Menu Close

Watergirl Quilt Co. in Prescott, Ontario, is our Grand Prize Winner for Canada!

Thanks to their perseverance, this shop not only survived Covid-19 closures, but has really grown and thrived! Read on to learn more about their amazing story — and their latest expansion!

Please tell us your store’s story.

Michelle Peters, the owner of Watergirl Quilt Co., had spent years as a quilter and an elementary school teacher and had been disappointed that she couldn’t participate in quilt classes because they were usually during the weekdays — and online options just weren’t very plentiful. 

She dreamed of creating a quilt shop that was an inclusive and accessible community —
where learning opportunities would be both virtual and in-person — and offered on weekends, too. 

Michelle with her quilt technique sampler
Tony, also known as Mr. Watergirl

Michelle understood the value of having an e-commerce site as she herself had little time to travel to quilt shops with her busy work schedule. 

In December 2019, Michelle’s husband Tony convinced her to leave her teaching career, even though retirement was only 9 years away. 

He felt it was important to follow this passion and see what she could create.

So on December 23, 2019, Michelle left her teaching career and was excited to have a deal in place to purchase an existing local quilt shop with a move-in date of April 2020.

And then the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

In March of 2020, all of Canada was in a stay at home order and non-essential retailers were ordered to be closed. 

The bank pulled out of financing the purchase and the dream seemed to be crushed.

But Michelle, with Tony’s support, brought fabric and notions to their home, created a website, and launched their website in April 2020. 

Alison Glass fabric
Michelle at the shop’s first location

Word of mouth spread and her daily Facebook live videos gathered a lot of momentum and followers. 

To this day, those 9am videos are still Michelle’s favorite part of her work day. 

In July 2020, Watergirl Quilt Co. opened its first brick and mortar shop in Prescott, Ontario. 

First brick and mortar store

They quickly outgrew the 850 square foot space and, in July 2021, also rented the neighboring store of 1000 square feet. That became the classroom space. 

Michelle tells us that winning second runner up in the 2021 LQS contest helped to make the shop even busier — and in October 2022, they moved into a 2600 square foot store right on the waterfront.

With this expansion to a larger store, they had the space to become a BERNINA dealership and  truly bring the vision to life.

First expansion, July 2021
Renovations, 2022
Michelle and her parents celebrate the 2023 expansion
BERNINA opening

Michelle is passionate about quilting but also about being out on the beautiful St. Lawrence River. Hence, the name Watergirl Quilt Co. When Michelle isn’t hand stitching outdoors in the summer, she loves to be out on her Seadoo enjoying the waves.

Michelle has a real passion for travel and Watergirl Quilt Co. has expanded into quilt-related travel tours.

Michelle on Seadoo
More cruising!

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

Watergirl Quilt Co. is a modern fabric store with an emphasis on bright, bold colors to inspire quilters of all experience levels.

Located on the St. Lawrence River, across from Odgensburg, New York, we are aspiring to be THE Canadian quilting destination. Located right off the Highway 401 in Prescott, Ontario means that you can be en route and easily make a pit stop in to visit.

Our 2,600 square foot space holds several thousand bolts of quilting cottons, wide back fabrics, notions, wool applique supplies, and so much more. You will also find that our 12 person classroom with sit-stand tables made from locally salvaged wood offers a comfortable space to have fun and learn. We host retreats in this space and partner with local bed and breakfast owners to provide a comfy place to sleep for the many quilters who come from out of town.

The longarm rental space is a great attraction for quilters who would like to complete their quilt all on their own from start to finish.

Watergirl Quilt Co. is known as a fun, friendly and inspiring shop full of modern fabrics and the latest quilting notions and patterns, especially our large selection of ByAnnie products.

We love to collaborate with other quilt shops and pattern designers. Our block of the month programs on Zoom with Modern Blended Quilts and Dragons Heart Quilt Shop are a big draw for our shop. We are unique in that we have many collaborations with other quilt shops so that we can offer broader programming of learning opportunities for our Crew of quilters.

