At Home Challenge

Discover what instructors and fellow quilters are up to, and work on a new project of your own with the help of some freebies.

Free Pattern from Instructor Kathy McNeil

Use your favorite appliqué technique and an inspiring free pattern named Bright Days Ahead.

Bright Days Ahead

To get started, download the FREE pattern and instructions.

Kathy McNeil's website showcases her award-winning quilts, and also features supplies, tips and tricks, and links to her blog. Travel is one of her passions, and she designs classes just for our itineraries! During this time Kathy, who is a retired nurse, has also been busy creating masks for her local hospitals.

THANK YOU, Kathy, for all that you do!

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A Fun, Free Stitch Along by Laura Wasilowski

Do you find yourself spending more time at home? Need a soothing project to keep your hands from touching your face? Join Laura Wasilowski's FREE Tools of the Trade Stitch Along! In this tutorial you'll find directions from start to finish on how to make this small free-form embroidery.

Tools of the Trade

Every few days Laura will give you the next steps for making the design on the Artfabrik blog. It's all free and you can join at anytime. Instructions will also be combined and added to the Tools of the Trade Stitch Along page.

Thank you, Laura!

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Craft More Happy Moments with Bluprint's Free Creativity Care Package

Watch over 1,300 creative education classes ranging from sewing, cooking, family crafts, and more.


Hurry, FREE unlimited access ends April 9! Get started today!

A big thank you to author, teacher, lecturer, and TV personality Cindy Walter for bringing this to our attention!

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A Message from Karen Combs

Greetings to everyone!

Karen Combs

Just like many of you, for the past few week, I've been making masks for our local hospital as well as first responders, doctor's offices and many others. Our hospital requested masks with ties to go over their N-95 masks, to help extend the life of the masks they have. I've made several dozen of those masks. The other masks I've made using elastic...which is in short supply. I've managed to use hair ties which has worked well. Using what I can find and making it work. :) Karen has posted information about both Coronavirus mask patterns on her website.

Thread snips  Mask making

As I've been working on these masks, I've discovered some little thread snips that I forgot I had. I love them and have been using them constantly to clip threads.

I've also been working on some new patterns. Just finished the mini version of my SUMMER STAR – SPRIAL, which is part of my "no diamonds" Lone Star Illusions pattern line. I love this little star, done in one color, graduated from light to dark. Believe it or not, this little quilt really does not have any diamonds in its design. Here's a little more information about the pattern.

Summer Star pattern

The little tea pot and cups with my quilt were purchased on one of our Quilt Seminars at Seas cruise to Bali several years ago. Many fond memories from that trip! I love picking up little things when I travel. When I use them at home, I remember the fun I had on that trip.

We just finished another fantastic quilting cruise to New Zealand in January. A wonderful group traveled with us and we saw such beautiful sights! It was a blast. Here are a few photos from our trip.

I'm looking forward to several up-coming cruises. Next April is our Paris to Normandy river cruise. Such lovely sights to see and who won't love to be in Paris in the Spring?

Next July we got Jewels of the Baltic Quilting Cruise coming up and I can't wait! We will be visiting so many wonderful places, I'm looking forward to seeing the Russian Ballet in St. Petersburg and sailing the fjords on Norway, just a few of the highlights to this cruise.

I know we are going through a difficult time right now. Thinking of all those who are ill and praying for their quick recovery. As my grandmother would always say to us, "This isn't forever and this too will pass." She also always reminded us to always wash our hands.

I look forward to traveling again and look forward to seeing you on a future trip!

Karen Combs' Studio

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Q&A with Sue Nickels

We asked instructor Sue Nickels to tell us a little bit about what she's currently working on.

Sue Nickels

What project are you working while you're at home?

I am working on a few projects. My sister Pat Holly and I hold the Holly Girls Quilt Retreats every September and we have a different theme every year. This year the theme is sampler quilts and I am marking a sampler for quilting. I will share a few photos of my quilting designs for the project. After marking, I will layer and baste and hope to be quilting it next week!


I have been teaching ruler work on the home machine classes for the past couple of years, and these classes have been very popular. I filmed three ruler work classes with Creativebug – two are on their site now.

Ruler Work

The third one will be available in the next few months. I am remaking the quilt for the third class. I will be working on that in the next month also. For my classes, Creativebug keeps the project quilt, so I need to remake these quilts to have one for myself! You can visit my website and there is information to watch the classes for FREE for one month. I am also excited that I will have some of my own rulers available later this year. I am testing the prototypes now!

Just for me... I am working on a small baby quilt for a friend – a little 9-patch set on point. No photos yet, but will send some soon.

What destination are you most excited about traveling to in the future?

I am most excited to be teaching on the South America and Antarctica Cruise next year. I have always wanted to visit countries in South America, and to add viewing Antarctica – this will be amazing! I love designing classes that reflect the area we are cruising, and I am pretty excited about my classes. I will be working on these classes over the next few months. I also enjoy the other teachers on the cruises. and I am so happy that Kathy McNeil will be teaching on this cruise as well.

