Archive for the ‘On The Road Again…’ Category

It Has Been Awhile….

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks

My it has been some time since I have posted a blog but I am determined to get back to posting frequently this year. So much has happened since last year and keeping up with it all was not possible. That meant somethings were put on the back burner and I am afraid regular blogging was one of them.

Let’s see….

I wrote two books, one of which is the 50 Little Paper-Pieced Blocks shown above. I designed the blocks in this book to go with the Carol Doak Keepsake Cards.

The other book is in production…I can’t tell you about it yet, but as soon as I can, I will be sharing lots here about it. It is paper piecing but an entirely new and exciting avenue for this wonderful method.

I moved. Not an easy task moving the studio, office and house…We moved to a smaller house on a lovely lake. Living on a lake has been a life-long dream and I am loving it. Last summer, when I would get tired and warm working on the quilts and blocks for the new book, I would just jump in my bathing suit and go off or a swim.

We having been doing lots of updating to the house. One update included teaching guys who were putting in the new walk, how to create a 9-Patch star.

Our first grandson arrived on the scene….my oh my…he is perfect..

A couple of years ago I made the decision to cut back severely on all the travel/teaching I had been doing for years. I just wasn’t bouncing back from the rigors of my trips and I wanted to spend more time with my family.

I still plan to stay involved in the quilt world, write the books,  create new designs and travel on a very limited basis. This year I have four trips planned. I have already taken the first trip to teach for a week at the Road to California. It was a super trip and reminded me how much I do love what I do.

I am heading off next to Dubai to teach at the Dubai International Quilt show. I know this trip will be exciting and a wonderful experience teaching there. I am sure I will have lots to share when I return.

Until next time…may all your points be perfect.

All the best,


What Happens in Vegas……Is Just Plain Fun!

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

At the beginning of the month, I had the opportunity to go to Las Vegas to lecture and teach workshops for the Desert Quilters of Nevada. It was a fun-filled three days and I would encourage anyone in the area to take advantage of this wonderful quilt guild. I am sure they will greet you with open arms and their members will inspire and encourage you. I was really impressed to see all that they accomplish.

After teaching for the guild, I began a couple of days of teaching at Quiltique…a wonderful shop in the area. Jan, above is showing off a bra that was made for the Breast Cancer project featuring my free block design. Who would of thought?

The event was held in the shop and you can see they went all out for it.

If you are anywhere near Henderson, NV, don’t miss stopping by this gorgeous shop. The people who run it are pretty gorgeous as well, both inside and out.

The first day I taught the Bright Stars class from the Simply Sensational 9-Patch Stars book. Sandy is really pleased with her progress….where is that corner block Sandy?

The second day I taught the Sunrise quilt from the Mariner`s Compass Stars book.  OK, so where is that missing piece? Seems to be a theme here in the Las Vegas area….but I am not telling.

And as if spending several days with wonderful quilters, teaching in a gorgeous shop and classroom was not enough…I had the chance to see Phantom of the Opera at the Venetian. I can’t say enough about how fabulous it was!

I came home with lots of great memories and unfortunately because it happened in Las Vegas….mums the word.

All the best,


To Ireland With Love….

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Wendy's Fabric Matters Quilt Shop Dublin

On October 1st, I set off with a group of quilters from around the United States to help lead a week-long trip to Ireland. We all met for the the first time in the gate area at JFK and quickly found it was easy to get to know each other. Upon landing in Dublin and gathering our luggage, we were met with our guide, Eunan and our the McCall’s Tour Guide, Steve Grace. Steve, knows how to plan a trip for quilters. Our first stop was at a quaint quilt shop in Dublin, where Wendy welcomed us to her Log Cabin shop and treated us to tea and goodies.

3" squares printed on fabric

Right away I spotted some charming fabrics that would be perfect for the new Carol Doak Keepsake Cards. These had to come home with me.

Brazenhead for lunch

Having worked up an appetite we were off to the oldest pub in Dublin for a fabulous lunch.

