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Welcome to the Toronto Stop on the Road Home Row-along!

15 Sep

Fellow Quilters,

Today I join 4 other quilters who are blogging about what home means to them, as we participate in The Road Home Row- along.  The Row-along, organized and hosted by Marian of Seams to Be Sew and Amy of Sew Incredibly Crazy, has 40 designers from all around the world, each creating a row reminiscent of their “home”.  It started September 6 and runs for 6 weeks, with bloggers posting each Tuesday and Thursday.  You are invited to collect as many rows as you want, and they are free!  There are also tons of prizes – each blogger has a prize, there are weekly prizes, and also some grand prizes, so increase your odds of winning by visiting as many of the blogs as you can.  Let me tell you about my row.

I am a Toronto girl, born and raised here.  While I now live an hour’s drive north of the city, I still travel into the city to enjoy all that it has to offer – world-class theatre, cuisine from every corner of the earth, top designer boutiques, professional sports teams (including World Series winner Toronto Blue Jays), world-renowned hospitals & universities, all crammed into the city.  Despite that, it is a very green city. Toronto is on Lake Ontario, one of the Great Lakes, and our waterfront is a leisure playground, with lots of boating in the summer months.  The best view of our spectacular skyline is from the Toronto islands, just offshore of the waterfront.  Toronto is the biggest city in Canada, and our airport is the hub for air traffic to the US and overseas.   How do I design a row reflecting these characteristics of my hometown?

Each row is 12” by 24-40”.  Now, if you’ve been to Toronto, you know that there is a special building (the CN Tower) that is iconic, and it is very tall – 1800ft!  This meant that my row needed to be vertical.

My piecing bits & pieces

My piecing bits & pieces

I am a piecer at heart, so I needed to include some of that.
My row has storm at sea blocks to represent the lake.  I used a selection of Northcott’s Toscana suede-like texture to create my row, including the range of clear blues for the sparkling water.

Storm at Sea blocks

Storm at Sea blocks

The seams nested together because of the direction that they were pressed (2 opposing corners pressed in, and the other 2 opposing corners pressed out).

I selected warmer teal blues for the flying geese blocks to fill the sky. I randomly arranged them on my work surface, moving them around until I liked the color placement.

Assorting the flying geese pieces

Assorting the flying geese pieces

Then I sewed the sky to the lake, inserting the skyline background between the 2 pieced sections.

Putting it all together

Putting it all together

Finally, I added the applique pieces that bring the row to life.

My finished row waiting to be quilted

My finished row waiting to be quilted

Here is my helper Susanne, preparing the applique pieces.

Susanne preparing the appliques

Susanne preparing the appliques

She is in the Northcott sewing room (we are in the midst of Quilt Market preparations, so she is almost buried in projects).


I hope you enjoyed your visit to Toronto.  The free pattern for my row is available on Craftsy (Road Home Row-along Toronto) until the end of October.  Marian and Amy have collected lots of prizes, so be sure to visit Marian’s site at Seams to Be Sew  to enter for a chance to win a lovely 18” x 24” cutting mat from Calibre Arts or a fabulous embroidery disk from Anita Goodesign (embroidery is so popular right now!).  These prizes are available for US residents only, so if you’re NOT a US resident, I have something for you too!  For a chance to win a packet of Toscana fabrics like the ones used in my row, please leave a comment on my blog telling me where “home” is to you.  I will collect entries until September 21st.

Here is the full list of participants in The Road Home Row-along – have fun visiting as many as you can, and entering to win the prizes.