What tool/fabric/etc would you not want to live without?

I could not live without my BERNINA sewing machine! My BERNINA 770 QE has been a great machine. I love to use machine techniques to create beautiful quilts. I enjoy machine applique and machine quilting. My favorite foot for machine quilting is called an open toe darning foot and on the BERNINA is #24. (I also love the ruler foot #72 for using rulers on the home machine). My favorite thread for machine quilting is Aurifil 50/2 cotton – it quilts beautifully! I use an open toe applique foot for machine applique- on the BERNINA it is #20 or #20D. The thread I use for machine applique is Mettler 50 weight. It comes in lots of great colors and is a nice weight along the edge of the applique pieces.

Wool purse

I have also been interested in some hand projects. And because I travel to teach often, it has been nice to revisit some of the hand techniques that I used early on in my quilting life. I'm incorporating some hand embroidery on my wool projects. I use Valdani pearl cotton #12 for the embroidery and Clover Gold Eye Chenille needles #24. My favorite little embroidery book is by Janice Vain called Hand Embroidery Stitches at a Glance. Here is a photo of my little sewing kit that has some of my machine applique, machine quilting and hand embroidery.

I will be happy to share some in progress photos and information over the next few weeks!

Stay home, save lives!

Sue Nickels

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Quilter Profiles: Donna & Veronica

Donna has fallen in love with traveling with quilters and her local shop. She has also been very busy! The first stop was a purple quilt that she has been working on for years. It turned out amazing! What else has she been doing?

Purple quilt  Cubbie  Quilt

"I finished 3 quilt blocks from the first cruise, last class, a Cubbie for my newest Grandson, 3 weeks old today, and pinning in a Quilt (yep, I still hand quilt) that's only 4 years old for a Grandchild.

Meals  Dog

I've also completed Towel orders, cleaned my sewing room (kinda), saw my fence outside is broke, gotta fix that or I can't contain my Bert, been cooking up a storm so I have meals for nearly a month & CAN'T wait to go to Alaska!!"

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Veronica, a quilter who has traveled with us before, has been working on making masks in her community. She didn't have a photo to send us because she just dropped off all she made and is making more!

Veronica says:

My quilt is participating in a mystery quilt by Debbie Caffrey. The clues are sent to participants every other day. The quilts will be philanthropy quilts. We are also making face masks. I have distributed the masks I have made so far, but plan to start on some more tomorrow. The mystery quilt clues have just started (#4 is tomorrow). Right now, I have lots of HSTs made and some strip sets.

There are three tutorials on YouTube and their website at [The Fabric Patch is a shop in Ephrata, WA]

Favorite tool? I can't do without would be a rotary cutter.

Besides Alaska, I have always wanted to go to England, Ireland and Scotland.

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English Paper Piecing with Chardel Blaine

Have you tried English Paper Piecing (EPP) yet? It's very addicting. We love it so much that we have even dedicated an entire cruise to it in October! One of our favorite companies is aptly named Paper Pieces. For many years we have enjoyed a partnership with them. The finished products look difficult to replicate, but they go together so easy! (If you do not believe that, know that even Kim and I have done some paper piecing!)

We asked instructor Chardel Blaine (Alaska, Mexican Riviera) about what she's up to at home:

I'm looking forward to returning to breathtaking Alaska with my quilting buds! I've been playing with Lucy Boston's Patchwork of the Crosses blocks using Provence-inspired fabrics. (Wouldn't THAT be a fun fabric journey?!) Fussy-cutting toiles so I can play "Where's Waldo" (if he's French, is it Waldeaux?) with the kid on a see-saw will keep the fun going after the quilt is completed. You'll look at fabric in a whole new way with this quilt. For the record, I originally planned to make just an alternative 4-block sampler for class on the ms Eurodam, but got a bit carried away...I'm up to 21 blocks so far – we'll see how far this goes! Love the portability and meditative qualities of English Paper Piecing – perfect for these "stay at home" days.

4 block sampler  Lucy 9 Patch

Chardel Blaine
Editor, Create Whimsy
Creative Director, Flying Goat Studio

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Q&A with Host Cindy Williams

Hello from North Louisiana! Spring is in full-swing here. All the beautiful spring flowers are blooming, the tree leaves are brilliantly colored with the brightest "spring green" you've ever seen! The gardeners have planted their crops and are patiently waiting to see them spring to life. Soon enough, summer will take over. We are already experiencing temperatures in the low 90s!

I live on quiet country road where my house is one of only nine houses and four of those homes are my family members! Every evening this lazy little street comes alive with folks walking, running, and jogging, not only for exercise, but for the pure JOY of getting out of the house! We are keeping our social distance even when walking, but it sure is great to see those smiling faces.