The Book of Kells

The rain did not dampen our spirits as we headed next to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. The images here were amazing and the artwork and detail astonishing….but it was the library with the volumes of books ranging from the floor to two floors up that was difficult to comprehend.

Lace Museum

On day 2 we headed toward Northern Ireland stopping at the Sheelin Antique Lace Museum along the way. You have to appreciate all the work that goes into the intricate lace items.


Having worked up an appetite, we stopped at the tea shop next to the lace museum for a few sweets.

LOL, better not give up my day job.

So green

As we drove through the countryside, the sites were just amazing and the shades of vivid greens gorgeous.

Typical Home

The typical Irish home was sparse and heated with peat back in the day.

Next we heaaded to the Ulster American Folk Park. The visit here was so really amazing. First, we saw how life was for the Irish people and how many people died in the great potato famine. There was also an exhibit of needlework on display.

Steve Grace and Carol

But learning of their hardships and exactly what it was like to be aboard one of these ships coming to the US for a better life was truly touching. I can’t even imagine…

The Mission Quilts in Derry

We arrived in Derry and went by The Mission Quilts in Derry. Margaret Lee and everyone made us feel so welcome in this charming shop.

Show and Tell

Sandra Montgomery treated us to a Show and Tell of several of her lovely quilts and shared stories about making them. The treats were delightful as were the friendships.

Isn’t it just amazing how quilters connect almost immediately. Sandra and I had a chance to chat and I could see so much of myself in her when I first ventured down the quilting road.

The next day we were off to County Donegal where we were treated to several weaving demonstrations. Can’t even image how they keep that all straight!

At Triona, we not only saw a weaving demonstration (and purchased sweaters and beautiful woven jackets), we were treated to the most yummy Irish Coffee!

This weaver, Eddie Doherty of Ardara,  made gorgeous pieces.

As we traveled we were treated to many rainbows!

We traveled the Antrim Coast and saw the Dunluce Castle…

We saw (and some crossed) the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge

The formations at the Giant’s Causeway were really interesting.

As we headed back to our hotel in Derry, we were driven by the murals in Derry that depicted the troubles in Northern Ireland. This one was particularly touching because it is of a young girl who was killed in the crossfire on her way to school. Our guide gave us all such a better understanding of the trouble that had existed and the great strides being made to have peace.

We were all strangers when we embarked on this trip, but we quickly became friends. Here are some of us out to dinner and having fun.

That night, our group was visited by a group of quilters from the Irish Patchworking Society. We gathered around in a circle of chairs and shared quilts and quilt stories. It was  lovely evening.

The next day we were invited to a meeting of a group of American woman living in Ireland. The speaker was Sherry Nugent, Editor-in-Chief of Irish Quilting Magazine. The quilt above from the magazine was displayed. It means “One Hundred Thousand Welcomes”.

Avoca was are next stop. It is the oldest weaving mill in Ireland, 1723. Here are the threads used to make this…

And this…Aren’t the colors gorgeous?

Then we were off to Ballyknocken House and Cookery School for scone-making classes…of course we got to eat our scones too!

Even Eunan and Steve got into the scones and tea. I just have to say, that Eunan, our Irish guide added so much depth and enjoyment to this trip, by sharing the culture and history of Ireland with us. He also shared lots of fun with us too. And Steve, he not only created an amazing trip, kept us on track and delighted us all.

We came to this beautiful country, saw its sights, met its friendly and fun people, learned of the struggles past and of the positive impact many Irish immigrants made on the United States. On our last evening in Dublin, we sang the Irish Folk songs and watched them dance and came home with such fond memories of our friendships.

All the best,


The 50th State Visit – Yeah!!!

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010


Way back when I was working on the 50 Fabulous Paper-Pieced Stars book, I took stock of how many states I had traveled to in order to teach and lecture. In realizing that there were just a handful of states where I had not yet taught, I was inspired to name each of the blocks in that book for the quilters in each state. My last trip completed the cycle with my first visit to the state of Delaware to teach. It is ironic that Delaware was actually the first state and for me it was my last state.

