Thursday, August 16, 2018

Vancouver Special

On Saturday and Sunday August 25/26, the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild will proudly present our second Modern Quilt Showcase. Once again, I'm coordinating the show alongside a few other dedicated guild members who've been working super hard to pull it all together. It takes an enormous effort to plan a multi-day public quilt show in a large, industrial setting. We love the Pipe Shop venue in North Vancouver because it is flooded with natural light; the wide open space featuring huge timber posts is the most perfect backdrop for our colourful, modern quilts.

Unlike most contemporary quilt shows taking place these days, we've once again decided to forego the usual "drape" approach to hanging. Our quilts will hang directly from cross bars and dowels suspended from overhead wire. Many of the quilts will have backs visible, which is also rather unusual for a quilt show. It'll be a stunning show of about 140 quilts. I really hope to see you there!

We issued a challenge to our members this time: create a modern mini quilt for the theme "West Coast Modern". The quilt must be made of solid coloured fabric and not exceed 80" total perimeter.  I'm enjoying challenges more and more these days as my confidence in designing original work increases year after year.  I've also learned that it's possible to make just about anything you like and figure out a way to make it fit the theme.

“Special” a miniquilt by Poppyprint

I considered lots of modern landscape interpretations because, well, Vancouver is a coastal city on the edge of B.C., with ocean on one side and mountains on the other. Then out of the blue, I decided to take the "modern" more literally and create a little quilted version of a well-known (somewhat controversial) house design built throughout Vancouver's east and south sides. These homes are known as Vancouver Specials: they feature two full above-ground floors built on grade, maximum square footage, shallow sloping roof, typically a kitchen on each floor, front balcony with sliding glass door, brick bottom with stucco top and an off-centre entranceway.  They often fill their city lot, leaving a small front and back yard.  The homes were built relatively quickly (some came in kits) and provided multi-generational housing that suited the influx of new Canadians to this city who were used to living this way in their home countries and cultures.  While not the most attractive homes, they served an important purpose: to welcome new families to Vancouver and provide affordable housing in a rapidly growing urban area.

Image result for vancouver special images

As families have aged out of these neighbourhoods, many of these 70's built homes have been purchased by younger professionals and renovated into expansive, spare modern spaces for family living. There is even an annual home tour featuring such houses.

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I created my little version entirely with Oakshott shot cottons and quilted it with the new Aurifil longarm 40/3 cotton thread on a cone. I love the weight of this thread for quilting!  I'm thinking more and more about minimalist design and trying it out. This may be my first step...making this quilt a true challenge for me. It's definitely one aspect of modern quilt design that I find the most difficult to wrap my brain around.

“Special” a miniquilt by Poppyprint

“Special” a miniquilt by Poppyprint

I sewed a little sleeve and label on the back yesterday. My mini is all ready for the showcase. To make the mini challenge even more fun, we'll be asking visitors to vote on their favourite. The quilt with the most votes will receive the most beautiful miniature ribbon, handmade by a guild member.  All other quilts in the showcase are also up for Viewer's Choice ribbons, so please come by, enjoy some incredible modern quilts, buy a lucky raffle ticket on our charity quilt and vote for your favourites.

VMQG Modern Quilt Showcase
August 25, noon  - 8:00 p.m.
August 26, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Admission: $5, children <12 free="" p="">

The Pipe Shop, 115 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver, BC
 (just one block east of the Lonsdale Quay Seabus Terminal)
Accessible with washrooms onsite
Free parking nearby in the ICBC parkade, pay parkade at the Pinnacle Hotel & Lonsdale Quay.
1 hr and 2 hr free street parking in the neighbourhood

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Special Edition Retreat for Ovarian Cancer!

When one of your sewing sisters receives an unexpected and serious diagnosis what do you do? Whatever you can to support her and your community, that's what. I like to stick with what I know (yes we already made a lovely quilt to keep her cozy at chemo), so this weekend I'm hosting a special edition Quilt By the Bay for the members of her three stitch groups.
Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope
A growing group of friends have signed up for the Ovarian Cancer Walk of Hope taking place in September. We are doing this because we have the #ladyballs to take action; to support our friend and the thousands of Canadian women who are currently in treatment and need support plus the thousands more who will receive this frightening diagnosis in the future.

