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Prairie Points Show Ribbon Tutorial

July 25, 2016


On August 27 & 28 the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild is hosting their first quilt showcase at North Van Shipyards Building near Lonsdale Quay. With over 150 modern quilts on display, it’s sure to be amazing. I’ll be sad to miss it. Despite my move to Toronto a couple of years ago I have maintained my membership of the VMQG – because I love those girls (and couple of guys). The show committee has been rounding up volunteers to help organize, and making the show ribbons was a job I could do from afar. So sign me up, Baby!

Inspired by a prairie points mat in my laundry (sweet story about that here), I decided to use prairie points instead of the usual ruffled ribbon.  I love how they turned out so I thought I’d share my technique in case anyone was keen to make some for their guild’s shows.

Materials needed (for one prairie point show ribbon):

  • 4 ½” hexagonals x 12 pieces for exterior ring
  • 3 ½” hexagonals x 12 pieces for inner ring
  • 9 x 2 ½ strips for ribbons x 3 pieces
  • 3 ½” x 3 ½” front circle fabric (for behind pin)
  • 4 ½” x 4 ½” backing fabric
  • 7” x 4” iron-on fleece
  • 2” x 8” scrap of batting
  • Brooch pin / large safety pin
  • Elmers white glue
  • Fine fabric marker
  • Needle & thread
  • 3” printed button
  • lightweight iron-on interfacing for ribbons
  • Template print outs on card – PPribbontemplate


Prairie points rings:

1. Print out the hexie templates on cardboard template and cut out. Work out which colours you wish to use for the outer ring and the inner ring triangles. (Contrasting colours recommended.) Stack a few layers of your fabrics chosen and trace hexies touching as shown. You will need a total of 12 of each size per ribbon. (Note: I was making 3 ribbons so I have quite a few shown here.) Pin the centre of each hexie through all layers. Use sharp scissors and cut along the zig zag line, then down the vertical lines.

2. Fold each hexie right sides together in half (between two points). Then fold twice more into an equilateral triangle to make prairie points as shown. Press.


3. Now carefully trim the inside triangle tips down as shown, and press. (This is to help reduce bulk in the prairie points ring when assembled.) Do this for all prairie points big and small.


4. Start with the smaller inner ring template and arrange the prairie points on the template, interlocking them as you go.


5. Place a small dot of glue on the inside corner of a triangle, close to cut edge, and finger press down. (Make sure no glue oozes out or is visible.) Repeat all around the ring on both sides so that all corners are secure. Allow to dry or give it a quick press with the iron – no steam – between parchment paper or using a press cloth.

6. Stitch the inside cut edges to make sure they’re secure a scant 1/8” from the cut edge.


7. Repeat steps 4, 5 and 6 with the larger outer circle triangles.

8. Place small dots of glue, close to cut edge of inner circle. Carefully centre the small inner ring on top of the large outer ring, taking care not to smear the glue. Press down and allow to dry. (Whoops! I forgot to stitch the inner edge of this grey ring!)

While the rings are drying let’s prep the other elements.


Front & back circles:

9. a) Cut two circles out of the iron-on fleece:

  • 1 x small – 2 5/8” diameter
  • 1 x large – 3 3/4” diameter

b) Iron the small circle onto the wrong side of the fabric that goes underneath the button on the front.

Iron the large circle onto the wrong side of the backing fabric. Trim a 3/8” seam allowance around both circles.

c) Stitch a basting stitch all around the circles just inside the cut edges. Pull the thread ends together to gather the fabric inwards. Press circle with right side up. (Fleece may melt if ironed directly.)


10. Prep the ribbons:

a) Optional but recommended tip: If I had to make more of these I would interface my ribbon fabric. (I had to starch the crap out of mine) So I recommend ironing interfacing ono your fabric before cutting.

