Retreat – Stepping Back

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.


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/