Monday, October 16, 2017

Level Two Tote - A Pattern Release!

Hi all! Exciting news today. I've finished up an new pattern and it is now live in my Craftsy shop right here.  I've always been a bag lady and have made umpteen bags from many fabulous patterns available out there, but I put my favourite simple requirements together and came up with my own design.

You've seen a few of these totes I've made over the last 18 months. Initially, I designed one for myself as a simple last-minute bag to take with me on a trip. Since then, I've made a few others as gifts for friends, each time refining the design.  Finally, an Instagram follower commented "Please tell me you are making a pattern for this! I want to make one!"

Well, my friends. Ask and you shall receive. That IG follower even offered to pattern test for me and she made a beautiful tote! Here's my latest version that appears on the pattern cover. I made it with the gorgeous Rifle Paper for Cotton and Steel Alice in Wonderland linen blend and the most perfect shade of fuschia cork fabric that I was able to purchase at my LQS. In the pattern, I list various sources for materials you'll need to make this tote.

Finished size: 16" wide across the top x 13" high x 5.5" deep at base

There are fully illustrated and thoughtfully explained instructions for creating a zipper window like you see here. You'll also learn how to install a magnetic snap if you haven't tried that yet! This LEVEL TWO TOTE is so named because there are a few potentially new skills to learn, but also for that bottom level fabric that is chosen for durability and wash-ability. I've suggested waxed canvas, cork, vinyl or lightweight hide. My next one will be made with leather!

I've been using my original tote as my everyday purse and it is perfect for me. I wanted an uncomplicated bag that didn't have too much structure or fancy hardware detailing. This tote has plenty of room to accommodate a few extra things picked up during the day (like, for instance a yard of fabric, 5 FQ's or a couple of skeins of yarn.....ahem).

There is no central bottom seam and the leather handles are securely riveted on; both details that really increase the strength and durability of this bag. I regularly carry a full water bottle, heavy wallet, sunglasses, chequebook, iphone, car keys and a few pens around in mine. There's an internal slip pocket with two pen slots and the external zip pocket is large enough for your cell phone.

I hope you'll try one for yourself (and then make lots more as gifts!). It's an afternoon or evening project that only requires 6 rectangles of fabric! For real! 

Special thanks to Jackie and Eileen for testing this pattern so thoroughly for me!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Mill Town Block

It is September! So much is happening around here, but first thing first: it is time to share the block I designed for Sew Sisters Canadian Sampler Quilt!  I was so pleased to receive an invitation to participate in this BOM project. Not only do I love Canada, but I share a birth year  and month with my country (albeit 100 years later, but who's counting?) AND I've always wanted to make a two-colour red & white quilt. Canada's 150th birthday seems like the perfect occasion to finally get busy with it. In addition, all of the blocks in this quilt were designed by fellow Canadian blogger/designer/quilters, many of whom are good friends and sewing buddies of mine. It truly is the best celebration of quilting in Canada for me.

I don't really consider myself a block designer, but this design is something that I'd been playing around with when my friends at Sew Sisters sent out the invite to play. Read all about my Canadian inspiration for Mill Town Block on their blog here

A new round of BOM is starting up soon for this amazing quilt, so if you missed out the first time, you've still got a chance to receive two exclusive patterns per month for 10 months, BUT you have to be quick. Registrations close this month! To see an image of the entire quilt with all of the wonderfully unique blocks, check out the program details here.

I'm regretfully behind in making my blocks every month as the patterns arrive. Luckily I have a retreat coming up next weekend and I'm looking forward to catching up. I already have a setting idea and I can't wait to see if it works out...time to fire up the precision piecing engine. For sure I'm going to tune-up before I begin.

Have you made a special quilt commemorating Canada's sesquicentennial? Tell me about it!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Yardage Sale Alert!

