Back to Stitching Circles

Today I cut out the pieces for the last circle. Hip, hip hurrah! The most challenging – should I admit that maybe even the most fun?- part of this project is done.

Block #16 was as hard as they get. I cut out the same piece once, and then twice. Some were cut out three or four times. circle game a0

Why couldn’t I get it right? It looked easy enough! But fabrics that look good together as large pieces no longer looked good together once they were cut. Not enough contrast. Or too much. Sometimes the scale was wrong. Other times it was the colour.  Finally, I went to the pile of previous rejects. It was just what I needed. Small scraps gave me a better idea of what the cut pieces would look like.

Let’s back up a bit.

Before Hawaii I had 11 circles stitched. But I needed more time, and space, and concentration, and more fabric. So I stopped making the circles and started attaching the corners. It was the perfect ‘take along’ project.

Forty hours in transit both directions gave me lots of stitching time. I continued attaching corners to the circles until I ran out of cut pieces.

Then it was Quilt Show time. And curling. No point getting all the fabric out again, so I started ‘framing’ the blocks. Right from the beginning I cut a frame piece every time I made a new template so that I wouldn’t have to cut 128 of them at the end. I had quite a few. Enough, as it turns out, to frame 5 blocks. Here are a few:

Now, out of circle pieces, out of corners pieces, and out of frames pieces, it was time to get the fabric out to do some more cutting.

I have more airplanes and airports coming up this week … and The Winnipeg Jets made it to the next round of playoffs. Looks like lots of circle stitching time in my immediate future.



Posted in 2018, hand piecing, Uncategorized | Tagged | 2 Comments

Seminole Patchwork with Eva Veltkamp

My series of posts from Quilting on the Beach was interrupted by our local Quilt Show, but I have one more class to share with you. It was Seminole Patchwork taught by Eva Veltkamp.

Do you think Seminole Patchwork will make a comeback? Solids are modern; miniatures are modern. The only thing that might hold it back is the amount of work involved. This is not in the “Make a Quilt in a Day” category.

Here was our goal: one rainbow band for a pillowcase. eva1

As part of the class kit, we were given a treasure. It is a book by Cheryl Greider Bradkin that dates back to 1980 and contains 61 different designs. We tried one of the easier pattern first. eva7

Then it was on to piecing seven strips… eva9.jpg

cutting them… eva8

Sewing them back together again… eva4.jpg

Cutting them again… eva6.jpg

Before joining the sections together… eva5.jpg

Here are a couple more samples Eva had to show the class. I think Seminole Patchwork has potential. Maybe not on a tie. Or a belt. Nor an apron. Or sleeves and hems. But somewhere, I will find a reason to use some of the patterns found in the book.

This brings an end to my Quilting on the Beach series. I have many projects to finish – and to start. My goal is to have them done by the end of the year at which time I should have enough for a trunk show!

Posted in 2018, Highlighting others, travels, Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

My Quilting Family

Quilt Reflections 2018 is history. What a wonderful show!

In this post I want to highlight the work of people I quilt with every week. These are the people who have welcomed me into their circle and taught me so much about quilting. I feel honoured to have them as friends.

Joan is VERY productive and the Queen of applique. I remember when she had this circular pattern spread out on the table and was preparing her applique templates. She used a hole punch to make the perfect little circles you see in the trees – and they still looked perfect even once they were appliqued on! The center is her own design based on a picture her husband took at Clear Lake, Manitoba where they enjoy some time every summer. I could do a whole post on her work alone. ‘Summer at the Lake’ received the Viewer’s Choice Award.


Lucy has taken English Paper Piecing to a whole new level. Sometimes she brings her laptop and printer/cutter to Quilt Days in order to make her next set of templates. This is ‘Millie’. All of the pieces were hand stitched together, and you can see that it is not a simple hexagon pattern.


