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1200 Blocks and counting…

18 Nov

Fellow Quilters,

The latest issue of one of my favorite quilting magazines is just hitting newsstands – Quiltmaker’s ever-popular 100 Blocks’ 12th volume – and I am participating in the blog tour today.  Northcott is one of the sponsors, and is providing some prizes, so for your chance to win one of the packs, please visit Quiltmaker’s blog at  and leave a comment.  Web editor Diane Harris has added a couple of interesting features to this volume’s tour, including a daily tip and a complimentary itty bitty block pattern – how fun!

Fluctuations throw - grey version

Fluctuations throw – grey version

I have participated in several 100 blocks blog tours, and I must say that I just love the feedback that I get from my visitors.  I usually take some of the blocks, either made using Northcott fabrics or designed by a pattern designer who also designs patterns for Northcott, and I recreate them in the fabric collection that is featured in Northcott’s ad in the issue.

The featured collection is Artisan Spirit – Ambience, and the quilt featured in the ad is my Fluctuations pattern – woohoo! This is one of my favorite patterns, because it is deceptively easy – I use the STRIP-R pre-printed 2” strip fabric from the Ambience collection for the chevrons in this quilt.  Each chevron is made of only 2 pieces of fabric.  How cool is that?!? I have also used the No-Sew Circles in the border for a quick appliqued look without the challenge. (You can purchase the pattern here: )

The Ambience collection includes a range of 8 values in 6 eye-popping fresh color palettes, plus a STRIP-R and No-Sew Circle fabric for each palette.  To recreate the blocks from Volume 12, I worked with the 8 values in the twilight palette and added a few fabrics from the other palettes for contrast.

Scanning the issue, I selected the following blocks:



#1115 editor Carolyn Beam’s Tulip Patch block, originally made with Artisan Spirit – Panache.  Here is my version in Ambience.



Karen’s block

#1130 Karen Bialik’s Townhouses block, originally made with Artisan Spirit – Shimmer.  Here is my Ambience version.


Chris's block

Chris’s block

#1145 Chris Hoover’s Easy Breezy block.  My appliqués are slightly different, since I have not yet mastered appliqués in Electric Quilt.  I chose pinks for the flowers.



Celine’s block

#1193 Celine Perkin’s Rock Candy block, recolored here with Ambience.


I found it interesting that 2 of the 4 blocks feature flowers.  I tried combining the 2 flower blocks, however the results were less than stellar.  Instead, I used Celine’s block as my alternate block.  I was chatting with Celine at Quilt Market 2 weeks ago, and commented to her that I have used her blocks several times as alternate blocks in previous blog tour posts – they have turned average quilts into “I want to make that” quilts.  Let’s take a look at some of the options:

1)  Celine’s & Carolyn’s

Celine's & Carolyn's

Celine’s & Carolyn’s


2)  Celine’s & Chris’

Celine's & Chris'

Celine’s & Chris’


3)  Celine’s & Karen’s

Celine's & Karen's

Celine’s & Karen’s


I also thought that these blocks would make terrific table runners:


Carolyn's runner

Carolyn’s runner

4)  Carolyn’s

Celine & Karen's runner

Celine & Karen’s runner

5)  Celine’s & Karen’s

Chris' runner

Chris’ runner

6)  Chris’

Celine's runner

Celine’s runner

7)  Celine’s

Notice how Celine’s and Karen’s blocks work well together – the side triangles on Karen’s block extend the edges of Celine’s blocks to create an illusion.

Now, I have 3 prize packets of fabric to give away as well, but I would like your opinion.  For a chance to win a packet, please leave a comment telling me which block above is your favorite, AND which quilt or runner (#1 to 7) is your favorite.  It’s always so interesting to see what you have to say, so please don’t be shy.

Don’t forget to visit Quiltmaker’s blog at the link above for a chance to win one of their packets, and also to see what the other bloggers in the tour have for you as well.  Most of all, thanks for stopping by, and enjoy the latest issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks.