Are you currently working on any projects?
I've been keeping busy inside the house. As is true of all quilters, I have several projects that are partially finished and I have pulled those out of my closet. I am thankful these projects have been waiting patiently for such a time as this!

Cindy Williams

Tim and I are in the middle of building a new home. And...what do I need for my brand-new home? A brand-new quilt, of course! I used the Log Cabin quilt pattern for this project and I am so happy with the outcome. I think I am going to do the quilting on this one myself! On a side-note, it sure doesn't hurt that the purple and gold colors remind us of our LSU Tigers! I have included a photo of our Log Cabin quilt for you!

Log Cabin Quilt

I have also finished another project. It is called the Fire and Ice project from Kimberly Einmo's class that was held in Houston, Texas in November, 2017.

Fire and Ice

I am currently working on the Scrappy Stars project from Stevii Graves. I am not finished with this one yet, but here's a photo of my progress.

Scrappy Stars

Another project that has kept me busy – washing fabric and cleaning up my craft room! When I was away on my last cruise, with Seminar at Sea, our home flooded. (Plumbing issues! Don't you just love those kind of issues?) The flooded rooms included two bathrooms, the two master closets, the master bedroom, and worst of ALL, my craft room! Thankfully, my husband and his family members (the ones that live on our street) got busy with shop vacs and towels and dried the floors as much as they could while moving my soaked belongings to dry ground. Unfortunately, many of my craft supplies were soaked! So, I am now washing the fabric that endured the flood waters. This is not a fun project, but as I work through the waterlogged items, I am reminded of how thankful I am for family!

What destination am I most excited about traveling to in the future?
I would like to go on the Paris, France river cruise with Quilt Seminar at Sea in March- April 2021. I have never visited Paris and this is a city that is on my bucket list. Hopefully, we will get into our new home, the world will get back to normal!

What tool am I so happy with that I could not live without?
I have two machines that I deem the BEST! The Janome 9450 and Janome 6600. They can do anything you need! My favorite thread is Aurifil 50 wt. and I love Organ needles!

Happy quilting! Stay safe, and take care.

Cindy WIlliams

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Challenge Yourself: A Message (and Sketchbook Cover Tutorial) from Ana Buzzalino

Today I write to you from the comfort of my studio. As many of you, I've been home for weeks now. I have been in isolation except for necessary trips to the supermarket.

Ana Buzzalino

This Covid-19 Coronavirus has thrown us all a curve. All these jumbled feelings I have are compounded by a personal loss a few months ago, so I've been sailing through some not too smooth waters. But every day when I wake up I thank my stars for my family and friends, and throw a huge THANK YOU to the skies for my art.

I've learned that it's OK not to be OK all the time. That it's OK to have feelings that are all over the place. That it's OK to flit from project to project like a butterfly. Some days I do a lot and some days … not so much. I'm watching TV – although I don't watch the news too often as they make my anxiety skyrocket. I keep informed but I find that I don't need to be bombarded by information, statistics, Coronavirus this, COVID-19 that. I've chosen to choose what information I take on. And that makes me feel in control. The rest does not serve me at all, so out the window it goes.

We as quilters, artists, painters … whatever you make, have a wonderful ability to lose ourselves in our "making". Creating is something we do – whether it is to sew masks, scrub bags, quilts, blocks, pieces of stuff … creating is what we do. And in my case, what's keeping me content and healthy at home. And sane!

I have joined a few challenges since all this started, which is something I very seldom do. But in these unusual and unprecedented times we find ourselves in, it felt right. So I've been making traditional blocks – one a day – and this particular challenge brought to mind wonderful memories of the days when I started quilting. When making traditional blocks was what I did. I've been enjoying the precision cutting, sewing and change of making one different block each day. I've gone so far as making some "bonus" blocks inspired by friends I follow on social media. I imagine that by the time all is said and done, I'll have a quilt, or two, or three.

The second challenge I joined is one project a week and it's mostly hand-stitching. As I write this, I need to get working on week 3, which is to observe, draw and stitch an eye!

The third challenge is The 100 Day Project. I decided for this one to work mostly on a sketchbook and do mark making with India Ink. To tell you the truth, I have so many ideas that I'll probably end up mixing up what I do by the time the 100 days are done. For now, I'm sticking quite close to my brief.

I started a new sketchbook. I always find it very exciting (and a bit daunting) to start on a new sketchbook. This time I picked an 8" x 8" one.

Do you work on a sketchbook too? I don't have a practice of using a sketchbook all the time, but I own enough of them because I like the idea of it. Anyway … I decided to make a cover for my sketchbook and thought that some of you might be interested in how I make mine. So, join me in making a cover for your sketchbook, or a much-loved book.


I hope you make one or two or three sketchbook covers. They are simple to make and make great presents.

