Archive | November, 2015

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#1115 editor Carolyn Beam’s Tulip Patch block, originally made with Artisan Spirit – Panache.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#1130 Karen Bialik’s Townhouses block, originally made with Artisan Spirit – Shimmer.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,