When Karen showed us ‘Norman’ the elephant, I just had to order the pattern but I have not had the courage to start it yet. There are over 200 pieces in the trunk alone! She felt like a protective mother who didn’t want to let Norman go to the show, but we convinced her to do so. It’s the first time she has ever entered in a judged show.


Jan does some very interesting work and ‘signs’ her quilt with a clown label. The clowns are always different and are appliqued on. The balloons usually have names and/or dates embroidered on them.


Toby likes to make children quilts but this is not your typical ABC quilt. It had many people at the show guessing what the individual letters stood for. The close-up I chose to show you was Talk & Listen. Who doesn’t remember playing the tin can game!


It seems like Susan is working on a new project every time I see her. She usually makes quilts with specific people in mind and often finds patterns and inspiration on-line – like this paper-pieced Harry Porter quilt that was made for her niece.


Shannon always says that her quilts have to have a home. This quilt went to the home of her 80 year old Aunt Jo as a pattern+fabrics. With Shannon’s help, Aunt Jo learned a little bit about quilting, and the embroidery stitching kept her entertained for 18 months.


Simone is very creative and is another one who gives most of her quilts away. She created and intends to gift this quilt to the facilitator of her Blanket Exercise workshop (an interactive teaching tool designed to improve the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada). The neutral fabric is called People of Turtle Island and was designed by a Winnipeg Indigenous woman. Simone then quilted it with a Metis infinity symbol. Simone1

Cowboy boot quilts were very popular this winter, and this is a quilt made by Gail. Bright and colourful, who wouldn’t want these 30 pair of boots in their closet? Gail

Only a couple of weeks before the Quilt Show, we saw this quilt still in pieces. Somehow Val managed to get it done in time. Made of denim and flannel, this will be a quilt enjoyed for years to come. Val2

If you have stuck with this post so far, I will tell you that I did win a few ribbons as well. It’s A Party placed 1st for quilts that were commercially quilted by a computer guided machine; My Canada placed 2nd in the category for large quilts quilted on a domestic machine; and Set Sail won 3rd in the Potpourri category. My proudest moment came when I entered the Quilt Show and saw both of my Canada quilts at the entrance. Judy1

Posted in Canada 150, Highlighting others, Quilt Shows, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

It’s Show Time! Quilt Reflections 2018

This is an exciting week! It’s Quilt Show time! Consider this your personal invitation to come to Quilt Reflections 2018, a Quilt Show hosted by Manitoba Prairie Quilters (MPQ). You will not be disappointed. QR

While you are there, submit a bid on my Challenge Quilt – Peace Moon, a pattern by Laurel Burch. The challenge was to make a Christmas wall hanging using fairy frost white fabric and button (provided) +anything. Peace4

There will be approximately 20 other fabulous wall quilts to bid on, with all proceeds going to St. Matthews Maryland Ministries. St Matthews Maryland has many programs available to assist families that live in the core area.

You might also want to purchase tickets to the raffle baskets. Last summer I made several glass-on-glass mosaics done in quilt block patterns. But how many does a person really need? I decided to donate this to the cause. Can you see it in your back yard? QR3

If you missed the 2017 Quilt Along where we made a Hand Stitching Book … or if you really don’t want to go to all that work, you can buy the one I made by visiting the MPQ Boutique. The books work REALLY well if you like stitching while travelling. The one I use has gone through many airports and many countries. I have no intention of mass producing them but have this extra one that you can purchase. Some of my quilted postcards are also available at the Boutique. QR1

The raffle quilt has been travelling around the countryside since last summer, visiting various quilt stores. It was made by Southend Quilters, a MPQ Satellite group that I quilt with most Tuesdays. It was custom quilted by Kathy Schwartz of Tamarack ShackRaffle2

I first wrote about making the blocks in October 2016. Time has gone so fast! As of Sunday, the quilt will have a new permanent (and hopefully loving) home. Most of the tickets have been sold but there are a few left for the show, should you wish to purchase any.

