Tag Fabric

Pocket Squares - Improv Applique with Tag Fabrics

Pocket Square Improv Applique Quilt

Pocket Squares

40’’ x 50’’

So many of my quilts start with random ideas. Some times the ideas come to a full quilt, other times not so much. Happy to say that after a few years this quilt is now fully done.

It started with mini charm packs of my Tag Fabrics that I cut for giveaways. I had one left over. Enter the need for a hand work project. The mini charm pack made friends with a charm pack of Kona solids sitting on the cutting table. I snipped a corner off each minicharm and appliqued it to the charms. Each one has slight variations - improv in hand applique!

After finishing all those I decided that I would do another layer of applique, bringing Tag fabrics back in to it. Each fabric in this collection of mine is represented in the quilt twice - once small and once as the background.

Aurifil Straight Line Machine Quilting

NOTE: This is why I am no good at promoting fabric collections. I started this quilt 2 years ago when my first collection came out and I am only just finishing it.

It isn’t a fancy quilt. I’m not breaking any design barriers either. But it sure was fun to make! Another great example of the process being as important, if not more so, than the finished quilt.

Because it’s been a long time since I quilted anything myself I got back into the swing of things with some straight line quilting. Originally, I thought I might do a grid, but at first pass my lines are 1/2’’ apart. That would have been a tiny grid! With chronic pain plaguing me these last 9 months I didn’t want to push it too much. I was just happy to have got through basting the thing. The Aurifil thread in this purple ended up perfect.

If you’ve ever seen me talk or paid attention to my quilts you know how I love to throw contrast into the whole thing. In this case, I introduced a completely different colour with this teal and white binding. Which brings me to my first finish of 2019 and my first finish since May of last year.

Cheryl Arkison labels Tag  Fabric

Oh, and full naming credit goes to my friend Sharon at Color Girl Quilts. Every time I posted a picture of this quilt on Instagram she said it made her think of pocket squares.

Quilts Under Construction September 2018

Quilt Design Wall Improv Curves

It was time.

I counted up all my Quilts Under Construction again. I haven’t actually done it since my QuiltCon lecture a year and a half ago. A lot has come and gone, mostly come since then.

So many metaphors come to mind but I find them all negative. And I don’t see this as negative at all. Every single quilt or project on this list represents creative action. It’s all about process. If all I cared about was a finished quilt I would go to the mall and buy one. Nope, I would rather make, getting lost in the process and the mess of creativity. It’s all awesome. All positive.

I divide my list into 3 categories: Being Quilted, Quilt Tops, and Blocks. Those categories work for me. Once I have something quilted I am usually quick to bind, so it would only go on a list to get crossed off within days. (Okay, there is a certain satisfaction in that.)

Improv crosses
Drunkard's Path Quilt Blocks


  1. Tie One On version of Lilla Quilt

  2. Gremlins (Little Log Cabins)

  3. Firefly

  4. Mighty Lucky Year of Colour

  5. Itty Bitty Curves

  6. Solid Triangle Improv

  7. Euroa Quilt

  8. Splendid Sampler

  9. Hand Pieced Diamonds

  10. Small Wonders Flying Geese

  11. Bronco’s Blocks

  12. Places I’ve Taught

  13. Desks

  14. Evil Genius Triangles

  15. Kid’s Cloths/Gee’s Bend

  16. Neutral Values

  17. Studio Slash/Edges

  18. Mid Mod

  19. X Plus Blocks

  20. Pink Pinwheels

  21. Screenprint Log Cabins

  22. Pink and Black Broken Logs

  23. Respite

  24. Meadow Quilt

  25. Water

  26. Liberty Circles

  27. Sherbet Stars

  28. Beach Grass II

  29. Morning Make III

  30. Mila’s Name

  31. Bookof Negroes quilt

  32. God’s Eyes

  33. Pastel and Grey Slab


Whew! Biggest number yet. And I still love absolutely every project on this list. It just depends on the day for what I feel like doing. If I could function without sleep, tea, feeding my family, carrying on our family business, or generally anything else I could get a few of these further along. I’m good, though, making in the moments I can and doing all the other stuff too. You only ever make a quilt one stitch at a time.

Euroa Quilt Block

Quilts for Broncos Finish and Delivery

Quilts for Broncos

It seemed totally appropriate to deliver a load of donated quilts, quilt tops, and blocks for the Humboldt Broncos in a hockey bag. Confession: no great symbolism though, it's the bag I had that they all fit in. And don't worry, it has never been used for hockey gear!

I was flying out to Saskatoon over the weekend so offered to take Calgary area donations with me, so people didn't have to ship them on their own. Save the expense, after all. The wonderful folks at My Sewing Room volunteered to hold them for me too. Between those donations and the ones quilters dropped off at my house I delivered 20 finished quilts, 3 quilt tops, and a enough blocks for another quilt top to Periwinkle Quilting and Beyond in Saskatoon! 

Quilts for broncos 1.jpg

My own top was finished in time too. With great thanks to Lee Dueck at Quilting by Lee for volunteering to quilt this on her long arm. Can you see the hockey sticks she added?

The block design was picked by Haus of Stitches, the local store in Humboldt. It was a great block to choose because it went together so quickly. So instead of people making one block, they made many. Instead of making just a quilt top, people finished their quilts. I've never seen so many finished quilts donated to a drive like this! And I've heard of many people learning to quilt because they wanted to make one of these quilts.

Me, being me, had to play around with the suggested layout though. I did not do conventional borders too. I might have skipped borders all together, but I didn't have enough good greens in the stash to simply make more blocks. The hashtag effect was unintentional though. Totally appropriate, however, considering the spread of the news and support via social media. 

quilts for broncos 2.jpg

The original goal was 200 quilts. Last count is about 700 and the deadline is still a few days away. 

Quilters are amazing people. The global response to this horrific tragedy is beautiful and almost overwhelming. This, simply, is what quilters do. We take our desire to create beautiful things and spread love and comfort through the quilts. It often feels like the least we can do when we aren't able to bring meals, provide shoulders to cry on, make people laugh, and look people in the eye with love. It often doesn't feel like enough, but it does help. 

In Saskatoon my friend, another synchro mom, drove me to the store. Her cousin's son was on the bus and the entire family is in awe and so appreciative of the support everyone is getting. Recovery for everyone is going to be a long, long road. These quilts will be one small thing in that journey

quilts for broncos 4.jpg

Itty Bitty Curves to Carry Me Through the End of Winter

Small Piecing Improvisational Picing

Oh these improv curves! 

In sharp contrast, at least when it comes to colour, I pulled out these little blocks last week. With my Names for Snow quilt top finished it is great to play with bold colours again. 

Here's where it stands. 

I'm running out of fabric. But I am nowhere near running out of motivation to sew these little blocks together. So now I am debating finding more fabric - it is a mix of random vintage solids, Kona solids, Connecting Threads solids, and I think some Essex Linen. It wouldn't be hard to figure out what I've used so far and buy just a little bit more.

As it stands, this is about 65'' tall. But only 38'' wide. I have baggies of blocks, but they are little and get used up quickly. Hmm...

Improv quilting Modern quilts Eames chair