Cut three strips 9 x 2 ½. (Note: I made mine this width as I was fussy cutting the text on my fabric for fun descriptive words for my ribbons. You can make these fatter if you prefer. If you would like to use &  fussy cut the same fabric I used, you can find it in my Spoonflower shop here:  Improv Adjectives fabric. There are 367 adjectives per half yard to choose from!) Fold the strips in half widthways, right sides together. Stitch down the length, backstitching at start and finish. (Seam allowance ¼”.)

b) Press seam open with seam down the centre of the back. Stitch across the bottom, backstitch at start and end.

c) Trim the corners of the end stitched closed. Turn right side out, starch and press.


11. Complete the rings.

a) ­Hand-stitch the front ring to the back ring with vertical stitches, close to the cut edge, only going through the back layer of the front ring of prairie points, so that the stitches don’t show on the front.

b) Stitch around the circle between the two rings – slipping the needle through the in-between layers. This step may be a bit of overkill, but I think of it as insurance. Wouldn’t want someone’s prize ribbon falling apart after a couple of years!



12. Assembling all the elements:

a) Pin or glue-baste the front circle onto the front of the rings. Applique stitch into place.

b) Cut 3 or 4 circles of the batting scrap about 1 ½” in size. Place the ring front side down. Place these in the ring hole to fill the gap.


c) Arrange the ribbons in order, then place them right side down on the back of the prairie points ring. Glue-baste  in place, taking care not to get glue anywhere that will be visible. Place the back circle right side up on top, centred on the ring of triangles. Glue-baste or pin in place, then appliqué stitch around the edge.

When you get to the bottom of the circle be sure to stitch through the ribbons but be careful to keep the stitches hidden from the front view. Then add a few sneaky stitches between the layers to make sure the ribbons are secured in place.

d) Stitch the brooch pin onto the back. I used large safety pins as I couldn’t find my box of brooch pins, and they work just fine.


e) Now for the cherry on top: Pin the button centred on to the front. Whoohoo, you’re done! Put on your fancy shoes head to the show!



I’d love to see yours if you make some. So please tag #prairiepointsshowribbon and @happysewlucky


Rainbow Mash-up Quilt

March 11, 2016

PrintAs anyone who knows me knows, I am a rainbow enthusiast. When asked what my favourite colour is I am somewhat stumped, and usually revert to providing a favourite colour combination. There’s something about the juxtaposition of colours that makes my heart skip a beat. So when I decided to design a quilt for a transparency quilt workshop that I was teaching, of course it had to be a rainbow. And a 16 colour one at that!


I combined this rainbow of solids with one of my faves Essex Yarn Dyed Linen. I love how the colours pop against the linen.


And for the binding I picked Alison Glass Geometry Sunset. The fractal colours are just perfect for this quilt design. And for the backing my daughter picked out the Alison Glass Abacus because it has the weeniest colour wheel that was clearly meant to be on this quilt.


I’m really pretty psyched with  how it turned out. The PDF pattern is available in my Rainbow Mashup Quilt Pattern. Or you can buy the kit here at FabricSpark.  (If Daryl is sold out of the kit, message her as she keeps a waitlist and restocks.)

Fabric Spark logo

Here’s my last pic from our photoshoot. Have a great day!


Quilts for Refugees

February 10, 2016


Canada’s new forward-thinking government has committed to helping tens of thousands of Syrian refugees find a new home in this beautiful country. I’m so grateful to be living in a place that is kind and generous. After reading and listening to so many heart-wrenching stories in the news about the risks and journeys these refugees have taken with small children in tow, I wanted to find a way to get involved, and somehow help make those coming to Canada feel welcomed and supported. I was guessing that others in Toronto might be feeling the same way. And you know how it is with quilty friends: makers gotta make! So I posted an idea on Instagram to host a little quiltathon to churn some quilts out to donate, and got a great response. Of course a quilty logo was in order. Here’s what I came up with:


Soon a plan was in place! Daryl of Fabric Spark kindly offered to help me coordinate the event, and organized donations of fabric from many of her suppliers.



We had a church hall and twenty-something quilters lined up. Everyone arrived with lots of enthusiasm, and we soon got stitching.