My friends at Sew Sisters are having an online sale this weekend. On Sunday, save 20% on ALL regular priced yardage. The sale includes flat rate shipping! I love taking advantage of flat rate shipping and sales like this for purchasing a backing or two. Find the details here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Shawls, Continued

Two more shawls (I think numbers 11 and 12) are off the needles and blocked. I've already shipped the Ardent off as a surprise gift for a long-ago Flickr friend with whom I was recently re-acquainted on IG. She once spoiled me so much in a swap and when she commented that this shawl was made "in her colours", that sealed the deal. Plus, she lives somewhere that it will really come in handy in a couple of months.  I can't possibly keep all the shawls I'm knitting (I have kept 3 for myself: the first Boneyard, the first Ardent and the Abalone pictured below).

Shawl knit by Poppyprint

This asymmetrical Ardent Shawl pattern by Janina Kallio of Woolenberry is available on Ravelry. It was suggested to me by Danielle as an idea for a one-skein project. When I was in Australia, Dan came to Sydney for my Improv Under the Influence workshop and gifted me a gorgeous grey skein of Merino (which became my first Ardent Shawl).  This blue/pink/purple one is made with Providence Bay Sock dyed by Bayview Fibre Arts, a Canadian shop in New Brunswick. The colour is Bachelor's Button. My mom recently stopped into their shop and came out with several sheep worth of wool, I think. She sent me this pretty skein and it was lovely to knit with!

Shawl knit by Poppyprint

Also purchased in Australia was this incredibly beautiful single spun lace Merino (below). The Abalone Shawl pattern is available on Ravelry. Carle' Dehning of Nurturing Fibres designed the shawl and dyed the yarn, too. I knit up the shawl in the same colour combination that was in the pattern images and I love it so much. The shawl is breezy, light and soft.

Shawl knit by Poppyprint

This was definitely my most challenging knit to date. I thought knitting holes on purpose would be all kinds of fun, but the holes are made differently in every lace row and the instructions were new to me, so I had to call on the experts for help: mom (superknitter), Double N Dianne (beezersnana) and Leanne (shecanquilt) who actually came to town prepared and gave me an in-person tutorial as well as treating me to a delicious breakfast!  I could not have finished this shawl without Leanne. I'd already frogged that second-to-last lace row about 8 times but I really didn't want to give up!

Shawl knit by Poppyprint

Shawl knit by Poppyprint

I also contacted several strangers on Ravelry who had successfully knit the shawl. I'm so new on Ravelry and don't have a community there, so I was thrilled and delighted that every single person I contacted got back to me with answers, advice and plenty of encouragement! How nice! I knew from project reports there that the shawl improved dramatically with blocking to stretch out the lace rows. The blocking really did have tremendous results, not only increasing the size of the shawl by a ton, but also just evening out the very fine stitches and creating a lux garment. I am very proud of this knit even though I'm sure there are some mistakes.

Shawl knit by Poppyprint

My needles weren't idle for long. I'm already well underway with my next shawl: Feyre by Shannon Cook (soveryshannon on Ravelry). This is knit in worsted weight and it feels like I'm knitting on broomsticks after that dainty laceweight project. It'll be a much chunkier, warmer winter shawl. I love the MadTosh colours I'm using: Antler and Smokestack. Every project has taught me new techniques and stitches. With this one, I learned the Garter Tab Cast-On, Classic Slip-Stitch Rib and when I make it to the end, I'm going to have to figure out how to do a slip stitch ribbed edging. Eep.  Luckily, Dianne was on retreat with me this past weekend and helped out when I got stuck. My knitting is definitely a community effort.

Feyre Shawl knit by Poppyprint designed by soveryshannon

The next few weeks bring more travel for me as I visit family and settle my daughter in university 4 provinces to the east. It is an incredibly exciting time, but I guarantee you that tissues will be required. I don't imagine I will be blogging again until sometime in September. Enjoy the rest of your summer month(s) and welcome spring to my southern hemisphere friends!

Monday, July 31, 2017


What luck! RJR Fabrics has given me the opportunity to share a second fabric giveaway (they are also running the same giveaway on their Instagram account). You could win this gorgeous bundle of 24 Supreme Cotton Solids fat quarters. All of the colours that I used to make my Pop Stars quilt!

