Retreat Memories

Browse our galleries of quilters, friends, and teachers past and present - and let us know if you've got contributions to add to our collection of photographs. We'd love to share yours here.

  • Old Nova Scotian Quilts
    Old Nova Scotian Quilts
    by Scott Robson, Sharon MacDonald
  • Visual Coloring: A Foolproof Approach to Color-Rich Quilts
    Visual Coloring: A Foolproof Approach to Color-Rich Quilts
    by Joen Wolfrom
  • A Garden Party of Quilts: 7 Pieced Projects for Flower Lovers
    A Garden Party of Quilts: 7 Pieced Projects for Flower Lovers
    by Joen Wolfrom
  • Points of View: Landscape Quilts to Stitch and Embellish (That Patchwork Place)
    Points of View: Landscape Quilts to Stitch and Embellish (That Patchwork Place)
    by Valerie Hearder
  • Fat Quarter Frenzy Two
    Fat Quarter Frenzy Two
    by Susan Purney-Mark, Daphne Greig
  • Simple Stained Glass Quilts
    Simple Stained Glass Quilts
    by Daphne Greig, Susan Purney Mark
  • Fat Quarter Frenzy
    Fat Quarter Frenzy
    by Susan Purney-Mark, Daphne Greig
  • The Quilted Garden: Design and Make Nature Inspired Quilts
    The Quilted Garden: Design and Make Nature Inspired Quilts
    by Jane Sassaman
  • A Month of Sundays - Family, Friends, Food & Quilts: Slow Down & Sew - 16 Projects, Precut Friendly
    A Month of Sundays - Family, Friends, Food & Quilts: Slow Down & Sew - 16 Projects, Precut Friendly
    by Cheryl Arkison
  • Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics
    Sunday Morning Quilts: 16 Modern Scrap Projects Sort, Store, and Use Every Last Bit of Your Treasured Fabrics
    by Amanda Jean Nyberg, Cheryl Arkison
  • Canadian Heritage Quilting: Quick Creative Designs
    Canadian Heritage Quilting: Quick Creative Designs
    by Karen Neary, Diane Shink
  • Japanese Garden Quilt: 12 Circle Blocks to Hand or Machine Applique
    Japanese Garden Quilt: 12 Circle Blocks to Hand or Machine Applique
    by Karen Kay Buckley
  • The Joy of quilting.
    The Joy of quilting.
    by Swim. Laurie.

The Countdown Is On!

Yes, the countdown is on for the 2013 Mayflower Quilter's Retreat at Pictou Lodge, just a mere 10 weeks to go till the quilters invade Pictou Lodge! Some of the committee visited Pictou Lodge this week to finalize a few details and have a tour around to see some of the changes and upgrades. I think you will all be quite thrilled.

The new bikes are ready and waiting if you feel a need to go for an explore around the Lodge property.

The Adirondack chairs are ready and waiting if you want to sit by the Northumberland Shore, a great place to do some handwork!

Every cabin has new beds, new linens, fresh coats of paint, new furniture and lighting fixtures just to name a few things! Love that fabric!

There is a new chef this year, Chef Thomas and if our lunch is any indication, the food is going to wonderful! Chef Courtney who had been at the Lodge for many of our Retreats is on maternity leave!

We are so pleased that we have a full Retreat again this year, classes are full! We are grateful to everyone who keeps coming back and we look forward to meeting those quilters who are coming for a first time.

We are also pleased to welcome our new merchant to the Retreat this year. Jacque from the Mira Stitch 'n Post will be with us, can't wait to meet her and see the goodies she is bringing.



Congratulations to Marie Hayward, winner of the Mayflower Quilter's Retreat Raffle! Marie has been a long time supporter and attendee of the Retreat. And she served on the committee for many years. Marie was at the Mayflower meeting when the winning ticket was drawn. She was very excited, she already had her registration form ready and cheque made out. many thanks to all who bought tickets and congratulations again to Marie.

Marie at the 2009 Retreat.

Congratulations as well to Debbie Bliemel, winner of the Avonport Award For a Young Quilter. We had seven applications this year and I know the jury had a difficult time choosing just one winner.

Debbie is from Hammonds Plains, NS and she writes "I have always loved sewing. When I'm tired or grumpy, I sit down at my machine and start making something. Soon enough, I'm immersed in the serenity of fabric gliding between my fingers. As a project starts to come together, a deep sense of contentment grows inside my heart and I am happy. 

