Monday, December 17, 2018

Looking for a Hot Date in 2019?

Hey Locals (and anyone looking for a great reason to visit the Lower Mainland):

On Tuesday, February 19th, I'll be teaching my popular Speed Date with Improv class for the Abbotsford Quilter's Guild. This guild is full of lovely people, many of whom are what I like to refer to as "modern curious" quilters.  I love teaching this class to groups like this because I feel it really is a non-intimidating way for traditional quilters to experience the fun of improvisational quilting, working with solids and making a small, original quilt with about $20 worth of supplies.  I take away many of the stresses commonly felt  by improv newbies: you only have to choose one colour, you'll hardly waste any fabric and you won't have enough time to obsess about perfection!

PEI 2017
Just look at these two happy Speed Daters with their classwork in Charlottetown, PEI!

The quilters who have signed up are super keen and they really want this class to run, but we need a few more people to join in to make it viable. It has been offered many times in the area already, so I thought I'd post on the blog to see if there are any folks interested who may not see my Instagram or FB posts. FYI, there are several adorable B&B's as well as reasonable hotels in and around Abbotsford.

Improv Untitled by Poppyprint
This one is my "Improv Untitled" that hung at QuiltCanada in 2017.

The cost is only $55 for non-members, which quite frankly is a smokin' deal! I promise a super fun day. This democratic class sees students move forward together as everyone learns the piecing techniques at the same time.  I give lots of 1 to 1 support during the day and am confident that you'll leave the class feeling fired up about designing your own original quilts with the skills you've learned.

"What Apple?" This appeared at QuiltCon 2018 in the small quilts category.

If you're interested in joining us, please email me directly at I don't receive comment alerts from the blog anymore, so please email!

If you can't make it this time, don't worry, there will be more at a big quilting event happening in Ottawa in June, for instance ; )

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Local Workshop - Level Two Tote

Are you looking for a fun workshop to make a special something for a special someone for Christmas? Although so many of my sweet friends in the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild have already made a Level Two Tote (or 8!), there are some who are looking for a little guidance and the chance to have a sew day with pals. To that end, the VMQG has booked a lovely church hall in Burnaby and we're going to have a class on November 17, 2018 from 10 am to 4 pm.

The tote features a cotton canvas or home-dec print on the upper level with a lower level of cork fabric, waxed canvas, or lightweight leather or pleather. It is intentionally lightweight without a lot of stabilizer for a relaxed-looking bag that doesn't knock stuff off the shelves while you're browsing the china section ; ).  It fits a ton of stuff and the straps are super strong - it's a perfect daily bag that'll accommodate your water bottle, embroidery or knitting project, a book, your wallet and a few other essentials.

The workshop has now opened for non-member registration. I'll be offering kits that include all of the hardware + leather that you need, plus I come equipped with anvil, leather punch and hammer, so you don't have to! Everyone should be able to complete their tote in class.

Book the class and get all of the details by emailing

Bring a friend and learn some great bag-making skills. This workshop is perfect for first-time zipper installers, rivet-newbies and anyone looking to gather tips on finishing details for a professional look.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Courthouse Colourplay - a new workshop

I'm so pleased to introduce my latest workshop sample, Courthouse Colourplay. Creating this quilt in a completely (somewhat planned) improvisational style was so much fun for me and I hope that my future workshops will have the same effect for students. I love log cabin variations and it is no secret that the Courthouse Step block is one of my favourites.

Courthouse Colourplay by Poppyprint

This quilt is actually deceptively small at just over 40" square. When I showed it at the last Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild meeting, that was the first thing most people said, "It's way smaller than I expected!". Ah, the beauty of social media photography. Wouldn't it be a fun playmat for a baby/toddler? Or a cheerful wallhanging outside your bedroom door to wake you up in the morning? It is made almost entirely of Free Spirit solids, giving the quilt a fun paper lantern look.

Courthouse Colourplay by Poppyprint
This is my first attempt at free-motion ruler work. I still need lots of practice, but I enjoyed it! Lots of colour changes, making my way through my Aurifil 40 wt collection.

I decided to make this second version after creating a mini for my MQG swap partner at QuiltCon last February. I pieced the blocks at a retreat last spring in the company of mostly traditional quilters. They watched with wide eyes as I free cut (rotary cutter, no ruler) all of the strips from fat quarters and started piecing blocks from the middle of the quilt out. Nothing is squared up....rather the blocks are "built out" with filler strips (pictured below) made from trimmings. This is the fun part for me! Bonus: there is very little waste in creating this design.

Courthouse Colourplay by Poppyprint

Courthouse Colourplay by Poppyprint hand-quilting with Aurifil
A little bit of handquilting using Aurifil 12 wt thread in the softest pink.

Based on the comments of my fellow retreaters (how are you going to put this together?? You haven't drawn it out first?? How do you know what colour to use next?? Will it end up square??) I realized that this could be a wonderful addition to my workshop roster. Yet another class for the Improv Curious quilter.  This is rapidly becoming my specialty and I LOVE THAT. Sharing the freedom of improv quilting with folks ready to move on from the constraints of making other people's patterns is incredibly exciting for me.  

Courthouse Colourplay by Poppyprint

The workshop debut takes place Saturday, February 23, 2019 at a modern "staycation" retreat put on by the super fun team at Dinkydoo . We'll be sewing at their fancy new warehouse location about an hour outside of Vancouver and local accommodation is available about 5 minutes from the venue. For those of us who can't make it to QuiltCon2019, this is a great alternative! I can hardly wait. I know it's going to be a weekend full of laughs and creativity. 

I'm also booked to teach this (and 3 other workshops) at QuiltCanada 2019 in Ottawa from June 12-15. That will be a super exciting weekend with a killer workshop line-up. The classes haven't been announced yet, but the faculty is introduced here.  I'm so happy to have this opportunity and look forward to seeing many friends in Ottawa next spring!  If your guild might be interested in trying this class, feel free to email me for availability - I'm booking into fall of 2019 now, but I still have some spring dates available, too.

To further explore the construction techniques I used for Courthouse Colourplay, I'm recreating the quilt in a queen-sized version using upcycled men's shirts and jeans. I'm going to call this one Casual Fridays. The swishiness (highly technical term) of woven shirts is proving a bit challenging, but I am taking a very liberated approach and not worrying if the final quilt is exactly square or not. Here's a snapshot from the clothesline. I will be adding two more rows to one side of what you see here to bring it up to about 90" square.

Casual Friday quilt by Poppyprint in progress. Upcycled men’s shirts and jeans.

What fun new things are you working on lately?

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!