At Cactus Quilt Shop in Tuscon, Arizona, cactus plants bloom all year long.  No–not Thanksgiving cactus.  We’ll discuss them in a bit.  Let’s talk to this gal first and learn about her cactus.
cactus quilt shop tucson azMeet Nancy Landon, owner of Cactus Quilt Shop in Tucson, Arizona, holding her 2015 row.

This was Arizona’s first year to participate in Row by Row Experience.  It was a first for Cactus Quilt Shop too.  But owner Nancy has been designing quilt patterns for many years so creating a stunning row came easily to her.  Blooming cactus plants and Southwestern motifs inspire her designs.  It was natural for her to include them in her shop’s pattern for Row by Row H2O.

“Sew…what happens to the desert when it gets water?  It blooms!  With gorgeous wildflowers and cactus blossoms,” wrote Nancy on the instructions for her row.


Here’s how she made her cactus bloom:

Fusible was applied to the back of green batik.  Cactus shapes were cut out and arranged on the background.

Colorful batik circles were cut and folded in half, then in thirds to create the blossoms.  These colorful circles did not have fusible on back.



The blossoms were tucked under the cactus shapes.

Once arranged, the entire composition was pressed with a hot iron.  This fused the green parts down and trapped the blossoms in place.

The blossom edges were left raw creating a three dimensional effect.



The green cactus shapes were appliqued down by machine using a blanket stitch.





Close up of machine applique around the green cactus shapes showing how blossoms are stitched down at the same time.

Colorful blossom edges were left free to “bloom.”cactus quilt shop tucson az june 19rowonly


Now…about that Thanksgiving cactus…

The cactus that Nancy created is from the cactus family of succulent plants (Cactaceae).  They have thick, fleshy stems and branches with scales or spines instead leaves.  They are native to desert regions of the Americas.

IMG_1635Thanksgiving cactus and Christmas cactus are members of the leaf cacti family.  They are native to the rain forests of Brazil where they grow in the crotches of tree branches.  They were discovered over 300 years ago by Spanish explorers who brought them back to Europe.  Monks cared for the tropical cacti in monasteries.  They were delighted when brilliant blooms appeared at Christmas time and used them to decorate their chapels. Hence, the popular tradition of blooming holiday cacti continues today.

Picture1Do you know how to tell the difference between a Thanksgiving cactus and a Christmas cactus?
Look at their leaves.  Thanksgiving cactus is pointy and Christmas cactus is rounded.  What kind do you have?

Back to Nancy and Cactus Quilt Shop…357707
We mentioned earlier that Nancy has been designing quilt patterns for many years.  Her collection of 16 signature patterns is designed under the name Cactus Cat.
Hmm…could that mean Nancy is a cat lover?  Sure does! Even her shop logo has a cat in it.  There’s a special place in her shop called the “Kitty Corner” too.3017583_orig

When asked what she has in mind for her 2016 Home Sweet Home row, Nancy pointed us to her original pattern from the Cactus Cat series called Happy Trails–A Southwest Row by Row Quilt.

Nancy designed this pattern over ten years ago, long before Row by Row Experience existed.  It contains a row of adobe style buildings.  Could this be Cactus Quilt Shop’s 2016 row?  We will have to wait and see.

See all of Nancy’s Cactus Cat patterns here.

cactus quilt shop tuscon

Nancy and her husband David welcome you to their shop in Tucson.

Find Cactus Quilt Shop website here.

Find travel instructions here.

Current newsletter and row pattern availability here.

Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your story with us.

bobbin looking leftBe well.  Row happy.  Stay in touch.