Regardless, I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe at home. Let's all do our part to flatten the curve.

I look forward to seeing everyone on board pretty soon. Fingers crossed!!!

Love to you all,

Ana Buzzalino

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Dreaming Alaska with Scott Hansen + Special 20% Coupon Code for Patterns

So, I thought I would first write a little bit about the things my wife and I are looking forward to on our first Alaskan cruise.

Scott Hansen

Neither of us have ever been on a cruise before, so we are excited to see what that whole experience is like. We really have no idea what to expect. We like exploring new places, so the ship itself seems like an adventure on its own. But we are really hoping to see the Northern Lights if that's possible that time of year. Linda is particularly hoping for that marvel. I think when I was a young adult on my parents' farm in Idaho that I may have seen them, but the memory is very faded now and I am not entirely sure, so if we can see them in a more spectacular way, I would be thrilled with that as well.

Linda has never been to Alaska. I have been twice, once on a fish processing boat over 30 years ago. We took a week going up the Inside Passage all of the way to Chignik, Alaska. The trip and scenery were amazing. But I was a very naive twenty-something stuck on a boat with a bunch of much rougher people than I had ever known all of my life, so I am thinking this cruise will be much more to my liking. And we never got off of the boat on that trip. So I went past all of these quaint fishing villages and towns but never got to go explore them. In my memory, all three of the towns we are scheduled to visit – Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan – looked perfectly charming and quite interesting. Linda has never seen any of these places, so I am looking forward to seeing her reactions as well. We are particularly looking forward to Sitka with all of the Russian artistic influences we have read are present.

My other trip to Alaska was a few years ago when I was honored to visit and teach at the Valdez Quilt Festival. Valdez is a friendly, quiet little town on the edge of Prince William Sound where the mountains literally spring straight up from the sea. Incredible beauty there. Part of that trip was a glacier tour in a small boat where we got to see amazing glaciers, icebergs, islands, animal and marine life. I know we will get to see similar sights again on this cruise even though we aren't going that far north. I can hardly wait to share that with Linda as well...I know she will be delighted.

Our next travel goals are Iceland, and the northern parts of the United Kingdom. And after that, who knows.

As a special treat, I have a special coupon for friends of Group Seminars at Sea!

Head over to my website and browse around. When you are in my online shop, check out the downloadable PDF patterns on Etsy. Use the coupon code CRUISE2020 to get 20% off of any of my current patterns listed there. This is for patterns only. Coupon code is good through August 31, 2020.

Scott Hansen

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A Message from Kathy McNeil

Dear cruisers,

Bruce and I were sad about the cancellation of our European cruise in June. We totally support Holland America's decision, but still it was very sad. I really wanted to see the Andalusian Horses Dance in Spain.

Kathy McNeil

My oldest daughter is the Assistant Medical director of the Hospitalist team at our hospital. They see patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, so she has been living in a trailer down by our barn. It's hard on her and the kids. This is what a picnic looks like when your Mom is trying to protect her family.


Fortunately, this winter we bought property together with the intention of Bruce and I building a small 1000 sq. ft. house to "age in place" with all of them. We are still living in a 30 foot trailer hoping to start construction when lock down eases up.

Her hospital had the first patient identified in the U.S. A lot of great drug studies initiated there. I think we have 3-4 trials going, with some promising results.

Of course, like many of you, I have been making masks. There is a good scientific study finally on what fabrics we should be using. Two layers of batiks or quilter's cotton with over 180 thread count stood up best. Over 70% filtration rate. I ran out of elastic and am now cutting up T-shirts. 1' x 16" strips work well for ties. 4 for each mask.

Some facilities across the country have asked for an extra layer of filtration between the fabrics, and people have been using mid weight interfacing. I asked our partners in Spain about using Apliquick interfacing. Despite Spain being one of the hardest hit countries in Europe, Rosa and Olga generously contributed 6 rolls, specifically to use for mask making. They got it out to us the day before they went on total lockdown. Rosa and Olga had been scheduled to teach on our Spain- Portugal Europe Cruise, too.

We took over my daughter's house, and Bruce spent 3 days cutting it all. Then I notified my newsletter subscribers. Our free interfacing was gone in 4 hours, with over a hundred requests. It makes me so proud to be part of this Quilting community. We always rise to any crisis with love and dedication. Go Team, I love you guys!!!!!


Amy and Kim asked me to share with you what I have been working on.

First, a clue. What animal is affectionately called, "long ears," and is often put in the same paddock to protect the sheep from coyotes? 

After last year's European cruise, while in France, I fell in love with them. Cruises always give me a photographic treasure trove of inspiration.

Here is a sneak peak titled "Hey, Long Ears."
Stay tuned and I will reveal the finished quilt next time.

Hey, Long Ears

Techniques: Hand appliqué with turned finished edges. Quilted by me on my Bernina.

Copyrighted original design.

