Website Homepage‎ > ‎

Lorna's Blog

I have no idea what the icon below actually does, but I think you can subscribe to my posts by entering your email address above. Once you have entered your email you will receive an email from Feedburner requesting that you click back to confirm your subscription. If you don't see this email within a day, check your junk folder. The icon below sends you to an indecipherable page... so ignore it!

July 2017 Update

posted Jul 18, 2017, 12:30 PM by Lorna Shapiro

It’s been a long while since I wrote with an update. Spring was very demanding on a personal front. Our daughter Kate was acting as a surrogate for friends who could not carry their own child and my mother who has lived a few moments away these past six years was dying of congestive heart failure. In early June, baby Jacob was born and mom died 6 days later, but not before holding him in her arms. This beautiful photo is a testament to the eternal cycle of life, and the resilience of a mother’s love…

Mom and baby Jacob 5.JPG

So as I pick myself up to resume the “new normal” of my life I am reminded of the story of the man taking a long journey in Africa, led by an African porter. The first day they travelled fast and far, taking only brief stops and then immediately carrying on again at full speed. The traveller, anxious to reach his destination, was very pleased with the progress they had made. But the next morning when he arose and prepared to depart, he was surprised to find his porter sitting in silent un-preparedness, showing no sign of being on a journey. Looking for an explanation, he asked about departure plans and was told “Yesterday we travelled too fast and too far… today I must let my soul catch up with my body.” I, too, am moving slowly at the moment in hopes that my soul will catch up with my body.

Here is news I have to share -- mostly from friends and customers -- a bit from me.

Want to make special Christmas Stockings?

A customer named Zoe comes from a tradition of Christmas stockings designed individually for the interests of the child. She has recently started a website to sell patterns for some of the whimsical designs she has developed for her own children and those of friends… like this one…


Here’s the scoop from Zoe…

We are Holiday Stitches! A new, local Vancouver company dedicated to creating fun and creative Holiday quilting tutorials. Please check out our two newest dinosaur-themed Christmas stockings. We plan to have four more tutorials available in the series before September so people can have time to craft before Christmas.

Etsy Shop:

You can also find us and all the latest news on Facebook:


Setting me right about the origins of Crazy Quilting…

Did you know that there is a link between Japan and crazy quilting? And did you know that the “crazy” in crazy quilting is not the “crazy” meaning looney? Well thanks to another customer, Pam, I learned both these things. She pointed me to a teacher of hers who’s website pointed me to this source information about crazy quilting…


The 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exposition was a big event in Victorian society. One of the most popular exhibits was the Japanese pavilion with its fascinating crazed ceramics and asymmetrical art.

The Birth of the Crazy Patchwork Quilting Craze

Women were eager to incorporate this new look into their quilts and with the help of popular women's magazines the making of crazy quilts became quite the rage. Creativity was wide open with women sewing asymmetrical pieces of fabric together in abstract arrangements…


A Beautiful New Quilt…

Full size whirligigs.jpg

This quilt was completed when I attended the Vancouver Modern Quilt Guild Retreat in late April and I’ve been wanting to show it to you. I learned one very useful lesson when quilting it. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt it and was hesitating to start. My friend Shannon asked if there was one thing I knew about how I wanted to quilt it and I did… I knew I wanted the god’s eye echo’s in the centres of the circles. Start there, said Shannon. And I did. At each step, the next step became apparent. In the end it was quilted and I loved it!

It is, of course, a kit for those of you who like exactly this set of fabrics. The pattern I wrote is also available. I designed the inset “orange peels” to float (not come right to the corners of the block) on the background so that the piecing is forgiving of imprecision. It is a full twin bed size, 66” x85”. It’s about $175.

Watch for my next Quilt Challenge… coming next month…

Susan and Irene and I have started putting together new packages of fabric for my next quilt challenge. The theme is going to be something like… Neutrals and Pop… and the rules are going to be a bit different this time. I think this time you will only be able to use the colours that are provided in the kit… I’ll be looking for wall or table quilts of not too large a size. More on that in the month of August. Quilts will be due by late January in time for my big January sale.

And finally, mark your calendars… Quilt Canada is coming to Vancouver May 31 - June 2, 2018

Enjoy your month…


FVQG Show this Friday/Saturday

posted Jun 22, 2017, 9:34 AM by Lorna Shapiro

New Fabric, new tools, events and whatnot!

posted May 18, 2017, 4:23 PM by Lorna Shapiro

Spring… time for a new font.

It’s been awhile since I wrote and I hope you are all well. Many of you I’ve seen at the recent Abbotsford and Boundary Bay shows, so you know some of what is new. But I hope there will be something new for most of you in this newsletter.