There was lots of cutting, pinning, stitching, collaboration, deliberation, contemplation, and of course, all around good banter. Donuts were donated, dunked and indulged in! (Thank you, Jay!)



This was one of my fave moments of the day when there was celebration as Deb finished her “Multi-Culti” quilt top. Such an awesome name and concept for this quilt. Love it!



Some generous long armer quilters who were keen to participate, but not able to attend the event, kindly offered to quilt some quilts for us. (Thank you Stacy Merton, Tania Denyer, and Karen Brown.) Also thanks to Steff Rose for your awesome quilting help.

I love how they quilted messages in these quilts.



A quilt arrived in the mail from an Oregon quilter who just wanted to be a part of the collaborative. She mailed wrapped it in an Oregon map!


Adrienne of Toronto MQG donated the fab Pick Up Sticks quilt that she had made out of the Quilt blocks she won in the block lotto. (Quilted by Stacey Merton and bound by Lauren of TMQG it truly was a community quilt!)



By the end of the day we were knackered, but we had a good start on a pile of quilts with more in the works. (We’re expecting over thirty!)



I designed some quilt labels for the quilts that recipients could know who made theirs, and also be able to track the story behind the quilt making if they were interested.



Our deadline for delivery of finished quilts is the end of February, and then they will be donated. More on the final quilts, and hopefully some recipient stories to follow. Watch this space! In the meantime, here’s a pic of a few that we have so far with some of the lovely ladies that made them.



A few little notes of thanks:

To Maggie Helwig, at St.Stephen-in-the-Fields, thanks for supporting the project and allowing us to use the church. Much appreciated!

To Daryl for all your help in making this happen. It’s so much more fun when you have a partner in crime. And to your suppliers for their fantastic fabric donations! Thank you!

To everyone who participated: Thanks for your time and energy! Obvious to say this, but these projects just don’t happen if no one jumps on board. (Extra hugs for the girls who drove all the way from Orangeville, and to Krista who managed to squeeze in a visit and a bit of binding while in town on a visit from Vancouver. Yay!)

And to my amazing husband and kids who, as usual, supported yet another one of my crazy ideas. They schlepped tables & equipment, packed the cars, drove the quilters, baked snacks, stitched quilts, and put up with a piles fabric and quilting on the dining room table. Love you guys!

And for anyone touched by projects like this, who might wish they could have been a part of it, here’s what I suggest: Make a quilt to donate! Find a local organization working with refugees to give it to, or mail it to me to donate on your behalf. Better yet, host your own sew-in to make quilts like we did. It’s such fun and a really great cause. So go for it!


Ola, Sugar Skull Pattern!

October 22, 2015
New pattern available in my Easy store: HappySewLuckyShop

Last year I participated in the Michael Miller Fabric Challenge with the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild. You had to use their Petal Pinwheels fabric in pretty much any way you wanted. There was something about the colours and the higgledy piggledy teeth-like print that reminded me of a sugar skull. So that’s what I decided on. I designed a pattern end I ended up with this:

Sugar Skull Quilt

I pieced the quirky teeth fabric for the mouth, and used reverse appliqué for the eyeballs. For the hearts and the cheeks I wanted some extra dimension, so I did a bit of stuffed appliqué – my version of trapunto. (I know, it’s not REAL trapunto, but it did the trick for me.)



When I posted it on Instagram it got a lot of positive feedback, so I put it on my list of things to make a pattern for. This month, Daryl from Fabric Spark and I decided to collaborate on a project for her Creative Festival booth. So I designed a simplified version of my skull pattern that would be a tad less daunting than the one above. Here’s how it looks:

New pattern available in my Easy store: HappySewLuckyShop

New pattern available in my Easy store: HappySewLuckyShop

No stuffed appliqué and machine appliquéd skull instead of hand-turned and stitched. Embroidery pattern

Sugar Skull pattern

Daryl made up kits with fabric panels with the skull embroidery pattern printed on, to save you having to trace it. Then she picked fabrics for cushion backgrounds that would work well with the Day of the Dead design theme. Her kits also included matching embroidery floss. She has a few kits left over that she plans on making available soon in her fabulous online store, Fabric Spark.

