Comox Valley Exhibition – Quilts

Some of you may remember that my friend Gladys entered her quilt in a local show in May. She has shown  it again this past week in the Comox Valley Exhibition. It has ribbons beside it now for Best of Show. So much intricate work went into the making of this quilted wall hanging. Each of the flowers represents a province or territory of Canada. Gladys made the quilt in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday. Congratulations to Gladys on her well-deserved ribbons.I’m sorry I don’t know much of the story behind the other quilts but I can admire them for their creators’ skill and imagination. The second prize quilt is featured here (below). I must mention that there were several categories so there is probably another 2nd prize quilt as well, but I can only show you the ones I  photographed.

Third prize is a clothesline with individual tiny quilts hanging on the line.

Another category’s 3rd prize winner is the cow quilt below.

The show had so many quilts I couldn’t possibly post them all, but you have a glimpse of what the exhibition had to offer. It was a feast for the eyes.

More Quilts

Again I apologize for the clipped edges and odd angles of the quilt photos. At the Cumberland Quilt Show, I was trying to snap pictures over people’s heads, and to isolate some quilts that were hanging close to others.

The quilt below is a bargello, showing yet again the many possibilities of this art. Notice how the strips are narrower as the design is close to the peaks and valleys and wider as the curve is not as steep.

In the small works group, the challenges may vary. In the next two quilts, done by the same person, the challenge was to incorporate five circles and the element of water. These houses are on the canals of Amsterdam.

The quilt below has many textures, stitch types, piecing, and applique. The challenge was to tell a story. This one is of collecting things, an activity the quilter and the chickadee have in common.

Painting with thread? Who would have thought it possible? Add the geometric design that evolves from the direction and path of the thread and you have a wonderful work of art.

Dandelions can be beautiful too. This one involved a lot of tying off of threads at the ends of each “fuzz.” Notice the centers of some of the flowers. Those are buttons. When they are fastened to the back of the fabric it creates a tiny 3-D effect.

 

Have I inspired you yet to try your hand at quilting?

Bargello

A few months ago I had never heard of “bargello” but it has been fun learning about it. “Bargello” is a quilting term that refers to a zigzag motif similar to a design found on some chairs in an old fortress (they call it a palace) in Florence, Italy. The Bargello Palace is now a museum, and in it you can find these chairs with the zigzag design in the seat and back coverings.

Some bargello designs are made with needlepoint, but quilters can also make a design that reflects the bargello style. Recently I went to a workshop to learn more about quilting a bargello.

The options are endless, but traditionally the colours are supposed to go from dark to light for that special effect. I did not go out shopping for well-matched colours, but used scraps of what I had. For learning how to do the process, I thought it would work well enough. Others in the workshop had much better colour matches and the effect was much more dramatic.

The process is basically this:

You lay out your strips of cloth using two sets of colours going from light to dark.

Sew the strips together. You even sew the last strip to the first one to make a tube.

Turn the  tube sideways and cut into strips again.

Lay them out in a zigzag design that you find pleasing, opening up the top seams for the full length of the strip again. You can see this on some of the samples of designs that other quilters came up with.

The strips will be sewn together and evened out at the top and bottom, then batting and backing and binding is added to finish the quilt.

The possibilities are endless.

Learning to Quilt

After finishing three bags at the quilting retreat, I was looking through some red scraps and found this elephant. I was about to cut the material up to make a bag with an elephant on one side when my quilting buddy suggested I make a coffee table topper.  She has a good eye for possibilities and suggested the corners to accent the center. It was also her idea for me to make a flange. 

I had never made a flange before, and in case you don’t see it, it’s the narrow dark border around the elephant square. The really neat thing about a flange is that this little trim lifts up and has a 3-D look. My free motion quilting is still … let’s say … in its developmental stage, but I had fun sewing swirly elephant-trunk-like designs all over the work. In the end, I was happy I didn’t make yet another bag out of this elephant.

Canada’s 150 Years

This year, we will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the confederation of Canada. Queen Victoria gave her assent to the British North America Act (BNA Act) on March 29, 1867, saying that on July 1, 1867 the provinces of “Canada” (which then split into Quebec and Ontario), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick would unite and become the Dominion of Canada. Gradually, over time, Canada has grown to include ten provinces and three territories.

Each region has an official flower. In honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary, my friend Gladys has begun a quilted wall hanging to commemorate this special celebration. The wall hanging will feature the flower of each of the provinces and territories of Canada.

At the quilting retreat, Gladys worked on appliquéing the flowers onto a dark background. She has quilted the areas around the flowers in various patterns that she feels will enhance the subject.

