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What I’m working on – Pam

October 8, 2014
Posted by: Pam

Not a lot of sewing time in September, unfortunately. But I did finish 2 more Schoolhouse Tunics.

Schoolhouse Tunic

I love this pattern! No button, no zips, so it’s easy to make. And a wonderful way to show off your favourite prints. This one is from Grey Abbey by Elizabeth Olwen for Cloud 9; her new collection is Wildwood and equally lovely.


My Dowry version. Pattern is currently out of stock, but should be in by next week.


This is a Union Jack block (free pattern from Tracyjay Quilts) for my Canadians Quilt bee-mate. Partially paper-pieced it wasn’t too difficult, but I was having trouble following Janet’s very clear directions on fabric choice. She requested no solids or tone-on-tones, which meant the first two blocks I made weren’t suitable. I obviously need to slow down a bit before I jump in. Still, I was happy to make this block and now I have two perfectly wonderful orphan blocks to turn into a mini quilt or pillow.

Now that the OMQG is back in action I’m hoping to take advantage of the sew-in days to get some serious sewing machine time. My City Sampler blocks still need sashing and I’m working on blocks for the Color Therapy quilt. I’d also like to complete some smaller projects (too ambitious?) to share next month.


Until then.

Laura’s Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress

September 10, 2014
Posted by: Laura

On Sunday we celebrated my daughter’s third birthday with a fabulous outdoor party on a lovely day. She likes pink.  She likes horses.  She likes sprinkles, and we had it all.  The main highlight, other than our beautiful girl of course, was her dress.  I used the Oliver + S Fairy Tale Dress Pattern (View A) and put it together with some spectacular Heather Ross Far Far Away Unicorns in purple.  I’ve made some other Oliver + S patterns before and I love that they are easy to follow, well explained and have lots of diagrams to check as you go along.  The dress is fully lined and features gathered tulip sleeves, a fitted bodice, gathered skirt, accent belt and peter pan collar.


Although it took longer than anticipated, it was all worth it.  And now she has a unicorn dress found in the best of fairy tales. I’m already wondering if next year I can convince her to have an Alice in Wonderland tea party and make her another of these in blue…Only time will tell!


September Projects — Pam

September 3, 2014
Posted by: Pam

Pink postage stamp quilted

This one is just back from quilting by Krista — I still need to add the binding. Scrappy, I think. It’s a little one so it shouldn’t take long.

Plaintain shirt unfinished

My Plaintain shirt is nearly done. Laura and I got together one night to work on these, and it went together nicely. Only problem is that at 5’7″ I am slightly above average in height and the shirt is a bit short for my taste. Laura suggested I add a band to the bottom and I still need to do that. Next time I would lengthen the pattern pieces to get the fit I want.

I also had a sewing day with Bonnie to work on my Schoolhouse Tunic which was a great success. No pics but I have worn it to work a few times, and have plans to make another. CitySample More Blocks

I made some progress on this long-standing project (Tula Pink’s City Sampler). I finished 16 blocks on the long weekend and now have enough (70) to make my quilt. I am so excited to see this one come together!

Crossover Bag

I picked up a pattern for a simple cross body bag to take to the Ottawa Folk Festival later this month.  I haven’t decided on fabric .. maybe the Mochi Dot in Charcoal?

Until next time …


Introducing … Sharyn

August 27, 2014
Posted by: Sharyn

And last but not least:

My name is Sharyn and I am the new kid in the shop, although it’s been a very long time since the word “kid” has been linked to my name. I work part time at Mad About Patchwork and live on the property where the shop is located, so have an easy commute to work and am only late if I stop to pull weeds in my pathway garden! I started quilting 35 years ago but with raising a family and a busy career there seemed to be no time for quilting. I continued to collect fabrics and patterns but it seemed that my sewing machine was only used for hemming jeans. I retired last year, joined a Victoria’ Quilts group in Stittsville and that has inspired me to return to quilting with a mad passion!

