Spoonflower’s New Quilting Cotton

Introducing Spoonflower’s newest substrate, Petal Signature Cotton™! This new quilting weight cotton is colour-fast and is easy to work with.
Pictured here is a baby version of my Striped Scallops pattern with a lively background fabric designed by yours truly.

Modern quilt pattern with Spoonflower fabric
Photo by Emma Poliquin Photography.
Background fabric design by Andrea Tsang Jackson, 3rd Story Workshop.

I really like the idea of custom printed fabric, as it’s less wasteful on an industry level. The fabric is printed only in the yardage that the consumer wants. You can find all the fabrics in this quilt here.

Photo by Emma Poliquin Photography.

This new cotton was developed specifically for Spoonflower’s print-on-demand service and its weight is 4.3 oz/sq yd. It’s a plain weave crafting cotton – versatile for garments, bags and other craft uses.

Photo by Emma Poliquin Photography.

Its colour-fastness surprised me – I pre-washed the fabric and there was no colour difference at all between the unwashed and washed fabric.

Modern quilt pattern by 3rd Story Workshop
Striped Scallops pattern with fabric designed by Andrea Tsang Jackson.
Printed on Spoonflower’s Petal Signature Cotton.
Pieced by Emma Poliquin. Quilted by Violet Quilts.
Photo by Emma Poliquin Photography.

Petal Signature Cotton has a stable and sturdy hand, which made it easier to sew these skinny strips:

Striped Scallops block.

Check out this video about the thought, research and development that went into bringing this product to reality:

Get 10% off 1 or more yards of Petal Signature Cotton at Spoonflower in any of their thousands of prints until May 19, 2019. No promo code required! You can find my Spoonflower fabric designs here.

Modern quilt pattern by 3rd Story Workshop

Striped Scallops Pattern Release

Striped Scallops gives illusion of curves without curved piecing! Learn to get comfortable with some skinny piecing and a scant 1/4″ seam allowance with this pattern.

Small throw, 50″ x 56 1/2″. Quilted by Violet Quilts.

Striped Scallops comes in 5 sizes: Baby (38” x 44 1⁄2”), Small Throw (50” x 56 1⁄2”), Throw (50” x 68 1⁄2”), Twin (74” x 92 1⁄2”), and Double/Full (86″ x 92 1⁄2″). I like a contrast of solid vs. print. The sample above shows the background colour in Kona Nectarine and the scallops in various Rifle Paper Co. designs. Below, we have my own Spoonflower fabric as the dominant feature with a textured “solid” as the scallop.

A single block Striped Scallops block in my Spoonflower fabric, Nebulous

The ample negative space provides an opportunity to show off the quilting. This palm leaves motif adds the perfect tropical touch to this small throw.

Quilted by Sheri Lund of Violet Quilts.

In addition to the various sizes, the pattern comes with 3 alternative layouts, including an interweaving scallop arrangement. Check out Dena’s version here!

Alternative layouts for Striped Scallops.

This neutral palette in a twin size was pieced by Brenda Harvey, Jennifer Trott-Zisserson and Anja Clyke. It’s also quilted by Sheri Lund of Violet Quilts!

Striped Scallops pattern by 3rd Story Workshop
Gradient quilt pattern, Striped Scallops by 3rd Story Workshop.
Who loves a good gradient?

As always, this new pattern is on sale at launch time. So what are you waiting for? Grab your own copy of Striped Scallops!

In Search of Botanical

If you ask anybody who knows me even a little bit, they’ll tell you, “Andrea doesn’t do floral.” I don’t wear flowers. I don’t plant or grow flowers because they always die on me. I don’t have any floral prints in any of my home decor. I don’t draw flowers unless I can’t think of anything to draw. But when you put a challenge in front of me, my response will usually be, “Challenge Accepted.”

This quilt is titled In Search of Botanical and marks the beginning of my quest to find my own version of floral. It’s my entry into QuiltCon 2019’s Two-Color Quilt Challenge. It hasn’t been accepted yet, but whether or not that happens is irrelevant to the work itself!