If you prefer to choose your own cushion fabric and buy just the pattern, you can get a PDF version in my Etsy store: HappySewLuckyShop.

Although there’s a fair bit of embroidery involved, it’s a great project for road trips or when you have to sit in the car waiting for your kids while they’re at music lessons. The appliqué part is not tricky, and the cushion itself is really simple to put together. You can get the 18″ pillow forms at Ikea or many fabric or upholstery stores.

If you bought one of the kits at Fabric Spark, or the pattern from my Etsy store, I’d love to see how yours turns out so please tag me on social media when you post it.

See you on Instagram! 🙂

EYEBALLS Quilt – Block Lotto tutorial

July 19, 2015

Happy Sew Lucky

BOO! The next TMQG meeting is in October, so our next block lotto is spectacularly Hallowe’en themed. I’ve had this eyeball quilt in my head for a while, so I figured this was the perfect time for it. The idea being a whole lot of googley eyes staring out of the darkness. Some nasty ones, some scaredy ones and some looking left and right to see who’s there. There will be lots of stories to tell with this quilt! It would also be awesome to hang from your front window as decoration on Halloween night.

A quick note to take care of business: This is a free tutorial written and designed by me. Any guild or quilt group is welcome to use it for a group project or block lotto. However I ask that you please link to this tutorial for others to follow the instructions. Please do not repost my design, images or text on your blog without my written permission. You are welcome to make this quilt for your own personal use or for a gift. You may not however sell anything made using this design without my written permission. Under NO circumstances may you sell any form of a pattern or tutorial based on this tutorial. Thank you.

The first option is pretty simple to do – sort of a variation of the snowball block. There are a couple of more complex variations for you to try out if you want to get more creative. This tutorial explains the concept and gives step by step instructions, but the idea is that the eyes are all different sizes and locations on the block, so exact dimensions are not given. The idea is to have some fun with it!


Background: Kona BLACK OR Free Spirit BLACK – about 1/4 yard per block

(Available at The Workroom, Sew Sisters and Sew Be It Studio.)

Eye balls: White or low volume (should read as white) – Small amount per pair of eyes

Iris*: Orange, Purple or Lime Green solids – Small amount. *optional


Trimmed block size: 12 1/2″ square (Finished size 12″ square)

Seam allowance: ¼”

Block size: 12 ½” square trimmed

Block Lotto Deadline: TMQG October meeting – October 25th, 2015.


After reviewing the tutorial, sketch a drawing of the kind of eyes you’d like to make. Are they the Googly type? I which case which way are they looking or are the pupils surrounded by white? Then decide how big you want them to be, baring in mind the pair should not exceed 10″ square at the absolute largest. There is no limit on how small they can be. Then calculate your dimension and make a note of them on your sketch. (Tip: Remember to add 1/2″ to your cutting height and width measurements for the 1/4″ seam allowance)

eye quilt sketch


Start with the eyeballs. Cut the eyeball out of black, and then the whites of the eyes out of white. (Note: I have examples from two different eyeballs shown in these steps. One pair is looking to the side, and the other is staring ahead.)

HAalloween quilt

These eyes will be looking to the side. (If you want yours to stare ahead, add another white strip on the other side.)

Then stitch the side/s of the eyeball whites on.

Halloween Quilt Pattern

These eyeballs are different from the ones above, they will stare ahead.


Now cut 8 squares of Black fabric to make your corners – 4 per eyeball. (Recommended that these be about 1 1/2″ square)


Turn the pieced block Right Side Down and mark 45º angles across the corners for slightly smaller squares that the pieces you cut. So if your black squares have 1 1/2″ sides then mark 1′ or 1 1/4″ from the corners and draw your 45º line across. The extra bit of fabric just makes accuracy easier as you have a little wiggle room if needed.


