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Amherst Canada 150 pattern grabs attention in quilting world

Beth Munroe of Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium holds up the Canada on the Go row that has helped gain exposure for Amherst and her store.
Beth Munroe of Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium holds up the Canada on the Go row that has helped gain exposure for Amherst and her store.

AMHERST – The theme of Canada 150 is “on the go” in Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium with a unique pattern grabbing widespread attention.

The Row by Row Experience is an opportunity for quilters to visit participating shops in Canada, the United States and Europe to collect their free unique pattern. The “row” is a nine by 36-inch patterned quilt that can then be placed as part of a larger quilt.
“Canada on the Go!” is the name of the emporium’s pattern, following this year’s theme of “on the go.”
Beth Munroe, owner of Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium downtown, hired internationally accomplished Amherst quilter Karen Neary to design the row.
“I just thought about it and thought about it,” said Neary. “All of a sudden, I look up in the night and I see it. It’s got the flying geese and the circular row down the banner.”
The modern and vibrant pattern includes multi-coloured arrows known as flying geese to quilters, a red maple leaf, the sesquicentennial logo, and the year 1867 and 2017 in bold red. There are also stitches resembling champagne bubbles.
It took a three-month process for her use of the Canada 150 sesquicentennial logo to be approved, with the licence granted in the name of Her Majesty the Queen.
Munroe says that quilting tourism is booming in her shop, with visitors coming for the row from across Canada, the U.S., and even as far as England and Switzerland.
“It actually is quite valuable for the community,” said Munroe. “It puts Mrs. Pugsley’s Emporium, but it also puts Amherst on a list – for if you’re coming to the area and want to know where the quilt shops are.”
With the dollar down, low price of gas, Canada 150 celebrations and online attention, things have aligned well for tourism in the quilting shop. Munroe plans on making a map showing where visitors have come from.
The Town of Amherst recognized Neary and Munroe’s work by displaying an image of the row on “Live. Work. Play.” banners throughout town, following collaboration between Munroe and town recreation director Bill Schurman.
“I said look, this exemplifies the ‘live work and play’ that the town had on its banner, and it exemplifies Canada 150,” said Munroe. “The people who are coming in, that’s their playtime. You think ‘play,’ you think sports, but really ‘play’ refers to any kind of hobby you have.”
“It’s been fabulous, I’m very honoured,” said Neary. “Very surprised, to be honest.”
The town recognition was the subject of a blog post by the Row by Row Experience which gained over 100,000 views.
The patterns will be available for free until Sept. 5 per contest rules, with kits also being sold. The pattern will return briefly on sale after Nov. 1, and after Dec. 31 the use of the sesquicentennial logo will expire – making the unique pattern available for a limited time only.
The shop is also participating in Row by Row Junior, which includes simple patterns only available for ages 6-14, allowing them a learning opportunity to sew.
This is the second year the quilting shop participated in the Row by Row Experience. Last year Neary designed a row depicting the historic clock tower building the Emporium is based in.

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