New Serenity line just arrived…

A new set of tools for mitering and hemming…

When I was in Savannah at Quiltcon I stopped by the Clover booth for a demonstration of two relatively new tools. I love Clover products because they work… and these tools, the hot hemmer and the hot ruler are useful for projects that require hemmed edges or mitred corners. Here is a link to a YouTube video by Nancy’s notions about the products... Mitering and hemming. I brought in both products. The hot hemmer is $20 and the other is $22.

A tip about colour catchers…

Found these by accident at London Drugs on sale for $3.99 a box… First time I’ve found them in Canada. These are perfect for when we don’t pre-wash fabric and then wash the quilt for the first time.


Quilt Canada 2018 is in Vancouver… mark your calendars…

May 31 to June 2 at the Vancouver Convention Centre

Fraser Valley Quilt Guild show is coming soon…

Friday June 23, Saturday June 24…

Jacquie Gering is coming to Vancouver… attend her trunk show…

Jacquie Gering Lecture "Quilting Modern: Honouring Tradition"

Friday, May 26: MEC Head Office, 1077 Great Northern Way, Vancouver, 7 pm Doors open at 6:30pm, Tickets at the door $15

Jacquie is a founder of the modern quilt guild organization, a retired teacher, a great quilter and lecturer.

That’s it for now… come by for a visit. Currently my open time is Saturday 10 - 5. Studio located 2726 W 38th Ave., Vancouver, BC.

Abbotsford CreativFestival This Friday/Saturday!

posted Mar 22, 2017, 10:20 AM by Lorna Shapiro

Creativ Festival is this weekend in Abbotsford!


I look forward to lots of fun visits and sharing of new ideas… Here are a few of the new things you’ll find if you are able to visit my booth…

Martelli blades.JPG

Martelli 45mm blades in singles at bulk 100 pricing… $5.50 a blade… but for anyone who says they’ve read this in my blog they are yours for $4.40 a blade :-). Bring a container to put them in, or purchase bags of 3.

Double gauze.JPG

Very cute double gauze cuts for swaddling blankets 57” square… $17.50.


My personally manufactured tacky taped rulers for free motion straight line quilting. Here are a couple of links that talk about using this type of ruler…

Finally, check out the schedule for seminars at the show… lots of good talks. (And I’m doing a few!)

Happy Spring to all of you… looks like we are finally getting out of winter’s grip. Hurray!!!!!

Challenge Results, CreativFestival, Studio Closed Mar 11, New Texture Collections, Quilting Gloves for cheap!

posted Mar 4, 2017, 2:07 PM by Lorna Shapiro

Hi to all of you. I’ve taken a wee break after the breakneck pace of blog-writing prior to my big sale… but I’m back with lots of good news:-). Here goes....

The votes are tallied and the winners are…

It is always both happy and difficult to send out this news because, as always, every one of the Challenge 2017 quilts submitted deserves a prize. Every year I do a challenge I'm amazed at the creativity and the range of ideas that are expressed in the quilts submitted and this year was just the same! I know that all the women who came to the show and sale came away inspired by your fabulous quilts... and took away ideas that they will incorporate in some quilt of their own. So thank you so much for participating. I also know that some women were so impressed with the entries that they wouldn't vote; they couldn't pick their 3 favourites. But about 40 women did vote, and Irene, Susan and Maria helped me tally the results. This challenge asked participants to feature texture in a quilt.

1st Place... Leona Ewing... tie for 2, 3 Place -- Mary Shore and Ritva Tavela. Quilts shown in order here:

Challenge 2017 Leona Ewing.JPG  ​2-3 Place Mary Shore.jpg 2-3 Place Ritva Tavela.jpg

So Lee wins a gift certificate valued at $100, and I'm combining and splitting 2nd and 3rd prizes so Mary and Ritva each win a gift certificate valued at $40.

Thanks so much to all the participants for your lovely quilts and for making this Challenge such a success!

Quiltcon 2017 and Savannah were both great!

Here are the photos that I took in Savannah and at Quiltcon 2017. The show was a feast for our visual and aesthetic senses and there are many photos on Instagram already… but this is my collection of favourites.

Next up… CreativFestival in Victoria…  Note: My studio will be closed Saturday March 11...

Victoria 2for1.jpg

I’m bringing lots of lovely fabric, and some new notions for your sewing pleasure… Watch for:

microbrushes.jpg     Martelli blades.JPG  Ruler.jpg

Microbrushes -- the very best for removing lint from bobbin area and wherever it has migrated to -- $6.00

Individual 45mm blades at bulk 100 pricing -- $5.50 each instead of $8.00 each -- these Martelli blades are separated into plastic bags of three but you are welcome to take fewer -- just bring a container!