Now place a black square Right Sides Together on a corner, matching up the two cut edges, and stitch along this line.

(Tip: Use a thread bunny when doing this to avoid thread snarling up under your tiny pieces. If you don’t know what they are, see a pic below.)

quilting tip

Thread bunnies are very helpful at preventing the snarly thread mess when starting at the cut edge of fabric. Instead start your stitching in the middle of a scrap – aka a thread bunny – then stitch a little chain of thread, then feed in your pieces. See? No snarly mess. Thank you thread bunny!

Now trim the corners off with a 1/4″ seam as shown.




Note: On this one I didn’t cut the corner squares larger – see how I have a wee gap down the side? That’s annoying!

Press the piecing then trim your eyeball blocks as shown. (See why the little extra on these corner squares is handy now? You can cut night square blocks even if your angles were slightly skew!)

STEP 4: 

Add piecing between and on the sides of your eyes. Make sure that the finished width is more than 12 1/2″ so that you have a little extra to trim down to size.



Add fabric above and below to complete your block. Finally trim it down to 12 1/2″ size.

Halloween Quilt

One finished eyeball block!

But wait! There’s more… if this is too simple for you, we have options!! Read on.


STEP 6:  (“Scary” or “Scaredy” eyes option)

a) Start with a white rectangle (ratio 2:1) with a strip of black down the middle. (Note: this will make two pairs of scary or scaredy eyes. It’s a bit of a head scratcher, but one square will only make both eyelids going at the same angle. So if you’re ok with both eyelids slanting the same way, only make a square. But if you want opposite angles you need a rectangle.)

b) Cut a piece of Black fabric the same size.

Halloween quilt pattern

c) Place the pieced rectangle Right Sides Together down onto the Black piece and align edges. Cut into two squares. Then make Half Square Triangles.

If you haven’t made Half Square Triangles before, here’s how:

i) Use a fabric marker to draw diagonal lines from corner to corner. Stitch a 1/4″ seam allowance on either side of the lines.

halloween quilt

ii) Cut along the lines drawn.


iii) Press blocks open.

Halloween eyes

d) Next cut white strips for the eye bottoms, as well as black squares for the corners. Then use the same technique described in STEPS 3 to 5 above to finish your blocks.

monster quilt

Yup, he’s nasty. Don’t want to meet this guy in a dark alleyway.

scary eyes

Now life is not Black and White for everyone. So for those of you Jonesing for a little hit of colour, this next option is for you. (Note: TMQG’ers Andrea suggested that we make our blocks mostly B&W, with only about 1/4 of them with colour. She suggested making 3 B&W first then a colour one. Ha ha, so now that I’ve got you all excited about a rainbow splurge, I’m putting you partially back in the colour corset. What? Don’t blame me, I’m not the not-the-president. 😉


a) Start by making a log cabin around a black centre. (TMQG’ers: colour restricted to orange, purple & lime green)

Log Cabin

b) Then add some whites strips. (Mine are looking sideways so only three sides have whites.)

eye quilt

c) You can do yours as per STEP 3 with equal corners. Or not. On these ones I wanted a less angular eye lid. So I measured 1 1/2″ distance in the height, and drew a line across to stitch on.

Eye quilt

eyeball quilt

d) Then add bottom corners and centre piece.

eyes quilt

e) And finally box them in.


Well that was one heck of a long tutorial! But I am excited about this block lotto. I think the quilt is going to be spooktacular!

If you or your guild are making and posting on Instagram, etc use the tag #eyeballsquilt so that we can all see how everyone’s look.

“Pop it in your purse, Honey!” (New pattern and fabric design)

July 15, 2015

A couple of years ago I designed a little needle book for a swap that the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild did with the London (England) MQG. I thought it’d be neat to have a little pocket to keep a little stash of embroidery thread or a few emergency sewing kit buttons in. Here’s what I came up with:

Purse needlebook pattern

It turned out really sweetly and I was sad to give it up, but that’s a good thing when you’re making for someone else. The recipient loved it, so it was well received. A few people asked me if the pattern was available. I said that I was working on it. Well, here I am two years later announcing my new pattern: “Pop it in your purse, Honey” now available in my Etsy shop. Better late than never, right?!