The photo below shows a tentative placement of the flowers as a beginning look at some of the design possibilities, but there is much more to come in the design of the finished quilt.020Going from top to bottom and left to right, the flowers represented on the photo above are as follows:

wild rose – Alberta

western red lily – Saskatchewan

prairie crocus – Manitoba

fireweed – Yukon

mountain avens – Northwest Territories

purple saxifrage – Nunavut

white trillium – Ontario

blue flag iris – Quebec

purple violet – New Brunswick

Mayflower – Nova Scotia

lady’s slipper – Prince Edward Island

British Columbia’s Pacific dogwood and Newfoundland’s purple pitcher plant are still to be made.

Below are close-ups of some of the flowers. Notice the fine stitching around the edges of all the flowers and leaves. Then take a look at the quilting around the flower shapes, sometimes echoing the shape, sometimes offering beautiful designs of its own. By the way, for the non-quilters who are looking at this post, the yellow dots you see at the top of each flower patch  – those are the bright yellow heads of the (temporary) pins used to put the flowers on the board. They are not meant to be the sun shining on the flowers! 😉

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White trillium of Ontario

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Fireweed of the Yukon Territory

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Mountain avens of the Northwest Territories

Gladys will put binding on these flower shapes and add some interesting designs to the wall hanging. I know that when it is finished it will be a work of art. I will do another post when she has it finished, hopefully before July 1, 2017, the big 150th birthday.

PS In case any of you are readers, please check out my other blog, Anneli’s Place, and say hello to today’s guest writer, Lori Virelli. https://annelisplace.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/ever-been-at-your-wits-end/

Quilting Retreat

Anybody who loves to quilt or sew, knows that it’s a time-consuming job. Often we have to leave our sewing to deal with everyday chores like cooking and cleaning. Even answering the phone takes us away from  projects we’re working on and the momentum is often lost. This could be why so many quilters have UFOs (unfinished objects) in their sewing rooms. Wouldn’t it be a dream come true if we could just take a step back from regular chores and concentrate only on our quilting projects?

If you belong to a quilting guild that books a place like Camp Homewood on Quadra Island (a short ferry ride from Campbell River on Vancouver Island), you might make that dream a reality. Imagine four days for yourself. All you have to do is eat, sleep, sew, and maybe go for a little walk now and then to stretch your legs.

This building is the main lodge for the camp. About 40 quilters from the Schoolhouse Quilters’ Guild have booked in here to work on their sewing projects.

Sewing machines, boxes of fabrics and sewing notions, folding tables, irons, bedding, toiletries, and clothing are unloaded at the main door on the left. From there the sewing  equipment is taken into the main part of the building where the women (no men this time) set up their machines and tables. The bedding and clothing is taken to individual rooms that have been assigned at registration time, weeks earlier.

 

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My friend and I slept in rooms in the guest house below tucked under a canopy of Douglas firs. It’s a short walk, maybe 100 yards, from the main lodge. But most of our time was spent in the big building working on our sewing projects.014

Below you can see the newer addition of the lodge. Huge windows have been placed all around to take advantage of the fantastic view on the front.

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Let’s climb up the steps on the far right of the building. Just inside this door we set up our sewing machines. Once in a while we might glance up and see a gorgeous view of the salt water passageways and small islands. On a clear day, the mountains are visible in the distance, but not today.

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Stepping out onto the deck on the front of the building, this is the view that greets you and bathes you in peace for the next four days.

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In the next post I’ll show you some of the work the quilters have done during their stay at this quiet retreat.

 

It’s in the Bag

After an all-day sewing lesson to learn how to make a tote bag, I came home with the green bag you see below.

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I thought I’d make another one very similar to the green one and give it away as a Christmas gift. Two bags done. Then the quilting retreat was coming up and I needed a project. Two more bags were made. Then I made a third peach-coloured bag but this time I made it smaller. That was fun.

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Now I was feeling braver and it was taking half as long to make them. The blue bag was smaller and has a flap with a button. But don’t be fooled. The button is just for decoration. There is no buttonhole underneath, but rather Vel-cro to fasten the flap. The button was made by the Captain from the antlers of a deer he shot about 40 years ago.

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I experimented and made a different kind of bag (below), also with a fake button from a real deer.

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Someone special mentioned that she would love to have a bag like the blue one but smaller, so this next one was a bit of a challenge. I’m happy with how it turned out though. I’d now made a total of eight bags, some small, some medium, and some large.

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Two more bags happened after that one.

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I’ll probably make more because they’re fun to sew and easy to make. You might say I’ve turned into a bag lady.