So back to flowers: Don’t get me wrong, I like flowers. Like a bouquet of flowers. And I appreciate flowers — I see their beauty and their appeal. But I don’t often find floral prints that really feel like “me.” There are artists that do work that really appeals to me — Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co., Leah Duncan, Brie Harrison and Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou. Many other artists can also be found in Uppercase’s Encyclopedia of Inspiration “Botanica”. And so I set out to find my own style.

Many people say that copying is a form of flattery. Others consider it an infringement of copyright. To me, it’s a way of learning. From a cultural perspective, I’ve had a glimpse at how a Chinese art teacher approaches learning versus how we learn art in a Canadian public school. (Disclaimer: Times have changed, so I’m sure that both have evolved substantially since my experience.) A Western mindset prizes freedom of expression and creativity so a class’ works will look very different across the board. A Chinese approach focuses on technique first then expression later so a class might have works that look very similar to start. I tend towards the latter in my own practice — give me the tools to express myself so that when I have something to say, I can say it accurately and eloquently.

So I started with these inspirational artists and looked at motifs that I liked. I drew them to figure out if I could “make them mine.” As I went along, I continued to layer inspiration and constraints that influenced the design:

  • QuiltCon’s Two-Color Quilt Challenge: Prints may be used as long as they consist of ONLY two colors. Thread color and binding needs to match the two colors in the quilt. Backing can be any color. The deadline for submissions is November 30, 2018. 
  • I was also inspired by an article on gilded artwork and illuminated manuscripts in Uppercase Magazine Issue #38 and went in search of gold metallic fabric and finally found some at The Quilted Castle. It’s from a holiday collection by Windham Fabrics from a few years back.
  • I had a couple of Riley Blake fat quarters in my studio with white and gold metallic and put them into the mix.
  • Learning a new skill. I wanted to try my hand at needle-turn applique since Carolyn Friedlander/Leah Duncan’s Wildabon quilt was a large influence.

A test block based on Suzy Quilt’s Aria quilt pattern.

Let’s talk timeline. (Laughs out loud).

  • July: I was inspired and got my fabrics.
  • August: I tried my hand at needle-turn appliqué and tested a block based on Suzy Quilts’ free pattern Aria.
  • Beginning of October: I whipped up the design in Adobe Illustrator in a couple of hours one evening in August or September.r
  • Mid-October: Started it  on a day trip to Lunenburg for the CCF conference. I got… 3 petals done.

  • November 18: Watched two CreativeBug classes by Carolyn Friedlander on how to do needle-turn applique.
  • November 21: Packed it up and travelled to Montreal/Ottawa for some teaching.
  • November 22-28: Plane rides, train rides, hotel rooms – needle-turning and hand stitching.
  • November 29: Basted, quilted, bound.
  • November 30: Photographed and submitted to QuiltCon.

I really like the medium contrast of these two colours. I like that they’re both “neutral”-“ish”. The gold fabric is basically a cotton completely covered in gold metallic ink. It’s heavy and stiff and feels almost like plastic. It was nice in that the edges didn’t fray as I was turning them under but it was a bit hard jabbing my needle in.

So my final verdict? I loved the process of making this quilt top, but I really dislike the quilting that I did with gold thread. Overall, I am so happy that I made this quilt on a weird timeline and will certainly be doing more needle-turn appliqué in the future. We’ll see what the jury has to say, I guess!

***UPDATE*** This quilt did not get accepted to QuiltCon 2019, but I am nevertheless glad that I ventured into the world of needle-turn appliqué.

The back of the quilt top before the basting stitches were removed.

Front of the quilt top before the basting stitches were removed.

Our Song II – A Collaborative Quilt

As the crowdfunding campaign for Our Song, Your Reflection was unfolding in May and June of this year, I asked a few quilting friends — new and old! — to each make a star block. It could be paper pieced from the original pattern, their own star invention, or a traditional block. With each block, I asked them to share what community means to them. While there was wonderful diversity in their star blocks, it was clear that all of them greatly valued their communities as vital to their quilting practice. Support, inclusion, encouragement, and connection were key words that came up again and again.

Our Song II – a collaborative quilt.

