Row, row, row your quilt

21 Sep

Fellow Quilters,

Fall is definitely in the air!  I was at a friend’s cottage last weekend, and the temperature of the lake was “refreshing” a.k.a. numbing.  The leaves are changing colour, providing a spectacular display.  It won’t be long before the leaves are down and snow is on the ground!

With that in mind, today I join 4 other quilt designers from around the globe in sharing our designs for the 2017 Christmas Caroling Row-along, coordinated by Marian at Seams to be Sew (great job, Marian!).  CCLogo-2All told, there are 42 participants, each sharing their free pattern for a holiday row during the 5-week event.    Each participant was asked to design a row 30” x 8-12” – it could be wide or tall.  Last year, as part of the Road Home Row-along, I designed a tall row, so this year I chose a wide row.

My all-time favourite Christmas carol is O Holy Night, and I haven’t found a version I don’t like – Josh Groban’s is exquisite.  I wanted to capture the stillness of a winter night, and the beauty of breaking dawn, but how to create that glow?  I wondered if a bargello would work.  I would need a large range of lights to darks in the blue colour family.  Northcott’s Creative Director Deborah has built wonderful ranges of values into several Northcott Essential programs, including Toscana (suede texture), ColorWorks (solid cotton), and my favourite collection, Artisan Spirit Shimmer. I also selected any blue fabrics from Northcott’s holiday collections. DSCF3653Armed with a stack of fabrics from Northcott’s warehouse, I started my quilt, laying out the fabrics from light to dark.

To capture the glow of breaking dawn, I built my bargello in two directions at once – horizontally and vertically.  It ultimately changed the way I constructed my quilt so that it wasn’t a typical bargello – I had to build each column separately – but it was worth it.  The columns become narrower as they approach the center of the quilt, as do the rows.  I think it took me longer to cut the pieces than it did to construct the bargello!  My work surface quickly became filled with columns as I cut my way through the 16 fabrics required for the bargello.

Adding each fabric to the bargello layout

Adding each fabric to the bargello layout

Each column is made from pieces more than twice the width required, and cut into 2 columns once the pieces are sewn together.  In effect, I pieced only half the columns, cutting each one into 2.

Cut each column in 2

Cut each column in 2

To make the seams nest, I pressed the seams in alternate columns in opposite directions.

Press seams in alternate columns in opposite directions

Press seams in alternate columns in opposite directions

The quilt still needed the main characters – the nativity scene, stable animals and wise men – and these were added as a quick-fused silhouette.  The star was also quick-fused.

O Holy Night by Patti Carey

O Holy Night by Patti Carey

My row remains unquilted for now – I may choose to wrap it to a wooden frame and hang it.  Alternately, I may quilt it and wrap it around a frame, or quilt and bind it to be used as a runner.  Or I may combine it with some of the other fabulous rows in the Christmas Caroling Row-along to make a larger wall quilt or lap quilt.  To download the free pattern for O Holy Night, please click here:Craftsy download or Payhip download

Some wonderful prizes have been donated by several generous companies for giveaways during the Christmas Caroling Row-along, and it is my pleasure to offer you the opportunity to win a new Ott-Lite Wellness desk lamp valued at $79.99, graciously donated by Ott-Lite.Ott-Lite logo

Ottlite Wellness desk lamp

Ottlite Wellness desk lamp

Who doesn’t love Ott-lites for better vision when quilting?  Simply click on this  Rafflecopter link here by September 27 to enter.

In addition, NorthcottNorthcott logo and Calibre Art Calibre Art logohave donated prizes for each day of the Row-along – a huge thanks to them!  Enter today to win here: Calibre Art Rafflecopter giveaway and Northcott Rafflecopter giveaway . Visit Marian’s blog at Seams to be Sew every day to enter via Rafflecopter for these prizes.  Shipping charges may apply for non-US residents. Rules for the contest are listed here (fine print).  Please review them, as some of the prizes have deadlines or restrictions.

