What I’ve Been Up To…

I know it’s been radio silence over here for a while but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been sewing.  I just wasn’t able to tell you about it. 😦

Now I can!

I just returned from QuiltX in St. Marys, Ontario.  This was the second year for the quilt show and marketplace.  The show itself is rather unique… each vendor is required to make the featured quilt pattern designed by the featured designer.

Here is the info explaining the Same, Same, Different concept:

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This year it was Chopstix designed by my friend Jen Houlden of Quilts by Jen

Here’s Jen’s quilt!  You can purchase a few of Jen’s patterns here.

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So, I had to make this quilt… let me be brutally honest… this is NOT a pattern I would normally choose.  I like Jen’s version but I only saw it after I made mine.

I struggled with fabric choices (my choice ended up being an epic fail), I struggled with the pattern (it wasn’t difficult per se, just fiddly for my taste) and I struggled with trying to put my own ‘spin’ on it (another epic fail, I might add).

Ok, let the judging begin!

No, really, I’ll be ok with your comments… You can’t hurt my feelings any more than I’ve already hurt them myself.  I actually hated this first quilt I made and here is why… Like I said before, the fabric was the wrong choice for this pattern.  I used the Small Wonders line by Mary Fons (India and Netherlands)  I love these fabrics but they are lost in all the wonky-ness of this pattern.  I should have used solids or tone on tone

(which I did for the second one… keep reading)

 The pattern wasn’t my cup of tea either… I love most of Jen’s other patterns and I ‘get’ where she was going with this one but, it’s just not ME.  And that’s okay!  Maybe next years’ pattern will totally be my thang!

That’s the whole point of the QuiltX quilt show!  It’s a show of quilts made by folks who don’t normally showcase their quilts.  It’s a place the quilt-police would never be caught dead in (or be allowed to enter).  It’s a show for all of us (dare I say) misfits in the quilting world.  Some are professionals but, others… like me; are just people who like to play with fabric and create because, not to do so would be soul-depriving.

So, more about “THAT QUILT“…

(that’s actually the name of it… lovingly named by my dear friend S)


I made it a bit bigger than the pattern called for, adding a couple extra blocks and more background fabric.  “I like BIG quilts and I cannot lie!”   It measures 75″ x 90″ – a decent Twin.

Someone, somewhere will be able to wrap themselves up in this mess and still keep warm.   ‘nough said!


I do like the back.  I took some of the Small Wonders Ditsy Yellow Wideback and added a diagonal swatch of the Small Wonders India Crowns.  I also added a bit to the bottom as well.  It kind of reminds me of the flag that scuba divers raise when they are in the water.  I guess it’s my homage to the sinking ship this quilt felt like as I was making it.  LOL!


The quilting was super fun!  I just played, and played!  I did this kind of weird squared-stipple thing that ended up being quite meditative.  If nothing else, I learned a new FMQing technique.

I mentioned that I made a second quilt… here it is…



This one is just a little, itty bitty baby quilt!  It only measures 33″ square.

I used the Lullaby collection from Kate & Birdie Co.  I also used some Northcott Shortbread solids for the background.  I used some terrycloth for the backing and love how the quilt feels with terry on the back.


I only made a few blocks and turned them on point.  I trimmed the whole thing down to size and actually like this one a lot more!  The FMQing is the same squared-stipple technique used on the other quilt.

If you want to see some really great interpretations of this quilt… you can check out all the versions of the Chopstix quilts here

(thanks to the London MQG for snapping photos of them all)

If you want some of the fabrics or to try the pattern yourself, head over to Fabric Please! and tag me when you’ve made it so I can like yours so much more than mine!

Till next time…


Posted in 2016 Finishes, Fabric, FMQ, quilting | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Gotta Love that Feelin’

I love that feeling when I’ve finished a task that has been on my “To Do” list for a long time.

This is what I finished!

Ellis Quilt in the garden

This quilt was requested (way back) in January!  It has been haunting me ever since.

This Double Irish Chain, (in red, white and a bit of yellow) was made for a dear friend and his wife.  I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself while making this quilt.  Usually, I make quilts and just hope that everything turns out ok and I don’t stress over it.

This time was different.  I know my friend will love this quilt (he has loved everything I’ve ever made him) and he won’t see any imperfections, even after someone has pointed them out (who would do such a thing?).  The problem is… I know how much he’ll love it and he’ll want to show it to EVERYONE!

I appreciate the rose-coloured glasses my friend has when it comes to “all-things-Rita” and those glasses keep many of my “mistakes” hidden.  His wife and their many (many) friends don’t wear such glasses.

 Therein lies the problem.  I was making this quilt with the weight of all those (spectacle-free) eyes on my back.  Now; the logical part of me knows those folks won’t see my errors.  But… the emotional side of me just quivers at the thought of my quilt being looked at like some sideshow freak.

Well, here is a peek (for you sideshow fans) at the finished king-sized “Ellis Quilt”

On the bed

Ellis Quilt - on the bed 2

Up close

Ellis Quilt - Medallion detail

Now you are entering into my personal space

Ellis Quilt - Up close

Okay, now you’re getting a bit too close for my comfort but, here goes…

Detail of the Fleur de Lis FMQuilting.

Ellis Quilt - Fleur de Lis - Detail front

(sideshow info:)  

I used pencil to trace the stencil and free-motion quited over the lines.  The mistake I made was using PENCIL.  It does NOT just wash out!  This is an old hand-quilting technique that has worked for ages.  The problem:  I wasn’t hand-quilting!  The accuracy while hand-quilting is bang-on.  Free-motion on the other hand, well; it’s not accurate.  Mine isn’t anyway.

I spent many hours scrubbing away the pencil marks with a toothbrush.  I think my hand may be permanently cramped.  Note to self:  never EVER use pencil again when machine quilting!

(sideshow’s over – you can stop grimacing now)

The back of the quilt is all kinds of crinkly goodness!

Ellis Quilt - Back of quilt - FMQing

I straight-line quilted through the Irish Chains on the reverse.  It made a lattice-kind of pattern.

I think I may like the back just as much as the front, it has a bit of a whole-cloth look to it.

Ellis Quilt - Back detail

Binding went on (shockingly) without a hitch.   I even remembered a label!

Ellis Quilt - Binding & label

No pattern was used.  I just did the math and made 55 of each of the two quilt blocks that make up the Double Irish Chain.  Quilt measures 104″ x 114″

I used various shades of red and yellow fabrics from my stash (some purchased for this project).  The background fabric on the front looks white but is actually ColorWorks Premium Eggshell by Northcott.  I thought it would soften the starkness of the red on white and blend better with the yellow.  I used a Pure White quilt backing from my stash, Hobbs 80/20 King Sized quilt batting.  Aurifil 2024 for piecing/quilting in the white spaces and Aurifil 2250 for straight-line quilting.  Batting, thread and ColorWorks Solids can be found at Fabric Please!

It’s been a long time coming, but I’m loving the feeling of finishing this quilt.  Despite all the things I see wrong with it, I’m still going to love giving it to one of my oldest and dearest friends.

Ellis Quilt - in the garden 2

Till next time…


(I think I’ll link up to a few of the Friday link-ups)

Posted in 2016 Finishes, customer quilts, Fabric, FMQ, personal post, quilting, sew my stash | 8 Comments

Reveal of “Two Sides, One Quilt”

After many months of hiding and the occasional sneak peek on Instagram, I can finally reveal the finish of the double-sided quilt, “Two Sides, One Quilt”!


From the first blocks to the finished quilt, this has been a labour of love.  I had a bit of trouble with acquiring all the different fabrics.  I ended up having to go to Fabric.com and Spoonflower.com to get some of the specialty prints.  The exchange to Canadian dollars was a killer!  But these quilting sheep, mustaches and cameras were worth it in the end!

Initially, the quilt was going together so easily, I just knew something major was going to happen.  It’s always the way!  The piecing of side one was easy, and mind-soothingly monotonous.  It came at a time that my soul needed some easy piecing to calm the chaos going on in my head, so… perfect timing.


The layout proved to be a bit of a challenge, as my design wall wasn’t big enough for this mammoth quilt, so I moved it to the floor outside my sewing room.

Thank goodness for my quilting frame otherwise, the pin basting would have been another challenge.  In the end, I got the front and back of the quilt lined up vertically and horizontally.  I don’t think I could have done that without crawling under the quilt to see it from both sides.

I forgot to take photos of the second side during the process, but I did manage to get this shot of how I label my rows before piecing and pressing.


The straight-line quilting was another story!  This is where my grief began!  We all know the quilt top and bottom shift during the quilting process but with this layout, I didn’t want even the slightest movement.  Well, that DIDN’T happen!  I ended up ripping out almost as many stitches as I put in!  I think I quilted half the quilt, tore it out and started again.


There were a few places where the straight line quilting became a bit wonky from one side to the other.  I swear, they line up in most places, but with the shifting (ARGH) it was just too frustrating to worry about.


In the end, I just let it go where it wanted.  I have a few extra ‘crinkles’ in the finished quilt after it’s been washed and dried but I’m hoping the family that gets this will learn to love them like well-earned laugh lines.


I did manage to get my corners nicely mitred on my binding!  That’s a win!  Oh, and I remembered to put a label on… double win!


The one side is based on this quilt (left) from Pinterest.  I’m sorry, I can’t give any  more info than that as it was pinned from flickr and I can’t find the maker.

(If it’s you, comment below and I’ll edit the post.)

The other side is based on a quilt in a magazine, I think it’s one of Mary Fon’s quilts but I can’t find the magazine and I didn’t write down the quilt pattern.


I’m notorious for seeing quilts and not buying the patterns… sorry quilt designers!  I just figure out the math and go from there.

This is a King-sized quilt, measuring 112″ x 112″

Batting:  Hobbs 80/20

Thread:  Aurifil 2600-piecing and quilting

Fabrics:  some from my personal stash, some from my shop, www.fabricplease.com and some from Fabric.com and Spoonflower.com.

Finally both sides on my bed…

kinda wishing this quilt could stay here for a bit but it will be given in love and appreciation to one of my oldest and dearest friends, Suzie!  See you next week, friend!

If any of you want to peek at this in person, we’ll likely have it hiding at the Creativ Festival, Mississauga, Ontario.  April 22 & 23, 2016.  Stop by booth #345 and ask to see it, I’m sure Suzie will let you pet it… unless she’s curled up in it somewhere.

Till next time…


Posted in 2016 Finishes, Fabric, personal post, quilting, sew my stash | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

All Set to Work (and Play!)


I spent the weekend moving the online store into the space that used to be my massage clinic.  The space is a beautiful sunroom off the back of our house that I have always loved to spend time in.  The brick wall adds rustic charm, the huge wall of windows brings in light and the birds outside serenade me.

Originally, I had planned on setting up my sewing room in this space but the width of the room limited the layout of my tables.  I prefer to use a “U” shaped layout for sewing but I just couldn’t make it fit in this tight space.  So, the ‘store’ found a new home.

This option made more sense… I won’t need to heat the room as much as I would if I were to sew in here (I like a toasty sewing space).  I move around a lot while filling orders and that helps keep me warm.  This space works great for customers that want to shop in person (by appointment) and the delivery guys are going to be pretty happy too.  I do have black-out blinds to protect the fabric from the damaging rays of the sun so no need to worry about those huge windows I mentioned.  All in all, I will have no trouble at all spending my days filling orders in this delightful space.

The best part of this move… I got my sewing room back!

Chaos ruled for most of the transition…

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(everything, everywhere before it get’s sorted)

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(my sewing tables loaded with a lot of “junk”)

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(my shelves in place but that peg board needs some work)

Once things were put away, order was restored!


I have my “U” shaped sewing layout again.

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With lots of light!


My peg board keeps everything in reach.


My fabric stash is organized.

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And I have a design wall again!

I spent a few minutes on a preliminary layout for a friend’s quilt.  I see a few blocks that need changing… I’ll leave that for tomorrow’s play time!

It’s amazing how the space dictates my mood.  Now that my sewing room is set up again, I can’t wait to get behind my machine and log in a few hours.  I had lost my sewing mojo for a bit and I think it’s because I was crammed into a tiny corner that stifled my creativity.  I feel it all flowing back again… look for a lot more quilting/sewing on my personal blog www.pinprickedfingers.com

If you are in the New Dundee area (60min. West of Toronto) and want to drop in to shop, let me know and we’ll set a time.  In the meantime, hop over to the store and shop from the comfort of your own home.

Till next time…


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Last Day, New Beginnings

Today, I turn the page on a chapter in my life.

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For almost 26 years, I have been a massage therapist.  My very first client was also my very last client.  I thought it fitting to celebrate!


I’m grateful to her and all my honoured clients for trusting in me for all these years.

Mixed feelings…  That about sums it up.

I’m sad that I won’t get to spend time with my faithful clients in the same manner.  Oh, sure, I’ll see them.  We’ve got coffee dates and lunches booked, but we all know… time creeps into the empty spaces and distracts us from the best laid plans.


I’ll have to be diligent with my schedule, with keeping contact with friends and filling my life with purpose.

I have grand plans to organize the crap out of my house.  Quite literally!  If you saw my closets you’d know to which “crap” I’m referring.

Other than that, I will have my fabric business Fabric Please! to keep me busy.  Thank goodness (and God)!

I’ll be spending the next few days dismantling my massage clinic and moving my fabric business into the space.  Cathartic work that will help me transition.

Stay tuned for the next chapter…

“May it be as rewarding and prosperous as the last”

Till next time…


Artwork created by Kathryn Forler 20 years ago.  My hands on her daughter-in-law sculpted out of clay.  Thanks Kathryn, wherever you are!

Posted in quilting | 6 Comments

What a Weekend!

In Ontario this past weekend, we had an extra day to spend with our families, hence the “Family Day” holiday.  Our family decided to head north to try to find some snow.

Now, I know many people dislike winter, but I LOVE it!  I love snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and tobogganing.  I love the crisp crunch of snow under my feet and I love the cold clean air.  On the flip side of that, I love snuggling under warm quilts by the fire and sipping hot chocolate.  Winter is by far my favourite season, so this year has been particularly disappointing for me with our mild weather.

All three of us got snowmobiles as family Christmas gifts this year and we hadn’t had a chance to try them out due to the extremely mild winter.  So, our plan was to drive to Northern Ontario to where we knew there was snow.  We loaded up the sleds, got a sitter for the dogs and away we went, to Timmins, Ontario.

After 9 hours of driving, we arrived to find glorious snow!  So pretty!IMG_0850

I did have a bit of a rude awakening with this temperature reading the first dayIMG_0849

Yup, that’s minus 35C (-31F)!  That is stupid cold!  Our faces froze pretty much as soon as we stepped out the door.  Thank goodness for good equipment.

We enjoyed our time on the trails even though my machine needed some repair.IMG_0843

Then it broke down again the second day and we decided to head home a day early.  Our sled dealer will be getting an ear-ful from hubby!

Coming home early gave me time to finish up some sewing projects!

I finished up the 6 chair cushion covers that are headed to Italy.  IMG_0842

Fabrics used:  Lotta Jansdotter  – Lucky – Emes Midnight Navy, Parson Gray – Shaman – Visionary Warpaint, Northcott – Colourworks – Smoke, April Rhodes – Gusts of Leaves – Art Gallery .   Thread:  Aurifil 2600 – Soft Grey

I’m hoping the recipient is happy with them.


I tweaked my summer wrap top a bit.  Trimmed and hemmed the bottom.  I ended up taking 5″ off the bottom!


I cleaned up the edges.


I still need to put either a dart in the back or an elastic to tailor the fit a bit more.


I’ll get to it when I finish up the black/white/red quilt I’m working on.


I’ve almost got all the blocks done for side one, I just need to start the layout.

It felt like a much longer vacation to me, maybe because I got to do everything I like doing. Spending time with my guys, playing in the snow and sewing!  I feel well rested and revitalized.  I feel ready to tackle the coming week and get ready for our next weekend away on the sleds!  Hopefully we can find snow a bit closer to home.

Till next time…


Posted in family, personal post, quilting, Sewing, travel | 6 Comments

SuperBowl Sunday!

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 8.55.14 AMIt’s Superbowl Sunday, and I know a large number of you may be sitting in front of your television screens today enjoying nachos and beer with family and friends.  I won’t be one of them!

No need to send  negative comments about me not loving football.  I know many people do love it, but I don’t.  I’ve even gone so far as to attend an “Anti-Superbowl Party”.  We ate the food, gathered with friends and didn’t watch football!  It was great!

I’ll be spending my day pretty much the way I do every Sunday…

Go to church, visit my mom in the nursing home and come home to cook and sew!

I take Sunday as a nurture day.  I love to feed my soul, my belly and my creativity.

 S0, for those of you NOT into football, join me in my store where I have a one-year anniversary sale going on!  Until February 26th, you can save 30% off regularly priced yardage!  Yup!  30%!  Use coupon code ANNIVERSARY in the checkout.  

That’s like paying wholesale prices for your favourite designer prints!

At these prices, my stock may run out pretty quickly, so I wouldn’t wait if I were you.

Happy shopping!

I hope this gives you another option for Superbowl Sunday if you are like me.  Otherwise, enjoy the game!

(full disclosure… the photo was taken from Pinterest and I edited it – Sorry Mr. Schultz)

Till next time…


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New Adventures in Sewing!


There’s going to be some new sewing adventures over here at Pin Pricked Fingers!

After a dear friend of mine made this awesome knit top for me using Abundance Monsoon by Art Gallery Fabrics.


I decided it was time to start making my own clothing… again.  I say “again” because it’s been more than 20 years since I made an article of clothing for myself.  I used to dabble a little bit with garment sewing, if I needed something ‘different’ to wear to a special event. The problem with that was, the speed at which I finished a project was slower than the rate of weight gain/loss, so when the pants/top/skirt was finally finished, it no longer fit!

I used to sew baby clothes for my nephew (he’s now 21!) and that seemed to work out much better.  If he ended up outgrowing the article that I was making, I could usually hand-it-over to another sweet babe.

Alas, there’s no babes to sew for now (not yet, anyway) so I’m going to try to do some selfish-sewing again.  I’ll likely change sizes a bit, but my sewing skills and speed have improved over the years, so I should get a reasonable amount of use out of each piece.

Sooo…. all this to say….

I bought a Dress Form!!


I’ve wanted one of these things since I was wee.  I’d see them in the fabric store and dream of playing dress-up!  It’s basically a life-sized dolly!  Only, I get to wear the clothes too!

“She” will be getting a name eventually, I just haven’t settled on one yet (Penelope/Betty/Arabell).  We have to get to know each other a bit.  I’ve done my measurements (UGH!) and set “her” measurements to the same.  It’s so nice to have a twinsie! It has a hem-line marker, the base is fairly sturdy and there’s even an option to off-set it for making pants!

My first project will be this epic fail!


This was a free ‘pattern’ I pulled off the internet.  There really was no pattern.  Just some vague diagrams and even more vague directions.  Basically, it was a ‘wing-it’ kind of thing.  The fabric is now sold out of my shop, but it is a knit by Freespirit.

This is supposed to be a wrap top but it turned out to be more of a (very) long tunic.  The sleeve holes are way too big, the breast panels don’t overlap enough (cleavage anyone?) and the pattern didn’t give any instructions for finishing the edges.

So, I’ve got my work cut out for me.  I’ll be cutting about 5″ from the bottom to bring it up to shirt length.  I’ll likely use that extra fabric to make bias binding to finish all the edges or I may make the binding out of a co-ordinating cotton.  I’m not really a garment sewist, so any tips from y’all would be appreciated!

I’ll be seaming up the sides to close in the arm holes a bit and in general, “tweaking” it until it is wearable.

Then, my next project to tackle will be this Schoolhouse Tunic.


 I bought this pattern last year after seeing so many great ones on Instagram.

It comes with an ‘actual’ pattern and from what I’ve read from others, the adjustments needed to make it fit perfectly, aren’t too difficult to implement.

I’m feeling confident I can tackle both of these tops.  I’ve got a whole bunch of other ideas swirling around in my head and with (Penelope/Betty/Arabell) by my side, I think I will have some sweet sewing adventures!

I’d love for you to come along and watch the failures and triumphs as I try my hand at garment sewing.

If anyone is interested in purchasing one of these Adjustoform SewDeluxe Dress Forms I can order one in for you.  I’ve priced out several dress forms available in Canada and US and I believe this one has the best value at $275.00 CAD.  

(Note to my US friends… our dollar basically sucks now so you really should be taking advantage by buying from Canadian stores) 

Send me an email at rita@fabricplease.com if you are interested in purchasing one.

Till next time…


Posted in personal post, sew my stash, Sewing | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Switching Gears

deep massage image011

It’s been a long time coming but I have finally decided to retire from massage therapy.   At the end of February, 2016 I will switch gears and work at my fabric retail business (www.fabricplease.com) full time.

It is a bittersweet feeling, knowing I won’t have the same interaction with people that I do now.  My clients, many who have been with me for 25 years, have become my friends.  I will miss seeing them as often and hearing how they live their lives.

The excitement of jumping in with both feet into the fabric business, keeps me on the ‘sweet’ side of the bittersweet emotions.  The ‘bitter’ is the uncertainty.  I have been a massage therapist for my entire adult life, and so much of my identity is wrapped up in that.  It’s sort of like re-discovering who I am.  Fun, but scary.

I’m hoping with the different pace, I’ll have more time to sew, more time to finish projects around the house and hopefully more time to cook and bake.  Basically, I’m hoping I’ll be a better wife and mother.

My clients, while sad to lose their trusted therapist, are encouraging and supportive of the change.  I thank them for that.  My husband is wonderful, he is willing to walk this path with me and hold my hand when needed.  My son, well, he’s a teenager and while he thinks this is a good thing, he’s pretty much indifferent.  What can I really ask of him?  He’s going through his own major changes (voice/body/emotions) right now and if I remember correctly, it takes a lot of energy to morph into an adult.

SneakPeekFullSizeRender-3(sneak peek of some of what I’ve been working on)

I’m hoping you will find more quilting/sewing related posts here in the next little bit.  I have several customer projects in the wings that I must get to soon.  I have lots of my own projects rumbling around in my head that I have to slap down on paper (or I’ll forget).  I’m also hoping to get ahead of the game and pre-make items to sell.  In all, I’m hoping to totally change the pace and feel of my life.  I’ve been known to have two speeds:  “lightning fast” and “sleeping”.  Now, I’m planning on creating another speed… “steady-as-she-goes”.  I think it will sustain me long into the next few stages of life.

Thanks for joining me in my journey…

Till next time…


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Sneak Peek!

I know it’s been forever since I’ve posted but, the store has kept me so busy with all the sales!  If you love fabric, you really should head over there.  Last week, I nearly GAVE everything away!

Well, this week, I’ve had a bit of time to start some Christmas sewing….


I can only show you this sneak peek, as I have many eyes that will see this and I don’t want to spoil the surprise!

I’ll also be working with some of these happy prints…


I’m hoping after the tree is trimmed and the rest of the decorations are put out, I will have a bit of time to sew up some fun Christmas goodies!

I’ll show you when all is said and done.

By the way, if you are wanting some of this minion fleece, head over to the store!  There’s lots of other amazing fabric too!

Till next time…


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