Donna and Mindy aka Laverne and Shirley...

My first visit to Delaware was absolutely a blast and I can probably attribute that fact to the two people shown above. Donna and Mindy were “in charge” . OK, so maybe they weren’t really in charge…they met me at the airport and the first thing they let me know is that they had never done this before…lol…They were simply perfect, lots of fun and I nicknamed them Laverne and Shirley. Some trips are just more fun than others and these too made this trip a real hoot. It is good to laugh…

Joan and I at the Quilter's Hive

I taught my Delaware class at a really lovely quilt shop called the Quilter’s Hive in Newark, DE. Joan and Linda were such wonderful hosts and a joy to meet.

Fire and Ice block underway

I taught the Fire and Ice quilt from the Mariner’s Compass Stars book.

Happy Students!!That is what I like to see….a room full of happy students.

Stars from 50 Fabulous PP Stars

At lunch time we had a bit of show and tell…Wonderful quilt shared by one of the students!

Guild Meeting

That night at the Lady Bug Quilt Guild meeting, students share the beginnngs of their quilts.

Calico and Cotton in Ocean City, NJ

Now, from Delaware I was off to teach for the South Shore Quilters in New Jersey. Jane Pszolkowski was my hostess and forced me to shop at this lovely quilt shop in Ocean City. She also twisted my arm and made me buy those fabrics on the counter. I tried to resist…not.


I had a super time with the South Shore Quilters during the next couple of days. I taught the New Jersey Star and the Perfect Points class. I am not sure why I didn’t snap any pictures during the classes. Guess I was just too busy playing, but that morning we stopped at WaWa to pick up something for lunch…the number of coffee pots blew me away so I just had to take a picture… anyone?

Many thanks to Donna, Mindy, Jane and all the quilters in Delaware and New Jersey for making my time with you all such a pleasure.
All the best,


Sew Many Surprises in Vermont

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

The view from the Strong House Inn

I had this date to host a Quilting Retreat on my calendar for some time. It was to be at the Strong House Inn in Vergennes, VT. Since I live in NH, I thought, this will be very familiar and fun. Well….I started off on Friday afternoon to drive to Vergennes. Since I typically fly to most of my teaching venues, I was looking forward to the relaxing ride. Rather than take the interstate, I thought I would let my GPS lead me through the country roads to Vergennes….first surprize…I was up the mountain, down the mountain, into little towns, pretty rivers, mountain gaps, winding roads and 25 miles per hour speed limits. I was going to meander whether I wanted to or not. When I arrived at the Strong House Inn perched on the hill, it was lovely. The view from the side yard was stunning.

Teaching space

The old Vermont Home was lovely with lots of updates to make it very comfortable. The teaching space in the back was generous and well lit. Mary and Hugh met me and quickly made me feel at home.

Some students had already arrived and were setting up their area in the teaching space. Next surprise…we had students from lots of different places, Indiana, Maine, Pennsylvania, Long Island, Martha’s Vineyard, Maryland and Massachusetts.

I presented an impromptu lecture after dinner and everyone headed to bed in their beautiful bedrooms.


Everyone gathered in the dining room for a wonderful breakfast before class.  I could smell the bacon cooking in the morning!

I was teaching the Fire and Ice class from the Mariner’s Compass Stars book. After a short introduction and demonstration, everyone was off and running. The blocks were coming fast and furious!

Pam had our first birth!

Here comes the “Show and Tell” of blocks

Love those colors!

These are so soft!!

Think we caught this mid giggle…there was a bit of a sparkle to this block.

I think we are really happy!!!

Loved this color combination.

This block is perfect for these colors.

Carmen used a lovely Japanese collection of fabrics.

Our Indiana gals were working on Quilts of Valor

Cathy seemed happy with her block.

Jennifer from Maine is a happy camper.As the students worked, the chatter began. It was clear to me we were becoming a group. By the time we broke for lunch, we already had lots in common.