I've been sewing for about 30 years, but have been quilting for only three of those. When I was young, I made clothing for myself and my dolls. After I married and had my first child, I began making clothing and cloth diapers. I even had a small business making custom-made cloth diapers for a few years, but I closed the company once I moved from Ontario to Nova Scotia.

Debbie's "Manly Quilt"

I first began quilting when an organization called Craft Hope put out a call for children's quilts for Margaret's Hope Chest, a group that collects quilts in Michigan. I looked at all of the wonderful baby fabrics that I had lying around. Then I said, "I can do that." My two quilts were simple, wonky and slightly lop-sided. But I was hooked. 

Debbie's "Baby Quilt for Frodo"

After that, quilting became an integral part of my crafting life. Currently, I knit, sew, spin my own yarn, occasionally dye my own yarn, embroider, crochet, make wire jewelry, and of course, quilt. When I'm not doing any of that, I am a stay at home mom who likes to travel. I also write short stories and am working on my first novel. I would say that I'm mostly interested in modern quilting. Some of my favourite quilt blogs include Oh Fransson!, Film in the Fridge and Red Pepper Quilts. Bright, vibrant colours hold the most appeal for me. 

By far, the quilting project that I'm happiest with was coercing/organizing a group of my knitter friends into a year-long quilting bee. Each month, all of the members work on squares for one person's quilt. We get together at the end of the month to exchange blocks for new fabric packets, and we also enjoy tea, cake and chatting. It's been great fun, and I'm hoping that the love of quilting will remain, even after the bee is completed. 

My flickr account is filled with all of my crafty endeavors, should anyone wish to see what I'm working on ("

Congratulations Debbie, we are all looking forward to meeting you in September.


Exciting News!

Congratulations to our Retreat teacher Karen Neary whose quilt "Roundabout Again" has been accepted into the AQS Quilt Show in Paducah, Kentucky We are so fortunate to have Karen be one of our teachers at the 2013 Quilter's Retreat. Read about her acceptance, "The Mailman Came" here.

"Roundabout Again"

Karen will be teaching "Roundabout Again" at the 2013 Quilter's Retreat, September 25-29, 2013. Congratulations again Karen!

We are also excited to announce that Cheryl Arkison's new book "A Month of Sundays" will be published by Stash Books and will be available August 1, 2013. Cheryl has written about her new book here and here you can see a sneak peek at the pictures from the book.



Almost Time

It's that time of the year - almost! Time to think about registering for the 14th Quilter's Retreat at Pictou Lodge. The magic date (for members of the Mayflower QG and its chapters) is March 25th. To ensure fairness no matter where members live we register by mail, therefore it is important to take your envelope to the post office and ask them to hand cancel it with the date clearly marked. We have had some registrations come in the past that have been mailed on the right day in a post office box but the envelope did not get processed till the next day or even later. So if there is a workshop you really want, take the time to get it hand cancelled! Don't be disappointed.

This is an exciting week for us At the March 21st meeting of the Mayflower Quilters Guild we will draw for the Retreat Raffle. One lucky winner will receive an all expense paid (except travel and supplies) to the retreat along with the workshop of the winner's choice. Have you sent your tickets in yet? If not bring them to the meeting. We will also be announcing the winner of the Avonport Scholarship for a Young Quilter. I am thrilled that we had 7 entries this year! I wish all 7 could come to the Retreat on a scholarship, they are all deserving. We are ever so grateful to Faye Brown and her store Avonport Disount Fabrics for their support of the scholarship.


2013 Quilter's Retreat Registration

The 2013 Mayflower Quilter's Retreat at Pictou Lodge brochure and registration form is now available. If you would like the information, please email me at

We do a fair bit of fundraising for our Retreat to help keep the costs as low as possible. The Retreat Raffle tickets are now available for purchase. One lucky winner will receive an *all expense paid Retreat (*except for travel to Pictou Lodge and supplies), the winner also is guaranteed the workshop of her choice. If you would like more information and tickets email me at The draw will be at the March 21, 2013 meeting of the Mayflower Quilter's Guild.