To see a video of me using this same method (and other free videos on several topics) go to:

Looking forward to life resuming?
Can you join me for the South America and Antarctica Quilt Seminar at Sea next January? I get to travel and teach with Sue Nickels. Yeah!!! I adore her for her kindness and mentoring of new national teachers on the circuit.

This cruise is definitely another of my bucket list destinations. We are even going to Antarctica for a couple of days. I designed a really cute appliquéd mother and baby penguin project for that cruise. The sky is fused with little squares on a grid. There is lots to learn, and I am excited to share it with you.


Stay safe everyone, and let's all celebrate together on a 2021 cruise!

Love and hugs,

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A Message from Jeanette Walton

Our world and our lives have changed so much over the last month or so, in ways most of us could never have imagined. Hard to believe that just over a month ago, some of us were on a cruise, enjoying the beautiful turquoise waters of the Caribbean and watching gorgeous sunsets. Doesn't it seem like we are in some kind of Alice-in-Wonderland, Twilight Zone, Groundhog Day time warp? I saw a meme which describes it perfectly: "Is it it Monday...or it still 2020...did Amazon deliver the 50 pack of Snickers yet?"

Jeanette Walton

Like many of you, I have been making masks. You can learn anything on YouTube, and I found a pattern and jumped in with both feet! I went through several different versions of various patterns before finally settling on one that I was happy with. It's this pattern from Kaiser Permanente.

I can make masks

Our guild has donated over 2100 masks, and now some are making head coverings and gowns!  Although I grew up sewing my own clothes, I think I'll stick to just masks. Speaking of masks and YouTube, you might have seen this funny video. I can relate, both as a teacher and a maker of masks. Grab a glass of wine or some chocolate and check it out! It's only four minutes. I promise you, if I can make a face mask, so can you!

As our world changes, how lucky are we to have a fun hobby to keep us from going stir crazy? While you're at home, looking for something to do (besides masks or bingeing on Snickers and Tiger King), I wanted to let you know of two amazing opportunities from Quiltworx that are FREE! Yes! – Free Ninety Free! You can't come to class, so we are bringing class to you. Even better – we're bringing JUDY NIEMEYER to you!

There is a great pattern called Color Spectrum that you can download online and print the papers yourself, or order the papers and pattern through Quiltworx. (Pro Tip: Order it. Printing all those papers is going to cost as much as you will save on the pattern. Not to mention that printing is a pain. But printing is a great option if you are not in the U.S.) Color Spectrum is designed as a beginner pattern to introduce quilters to paper piecing. The project is fast, uses only one foundation block, employs simple cutting techniques, and is a fun way to jump into your first paper piecing project. Judy has a one-hour video on YouTube to walk you through each step of the process, so you can learn directly from her. Even if you decide you don't want to make this quilt, if you are interested in seeing Judy's paper piecing technique, it's worth watching the video. If you have taken a class with me, it's also a great refresher!

Color Spectrum

I'm also excited about a new pattern called Valley Blossoms. It's "sew" pretty, and has applique as well as paper piecing! The pattern is a little pricey, but it comes with the applique shapes precut. The introduction video is on YouTube now, and will be followed by four monthly sessions for each section. Watch the video and decide if you would like to join me in making this gorgeous heirloom quilt. And if you get stuck and need help, you can always reach out to me. The videos are free and will stay on YouTube until the Zombie Apocalypse. You can refer back to them as often as you like!

Valley Blossoms

Well, it's time for my Quarantini! (It's 5 o'clock somewhere!) While we don't know what the future holds, we do know that we will get through this. Together. Hang in there! Stay safe, be well, and I hope to see you all on a future cruise.

Great Big (Socially Distanced) Hugs,
Jeanette Walton

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Paula's Signature Trademark

By its very nature, a quilt tells a story about the person who made it. An anonymous quilt is missing a vital piece of the plot. I am sad I didn't know enough to label quilts that were given away years ago. A signature can make a big difference.

Paula Nadelstern  Paula Signature

I've chosen my dominant left hand to be my signature trademark appliqued to the quilt back. Consider a simple but unique motif to speak for you. Check out my how-to page – it details the techniques I used to create my signature, and includes some examples and a few finished hands.

Paula Nadelstern

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Staying Busy with Gyleen Fitzgerald

Oh my, I miss the Quilt Seminars at Sea community. I have been discovering all my lost items in my studio during this stay at home odyssey! Actually, I've been very active supporting quilters through my Facebook Group pages and I do "follow" a fair amount of them. Some have taken to task mask making and have run out of materials.

Since my sewing days started in crafts then garments I do have almost "vintage" at this point supplies that I don't usually use for quilting. The task for me has been, "and now where is it?" So in the finding elastic both thick and thin, buttons and so forth I have discovered items and projects long forgotten.