Our non-profit retreat on Saturday will result in a hefty donation in support of our team. Because everyone is paying a premium to attend (and will receive a charitable receipt for a portion of their registration fee), I thought I'd reach out to some of my industry contacts to make this an extra awesome & celebratory day with goody bags!. Everyone kindly jumped in with fabulous items for us, plus a few extras. That's where YOU come in!

This Saturday, during retreat, I'll be posting on IG. There are a couple of extra goody bags and a special donation from me that will be up for grabs in exchange for a donation to our team.  I hope you'll check in to @poppyprint to see what we are up to and share words of support for our pal, who is rocking her way through chemo on the way to surgery later this summer.

To give you a little teaser, here is a list of our generous sponsors (mostly wonderful Canadian companies), to whom I say a heartfelt thank you!

Firstly, a huge thanks to the friendly folks at TrendTex Fabrics for supplying our actual goody bags, plus lovely fabric treats and other fun items! Located in Port Coquitlam, BC, TrendTex is a leading Wholesale Distributor in Canada for quilt shops and manufacturers. They are proud to represent some of the best fabric companies in the world such as Benartex, Cotton + Steel, Hoffman, Michael Miller, Moda, RJR Fabrics and Stof. 

And speaking of RJR Fabrics, they've sent us a gorgeous brand new Cotton and Steel print by Rashida in the Ovarian Cancer colour of support (teal). This fabric isn't even in stores yet!


Canadian companies Emmaline Bags (the best source for your bag hardware needs and the awesome FREE Retreat Bag pattern), Camelot Fabrics out of Montreal and N. Jefferson (local wholesale distributor that has been so supportive of me and my business) have all happily participated.

And finally, my publisher Martingale sent some fabulous books. I appreciate that they are always up for supporting their authors!

Tune in on IG this Saturday, or feel free to donate to our walking team anytime! Help us help Ovarian Cancer Canada to support patients, their families and the search for a cure.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

A Splendid Sampler V.2

The first half of the year has been a blur and I'm only just emerging from major volunteer commitments at two more quilt shows here at home. I need to tell you all about The Splendid Sampler 2 sew-along!! 

I was so pleased when Pat and Jane asked me to participate in their second sampler book (of 100 six inch blocks) after suffering a mild case of FOMO when the first one came out. Although I'm not really a sampler person, I just love being part of fun things when lots of other quilters are involved! Meeting new quilt-folk is a favourite pastime of mine - it is always a life-enriching experience. Sometimes it's hard to grow your circle without pushing yourself a bit and designing a tiny 6" block is a bit pushy for me, actually. After the last few years of (mostly) improv work where I just start cutting and sewing and playing on the design wall, it is a surprising challenge to focus small and design something contained.

B1467 TheSplendidSampler2 WEB

I have to keep my little block a secret for a veeeeeeeery long time, but until then I will be trying my best to sew along with the many other designers involved in this book. There have already been many posts about it (like selecting fabric and announcing the 1-wee countdown to the 20-block freebie sew along here). Check the links because there are fabric and book discounts there!

Follow along on the Splendid Sampler dedicated blog for all activities and announcements. It's time I did the same and got up to speed on everything that's happening! There are links in the header of the blog to galleries featuring stunning quilts made with the first book. You'll likely get lots of fabric inspiration there. I'm just in awe of people that can stick with such a big project and finish the quilt - that is definitely not my modus operandi.

I'm going to attempt my blocks in single colour stories using shot cottons from my Oakshott Colourbox purchased during a sale several years ago and lovingly dipped into for rare and special projects. I don't have tons of this fabric, so I plan to be a bit selective. I know making ALL of the blocks will be too much for me to stick with and I'm admitting that right up front.  Initially, I planned to skip all of the applique blocks because I never seem to finish applique things that I start (I tend to lose interest after all of the prep work).  However, this past weekend at my traditional guild show, I had the pleasure of meeting Rosa, the incredible designer of the Apliquick system. I purchased some of her amazing applique tools and notions, so hopefully I'll get to bust them out and try some new to me techniques for hand applique on some of these blocks.

What about you enjoy the challenge of making a little block every week? Do you love sampler quilts?  Is it meeting new designers that gets you excited about a group activity like this? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Chat with Pat (the Where's Poppyprint? edition)

Earlier this week I had another opportunity to chat with the one and only Pat Sloan on her weekly podcast. This is the third time that I've been a guest on Pat's show. She is such a supportive force in the quilting industry, always interested in what everyone is doing and sharing, sharing, sharing. I love that!