Read about each individual block in “What Does Community Mean to You?” Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

Everyone sent their blocks to me and I had a great pile of happy mail to open from across Canada, the United States, Switzerland, and Australia. And there was one more block to add before I embarked on putting them altogether into one quilt – mine. I chose a traditional friendship star – such simplicity and expression in this little block. The friendship star ended up “leading” the swan in the final design.

I had given the participants a small range of colours to choose from and the subtle variety in colour was a wonderful challenge to assemble into a cohesive whole. I was pretty scared at first, but I finally had to jump in and learned that the only scary thing about this project was the jumping in! I found my process was the most painterly experience I’ve had in my quilting life. (I felt a bit like Neil Buchanan from Art Attack! Remember that show?) As you can see, I used a wide variety of solid scraps to blend the colours together. There was a modularity to the grid of the design – the blocks measured 2″ x 6″ or 6″ x 6″ finished, which allowed me to use standard 2 1/2″ strips to do some filling in.

What was important to the creation of this quilt was laying it out on the floor instead of on a design wall. This gave me the option to casually drop a crumpled mess of fabric to fade the colours into one another. I found this to be a really creative and invigorating process after a loss in “sewjo” over the summer.

The inclusion of a swan was an obvious reference to the original Our Song, Your Reflection quilt, but without the lone star behind it. I’m happy announce that I will be releasing this 20″ swan block as a separate pattern – one that is less daunting than the whole Our Song pattern. It will be released on Oct. 11, 2018 as the “Our Song Swan”! Stay tuned.

For the water that the swan sat on, I used triangular scraps from the first #oursongquilt to signify the otherwise calm water being disturbed by the swan’s presence. These little bits also helped the colours transition from blue to yellow-green.

Straight-line quilting was all I had the time for and I took a bit of a risk — I used a 28wt Aurifil thread in a peachy colour (2315). It’s a heavier weight of thread than I’m comfortable using so I crossed my fingers that it would look OK and not be too obvious.

I used the same type of blending method for the binding. A handful of colours to continue the design of the quilt right to the edge rather than to frame it.

The backing was a bit of an unconventional choice – Carolyn Friedlander’s Snake in Ash from her Gleaned collection. There was no clear connection colour-wise to the front of the quilt, but the design spoke “feathers” to me (rather than snake!) so I found it to be fitting.

I’d like to thank the following people for lending their time and energy to this project. What a joy you were to work with!
Alyce Blyth of Blossom Heart Quilts
Mathew Boudreaux, Mister Domestic
Shannon Fraser of Shannon Fraser Designs
Krista Henneberry of Poppyprint
Lisa Hoffman-Maurer of Sew What You Love
Adrienne Klenck of Seam Work
HollyAnne Knight of String & Story
Stacey O’Malley of SLOstudio
Kim Soper of Leland Ave Studios
Silvia Sutters, A Stranger View
Julia Wentzell of Briar Hill Designs
Kitty Wilkin, Night Quilter
Your Reflection, by Meaghan Smith from the Our Song, Your Reflection project. Keep an eye out for Our Song II at the end!

Our Song, in Kaleidoscope by Alison Glass

Earlier this year, designer Alison Glass released her line of shot cotton solids, Kaleidoscope. I had the privilege of exploring these saturated colours in a second version of Our Song, Your ReflectionThe result was a blazing sunset on a contrasting cool colour palette for the water. This quilt is all about texture, texture, and more texture.

Listen to Meaghan Smith’s song that goes with this quilt.

Quilted by Sheri Lund of Violet Quilts. Photograph by Quilt Photography Co.

The Our Song, Your Reflection pattern releases October 11, 2018. Be the first to know about its release by signing up for the newsletter!