I'm staying busy by finishing up new class samples, designing new projects and running easy online workshops through Facebook. If you're connected to any of my group pages, you get the notifications of each workshop. During the Stay at Home mandate, I have been running these workshops for the cost of the mere pattern. These are stress free and quick, I hope that some of you will join me. AND there is no need to buy fabric as all the projects are scrappy using what you have on hand! My latest finish is a new sample for Modern Free Wheeling Circles using batik layer cakes I found in my stash.

Modern Free Wheeling Circles

What destination are you most excited about traveling to in the future?
Ray just asked me the other day where did I want to go when Stay at Home is over. That is a hard question for me since I'm really a home body that travels constantly. With that said, cruising is what I like most in travel. To wake up in a different port each day is fabulous. The hotter the better so Caribbean is my preferred destination. I've been to Alaska several times now and though I'm not a cool weather person I do enjoy the serenity and the birds of prey. Ray and I have gone fishing several times and have yet to catch a salmon so we're committed to keep returning until that happens!

What tool/fabric/etc would you not want to live without?
Notions, what would quilting be without notions? My favorites are the ones I've designed of course! ;-) Polygon Tools (all three) because in a flash of just two size strips I can cut 12 shapes. Bam! And the geometry begins. I can't get enough and had I known what I would do with eighth grade geometry I would have paid attention a bit more in school! Single Helix is one of my newest finished.

The Polymate Family  Single Helix

My tip/small project:

Pesky Pyramids

Small things and tool hacking! If you have the Polygon or Polygon2 Tool you know that one end of the tool makes a small Pyramid that DOES NOT play with the other polygon shapes. This is the "throw away" shape that I call Pesky Pyramids. Well they are too darn cute and perfectly cut to just "throw away!" I started collecting them and stitching (4) of them together into a larger pyramid to one day have enough for a queen size quilt, Ha! To speed up the process I needed some "un-pieced" pyramids as filler. Hmm, no tool for that. But wait! If you draw a line on the Polygon2 Tool ½" below the dash line of "Pyramid" you will now have the template you need. Cut the strip 4¾". Enjoy!

Pesky  Pesky  Quilt

Gyleen Fitzgerald

Facebook Group pages:
Gyleen's Quilting in Colourful Stitches
Gyleen's Polygon Affair
Gyleen's Bricks, Cobblestones and Pebbles
Trash to Treasure Pineapple Challenge

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Face Masks and Quilt Projects with Kathy Wylie

Greetings from Muskoka in Ontario, Canada! The ice has finally left the lake and we are enjoying watching the loons and ducks return to the water.


Isolation is a way of life here. We are accustomed to getting our exercise indoors and out, keeping in touch with friends and family electronically, going into town once a week for supplies, and keeping busy with our creative projects. Normally, this would be a busy time of year for me with classes, guild presentations and quilt shows. But as my spring teaching schedule vanished, I have been settling into my off-season routine and spending more time in the studio.

Face Masks

Like many of you, I have been making masks. Our local health network was not accepting homemade masks, so I started making them for family and friends and donating them to our local grocery store clerks, post office and senior's residence workers.

The face mask pattern I am using calls for 7-inch lengths of elastic. With elastic in short supply, I tried to think of other options. I wanted to make the style of mask with loops that went over the ears, and wondered if stretch knit would work instead of elastic. Not having any stretch knit fabric on hand, I decided to cut up a men's t-shirt! Find the tutorial here.

I also have a new quilt project in the works. This is not a typical palette for me, but these vivid colorful fabrics sure brighten my days!

New Project  New Project

In February, my first fabric line with Northcott began shipping to stores! The collection is called Time After Time and was inspired by my quilt For Such a Time as This.

Time After Time

The collection includes a panel based on the center medallion of that quilt, a border stripe, and four coordinating prints. All the colors in the collection are perfectly matched to Northcott's Toscana fabric line. To find the fabric at a store near you, Northcott has a Product Finder feature on their website

There are also four quilt patterns available using the Time After Time fabric line, three of which we have made into kits.

Timeless Beauty
Thread snips
Kit available
Points in Time
Mask making
Time Frame
Mask making
Kit available
Birth Flower Bouquet
Mask making
Kit available

Time Frame is a quilted frame made with the Time After Time border stripe. A quilted frame could be used to display quilts or photographs or certificates or whatever it is you want to frame. The idea came to me when I was designing the Birth Flower Block-of-the-Month series of patterns. Obviously, the twelve blocks could be sewn together into one quilt, but I thought it would be nice if each block could be bordered with a pretty frame and switched in and out from month to month.

Here's how to make a quilted frame with a border stripe.

Quilted frame with a border stripe

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Helpful Tutorials (and a BIG HUG) from Frieda Anderson

Greetings from Elgin, IL USA! The weather has finally decided that it is really springtime. The trees are all leafing out and the flowers are starting to bloom in different stages. My daffodils and tulips are done and now the lilacs are starting to bud. The little ruby throated hummingbirds are back, and I can FEEL summer coming.

