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June's Cottage // Fall 2017 Lookbook!

Friends, we are so excited to present our digital lookbook for our new and debut collection, "June's Cottage".  In this lookbook you'll find not only beautiful photography by the one and only Nicole Nield, but you find gorgeous quilts and projects designed by our very own Julia Wentzell, including yardage! Here you'll read a little bit about our process, our backgrounds and our inspirations behind the collection and the patterns. We're so proud of it and can't wait for you to see it! Just click the link and take a gander. PS - every time I try to type lookbook, autocorrect wants to replace it with cookbook. Face palm.

Briar Hill Designs Lookbook / Fall 2017

Old But Gold

Some of you will know what a pleasure it is to move your family across several provinces (or states). My husband works as a dentist for the military and we were posted over the summer to northern Ontario. He and I have been actively unpacking and organizing for months and still we are coming across things we'd forgotten about. I'm only now finding peace and organization in my new studio, but only because we spent hours going through boxes and containers full of paperwork, and art supplies and scraps and paintings and drawings and sketchbooks and reference books and and and...

I have a love/hate relationship with organization and too often find myself and my work desk buried in the paraphernalia of an artist. I like to think that we artists specialize in chaos. Although I religiously follow artists like Natalie Malan, and Yao Cheng (my HEROES of life), and everything in their world seems to pristine, so calm, so clean, so organized, so.....white! HOW? How the heck?? I'm going to go ahead and assume that their lives are just as chaotic as mind to make myself feel better. Literally as I wrote that sentence, my oldest son sauntered into the studio, his face and hands covered in Nutella, like it was no big thing. This mom's life is real, folks.

Anyway, so while I've spent hours making sense of this work space, I've loved coming across old projects, sketchbooks full of unused ideas, and bits of paper with watercolored stems and blossoms, just waiting to be scanned and edited. I love gauging my growth as an artist and entrepreneur. Some of those old ideas are golden. Others are laughable but lead me to other great things and I'm grateful for all of them.

I guess the benefit of being regularly displaced is the opportunity to review; expand upon old gems and remember past mistakes to change for the better.

Coast to Coast Mini Quilt-Along --Countryside Charm

Theme for the year’s assortment of Minis- Countryside Charm
When the perfectly planned, pieced and pressed pattern creator Julia of Briar Hill Designs meets up with the fabulous free motion facilitator Dara of Stitched Quilting Co the result is the magnificent Monthly Mini Quilt Along. Julia and Dara have never met in person as they live on the extreme east and west coasts of Canada, however their love of all-things-quilting drew them together to create ‘Coast to Coast’ and this first collaboration project: Monthly Mini Quilt Along. A "block of the month" that also provides community, skill building, free motion instruction, and finishing skills.

Thorn & Thistle

Quilting happens at all levels. If you would like to increase your skills and abilities, come and tap into the rich knowledge base of these two quilters who will teach you starting from the basics of quilting to a variety of quilting techniques ranging from piecing methods to curves, foundation paper piecing, english paper piecing and more. FMQ skills will be taught through Dara's developed method which will build your FMQ confidence more with each tutorial.


Why Minis? Minis are so versatile! The blocks can be incorporated into other projects you are making, they are a quick gift, a fun way to decorate your sewing space, and a way to learn and practice a new skill without the intimidation of a large project.


We are so excited to share this Monthly Mini Quilt Along as it has been created so that your quilting skills will develop and grow in a sequential way with small time commitments yielding huge improvements in your skills, building your quilting repertoire.


Benefits of being part of our 2018 Monthly Quilt Along: (in addition to surprises we'll be pulling out of our sleeves when you least expect it...)

* Receive a new mini pattern designed by Julia Wentzell of Briar Hill Designs. Pattern includes instructions, diagrams, tips, and new skills to expand your quilty repertoire.

* Video Tutorials by Dara of Stitched Quilting Co. showing three different ways to FMQ your minis on a domestic machine every month.

* Belong to a community of quilters who share your passion for quilting in a supportive and encouraging private facebook group.

* PDF copies of the blocks can be printed and used to plan out colour placement, and practice FMQ designs before putting needle and thread to mini!

* Opportunities to share your progress, and win monthly giveaways. Enter a photo of the completed block at the end of the month, for an entry in our monthly giveaway by fabulous sponsors.

*If (when) during 2018, any of these patterns turn into quilt patterns, receive an exclusive discount for all digital patterns upon pattern release.