2013 Retreat Workshops

Presentation of the Pictou Lodge Quilt "Waiting" to the staff at the Lodge, September 2011. The quilt hangs in the main diningroom. The quilt was designed and made by Faye Brown and Debbie Vermeulen. It was machine quilted by Debbie.

The 2013 Mayflower Quilter's Retreat is fast approaching. The brochure and registration form will be ready this week and we are so excited to announce the workshops. Each workshop is 3 days in length so you really do get a chance to have an in-depth workshop experience.

Registration is done by mail only and to insure fairness to everyone, regardless of where you live, the post mark is critical. If you really want one workshop be sure and have the envelope hand cancelled on March 25, 2013 (for Mayflower QG members and Chapter members) at the post office so that the date is clearly marked. For non-Guild members the date is April 8, 2013.

As in other years we will also be offering an Independent Study for those who wish to work on their own projects. A room and tables, irons etc will be provided in the main Lodge or you can work in your cabin/room. We do encourage those who chose this option to gather together and see what each other is doing throughout the Retreat.

Please visit the teachers websites to see their quilts - Cheryl Arkison, Penny Berens and Karen Neary

Improvisational Piecing with Cheryl Arkison

Does working without a pattern feel like walking a tight rope without a safety net? This class will ease you in to improvisational quilting. Improvisational quilting is about technique and process, rather than a pattern. You start with some fabric, attack it with your rotary cutter and maybe an idea of what you want to do with it, then finish with a bold design. Your final product will look anything but simple, but is very easy to create.

We’ll begin with some favourite fabrics, then work through a handful of different improvisational methods.  We will also discuss where one can take these techniques and subsequent designs.

Learning the techniques of improv will help you create your own designs and adapt patterns when you need to change the size or run out of fabric. It is about embracing the spirit of improv more than some crazy piecing.


Exploring Traditional Quilt Designs Using Hand Embroidery and Layered Scraps with Penny Berens 

Being quilters we all have scraps.  Being Nova Scotians we have Frenchy’s.  We are very knowledgeable about repurposing bits and pieces of fabric.  This workshop is for those interested in hand stitching and using up bits and pieces of cloth.  We will draw a traditional block or your own personal design on a foundation fabric and then ‘colour’ in the lines with bits and pieces of cotton, silk, linen, velvet and other scraps that you might bring along.   You will be encouraged to give your traditional block an individual personality by adding your own unique touches with appliqué and embroidery.  The final step will be to use our familiar quilting/running stitch to bind all the layers together creating a quilt-like wall hanging.

 Roundabout Again © Karen Neary

Roundabout Again© with Karen Neary

Conquer the fear of curved piecing – let go and embrace those curves! In this workshop students will create a dramatic table centerpiece or wallhanging (31” x 50”) using 4- Patch and New York Beauty blocks. Roundabout Again looks equally gorgeous pieced in coordinated fabrics or in colourful scraps. We will cover the basics of foundation piecing to produce sharp spikes. Foundations on an easy tear-away paper will be supplied. Students will sew curved seams using a regular ¼” foot to produce blocks which come out true and flat, needing little or no trimming. This workshop is suitable for an advanced beginner or intermediate quilter. Students should have some experience in the use of a rotary cutter, familiarity with their sewing machines, and the ability to sew a consistent ¼” seam.


Avonport Award for a Young Quilter 2013

Once again, for the third time, we are thrilled to be able to support a young quilter with a full scholarship to attend the 2013 Quilter's Retreat at Pictou Lodge. The Avonport Award has been made possible thanks to the generous support of Faye Brown at Avonport Discount Fabrics, Avonport, Nova Scotia.

The scholarship provides a young quilter with a full Retreat package - a 3 day workshop of choice, 11 gourmet meals at Pictou Lodge, accommodation at Pictou Lodge for 4 nights and a wonderful experience with 60 plus quilters and teachers! You just have to get yourself to Picotu Lodge and bring along your supplies for your workshop.

Kelly, winner of the 2011 Avonport Award and Krystal, winner of the 2009 Avonport Award

The criteria is pretty simple - you must be a resident of Nova Scotia, you must be between the age of 19 and 40 (born between 1973 and 1994). There is an application form to fill out and sent in accompanied by photos illustrating your quilt/fibre experience. You do not need to be a member of a quilt guild. You do not need to be an experienced quilter - just willing to learn!

For more information and a registration form please contact Sandra at