Here is the list of the awesome participating bloggers – please be sure to visit to collect your rows.  You’ll be well on your way to a Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
Quilting Affection
Any Pattern
Just Let Me Quilt
Quilt In Piece
Kissed Quilts

Thursday, September 7, 2017
Daydreams of Quilts 
Seams To Be Sew
Be A Quilter
Creatin’ in the Sticks
Fun Threads

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
Sew Incredibly Crazy
Masterpiece Quilting
Sugarlane Designs
Happy Sewing Room

Thursday, September 14, 2017
Barbara Dieges
Cynthia’s Creating Ark
The Quilted Snail
Ms. P. Designs USA   (sponsored by Just Let Me Quilt)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Jaded Spade Creations
Adventurous Applique and Quilting 
UlaSewing / SzycieUli
From Blank Pages

Thursday, September 21, 2017
Martina Latimer
Quilt Fabrication
Patchwork Breeze
Patti’s Patchwork
Miss Loreen’s Schoolhouse

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Cheryl LaPlante  (sponsored byQuilt In Piece)
Morning Glory
Pampered Pettit
Fun Threads

Thursday, September 28, 2017
Mountain Meadow Designs
Quilt Art
Made By Marney
Renee’s Quilting Addiction

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
MaryMack’s Blog
Kathys Kwilts and More
Pamela Quilts
Duck Creek Mountain Quilting
Heleen Pinkster

Thursday, October 5, 2017
Seams To Be Sew
A Dream and A Stitch
Upstairs Hobby Room
Words & Stitches

Cheers,

Patti

Tools of the Trade

21 Jul

Fellow Quilters,

I have been making quilts for 25 years now, ever since Northcott started selling quilting fabric.  Prior to that, Northcott designed and printed fashion fabric for the home sewing industry – think “local fabric store”.  When we started selling quilting fabric, I had to learn to make quilts, since I was responsible for making the displays for our trade shows.  Quiltmaking sewing is actually quite different from garment sewing, and I slowly learned the skills (and lingo!) required for quilting. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that I took a class, and learned how much I didn’t know.  More importantly, I learned skills in that class that I still use, “tools” for my “technique toolbox”.  The class was a colorwash project, and I didn’t actually finish the project – a common occurrence among students, I have learned.  In addition to learning about how to make a colorwash quilt, I learned that we should make the entire quilt on one machine.  I also learned about nesting seams – a fundamental tool in quiltmaking.  From the teacher, I picked up little tips along the way.  That class was so much more than simply buying the book or pattern and making the quilt myself.  It was the opportunity to learn from someone more experienced than myself in the skills required for that project.

Over the years, my skill level has increased, and I have found ways to make my quiltmaking experience better, faster, more efficient, and more enjoyable.  I have added a lot of tools to my technique toolbox.  I began sharing my methods with other quilters by teaching. It has become something that I truly enjoy.  It is quite gratifying to see someone have success with a skill they didn’t have before you shared your knowledge with them.  It is particularly thrilling to see the student’s self-confidence increase.  The biggest thrill comes when a student takes what they’ve learned from you and takes it beyond what you even imagined.

This year I have the opportunity to teach twice in the lovely state of Tennessee.  In March, I taught at A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, and next week I join a faculty of renowned teachers at Quiltfest, held at Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough.  I will be teaching bargello, Borders & Bindings, and Stacks of Presents – it is my newest class, and results in a lovely seasonal wall-hanging.

PC185 Stacks of Presents

Stacks of Presents holiday version

The first 2 classes are almost full, however there are still a few spots in the Stacks of Presents class if you are available (http://www.tennesseequilts.com/quiltfest.html ).  I will have your kit waiting for you!  I am also doing a presentation on How Fabrics are Designed and Printed, combined with a mini trunk show to inspire you.

The other equally fabulous benefit of a class is the opportunity to connect with other quilters.  I have met many wonderful quilters over the years that have become friends, and I am very excited that two of my quilting friends, Mary and Sandi, will be in my class!  Woop woop!  We shall have a blast. Then there’s the faculty. I have known fellow teacher Nancy Mahoney for years and am looking forward to seeing her too. I also want to take in the presentation by Esterita Austin – it should be great!

Speaking of tools, I have a new YouTube video on my favorite quilting tool, the narrow Hera marker by Clover.  I encourage the students in my classes to use it, and Northcott just posted a quick video of exactly how I use this great tool.  You can watch it here: Patti’s Hera marker video

It’s been a while since I’ve had a giveaway on my blog, so I’m thinking it’s time for one.

PC205 Butterfly Beauty

PC205 Butterfly Beauty

I have been making my samples for 2 of my new patterns that use the gorgeous Flight of Fancy collection.