The students returned to the classroom and continued to work on the remainder of their quilts. Some students took time out for a relaxing walk and a few zoomed out to the local quilt shop.

The table was beautifully set by Mary with lots of wonderful goodies to go with our tea.

It was so nice to take the little break and relax and catch up.

The students went back to sewing for a few hours and then it was time to come out and have a few nibbles and wine before dinner….I’m telling you…I could get used to this life!

Some students relaxed and others continued to sew on their projects. By Sunday morning, we could see the tops begin to emerge.

Cathy was first to finish her top!

Everyone was really pleased with all they had learned and were able to accomplish.

Our Vermont Group

However it was really apparent to everyone in the group that although most of us did not know each other ahead of time, we had come together over the weekend as a group. Some came with a friend or friends, some came alone and some came to meet a friend and in the end, we all left as friends. I think that is what we all treasure as quilters…we come together because of he quilts, but we stay because of the quilters we meet.

It is a wrap!

We began talking about the next retreat! So, although I am not going to travel and teach next year except for some major events, I decided this event was a must do again.

Mark your calendars because the next year’s retreat will be even more fun because it will be longer. It  will begin on June 12 (Sunday arrival date) and run through June 17th (Friday departure date)2011. You can sew and play from Monday through Thursday! I can’t wait to go back!!!  I will put the information about next year’s retreat on my Teaching Schedule. There is also lots to do in the area…Shelburne Museum, Vermont Teddy Bear, etc.

Until next time,


Finally….A Castle!

Monday, March 15th, 2010

The Castle

I just returned from a wonderful week-long teaching trip to Temecula and Fallbrook, California. First of all it was nice to get away from the New England weather for a bit and I had some fun surprises along the way. One surprise was the fun of staying at The Castle, in Temecula. Now, some of you may know that I have been dubbed the “Queen of Paper Piecing” so finally staying in a castle type building was so much fun. First, Suzanne, the inn keeper is a quilter! She and Victor make everyone very comfortable.

The grand staircase

I was lead up the grand staircase to my room. There are lots and lots of rooms. You see, Suzanne also puts on Quilters weekends and retreats.

Straw ceiling

I was there several days before I looked up and saw the straw ceiling.

The lock for my room....I was safe!

Although it took a bit of instruction how to unlock my room…it was fun.

Everything was huge!

I taught two days of classes for the Valley of the Mist Quilt Guild in the sewing room that adjoined the castle and then we would all come out for lunch around noon time.

If you are ever in the area, it is a fun place to stay. You can contact Suzanne with an inquiries at

My Fallbrook view...

However, I guess I am getting a bit ahead of myself. Before I went to Temecula, I was in Fallbrook for the Fallbrook Quilt Guild. I am always constantly amazed at the home that hang off the edge of the hills. On this trip, I was at the top of the hill and so on the edge. I survived though and actually began to enjoy living on the edge.

Visions outing

I did have a down day where I had the opportunity to connect with some friends and visit Visions….love those “me” days!

Show and Tell at the Valley of the Mist Quilt Guild in Temecula

Oh yeah…I was there to lecture and teach. Here are some happy students showing of their Sunrise projects!

This one is even quilted...what no binding?

Until next time…..


Let Me Show You How to Paper Piece

Saturday, January 23rd, 2010

The Quilt Show

My show is now appearing at The Quilt Show. If you have never seen me demonstrate how to paper foundation piece, next week is your lucky week.   The Quilt Show has made it possible for you to watch my show for FREE next week!

The Link to watch TQS Episode 602 for Carol Doak available from January 25th through January 31st:

The Quilt Show does such a super job presenting programs that allow quilters all over the world to watch when they want to watch them.

If you find you are loving it, there is a second opportunity.

There is a “Redeem Gift Certificate” button at the top of the page when your go to watch your show.  To receive $10 off the price of a 1 year TQS Membership, you must use Coupon Number #112284836207 when redeeming this gift certificate.

