20 In Blog/ Quilting

Canadian Summer QAL!

You’re here! Yay! I am super excited and honoured to be the first stop on the Canadian Summer Quilt Along. Pull up a lawn chair, grab an iced tea/iced coffee/adult sippy cup of wine (#iwould) and be prepared to get inspired by the incredible line up we have prepared for you!

Our wonderful host Anita (@daydreamsofquilts on IG) organized this QAL to celebrate our love for this beautiful country of ours! And as you can guess, all of the quilters on this QAL schedule are all fellow Canadians. We were each tasked with creating a 12″ finished block that represents something that we love about Canada. Some of the quilters on the schedule created very patriotic and beautiful blocks, but mine is a little more personal. When I think of what I love about Canada I automatically think of summer, and when I think of summer I think of my family.

To make a long story (and massive family tree) short (no trees were harmed in the writing of this blog post), my paternal grandmother is one of 7 children. Back in 1975 the 7 grown children and their expanding families decided to organize an annual summer family reunion. The Grant Family Reunion is going into its 43rd year this summer and has been a highlight of my year since I was born. From catching up with cousins who live far away to seeing my great-grandmother have a few sociables and play pranks on those who went to bed early, some of my fondest family summer memories revolve around these reunions.

Less than a year old me and my great grandmother Annie Grant.

As with most family reunions, there are a few friendly – yet serious – tournaments that we partake in. We have a Euchre tournament and a Horseshoe tournament. I take my game of horseshoes VERY seriously! LOL! And I’ve come thiiiiiis close to winning the trophy a couple of times, but have yet to win (*sniffle*). So in honour of my favourite summer family sport, I created a horseshoe block. I wanted to be able to get a nice curve to the horseshoe so decided that needle-turn appliqué would be the technique of choice.

Have you ever done needle-turn appliqué? If not, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! Also, I’ll mention that you do NOT need to hand-baste your pieces onto your fabrics – if you’ll find it easier to glue baste or machine baste, please do whichever basting method suits you best.

If you happen to have a Creativebug membership, my favourite needle-turn appliqué class/tutorial video is Carolyn Friedlander’s Hand-Stitched Appliqué Quilts tutorial. Carolyn’s technique is pretty well the exact same as mine when it comes to the needle-turning and stitching. And if you don’t have a membership, you can always sign up for their free trial and use your free credits to take this class! I’m a HUGE fan of Carolyn’s style, slow-stitching mentality and fabric designs, so this would be my #1 recommendation.

Here’s the link to the PDF of the block pieces! You will need:

  • a fat quarter for your background, cut to 12.5 x 12.5″
  • a 12×12″ scrap for the horseshoe
  • smaller scraps for the flower, flower centre and leaves

Cut out your shapes on the solid line – the dashed line is your basting line, which is 1/4″ from the edge. Follow Carolyn’s tutorial or use your own awesome needle turn appliqué skills for the basic technique. Start with the horseshoe, then stitch on your leaves, the flower and then the flower centre. Give it a good press and you’re set!

Now to get this party started on the right foot I am also hosting a giveaway! I’ve got a Sew Fine Thread Gloss prize pack (my awesome side-hustle!) that includes 3 thread gloss scents to help you with your summer sewing projects! All you need to do is comment on this post and tell me what your favourite summer family tradition is. Contest will be open from June 11 at 9am EST to June 15th at 11:59pm EST. I’ll draw a name at random and post the winner here and on Instagram – be sure to include your Instagram handle in your comment so I can tag you! Open to residents of Canada only.

If you haven’t seen the entire quilt, in all its Canadian glory, here’s Anita’s full sized quilt with flag sashing. Isn’t it GORGEOUS?! Now get needle-turning! I hear there might be a super amazing grand prize for someone who completes all of the blocks…

Leave your comment to win! And thanks for stopping by!



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  • Reply
    Samm M
    June 15, 2018 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Jenn, I’m so excited to make this block because I rarely hand sew these days and this is a great way for me to get back into it!
    Every summer my friends and I get together to take unique yoga classes offered around the city. From goat yoga, cat yoga, aerial yoga, and beer yoga, we like to try it all! It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, all while exercising and bonding with friends. Plus we get great stories out of it!
    Instagram: @inkwell_quilts

  • Reply
    June 15, 2018 at 3:42 am

    Now that my daughter has mastered the two wheeler, it has to be evening bike rides around town. I remember spending many evenings similarly with my parents, and being awarded a McDonalds gift certificate by a passing policeman for doing such a good job following bicycle safety rules. @lisainporthope

  • Reply
    June 14, 2018 at 12:49 am

    I just like having my kids home because the mornings are more relaxed instead of racing to catch the bus. @hollanderelaine

  • Reply
    Sandy S
    June 13, 2018 at 7:28 pm

    My favourite family tradition is just BBQs on the deck. 4 birthdays in the summer…so we always have dinner together…
    along with CAKE!