It is a sweet torture to work surrounded by beautiful fabric collections and my first question is usually “what has arrived since the last time I worked”.  Sometimes it’s a new line that catches my eye as soon I walk up the stairs and by the end of the day I’m leaving with a few half yards or fat quarters of something irresistible.  Such was the case a few weeks ago when I saw Arcadia by Sarah Watson.  Who could resist this:

Arcadia scraps

Went home and found a free pattern from Windham Fabrics called Bella’s Bird that I liked, the photo showing directional prints used in an interesting way.   The Arcadia collection also featured some directional prints, so rotary cutter in hand away I went.  An easy pattern to follow, centre block with four strips attached, similar to  log cabin construction. Possibly daydreaming a bit, clearly not paying close enough attention to the cutting measurements I cut all of the strips at 2 1/2” instead of one at 3 1/2”. I started to piece, still not having realized my error.  The blocks are rectangular, yet in the photo they seem to be square.  Only when I finished sewing my second set of 4 blocks using one of the directional prints, in what I thought was a clever way, did I realize the error of my ways!!  How were these two blocks ever going to join up with others:

Arcadia Blocks

Should I buy more fabric and start over using the size specified or should I scrap two blocks and continue.  The latter option of course, especially considering that I was making this lap quilt for no one in particular.  A few more hiccups, mostly to do with paying closer attention to those (expletive) directional prints and some discussion with Pam about what to use for borders and I was done.  Here’s the pieced top.


I’m a traditional quilter not a modern quilter so this was slightly out of my comfort zone but I am pleased with the results and am thinking of a solid backing with various sizes of hexies randomly placed using up some of these beautiful Arcadia scraps.

Two charm packs for a toddler’s quilt is next.

Introducing … Kaisa

August 20, 2014
Posted by: Kaisa

Hello world, my name is Kaisa. This is my first blog post for Mad About Patchwork, so please go easy on me!

My first sewing experience came at a summer camp I attended when I was about 12. My favourite part was drinking pink lemonade and eating ginger cookies during our break each afternoon. (Hahaha … who doesn’t love food?) Despite my interest in the sugary treats, I did complete some projects! My first piece was a small wall hanging displaying jars of forest critters.

Kaisa Bugs

A few months ago Pam hired me to assist her in the shop. A temporary placement has turned into a full-time job, and sparked my renewed interest in sewing. I come from a visual arts background, so when I enter the warehouse, I see the fabric as mini artworks. I look for a variety of colours, unity in designs, and most of all, I seek out prints that display different textures. I love texture, be it visual or tactile.

Kaisa Stash 2

Can you see what colours I’m drawn to?

Since I currently live with my parents, my mother (with her many years of expertise) has been teaching me to sew again. Anytime I am excited about a pattern, print or new collection, I know she’ll reciprocate my enthusiasm. I’m so thrilled to share fabric with her (like this container of scraps).

Kaisa Stash

To my wallet’s chagrin and my mother’s glee, I am becoming a fabric-aholic. My unorganized stash is tucked on a closet shelf for now.

Kaisa Shelf

I feel incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful fabric every day at work. Does it get any better than that?!

Until next time…

WIP Wednesday — Pam

August 6, 2014
Posted by: Pam

This is the first in a regular feature on work in progress. The whole Mad About Patchwork team — Kaisa, Sharyn, Laura and myself — will be taking turns with this feature. You’ve already met Laura and myself through the blog, and if you’ve been to the loft you’ve likely met Kaisa and possibly Sharyn.

Granny Squares Front

I’m kicking things off this week with a bit of an introductory post. I’ve been quilting for about 18 years, owner of Mad About Patchwork for the last 7 years. I started out as a traditional quilter, and have followed the modern quilting movement since I opened the on-line shop. Mostly self taught, with a few workshops here and there, I consider myself an expert at straight line piecing, and a novice in most other areas. I’m trying to stretch myself and add paper-piecing and applique to my tool kit. I look for inspiration in books, magazines and blogs. I usually follow a pattern (or at least a block tutorial) but am comfortable adapting those as I like. I try to find time to sew weekly, and don’t like having a lot of unfinished projects about. My favourite color is blue, although I never met a colour I didn’t like. Denyse Schmidt is my modern quilting muse and I was thrilled to take her improv workshop at QuiltCon 2013.

Denyse Schmidt improv

Almost all my quilts are long-arm quilted by others, although I can manage some straight-line quilting if needed. I would love to have a long-arm machine and time to develop some free motion skills of my own, but that will have to wait while I focus my energies on the shop. I avoid making too many commitments when it comes to quilting (I don’t like to work under pressure) , but I do enjoy being part of an on-line bee with a group of fellow Canadian quilters.

String X

July was my month as queen bee, and I plan to finish this String X quilt top in August. This block is adapted from Block Party — A Modern Quilting Bee, a book I often refer to when looking for inspiration.


I’m also working on the City Sampler blocks I started almost a year ago. With 55 blocks done I need to make another 15 and then put them together as a twin size quilt.