J’s – Jem, June and Jane

3 Nov

Fellow Quilters,

It’s that time of year again, when my mom and I make a road trip from Canada to her winter home in Florida.  Last year was the first time I did this drive, and in snowy weather through Buffalo (so fun!), and I must say that I am enjoying the drive much more this time around, partly because I am more familiar with the route and also because the weather has been fantastic for a road trip – clear blue skies and warmer temperatures.  Today we drove through NY State, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  The hilly scenery was delightful!

We have an extra “passenger” onboard – a new addition to my sewing room.  A compact little Janome Jem Platinum is packed in my suitcase, along with 8 packages of fabric, each one a partially cut quilt top – my travel cutting mat is only 12” x 18” instead of the 36” x 68” one in my sewing room, so I did my preliminary cutting at home.  I will be working on the quilts as time permits over the next 2 weeks, and will bring the machine back in my carry-on when I fly home.  It is certainly small enough to fit under my seat in a padded backpack, and weighs only 12lbs.  Have you ever travelled with a sewing machine?  I did a google search to gather travel tips before I decided to travel with my machine.  I am curious to hear any stories, good or bad, or any suggestions that you have.

Somewhere that you DON’T need to bring a machine is Quilt Canada 2016, in Toronto next June 15th – 18th. Machines are being provided for the conference, thanks to Janome. I am delighted to be part of the faculty for Quilt Canada, and will be teaching my Simplified Double Wedding Ring class on Thursday June 16, as well as presenting my “Interesting Quilts from Unusual Fabrics” trunk show Friday afternoon.  I am joined by 16 other talented teachers from Canada, and 3 teachers from the US, including Thursday evening’s keynote speaker Jane Sassaman. Sign-up opened last week at  I shall be reviewing the list of classes and lectures in the next couple of days to see if I can squeeze in some “continuing education” when I am not teaching or lecturing.  It’s never too late to teach an old dog some new tricks.

One of the quilt kits that I will be working on while in Florida is a project that I designed exclusively for The Canadian Quilter, the fabulous quarterly magazine of the CQA.  My project will be featured in the Winter issue, coming out next month.  Needless to say, I am SEW thrilled!  It features a really creative way to use STRIP-R’s, Northcott’s fabulous fabric with pre-printed 2” wide strips.  I’ll post a picture in an upcoming blog post.

Time to catch some zzzzz’s – I have another 9-hour drive tomorrow, maybe stopping at a quilt shop or two if I can! Cheers,


Memories and Quilting

7 Oct

Fellow Quilters,

Last weekend, Hubby and I had the honor and pleasure of celebrating the 80th birthdays of my BFF Karen’s parents with 58 of their closest friends and family. It was a surprise party, and mom Bev was overwhelmed when she saw her BFF Eileen, who she hadn’t seen in 20 years.

Eileen, Bev and I

Eileen, Bev and I

I had a chance to chat with the two of them, as they recounted stories of their earlier days.

The invitation specifically said “no gifts”, yet Karen’s parents have been a part of my life for 35 years, and I wanted to give them something special. What to do? The night before the event, I decided that a quilt was in order. I dug through my stash for some cream fabric, cut it into 5” squares and ironed freezer paper to the back of each square for support. I bought a rainbow-colored pack of permanent fabric markers. At the event, I passed out the squares at each table during dinner and asked each attendee or couple to sign a square. They could add comments or other things to their square if desired. The response was truly amazing, as each attendee worked on their square. So many of them took the time to personalize their squares, using several colors and adding motifs that tied them to Bev & Don. Here are some of the squares.Don & Bev's squares The biggest thrill for me was watching everyone creating their squares – they had so much fun! It was as if I had given them permission to play! I will combine the squares with photos of the attendees, and hope to have the lap quilt finished in time for Don’s actual birthday in December. I’ll post a photo of the quilt when it is completed.

