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 14th Quilter's Retreat - part 3

Our third teacher for the 14th Quilter's Retreat is Penny Berens from Granville Beach, Annapolis County, NS.

Penny admiring Alex Schofield's Olly, Olly Oxen Free

Penny's mother and grandmothers instilled in her a love of embroidery.  They would embroider the household linens which were used on a regular basis and washed and starched and ironed every week.
As a young woman her life was filled with training a husband, bringing up children and working at jobs outside the home.  No time for embroidery in those days.  Finally in 1989 when her youngest became a teenager she looked for something to feed her need to create.  No embroidery to be found anywhere, so she signed up for quilting lessons.  Perfect, she could make cosy quilts for her boys.  But it wasn’t long before she lost interest in the functional quilt.   She thinks only one of her boys got a quilt for his bed!

Once a quilt becomes a wall hanging the possibilities are infinite and she explored every avenue, every technique out there and every fabric available.  So much fun with days filled to the brim and nights playing with machine embroidery.
Sprinkling of Sand on Seaweed

Penny found the embroidery stitches of her childhood quietly creeping back into her work.  So a natural progression was to sign up for City & Guilds Embroidery and Design with Dundee College.  This was before the age of Internet connectivity and so her studies were done using postmen and airplanes back and forth to Scotland.

In the midst of studying the fairly disciplined City & Guilds design process, Penny accidentally joined a group of intuitive painters who taught her to pour paints freely and allow her inner voice to take over. These two opposites have played a major role in shaping her process. The focus of her work is intuitive but there are times when she finds planning and control hard to resist!
Two of Penny's quilts have been honoured by the Canadian Quilters’ Association with awards for excellence in appliqué and innovation in appliqué.  More recently her work has been honoured with an honourable mention by the Threadworks Jury.  Part of being an artist is the sharing of one's work with others.  To that end, Penny's work has been in shows and galleries throughout Canada and as far a field as Arizona and Scotland.
In addition to being a member of Connections, Penny is a member of Visual arts Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Designer Craft Council and the Studio Art Quilt Association.
Penny's work can be found in various publications including: “Points of View” by Valerie Hearder published 2008; “CEGments annual Review 2007-8” Canadian embroiderers’ Guild magazine: "Embroidery" Magazine January 2004 issue; "Contemporary Quilts: Design, Surface & Stitch" by Sandra Meech Published in September 2003: “Quilts Are Forever” by Kathy Lamancuso published in March 2002; and various Canadian Quilters’ Association Magazines.
Grey Sand

In 2007 Penny retired and moved to Granville Beach in beautiful Nova Scotia.  This has had a huge effect on her work.  Today her muse is the landscape and natural world around her.  Hand embroidery now covers her wall hangings more often than machine embroidery.  Dyeing with nature’s gifts has replaced procion dyes.  Even Frenchy’s finds and hooker’s blankets can be found in her work.
Oh, yes and Penny has become a blogger where she shares her love of the world around her and the stitching that goes on constantly.  Visit Penny at


The 14th Quilter's Retreat - part 2

Our second teacher is Cheryl Arkison. Cheryl lives in Calgary, Alberta but spent her university years in Halifax at the University of Kings College. We are thrilled to be having Cheryl teach for us at the retreat.

Cheryl is a writer, quilt designer, teacher, mom, sister, daughter, and the bestest wife ever.

Her first book, co-authored with Amanda Jean Nyberg, is called Sunday Morning Quilts. It was published in March 2012 by Stash Books.

The focus of Cheryl's writing is on food, family, travel, and craft. She is the Food Editor for What's Up Families magazine and has contributed to the Edmonton Journal, the Calgary Herald, and Christmas 365. Her work can also be found online at,,,


As a quilter, Cheryl's designs have been featured in Fat Quarterly and through designers like Daisy Janie. Her free-form patterns are available through her shop.

Rounding out her professional tasks, Cheryl also teaches both quilting and cooking classes. Improvisational quilting is a strong focus, but she also teaches on fabric confidence and selection, basic techniques, and design. As a good Ukrainian she can also teach you the basics of pyrohy, borscht, and more.

Cheryl lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband, one old pooch, two wild little girls, and one newborn boy who has no clue what chaos he's entered. Cheryl rules the house from her Dining Room Empire.


Inspired Inspiration

More of Cheryl's quilts can be seen in our photo albums under 2013 Teachers.


The 14th Quilter's Retreat - September 25 - 29, 2013

Here we go again! Planning is well underway for the 14th bi-annual Mayflower QG Quilter's Retreat at Pictou Lodge, NS. For those of you who have been before you know what a wonderful place Pictou Lodge is and what a wondeful Quilter's Retreat we have. I can't believe we have been at this for 30 years! It has gone by all too fast!

Once again we have a wonderful line-up of teachers and workshops. I will introduce them to you over the next few posts.

First up is Karen Neary from Amherst, Nova Scotia.