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Canned Pineapples: 2019 Quilter’s Planner Blog Hop

Welcome to the 2019 Quilter’s Planner Blog Hop! If you’re new to 3rd Story Workshop, I’m Andrea Tsang Jackson – a designer, artist, quilt maker, and probably some other things. Today, at the beginning of a summer long weekend here in Canada, I get to introduce you to my design, “Canned Pineapples.” A combination of small paper-pieced pineapple blocks and embroidery, this hoop quilt uses a small handful of scraps to produce a glowing group of fireflies.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

Do you remember being a young adult? Maybe you are one! That feeling of freedom to do whatever you wanted to do? No adults (or kids) dictating what you could or could not do… because you were the adult in charge? Eating supper in front of the television. Staying up late just because you could. Eating cake for breakfast. Taking off for a weekend with your friends to see a concert.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

That’s what my friends did every summer. We would go on a camping trip to Saratoga Springs, NY to see a Dave Matthews concert because often that was the closest venue to us on the band’s tour. We drove for a few hours, crossed the border, set up our tents, set off for the Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center, danced in the rain while enjoying our favourite band. One post-concert night, we stayed up watching fireflies under the stars which shone so brightly in the black night. It was magical.*

Of my paper pieced animal patterns, I have a land animal (Sleepy Fox) and a sea animal (Narwhals #1 and #2). I wanted to round out the collection with an air animal. Fireflies (or as I have learned, “lightning bugs” in the south) were the perfect inspiration.

I have seen a lot of beautiful pineapple blocks lately, both large and small (Karen LewisMelanie TuazonGiuseppe Ribaudo). “Canned Pineapples” uses the block’s radiating geometry to create a glowing effect with a gradient from bright yellow to navy. They aren’t too too tiny, so they’re very achievable. And with only three in the design you could put this together relatively quickly.

I am no embroidery expert, but I have done some in my crafty past. I liked exploring these different stitches to add some smaller fireflies to the composition.

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

A project of this scale is so satisfying and I am thrilled to share it with you in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner. You can pre-order your 2019 Quilter’s Planner here (U.S. customers), and your pre-order comes with some extraordinary goodies. Canadian pre-orders can order through Clinton Modern or Mad About Patchwork. Another U.S. and international option is Fat Quarter Shop.

*My future husband was there with me. I just didn’t know it.

There are plenty of amazing patterns in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner. Follow along on the blog hop and see what’s in there:

Monday, July 23: Cheryl Brickey Meadow Mist Designs @meadowmistdesigns
Wednesday, July 25: Kitty Wilkin Night Quilter @nightquilter
Friday, July 27: Karie Jewell Two Kwik Quilters @karie_twokwikquilters
Monday, July 30: Mandy Leins Mandalei Quilts @mandaleiquilts
Wednesday, August 1: Megan Fisher @ayragon
YOU ARE HERE –> Friday, August 3: Andrea Tsang Jackson 3rd Story Workshop @3rdstoryworkshop
Monday, August 6: Trinia  Braughton Penguin Feats @penquinfeats
Wednesday, August 8: Lee Monroe May Chappell @maychappell
Friday, August 10: Karen Lewis Karen Lewis Textiles @karenlewistextiles
Monday, August 13: Isabelle Selak South Bay Bella Studio @southbaybella
Wednesday, August 15: Sylvia Schaefer Flying Parrot Quilts @flyingparrotquilts
Friday, August 17: Yvonne Fuchs Quilting Jetgirl @quiltingjetgirl
Monday, August 20: Kate Colleran Seams Like a Dream @seamslikeadreamquilts
Wednesday, August 22: Shannon Fraser Shannon Fraser Designs @shannonfraserdesigns
Friday, August 24: Kerry Goulder Kid Giddy @kidgiddy
Monday, August 27: Kitty Wilkin Night Quilter @nightquilter

Photo taken by Kitty Wilkin (Night Quilter) for The Quilter’s Planner 2019

Dreaming the Night Sky

Photo by Deborah Wong

I had the opportunity to work on a double sized commission for a wee toddler. Her parents wanted to have quilt made for her that would grow up with her. That meant nothing too cutesy or any blatant imagery that a 20-year-old would not appreciate in 19 years. This is a parameter that I love working with.

Long-arm quilting by Sheri Lund of Violet Quilts. Photo by Deborah Wong.

Their interest in female astronauts as strong role models inspired her nursery decor, which was also the main inspiration for her quilt.