*First dibs at any exclusive offers from both Julia and Dara.

Autumn Orchard

What to expect:

(January's plan will be different with the Month's festivities starting on the 22nd)

First day of the month- new mini will be introduced.

Second week- fabric pull of your mini show and share.

Third week- demo video for the free motion quilting.

Fourth week- share completed mini for entry in that month's giveaway.

Here's where you can sign up!  We're offering two great ways to pay:
12 monthly payments of 9.50 CDN automatic withdrawals through Paypal's secure server.

One payment for all 12 months, discounted - pay for only 10 months.  $95 CDN payment through Paypal's secure server.

We sure hope you'll join us! 
Hey there fellow creators! 

Quilt Market has come and gone but before it's too late, I wanted to take a moment to recount some of the coolest /most surprising things about it. I for one, knew almost nothing about Quilt Market going in and would have loved a blog post to read telling me what I expect. 

For instance, it would have been lovely to know that you're on your feet the entire day walking the booths and meeting absolutely everyone you've ever heard of in the industry, with next to zero seating, so sensible yet stylish flats are a must. 

So I'll give myself a little "interview" for easy reading purposes and hopefully I can shed some light on the awe-inspiring, magical, and at times, overwhelming experience that is Quilt Market. Buckle up. 

What was most surprising about Quilt Market?

Absolutely everyone is there! All of those "sewlebrities" that we idolize behind a screen or sewing machine are there in all their glory. But what's more surprising is how approachable and regular they really are! Julia and I expected to see halos around these creative, influential women. Not so. Rather, they were surrounded by crowds of adoring fans.

But this didn't seem to make them any less approachable and friendly. I was ultra impressed by Natalie Malan's kind demeanour and Anna Maria Horner's gentle spirit. They all just felt like friends and people that you'd totally hang out with. And we feel like we're on a new level with Leslie Tucker Jenison and Jamie Fingal, who saved the Schoolhouse day and set the tone for the entire weekend. We are eternally grateful to them.What is Schoolhouse like?

This was the thing that rattled me the most about going to Quilt Market. I can put on a brave face meeting new people one on one and introducing my collection when needed, but standing up in front of a crowd of experts, having 30 minutes to sell what you've got is super intimidating. Thankfully, as I mentioned, Leslie and Jamie saved the day. They presented right before us and we totally helped each other out, which set the tone of comradery and togetherness. Schoolhouse happens the day before Quilt Market begins. The day is organized into 30 minutes lectures where designers that are at Quilt Market present their new collection and patterns, and answer questions... or if you're Tula Pink, make everyone laugh hysterically and idolize you. What a natural performer, that one. It's less formal than we imagined and fun to listen to the designer's process. Every schoolhouse is presented differently and every schoolhouse is great!

What was Sample Spree like?

Chaos. Pure chaos. First of all, just to get in is a struggle. We saw pictures of the crowd waiting to get in and it looked like US Black Friday at Walmart. Nuts. We showed up 10 minutes after sample spree had officially begun and no one was at the door anymore. Those crazy ladies were already surrounding tables and throwing money at vendors. We rushed up to the Cotton+Steel table to get a fat quarter bundle of Amalfi by Rifle Paper Co. and it was sold out. 10 minutes in! And apparently we heard from many that this year's Sample Spree was nothing compared to past years. Yikes. Cotton+Steel were putting on their jackets and leaving 25 minutes after it had opened because they were entirely sold out. Superstars.

What was your favourite part about Quilt Market?

Besides Phoenicia's you mean? Ok, seriously though people. Right around the corner from the convention centre in Houston is a "Sepcialty Foods" grocery store called Phoenicia's and it is THE place to be. SUCH amazing panini and salads and homemade foods. And little known fact: after 7pm, their pastries are $1!!!! Face-sized cinnamon buns, turnovers, danishes, just $1. That was our evening tradition. After a long day of schmoozing, we'd get an apricot turnover and call it a day. Heaven. 

So OTHER than the food (which was amazing EVEYWHERE we went), my favourite part about Quilt Market was making "sew" many new friends and cool connections in the industry. Lo and behold, the thing that I thought I'd hate the most, the networking and forced interactions, was the best part! These women are amazing. They're smart and successful; moreover they're kind and genuine, and just the sort of people you want to be working with and alongside. They couldn't have been more helpful and friendly to a couple of newbies from Canada and we loved every minute.