Saturday, June 15, 2019

A Dying Art

Yesterday we spent a great day strolling the aisles of Quilt Canada in Ottawa. Beautiful and creative as the quilts were, one thing struck me more than anything - hand quilting seems to be becoming a dying art. There was no end to the talents that quilters exhibited with thread and machine on display, but I found very few examples of works quilted by hand. I suppose it is a statement on the evolution of the craft but it did give me reason to pause, so I'll start my tour with three works where hand work excelled.

Paradise Landscape quilt: QuiltBee
This is Paradise Landscape by Susan Sherman of Newmarket, ON. It. Was. Beautiful. The 2,000 hours of work that she put into it illustrate a talent for working with needle and thread...

Paradise Landscape quilt: QuiltBee
and lots of fantastic colours. My photos don't do them justice, particularly the green and white polka dot that was used for the background.

It earned her the show's Excellence in Hand Quilting award. Little wonder - her quilting was unbelievably fine. You could get lost in this one for hours.

Down the Rabbit Hole quilt: QuiltBeeThe second one brought a little squeal of delight from me when I turned the corner and saw it. It is Down the Rabbit Hole and I have followed its creation by Sandra over at her Quilting at the Cro's Nest blog. Click through so that you can see her progress too.

Down the Rabbit Hole quilt: QuiltBee
It is beautifully appliquéd and hand quilted - so amazing to see it in person.

It is such a whimsical piece. Not sure if it's all of the fun elements that run through the design...

Down the Rabbit Hole quilt: QuiltBee
or that fantastic bunny fabric that she used for the background.

Sea Wall Secheron Bay quilt: QuiltBee
And then there was a smaller piece in the Metamorphosis section called Sea Wall Secheron Bay #2 by Sandra Champion, all the way from Australia. Unfortunately, I did not get a complete photo, but this is most of it.

Sea Wall Secheron Bay quilt: QuiltBeeThe sea wall at Secheron Bay has existed for over 200 years and the quilt attempts to illustrate the layers of history that it has adapted to over the years, from ship building and timber drying to the manufacture of jams and jellies and its current use as a park, where the wall is now used for scientific study.

Sea Wall Secheron Bay quilt: QuiltBee
It's many layers can only be guessed at. Vintage papers, silks, scrim, fusible web and acrylic paint combined with Kantha styled stitching in heavier threads are beautifully rendered and it too pulls you in for a good long look. Beautiful and compelling....M

Thursday, June 13, 2019

One More Sleep!

This time tomorrow we will have landed in Ottawa to spend the day at Quilt Canada (actually, 'landed' may not be the correct term - we're lucky this year in that it is a 90 minute drive from home). It's been years since I've attended - it was in Toronto - and I am getting more and more excited with each passing day. None of us (Jane, Linda, Anne or I) are taking any workshops - it's purely a 'gawking' tour.

And I have no doubt that there will be a little shopping in the Merchants Mall, too. Anne recently started pulling colours for a new quilt so she'll be looking for additions to ramp up the scrappy factor.

She's using the Snow Goose pattern from Miss Rosie's Quilt Co. but in a totally non-Christmas palette of turquoise, golds, oranges and cream.

This fabric was her jumping off point.

The more she brings together the better it gets. I picked up a few fat quarters during our travels last week and it looks like they will fit in quilte nicely. I particularly like the two little mottled little checks - very different.

It's a pretty good guess that there will be image overload in my next post or two. Bon voyage!....M

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Star of the Show

I have a great little spool holder/thread caddy that shows up in lots of my posts and often becomes the topic of discussion in my comments box, as was the case this past Sunday, so I thought it might be time to give it a little more viz.

This little beauty has been in use for at least 20 years and is barely showing its age. The stamp on the bottom says it was made by Carol Armstrong Quilts in Shingleton, MI. I ordered it from Keepsake Quilting and bought a few for gifts as well. Had I known that the supplier would go out of business I would have bought a ton more because most everyone who sees one wants one. It could have funded my retirement, I'm sure!

It is brilliantly simple and beautifully functional - just the perfect little sewing accessory - and fits a small spool of YLI quilting thread nicely (that's what I like to use for my hand piecing as well as my hand quilting). Did I mention that it is very well made?

A piece of dowel fits through one sidearm, then your spool, and into the other sidearm.

And the little pincushion on one end is just big enough to hold several pins and needles.

Small enough to fit into my 'little black bag' or a project box when I'm travelling, it keeps everything neatly in one place.

thread caddy: QuiltBee
If you know a woodworker they might be able to create a reasonable facsimile; here are a few basic dimensions:

base:  4 5/8" long  x  2 1/2" wide
sidearms:  2" high x  1 7/8" wide
total height at sidearm:  2 5/8" high
dowel to hold spool: 4 1/4" long
base and sidearms:  3/4" thick
If you don't know a carpenter, Barnett's makes one called Thread Magic which includes a thread cutter. This is the same company that I bought Anne's quilting hoop from and she has been more than impressed with its quality.

There's another one called Sew Darn Handy Original Organizer that might suit as well.

And just for old time's sake, anyone that grew up in our household will recognize this model that I found online. Dad was a talented carpenter and could turn his hand to projects large or small so we had a few similar to this in the house.....M

Sunday, June 09, 2019


In our household we see Sunday as a gift - the one day of the week where we have license to do as little as possible. I avoid shopping as much as I can and, in the warmer months, am happy to putter in the flower beds. Year round I like to spend part of my Sundays with a little hand stitching and often join the gang at Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.

Today I have a few additional 'gifts' to enjoy. Last fall Roberta, my long arm quilter, gifted me several allium bulbs that I managed to get planted before the snows began to fly. Because I was so late with it I wondered if they would take, but voila - I have a beautiful show to enjoy.

We were away from home this past week and they hadn't popped before we left so I was a little anxious that I would miss them; so happy that I haven't. I have long admired alluims and almost can't believe that I now have some of my own to enjoy for years to come. Thanks again, Roberta!

The second 'gift' is a gift to me from me. While we were away I picked up the latest version of Quilt Sampler. Very few mags come into the house anymore given that I can find so much inspiration online, but I still enjoy this tour of quilt shops - it's a great way to kick back and dream of all of the road trips that I could take.

Most of the shops are in the States but every now and then they include one or two from Canada and this time The Cotton Harvest in Seaforth, ON is included, so maybe there's a road trip in this for me after all.

If you are familiar with the mag at all you will know that each shop profiled includes a quilt pattern in the issue. Lovely as they are, I always find myself scouring the other images and find the teeniest pics of quilts that appeal to me. This issue is no different.

I thought that I might have had it with Flying Geese blocks for a while, but apparently not. It is cute this size but I think that it would make a lovely full sized quilt as well.

Anyway, that's my Sunday for this week - a little stitching on Minnie, a little magazine browsing, maybe a wee nap and lots of gazing fondly at the new additions to my garden. I hope that you find time to enjoy your gifts today as well....M