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Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Feature: Rita @ Sunset Quilting

I have 5 chickens
( if you can't see the text of this post, click to view it from the website as our font is white)

It's a bit intimidating to be the very first Friday Feature poster on The Needle and Thread Network! I'm in very esteemed company indeed. I'm not sure I qualify as an artist per se, as some in this network really do.

My name is Rita Penner and I live in a small village just south of Ottawa called Greely. There's a tiny stream that runs through the village and many many moons ago, there used to be a mill. That business enabled a hotel to start and I think that's pretty much all Greely had to offer besides a stop for those on the way to elsewhere. Over the years, we got a gas station which is now gone and the Greely Cheese Shop which was a wonderful bulk food store: the best kept secret around. The lady who ran it got old and the store closed. Now we boast a post office, an elementary school the local children can walk to, a medium sized grocery/liquor store, a veterinarian, a doctor, a hair cutter and a real estate office.

I have sewn steadily for a LOT of years, since high school "home economics" class. Anyone remember those? Besides normal clothing, I sewed winter wear for my slim tall daughter and went on to coats for my husband and me. Curtains, slipcovers, skating dresses, bathing suits, dog coats, you name it. I've quilted for a few years and got into machine quilting to deal with these quilts I made. I also am a self-employed sewer who designs and manufacturers ringette pants (, so I already had the sewing machine I needed that fits onto the quilting frame I bought. My machine quilting setup is a 10 foot mid-arm, using hand-quided side-to-side designs that I create myself. Check out "Machine Quilting" in the black row at the very top of the blog.

may 2010
I started blogging to create an online presence that gave some reality to this machine quilting business but it's been more of a vehicle for making friends all across the globe who are also interested in quilting and that's been a lovely surprise. This quilt I've shown was also pieced by me.

I machine quilt a lot of quilts for the Common Threads Quilt Guild. They give away hundreds of quilts to various groups every year though I'm just one of the quilters. Right now, the bulk of my paid machine quilting has been personal contacts but there seems to be a steady flow of those and I'm as busy as is comfortable. All in all, life rocks at the moment.

a smock apron
Another interest of mine is vintage aprons. I'd love to make more of those but how many aprons does one person need? And the craziest thing is, I don't even wear them often. I just like to sew them.

Periodically I publish tutorials. I did one for self-binding baby receiving blankets, 7 bags to wrap Christmas gifts from a metre of fabric, quilt blocks, even for creating blog buttons.

This week my niece had the twins that I made these quilts for. They were each 6.5 lbs. Mother, babies and the dad are all doing well. There are lots more quilts that have been made. If you're interested in visiting my blog, please do! If you'd like to subscribe, that would be excellent. You just press the orange button under "Sunset" at the top of the blog. I don't post a lot - probably once a week but I'd love to have you visit!!

Thanks for reading about me!!


  1. I love your story. Thank you for sharing with us.

  2. Good morning Rita!

    Good job on the post! I personally think it's so cool that the first photo ever in the Canadian Feature Fridays is of a woman hugging a chicken! lol That's AWESOME! Maybe we should make quirky profile photos mandatory in the Friday Feature series! hehee

    ~Monika K.

    Congrats on the First Feature!! ; )

  3. Ah yes, Home Ec! I admit to preferring the sewing portion to the cooking, and took it all the way through to final exams (Gr. 11 in Quebec). But what a career you have made of it!

    Even though its not on the route I used, your story brought back memories of the university summers I spent near Ottawa, working at a camp near Perth and hitching into the city to see my boyfriend who was one of the GG's Footguards.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. So nice to meet you Rita! I'm intrigued with your mid-arm. I've recently purchased a B-line frame, with a Brother machine. What make is your frame and machine? I saw in a picture that your frame has a top shelf - did that come with the frame, or did you make it? How big is the throat on your machine - and because of that, what is the largest/longest quilt you can quilt? Oh, so many questions! Thanks in advance for answering! I'll be a follower, if for no other reason than to learn from your experience - I did enjoy the tour I took around your blog!

  5. Very interesting Rita,and yes I remember those Home Ec days well, actually was my favorite class . You have a busy life and I do enjoy visiting your blog :-)Keep up the great work.

  6. Great job on the first Friday Feature! Nice to meet a fellow Canadian quilter. Will now go and check out your blog.
    Thanks for sharing!

  7. thanks for introducing yourself Rita! Great job!:)

  8. It was interesting to read about where you live and what you do. Now I know where your email name comes from. I'm rather partial to small town living.

  9. I'm old enough to remember Home Ec, too. Loved the sewing part of it. Nice to meet you!

  10. hold on just a minute. I graduated in '88, and we had home ec. Did they drop it??

    got an A++ on my recipe box. rolf Flunked sewing though.

  11. I remember Home Ec in my school days. The teacher told my parents I would do a lot better if I listened to instructions! What the teacher didn't know is that I did listen but I liked my mom's way of sewing better than the teacher's way! :)

    Loved reading your post Rita. Great to be meeting more Canadian quilters.

  12. Cute chick. Well, both of you, of course. Sew nice to see you. This is great. Who knew Home Ec would have such an effect on our lives. In my case, the cooking part not so much as my family finally nixed Tuna Noodle Casserole! LOL The 'thou shalt NOT touch any of the settings' LAW has finally been laid to rest and I am a free and happy dial turner! Great first post!

  13. An absolute pleasure to meet you, Rita. Wonderful post - made me want to visit your little town.

  14. Hi Rita !

    Great job on the first feature posting. I, too, love the chicken :-) My Mum can put them to sleep !!!That is her one claim to fame, such as it is. I certainly remember Home Ec , even did it in Teachers' College. On the whole though, what I have learned, I have learned by doing, true of many of us, I expect. Now I am off to prove I am not a robot! That thing is maddeningly ridiculous. Where did it come from all of a sudden???

  15. I loved home ed but I had it in grades 6-8 not in high school. I thought the chicken was a nice touch. Do you have many?

  16. Hi Rita, Nice to meet you. Ah, home ec. That was the only sewing experience I had until I started quilting. We had it in gradesa 8 and 9. Cheers! Riel


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