Some of our favorite notions that we sell are the Studio 180 Tools along with teaching the Tucker University Program.
For our third year in a row, we are about to launch presale for our Quilters Advent Box.

Michelle loves to do Facebook Live videos and you can watch her every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday morning at 9am EST to see the latest arrivals of products, get updates on new classes, and learn from demos and tips. Michelle just recently moved over to YouTube to do monthly live tutorials.

Watergirl Quilt Co. sells Jason Yenter fabrics along with other well-known designers such as Tula Pink, Kaffe Fasset, Alison Glass, and many Canadian Indigienous designers as well. You can find lesser known gems of fabrics alongside the trendy favorites.

Block of the month
Michelle visits with Annie!
Cork fabric

In addition to teaching virtually and in person classes, we also offer private one-on-one lessons. Watergirl Quilt Co. is a proud BERNINA and Bernette dealership and chose this brand to sell because of the quality, ease of use, and the endless resources available to support learning. Oh, and it is really easy to fall in love with the Limited Edition Bernina machines such as the blue Kaffe B475 which is a great little workhorse to sew through anything, even all the layers of your ByAnnie bags.

To support your sewing and embroidery, we sell OESD stabilizers, Kimberbell kits, and Isacord threads.

Our shop is situated along the shore of the St. Lawrence River. We are only a 5 minute boat ride to the United States, or you can come in your car and drive over the bridge. It only takes a few minutes extra! Enjoy a stroll along the waterfront, a game of golf, or visit the historic Fort Wellington.

Got plans on April 8th? Well if so, you can shop for fabric and view a solar eclipse! Prescott will be in what’s called the path of totality which means that the moon will completely obscure the sun for a period of time and it will be in total darkness. Grab some of Jason Yenter’s The Sun, Moon, and Stars fabrics and make a quilt to commemorate this spectacular event!

— 2024 Contest Customer Comment —

“They go above and beyond to connect Canadian quilters with quality products and offer a wide variety of classes both virtually and in person.”


Please tell us about your staff.

Angela, Michelle, and Maureen

Watergirl Quilt Co is a team that likes to work hard and laugh hard, too! Cathy and Angela work full time along with Lucy who is our newest part-time staff.

Student staff members Colin and Braeden can be seen in the store on Saturdays and during the summer months.

Our events coordinator, Maureen works remotely and keeps everyone on track to be prepared for classes and other events.

Mr. Watergirl is our jack of all trades, driving us to quilt shows, doing handyman jobs around the shop, and he is even learning to sew!

Mr. Watergirl sews!

Our staff has a reputation for being super helpful and for cracking a joke or two. It’s guaranteed that you will laugh when you visit us because we are always having so much fun.

Angela has a flair for choosing colours, Cathy loves to teach you how to use the latest notions, and Lucy can share many tips and tricks for apparel making.

Colin and Braeden
Cathy, Lucy, and Angela

— 2024 Contest Customer Comment —

“The store itself is so well-stocked with fabrics, supplies, and notions/threads. You can find everything you need all in one place. The fabric choices are incredible. And the staff are so lovely.”


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

Watch for our monthly Special K Food Bank day, the fourth Saturday of every month. A special limited quantity bundle will be for purchase and for each one we sell, we donate a box of cereal to our local food bank. The next one will be March 23rd and newsletter subscribers will hear about it first.

Watergirl Quilt Co. is a proud supporter of Quilts of Valor Canada and will be donating our fabric winnings from this contest to for use in quilts made for veterans.
Michelle is a member of the Rotary Club of Brockville and each year, she hosts Rotarians at her shop and teaches them to make a quilt which gets donated to the local chapter of Quilts of Valor.

Last year, our country suffered from many devastating wildfires and our quilters came together, along with another local quilt shop in our area and we were able to make and ship 32 quilts to the community of Enterprise, Northwest Territories to help them as they rebuild.

Retreat fun

Our next in person retreat is April 13th and 14th and includes accommodations, meals, and instruction to make a simple spring shirt. Of course there will also be games, prizes, and loads of time to make friends and work on those WIPS.