I had some fun painting “galaxies” with watercolour to get inspired. A quick and fun online course taught by Emma Whitte of Black Chalk Co led me through the exercise and got me back into a medium that I really enjoy. Because my quilting hobby has become my job, I’m on a bit of search to find a new hobby and watercolours might be it…

After a bit of discussion, the concept and design ended up relatively simple. 21 columns of 22 HSTs (half-square triangles) in 10 shades of navy/black/grey with four accent colours. The columns were offset by a half-unit.

Keeping track of sets of HSTs

The random geometric night sky was the background for four constellations overlaid one another at different scales. The constellations were in lighter shades of white to aqua.

Photo by Deborah Wong

Gemini, which was hand-stitched in perle cotton to emphasize it, is the little girl’s astrological sign. The other three constellations — not delineated but blended into the rest of the sky — are those of four significant females in the aerospace field:

  1. Jerrie Cobb, one of the central figures in Stephanie Nolen’s Promised the Moon, was a female aviator in the era of the space race. A privately-funded program (Mercury 13) sought female pilots to train to be astronauts, who had the scientific and technical background to fly space shuttles, but were physically easier to propel into space because of their smaller stature. Sadly, none of the women in the program ever made it to space. Her astrological sign is Pisces.
  2. Karen Nyberg (Libra) is a current NASA astronaut who had her work exhibited at Houston International Quilt Festival in 2014, starting with a block she made in space with limited tools and little gravity.

  1. Roberta Bondar (Sagittarius) was the second Canadian in space and the first Canadian female in space.
  2. Julie Payette (Libra), currently the Governor General of Canada, was another Canadian female astronaut and was Chief Astronaut of the Canadian Space Agency from 2000 to 2007.

I hope this quilt inspires a little girl to dream big. Her name is written in the sky.

Photo by Deborah Wong

Fabrics
  • Night sky in Kona Cottons: Nightfall, Storm, Navy, Windsor, Indigo, Nautical, Coal, Charcoal, Pepper, Black
  • Constellations in Kona Cottons: White, Sky, Dusty Blue, Azure
  • Backing: Essex Yarn-dyed Linen in Peacock

Photo by Deborah Wong

Prairie Storm + Female Artists

Side of the highway, on our way to Regina to see a Saskatchewan Roughriders football game.

I married into a family of Saskatchawanians. I had no connections or interest in the prairies prior to my relationship with my now-husband. This summer we had the chance to spend some time at the family cottage two hours north of Saskatoon, as we celebrated the Jackson matriarch’s 90th birthday. I had the chance to make a quilt for her based on a 16” x 16” sketch from the landscape charrette series that I created last spring.

16″ x 16″ mini quilt, April 2017 – Quilt Charrette series.

A few summers ago, my mother-in-law experienced an intense storm that hit as she drove by herself on a very late night in rural Saskatchewan. Using one of my favourite colour combinations, I imagined from her description — gold improvised fields and very regularly spaced rain, quilted with metallic gold thread.

Side of the highway near Warman, SK

There were a couple of stops along the side of the highway to photograph the prairie-inspired quilt, which measured 50” x 72”. The intensely yellow canola fields were a regular siting along our long drives around the province. This time I used Glide Thread in Fool’s Gold for the quilting. I wasn’t sure how regular metallic thread would fare in my Juki TL-2010Q so I was happy to try this 100% polyester thread with a sheen. I didn’t get a chance to photograph the quilt label unfortunately, but I suspect I will get to see the quilt again.

We made time to escape for a day trip to the city of Saskatoon, which has its own cultural vibe going on. In the fall of 2017, the new Remai Modern opened up, an art gallery dedicated to contemporary art. The building was designed by KPMB with lead design architect Bruce Kuwabara. It is located at the junction of a bridge crossing the South Saskatchewan River, the river itself, and multiple recreational bikepaths.

Remai Modern, designed by KPMB Architects. Image via remaimodern.org.

