which I have incorporated into the quilt. You can check out a clip of this on my website Scenic Paradise with Hoffman fabric The fabric will be on sale in shops participating in the run and I will be in Timeless doing demos and signing patterns. Hope to meet you there.

Friday, 9 May 2008

More about Bargello Twist

As I mentioned in my last post, Bargello Twist is open for its second session on May 31st. This class was a great hit the first time around and some truly beautiful quilts were made. I would like to share one of these with you. This very striking gray, black and yellow bargello was made by Helen. You can certainly see how much fun she had with her fabrics.

This design can easily be twisted to create a new look, not shown here, but imagine each quarter twisted. Some students made amazing cushions with the leftover scraps too. Instructions for both these are included in the lessons. The class was surely inspiring and I took great pleasure in guiding the students to finish some gorgeous quilts. You won't want to miss out, that's for sure. I'm expecting another great turn out. Register for Bargello Twist by clicking here

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Quilting news

Well it has been way too long since I posted here on my blog and a lot has happened in this time. The most exciting news of all is, my visa has been accepted so I may live and work my quilting business in California, USA. I am now overwhelmed with the possibilities and opportunities this will give me, of course, this won't come without a lot of hard work in creating new designs and classes for quilting. I have already started this year off with a bang, two new online classes and six new quilt patterns, and the exciting news is, there are more to come.

This year I've been working mostly in two areas, first my zodiac creations which involve appliqué for every zodiac sign and adding them to different projects. My tote is a great example of this and ideal as an inexpensive gift to make. My zodiac class includes all signs and projects together, Quilting the Zodiac I have all sorts of quilt layouts and include the tote instructions, cushion instructions and also the character ring you see in the photo if you follow the link. This class is starting 17th May so registration is already open.

The second area I have been working with is Bargello quilting. I have four new patterns out and a new bargello class. My class is Bargello Twist which is designed around my Hoffman Challenge quilt in 2003, Cherry Blossoms. This class was a huge success when it opened in January and I look forward to its second run on 31st May. You can find out more here... Bargello Twist

Along with Cherry Blossoms being presented as one of the new bargello pattern, is my classic "Bargello Blues". This design has always been a hit so the pattern is long over due. Both Cherry Blossoms and Bargello Blues are advanced projects so I decided some beginners patterns were also required. That's where my Bargello seasons series come in. First up is "Bargello in Autumn" and "Bargello in Winter". I'm hoping summer and spring will follow shortly.

So that's a brief update of what is going on. I am thoroughly enjoying my time in California and publishing more work here, and just to add to the excitement, great news today is, my son had his visa accepted to join me. I'm over the moon!

Have a wonderful month and year in quilting, I know I'm having a blast.