PC206 On Golden Wings

PC206 On Golden Wings

For a chance to win a packet of Flight of Fancy, please post a comment on my blog by July 31 telling me what your favorite quilting tool is, and which of the 3 colorways of Flight of Fancy you like best.  You can see them here: Northcott’s Flight of Fancy collection Good luck to everyone!

Cheers,

Patti

Zebras and Other Illusions

7 Jul

Fellow Quilters,

Today’s post is just a quick one because I have a pile of work to do on an exciting new Northcott venture (I can’t tell you about it yet) AND I need to finish up the details for my row as part of the Christmas Caroling Row-along in September (the logo is over on the right).  So, without further ado, a couple of musings and tidbits for today…

My commute into the office takes me along a 4-lane freeway through a rural area that includes farms and rolling green hills.  A couple of weeks back, as I was driving, thinking of all the things on my To Do list, out of the corner of my eye I spotted 2 zebras in one of the fields.  I did a double take – why were zebras grazing in that field?!?  A couple of very quick glances revealed that it was a horse farm and the horses were wearing zebra-patterned blankets.  Hahaha!  What a great illusion!  Unfortunately, the traffic was moving at 60mph so I had no opportunity to slow down and snap a picture. It brought a smile to my face however, and made me think about how I have been playing with the idea of creating illusions in my quilts.

The other musing is from a dinner that I attended.  I was sitting beside someone I didn’t know – a friend of a friend.  Light conversation ensued – “what do you do”, “where do you work”, etc. It’s always interesting explaining to someone what you do for a living when you work in the quilting industry.  Sometimes, particularly with Border Patrol officers, you get The Look, as they process what “quilting industry” means.  My dining companion, however, proceeded to share a wonderful story with me.  Her mother grew up in a rather poor family, with 5 children in a 4-room house, and the 3 sisters shared 2 beds in one of the rooms.  There was a quilt on one of the beds, and as was typical of that period, it was made from patches of old clothing.  The quilt was a great source of entertainment for the girls – they would select a patch and make up a story about where that fabric came from -what the garment looked like, who wore it, what they were doing while wearing it.  The quilt was so much more than patches of fabric – it allowed the sisters to dream.  Even though it was made from scraps, it became a cherished part of the girls’ lives, so much so that the woman sitting beside me was telling me about its importance.  It was humbling to hear the story.  I often receive emails from quilters who have made a quilt from one of my patterns.  They share photos of their quilt, telling me it’s for their daughter/son, grandchild or niece/nephew who is getting married or going off to college.  It is a symbol of the quiltmaker’s love for the recipient.  These quilts are also much loved by the recipients – they are much more than blankets.  Last week I attended a workshop and lecture by modern quilting guru Angela Walters.  In her lecture, Angela talked about the “blankets” (quilts) made by her husband’s grandfather, and how special they were to the family.  If you ever get a chance to attend one of Angela’s lectures or workshops, I highly recommend it – in addition to being inspiring, she is also very funny!

I was scrolling through some photos on my camera, and came across a picture that I took a couple months back of the magnolia bush/tree in my front garden. I am usually away when it blooms, so it was a pleasure to see it in full bloom.  There were an exceptional number of blooms this year – isn’t it glorious?magnolia

Time to get back to work.  We’ll chat soon!

Cheers,

Patti

Shimmering Diamonds

4 May

Fellow Quilters,

Welcome to my second post today!  My regular subscribers are probablymyblockisin15_95

scratching their heads right now, thinking “Did she fall and bump her head?” because I NEVER post twice in one day.  Well, you know what they say – Never say never.  There is a very good reason for 2 posts today – I am wearing 2 hats as Northcott and I participate in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 15 blog tour, taking place this week.  My first post was for Northcott’s participation as a sponsor of the tour.  This post is because I have a block in the issue – woop-woop!

#1454 Diamond Cut block

#1454 Diamond Cut block

My block is #1454 Diamond Cut, made with Northcott’s uber-delicious Artisan Spirit Shimmer. It has just a hint of metallic gold – enough to make it shimmer (haha) but not enough to make it at all challenging to work with.  I have made numerous quilts with Shimmer, and they all turn out drop-dead gorgeous because of the fabric.

The Diamond Cut block is similar to the block that I used for my Bevels quilt featured in the November 2015 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts.