Hubby and I will be making wonderful memories next February 13-27 when we cruise New Zealand and Australia with the Quilt Camp at Sea gang on the cruise of a lifetime. Many of the quilters on this cruise have cruised with organizers Pat and Len Tobin several times because they take care of all the details that make the cruise extra-special – daily door prizes, swag bags, extra treats, block exchanges and more. One of the nicest details, for me, is having the classroom space to use for sit & stitch (or chat) time with the other quilters. Some very special friendships have formed on these cruises, and new ones are formed each time, as new cruisers participate. In fact, the Quilt Camp at Sea motto is “creating friendships at sea, one quilter at a time”. I get the same warm & fuzzies on these cruises as I did at Don and Bev’s 80th birthday party, and am already “sew” excited about this upcoming cruise. I will be making my class samples next week for my sashiko class and my super-easy-stained-glass class, then preparing the kits for each student (all you need to bring is your basic sewing supplies, such as scissors and pins). There are still 3 or 4 spots in my classes, but the last date to sign up is Saturday Oct. 10 (Pat tells me that all of the paperwork MUST be done by Monday). Lots of spouses are going on this cruise, so Hubby will have company while I am quilting. (On the last cruise, Hubby took part in an on-board pub crawl organized by the cruise director!) Please consider joining Hubby and I for 2 wonderful weeks of summer Down Under in the middle of our winter – email Pat or Len at or call (360) 456-3819 (Pacific Time Zone).

Thinking of summer Down Under reminds me of my last post, as part of the EQ7: Seasons Row-along.  Since my row was snowmen, I asked readers to comment on their favorite thing about winter.  While a few readers mentioned crisp fresh air and snow-covered trees, most of the comments seemed to favor crackling fires and snuggling under quilts to escape the cold. (I really think those readers need 2 weeks in the south Pacific next February!)  Congrats to Edna L. for posting a comment – she has won a packet of Toscana suede-like texture fabrics courtesy of Northcott.  I also want to mention winners of my STRIP-R post on Sept. 10th.  Packets of the luscious Artisan Spirit – Ambience fabrics went out to Lori W., Carol J., Shirley J., Lisa E., and Ellen M.

Also along the “winter” theme, I have had numerous requests for a pattern for my Stacked Presents quilt featured in The Quilter magazine a few years ago.

Stacks of Presents holiday version

Stacks of Presents holiday version

The pattern PC185 Stacked Presents is now available at and includes 4 sizes from wall hanging 32” x 37” to queen-size 90” x 108”.  You can make it in holiday fabrics, or choose bright or elegant fabrics for a completely different look.

Stacks of Present twin size using Artisan Spirit Shimmer

Stacks of Present twin size using Artisan Spirit Shimmer

Stacks of Presents queen-size elegant version

Stacks of Presents queen-size elegant version

To my fellow Canadians, have a Happy Thanksgiving.  Hubby and I will enjoy turkey and pumpkin pie with our boys and extended family.  Since the pear tree in our backyard has a bumper crop, I will be making Pear Cranberry crisp as well:

Pear Cranberry Crisp

Combine 4 cups cored diced unpeeled pear, ¾ cup cranberries, ¾ cup chopped walnuts, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp ginger & ¼ cup flour, and place in a greased 9” x 13” dish.

Combine 1 cup oatmeal, 2/3 cup flour, 2/3 cup brown sugar and ½ cup butter or margarine until mixture is consistent and crumbly.  Loosely spread over fruit mixture.  Bake at 350degrees for 30-40 minutes or until fruit is tender.  Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream if desired.



Patti’s Frosty Friends for Seasons Row-a-long

22 Sep

Fellow Quilters,

Today is a beautiful Fall day in my neck of the woods – bright sunshine and temperatures that are hovering around 70°F (22°C). The leaves are turning and I am enjoying a bowl of pumpkin pie ice cream – yum! Canadian Thanksgiving is just 2 weeks away, and we often have a dusting of snow at the family cottage where we celebrate with turkey and homemade pumpkin pie. This early snowfall means that winter can’t be far away, and that means another season of snowboarding, skating on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, and snowmen. To help you welcome winter, I have designed a row of frosty friends as part of my participation in Marian Pena’s EQ7: Seasons Row-a-long. This is week #4 in this fun event, and I am joined by 5 other talented quilters today. Thanks to Marian for organizing this, and thanks to all of the quilters who have used Northcott’s Toscana suede texture in their rows. Check out all of the terrific rows and blogs below:


Visit the other designers who are participating in this Row Along.