Karen Neary has worked as a professional quilt designer since 1989. A prolific designer, her quilts have been featured in numerous magazines including Quilter’s Newsletter, McCall’s Quilting, AQS Magazine, Quilter’s Connection and The Canadian Quilter. For12 years, Karen wrote a regular column in Quick & Easy QuiltingMagazineSew Karen-ly Created…patterns are available at selected stores as well as from the website. Karen has contributed to 14 books (C&T Publishing, House of White Birches, Leisure Arts, DRG). She has designed projects forBenartex Fabrics, Robert Kaufman Fine Fabrics,YLI Thread, Freudenberg-Pellon, Sew-Fit Templates, Michael Miller Fabrics, Northcott, Hobbs Batting and P&B Textiles. Several of Karen’s quilts have been exhibited at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas and toured North America with YLI Thread.

Karen’s New York Roundabout is featured in the current Keepsake Quilting, Clotilde, and Mary Maxim catalogues. In 2008, A Portrait of Anne took first place at the Kindred Spaces Textile Show in P.E.I. and travelled to Japan to be exhibited at the Yokohama International Quilt Show and International Quilt Week Fukuoka in Yahoo Dome.

Canadian Heritage Quilting (Formac-Lorimer Publishing) is co-authored with AQS Quilt Appraiser Diane Shink. Log Canada, one of Karen’s quilts featured in this book, was chosen as part of the “O Canada” 2009 special exhibit by International Quilt Festival of Houston. The show opened in Chicago and spent the year travelling across the U.S. In 2011 and 2012 two more of Karen’s quilts were chosen to be part of the same travelling exhibit. Farrago was a semifinalist at the prestigious 2011 Paducah, KY Quilt Show; Tempus Fugit was selected to be part of the National Juried Show at Quilt Canada in London, May 2011. In September 2012, Log Canada will be one of 23 Canadian quilts featured in a show in Franceat Carrefour Europeen du Patchwork.

In July 2009, Karen Neary’s quilt To Be Where You Belong was presented to Sir Paul McCartney to commemorate his visit to Nova Scotia.



Karen Neary is a graduate of the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education programs at Mount Allison University. She is a member of the Mayflower Quilt Guild of Nova Scotia and the Canadian Quilter’s Association. Karen hails from Five Islands and currently resides in Amherst, Nova Scotia, Canada. To visit Karen's website click here.

Easter Antependium, one of a series of 7 commissioned by the Baptist Church.

We are looking forward to having Karen with us at the Quilter's Retreat next year!


Moving Along

It has been 4 months since we all said goodbye at Pictou Lodge but the committee has been working away, looking for teachers for 2013 and making plans. Mark your calendar for September 25 - 29, 2013. Registration information will be available in January 2013, with registration starting in March 2013.

Remember this sign? One of the mobile kitchens set up beside the Lodge as a temporary kitchen after the devastating kitchen fire that they had in June. Under the circumstances the staff did a wonderful job keeping us fed with delicious meals. Well, reconstruction has begun. If you are on Facebook you can follow along on the building progress, search for for Pictou Lodge Beachfront Resort or go to Pictou Lodge and click on the "follow us" button for Facebook. They are regularly sharing pictures of the kitchen rebuild. We will all breathe a sigh of relief when they open again in the spring.



We had four options for workshops with some excellent teachers. 

Daphne Greig's class "Give and Take Applique"

Elaine Quehl's "Machine Quilting Boot Camp".

Jane Sassaman's class "Abstracting From Nature".

Some of the "hermits" in the Independent Study.

Everyone had such a great time, can't wait for the 14th - September 25-29, 2013!


The 13th Quilters Retreat at Pictou Lodge

Pictou Lodge has a special place in the hearts of our quilters. The location, the staff, the weather all combine to give us each a unique experience.

The main lodge opened in 1926, it is an incredible example of a beautiful log cabin!

Welcome orange water

Foggy colour!

From the outside looking in on Elaine's class, she wins for the best view!

From the inside looking out at Daphne's class, bikes waiting for riders.

Pictou Lodge had an unfortunate fire in their kitchen last June so they had to bring in portable kitchens and make do with a makeshift prep area and kitchen, they managed superbly. Kudos to Chef Courtney and her staff for the fantastic meals!

The best staff, good sports one and all!


The Quilters We Meet

One of the best things about the Retreat is the friends we make, some are new, some we haven't seen since the last Retreat and some we see all the time at Guild meetings, at our bee gatherings or at our favourite quilt stores.

Faye Palmeter and our "Avonport Scholarship Award for a Young Quilter" winner Kelly Booth

Jane Sassaman and the "Valley Girls" Barb, Jackie, Jane, Lois, Ginny and Debbie

Marie, Barb, Kay, Jean and Cheryl members of the Mayflower Quilters Guild. Barb & Kay have been to all 13 Retreats!

Some of the Nimble Thimbles and their fascinators, Marilyn, Donna, Liz, Karen and Irene.

Marie at work!

Debbie & Bev in their cabin on show and tell night.

The best picture...Meredith & Krystal. Krystal won the "Avonport Scholarship Award for a Young Quilter" for the 2009 Retreat and we were all thrilled to have her back with us.

Kelly is gifted a mug rug for her first Retreat!

Sandra & Teri

Deanne & Fiona

Bev, Debbie & Patricia wow us with their power howl!

Debbie & Jane

3 friends Ann, Diane & Jane

Anne relaxes!

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