 2018 is whizzing by and I've hardly been home to tell you about it. You've likely noticed that I've seriously lost my blogging rhythm. I'm not sure I'll get it back anytime soon as it really takes discipline and hours of time at the computer (which are rare for me these days). If you want to hear a bit about what I've been doing in the first 4 months of the year as well as some upcoming excitement, tune in and listen to the my interview with Pat here.

A quick calculation tells me that I've been out of town 50 days since the first of the year.  This actually suits me just fine because I love to travel, do fun stuff and meet nice people. There was a once in a lifetime back country ski trip in the deep, deep bottomless powder of western Japan followed by a day at the Tokyo International Quilt Festival:

That's me! You can't see it, but there's a massive grin on my face, like this one (below)


If you listen to the podcast, this is what I was talking about! Elbows out!

After Japan, I flew down to Pasadena for QuiltCon, which was busy, fun and exciting. I didn't take any workshops this time as I delayed registration for too long and missed out, but I caught some great lectures, thoroughly enjoyed the show, volunteered 1 day, visited the Getty, the Arboretum and caught up with an old high school friend and many quilting buddies.

With Lorena  Uriarte at Quiltcon 2018
Having fun with Lorena Uriarte (as usual)!

All in all, I've taught 14 workshops and delivered 5 trunk shows in various places including Vancouver Island, North Vancouver, Edmonton and 5 locations in Scotland and England.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have these experiences and I don't take any of these opportunities for granted, but I do kind of miss my sewing machine (and my own bed...ok, and my husband) at times.

Somewhere in all of that, I was able to actually TAKE a workshop! I love spending the day with my guild-mates and trying new things. I made this quilt that I call Sakura Towers with teacher Barb Mortell in her "Door Jam" workshop.

Sakura Towers by Poppyprint

Next up, a break from teaching and focus on volunteer activities for my 3 guilds. First, the Canadian Quilters Association is holding the National Juried Show right here in Vancouver (my quilt Pop Stars, pictured above in Pat's advert, is a finalist in the Modern category) on May 31 - June 2 at the Vancouver Convention Centre. The following weekend (June 8-9), my  Lions Gate Quilter's Guild will present our bi-annual show at Capilano University Sportsplex. I just love this show because the talent in my guild is off the charts (traditional, contemporary, art and modern quilting style will all be very well-represented!). Plus, I coordinate our member's boutique, which is always beautifully stocked with fabulous handmade quilts and sewn items for sale.  Then finally at the end of summer, I'm coordinating the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild's second Modern Quilt Showcase, again featuring modern quilts in an industrial setting of a restored shipbuilding warehouse on the harbour in North Vancouver. Phew!  I'm starting to think it's time to take a little step back from all of this volunteering, but I do really enjoy being involved, especially when it involves sharing quilts with the public.

Click on any of the links in the above paragraph for more show information! I hope to see you at one or all 3 of the shows.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Level Two Tote Promotion

Hi all - 2018 is full on. I recently returned from a wonderful trip to Japan. I skied. I visited the Tokyo International Quilt Festival. I took photos.  Unfortunately, there will be a delay before I can post about that awesome stuff because now I'm headed to Pasadena, CA for QuiltCon 2018.  I feel very lucky to have two quilts hanging in the show: Pop Stars and What Apple? but truly I'm most excited to see everyone else's work at the show and meeting up with all of my pals. I'm volunteering one day, have a lecture pass for another and plan to walk the show completely this time. In 2015 I overdid it with workshops and lectures and realized later that I didn't even see all of the quilts.

You likely know by now that before I travel I typically make myself a new bag. Well, I'm already so well set up that this time I'm making a new tunic instead. However, I thought I'd offer everyone a deal on my Level Two Tote pattern just in case YOU want to make a bag if:

  • you're heading to QuiltCon, or 
  • you've got another fun trip planned, or
  • you are hanging out at home waiting for photos of QuiltCon, or 
  • you just need a fun new spring tote, or 
  • your friend needs a fun new spring tote and you're going to make her one, or
  • just because!!
Level Two Tote by Poppyprint

Tote by Poppyprint

Until Monday, February 19th purchase the pattern as a .pdf download at my Craftsy shop right here for only $6 US, or $7.50 Cdn (that's 30% off). 
No code required.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Modern Quilts: THE BOOK!