This giveaway is also running on my IG account, but I will add entries from both places. You can enter here by leaving one comment and you can also enter on IG by leaving one comment on the post - double your chances! If you enter here on the blog, you MUST have your email linked to your comment, or include your email address in your comment [go ahead and use the form bob(dot)smith(at)location(dot)com if you like]. Sorry, but if I can't contact you, I will chose another winner.

Giveaway open until 9:00 p.m. Pacific Time Wednesday, August 2, 2017. ETA: comments are now closed on the giveaway. After deleting duplicate comments, adding the 105 blog comments to the 372 IG comments, the Random Number Generator chose 306, which is @createthepoint on IG. Congratulations, Jo!!

Good luck!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Pop Stars - A New Quilt and Giveaway

In case you're all thinking that all I do in July is celebrate my birthday, I've got news for you. I've been working on a new project for RJR Fabrics' What Shade R U bloghop. You can read all about it on the RJR Quilt With Love blog here.  There's lots to know, so check out my guest post over there because there's a HUGE giveaway involved.

I can't resist sharing here because staring at this photo just makes me happy. I've wanted to make an 8-pointed star quilt for ages and finally figured out that I could use my Improv Under the Influence piecing technique to build the star diamonds. It's a riot of split complimentary colours and the outstanding quilting by Carol of Twin Creek Quilts is jaw-dropping. It's so much fun to look at!

Pop Stars by Poppyprint, quilted by Twincreekquilts

There are lots of close-up detail pictures in the main blogpost and you'll be able to see how I avoided y-seams in the construction of this quilt, so check it out!

**GIVEAWAY ON INSTAGRAM** Keep an eye on the @rjrfabrics IG account for a full FQ bundle giveaway of every colour of Supreme Cotton Solids (25 of them) I used in this quilt. Over 6 yards of fabric! Woohoo!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Maritime Teaching Tour Part II

Thank you for the sweet comments on the first post about my recent Maritime teaching trip. Here goes for part two.

After a delicious cold salmon filet lunch prepared by my sweet billet's partner, I flew from St. Pierre back to Halifax. I retrieved my second 50 lb suitcase from airport storage, loaded my quilts into the back of a sweet Jetta rental car and headed straight to Charlottetown, PEI. I drove over the exciting Confederation Bridge! I was looking forward to spending the week at my sister's place and also see my parents who happened to be visiting at the same time.

The PEI Modern Quilt Guild *asked me to teach my Variegated Threads pattern (a fav of mine!) and Speed Date with Improv. I also gave the group a trunk show a couple of nights before the weekend workshops. The week previous, my upcoming visit got a mention on the local CBC TV news! A guild member picked up a few of the quilts and pillows I'd gifted my sister and her family over the years to use as props (since I wasn't yet on the island). That was pretty cool, and the story encouraged a few traditional quilters from around the island to attend the trunk show and find out more about modern quilting. Yay!

PEI 2017
Some variegated thread spools in the making with lovely tone on tone prints.

PEI 2017
Here I am with students and their lovely work.

PEI 2017
The next day, we had a lot of fun with Speed Date with Improv, learning 7 different improv piecing techniques and building improv collage wallhangings on the design walls around the community room.

PEI 2017
Although this was a new way to work for many guild members, Janice and Jean's smiles say it all: improv is fun!

On my days off in town, I enjoyed walking my sister's dog along the waterfront and the beach, I made it to a great yoga class, got to see my niece perform in her dance school year-end recital, checked out my sister's gorgeous new dance shop location, drank delicious coffee at Receiver and ate scrumptious food at a few local restaurants. It was a fantastic week! Here are a few pics:

PEI 2017
Sadly, I never got to sample the fries or free hugs here, but isn't it the cutest chip shack?

PEI 2017
Many of the red sand beaches on PEI are protected parkland and there is a comprehensive education program in place to save the fragile dune ecosystem and also protect the nesting endangered Plovers. At this time of year, before tourists arrive and the weather is warm enough to swim, the beaches are deserted and pretty wild with wind.