Frieda Anderson

Now that the weather is better my garden is looking good, there is more time to devote to it.

I am not feeling very isolated as isolation is a way of life as a traveling teacher. When you work for yourself you are always working. You set up a schedule and stick to it or else you are way behind. I have been accustomed to spending my day in my studio getting ready for classes and keeping my website stocked, but now that all my teaching has vanished I am spending my time a little differently, but still in the studio. Like many of you, I am making masks for family and friends. Who knew we would be so popular as seamstress and all that accumulation of fabric, and notions would make making masks a breeze? I have also been working on some of my own prizewinning quilts. I am accustomed to getting my exercise indoors and out; I walk my sons dog a lot, keeping in touch with friends and family electronically; most of my family live out of town, and I usually only go out once a week for supplies and groceries, I am keeping busy with my creative projects so the isolation hasn't been very hard for me, I have just shifted my focus a little to the left.

I have been knitting more socks then usual and that is productive too because now I will have many pairs to choose from as gifts come Christmas. My favorite sock pattern is Ann Norling's Basic Sock pattern. I have been using it for years, it is simple, the directions are easy to follow, and it will fit everyone.

I wanted to share with you a YouTube tutorial of one of the of the classes that I have offered in the past for Quilt Seminars at Sea. I designed this class SeaSide Village, after teaching in Norway, but I think the village on the wharf could be anywhere. You can download and print out the pattern, directions, and color picture to make with all your own fabrics. This is a raw edged fused project.

SeaSide Village

I personally prefer to use WonderUnder #805 fusible web for all my raw edged fused projects. You can order a 10-yard bolt of this product from Walmart at only $1.01 a yard. You have the option of having it delivered to your closest Walmart and picking it up, or if you order $35 of anything you can have it shipped to your house for free. That is quite a bargain, I think.

The link to the tutorial for this pattern is, or just enter my name, Frieda Anderson, and the tutorials will come up. There is also a tutorial on YouTube for the other class that is extremely popular on the cruises, Under the Sea.

Under the Sea

I still a few kits and patterns left for this class that you can order from my website at

I have a basic tutorial on fusing on my website as well in case you have never done very much of it.

Basic fusing tips 1 & 2:

And a tutorial on doing a fused binding:

I hope you are all staying safe and enjoying this opportunity to quilt and create without any guilt attached to it, it seems like the most rational thing to do at this time, in my humble opinion. I do look forward to meeting up again with friends for lunch or coffee and to be able to hug people again. I am sending a BIG HUG out to all of you.

Frieda Anderson

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Checking in with Kathy McNeil

Dear cruising buddies,

I have been looking at old pictures of all of us on cruises. Bruce and I should have been leaving soon for that great European cruise to Spain, Portugal and much, much more. We are so sad that COVID-19 has changed the world and we are not able to go. My whole Spring calendar has disappeared and it may be next year before I am back on the road! Hopefully by February we will still be able to go on the amazing cruise to South America and Antarctica. Bruce and I miss you guys and all of the great times we have had waking up in new ports each morning, and fun sea days with workshops. I love playing with people who are as crazy about quilting as I am. You guys understand that you can never have too much fabric, don't think quilting into the wee hours is strange, and have bladders of steel – because we just need to finish this section.

How Many of You Are Even Crazier than Normal by Now?
I finally broke down and resurrected my hair cutting skills. Bruce and I were pretty poor when we first married (I was 18 and he was 21)...a story for another sea day. (Our first child came 6 years later: LOL). My mom taught me, and I think I cut his hair for about ten years, till we were both through college and graduate school. Bruce, my son-in-law, and grandson were all getting really shaggy. I think I did a better job on them than my poor puppy.

Kathy and her puppy

Update on Trailer Life
Many of you know that Bruce and I have spent 5 months living in a 34-year old trailer, waiting for a building permit...and construction to open on the property we bought with my oldest daughter. We get to start this week! I am over the moon with happiness. I love, love multi-generational living and feel incredibly grateful that we have been able to see our grandchildren and both daughters every day. But I am really, really ready for my own little house again. Shona has been so gracious in allowing me to take over her living room with my quilting corner, so I can still work. She moved back into the house the first of May. Our cases are down, and they now have enough PPE at the hospital. She changes and showers at work before coming home. Some tragedies and some real saves. One 84-year old who lived, and her 38-year old daughter who did not. This virus is so unpredictable. Thank all of you who have made masks and stayed at home to flatten the curve and give our health care workers a chance to provide their best care. She is very encouraged with some of the new drug combinations. We will be together again. Can't wait till that happens.