Here is the entire list of participants, including this week’s participants.

Read all of the rules for the giveaways HERE and have fun! September 1, 2015 Marlene at Kissed Quilts

Lynn at Thimble & Mouse

Doris at The Quilting Queen Online

Janine at Quilt Art

Bea at Be A Quilter

Anneka at Stof Genoeg

September 8, 2015

Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts

Carol at Fun Threads

Amy W. at Sew Incredibly Crazy

Marian at Seams To Be Sew

Anneke at Stof Genoeg

September 15, 2015

Reeze at Morning Glory

Marian at Seams To Be Sew

Jennifer at Sew Hooked

Carol at Just Let Me Quilt

Anneke at Stof Genoeg

September 22, 2015

Carla at Create In The Sticks

Patti at Patti’s Patchwork

Nancy at Patchwork Breeze

Marian at Seams To Be Sew

Linda at Linda Franz

Anneke at Stof Genoeg

September 29, 2015

Amy H. at Country Junktion

Darlene at Quilt Shop Gal

Marina at Sews To Be Sew

Loreen at Loreen’s Schoolhouse Quilts

Anneke at Stof Genoeg

My row of snowmen started out looking like this in Electric Quilt.EQ image Now, I don’t normally do appliqué or embroidery in my quilts, so designing this block took me out of my comfort zone. The eyes, mouth, buttons and even the carrot nose were easy with the tools available on the appliqué layer in the block drawing board, but the arms were another matter. I had fun making the twig arms in EQ and learned more about EQ along the way (you can teach an old dog new tricks!).

After piecing the blocks and putting them into a row, it looked like this. DSCF1380I and Susanne, my piecer and right arm, were not looking forward to making all of those tiny black circles for the eyes, buttons and mouth. What to do? Being the crafty gals that we are, we grabbed an orange permanent Crayola fabric marker and some black and brown fabric paint. Voila! These guys had character in no time flat!DSCF1383 DSCF1384 I think I shall add a border and turn this row into either a table runner or a small quilt to hang above a doorway.

For instructions on making this row, click here – Patti’s Frosty Friends pattern. There are some awesome prizes being given out in this Row-along, so don’t forget to enter.

Northcott Fabrics   6-8 Yards of Cotton that feels like silk!
You are allowed ONE entry per week, so don’t enter this one from every blog. (Multiple entries will be disqualified. Value of $60-$80 is based on $10.00 per yard cost of fabric.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Fat Quarter Shop   $25.00 Gift Certificate.
You can enter at each of the blogs featured this week! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am also giving away a prize! Please post a comment on my blog by midnight September 26 telling me your favorite thing about winter for your chance at a packet of Toscana fabrics. Enjoy the rest of the Row-a-long and thanks for stopping by.



STRIP-R’s for Quilters

10 Sep

Fellow Quilters,

Today is a great day! Not only am I blogging on my site, but I am also a guest blogger on the McCall’s Quilting blog, where I am talking about my Bevels project in the November 2015 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts (

Bevels quilt

Bevels quilt

Needless to say, I am thrilled that McCall’s has featured my quilt in this issue AND that they asked me to be a guest on their blog. The Bevels project uses one of my fave new fabrics – it’s called a STRIP-R (pronounced “stripper”), and it is a pre-printed fabric with 21 2” wide strips across the width of the fabric – think “jellyroll already sewn together”. How cool is that?!? I pitched this idea to Northcott’s Creative Director Deborah, and she has included STRIP-R’s in about a dozen current and upcoming collections so far. In fact, I am using a STRIP-R from the Porcelain Blue collection for a project in the February 2014 issue of McCall’s Quilting, out in November. Here’s what the Porcelain Blue STRIP-R looks like. I can’t show you the quilt just yet, but I will soon (it’s so pretty – classic blue and white!).