I actually traveled to LaVeta, Colorado last March to film this segment. I have known Ricky and Alex for many years so it was fun to share the day with them. I shared how I paper piece Mariner’s Compass Star blocks. I also shared some tips and tricks along the way. Alex and I also had a bit of fun.

Mariner's Compass Stars Bundle

In honor of the airing of this segment, I have bundled the Mariner`s Compass Stars book, Carol Doak Foundation Paper and the 12″ Add-A-Quarter ruler in a reduced bundled package at my web store.

I didn’t want you to miss out on this opportunity.

After you watch the show, let me know what you think about the show and this format of learning quilting techniques online.

All the best,


Cruising Along And Quilting

Friday, October 2nd, 2009
Royal Caribbean Voyager Ship

Royal Caribbean Voyager Ship

I am sooooo excited to announce my next cruise which will be March 6-13, 2011 to Honduras/Beliz/Cozumel on the Royal Caribbean Voyager Ship leaving out of Galveston, TX. I will not be traveling to teach during the 2011 year, but this offer was just too wonderful to pass up.

Although I announced this trip in my latest newsletter and to my Carol Doak Yahoo Group, I thought it would be fun to discuss what it is like to go on a quilting cruise. I am often asked about what it is like to go on a quilting cruise when I travel to teach.  I have done several and although the exact format depends upon the group organizing the cruise there are common aspects.

The entire ship is not full of quilting cruisers. The number of quilters in the group range from approximately 50 to 250. Sometimes, it is the quilter and a friend, or a husband or a family member. The classes are typically held only on the days at sea, so the days in port and the evenings are always available to be spent with your traveling companion. Quilters also come on the trip without companions and the organizers can often match you up with another single traveler to share a room.

What makes the quilting cruises fun is that you will be part of a group. Typically there is some sort of a meet and greet event and depending up the ship and group the dinner meal has the group all eating in one area of the dining area. So although you may go your separate ways on the days in port, you will meet up again at dinner time. This can be pretty flexible. The dinner clothing often scares people away from cruising. This has really relaxed quite a bit over the years. Most nights it is “smart casual” which just means show up in something respectable such as slacks and a blouse. On the formal nights (typically 2 nights), that means a cocktail dress or something a little dressier than smart casual. If you wore a black skirt and shell, that would be fine. As I wrote before, it has really relaxed in recent years.

As for the classes, there are conference style rooms on the larger ships and this is typically where classes are held. On some cruises, handwork classes with fewer students might be held in a stateroom.

Some of the cruises do supply sewing machines (typically supplied by a shop) for the cruise. This cruise will supply sewing machines. This eliminates you having to bring a machine. This has been the case on all the cruises that I have taught on. Some have kits available for purchase. This cruise will have a kit available for the classes.

On your down time on ship you can take advantage of all the ship has to offer such as the evening entertainment, the spa, the pool, the library, the casino, the shops, and the list goes on and on.


I had actually never been on a cruise prior to teaching on my first Caribbean Cruise and I discovered I loved it! First, the ships are large and you really don’t feel like you are on a ship. Except, having your morning cup of coffee on the a chair sitting out on the deck looking at the beautiful blue water and the sun rising is so relaxing. The food is fabulous…trust me…the food is fabulous…And you become part of a wonderful group of quilters that gets to play together for a full week! How much you connect with the others in the group is purely up to you. I found that I loved getting to know the others on the cruise and sometimes we made plans to go together on shore excursions.

The route

The route

Deciding where the ship is going and when is also a factor. I live in NH so going on a March cruise where the weather will be warm is a real plus for me. Also, as soon as I heard this cruise was going to Belize, I was in! I have wanted to travel there for several years. Leaving out of Galveston makes it an easy port to get to and that is another plus.

If you want to read more about the details of this particular cruise, just click on this link and tell them Carol sent you…we will leave the light on.

If you have a specific question that I have not answered, please feel free to email me at or post a comment here.

Hope to meet some of you on the high seas!