Finally, when you are tired of shopping and looking at the almost 200 quilts, rest your weary feet with a stop at the Demonstration area. There is a great range of demonstrations being held all three days. They are open to all and best of all, they are free. I am doing a demonstration of Quilting with Rulers on a Domestic Sewing Machine on Friday at 6:00 pm. Come, if that interests you.

I will be at the show every day and would love to see you there! Stop and say hi.


Posted in challenges, gradients, Quilt Shows, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Indigo Dyeing with Donna Fear

This class was a last minute add to my week of Quilting on the Beach. Somehow, I just knew it would be something special. Maybe too special. I can become obsessed and easily sidetracked by something fun.

And this was fun!

The class was held at the home of Donna Fear – 3000′ up the side of a mountain with an ocean view.

The classroom was outdoors under a tent set up in her driveway.

After a few instructions, we made our first folds, and they went into a water bath to soak… indigo2

… then into the indigo dye vat followed by the magical reveal as our pieces oxidized in the sun and turned from a florescent green to blue.

After that, it was all play. Clothespins went from this to that…


More chopsticks and wine corks …

Slinky and twist ties…

Now look what the Winter Issue of House and Home has as one of the best new trend of 2018!

If my neighbours see clothes lines going up in my back yard (after the snow finally melts!) they will know that I have succumbed to this new passion. I will need to eat more food with chopsticks. I will need to drink more wine, and DH may end up missing a few washers, clamps and screws.

Posted in 2018, fabric dyeing, mad scientist, travels, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Hawaiian Applique with Barbara Bieraugel

After the Hexi quilt (my oldest UFO) … after the Circle Game … a bed size Hawaiian quilt  may be my next hand project. This class was my training, and the project I will be doing will be my practice piece. I can almost hear you laughing.

The second class I took at Quilting on the Beach was Hawaiian Applique with Barbara Bieraugel. Barbara  started the class at Quilt Passions with a discussion of patterns and fabric. Both were tough decisions. It’s amazing how hard it is to choose fabric when two are all you need. Contrast is what its all about.

Choosing a pattern was not much easier. Barbara has published many lovely patterns of flowers, foliage, trees and fruit – typical of Hawaiian designs which reflect their environment and everyday life. Traditionally, Hawaiian designs never included birds, animals or people.


I chose “Ginger”. Here is her sample:

Hawaiian applique5

Once we were in the classroom, we were shown how to fold and cut the fabric. Patterns usually require a 1/8 fold which duplicates itself 8 times, or a 1/4 fold which duplicates itself 4 times.

The design is transferred to the fabric with waxless transfer paper. Even cutting is an art. You need long, thin and very sharp shears. The scissors are kept perpendicular to the edge and you rotate the fabric as you go, being careful not to bend or distort it.Hawaiian applique1

VERY CAREFULLY, the applique is unfolded and placed on the background piece. Traditionally the applique would be basted to the background, but we used small amounts of glue to adhere the two pieces together. Now you can see my piece laid out. Hawaiian applique7

Stitching is done using the turned needle applique method with 2 ply cotton or silk thread. Barbara showed us how to deal with the difficult peaks and valleys using Pearl’s Applique and Pressing Tool. It really does help convince the fabric to see things your way! I will have lots of opportunity to perfect the peaks and valleys. HQ tool

Quilting – whenever I get to it – will be an echo stitch a finger width apart done in a thread that matches the background.

Here are a few more interesting facts of Hawaiian quilting taken from the book The Hawaiian Quilt by Poakalani and John Serrao.

The center of the quilt, like the center of the earth, represents flow, balance and energy. Hawaiian women believed that the strength of love and compassion came from their center, and placed it onto every single quilt they made. The center can be open or closed. An open center represented a gateway to the spiritual world; a solid center depicted the core of the family, the center of one’s life.


Branches extend from the center out, representing personal, spiritual and family growth. Some designers believe that we reach out to family and friends from a strong center, so incorporate a lot of branches into their designs. The border (or Lei) depicts the world outside of Hawaii. It can also represent the circle of life.