Bevels quilt from November 2015 McCall's Quick Quilts

Bevels quilt from November 2015 McCall’s Quick Quilts

 

However, I added corners that create a secondary design when multiple blocks are sewn together.  Using 2 different values of one color gives the distinct impression of shading in the fabrics, creating an optical illusion.

Quilt #1

Quilt #1

In this alternate colorway version, I used multiple colors and placed them on a black ground, using one color (gray) for the corner pieces.

Quilt #2

Quilt #2

In the 3rd version, I used a light (cream) ground instead of black as above.

Quilt #3

Quilt #3

I also played with a few other blocks in Volume 15 that had a central on-point square motif.  While there were several in the issue, only 2 had the same grid as Diamond Cut – #1464 Checkerboard Square and #1474 Nine Patch Palette.  Here is Diamond Grid with Nine Patch Palette, and then with the corner squares of Nine Patch Palette recolored.  What a difference!

Quilt #4

Quilt #4

Quilt #5

Quilt #5

Diamond Grid didn’t play as well with Checkerboard Square in my opinion.

Quilt #6

Quilt #6

I also combined Checkerboard Square with Nine Patch Palette, both with and without recolored corners.

Quilt #7

Quilt #7

Quilt #8

Quilt #8

I have 3 copies of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 15 to give away, and I will throw in some Shimmer fabrics as well.  For a chance to win one of the 3 prizes, please post a comment on this blog post by midnight tomorrow Friday May 5th telling me which of the 8 options is your favorite.  If you haven’t commented on my earlier post for the Northcott giveaways, please do!

As I write this post, I recall writing a similar post for Volume 13 which came out around this time last year and which also featured one of my blocks.  It was a crazy-busy time, particularly because, while returning to Canada from a Florida vacation, I had to make an unplanned multi-day stop in Paducah, Kentucky to join my colleagues in the Northcott booth at AQS Quiltweek.  I did not have any of the clothes or shoes that I needed to wear at the show (cycling shorts, golf clothes and swimsuits were NOT appropriate), so I called my son at home and walked him through my closet via the telephone as he pulled out the required dresses, matching shoes and jewellery, and Fedex’d them to me.  Remarkably, he managed to select all the right ones!

Enjoy the 100 Blocks blog tour road rally, and be sure to stop at the other designers’ and sponsors’ blogs to enter the rally.  Good luck!

Cheers,

Patti

Houses of All Shapes & Sizes

4 May

Fellow Quilters,sponsor blog tour button

Today is my lucky day, and yours too!  This week is the blog tour for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 15, and not only is Northcott a sponsor, but I also have a block in the issue.  The good news for you is that you get 2 chances to win a copy of this great issue chock full of creative blocks – one chance for commenting on this post and one for commenting on my block post.

I really enjoy writing the Northcott post – it allows me to stretch my creative muscle by recreating some of the blocks and making them with the fabric collection featured in the Northcott ad in this issue.  This time around it is Little Genius (Little Genius ), part of the Tiny Treasures series of small-scale prints.  Little Genius is also a Quilts for Kids collection, benefitting Quilts for Kids (http://www.quiltsforkids.org/ ), a non-profit organization dedicated to brightening the lives of children who suffer from abuse or life-threatening illnesses.  Quilters are so kind-hearted and generous with their time, regularly making quilts that aid those people less fortunate.  Coincidentally, my modern guild had a charity sewing day last month, and we made a quilt with various house blocks for a local facility that provides support for families living with cancer.

With that in mind, I selected any blocks in Volume 15 that looked like houses, whether they were traditional or not.  This included #1441 Tree Houses, #1449 Beach House, #1495 Adventure Seeker (it is a teepee), and #1499 Candy Box (it reminded me of modular housing).  Since, as quilters, we like these quilts to be quick and easy, I also selected some of the easier blocks, such as #1411 Diamond Twist and #1489 Offset.  I noted that #1489 Offset looked like a low-rise apartment.  With 6 different blocks in all, I had lots of options.

I then set to work recoloring them in Little Genius, keeping the background the same in all blocks to maintain cohesiveness.  Here they are!

Little Genius blocks

Then I set them into a variety of quilts, creating 6 different options.  The first one has 2 each of all 6 blocks, with the lengthwise border stripe used for the outer border.  I added sashing to minimize the varying grids in the blocks.  It looks like a sampler quilt.

