The Pumpkin Patch Story
My name is Beatrice Rieske, and I am a longarm quilter and pattern designer in Chilliwack, BC. I love playing with colours, textures and designs and believe that every quilt will “tell” you how it needs to be quilted, you just need to “listen”. This takes a little experience and practice, and many quilters don’t feel confident in making this decision on their own. If you feel you need a little help or encouragement, I would be happy to assist you.
I was born and grew up in Germany where I worked as a pharmacist and later on managed my husband’s law office. We moved to Canada in 2013 where I started working at the local quilt shop. I love creating things, and crafts have always been part of my life.
I was knitting in the 1980s along with everybody else and moved on to embroidery in the 1990s until I came across a book on patchwork and quilts in 1998.
I could barely sew at the time and had no idea how to use a sewing machine but was very intrigued by the possibilities. I enlisted my mother’s help who has always been an avid seamstress but had never heard of quilting before. (This might seem strange but duvets are used for bedding in Germany, and the word “quilt” is virtually unknown, most people think of “kilts” when they hear the word.) My mother read the book and declared it manageable, then let me borrow her sewing machine and taught me the basics.
And I was hooked. I drafted my first pattern, bought some basic materials and fabrics and made my first quilt, a gift for my best friend who was expecting a baby at the time. For my next birthday my parents gave me my own sewing machine. I traded it in a few years later for a fancier, computerized model and tried pretty much every technique that I happened to read about.
I pieced by hand and by machine, I ventured into paper piecing and English paper piecing, I appliquéd both by hand and machine, trying various techniques, I started using all kinds of embellishments, worked with wool and lace, organza and tulle, got sidetracked into garment construction and tailoring for a while, and then finally found my way back to quilting.
And as much as I love all the aspects of making a quilt, I love free motion quilting the most. I believe that quilting makes the quilt and I always try to come up with creative custom designs for my quilts. I have pushed many, many quilts under my domestic sewing machine for years and it was probably inevitable that at some point I would end up with a longarm machine. I am now a proud owner of an APQS Millie which makes the quilting process so much easier and even more fun!
It was a book on patchwork that got me started but I drafted my own patterns from the very first quilt I made. I had seen a design that I liked but it was just a picture, I didn’t have a pattern or instructions. So I started drawing on graph paper and figured out the math myself with the help of that first patchwork book. It never occurred to me to just make a quilt from the book first and then maybe draw my own design later. I have bought patterns in the meantime but I rarely read the instructions.
In 2000, I bought Electric Quilt Software, and that was another milestone for me. I haven’t made a quilt without it ever since. In 2003, after dealing with a particularly poorly written pattern, I decided this could be done better and started to write instructions for my own designs. I try to write as detailed as possible with many pictures, striving to accommodate all skill levels. The name “Pumpkin Patch Patterns” just popped into my head one day, and I liked the alliteration and also the play on words with pumpkin patch/patch(work) patterns. I even drew the logo back then. When I finally decided to start my own business there was no doubt about what it would be called.
The pattern part of the website isn’t quite ready yet, so be sure to check back later. The patterns will be available in English and German and also in imperial and metric. For now, the plan is to make them available as downloadable PDF files.
Here is a small selection of the quilts that I have made over the years. Click on the images for a larger view.