  • Reply
    Mary G
    June 13, 2018 at 3:35 pm

    Hello Jenn, Interesting block choice! This is my first time at “joining” something online. I appreciate your choice of a horseshoe… and the flower gives homage to Jasper’s wild rose province!
    When I was younger we always looked forward to camping. My husband and I did the same thing for several years and now we are fortunate to have a place at the lake!!!
    There is NEVER A BAD DAY AT THE LAKE!!!! If it is nice out.. we go out and either garden, search the shores for interesting rocks… and if it is not so nice… still the garden. BUT for the stormy blustery day.. I sew!!!!!!
    Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Reply
    Beatrice Kelly
    June 13, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    I love the simplicity of this block. A nice start for this quilt along. A lucky horseshoe with a beautiful flower. Love it. @duchessof_fabric

  • Reply
    Debbie Dubeau
    June 12, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    We love going to our trailer every summer. My husband has set up an extra battery pack so I can sew with the birds and squirrels. Lol.. it is a very peaceful and tranquil time and a great place for inspiration!!

  • Reply
    Kendra Cookman
    June 12, 2018 at 9:00 am

    In the summer, I love exploring local “tourist” spots. There’s so much around that we never really see when you live in the community, but there’s much to learn at these museums and attractions and such. I live in a fairly small community on the East coast, and it amazes me everything there is to explore. We’re always finding new places, or revisiting some of favourite attractions.

  • Reply
    Laurie Fabrick
    June 12, 2018 at 4:39 am

    Hi Jenn – this is a lovely block! I’m looking forward to doing all of them – if I can keep up!! My favorite summer tradition is just watching my grandchildren play in the yard or at the beach. Children really know how to enjoy themselves!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2018 at 12:36 am

    My favourite summer tradition is in the first week of summer. We have a camp fire and roast marshmallows for s’mores with my girls, while they’re bundle up in homemade quilts! It’s a big, sticky, fabulous mess!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2018 at 12:04 am

    My fave summer activity involves anything with my family! But if I’m taking time for me, it’s sitting outside in the shade with a big glass of sun tea😊

  • Reply
    June 11, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    “Burning marshmallows” became a summer tradition in our ranch/farm family, which was too busy for the vacation or camping trips our friends got to go on. We could, however, toast marshmallows over a fire at home, but as impatient kids invariably let our marshmallows ignite, rather than carefully toasting them.

  • Reply
    Heather Seibel
    June 11, 2018 at 6:09 pm

    Good morning, Jenn! |Thank you for your lovely block. I’m going to make the flower a wild rose – our Alberta provincial flower! My favourite summer activity takes place on Father’s Day. Our local rural area hosts a pancake breakfast for the are on Father’s Day, and each farm family in the area contributes to the day. Our family makes the fruit salad, so on Saturday night, we all get together and spend the evening cutting uporanges, watermelon, honeydew melon, canteloupe, pineapple, and washing berries and grapes. It’s messy, but we now have the ‘assembly line’ of who does what down pat! It’s time to talk and laugh together as a group. The day of the breakfast, we help set up the tents, serve coffee, and visit with neighbours we only get to see once in awhile, now that my siblings and I live in Calgary. It’s always fun and we look forward to the weekend each year.

  • Reply
    June 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    I grew up in Australia and on a farm, so the only thing we did apart from farm work over summer was a big family Christmas! Summer in Canada is very different, working on a retro camper this summer so hopefully Glamping will be my new summer tradition!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    Wahoo sew happy to see some Canadian designers! We always go off to the mountains in the summer to go camping!!

    • Reply
      June 11, 2018 at 3:25 pm

      That’s wonderful Ali! We used to do a lot of camping when I was young – and want to share that with our kids too! Thanks for joining the QAL!

  • Reply
    Sue Amundrud
    June 11, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Baseball! Our oldest grandson has been playing competitive ball since he was 8 years old, which brings back memories of the many years our family outings centred around ball tournaments my dad was umpiring. For the last dozen years, we have continued to go to as many of Nik’s games as we can get to (somewhat reduced now that he lives over three hours away, but still important to us).

    • Reply
      June 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm

      That sounds like such a wonderful family tradition Sue – thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    Hi Jenn, great block. I’ve never done needle turn appliqué before so learning will be fun. My favourite summer tradition is going to my sisters cottage to hang for a week and eating fried clams and lobster.

    • Reply
      June 11, 2018 at 3:23 pm

      Ohhh sounds delicious Francine! Have fun learning needle-turn – I love a good slow-stitching project!

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