September 6

Allie-Oops SweetHappy Life 
creates Harrisville, MI Sunrise Coast
Cynthia’s Creating Ark
creates Adelaide South Australia
Kissed Quilts
creates Grand Coulee, Washington
Renee’s Quilting Addiction
creates Alberta, Canada


September 8

Sew Incredibly Crazy
creates Colorado
Quilt in Piece
creates Amanzimtoti, South Africa
3 Patch Crafts
creates Bulgaria
Just Let Me Quilt
creates Las Vegas, Nevada

September 13

Tweety Loves Quilting
creates Edinburgh, UK
creates Heber City/ SLC
Seams To Be Sew
creates Idaho Falls, Idaho
Pine Valley
creates New Zealand


September 15

bdieges designs
creates Road to Tehachapi (CA)
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
creates Worcester County in Central Massachusetts
Cloth and Paper Studio
creates North Georgia Mountains
Patti’s Patchwork
creates Toronto, Ontario Canada

Seacoast Quilter
creates New Milford, Connecticut
September 20

creates Denmark
Heleen Pinkster
creates Netherlands
Seams To Be Sew For Batts In The Attic — date may change
creates Hollywood/LA
Rebecca Mae Designs
creates Northern Maine


September 22

Words & Stitches
creates Beaches of California
Quilt Art
creates Africa
I Can Quilt 2
creates Baltimore, MD
Any Pattern
creates Port Angeles, Washington


September 27

Creatin’ in the Sticks
creates Dodge City, Kansas
MooseStash Quilting
creates Alaska
Patchwork Breeze
creates West Michigan Shoreline
Sue Griffiths Featured At Just Let Me Quilt
creates Northern Rivers Region, NSW, Australia


September 29

Quilted Fabric Art
creates Burlington Vermont
Westend Quilter
creates Manitoulin Island, Canada
Pamela Quilts
creates Oregon
Quilt Fabrication
creates Silicon Valley, CA


October 04

Linda Robertus
creates Netherlands
Elm Street Quilts
creates North Carolina
Sarah Quinn Featured At Seams To Be Sew
creates Outer Space

Patchouli Moon Studio
creates Central New Mexico
October 06

Cheryl LaPlant Featured At Quilt In Piece
creates York, Maine
Miss Loreen’s Schoolhouse
creates New Hampshire
Bumbleberry Stitches
creates Oklahoma
Needle in a Hayes Stack
creates Mojave Desert


October 11
Show N Tell Day




Farewell to Summer

5 Sep

Fellow Quilters,

Today is Labour Day, the official end of summer.  It was a busy weekend at the lake, as many of our cottage neighbours packed away their summer toys.  The lake is getting cooler – refreshing, especially in the morning, before the sun has had a chance to warm it.  It is not yet too cool to jump into after my morning power-walk, and I am hoping to take advantage of some warm weather in the upcoming days to go for a few more dips before cottage season is over for another year.

PC175 Flight Path twin-sized quilt

PC175 Flight Path twin-sized quilt

I took the opportunity to photograph my latest quilt on a couple of Muskoka chairs on the dock as the sun slipped past the trees.  The chair colours matched the quilt quite well.  Oddly enough, the lavender fabric in the quilt appears as blue, while the lavender chair is still lavender.  Go figure!  This quilt will be on display at the Simcoe County Quilt, Rug & Craft Fair September 16-18 at the Simcoe County Museum in Minesing, as part of the Barrie Modern Quilt Group’s display.  I have been a member of the Barrie group for 3 years, and we have been invited to participate in the Fair this year for the first time.  I am trying to get another small project done for the Fair, if the other items on my To Do list don’t take longer than expected (they almost always do).

I was finishing the instructions yesterday to one of my new patterns – it is called Pine Grove, using Stonehenge Elements (shipping to stores next month).

PC195 Pine Grove lap-size version made with Stonehenge Elements

PC195 Pine Grove lap-size version made with Stonehenge Elements

I used the Blue Planet colourway, so my pattern should probably have been called Spruce Grove.  The wall-hanging-to-king-size pattern includes templates to cut the tree pieces, and I included instructions on how I prefer to cut the pieces when using the templates:  I tape them to the underside of one of my many acrylic rulers, squares or triangles so that the angled edges of the template are aligned with the edges of the acrylic.  No more trimming off extra bits of template when cutting the pieces!  Here is the picture that I included in my pattern. Give it a try the next time you have similar templates to cut.

Tape paper templates to the underside of a ruler and cut along edges of ruler to cut the pieces.

Tape paper templates to the underside of a ruler and cut along edges of ruler to cut the pieces.