Each quilt was designed with special meaning and was made for a special purpose or person. The true meaning of the design remained with the designer. It was considered stealing to make someone else’s design. If you were given or bought the design, you had to make it as it was designed. You did not have the right to change or modify it.

Hawaiian quilt designs are highly respected, guarded and passed down from generation to generation. It was even mentioned that when a family has a party, quilts are brought out and displayed so that the people who designed and made the quilt can be remembered.

This is a true cultural heritage to be treasured.

Posted in 2018, hand piecing, travels, Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Leaf Design with Ann Shaw

My first class at Quilting on the Beach was a 2 day design class. If you like puzzles, you would have enjoyed this class.

We were asked to bring an enlarged photograph of a leaf. Not being able to decide, I took 3 pictures. In the end, I choose the middle picture of a Manitoba Maple leaf.

Ann started off talking about the overall technique, and leaves in particular. Her class sample is of a tea leaf. (used with permission) leaf6

Our first task was to copy our leaf from the picture on to architect’s tracing paper, and to determine the sewing lines in order to duplicate the leaf structure. The goal here was to make purposeful mismatched straight lines. leaf8

Note that her tea leaf has long smooth lines, and the Manitoba Maple has many sharp points.  Hummm. Sometimes my decisions haunt me!

The second step was to make a freezer paper template, and to determine the sewing recipe. By writing out a sewing recipe, you had the leaf design broken into sections and had each piece labelled according to the order in which you were going to sew the pieces. This was my recipe  leaf recipe

After each piece was labelled, we added color tic marks and used highlighters to mark the section lines. If I had ever gotten to the sewing stage, I’m sure those tic marks would be VERY helpful.

Once our pattern was complete, we started to play with fabric on a design wall. Using the original tracing as reference, we cut out our pattern pieces from the freezer paper. These were ironed on to fabric and seam allowances were added. leaf10

At this point you can see that my pieces are WAY too small to be workable. This is a project that will not be finished.

BUT… my leaf picture has been enlarged some more and I hope to revisit it again in the future.

I will need to start from scratch. Fortunately, I love puzzles and I loved this class.

Posted in 2018, art, travels, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Big Island Shop Hop 2018

6:30 seems too early to be somewhere when you are on holidays. Except maybe for a shop hop.

Two buses, almost 50 quilters, six quilt shops and 10 hours. It was a big day. bus

Each store had one part of the following wall hanging*. You had to visit all six stores in order to make the quilt top. Patterns were free and kits were $15, but with a purchase of only $45 the kits were free as well. What a deal. banner1

The Shop Hop tour started at Quilt Passions, the organizers of this event. Some pretty dedicated staff were there early to open the store, hand out ‘passports’ and put out a spread of sweet breads and muffins. Of course I found some gradated fabric I just had to have. This one, designed by Deborah Edwards (Northcott) is exclusive to Quilt Passions.

At 7am we were off. Only a few blocks away we stopped at Fabric & Quilting Delights where we were met by a young lad ready to stamp our passports. This store had a very good selection of Kaffe Fassett fabrics and I was able to add to my selection for The Circle Game.

The long trip between Kailua Kona and Volcano Village was broken up with a stop at a local bakeshop in Na’Alehu. We weren’t hungry but couldn’t resist buying pastries made with local ingredients. The purple Taro bread was our favorite. They even had a culinary garden out back, with labels for those of us who can’t recognize warm weather plants. The only picture I managed to take was of this little gekko– gekkos

Kilauea Kreations (Volcano Village) is a small quilt store where I found more gradated fabric. My collection is growing.

Then it was on to Kilauea Kreations (Hilo) where it was extremely easy to spend the $45 needed to get a free kit.

Hilo has another small Store called Strings, which has quilting and needlework supplies. My favorite purchase there was hand dyed cotton and silk thread.

The drive along the east coast from Hilo to Hanoka’a is lush and tropical. Between Robert (Quilt Passions) and the bus driver we were entertained with many Island facts and stories. We heard about the ‘green flash‘. While not unique to Hawaii, it can be a great place to see it, and we were lucky enough to see it twice during the 10 days we had there.

Our last stop was at Topstitch in Honoka’a. Once again, the store greeted us with a spread of cheese, crackers and fruit. They were more than willing to answer questions and help us with our purchases.

Back at Quilt Passions our circle was complete. Our passports, complete with six stamps, were turned it to be eligible for prize drawings at the end of the month. stamps

*Hawaiian Tropical Stain Glass Group Quilt was designed by Mary Moody Cox and Leimomi Beaudet. The technique was inspired by the work of Phyllis Cullens and the design was inspired by the work of Heather Brown.

Posted in 2018, gradients, travels, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Quilting on the Beach 2018

Quilting is why we go. Getting away from snow, wind and temperatures of -25 is a bonus. DH comes with me. I tell him it is the perk of being married to a quilter.

Planes. Carts. Snow blowers. Graders. Emergency vehicles. A little rabbit hopping out of danger across the runway. That was the view outside as we waited far too many hours in the more than one airport.

Inside, I looked past the chairs, children and frustrated adults and searched for items of interest. Billboards (potential quilting lines?)… travels1

Carpets (see some familiar quilting stitches?)…


Upholstery (wouldn’t that be a nice quilt pattern?)… travels2

We arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii a day late, but ready for our Quilting on the Beach adventure and what an adventure it was.

Robert, Karen and the Staff at Quilt Passions organized a supurb week of classes and activities for approximately 150 people from places as far away as Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, Canada and Continental USA. This was their 9th year and I was amazed at how much effort they put into it. Everything from Welcome packages, receptions, excursions, dinners, tours and of course, the classes.

For us, it started on Saturday with a Big Island Quilt Shop Hop followed by a welcome reception. The reception really was outdoors, and on the beach in front of the King Kamehameha Beach Hotel. reception

After a nice range of pupus (Hawaiian appetizers), we met the teachers and then Quilting on the Beach 2018 was officially launched with a traditional Hawaiian blessing, after which we were entertained with Hawaiian dance by children.

The week ended with an open invitation to a small local quilt show. The theme was ‘Something Fishy’. Here are a few pictures of their creativity:



Stay with me for the next few weeks as I share some of my experiences between the beginning and the end of the week.


Posted in 2018, Highlighting others, travels, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Quilts that Talk; Quilts that Comfort

How do you best reflect the life of a person in a quilt when all you have are a select few pieced of apparel? Have you ever wondered what your clothes say about you? If someone was going to make a quilt from your clothes, what would it look like?

Sad circumstances had me making a memory quilt.

I approached it with some apprehension. I like working with colour but all of the clothes I had to work with were black and grey. The exception was a baby blanket that was yellow & white.

Cotton – the quilter’s dream fabric, but no cotton here. Only a variety of knits. T-shirts. Sweatshirts. Fleece. Knits with lace. Knits with embroidery. Knits with heat pressed vinyl. Knits with embellishments.

24 squares; 18 articles of clothing. I knew I would have to be creative and use everything I could – labels, sleeves tabs, logos, zippers, and even hems.

As I stitched, I thought of her. Evidence of life events were in my hands, and they felt sacred. I thought of her as a baby using the baby blanket, I thought of her as a teenager enjoying the Backstreet Boys, and I got a sense of the young woman she became. I felt like I got to know her just a little. That was an honour and a privilege.

I will not be providing a picture of the full quilt since a name appears on it, but here are pictures of different sections.

The back is soft and cuddly fleece. sylvie1

Did I have goals in making this quilt? I wanted it to be soft and cozy. I wanted it to be visually interesting. I wanted it to have texture – things to touch and play with. I hope I have done that. Hugs & love. sylvie4



Posted in 2018, Highlighting others, Uncategorized | 6 Comments