I really enjoyed our time there without our kids to take in the artwork. Of special note, two installations in the public areas of the museum. Lucky Charms by Pae White makes use of neon “doodles” (terminology mine) in colours of light used in “happy lamps”. These wavelengths of light are used to help the symptoms of depression caused by seasonal affective disorder. On our visit to Saskatchewan shortly after the summer solstice, we experienced daylight until past 10 pm. That means that the opposite season of cold dry winters have very limited daylight hours. This installation touches on the effects of daylight, living at such a northern latitude.

Lucky Charms by Pae White

The second piece was Sol LeWitt Upside Down by Haegue Yang. These very rational looking boxes are a re-interpretation of his modular Structures but hung upside down. Each cube of the framework is enclosed with a surprising material – very mundane Venetian blinds. I love these very rational boxes against the geometric linear lights suspended above them. The Venetian blinds capture both the artificial lighting above it as well as the natural light coming through the atrium space that connects all levels of the museum.

On a non-aesthetic level, what strikes me about these two installations is that they are works by female artists prominently displayed in public spaces. Women’s roles in the public realm has evolved greatly in the last 100 years and I hope that this artistic representation continues to grow. Especially as a Asian female artist, Yang’s artwork as the first encounter in a museum of such importance really encourages me. Asian females are often perceived as the most reticent, passive, and submissive in European and North American cultures. Although none of the females in my family fit this profile — we are a particularly assertive and vocal bunch! — I have certainly been subject to this stereotype. I have begun to make a case for my role as an female Asian artist in a dominantly white art form, as well as for domestic arts to have a place in the public realm. This is a relatively new dimension to what I think about in my artistic practice, and I’m excited to see how it informs the way I work.

The lobby of the Remai Modern.

The vast Canadian prairie landscape is one that I really took notice of this trip and I’m sure we’ll be back again in the next few years for another Saskatchewan adventure.

Photo by Bruce Jackson

Our Song, Your Reflection

I have teamed up with award-winning songwriter and musician Meaghan Smith to create Our Song, Your Reflectiona celebration of community through music and quilting. The project gets to the core of what makes us tick as creatives — connecting people and connecting with people through our art. The project is structured as a crowdfunding campaign that invites contributors to be a part of the “Your Reflection” music video, to increase offerings associated with the release of the song and the quilt pattern, and to celebrate the “us” in our communities.

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Everyone’s Got an X

Last year, I had a few people around me see the end of their marriages. The sadness hit me pretty hard as I put myself in their shoes. Life as you imagined it is no longer. It’s a time of grief; it’s the loss of what you dreamt of. During those difficult times, there is a need for comfort in grief and a need to create a new home for a new start.


Quilts are often gifted to mark an occasion – a wedding, the arrival of a new baby. These are times of celebration and joy. The Double Wedding Ring quilt functions as a symbol of two lives intertwining. Pen and Paper Patterns’ Vegas Wedding quilt is a fun and quicker take on the traditional design. The Free-Wheeling Single Girl pattern by Denyse Schmidt is a great modern spin on the design and celebrates singleness rather than marriage.

When it comes to divorce, we think of things falling apart. But it is also a new beginning. A rebuilding of a new life. A new place to live, maybe. The design for Everyone’s Got an X came from this new start. Why shouldn’t a new divorcé get a new quilt for a refreshed home decor?

Image courtesy of Quilt Con Magazine, Modern Patchwork

The design is ultra-modern – there is no grid or repeated block. It’s large-scale piecing, mainly in the form of strips. The translucent white stripes ‘overlay’ on the coloured bar to create; in fact, because of their translucency, they are not at all white. Here are the Kona colours that I used:

  • Background: Kona Charcoal
  • Coloured bar: Kona Bellini
  • “White” stripes: Kona Pearl Pink, Kona Iron

This design, Everyone’s Got an X, is fitting for other life events, too — such as the arrival of a baby (everyone’s got an X chromosome), a tenth birthday or a tenth anniversary (Roman numeral for “ten”). The binding on the quilt adds serifs to the “X” on the quilt, an optional finishing touch.

This quilt will always be nicknamed “the divorce quilt” and it will always bring me back to this place of empathy and contemplation.

Everyone’s Got an X appeared as a pattern in the 2018 Quilt Con Magazine by Modern Patchwork.