This pattern is a variation of my Oh Christmas Tree pattern that I designed 5 years ago to use 2½” strip packs.  I have had several requests to provide instructions for a king-sized version, so I included this size in the new pattern.  It’s a great masculine quilt in the Stonehenge Elements, don’t you think?

I also designed a quilt using Slate, the other colourway of Elements.  Winter Solstice, originally made with Stonehenge Woodland, was published in McCall’s Quilting as Misty Pines.

The Elements version of PC190 Winter Solstice - in lap and queen-size

The Elements version of PC190 Winter Solstice – in lap and queen-size

When Northcott’s Creative Director Deborah Edwards designed the new Elements collection, I think she had my quilt in mind, because it is a perfect fit for Winter Solstice.  It appeared in the magazine as a lap quilt, and I have added a queen-size version to the instructions of the Elements version of Winter Solstice.  Another great guy quilt!

Next up on my To Do list is a row quilt that I am making as part of The Road Home Row-along and blog hop.  My day to blog is September 15th, but the hop starts earlier, so please check it out.  Here is a sneak peek at part of my row.

Part of my Road Home Row-along row

Part of my Road Home Row-along row

I have a few upcoming local trunk shows  if you’re in the area – Lindsay Creative Quilt Guild on September 12th, Settler’s Village in Bobcaygeon on September 13th, The Quilt Store in Newmarket on September 15th, and the Georgina Pins & Needles guild in Sutton on October 4th.

Time to get back to that list…  see you soon!



A Little Quilting Time

4 Aug

Fellow Quilters,

Anyone who knows me also knows that I really like quilting – I like designing quilts, sewing quilts, and I especially like quilting them.  My heart sings when I am at my long arm machine.  I have not had much opportunity to quilt regularly this year – it’s challenging to fit a long arm machine in your luggage while travelling (LOL).  While helping my colleagues prepare for our Spring Quilt Market booth, I got to quilt 12 quilts designed by other Northcott pattern designers, and that was interesting, not to mention therapeutic!  I rarely quilt things that I have not designed.  Last week, I got the opportunity to finish a quilt top that has been waiting to be completed – it is the lap-size version of my Tiles & Lattice pattern, and it is a workshop sample for my upcoming class at my local shop, The Quilt Store in Newmarket (I am teaching it October 6 & 20). IMG_5273 The pattern uses the STRIP-R and No-Sew Circles from Stonehenge Gradations, so I had very few seams to quilt around.  Here are a couple of pictures of the quilting.  IMG_5276I wasn’t sure what to do in the open areas around the perimeter, so I used the melon shapes in the No-Sew Circles for inspiration.  IMG_5278The binding is made with the scraps from the No-Sew Circles that weren’t used in the sashing.  There was virtually no waste!

In addition to the Tiles & Lattice class, I am also doing several other workshops at The Quilt Store:

Borders & Bindings on August 24

Easy Lone Star on September 9

Fast & Fabulous Bargello on September 28

Creative Machine Quilting (free-motion) on October 1

If you’re in the area and are interested in taking any of these classes, please give The Quilt Store a call.  I am also presenting my Interesting Quilts trunk show at the guild in Bobcaygeon on September 13 and in Georgina on October 4.

I have been doing a lot of designing lately, using new Northcott collections, and that has really got my creative juices flowing.  Sometimes it takes time to get back into a groove or mindset.  I often get asked how I come up with so many designs, and the answer is that I design regularly – the more you do it, the easier it is.  That’s true for so many things, though, isn’t it?  The more you practice something, the better at it you become.  Designing quilts is no different.  It will be interesting to see how rusty I am when I jump on my snowboard in a few months.  Not having snowboarded at all last winter, I will be more than a bit apprehensive.  I hope to spend a lot of time on it this ski season, so maybe my skill level will increase.

One of the projects that I designed recently is a row for another Row-Along, happening in September.  Last year I participated in an EQ Row-along organized by Marian at Seams to be Sew.  The theme for Marian’s Row-along this year is The Road Home.  Each of the participants designed a row reminiscent of their home or the area where they call home.  I chose Toronto.  Designing my row was a learning experience for me, since my row includes some appliqué and that is not one of my areas of strength in EQ.  I am looking forward to making my row, and posting pictures of it on my day to post.  It is a vertical row, because Toronto has a very tall landmark.  Can you guess what it is?

Since I have been doing a lot of designing, it means that I also need to do a lot of pattern writing, so I had better get back to work.  I hope you can find some time for your passion this summer, whatever it may be.




Everyday Pleasures

2 Jun

Fellow Quilters,

Quilters are some of the kindest people in the world – so many of them/you/us make quilts simply to give away, sometimes to people that we don’t even know.  Right now, many quilters across Canada are making quilts and pillow cases for the citizens of Fort McMurray, recently ravaged by forest fires, simply because we can and because they need them.  My modern quilt group is coordinating a group quilt project, and my regular quilt guild is collecting quilts and pillow cases.  Local shops have also encouraged their customers to join in, with overwhelming response. It’s inspiring!

I was thinking the other day of some of the special people and experiences that I’ve had the pleasure to know because of my involvement in quilting.  Last month, I presented a trunk show and workshop at the Kemptville Quilt guild.  My host Maureen was so hospitable, as were her husband and grown kids.  Son Eric practiced woodworking as a hobby, and he gave me one of his fabulous hand-made seam rippers before I left.

Seam ripper

Hand-crafted dual seam ripper made by Eric

It feels so nice in my hand, much nicer than the chain-store ones in my tool kit.  It is a treat to use!

Likewise, during the quilting cruise that I was on in February, I had the pleasure of having Pat Buckley Moss and her daughter Mary in my classes.  I gave Mary my leftover fabrics for her sashiko quilt that she wanted to enlarge.  I needed to lighten my load on my return trip!  When I returned home, there was a lovely hand-painted ornament in my mailbox, crafted by Pat herself.

painted ornament

Hand-painted ornament by Pat Buckley Moss

I did not know until that moment that Pat is a fabulous artist!  Now I have a cherished memento of our time on the cruise.

Two weeks ago, I was in Salt Lake City attending Spring Quilt Market, the industry trade show.  It was great to re-connect with my colleagues, whom I haven’t seen for several months as I travelled in New Zealand, Australia & the southern USA.  Northcott has some wonderful talented team members, and I enjoyed spending time with them.  Christina snapped a photo of me in my new dress made with a border print from the upcoming Radiance collection and posted it on Facebook.

Radiance dress

Me wearing my dress made with the Radiance collection

The dress pattern is an old one from my stash of clothing patterns, and I try to make a new dress for each show.  This one is my favorite!  It was perfect for Spring.

While at Market, I met up with fellow pattern designer Susan-Claire Mayfield, a.k.a. Gourmet Quilter, from New Zealand.  She is such an inspiration to me.  She has this fantastic Block-of-the-day pattern called That Town and Country Quilt.

That Town and Country Quilt

That Town and Country Quilt by Gourmet Quilter

You sign up at Gourmet Quilter, and Susan sends you 7 new blocks every week. I first saw it last summer at the designer retreat that we both attended, and fell in love with it.  Well, when I was at AQS Paducah in April, Susan-Claire was at Hancock’s, and I purchased the fabric kit for her quilt.  I haven’t even ordered the pattern yet.  I truly have no idea when I shall make it, but it is a darling quilt.  I haven’t even started yet, so I am officially 5 months behind.  Maybe I’ll start it this summer with my mom at the cottage…

I have several presentations/trunk shows in the next 3 weeks, so if you are in the area of any of them, please drop in.  The biggest one is Friday June 17th at Quilt Canada in Toronto.  This is a wonderful 4-day conference with teachers from everywhere.  There is still space in my trunk show at 2pm if you haven’t already bought a ticket and are available.  I’m also at the Sunset Quilt Guild in Kincardine on June 6th, the Bayfield Quilt Guild on June 21st, and the Ganaraska Quilt Guild in Orono on June 22nd.

Last month I participated in a blog tour for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 13 issue, and I’d like to announce the winners:

Dana Gaffney and Kathy Pfaltzgraff will receive packets of Shimmer fabrics from the Artisan Spirit brand by Northcott for their comments on the My Favorite Jewels post. Dana also receives a copy of the magazine.

Joellyn Partyka and Vicki Terpstra will receive packets of Toscana pinks for their comments on the Pretty in Pink post.  Joellyn also receives a copy of the magazine.

And lastly, Kathy Erickson, Diana M. Diana, and Glenda McDonough will receive packets of Beacon Hall cranberry for commenting on my post way back in December. Thanks to all who posted a comment.  Your feedback is terrific!

Occasionally, quilters email me with pictures of quilts that they’ve made with my patterns.  It’s such a thrill to read these emails.  Joanne Tschantre recently sent me a picture of her Celtic Cobblestones quilt, made from the pattern in Love of Quilting magazine 2 or 3 years ago.

Celtic Cobblestones quilt

Joanne Tschantre’s Celtic Cobblestones quilt

Didn’t she do a nice job?  Thanks for sharing, Joanne.

Time for a giveaway!  Today I will give away 5 of my patterns.  For a chance to win, please visit, click on my name in the Designers box and choose your favorite one, then leave a comment telling me which one it is.



Pretty in Pink

6 May

Fellow Quilters,

This week I have been participating in Quiltmaker’s “100 Blocks Volume 13” blog tour.logo  If this is your first visit to my blog – Welcome!  If you also visited on Tuesday, then Welcome back!  To all of you who commented on Tuesday’s blog, thank you.  I enjoyed reading each and every comment, as you told me about your favorite jewels.  Some of you mentioned family and friends.  Many, many of you said that your favorite piece of jewelry is your wedding ring – truly heart-warming!  I will be selecting the winners from Tuesday’s post shortly.

For today’s post, I scanned the issue of Volume 13, selecting blocks that were designed by some of the pattern designers that partner with Northcott.  I came up with 6 blocks, and recolored them in Toscana, the fabric collection that Northcott has advertised in the issue.  Toscana is a fantastic texture that looks like suede and feels like silk, and comes in 135 delicious shades.  I chose a selection of pinks, ranging from pale Pinky Swear to deep Miami Beet.  Here are the 6 blocks:

Dream Catcher by Chris Hoover

Dream Catcher by Chris Hoover

Corner Block by Celine Perkins

Corner Block by Celine Perkins

Flashlights by Daphne Greig

Flashlights by Daphne Greig

Z-Z-Z by Kat Wilson Tucker

Z-Z-Z- by Kat Wilson Tucker







Jaded Jewels by Patti Carey

Jaded Jewels by Patti Carey




Pinwheel Plus by Kate Colleran








Then I started combining the blocks into different settings.  The results were, um, interesting.  Even though all of the blocks are 12″ they didn’t want to “play together” very nicely.  I made a sampler, making the background dark, and added sashing between the blocks to separate them (like kids!):



It was quite busy!  I tried a couple of 2-block combinations with light and

dark grounds:

Jaded Jewels & Flashlights quilt

Jaded Jewels & Flashlights quilt

Dream Catcher & Pinwheel Plus dark ground quilt

Dream Catcher & Pinwheel Plus with dark ground

Here is the same quilt with a light ground:

Dream Catcher & Pinwheel Plus light ground quilt

Dream Catcher & Pinwheel Plus quilt

What a difference!  Here is one more combination:

Pinwheel Plus and Z-Z-Z quilt

Pinwheel Plus & Z-Z-Z

I have copy of “100 Blocks Volume 13” to give away, and I will also give away a couple of packets of these lovely Toscana pink fabrics, perfect for Spring!  For a chance to win, please post a comment on my blog, telling me which BLOCK above is your favorite and which QUILT above is your favorite.  The deadline to post a comment is Sunday May 8th, which is also Mother’s Day.  To all of the moms – Happy Mother’s Day!

The other bloggers participating in this tour also have prizes, and great posts to boot!  Please visit them using the Quilty Pleasures blog link.  And thanks for stopping by!  See you soon.





My Favorite Jewels

3 May

Fellow Quilters,logo

This week, the 13th volume of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks hits the newsstand, and many of the designers featured in this issue (including yours truly!) are participating in the blog tour.  I love, love, love these tours!  I get to have a conversation with you, sharing some quilting ideas, and asking you to share as well.  Your comments are such a pleasure to read.  For many of you, as for me, quilting is a thread that joins many aspects of your life.  Your quilts and stories inspire me.  They motivate me to keep doing what I’m doing, and enjoy the process.

Over the past 4 months, quilting has taken me to the other side of the world and back.  Hubby and I spent 7 incredible weeks touring just about every corner of New Zealand, visiting roughly 20 patchwork shops along the way.  We then boarded a cruise ship for 2 weeks, and I was immersed in all things quilty as our Quilt Camp at Sea group sailed from Auckland to Sydney.  Upon arrival in Australia, Hubby and I toured numerous wineries and quilt shops (seriously – does it get any better?!?) before heading to A Mountain Quiltfest in Pigeon Forge, TN for another quilt-filled week.  After a couple of side trips (Memphis & Nashville), I headed to Paducah for 5 days at Quilt Week.  Ohmygosh!!  It is Mecca for quilters.  My 2 colleagues and I met literally thousands of quilters in the Northcott booth, and shared quilting tips, inspiration, fabrics and stories with them.  So much fun!

So, what does any of this have to do with jewels, you ask?  Well, New Zealand is a jewel of a country.  Yes, I know that for most of us, it is a very long plane ride away, but it is worth every minute.  I highly recommend adding it to the top of your bucket list.  It is spectacular, and has inspired a few more quilts to be added to my To Do list (I may need to take a landscape quilting class first).

In Australia, I was hoping to acquire a pair of opal earrings to replace the ones I lost.  Alas, I came home without any new earrings.  Perhaps a return trip is in my future.

During all of my travels this year, I have met countless delightful quilters and quilt shop staff – all jewels!

jewel blockOh yes, and my block in “100 Blocks Volume 13” is Jaded Jewels,
called this because it looks faceted when shades of one color are used for
the prism-shaped pieces.  I really like color – all colors – and I think I own more turquoise-colored jewelry than any other color. Naturally, I chose the turquoise, or peacock, colorway of Artisan Spirit Shimmer for my block.  With 9 different values from light to dark, it was easy to create my block, choosing 6 of my favorites.  This block is much easier than it looks, and I had it sewn together in no time.  I even came up with a couple of quilt ideas:jewel lap quilt

Above is a lap-sized quilt, and below is a bed runner.  jewel bedrunnerI am really liking bed runners these days – they keep my feet and shins toasty without making the rest of me too warm.

Each of the bloggers participating in Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 13 blog tour will be giving away a copy of the magazine.  For a chance to win, please leave a comment on my blog, telling my about your favorite jewel or piece of jewelry.  I will even include a bundle of Artisan Spirit Shimmer fabrics in your favorite color.  To see all of the colors of Shimmer, visit  Northcott – Shimmer .

Have fun visiting all of the other blogs, and please drop by again on Friday for another chance to win, when I do another post for the tour.




Breath-taking Vistas Everywhere!

11 Jan

Today is Day #5 for Hubby and me on our NZ adventure.  Mother Nature has certainly been on our side, and blessed us with brilliant sunshine almost continuously.  I’m feeling thankful that I brought the #45 sunscreen.  We have been on some terrific bike rides to stretch our legs and justify an extra glass of NZ wine.

View of Mt. Cook from Lake Pukaki

View of Mt. Cook from Lake Pukaki

On our way from Lake Tekapo to Oamaru, we cycled part of the Alps2Ocean trail, taking in the surreal vistas from the shores of Lake Pukaki.  The water colour of this glacier-fed lake is pale aqua, a stark contrast to the browns and greys of the surrounding hills.  With a view of Mt. Cook in the background, it is breath-taking.

Cycling has not been our only form of calorie-burning.  We have also enjoyed some fabulous hiking.

View from the top of Mt. John at lake Tekapo

View from the top of Mt. John at Lake Tekapo

In Lake Tekapo, we tested our lung capacity and quads by hiking the short trail (same elevation change but shorter distance) to the peak of Mt. John for a 360° panoramic view of the Canterbury Plains. It was worth the effort!  Today we got our workout by walking around the city of Dunedin, New Zealand’s equivalent to San Francisco as far as steep roads go.  We decided that walking the streets would be safer than cycling them – I’m not sure the brakes on my rental bicycle could handle the pitch of these roads.

I managed to squeeze in a couple of quilt shop stops.  On the way from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo, we stopped at The Tin Pin in Geraldine to say hi to shop owner Lisa Nelson.

Lisa Nelson of The Tin Pin in Geraldine

Lisa Nelson of The Tin Pin in Geraldine

She has a terrific shop on the main street, and a terrific attitude to boot!

Today, on our stroll through Dunedin, we stopped in to see Sue at Threads Needle Craft.  In addition to quilting fabrics, she also stocks other needle arts supplies.

Sue at Threads Needle Craft in Dunedin

Sue at Threads Needle Craft in Dunedin

Interestingly, both women fold their bolts of fabric into 11” wide bolts instead of the 22” wide size that I am accustomed to seeing.  Both shops had a selection of NZ themed fabrics, perfect for souvenirs, don’t you think?

Tomorrow promises to be another activity-filled day, with hikes to Mt. Cargill and the Otago Peninsula, before we head down to Invercargill at the south end of NZ. If the sunny weather holds, it will be the longest day of our trip, with 15 ½ hours of daylight.  Such a treat compared to our Canadian winters!

Until then,



My New Adventure Begins…

7 Jan

Fellow Quilters,

Hubby and I embarked on a wonderful adventure today.  We kissed our beloved Canadian winter goodbye and spent 27 hours to get to Christchurch NZ.  We left frigid temperatures yesterday, and arrived in the garden capital of NZ today.  Here are a couple of pictures of the beautiful hydrangeas and hollyhock in the gardens at the hotel that is our home for the next couple of days.  DSCF1468DSCF1467We rented bicycles for our trip, and quickly jumped on them this afternoon to alleviate the issues associated with a 27-hour trip (lack of exercise!).  NZ is a great country for cyclists, and Christchurch fits right in, with bike lanes on most of the roads.  Christchurch is known as the garden city in NZ, for it is lush and green.  This is in stark contrast to the view from our airplane window as we travelled from Auckland to Christchurch this morning – it was mostly mountainous, with very little sign of life.  We toured the downtown area of Christchurch today, including the areas devastated by the earthquake in 2010, then further damaged by the numerous after-shocks in following months.  Here is a picture in Container CityDSCF1460I can only imagine what Christchurch looked like before the massive earthquake.  After riding around for a few hours today, the only thing Hubby and I need to get used to is riding on the left side of the road, opposite North American driving practices.  While driving the car today, Hubby turned the windshield wipers on several times in an attempt to put the turn signals on.  Hopefully in 2 more days, he will be thinking “left” instead of “right”.

Time to call it a day – the jet-lag is setting in.  Tomorrow will be another busy day, including a longer bike ride and perhaps a visit to Art of Sewing, the local quilt shop.

Until then, Cheers!


Super Simple Seminole with STRIP-Rs

10 Dec

Fellow Quilters,

Today is a busy day – I am double-blogging.  I am the guest blogger over at the McCall’s Quilting blog AND I am blogging here on my own site.  If you are visiting through the McCall’s blog, a warm Canadian welcome!  If you are visiting just because, please check out my post at McCall’s, and leave a comment there for a chance to win one of 3 fabric prizes compliments of Northcott.  I am also giving away fabric prizes, so be sure to leave a comment below.  More about that later.

I am a guest on the McCall’s site because my Painted Porcelain quilt is featured in the January/February 2016 issue of McCall’s Quilting, on newsstands now.  Here is a picture:

Patti's Painted Porcelain queen-size quilt

Patti’s Painted Porcelain queen-size quilt

I used Northcott’s Porcelain Blue collection designed by Deborah Edwards. It is a beautiful collection of classic blue and white, reminiscent of Delft blue dinnerware.  My quilt is equally traditional.  The block looks like the Roman Stripe block, with a half-square triangle on one half of the block, and strips of various fabrics making up the other half-square triangle.  My pattern is deceptively simple – I used the STRIP-R fabric from the Porcelain Blue collection for those “pieced” triangles.  A STRIP-R (pronounced “stripper”) is a fabric with (21) 2” wide lengthwise strips across the width of the fabric.  It looks like this:

Porcelain Blue STRIP-R

Porcelain Blue STRIP-R

I think STRIP-Rs are the greatest thing since… well, rotary cutters. Think of them as jellyrolls already sewn together.  If you have visited from the McCall’s blog, you have seen some of the amazing ways that you can use them in quilts.  I want to show you another cool use for them.  I have the honour (that’s Canadian for “honor”) of being the featured designer in the current issue of The Canadian Quilter, the quarterly newsletter of the Canadian Quilters’ Association (  Here’s part of the article from the magazine.

Article in the Winter 2015 issue of The Canadian Quilter

Article in the Winter 2015 issue of The Canadian Quilter

I designed a pretty throw-size quilt especially for the issue, made with Beacon Hall, the sister collection to Porcelain Blue.  Beacon Hall has the same prints as Porcelain Blue, and is available in black/white and red/white.  I used the red/white combination for Beacon Hall Baskets, a vertical strip quilt with 4 columns of baskets and 3 columns of Seminole strips.  Guess what?  Those Seminole strips are made with the Beacon Hall STRIP-R! How easy is that?!?  I cut the STRIP-R into 3 sections:

Cutting the Beacon Hall STRIP-R

Cutting the Beacon Hall STRIP-R

Then I cut each section into 2½” wide pieces and made a Seminole strip from each one by aligning the “seams” without the bulk of actual seams.

Piecing the Seminole

Piecing the Seminole


I used this same concept in my Ambience Medallion pattern (available at using Northcott’s Artisan Spirit – Ambience collection.

Ambience Medallion wall-size

Ambience Medallion wall-size

The Seminole corners were made with a STRIP-R.  It makes the piecing so efficient that I was able to make this quilt top yesterday afternoon.

I’ve been spending lots of time in my sewing room lately making up quilt top samples for my travelling trunk show.  Most of the quilts have STRIP-Rs in them, and I can get these tops done in less than a day.  Here’s one that I pieced one evening, a variation of my Shimmering Strata pattern originally designed for Artisan Spirit – Shimmer.

Shimmer Strata pattern made with Ambience STRIP-R

Shimmer Strata pattern made with Ambience STRIP-R

In the original quilt, I strip-pieced the 9 light-to-dark values of 4 different colour palettes of Shimmer, then created my bargello.  In this Ambience version, I simply used 3/8yd of 4 different STRIP-Rs from Ambience.  The STRIP-R in Ambience has only 7 values, so my quilt is a bit shorter, but it does not impact the design.  In my Ambience version, there are only 3 horizontal seams in each bargello column instead of 15 if I had sewn strips together, and there is no bulk from those seams.  In the narrow strips in this quilt, eliminating this bulk was the key to making this quilt a breeze to piece. I saved so much time that I was able to whip up a batch of Pecan Toffee Shortbreads, hubby’s favourite Christmas cookie.

Pecan Toffee Shortbreads

Finely chop and toast ¾ cup pecans. Let cool.

Combine 1 lb room-temperature salted butter & 1 cup icing sugar.

Add 4 cups flour, 1 cup at a time (I use all-purpose).

Add cooled chopped toasted pecans & 1 cup Skor toffee bits, and mix until combined.

Roll into 1” balls and place 2” apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets (the parchment paper is a necessity). Flatten slightly with the dimpled end of a meat tenderizer dipped in flour.

Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until bottoms are light golden.


Now for the giveaway. I have 3 Beacon Hall fabric packets to give out.  For a chance to win one, please visit the McCall’s blog post ( and come back here to leave a comment telling me which 2 quilts shown in my McCall’s post are your favourites.  Please comment by December 16th to be eligible.



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.