Friday, November 13, 2015

Stepping Out of the Blocks, Take 2

In my last post I talked about a workshop that I gave to the Beaconsfield Quilters Guild. I had made some sample 'blocks' in preparation for the class:
and, recently set to work on a new quilt top. I tested out a couple of arrangements: 

Settled on a vertical stack like the original, but set to the side. 
My iPhone photo editing app helped find the best positioning for the stack to create a balanced composition. 

 I loved the idea of a dark background for this one. 

All fabrics are Kona solids (a variety of greens and indigo for the background). 
Measures 73in. square

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Stepping out of the Blocks

Last weekend I was invited to teach a class to the members of the Beaconsfield Quilters Guild. 

Their meetings and workshops take place in the beautiful waterfront property of Centennial Hall in Beaconsfield, very close to my home. 


"Stepping Out of the Blocks" is a workshop  meant to help quilters build a series of blocks improvisationally and to steer away from a traditional quilt layout.
The idea is to make a series of blocks (or boxes in this case) with no particular concern about the size of each one.  Once a the blocks are made, participants explore  possible layouts for them before committing to a final one. 

The approach is improvisational  and i love how each quilter's work is unique: 


Quilt Canada 2016 in Toronto Ontario

I will be teaching this workshop as well as Improv Strip Piecing and a couple of lectures  next spring at Quilt Canada. Registration begins tomorrow! Head on over to their website to check out it out. I would love to see you there! 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

An old quilt frame and a new way to baste

About a year ago, I was contacted by a woman who was looking for someone who might be interested in a quilt frame. Her mom had been a quilter all her life and was now stricken with Parkinson's disease. No longer being able to quilt and having to move into an assisted living residence, she was clearing out some of the items that she could no longer use. One of the items was a quilt frame that her husband built for her. 

Naturally, she was sad to let it go and wanted to make sure it went to another quilter who would put it to good use. 

It was given to me in parts and I was reassured that it would be simple to assemble. It's all hard wood, very heavy with heavy duty washers and bolts and thick metal rods. 

It has been sitting under the table in my studio since I took it home and today I decided to finally put it together. 

It took me just 10 minutes before I had it all set up. It is very cleverly designed and super sturdy! The builder certainly understood the needs of his quilter wife. 

I love the vintage fabric that is attached the rails! 

Metal rods on each side keep the frame from opening and closing

A heavy duty metal rod for extra sturdiness

Since I had a large quilt that needed basting, it occurred to me that I could do it on the frame. I normally use Sharon Schambers' Board Basting Method and thought that I could modify the technique and combine it with the frame.

I first pinned the backing fabric to the fabric on the rails and then rolled it up nice and taut. 

Then I basted the batting to the backing fabric at the bottom end.

Rolled the quilt top onto the boards as in the board basting method, and layered it over the batting and backing. 

Proceeded with basting as in Sharon's Board Basting Method.

Ready for quilting! 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

A quilt of 3 generations

I recently finished a quilt that was commissioned by a client. 

Her specifications were simple:

1-Use clothing from three generations of my family: mine and my husband's, my children's and my mother's dress. 
2-Incorporate your improv strip-piecing technique 
3-Have fun with it. I trust your judgement! 

So I set to work. I started by pinning all the clothing on my design wall...


Then I cut the clothes into strips of varying widths and lengths....

And played around with the arrangement...

And  settled on a final layout...

Here it all quilted and bound: 

These are  my favorite strips:

James Dean

A family adventure under the quilt?
And I love that little elbow patch!

And of course a quilt ALWAYS needs a label:

Translation (words from the client):
Happines is made under this quilt.
              Laughter Respect Dreams.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hand quilting

This summer, we took our family vacation towards the end of the summer. We usually take it in July but, as my son was away for 8 weeks, we waited until mid-August. And what a good thing that was! The weather was more glorious in August than it had been all summer, so we spent long days by the lake at our family cottage. I am not one to swim much, so while the rest of the family kayaked, swam, sailed, and fished, I hand quilted my latest quilt. 

Perfect vacation, if you ask me. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

Vermont Quilt Festival 2015

I just got back from a weekend away with two of my quilting pals to visit the Vermont Quilt Festival. Last year the highlight for me was to win a ribbon for my quilt "Fill the Void". This year, the highlight was to meet and see the beautiful quilts of Joe Cunningham.
I first came across Joe's work quite serendipitously. As often happens, I was searching for something online and stumbled upon something else that peaked my interest. 
Joe's article on 'freehand quilting' struck a cord with me. I love the carefree approach to handquilting that he describes. And i discovered that is also the  way he approaches quiltmaking in general ~improvisationally and spontaneously.

I attended his lecture at the festival and later had a chance to meet him as I was admiring the special exhibit on his life's work. 

Here are some of my favorites of his: 

Title: The Time To Quilt 

I love the way Joe makes use of bias tape in his quilts (I WILL be trying that one day!):

Title: The Cunningham Line 

Title: Patchwork Quilt 

Title: Circular Logic

This next quilt was my favorite of all. It reminds of a child's drawing. It embodies the carefree and spontaneous way children create. 

Title : "Susan McCord In My Time Machine" 

Best quote from Joe's  lecture: "What is my quilt going to look like? I'll know it when it's done!" 

Nice to meet you Joe! 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Member for life!

This week  the Montreal MQG held it's last meeting before summer break. It was also my last meeting as president of the guild. 
Since Josée and I founded the guild 3 years ago, we served as VP. and president respectively.  And I thought it was time to hand over the reins  to someone else. 
And I think it's good timing. We have a good group of members who have been enthusiastic and committed to its development since the beginning. 
Stephanie of Queen of Wands is our new president and Isabelle of Dizzy Quilts has moved over from her position as program coordinator to Vice President. Joanna is now our new program coordinator and Michele remains our treasurer. 
And at this last meeting,  these lovely ladies presented  Josée and I a lovely surprise! We were made honorary lifetime members! 

What an honor! 

I feel good about my decision and confident that the guild is in very good hands!