PEI 2017
Charlottetown is a lovely place to explore the backstreets in search of historic buildings and signs.

PEI 2017
How about 100 1/2 for an address?

PEI 2017
A clever quilt block QR code sign program guides visitors around town to points of interest and attractions.

PEI 2017
I'm sure this is one of the most photographed homes in town as it is visible along the length of the boardwalk frequented by cruise-ship visitors and locals alike.

PEI 2017
A transport is loaded with lobster headed for market from the fishing village of Stanley Bridge.

My sister and I married boys from opposite sides of the country and settled in their hometowns to raise our families. We never know when we'll see each other again, so it is always a little bit sad when we say goodbye. I felt very lucky that my work took me to Charlottetown and that I got a great visit in while there. Thanks to the PEIMQG for that wonderful opportunity!  If you are looking for a fun project to tackle next fall/winter, check out the free modern mystery BOM program that the guild is sharing on their blog here.

My final stop was to the Maritime MQG * of Halifax-Dartmouth area, Nova Scotia. I've spent many a summer visiting my grandparent's home in Dartmouth. I love the area and was happy to billet with Jeanette and her kind family while working with the guild on Round Peg, Square Hole and Speed Date with Improv. I held a trunk show here, as well. Happily, I sold the rest of the books I had shipped in advance of my trip, so I didn't have any extra weight to bring home - thanks gals!!

Halifax 2017

Halifax 2017
I'm grateful to Jeanette, who took a day out of her life to drive me around Halifax, shopping and browsing. No modern quilter should leave Halifax without visiting the super cute Patch Halifax shop and sewing studio. Great modern fabric selection for quilting and garment-making located in a historic old house on Robie St.  As you can see, I couldn't resist! I've already made myself an Eva dress with that lovely Anna Maria Horner "Loominous" woven shown here on the bottom of the fabric stack.

Halifax 2017
We enjoyed a coffee on the rooftop cafe of the amazing Halifax public library. The interior has incredible lines, doesn't it?

Halifax 2017
Love this funky block of shops and restaurants across from the library on Queen St.

The guild is very lucky to have weekend access to the big classrooms at the Nova Scotia Community College in Dartmouth. The building is amazing and has lovely views of the harbour....this is where the workshops were held on Saturday and Sunday.

 Halifax 2017
Fabulous Round Peg, Square Hole blocks made in class (after we first confirmed our scant 1/4" seam allowances and accurate cutting and pressing process).  I'm wearing a new Ola Tunic I made with Essex crossweave just before the trip. It's another Tessuti pattern I picked up in Australia and I love it!! I've since made a second one with Nani Iro double gauze that is dreamy to wear. 

Halifax 2017
These quilters are an enthusiastic bunch and made great progress on their Speed Date collages and on Mother's Day no less. That's commitment! I love seeing these come together with different accent colours alongside the black and white. Great work, everyone (must've been the Timbits and trays of delicious cookies and squares)!

I was thrilled to learn that my IG friend Jen (and her daughter) would make the trip from New Brunswick to attend the Speed Date workshop. What a wonderful Mother's Day treat! We had chased each other around Australia just a couple of months before, so it was pretty fun to meet up in person finally in Dartmouth. I also had the pleasure of meeting Gillian, who flew down from Newfoundland for the workshops and a visit with her son.

On my final night, I enjoyed a delicious Maritime staple of seafood chowder prepared for us by Jeanette's kind husband. Maritimers really are the best - if you've never been, I highly recommend a vacation on Canada's east coast!  

Thank you so much to everyone who worked on planning the workshops and making sure everything went so smoothly for all of my tour stops. I loved meeting everyone and I look forward to returning one day soon. 

And thank YOU for following along and putting up with these iphone photos - I was unable to bring my heavy Nikon on this trip. There was simply too much to carry! 

* The links to the guild's blogs  (above) will take you to their posts about my visits, where you can see more pictures of my trunk shows, workshops and guild members' work.