Straight line ruler work -- In my free-motion quilting, I like to be able to throw in some straight lines to separate areas of different quilting motifs… and I like to do that without having to switch to my walking foot. I found a perfect ruler, that comes in two lengths, but the price was Not perfect… $40 for the 8” long ruler and $56 for the 18” ruler.

So I’ve gone into manufacturing and now have an 18” x 2” x ¼” ruler backed with washable double sided tape that sells for $28… much better… now we can have our straight lines and eat cake too!

Here are links to a couple of good videos about ruler quilting…   and

Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting -- limited quantities but 20% off! -- available in Throw size to King size.

New “Texture Collections” in four neutral palettes. These 4 fabric assortments allow you to introduce texture variation into the neutrals in your next quilting project. Here’s a glimpse of what is coming:

Texture 1.JPG     Texture 2.JPG

Texture 3.jpg     Texture 4.jpg

A good tip from Susan… Susan has pointed out that now that gardening season is here, these gloves are available in six packs from Costco:

Costgo gloves.JPG

For a price of about $16 for 6 pairs, you can use these gloves in place of more expensive, specific-to-quilting, free-motion quilting gloves. At less than $3/pair, you can buy a pack and sell the extras to your friends!

Well now I am all written out and you are likely tired of reading… so that is it for this time. Please enjoy the photos of Quiltcon, gaining inspiration for a new project, and to those of you on the Island I look forward to seeing you soon.


Sale Day Tomorrow... Saturday Feb 11, 10:00 to 5:00

posted Feb 10, 2017, 10:53 AM by Lorna Shapiro

Post 5 of

Countdown to my Biggest Sale of the Year

Saturday February 11, 10 AM to 5 PM

1 Sleep Away from my biggest sale of the year. The snow tried to stop us again, but I spoke to that person who was praying for snow and asked him to STOP!

What to watch for…

12 Challenge Quilts “Celebrating Texture”... by 12 of my customers who took up my challenge to turn some of my leftover fabrics into something beautiful… AND THEY DID! You get to vote for the winners!

Bring your 45mm rotary blade cases to buy rotary blades for $4.40/blade… this is 20% off from the already good price I can now sell them at since I’m buying them in lots of 50.

I’m selling my Bernina 830… Wei Hin Ng’s all-time favourite quilting machine… 40 years old, solid metal, comes with red case, walking foot, darning foot, other feet, new power cord, new foot pedal…

$500 for this machine that is perfect for new quilters, workshops; it SEWS OVER ANYTHING! It has been lovingly maintained by Wei Hin and is in great working order.

IMG_4394.JPG         IMG_4395.JPG


Don’t forget to check out the new straight ruler for mixing straight line quilting in with your free-motion quilting… or for cases where your quilt is too big to turn so a walking foot won’t work.

All silk batting and wool batting in packages from throw to king size, 20% off.

All regular priced fabric, including the new shot cottons and Japanese textured solids and prints, 20% off.

All kits on sale.

All notions, including the aforementioned ruler and the 45mm rotary blades, 20% off!

Oh yes… a BIG clearance area… get there early… $10/M cuts of random lengths!

Post 4 of Countdown to Sale Day

posted Feb 1, 2017, 2:57 PM by Lorna Shapiro   [ updated Feb 1, 2017, 5:44 PM ]

Post 4 of

Countdown to my Biggest Sale of the Year

Saturday February 11, 10 AM to 5 PM

We are now 10 Sleeps Away from my biggest sale of the year. I’ve received this from Japan:


That would be 7 cartons of fabric, including a new line of solids with physical texture… they are amazing! I’ve also received the Cory Pepper full line of shot cottons… and here they are:




The 42 shot cottons are $15.95 Cdn/M, which today is less than $10.75 US/Yd. These will be 20% off on the sale day, so down to $12.76 Cdn/M or $8.60 US/Yd! If you have a project that you’ve been wanting to do with shot cottons, now is the time. Or you can use these fabulous shot cottons to make this great tunic or top:

Patterns 5.jpg  Patterns 2.JPG

I also have three 108” wide backings, in greys and brown, which are $29 Cdn/M or $19.50 US/Yd… also to be on sale 20% off.

Rotary Blades on sale… I’ve decided to stock 45mm Martelli rotary blades in bulk. These fit all the common 45mm rotary cutters (olfa, clover, etc) and I’ll be selling them for $5.50/blade regularly, and they will be $4.40/blade on sale day. These are great quality blades than I can sell for less than ⅔ the price of carded, packaged blades. Bring your own case if you can, or I’ll wrap them in a plastic bag for you.