This block of the month quilt that I finished up in June is ready for binding. It’s just back from long-arm quilter Carol Darou who did an amazing job in adding texture and interest with her free-motion quilting.


And finally, these are two pieces of fabric I’ve put aside to try my hand at garment sewing — Shape of Spring Petal Print in Twig for a Schoolhouse Tunic, and Mary Thistle Knit in Midnight for a Deer and Doe Plantain T-shirt.

You’ll meet Laura, Kaisa and Sharyn in the coming weeks and I’ll be back with an update in September.


July 29, 2014
Posted by: Pam


I spent a few hours with Bonnie and Sandra in the Waffle Kisses sewing studio last night.


We made this lovely little neighbourhood of mug rugs — I’m on the left, Sandra in the middle and Bonnie on the right. Laura’s workshop included all the materials, so all we had to do was arrive on time. We found the perfect fabrics in Laura’s stash for our creations, and spent the next couple of hours sewing and socializing.  Laura has a nice line-up of workshops for August posted, and  her fall schedule is in the works.

String X

These are the String X blocks that have been arriving from my Canadians Quilt { bee } mates — everyone has done a great job of finding just the right shades of green and taupe for me. I’m looking forward to finishing this up in August once all the blocks are in. I hope you’re finding some time to create this summer.



A rainy day at the lake

July 16, 2014
Posted by: Pam

Postage Stamp in pink

I was invited to spend the day with some QuiltCo members at their summer retreat at Buckingham Palace (a lovely lakefront property not too far from the town of Buckingham in Quebec). Although the weather was dreary the company definitely was not! Such a talented group of quilters, and excellent cooks to boot. I came home rested and relaxed, with most of my pink postage stamp top pieced (only 4 more rows to go). These pink squares were cut from my scraps quite some time ago, and I am happy to have this UFO almost ready for quilting.

Pink Bolts

I had it in the loft today to take some pictures, and at the same time audition some backing fabric. How about Catnap Finn in Raspberry? Or Enchant Tea Party in White? Wee Wander With The Birds in Pink?  I think I have a winner — can you guess?

You win too … with 20% savings on all 3 of these awesome pink prints for a limited time. Sale ends Monday July 21 at noon.

A Summer Days Skirt

July 8, 2014
Posted by: Laura

This month we’ve got four great projects lined up for you from our Pitch It to Win It Summer Days edition.  First up is Shena of Apple Pie Patchwork with the adorable skirt she made for an adorable girl.


Summer Days Skirt 2

Shena came up with her own creation, a combination of this tutorial and her own ingenuity.  She started with cutting the pieces of the fabric into 4.5″ x 12.5″ strips and sewed them together to make a tube.  Once she had the tube completed, she measured the circumference, added 0.5″ seam allowance and cut an accent piece (the bottom of the skirt) to measure 3.5″ x the circumference plus the extra 0.5″.  She then sewed the accent strip into a tube, pressed it in half (wrong sides together) and then sewed it to the bottom edge of the skirt so that the folded edge was the bottom of the skirt.  Although she forgot to sew right sides together, you can’t even tell!  I wouldn’t have noticed it if she didn’t mention it to me :)  To cover up the seam, she added a ribbon trim and top-stitched it in place.


For the top accent, she again cut a strip the same as the skirt circumference and sewed it into a tube, and then made an elastic casing by pressing a 1/4″ down, and then pressing another fold 1/4″ wider than the elastic.  She sewed the casing in place, leaving an opening to feed the elastic through.  Then she sewed the top accent to the skirt.  She used 1/4″ seams for the whole skirt.  She threaded the elastic through, then made her model try it on a couple times while she adjusted the elastic.  She sewed the elastic together with a reinforced stitch (back-stitching like crazy) and then sewed the little opening shut.  She also finished all of the exposed seams with zig-zag as she went, so that they wouldn’t fray.

Isn’t the skirt darling?  I’d have to say the model is cuter though!  If you’d like to try your own hand at a Summer Days Skirt, be sure to pick up a Summer Days bundle.

Summer Days Bundle

Just Add Baby

July 7, 2014
Posted by: Pam

Baby Knickers + more

A few hours sewing on a Saturday afternoon  produced a little gift for a neighbour’s new grandchild. Free pattern for the knickers from Anna Maria Horner and bucket hat from Oliver + S; t-shirt from Joe Fresh. The fabric is Glow Friends in Pink from the Wee Wander collection; I used less than a yard for the knickers and hat with another 12″ WOF piece from my stash for the hat lining.

Bucket HatWhat were you sewing this weekend?


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