Nighttime fun

The Spring Patchwork Adventure begins on March 19th at 14 quilt shops in the Prescott area.

You can visit the Watergirl Quilt Co. booth at Quilt Canada in Edmonton, Alberta from June 19th to 22nd and learn more about our products and quilting trips.

You can still join Michelle and her Crew for a cruise from Vancouver to Alaska and enjoy port stops along with sewing time while at sea. There will be BERNINA sewing machines for use and quilting classes with Michelle, Patti Carey and Paul Leger. Go to to learn more about this wonderful opportunity departing on September 8th and returning to Vancouver on September 15th.

Then come visit us in October for the 401 Quilt Run and we will also have our winning ByAnnie Trunk Show with loads of fun.

Food bank donations
Friends from afar

In closing

When asked about the impact of the Local Quilt Shop Contest, Michelle said:

“Our store opened during a pandemic when we weren’t even allowed to have customers shop in person in our actual store. Thanks to our online platform, we were able to find customers. We had only been open for about six months when we participated in the 2021 By Annie Local Quilt Shop Contest. That year, we were the second runner-up world wide. Because of that winning, so many people heard about our shop and searched for us online. We began to hear from new customers that they found us by going to the ByAnnie website to search for patterns, only to discover that they could buy them right here in Canada at Watergirl Quilt Co.

In 2023, we were the provincial winner for Ontario and that brought more exposure in the quilting world.

Canadian media outlets such as CBC Radio heard about us from a customer who told our story of how we persevered in a pandemic, brought joy and inspiration to quilters, and even managed to make a big splash in the Local Quilt Shop Contest. The press coverage that we received because of this contest has helped our small business to grow in size and in credibility.

It is truly a pleasure to be part of this contest. Knowing that our customers (our “Crew”, as we like to call them) took the time to vote for us and to get their friends and family voting, too, is a huge compliment. It’s not often in the retail world that such a special contest happens like this. My team and I are motivated by and appreciative of all the kind comments that are submitted for this contest. It brings smiles of joy and some tears, too, knowing that what we do has such a positive impact on others.

We think of our Crew as family and the ByAnnie team is part of that.”

Posted in * Winners, Canada

Related Posts


  1. Hanna Mansfield

    Congrats again Michelle and Crew. Well deserved for such a hard working, always friendly and helpful team. I rarely walk out of the store with empty hands…lol…and some marching orders <3

  2. Cynthia Pulling

    I am from the states but have friends that live close to the quilt store fell in love with the store and Michelle first with her website during Covid then I got to visit the store her first Shop and then made a visit to her second shop. I also brought some friends along who also loved the shop that people that worked there and we are looking forward to making another visit this September great Shop great people, so happy that she won

    • Freda Thompson

      Congratulations on your win. I have been following your posts. This is a beautiful for your store.

      I dropped in last summer (August 2023) with my daughter Jenn (a none quilter, lol) and with your help, Michelle, and Cathy’s we left with two quilt patterns and all the materials for both. The piecing for the front & background, the backing, and the binding.

      I am happy to report that the first one (Exploding Heart) is with a long-armmer. I will bring it in to show you when I finish the binding. The first cuts have been started on the second one (The Butterfly).

      I also completed a baby quilt and another Eploding Heart in that same time period.

      Not bad for someone who never made full sized quilts before.

      Thanks for helping me make “Dreams Come True”

  3. Glenda Valair

    I am excited to know that there is a quilt store in Prescott and look forward to checking it out when I’m back in the province! 😁

  4. Monique Lavigne Patenaude

    This is an incredible write up of an incredible quilt store.
    Michelle is always open to opportunities and techniques and brungs in items we want,
    Classes are wonderful, lots of fun.

    This explains a lot of what’s available at Watergirl, but there is so much more. You can see her FB live every Wednesday m Thursday and Friday.

    See you therr

  5. Betty-Ann Poirier

    Wow and wow again. So glad you won, because you deserve it. A success story that keeps on growing. You do have a lovely shop and a great crew.
    To all of you Congratulations!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *