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2024 Winner Highlight: Kate’s Open Quilt Studio

Kate’s Open Quilt Studio in Shediac Bridge is our Regional Winner for New Brunswick, Canada!

Read on to learn more about a lovely shop whose owner said she would never be a quilter!

Please tell us your store’s story.

Owner, Kate O’Brien, said, “A quilt shop was not in the plans for my life.

I grew up in the quilting community and went to guild meetings with my mom as a toddler, playing on a quilt on the floor while she participated in meetings, classes, and workshops. I volunteered my time as a teen with guild quilt shows and events. Yet anytime someone asked me if I was going to be a quilter, I laughed and said, “Never”.

In 2018, after working 8 years in mental health and a mental health treatment center, I decided I needed a change. Kate’s Open Quilt Studio was born, plans were made, renovations to our 40’ x 40’ (welding) warehouse began and progressed.

Two months before we opened our doors, on the drive to BERNINA Canada Dealer training, I discovered I was pregnant… well past the time when we could have put a halt to this idea. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary and much has changed in that time.

We expanded to take up the whole warehouse, added a classroom that offered online and in person classes, hosted online and in person distancing classes during Covid and beyond, went online, and so much more.

At the time of this blogs’ posting, we will have just finished our Spring Retreat, where 70 wonderful ladies will have joined us for an amazing weekend getaway with free classes, demos, and lectures.

We were purposeful in how the Studio was built and what it offered. I’ve visited hundreds of quilt shops, following my mother across the country, the continent, and beyond finding quilt stores wherever we have gone. Our goal has always been to raise the skill level and education of the quilters in our community. Quilts are acts of love but they are also acts of artistic expression.”

— 2024 Contest Customer Comment —

“Kate and her staff always go above and beyond to make suggestions and help choose the best fabric for the project. They also have a good selection of classes and provide longarm quilting services.”


For those who have not seen the store, please describe it.

We carry continuous collection designers, Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink, and Tilda, with other collections from Northcott Fabrics. We wanted bright colors, timeless prints, and modern looks blended with quilting tradition to wow people as they walk in.

We are a small quilt shop, so everything we bring into the studio from notions to books and threads are chosen because they are useful tools to improve your quilting experience and develop and improve your skill set.

We offer some of the largest selections of Free Spirit Designer Tula Pink and Kaffe Fassett prints and solids east of Alberta (from what we can tell) and carry over 80 unique 108” backings.

We offer live online and in person classes from experienced teachers and a bounty of after class resources to help you master your new skills and techniques. Classes range from ByAnnie bag classes, to beginner quilting, to intermediate and advanced quilting skills. We also teach beginner embroidery and technique specific machine embroidery classes for all brands of machine.

— 2024 Contest Customer Comment —

“I love the huge variety and top quality classes and workshops that Kate offers. The instructors are very knowledgeable and there’s always fun to be had. And the best part, especially for me living in Eastern Ontario, is that the majority of them can be taken virtually. Kate has a fabulous virtual teaching setup in her classroom.”


We offer edge to edge longarming services, with nearly 650 design choices and an average of 65-80 different 108” backings, plus three different types of batting.

Kate said, “We are located just outside Shediac, the tourist town of New Brunswick. We have a single lane bridge where we take turns crossing. It’s a big small town, with jaywalking and letting people go as they drive through town, the only way to make traffic function. During the summer, Shediac comes to life with summer art festivals, music, and special events. It’s been my home for my entire life.

New Brunswick hosts the world’s highest tides and at Hopewell Rocks you can see what low tide and high tide can really mean! Shediac also has the warmest beaches north of North Carolina, which is always a treat to dip your toes into.

Shediac waterfront
Home of the world’s largest lobster!
Hopewell Rocks
Hopewell Rocks

— 2024 Contest Customer Comment —

Everyone at Kate’s makes visiting wonderful with their warm and personal service. They have unbeatable prices! I leave with everything I need for my quilting projects and even a few extra things that I didn’t know I needed!


Please tell us about any upcoming special events at your store.

In conclusion

When asked about the impact of the Local Quilt Shop Contest, Kate said, “We were beyond excited to discover that we were the winner of our local ByAnnie contest. Our 5th anniversary sale was March 5th and to have both these things announced so close together was amazing. While it’s only been a month since the announcement, people are reaching out to let us know they discovered us because of the contest and we could not be more excited about this. Thank you for all the hard work and effort you all put into hosting this contest each year!”

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