As I left home to drive to the quilting retreat last week, it happened to be a rare sunny day and the Comox Glacier on Vancouver Island was looking fine after many fresh coatings of snow during the past weeks. At sea level we were all complaining about the constant rain this winter, but up high, it was building up the snow on the glacier.
My friend and I arrived at the lodge on Quadra Island and unloaded our sewing machines and all the many boxes of fabric and sewing supplies we would need for the next four days.
We unloaded our bedding and personal items in our assigned rooms and then got busy setting up the machines to sew. After that it was a marathon of sewing.
Here is the project my friend was working on. She designed it herself and has done a beautiful job of it. I’m only sorry that my photo doesn’t do it justice.
I worked on small projects like bags,
and a table runner (the one hanging at an odd angle on the end).
Another quilter who sat nearby, had some gorgeous fabric that she was using to build a quilt. Here is the first phase of it.
It drizzled a bit the first two days but then it cleared enough for us to take a short walk. The next day it was like Christmas. Snow!
Even from inside the lodge, you could tell it was snowing heavily outside.
The next day it was all gone again and we were ready to drive home. What a surprise we had when we arrived home to find more snow.
And to think that ten days ago I was having thoughts about gardening. I think this year I might be planting snowballs.
In mid-October I took a step back – a retreat from the usual day-to-day living – to a beautiful location on Quadra Island, a short ferry ride from Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The occasion was the semi-annual quilting retreat for the local quilting guild.
Four days of sewing and camaraderie, in which we had no cooking or cleaning to do. Just sew and go for a walk now and then between rain showers.
The buildings are old, but the natural scenery is older and for the most part, unchanged. It was a very quiet and beautiful spot.
The quilters each bring their sewing machines and fabrics, and all their tools and supplies needed to complete their planned projects. I had several unfinished projects, and by the end of the four days, I felt I had accomplished a lot.
One of the things I did was to take the ill-fitting squares I had made a couple of years ago and try to use them in some other way. The quilt I had intended them for was not working out but I had already done so much work on the tiny red and white squares, and on the appliqued birds and flowers.
I decided on place mats and pieced them together in whatever way the squares would fit, patching places that were odd sizes.
The result was four place mats and one table center, good enough for my own table for everyday meals.
It felt good to use up the unfinished project pieces and I was happy with the results. Now all they need is a meal to be served on them.
At a recent quilting retreat, I managed to finish a table runner just in time for my sister-in-law’s birthday. Here it is on her table, set with a harvest theme.
Harvest time reminds us
how fortunate we are
to have the necessities of life,
and many comforts and privileges
beyond what we need.
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.
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?
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.
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.