Quilt #1 - all 6 blocks

Quilt #1

In Quilt #2, I used the 4 main “house” blocks, keeping the sashing and border.  I think you would agree that the result is somewhat less “sampler-y”.

Quilt #2 - the 4 house blocks

Quilt #2

Quilt #3 has just the 2 main “house” blocks, and I like this version a lot.

Quilt #4 - the 2 main house blocks

Quilt #3

I used only the teepee and apartment blocks in Quilt #4, changing the block ground to solid cream, and it has a cleaner, more modern look.

Quilt #5 - teepee & apartment with cream ground & non-stripe border

Quilt #4

In the final quilt, I used the 2 more modern “houses” (the modular one and the apartment one) and used a less-busy print in the border.  The effect is quite grid-like, and appeals to the modern quilter in me.

Quilt #6 - modular & apartment blocks with plainer border & solid cream ground

Quilt #5

I am having a tough time deciding which one is my favorite, so I’m asking for your help.  For a chance to win a packet of Little Genius fabrics and a copy of “100 Blocks Volume 15”, please post a comment to this blog by midnight tomorrow Friday May 5th telling me which quilt is your favorite.  I’ll randomly select 3 winners.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to my blog, and this post on behalf of Northcott.  Please check out my other post today as one of the block designers – you’ll be glad you did!  For more chances to win a copy of “100 Blocks Volume 15”, be sure to visit the other blogs in the tour as well.

Cheers,

Patti

Two Tips for Two by Two

11 Apr

Last Thursday night our area had a late-season storm that dumped 4” of heavy snow on us, so Friday was a self-proclaimed Snow Day – I like to refer to it as a Sew Day.

View from my sewing room

View from my sewing room

I am presenting several guild trunk shows in the coming months, and wanted to get some new quilts made for them.  Earlier in the week, I had pulled out the fabrics for my new Two by Two pattern that is made with Northcott’s Noah’s Ark collection. It has instructions for a lap, twin or double-size quilt that showcases a cross-wise panel and a lengthwise border stripe.  It also has instructions for a crib-size quilt that utilizes a book panel.

Two by Two crib quilt

Two by Two crib quilt

I had started the crib quilt on Wednesday, and determined that, even though I had fabrics to make only the crib and twin sizes, I actually had almost enough scraps to make the lap version as well.

Two by Two toddler-lap quilt

Two by Two toddler-lap quilt

I could donate it to my guild’s charity quilt program! I picked up a 2nd panel and an additional 1/4yd of one fabric, and I was good to go.

There is something therapeutic about sewing all day long.  I put on my tunes, made a pot of tea, and enjoyed the snowy view outside my sewing room window while I stitched away.  By day’s end, I had finished piecing the crib quilt and the twin quilt, and the blocks for the lap quilt were done.  As I was sewing, my piecing process made me think about a technique that I discuss in my Borders & Binding workshop. I use it when I have pieced sections that I am joining to unpieced sections AND the unpieced sections are on the lengthwise grain of the fabric – lengthwise borders are a good example.

In our quilting fabrics, the lengthwise grain of the fabric is not as stretchy as the crosswise grain.  We typically cut our strips width-of-fabric, or crosswise from selvage to selvage.  When piecing, we can use this stretchiness to make 2 sections fit together.  This is particularly helpful when the 2 sections are supposed to be the same length, and somehow ended up as different lengths.  Perhaps our seam allowance was not exactly ¼”, or our cutting was not entirely accurate.  When one of those sections is cut on the lengthwise grain and is the shorter length, we do not have the ability of stretching it to fit.  How, then, do we manage to fit the 2 sections together?  We use the feed dogs – those jagged teeth under the presser foot – to make the longer section feed faster than the shorter section by placing the longer section on the bottom and the shorter section on the top as we sew the sections together.  One of the wonderful students in my class at A Mountain Quiltfest in TN last month called this the “baggy bottom” method.  I used this method when I added the outer borders to my quilt, since they are cut on the lengthwise grain.  It is counter-intuitive for me to do this – I like to have the pieced section on top so that I have control over the direction of all the seams.  However, it is much easier to put the border on the top and check each cross seam from underneath as I approach it.  I also used this method when I sewed the blocks to the sides of the panel – I checked my panel and determined that the lengthwise grain ran vertically in the panel.