First things first: Happy New Year!

Although my copy is still in transit and I haven't actually seen the ink on the page, I am very excited to finally share with you that one of my quilts appears in this first (I say first, because I am hopeful that there will be more) hardcover volume documenting some of the best work of over 200 Modern Quilt Guild members.

Longtime modern quilt curator and MQG Director of Marketing & Programming Heather Grant, MQG founder and Executive Director Alissa Haight-Carleton and MQG Communication Manager Riane Menardi co-wrote this volume. I plan to keep it close at hand on my coffee table along with my treasured Gees Bend books so that I'm ready to show interested friends and visitors just what Modern Quilting is, what modern quilts look like and how some of my work fits in and some of it doesn't.

A regrettable lack of confidence kept me from submitting any of my quilts for consideration. Then one day I received an email from the MQG asking if they could include Chess on the Steps and I was absolutely thrilled to be involved. Creating this quilt as one of the first MQG "free pattern of the month" in 2014 really began my continued participation in the guild and the broader community outside of my local Vancouver MQG. The quilt went on to hang as part of an invitational exhibit at QuiltCon2015 and it appeared in that year's QuiltCon and Simply Moderne magazines.  After it was published, I received some wonderful teaching and trunk show invitations both at home and abroad and then the MQG asked me to design a beginner improv pattern for Simply Moderne magazine to accompany their ongoing monthly article on the modern aesthetic (resulting in my Variegated Threads quilt).  This quilt really has brought a lot of joy and excitement to my life!

Chess On the Steps by Poppyprint

What makes Chess on the Steps even more special to me, and I think a wonderful inclusion in Modern Quilts, is that it honours the traditions of quilting and a make-do style that I so respect, admire and ultimately, aspire to. The layout of a giant Courthouse Steps block was inspired by a vintage quilt I saw displayed in a museum exhibit  American Quilts: The Democratic Art in the fall of 2012. The original quilt (by an unknown maker) contrasted suiting wools in neutral tones with more colourful shirting and dressmaking fabrics. I thought about this quilt for many months and was delighted when a friend finally located a photo in Roderick Kiracofe's book Unconventional & Unexpected: American Quilts Below the Radar 1950-2000 shortly after I made my version.

Here they are side by side: contemporary inspiration and modern interpretation.

The more I considered it, the more I wanted to recreate the design using a limited colour palette of solids.  Eventually, I came to develop my Improv Under the Influence piecing technique for this quilt and many others that followed  (it became my most popular workshop over the past 3 years). I was incredibly fortunate that Oakshott Fabrics sponsored this quilt; it is made exclusively with their colourshott shot cottons. These fabrics give the quilt a luminescence that flat cottons just can't replicate. You can still purchase a kit to make your very own Chess on the Steps quilt from Oakshott Fabrics right here or purchase the pattern from my Craftsy shop here.

I cannot wait to savour this book and enjoy the work of many friends, acquaintances and quilters that I admire. There are many talented Canadians included in the book, which makes it extra sweet for me.

Thank you to the authors and the MQG (and of course my local VancouverMQG chapter) for the many opportunities made available to members to share our work with a growing audience through regular magazine articles in international publications, QuiltCon (the annual juried show), the annual QuiltCon traveling exhibit, member webinars and patterns, this gorgeous book and a new venture starting later in 2018: a traveling museum collection of quilts from Modern Quilts. Chess on the Steps will be a part of this traveling exhibit, having already made trips to Inuvik, Sweden, Alaska, Birmingham UK, Austin TX and an appearance in Canada's national juried show. It truly is the quilt that keeps on giving.....and getting around!

Chess on the Steps in Inuvik
Chess on the Steps beside an igloo in Canada's arctic, near Inuvik, NWT.

It is my hope that the traveling exhibit will make it to some Canadian locations (I've suggested a few!) and if that happens I will definitely let you know.  Details of the tour locations will be posted at as they become available, with the first exhibit opening April 1st, 2018 at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Ohio. In the meantime, you can see many of the other quilts included in the book and read about their maker's stories on this extensive bloghop (details at this link).  Would you like to have this beautiful book in your quilting library or know someone who would? Purchase your own copy directly from the registered non-profit MQG right here where 100% of royalties will support guild programming and member services.