Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pumpkin Seed Quilters and Boundary Bay Quilters

To continue where I left off - my week of travels began with two most enjoyable events. First, there was the Pumpkin Seed Quilters Show and Sale. This is a group of quilters whose purpose is solely to make charity quilts. This year saw them making more than 500, which are then distributed to several worthwhile causes. I was invited to attend with my Bitengye items, in which there was lots of interest (see the two happy shoppers, picking up Alice bags for their two daughters).

Then it was off to Tsawwassen, where I taught a one-day Ferns and Flowers class. So many colourful quilts were in process by the end of the class. I can't wait to see them finished! And now I'm home again for the rest of the year, and nearly giddy with all the possibilities dancing through my head. I just had a few days on my own on Hornby Island, playing with fabric and reading, walking down to the beach with our dog. But I forgot to take a sketch book with me, and could hardly sleep last night, thinking about what I might make next and getting home to write them down before they depart like fairy dust. It was storming like mad - a true south-easterly - in fact I think I was on the last ferry off Hornby before they shut down the ferries - but it felt like a sunny day in Mexico to me.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Fall Visits to Vancouver and Victoria

After a week of travelling, I'm happy to be back home again, and ready to work on all those things that were put on hold while I was busy teaching. One thing that couldn't be put off during the fall, though, was Nora's quilt. And I came home via Victoria so that I could deliver it to her in person, and have a little visit at the same time. I think she liked the pink bunnies, as she was already dressed in coordinating clothes. At four months now, you can see that she's thriving - a happy baby, giggling away as her father (Ben) tickles her tummy. I also managed to fit in a visit to one of my daughters - Emily - and we had a delicious time walking through the leaves that were covering the ground - red and green mixed together - the aftermath of the previous day's storm. Another highlight was discovering a new fabric store - A Spool of Thread - at Fraser and 15th. It's actually called a Sewing Lounge, and is high and open and well lit, and full of bolts of modern fabrics as well as solids (which was what I was looking for). An inviting gathering place for young people to learn how to sew, with a full slate of classes on how to make pajama bottoms, or
pillow slips or bags. It was refreshing to see young people engaged in these activities, and made me feel as though the baton has been passed to the next generation.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Alice Bags at Aspen Park School

Sarah, Gabby and Max are three Grade 6 students at Aspen Park School who, along with their class, are looking for ways to make a difference. They're learning about the world community, as well as the local community, and already proving the old addage that even one person can make a positive difference in the lives of others. Just over two weeks ago, I was invited to speak to this class about the work I do with the Bitengye Designers in Uganda. I showed them photos of the women at work, and shared their stories, ending by showing them some of the crafts the women make in order to provide for their families. Well, Gabby and Sarah, with their teacher's encouragement, went to other classes in the school, telling them what they'd learned, and particularly about the bags I've been selling to raise money to build Alice a new sewing school. They took orders from anyone who wanted to buy a bag, and took my breath away when I heard they'd raised over $800 in Alice bag sales - enough for her to buy many of the supplies she needs to finish the interior of her school. Today we delivered the bags, and other items, to the school. And cleaned us out of Alice bags
almost entirely!!! A most happy event. Many of the bags were purchased as gifts for family members, and others will become their school bags. Sarah and several others have been using Alice bags in just this way for sometime, and it seems it's become a bit of a fashion statement within the school. And what a difference it will make to Alice! And what a wonderful thing for these young people to have done. Next on the agenda, I understand, is a presentation Sarah, Gabby and Alex will be making at one of the local high schools. Congratulations to all of you!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Collaging with the Blue Mountain Quilters

I'm just home from teaching another class of African Collage - still one of my all-time favourites. This time I was with the Blue Mountain Quilters in Port Coquitlam. I was thrilled to see the amazingly different quilts develop, and to witness the creativity of each and every person in the class. They all started with the same fabrics, more or less, but tackled the questions of how to bring balance to the different design elements in their work, of deciding what "worked" and what didn't, in their own personal ways. For some, the process of designing their own quilts was quite new, but they
were all enthusiastic, and I can't wait
to see photos of the individual wall-hangings when they are finished. In the top photo, Brenda and Gail are deciding where best their pieced borders might fit, and in the next, Janet and Mary Ann are figuring out how to put an unconventional top on Mary Ann's piece. Works in progress by Carol, Brigitte and Louise are also pictured. All in all, it was a great weekend, complete with a Trunk Show and an evening dinner at the home of the President (Louise) I'd like to thank you all for being so welcoming. It really was a treat to spend the weekend with you.