There are a few novel features to this design: Firstly it has a 3D flap on the purse, which is unusual for foundation piecing patterns. And there are 4 design options for the flap, so that you can make a whole collection of purses if you are a purse fanatic.

"Pop it in your purse, Honey" pattern available onEtsy at  HappySewLuckyShop.

“Pop it in your purse, Honey” pattern available on Etsy at HappySewLuckyShop.

My favourite thing about it is that the main part of the bag has a functioning pocket. Yes, you read that right, you can stash something cute in this purse even though it’s paper-pieced! I guess that was the packaging designer in me coming out. I love containers that you can keep treasures in. And this little purse does not disappoint in that department! Embroidery floss for the road or emergency sewing kit supplies such as a few buttons and carded thread, or a sweet note if you’re giving it as a gift.

Purse Pattern pocket

I designed the paper piecing pattern for the purse in two sizes. The larger size is 6″ and is great for a mini quilt or a little girl’s quilt. A friend suggested that it would make a cute little tooth fairy pillow with a pocket for the tooth. I love this idea!

The smaller size is 4″ which is ideal for a needle book.

As you can see this pattern is awesome for fussy cutting.

As you can see this pattern is awesome for fussy cutting.

The pattern also includes instructions to make this needle book, which has a sneaky hidden scissor pocket at the back. (It’s slightly tweaked from the original one I made for the swap.)

Purse Needlebook Scissor Pocket

See the scissors hiding in there. Pretty sneaky, eh?


So with emergency sewing supplies in the pocket, it’s really it’s more like a mini sewing kit than a needle book, which is super handy. (To see some examples that others have made of this block check Instagram: #Popitinyourpursehoney)


Since I was on a roll with all things purse related, I decided to design some fabric with the same theme. I am crazy about fabric that I can fussy cut for zakka projects, and this fabric is designed with that in mind. It would also make a fabulous lining for a purse or bag, given that it lists pretty much anything and everything that we stash in our purses and handbags. It’s called Purse Paraphernalia and is available in six colours here in my TEXT FABRICS collection section of my Spoonflower shop.

"Purse Paraphernalia" available in 6 colours in my Spoonflower shop.

“Purse Paraphernalia” available in 6 colours in my Spoonflower shop.


PICK UP STICKS quilt block tutorial.

May 10, 2015

The contents of this post has been removed for the following reason:


I had written this tutorial as a block lotto for the Toronto MQG. I had seen a few pick up sticks quilts, had heard people chat about them, and thought it’d be a fun block lotto project. I tried to find an online tutorial that I could link to for our guild. I couldn’t find one so I wrote one, not realizing that the original was a pattern published in a book twenty years ago. I totally, inadvertently,  knocked it off. My bad! I felt quite ill when I received an email from the very lovely Bill Kerr, who very politely and respectfully explained the situation, and requested that I remove the post. Clearly I had not done my homework thoroughly enough. Having had some of my designs ripped off over the years, I have “a thing” about copying, and try to do original work or credit designers when using their patterns.

Here’s the scoop on the original:

The designer of this quilt was Weeks Ringle, and it was published and copyrighted in 2002 in Color Harmony for Quilts by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr of Modern Quilt Studio. It was shown at the ICFF international design show in New York city, as well as featured that same year in Oprah’s magazine and other publications. If you like Pickup Sticks, have a look at their hundreds of other patterns in their books and magazines at

If anyone has used my tutorial to make one of these quilts, please credit “Modern Quilt Studio” when showing your quilt either online or in person.

I would like to apologize to Weeks and Bill, and also thank them for being so respectful in the way they dealt with this matter. Really much appreciated.

And lastly, I hope that others may learn a lesson along with me, as I have to say this has been a humbling experience.