Aurifil 2019 May Designer of the Month Andrea Tsang Jackson

I’m Designer, Author, an your host for this program, Pat Sloan.  

This year we challenged each designer to create a block inspired by ‘A tradition’ and I asked them to use  red & white fabrics  with just a splash of a color of their choice.

Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd Story Workshop is a very thoughtful and exciting designer. She has run projects that bring communities together, hosted sew alongs, and creates amazing quilt designs.

I chatted with Andrea HERE and  Take a listen HERE   

Visit Andra at

Missed a month? CLICK FOR PRIOR DESIGNER interviews

Remember we have a Challenge portion of our Designer of the Month interview. Each month we select one random winner to receive a 12 LARGE spool BOX of Aurifil thread for just making the challenge block and sharing it! Details at the end plus last month’s winner!

Let’s get to know Andrea!

* Our Song, Your Reflection Photo by Deborah Wong


Where do you live and what is your favorite spot there?

I live on the East Coast of Canada in the biggest urban centre there — Halifax, Nova Scotia. There is a lot of history and tradition in this region of the indigenous Mi’kmaq people, the Gaelic culture, African Nova Scotians and French Acadian people. I think that turning toward the future while not forgetting the past is something that leads me to this spot in the city. I saw many drawings of this building at the architecture office I used to work at, but I only recently saw it in real life. It’s a new pedestrian street at one of the universities in town. It speaks to my penchant towards modern and the possibility of the future.

Striped Scallops pattern shown in photo:

When was your FIRST quilt sighting?

Idon’t remember the first quilt that I ever saw. The art and craft of quilting didn’t fully draw me in until I got a glimpse of modern quilts. And I had even already made two quilts at the point! Crow Quills Analog was the second quilt that I made. I designed it when I was pregnant with my second child. I discovered solid fabrics and felt like maybe I had a voice in quilting that could be my own. After that I stumbled upon the Modern Quilt Guild and saw a quilt by Suzy Williams and another by Arianna Caggiano and thought, maybe this is where I belong.


Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in making

I think that there is something in me that knows that I can make anything — absolutely anything — that I can imagine. This idea got internalized at some point during my time at architecture school. What the human mind can dream up can become a reality. This isn’t just an idea for me as an artist or designer; it can be true for anyone.

If you have enough money, time, design expertise (or can hire design expertise) — it can be done; it can be figured out. There is no limit to the human mind. Realizing that is really empowering and made me realize that I have the agency to create anything, to design and build the world that I want to see. This can be a simple quilt block, a room full of quilts, or even a room made of quilts.

Everyone’s Got An X  Photo by Deborah Wong

Do you have a favorite quilt you made or a technique that you do?

There are a lot of things that I love about The Here & Elsewhere Bee which was the output of an artist residency in 2017. Each of the 1,197 quilt blocks was completed by a visitor to the Canadian Museum of Immigration, representing each’s immigration narrative. They are grouped by thematic “trees” — family, love, freedom, culture, hopes, work, and journeys. The overall organization illustrates how, although our stories are unique, strong threads entwine them together.

The idea that this quilt is made of stories really resonates with me and gives it so much meaning. I think of stories as part of my raw materials — along with colour, thread, fabric — they are essential to what I make.

What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?

My studio is in my attic (hence the name 3rd Story Workshop). It’s very small and I share it with out-of-season clothes and hand-me-downs. But it is my own space that I retreat to for a bit of quiet and away from the computer. Even if I spend 15 minutes there making something small, I feel like my day has gone a bit better. I would like to eventually have more built-in storage someday, but that will have to wait.

What’s coming up?

I have a new book coming out in the summer called Patchwork Lab: Gemology. When I first started quilting more seriously three-and-a-half years ago, I made a serious of birthstone wall hangings and pillows. It was so interesting to me to render such a hard material in the softness of textiles. The geometry of the facets also really appealed to me. Patchwork Lab: Gemology is for other quilters to be able to make these themselves. It offers nine paper pieced gemstone cuts in four different sizes. The templates are graded so that you can size them up or down with ease.

Do you have a great tip?

When trimming a 1/4” away from a seam, line up the seams of several blocks along a gridline on your cutting mat. Carefully place your ruler on top of them and cut them all in one fell swoop. This is a helpful tip for the Ruby Red blocks.

What’s on your playlist?

I really enjoy listening to podcasts. I never miss an episode of 99% Invisible, which tells stories of how our world is designed and why it is the way it is — from war memorials to how trash sorted and removed. Another great one that my kids (and I) love listening to is Wow in the World – a couple of quirky characters tell the stories of new scientific discoveries in an entertaining and fun way.

Favorite Snack Food?

Potato chips, hands down. I could talk at length about my favourite flavours and brands of chips, their merits and my disdain for BBQ chips.

Favorite place to take out of town guests?

Peggy’s Cove is a landmark a short drive away from Halifax. Climbing rocks, the vastness of the ocean, the iconic red and white lighthouse — these are the simple experiences at Peggy’s Cove that make you sense the wonder around you.

About your block – What Tradition are you celebrating?

I am the daughter of Chinese immigrants to Canada. Some of the most valuable items in our family are small items that could be easily transported on an airplane across

the Pacific. This is a common immigrant practice in many cultures – because jewelry has no currency attached to it, it is a way to bring high-value items to a new country. There are stories of women stitching jewels and jewelry into the hems of their dresses for safekeeping during travel.

Back in Hong Kong, my grandmother often designed her own jewelry and had it made by her favourite local jewelers. These items hold meaning for me, not in their monetary value, but for the hand that she had in creating them.

The Ruby Red block features these simple gemstone shapes. The shapes are featured in my book, Patchwork Lab: Gemology but only as quick raw-edge appliqué colour studies. Here though, we piece them in a dynamic arrangement of three.

Red being the luckiest colour in Chinese culture, it seems fitting that this block features rubies. But feel free to try it in any colours that you have on hand! Ruby Red uses a few scraps in five different tones which gives a three-dimensional effect of gemstones gleaming in the light. I hope you enjoy making it.


DOWNLOAD Andrea’s Ruby Red pattern


Photo by Emma Poliquin

Visit Andrea at:


Each year I make the Aurifil blocks in a totally different set of fabrics. This is my group for the year.

Pat’s TIPS – CLICK TO MY Website to see All my Blocks together

Pat sloan thread kitEnter your block BELOW by June 15, 2019 to be in the running to win a BOX of Aurifil

This is SUPER EASY to enter all you have to do is make ONE BLOCK.

And  JOIN my fantastic online quilt group with the most incredible  quilt show each day… I’d love to meet you!

1 Watermak-Needle-Black

******* JOIN our Aurifil Family  *******

EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! Winners are all contacted email

Our RANDOM picker selected Camelia’s block! you’ve been emailed

CLICK to see all the great versions for last month HERE

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