My New Quilt "Hey, Long Ears" is Finished
Hailey, 11 years old, helped me make all the prairie points. Total time was about 750 hours, as it is all turned edges with Apliquick and then hand appliquéd. I quilted on my Bernina. After agonizing for days about a fun border, I finally came up with an inner border of Prairie Points. There are 7 chicks. Sometimes, I wish that I was a more "sophisticated artist." Oh well, I loved drawing when I was a little girl, and apparently my art has not progressed since that stage. Still in love with animals of every sort.

Hey, Long Ears  Hey, Long Ears: Detail

TIP: The Little Daisies are Fussy Cut from a Print and Then Hand Appliquéd to Their Fur.
Because Apliquick interfacing is opaque, you can see through it. So lay it over the image you want to cut out. Trace onto the interfacing and cut out as usual. Iron it to the back side, and then cut with the small turning edge/seam allowance. Easy peazzy! Not sure that is a word, but it works out great. I don't know if you can enlarge the image enough to see that the window is actually covered with a bit of an old lace table cloth for the curtains. Lots of hand embroidery, including their eyelashes. Shading was done with my fabric paint crayons that many of you have watched me demo.

There are a variety of free videos on my website. I also just added a new one on Unit Applique.

AQS Star Interview and Video
AQS has been trying to stay in touch with the quilting community, and has been doing Zoom interviews, which they record weekly. You can watch some fun ones (i.e. Sue Nickels, Kimberely Eimo and others) by visiting the American Quilters Society Facebook page and scrolling down the page.

I will be showing a small section of the newest quilt I just started and you can see the crowded, but workable space I am using. My granddaughters show their projects too. They both know how to do the Apliquick method. Watch the video here.

Guilds that I have contracts with this year realize that gatherings of that size may not happen this year. Not sure how we can social distance and actually teach either. They are asking me if I can do some sort of Zoom presentation and I am working on figuring that out. Words of wisdom/ advice would be appreciated. AQS has cancelled both of the shows I was to teach at this year. Lancaster Nook and Charleston. I was supposed to be one of the three judges for Charleston. I love that job. I always learn so much.

We do have two online classes with AQS, and of course 4 DVDs in my web store to fill in this time at home.

Most of us are in the high risk group of serious illness and possibly long term effects if we get this virus. As a retired Registered Nurse with 35 years of experience taking care of ventilated patients, I don't want that to happen to any of you. Carefully watch the number of cases in your area before venturing out in closed crowded spaces. Wear your masks and make sure they fit well.

Be creative and kind to yourselves in some way every day. You are important to me and I hope to see many of you on our cruise in 2021!!!!


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Stitch and Paint with Ana Buzzalino

Hello again,

Last time I wrote to you, I was starting self-isolation and I bet we were all thinking that this was going to be a few weeks and we'd be out and about once again. But, here we are. We find ourselves in a unique situation right now: challenging and unprecedented. Totally different from the way we are used to living. Social distancing, wearing masks, staying home, staying safe, flattening the curve, schools closed, supermarkets with directional aisles, markers on the floor showing where to stand; retail shops closed, curbside pickup, online shopping on a magnitude never seen before. Supporting local businesses has become very important to me, as some of my favorite independent stores are in danger of closing their doors. As I write this, I just read the news that an independent retail clothing store in the city has closed one of its stores forever after 16 years. Sad news all around.

I'll share a secret with you: I'm an introvert, and for me, who usually avoids crowds and is happy to be at home, in solitude, and silence, my daily routine hasn't changed that much – except that my office is in my front bedroom instead of downtown Calgary. But for a lot of people, including a lot of my friends, this forced isolation has been difficult, and challenging.  So my advice to you is to find something you love to do and use this opportunity to put a few – or a lot of – hours into getting more proficient at it. (Update from when I wrote this a week ago: I've been laid off and that has been difficult. But, I'm excited at the opportunities opening up. So, stay tuned...)

I know... I know... concentrating for long periods of time seems to be difficult to do. Unprecedented times call for different ways of doing things to adjust. In my case, that has meant working small; or when I tackle a large piece, working slowly, a bit at a time every day – or a few times a week, instead of trying to do it all in one or two days like before. Pieces in progress sit on my design wall, sometimes for weeks, waiting for me to make up my mind and finish them. But that's OK. It has to be, because we are learning new ways of living and navigating these challenging times.

Framed Quilt

So today I thought I'd share with you one of my popular classes: I call it Simple Landscapes with Stitch and Paint. It's a simple way to cut and piece curves without measuring and pinning. It works like a charm. You can make small pieces in a short period of time. You can even make postcards with this technique, using 3-5 pieces of fabric and a simple design to paint.

So sit back, relax and read on – I'll explain the technique in detail. Hopefully you'll like it enough to give it a try.

I hope these instructions will keep you busy and happy in your studio for a while. 

I am working right now on revamping my website and will be adding a shopping cart. I hope to be offering online classes very soon.

In the meantime, stay safe at home and keep creating. 

Ana Buzzalino