The outer corners of the Two by Two quilts have ¼-circle fan blocks.  These blocks are constructed using 5 wedges cut from a template.  I know that paper-piecing these blocks would be more accurate, however the larger size quilts have 10” blocks, and that doesn’t fit onto a standard 8½” x 11” piece of paper.  My blocks were ever so slightly larger than square, which would have made the outer edges of the quilt wavy – not good!  I used a square ruler to trim the 2 straight edges so that the block was once again square – I positioned the 45° diagonal line through the middle of the center wedge to determine where to trim the 2 straight edges.  My 3 quilts now have perfect corners and flat borders.

trimming the fan block

trimming the fan block

 

I am teaching my Borders & Binding workshop several times in the next few months, including:

  • April 20 at the Niagara Heritage Quilt Guild in St. Catherines, ON
  • May 3 at the Windsor Quilt Guild
  • May 15 at the Beaverton Quilt Guild
  • May 17 at the Moraine Quilt Guild in Newmarket
  • July 28 at Quiltfest 2017, sponsored by Tennessee Quilts in Jonesborough, TN I am also teaching my Fast & Fabulous Bargello wall-hanging class and my Stacks of Presents wall-hanging class AND presenting my lecture/trunk show at Quiltfest.  It is a fabulous 3-day event packed with classes and lectures (details at tennesseequilts.com)

I had a fantastic time teaching at A Mountain Quiltfest last month.  All my students were wonderful – so enthusiastic, and overflowing with Southern charm.  It was delightful!  There were 400 quilts in the various exhibits, including a special silent auction to raise money for the victims of the Pigeon Forge & Gatlinburg area who lost their homes in the fire a few months ago.

Ronni's quilt

Ronni’s quilt

I purchased a lovely Christmas quilt from my friend Ronni from Florida – this picture does not do it justice.

Ronni's quilt label

Ronni’s quilt label

The label is great!

I would like to share a couple more pictures of recent projects with you.  The first one is a gorgeous quilt made from Northcott’s Peony Passion for staffer Marilou, who is currently undergoing chemo.

Marilou's quilt

Marilou’s quilt

Susanne pieced it and I quilted it.  Marilou and I share the same birthday.  Best wishes Marilou!

The other quilt is my guild challenge quilt.  The colors that I had to use (and no others) were yellow and black.  I had fun with this, utilizing some of the techniques I learned in Lenore Crawford’s class 3 years ago.  I used a photo of a flower (daisy or sunflower) as inspiration, cropping it to show only part of it.

Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow

I called it Mellow Yellow.  Coincidentally, there was a VERY similar quilt in the show at A Mountain Quiltfest with the same name.  I wish I had taken a picture!  It was eerily similar.

Thanks to everyone who commented on their best class.  The randomly chosen winner is Darlene of QuiltShopGal – great advice! I am participating in a blog tour next month for the next issue of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, so be sure to visit, ‘cause I always give away packs of fabric and a copy of the magazine.  There’s a special twist this time!  See you soon!

Cheers,

Patti

It’s Quilt Show Season

16 Feb

For most quilters, this time of year is a bit early for “Quilt Show Season”, when area guilds have their annual or biennial quilt shows.  For me and Northcott, however, it is full-on quilt shows right now.

Last month my colleagues and I attended Road to California in Ontario, CA, about 1 hour from L.A.  It was our first time at this show.  The weather was unseasonably cool and very rainy, but that didn’t stop the quilters from coming.  We met thousands of enthusiastic quilters from the area and beyond – lots from neighboring states, quite a few from Canada, and even some from Europe.  We were taking sign-ups for our monthly newsletter, chatting with consumers about the quilter-friendly features of Northcott’s website (the Product Finder is the best!), inspiring passers-by with our colorful display, and providing information on where they could find the displayed fabrics at Road to California.  When we had a quiet moment or two, usually toward the end of each day, we would zip around the show to view the incredible quilts in the show, and shop for quilting essentials.  LAGA, a vendor that I had not seen before, was selling beautifully-stitched purses and bags, and I just had to have one.

Ria handbag by LAGA

Ria handbag by LAGA

The bags are made in Indonesia by Tsunami survivors and profits help them rebuild their lives.