Porcelain Blue STRIP-R

Porcelain Blue STRIP-R

The STRIP-R that I used in the Bevels project is from the Ambience collection. Creative Director Deborah also designed and included another innovative pre-printed fabric in this collection – it is called No-Sew Circles and looks like orange peel, or interlocking circles.

No-Sew Circles fabric from the Ambience collection

No-Sew Circles fabric from the Ambience collection

Isn’t this equally cool?!? I designed 3 projects using the No-Sew Circles – they are almost as much fun to work with as the STRIP-R’s. Here are pictures of Ambience Medallion, Candied Peel and Strips of Peel (patterns are available from

Strips of Peel

Strips of Peel

Candied Peel lap-size

Candied Peel lap-size

Ambience Medallion wall-size

Ambience Medallion wall-size

One of these projects also uses STRIP-R’s. Now, if you’ve visited my blog before, you know that I like to give stuff (fabric) away. Today I would like to give away 5 packets of fabric, each containing a ¼-yd of the 8 textures plus a 1-yd piece of the STRIP-R and No-Sew Circle fabric in one of the 5 other colorways of Ambience (you can see the other colorways at Hint: the Bevels quilt uses the lagoon colorway). For a chance to win, please post a comment by midnight Friday Sept. 11 telling me which of my 3 Ambience projects uses No-Sew Circles AND STRIP-R’s, and tell me which color packet of Ambience fabrics you’d like to win. And don’t miss the chance to win a packet of fabrics on the McCall’s blog too – they are giving away packets of the lagoon colorway (click on the link at the top of this page Fto visit them).



Every Which Way to Celebrate 100 Blocks Volume 11

7 May

Fellow Quilters,

Hi There, and welcome to Day 4 of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 11 blog tour!  I hope you’ve had a chance to visit the other bloggers on the tour this week.  There have been some great posts.  I really enjoyed Nancy Mahoney’s on Day 1, as she explained how she arrived at her Twirling Rose block #1052.  Or how about Karyn Ashley-Smith’s post yesterday, where she showed a quilt made from her Crocus and Daffodil block, and done in Stonehenge?

My block is Every Which Way #1040, containing 9 arrows that get shorter as they get closer to the center of the block.

My original block done in Artisan Spirit - Shimmer

My original block done in Artisan Spirit – Shimmer

Using 1 fabric for each arrow seemed a natural choice, and Northcott’s Artisan Spirit – Shimmer has a range of 9 gradated fabrics in each delicious color palette.  I chose the sunglow palette for my block.  My quick scan through 100 Blocks Volume 11 revealed another block done in Shimmer sunglow – Jennifer Shifano Thomas’ Aloha Flower #1014.

While perusing the issue, I noticed blocks done by several Northcott pattern designers:  #1028 Moon Star by Celine Perkins of Perkins Dry Goods, #1029 Basket Star by Marjorie Rhine of Quilt Design NW, #1042 Swirly Whirly Floral by Kate Colleran of Seams Like a Dream, and #1066 Fruit Smoothie by Karen Bialik of The Fabric Addict (done in Northcott’s ColorWorks solids).  I put them into Electric Quilt along with my block, downloaded Northcott’s Celebration 2 collection, featured in our advertisement, and began to play!

Here are the blocks done in Celebration 2.  I used the pieced background block of Kate’s block, leaving the appliqués off.

Karen's block

Karen’s block

Celine's block

Celine’s block

Marje's block

Marje’s block

Kate's block

Kate’s block

My block

My block

Once the blocks were done, it was time to put them into quilts.  My block did not seem to want to play well with the other blocks, so it was my least favorite combination.  I would like to explore other options with it, such as having alternate blocks where the arrows go from the center out toward the edge (reverse the direction of them).  I think it would also make a great single-block quilt when enlarged to 36”.  However, most of the other blocks played nicely, although the Karen/Marje block doesn’t line up quite as well as the other 3 combinations.  What do you think?