My lesson for today… how to turn half-square triangles into quarter-square triangles… I’ve just finished creating this quilt:

Diamonds and Rust full.jpg

And because it is very pretty I’ve written a pattern for it. Writing this pattern necessitated me explaining how to turn half-square triangles into quarter-square triangles. There are three places in this quilt where the block is not two half-square triangles, but instead is one half-square triangle and two quarter-square triangles. The finished block size is 6” square, so if I were cutting quarter-square triangles from scratch I would add 1 ¼” to that number, learning that I need to cut 7.25” squares and then cut them into 4 by cutting the two diagonals. But because the quilt is dominantly half-square triangles, I want to just cut them (by adding ⅞” to 6”) starting with 6 ⅞” squares and cutting them into two triangles along one of the diagonals.

So then I need to cut one of the half-square triangles into a quarter-square triangle… which can’t be done by cutting it in half because then I don’t have enough for the extra seam allowance. So here’s what I do:

I position this right angle triangle over one of the half-square triangles so that the long side (where the black line is drawn) measures 7 ¼”. If you are using a quarter-square triangle ruler as the above is, this point in the ruler will be the 6” finished block line. Then I cut along the right hand side of this ruler, creating a right angle with the third side of the triangle. It looks like this…


And the triangle you’ve just cut is exactly the right size to sew into a block that will finish at 6”!

That’s it for now… count those sleeps, mark your calendars… February 11 is the SALE DAY!

Post 3 of Countdown to Sale Day

posted Jan 24, 2017, 3:12 PM by Lorna Shapiro

Post 3 of

Countdown to my Biggest Sale of the Year

Saturday February 11, 10 AM to 5 PM

We are now 17 Sleeps Away from my biggest sale of the year. The studio is getting nicely organized awaiting delivery of a 7 carton shipment from Japan and a 30+ bolt shipment of Shot Cottons, the Peppered Cotton line by Pepper Cory… including some 108” wides for quilt backs!

Today’s post contains --

Straight line ruler work on domestic machines,

More about needles, and

A new Moda line by Janet Clare!

Straight line ruler work -- In my free-motion quilting, I like to be able to throw in some straight lines to separate areas of different quilting motifs… and I like to do that without having to switch to my walking foot. I found a perfect ruler, that comes in two lengths, but the price was Not perfect… $40 for the 8” long ruler and $56 for the 18” ruler.

So I’ve gone into manufacturing and now have an 18” x 2” x ¼” ruler backed with washable double sided tape that sells for $28… much better… now we can have our straight lines and eat cake too!


Here are links to a couple of good videos about ruler quilting…   and

More about needles… My last blog post about needles was well timed to just precede Clover and Organ going into a needle-making partnership and introducing needles that don’t conform to the otherwise standard characteristics of needle types created by Schmetz! So this is a WATCH OUT notice… If you are buying these new Clover/Organ needles, they’ve changed the characteristics of their needle types as follows:

While Schmetz’s Denim needle has a modified medium ball point and reinforced blade, the Clover/Organ Denim needle has a very sharp, acute point with a slender eye and a strong shaft.

While Schmetz’s Topstitch needle has a very sharp point,elongated eye, and deeper groove, the Clover/Organ Topstitch needle has an extra large eye and a much deeper groove but a slightly rounded point.

Bottom line -- know both your needle type and the needle manufacturer’s specs for that needle type -- you want a sharp point for both piecing and quilting most tight cottons and silks, and you want a needle hole big enough for your thread slide through as described last post.

Darn! It was easier when they were all using the same specs for the different needle types!

A new Moda line by Janet Clare… Oh my goodness they are beautiful:-)

Janet Clare 1 - 2017.JPG

Janet Clare 2 - 2017.JPG

And the price is $19.95/M, which from Blog Post 1 in the Countdown to the Sale series… you know equates to $13.45/Yd USD. The series includes some neutral Grunge cottons… so I finally let some into my studio! And for the sale this series will be 20% off, so $15.96/M or $10.74/Yd USD.

That’s it for now… Happy Quilting… I look forward to seeing you out and about!

Post 2 of Countdown to Sale Day -- now February 11

posted Jan 6, 2017, 2:54 PM by Lorna Shapiro

Post 2 of

Countdown to my Biggest Sale of the Year

Date Now Changed to Saturday February 11 due to MISERABLE weather:/)

In my first post of this countdown to sale day I described the calculation that I use to determine whether I’m better to buy fabric in the US (US $’s and yards) or in Canada (Canadian $’s and meters). And I showed you some of the gazillions of batiks that will be on sale for $12/M. Today’s post is about needles because I continue to see articles about needles go out on the internet that I find to be confusing and un-helpful… and needles are important!