Now, I am very particular about my purses – they need to have tons of perfectly-sized pockets for all of my stuff. I am not one to toss everything into my purse, have it fall to the bottom, and then dig for it when I need it.  No, there needs to be a pocket for each item so that I can retrieve it instantly.

Studio Kat's Encore bag insert

Studio Kat’s Encore bag insert

After purchasing my beautiful purse, I stopped by Studio Kat’s booth and bought a pattern for the Encore purse liner. Now I’m all set!

Next week, the Northcott team is heading to Savannah, GA for QuiltCon.  This is Northcott’s 2nd year at QuiltCon, but it is my first time, and I’m very excited.  I am rooming with fellow Barrie Modern Quilt Group member Judi, who is also a QuiltCon rookie and is equally pumped.  I have signed up for 2 evening classes: one on quilting ideas & inspiration, and one on designing modern quilts using Electric Quilt. In addition to taking classes, I am also presenting a demo/lecture on Alternate Gridwork, showing lots of examples from my stash of quilts. I still have 1 quilt to piece for this, and one to quilt as well.  My colleague Elaine is also doing demos – curved piecing and improv piecing.  All of this is in addition to manning the Northcott booth – taking newsletter sign-ups, promoting the special Northcott challenge for QuiltCon attendees,chatting with quilters, and more.  If you will be there, please drop by and say hi.  It will be a busy but thrilling week!

Next month I am once again heading to A Mountain Quiltfest March 21-25 in Pigeon Forge, TN to teach and present my trunk show. Three of my 5 workshops (Stacks of Presents, Easy Lone Star, and Fast & Fabulous Bargello) are already full!  There are a couple of spots in my Simplified Double Wedding Ring workshop, and my Borders, Bindings & More workshop still has space as well.  It is my favorite workshop – the student learn so much!  Mountain Quiltfest is a great event – the teaching faculty is fantastic, and the quilts in the show are amazing.  There are lots of vendors, and the team that runs the show is delightful.  Pigeon Forge is a great town, with so much to offer.  It is an entertainment mecca, with a variety of dinner theaters, attractions, and of course the fantastic Smoky Mountains. Many of the quilters return year after year, and it is so nice to reconnect with them.

Stacks of Presents is my newest workshop, and I am also teaching it locally at Oakville Sewing Centre on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.  Owner Linda is making a party of it, with everything but green beer!  I’ll be sure to wear green – when your name is Patti, it’s a given that you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

To round out Quilt Show Season, the Northcott team is once again having a booth at AQS Paducah April 26-29 for Quilt Week. We had such a great time last year, and our booth was non-stop busy. I expect that it will be the same this time around. If you’ll be there, stop by and see what we’re up to.

Speaking of quilt shows, I have been busy with the challenge for my traditional guild.  I can’t show you a picture of my entry, since the voting hasn’t taken place yet.  I’ll share a picture in my next post, and talk about my inspiration.

I have also been busy with 2 projects for an upcoming issue of Quiltmaker’s Quilts From 100 Blocks.  As soon as I have some photos from the magazine editors, I’ll share them with you too.  I also made a large lap quilt for my ski club’s fundraiser.

Stacks of Rails & Boxes

Stacks of Rails & Boxes

I snapped a quick photo before I dropped it off at the club.  It was made with Northcott’s snowboard fabric collection called Freestyle. I backed it with flannel to make it extra cuddly!

I have been doing my level best to get back up to speed with my snowboarding this year.  I didn’t board at all last year, as hubby and I were in New Zealand and Australia for our winter.  I must admit that I had way too much trepidation getting back onto the slopes.  I lost a big chunk of my confidence in my ability to snowboard.  I am so thankful that I put myself into the 8-week adult lessons this year.  It has been the single best thing to give me confidence. Every time I go down a run, I am thinking about the techniques that instructor Tim has taught me – techniques that will help me successfully get to the bottom of the hill, and to improve. I am even trying out a new snowboard that will make my riding easier and more fun.  After all, isn’t that what it’s all about? The same philosophy can also be applied to quilting.  Classes can do so much to teach us new techniques, or to help us improve our current methods.  They certainly give us confidence, and they can be a lot of fun.  Isn’t that why we quilt?

It’s time to give away some fabric.  For a chance to win a packet of luscious Northcott fabric, please leave a comment on my blog by February 20 telling me about the best class that you have taken.

See you soon!

Patti