Karen & Celine's quilt

Karen & Celine’s quilt

Karen & Marje's quilt

Karen & Marje’s quilt

Kate & Celine's quilt

Kate & Celine’s quilt

Kate & Marje's quilt

Kate & Marje’s quilt

Kate & Patti's blocks on point

Kate & Patti’s blocks on point

Kate & Patti's quilt

Kate & Patti’s quilt

It’s giveaway time!  I will draw 3 names: one for a copy of the magazine, one for a bundle of Celebration fabrics, and one for a bundle of Shimmer fabrics.  For a chance to win, please post a comment on my blog by this Friday at noon, telling me which quilt is your favorite.  For more chances to win a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 11, don’t forget to visit the other bloggers on the tour this week at

Thanks for dropping by, and please visit again soon.



Celebrations & Another 100 Blocks

4 May

Fellow Quilters,

Another great issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks (#11!) is hitting the newsstands this week, and once again I am participating in the blog tour for the launch.logo

I really enjoy participating in these tours.  I usually scan the issue, searching for designers who are also part of Northcott’s pattern design team, or blocks that feature Northcott’s fabrics, and recreate these blocks in the collection that Northcott has advertised in the issue.  There are 7 blocks in the current issue that fall under this umbrella, including my own block – a big Woo-hoo!  Because I have a block in the issue, I have been invited to blog on Thursday as well, so I shall do “my usual” on Thursday’s blog – please come by then and check out the blocks to choose your favorite for a chance to win a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 11.  For this post, however, I thought I’d share a bit of something more personal.

The collection that Northcott has advertised in this issue is Stonehenge Celebration 2, perfect for Independence Day, with waving flags, stars and fireworks.  That got me thinking about the things we celebrate.  As I write this post, I am sitting at my kitchen counter, with the tantalizing fragrance of peaches wafting through the kitchen.  Now, I live in Canada, and peach season is still 3 months away.  For the month of August, I buy basket after basket of juicy peaches, eating them for breakfast, dinner and night-time snack.  My favorite thing to do with them, however, is make peach pies – from scratch, including the pastry, with a lattice top.  Yum!!  You need in-season peaches to make pies.  The ones you buy in the middle of winter just don’t cut it.  When I was a kid, my mom would pack my brother, sister and I in the car and drive to the Niagara region about 2 hours away to pick baskets of peaches for preserving.  Yes, I know it was child labour, but there is nothing better than eating a just-picked peach warm from the sun while filling your basket.

I spent the past week in Florida, getting my mom packed up from her winter home, and driving her back to Canada.  As we travelled up through the top of Florida and into Georgia, we passed billboards announcing PECANS.  Hubby’s ultimate favorite pie is pecan pie – gooey and thick with pecans.  After passing several of these signs, I suggested to Mom that we stop and get some.  We pulled off the freeway to a roadside stand.  Right beside the pecans were baskets of peaches – golden nuggets of Georgia sunshine.  They lured me. The young guy manning the stand knew how to sell.  “Would you like a taste of one?” he asked, and handed me a wedge of deliciousness.  It tasted just like the ones I picked when I was a kid.  “They’ll be ripe in 3 days or so,” he said. Our journey is a 3-day trip.  “Sold!” I said.  The basket of peaches went into the back seat, and the heavenly fragrance filled the car for 3 days.  We enjoyed them when we stopped to stretch our legs, and there are just enough left to make a peach pie for Mother’s Day this weekend.

Mom and I shared lots of laughs, good times and great meals over the past week.  It was a rare treat to spend an entire week with her, and I have much to celebrate on Mother’s Day.  After I dropped Mom off, I arrived home to a spotlessly clean house (even the windows were clean!) and dinner on the table.  I guess I’ll be making a pecan pie too.

What about you?  What have you celebrated recently, or will be celebrating in the coming weeks?  Post a comment on my blog by noon on Tuesday May 5th for a chance to win a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 11 and a packet of Stonehenge Celebration 2 fabrics.  Enjoy the blog tour (, and see you again on Thursday!




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