The Oregon Trail

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009
Quilts at Homestead Quilts

Quilts at Homestead Quilts

OK, so I admit that my Oregon Trail might be slightly different, but when I had the pleasure of traveling to Oregon to teach and lecture for three guilds, it was fun to stop at several quilt shops along the way. After the workshop in Sunriver, Oregon, we stopped at  Homestead Quilts in LaPine, OR. It  is a charming shop.

Just popped in to say "hi"!

Just popped in to say "hi"!

Cathy Buono, the owner, was very gracious and we caused just a bit of a stir when we popped in to say hi. Several customers and staff were there just having fun, so we posed for a photo op!

Honestly...I tried to be serious....

Honestly...I tried to be serious....

We laughed and we giggled and I really tried to be serious before this picture was taken…not.

Sew Many Quilts, Bend, OR

Sew Many Quilts, Bend, OR

After the workshop in Bend, we were off to Sew Many Quilts. One is never too tired to stop at another shop. As soon as you walk in the shop, the high dramatic ceilings grab your attention.

Charming areas at Sew Many Quilts

Charming areas at Sew Many Quilts

It is a large shop filled with little nooks and crannies of areas set up with quilts and fabrics. What more could a girl want?

Tater Patch in Merrill, OR

Tater Patch in Merrill, OR

Having completed my events in Sunriver and Bend, we were off to meet up with the next group at a half-way point…which just happened to be the most charming shop in Merrill, OR. This is definitely a friendly down home quilt shop that is worth the effort to get there.

Tater Patch Quilts

Tater Patch Quilts

When you walk into a new quilt shop, you want to feel welcome and I certainly felt very welcome in each of these shops. If you are in the area, they all are worth the effort to stop by….tell, them Carol sent you…lol

Gerri putting on the triangles...

Gerri putting on the triangles...

I was here to teach and lecture so I guess I should include some of those fun pictures. Here Gerri is putting on the triangles on her France block from the Mariner’s Compass Stars book.

Contemplating a border

Contemplating a border

Having completed her center, this student is contemplating that to die for border fabric!

Cover Quilt

Cover Quilt

I always enjoy seeing how others complete my patterns. Here is the cover quilt from my book, Easy Machine Paper Piecing, beautifully done in several colors.

I returned home with very fond memories of my trip along my Oregon Trail.

All the best,


What a Bunch of Bull!

Friday, August 28th, 2009
I'm easily impressed!

I'm easily impressed!

OK, so I just returned from a lovely trip to the hill country of Texas and ran across this bull….Thought the title of this blog would grab you.

Downtown Fredricksburg

Downtown Fredricksburg

My first stop on this trip was to a lovely town called Fredericksburg. It is about 1 1/2 hours west of Austin and everything about this town is charming. The Main Street is lovely with lots of beautiful old buildings and interesting shops.

A happy student

A happy student

My first class was the Perfect Points class from 300 Paper-Pieced Quilt Blocks. Here we have one happy student.

Time to rip!

Time to rip!

This student is smiling even if she is doing the frog stitch!

Look at those perfect points!

Look at those perfect points!

Gotta love those perfect points!

She is hooked!

She is hooked!

Ok, one block done and cutting to makes lots more! I would say she is hooked!

San Antonio Shoes!

San Antonio Shoes!

I love my San Antonio shoes! Sharon Ashby of the Hill Country Quilt Guild brought me to San Antonio so we could visit the factory store…gotta love a gal who knows how to shop!

Quilt on the wall at SAS

Quilt on the wall at SAS

We even found a quilt on the wall inside the store. If they  like quilts, they are good in my book.

Creations Quilt Shop in Kerrville

Creations Quilt Shop in Kerrville

After one of the workshops, we were off to have the much talked about quilt shop, Creations. Oh wow and wow is all I can say. It is a fabulous shop with lots of rooms each having their own theme…this is a definite stop by if you are within a 100 miles! If you are not close by, you can always visit their web site:

Until next time….