Tuesday, June 30, 2009

R & R - Hornby Island

After a very busy spring, some R & R time is in order. And for me, this means time on Hornby Island. Two ferries and an hour and a half from Comox, there is this magical place that restores my soul. We have a half acre over there, and on it we have perched a not-very-fancy 5th wheel, with a porch. A large tent is put up for the summer, ready to receive any guests that arrive. There is an eagle tree on the property right beside us. And just down the road is Grassy Point, from which the most spectacular sunsets of the summer can be viewed. It's a place to slow down and to re-group. Once the grass is cut, and
the blackberries cut back in their relentless attempt to overtake us, we have little else to think about except reading a long-awaited book, paddling in the tidal pools, cooking shmores over the open fire, and sleeping long and quiet and uninterupted sleeps. Our twin girls, Jessie and Emily, are already over there, and tomorrow we will join them. And on Thursday July 2nd we will celebrate their 30th birthday together. How amazing is that! And then I will set up a little sewing table on the porch, and get that binding on the latest grandmothers' quilt, and will bring out my sketch book and put a few ideas that have been dancing around my head on paper. And all being well, you will be introduced to the patterns that are birthed in this place this fall. May you all have such a soul-nourishing, creativity-inspiring summer!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lions Gate Quilters and their COPs

Last evening, I was visiting the Lions Gate Quilters, to give my talk, Travels with My Treadle. I took along my "Little Shop on Wheels", as I often do, and it all made for a pleasant visit. But the highlight of the visit for me was seeing the Lions Gate Quilters' Show and Tell. During the last year they challenged all the members to register their COPs - Creative Ongoing Projects - for $2 per person per project. (I love the name COPs! So much more positive than UFOs. I had come to name these partially-started-but-not-finished projects as WIPs - Works in Progress, but Cops is even better.) Anyway, last night the Guild saw a culmination of this challenge. Isn't this piece with large and improbable flowers fun? There were cash prizes for three lucky participants, as well as other prizes given for things like the oldest COP, the most COPs - you get the idea. From what I heard last night, there may well be a repeat of this very successful endeavour next year. I learned another new term last night. One member sidled up to me to aske if I knew what a FART was.
No, I said, I didn't. Well it's a Fabric Acquisition Road Trip!
I also wanted to show you this Africa-inspired quilt made by Carol Piercy, who has also published "Dance" as a pattern. Many of the fabrics had come from Kitambaa Designs originally, so it was especially fun to see them in this incarnation. If you would like more information on Carol's quilts, you can visit her at http://www.carolsquilts.ca/. In the meantime, may summer give you the opportunities to finish up COPs that still call to you, and may there be a FART or two in the months ahead.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Another African Journey

Joyce Nicholls, who makes her home in Newfoundland, Canada's eastern-most province, recently sent me this photo of her completed "African Journey". I love the bright colours again the yellow wall of her bedroom. She tells me that she had been attracted by the brilliance of African fabrics and had been collecting them for some time before she visited our booth at Quilt Canada in St. John's last year. So when she discovered Kitambaa's patterns using these, it was a natural fit. The detail photo of the quilt shows the curving quilting design she chose, a beautiful counterpoint to the straight lines and angular lines of the strip-piecing and flying geese. Congratulations, Joyce, on a beautifully exectued quilt!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dragonflies in My Garden

The second class I taught at Quilting in the Trees, was "Dragonflies in my Garden". Nancy Lee Chong's 2-Fabric Applique method, adapted from Hawaiian quilting methods, is the technique used to create a hand-appliqued wall-hanging. Nancy has several stunning designs available, dragonflies being one of them, through her company, the Pacific Northwest Quilt Company. A few people in the class chose to work with the Turtles pattern, rather than the Dragonflies pattern - the process is the same for both. It was a relaxing day of hand sewing, a not-to-be-hurried project to work on in the still of an evening by a lake, by the ocean, or on a warm
summer's evening anywhere. The pattern itself is transferred onto the top fabric, which will be the main fabric appearing in both the borders and the principal motifs. The background fabric is underneath the main fabric (both right sides up), and is revealed as the pattern is appliqued. The main thing is to have strong contrast between the two. I look forward to seeing the finished wallhangings from this class. And hope it will encourage others to try their hand at hand applique.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Quilting in the Trees

Quilting in the Trees is the Victoria Quilters' Guild annual retreat, held at Pearson College in Metchosin, just outside Victoria, every year. For three days, students take classes from a variety of teachers, or work on their own. Meals are provided and accomodation is in student dorms. The setting is spectacular - arbutus trees hanging onto rocky surfaces, whispering firs overhead, ferns and deer and late-blooming rhododendrons. I had the pleasure of returning there as a teacher again this year. For the first two days I taught "One Classy Cabin", a variation on the log cabin block, made with colourful African fabrics and honey-coloured neutrals. Then on Sunday I taught "Dragonflies in my Garden", a 2-fabric applique class using one of Nancy Lee Chong's fabulous patterns. Friends Gail Sheldrake (whom I first taught to quilt in my dining room an amazing 25 years ago!!!), Joyanne Dobbs and Judy Simmonds, can be seen here working on
their own "classy cabins". Tomorrow, I'll give you a glimpse into the Dragonflies class.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Day of African Sunshine

Yesterday I had the pleasure of teaching a one-day class for the Nanaimo Quilters' Guild. African Sunshine was the title of the class - the sample for the class can be seen behind Sandy. This is an original setting of the New York Beauty block, and everyone arrived with colourful fabrics with which to construct their own wallhangings. It took a little patience to get the hang of it, but spirits were high, and even those who were dubious about getting it "right" were soon underway and building their own arcs. It was wonderful to look around the classroom and see all the variations appearing up on the walls. After

a brief lunch, everyone began piecing their arcs into blocks and excitement mounted as quilters imagined what the outcome would be when another 13 or 14 blocks had been made. Mid-afternoon everyone had an opportunity to see a living example of where they were headed, when all the finished blocks were put up on a design wall, and miraculously, the individual blocks of 16 quilters, each with their own individual sense of colour, looked spectacular when combined with each other.
I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing the final results of yesterday's efforts, and may just be working on another African Sunshine myself. It was such fun to play with the colours, to throw in a wild card fabric, to use uglies and unexpected treasures as well as dependable and familiar fabrics. To break the rules and go a little wild with the possibilities. Thanks to all of you for a great class!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

There's an Elephant in My Garden

I thought you might like to see a photo of my entry in the NJS at Quilt Saskatoon. The piece is entitled "There's an Elephant in My Garden", and is an Art Deco inspired piece. In fact, all the shapes I used in this piece are shapes from other Art Deco inspired designs I've made in the past. The artist's statement that accompanies it reads:
This quilt is about joy. About grace and joy. About what astonishes us, what grabs our heart, what takes our breath away. About things we don't believe will ever come true, but then they do. About things that are right in front of our eyes, but in our unbelief, we nearly miss then. About miracles in our midst and gifts beyond our imagining.
It gave me great pleasure making this quilt, the kind that is enough in itself. My quilt didn't win any prizes, but as nice as that might have been, it didn't diminish my joy in making it. And I know that it was my best effort. And to me that makes it successful, no matter what.