Monday, September 28, 2020

ZOOM Workshops


I'm currently offering two online workshops for live Zoom classes. I am able to host on my own Zoom platform or on your guild/shop platform.


Think of this class as speed dating with improvisational piecing techniques that include curves and free-cutting.  It will be fast-paced and a lot of fun:  several techniques are introduced and demonstrated one after the other with very little time to second guess, stress or obsess over perfection. Every student will end up with a unique, original improv sampler quilt!  The focus here is to explore line, shape and happenstance in abstract design, so keep things simply graphic by using solid-coloured fabrics in black, white and one pop of colour.  In the afternoon, Krista will share design wall tips to jigsaw the improv elements together, seeking balance and creative design opportunities.  Some pre-cutting is required.

This Zoom class combines pre-recorded technique videos with live instruction/support from Krista throughout the class.

Quilt Size: without borders, approximately 20" x 20". Fabric required: 1/2 yard black, 1/2 yard white, FQ colour (all solids or reads-as-solids).

Class time: 6.5 hours with 30 minute offline break. 

2-day option: 6.5 hours on day one with 30 minute offline break, 3-hour day two for more support on puzzling together the improv elements into the sampler collage.

Class size: 20 students


Explore the possibilities of colour expression and free-cutting while you create this wonky, nested Courthouse Step quilt (reminiscent of paper lanterns) in your own personal colour story. We’ll work intuitively from the centre out, creating a dynamic quilt with loads of personality. There will be no squaring up with this one -- instead Krista will show you how to “build out”, finding the fit between adjacent blocks and using up all of our scraps in the process. As in all of her workshops, Krista will share loads of tips while encouraging all students to find confidence in new techniques that will inform their pursuit of designing original quilts. Put your traditional quilting skills to work and explore improvisational design and piecing in a fun, supportive environment.

Quilt size: wall hanging to lap size depending on the amount of fabric you start with. A collection of 15-20 F8's for wall hanging or 15-20 FQ's for large lap to single size (solids or reads-as-solids) plus 1 FQ contrast colour for block centres is recommended.

Class time: 4 hours 

Class size: 20 students

What students are saying about these classes:

"For those of you who know me well, improv has not been one of my go to techniques. The fabric consumption was way too much for me. But Speed Date with Improv eliminates that concern with fabric waste" 
-Susan, @modernblendedquilts

"Speed Date is my number one technique class"
-Gillian, @sewgolly

"Thank you so much Krista for taking the fear out of improv cutting and piecing!"
-Linda, @myquilts

"hands down the best patchwork course I've ever been on. Krista is so organized and patient. I can't believe how much I learned in one day"
-Rachel, LondonMQG

ZOOM Lectures

 1. Poppyprint: The Search for Signature Style

Krista can present this Powerpoint slide show live at your meeting on ZOOM (60 minutes with question period), or send a pre-recorded .mp4 file to overseas guilds in not-so-convenient time zones* to share with their members (45 minute recording).

As a traditionally-informed modern quilter, Krista has explored many different styles and techniques since she began quilting in 2000. In this photo-rich presentation, Krista shares simple yet effective strategies that have worked for her in the search for a unique creative voice while remaining connected to myriad inspiration sources like print and social media, quilt shows, conferences, local quilts shops and guilds.

2. Who Gives a Flying FQ About Accuracy?

Krista can present this Powerpoint slide show live at your meeting on ZOOM (60 minutes with question period), or send a pre-recorded .mp4 file to overseas guilds in not-so-convenient time zones* to share with their members (50 minute recording).

In this live Powerpoint slide show, Krista presents an update version of her webinar originally produced for the Modern Quilt Guild. In it, she discusses the why and how of cutting, piecing and pressing accuracy, then follows up with the “but when is it really important?” part. This presentation is chock full of information, myth-busting tips, many detailed photos, notion recommendations and piecing tricks. We may even get into the side vs open pressing debate!

*Krista lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in the Pacific Time zone.

For current lecture fees and availability, please contact Krista directly at poppyprintcreates(at)gmail(dot)com 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Varietals - A Monochromatic Improv Study

Here's a recent finish, the second in what I hope will be a series of three quilts all based on improvisational (free cut) hourglass units. This mini-obsession started with the
"Try a Triad" design challenge (still open!) issued by the Canadian Quilter's Association to make a modern mini quilt using only red, blue and yellow fabric. I really loved the resulting design and composition of my challenge quilt but the colours are not at all 'me'.   I decided to hit my Oakshott fabric stash and try a monochromatic version.

Varietals 25" x 25"

Oakshott fabrics are shot cottons, which means they are woven with two different colours of thread. One colour for warp, the other for weft. In the photo above, it may appear that there are more than 3 colours of fabric used. Had I been incredibly diligent about piecing the fabric with the threads always in the same vertical and horizontal orientation, the quilt would appear more uniform, but it wouldn't be as interesting, in my opinion. That is just one more delightful aspect of Oakshott fabric; it gives quilts added visual interest and depth because as you change your viewing angle on the flat, two dimensional artwork, the colours subtly change as the different threads some into view and the fabrics absolutely glow. 

These are the 3 colours I used to make Varietals. Iris is black + purple thread, Grape is red + navy thread and Mallow is red + purple thread.

The tricky aspect to all of this fabric awesomeness is photography. Everyone who loves working with Oakshott will tell you the same thing: it is really difficult to adequately capture the depth in photos. Every time I share one of my quilts in a show or lecture, I hear the same thing, "wow, that quilt is even more incredible in real life!". The best way to describe the sheen and depth is to compare it to Dupioni silk, another fabric you may be familiar with. In the case of Varietals, I could have made this quilt with regular quilting cottons, but with only 3 shades of one colour and no real value difference, the quilt would probably have a flat, less interesting appearance. 

In terms of construction, I first cut sets of squares in a few different sizes from each fabric. The squares were stacked and then free-cut on both diagonals using a rotary cutter but no ruler. Swapping triangles out, I then pieced a lot of improv hourglass units. For me, the challenge of quilts like this is the puzzle-piecing of all the units into a pleasing composition. These are techniques I teach in my Speed Date with Improv workshop. Here, my desire was to portion the quilt into three colour sections that blend toward the center. Keeping like-sized units in groups prevents the quilt from having a completely chaotic appearance. 

As an Aurifil Artisan, I am very lucky to have access to the 270 colours available for my projects. To add more dimension to the piece, I purposely didn't try to exactly match the fabrics, but chose thread colours that I thought would shine on the fabric. I've been using Aurifil thread for about 17 years now and have settled on 40 wt as my go-to quilting weight. I used to stick with 30 wt for quilting (and still do sometimes when I'm not quilting so densely), but I've come to love the look of 40 wt on closely-spaced straight line walking foot quilting. These lines are eyeballed using the edge of my walking foot as a rough guide, about 1/4" to 3/8" apart. I don't try to keep the lines perfectly straight, or perfectly spaced. After all, this is an improv quilt! The lines run at different angles for each colour section. My stitch length is set around 3.0 on my Juki. I've had quilt judges say that my stitch length is too long, but for a wallhanging that isn't going to get any wear and tear, I think this looks much prettier than tiny stitches where I really notice the holes more than the thread.

Aurifil colours from L-R: 2581 Dark Dusty Grape (on Grape), 1100 Red Plum (on Mallow)
 and 2745 Midnight (on Iris)

I used almost every scrap of the supersized Oakshott FQ's that I had for each colour (Oakshott is milled at 55" wide and cut by the meter, so you actually get a luscious piece of shot cotton that is 19.5" x 27"!). That meant a binding was out of the question, so this quilt is faced using most elements of this great tutorial on my friend Terry's blog.

I got the name from my visit to Naramata, B.C. at harvest time last fall. I'd never been when the vines were laden with grapes and it was a gorgeous sight to see!

Any day now, I'm going to find the focus required to start my third version, which I plan to make a bit larger and using 3 different Oakshott reds. I hope it will turn out as beautifully as this one!

Thank you to my friends at Oakshott Fabrics and Aurifil for the fine materials they share with me so that my projects can look their absolute best.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Spicy Mexican Chocolate Cookies

After posting photos of my all-time favourite Christmas cookies on Instagram yesterday, many people expressed an interest in the recipe (there are MANY if you Google the title of this post). However, here's the one I've been using for 25 years:

preheat oven to 350F. Makes 6 dozen 

6 oz unsweetened chocolate
Melt the chocolate gently over a double-boiler. Set aside to cool a bit.

2 C + 2 Tbsp flour
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (don't be tempted to use more!)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
Blend above dry ingredients in a medium bowl

1 3/4 C sugar
1/2 C. unsalted butter at room temperature
3 large eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
Cream the sugar and butter together in mixing bowl. Gradually beat in the eggs one at a time with vanilla. Slowly stir in the melted, partially cooled chocolate.

Mix in the dry ingredients just until blended. Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
Form 1" balls of dough, roll in icing sugar and place 2" apart on parchment-lined sheets. Gently press a raw almond into the top of each cookie, just so that it stays (don't flatten the ball). Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cookies will appear raw-ish in the middle.  Gently push down the almonds a bit more. Allow to cool.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Summer Sampler 2019 Launch and discount code!

The Summer Sampler is back for the 5th year! This year's theme is Piecing Bootcamp; participants will work through 21 blocks designed to introduce a multitude of skills and techniques for your quilting toolbox. Brought to you by Faith, Katie and Lee and their team of fun designers (including your's truly), this year's sampler also includes two fun setting options. Sewtopia is offering a complete Moda Bella fabric kit available for pre-order here! Canadians, look for your fabric kit available for pre-order from my friends at Mad About Patchwork here.

I've designed a structural improv block featuring my fast and fun Improv Under the Influence piecing technique. The block is a smaller version of the center block from my Ice Road quilt. I'm often asked for a pattern for that quilt, but it was something special I made just for myself and I didn't really want it to become a pattern. I'd much rather introduce or teach the piecing technique and have folks use it to create their own groovy quilt designs! Perhaps this block will get you started?

This is my sample block using RJR solids I had in my stash, but read on to see the official colourway for the sewalong kits in the layouts below!

The sewalong starts May 20th and will run all summer with block patterns releasing to subscribers every Monday. Here's a full block preview to give you an idea of the kit colours, layout options and all of the gorgeous blocks! This promises to be a fantastic skill builder resulting in a stunning modern sampler. I love Lee's mock up with my block done in four colours!

Subscriptions are only $29.99 US, however if you use the code POPPYPRINT at checkout, you'll save $5 for a limited time during pre-order (offer valid today until May 19th only).

Are you in?? Buy your subscription here, use your code POPPYPRINT and maybe next time we meet you can buy me a latte with your $5 savings ; )  Just kidding, treat yourself to a lovely FQ!!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Local Courthouse Colourplay Workshop

The Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild invites non-members to join us for my Courthouse Colourplay class on Sunday, April 28th at the Croatian Cultural Centre in Vancouver from 10 am to 5 pm. All of the info is here. The price for non-members is $80.

Explore the possibilities of colour expression and free-cutting without rulers while you create this wonky, nested Courthouse Step quilt (reminiscent of paper lanterns) in your own personal colour story.
I made this wallhanging for the MQG miniquilt swap at QuiltCon2018

We’ll work intuitively from the center out, creating a dynamic quilt with loads of personality. There will be no squaring up with this one — instead I'll show you how to “build out”, finding the fit between adjacent blocks and using up all of your scraps in the process.

This one is a baby or small lap quilt with 25 blocks.

As in all of my workshops, I'll share loads of tips while encouraging all students to find confidence in new techniques.  Put your patchwork and rotary cutting skills to work and explore improvisational design and piecing in a fun, supportive environment!  The supply list includes ideas, resources and tips for selecting your colours. Make a wall-hanging with F8's or a lap quilt with FQ's or 12" WOF cuts.  A layer cake of solids or tone on tones like grunge could even work with some prudent cutting ; ) 

This one, Emerald Court, has 16 blocks with slightly wider strips. It's about 40" square. It's made entirely of Northcott solids that I loved working with! No fraying and a lovely hand.  I'm currently hand-quilting it with Aurifil 12 wt and Aurifloss. 

To register, please email 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Quarter Turn - Pattern Launch!

Hi Friends!! I'm excited to share my new pattern with you. It's called Quarter Turn. Can you guess why? No matter how many times you turn this quilt, it always looks the same. Handy! Also the vertical and horizontal bars in adjacent blocks are a quarter turned from each other. The quilt finishes up at 54" square, but if you prefer a rectangular quilt it would be super easy to simply add more rows to two opposite sides, just extending the gear-like arm thingy by one or two blocks in each direction. How's that for techy?

The cover version made with 4 colours, all luscious Oakshott shott cottons.

The idea for this quilt came to me immediately after I designed the Milltown block for the Sew Sisters Canadian Sampler, which you can read about here and here. I resized the block and it became the center of this quilt design. I wanted to have some fun negative space and get a sense of rotation in this design. I also like the bubble/curvy pattern that emerges in the semi-snowball blocks.

This 2-colour version is made with Moda solids.

Something I really like about it is that the design looks great made with just two colours, or with three colours or four colours like the cover version. I give fabric requirements and cutting instructions for all options in the pattern. This soft 2-colour version makes a great baby or toddler quilt, but different colour choices make it perfect for dudes, gearheads or geeks, too!

There's another thing about this layout if you want to quilt it yourself: the diagonal edges of the diamond shapes all line up (isn't geometry great?). This means that you can easily mark a diagonal grid by lining up your long ruler with the outside seams of all the little diamonds and marking with a fabric safe pencil, chalk or wax pen. I  quilted both of these quilts using my Juki walking foot and 40 wt. Aurifil thread. 

The pattern is available for instant .pdf download in my Craftsy shop right now. Print copies will be available to your LQS hopefully by April...and as always I'll have copies with me when I visit your guild to lecture or teach!