Here’s a link to a recent video that came out from National Sewing Circle claiming to demystify needles… This video is an example of unhelpful information -- it conflates needle type and needle size… and also doesn’t explain the major variables differentiating types of needles and why they matter.

So here’s my explanation of needles…

There are four things that identify a particular needle:

  1. Who made it (Schmetz, Organ, Superior, Klasse, etc.) -- In my experience, all the well known needle makers make quality needles so this is not of much importance.

  2. What type of needle it is (Universal, Quilting, Jeans/Denim, Topstitch, Microtex (or Sharp), Metallic, Embroidery, Leather) -- Different types of needle vary in these ways: shape of point (sharp, very sharp or ball point), size and shape of eye (large or small, oval, rectangular, long oval), depth of groove running down needle face. These differences determine how the needle acts on the fabric and works with the thread… so they are important differences. You want to know what type of needle you are using. My experience, and that of many experienced quilters I’ve spoken to, is that Universal needles are universally mediocre, as are quilting needles. Most piecing and quilting wants to be done with a very sharply pointed needle and those are only Microtex and Topstitch. The Topstitch needle has a bigger eye and a deeper groove, that makes it work better with metallic or heavy threads. The Jeans/Denim has a ball point, which you want for stretch fabrics.

  3. What size the needle is (60/8 to 110/18 for domestic machines) -- Smaller sizes are for thinner threads, larger sizes for heavier threads. If your thread is breaking, you likely need a bigger eye and/or a deeper groove. This can be accomplished by going to a larger needle, or switching from a microtex to a topstitch. To test if the eye is large enough, thread a loose needle onto a 15” stretch of thread . Hold the thread taut and at an angle… if it slides down easily, the eye is large enough (this tip courtesy of Betty at Mason Sewing) . If your thread is still breaking and your needle is new (i.e. not chipped), you likely need a deeper groove -- so go to a larger needle, or to a topstitch if you are using microtex. If you are skipping stitches, you likely need a larger needle.

  4. What material the needle is made of (chrome plated steel, titanium coated steel, ceramic coated steel) -- titanium and ceramic coatings purport to last longer… I can’t say one way or the other. I’ve used both but have not done extensive testing. Titanium and Ceramic are more expensive by quite a bit.

Here’s a link to Schmetz’s needle chart which is worth printing out for reference…

And my note about the sale… All patterns will be 20% off… including the new Schoolhouse Tunic which I’ve made and love and once again have in stock! Although I've changed the Challenge quilt show and sale date to February 11, I will honour sale prices on January 14 for those who choose to brave the weather and roads.

Patterns 5.jpg

Countdown to Best Sale of the Year...

posted Jan 3, 2017, 5:52 PM by Lorna Shapiro

Happy New Year to everyone… and welcome to the countdown to my best in the year sale… 11 days to go until Saturday January 14! I’ve decided to pass on a bit of information of use to you in your quilting, and a bit of information about what you’ll find at my sale each day for the next 11 days.

What does U.S. $/Yd translate to in Canadian $/M at today’s exchange rate of 1.35? Lots of you have to do this translation often, if you are trying to decide if it is better to buy fabric in the States (or from an American online store) or in Canada. So here’s the current calculations…

It is always the case that 1.1 Yard = 1 Meter of fabric.

Therefore if something is $10 US/Yard it is $10 x 1.1 or $11 US/Meter.

At current exchange rates 1 U.S. $ = 1.35 Cdn $.

Therefore if something is $11 US / Meter it is $11 x 1.35 = $14.85 Cdn / Meter.

So… from the $USD/Yd to the $Cdn/M equivalent, the multiplier is 1.485 at today’s exchange rate.

And the reverse is equally useful… divide the $Cdn/M by 1.485 to find out what it is equivalent to in $US/yard.

So… the $12 Cdn/M batiks you’ll find at the sale on Saturday January 14 are $8.10 US/Yard… Pretty Sweet!!!!! Even if you are not quilting with batiks, they make amazing quilt backs at that price.

All regular width batiks on the bolt are $12/M -- one day only -- Saturday January 14 -- 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Quilter’s Dream Fabrics

2726 W 38th Ave.

Vancouver, BC

V6N 2W9


Jan 2017 batik 1.jpg

Jan 2017 batik 2.JPG

Jan 2017 batik 3.JPG

Jan 2017 batik 4.JPG

Stay tuned… tomorrow we talk about NEEDLES :-)


1-10 of 37