September 1, 2014

August end-of-Summer out-of-town Meeting

The summer has been a bit slow, both on this blog (ahem, sorry about that) and at the guild in general. Many people had vacations, summer plans, prior commitments etc that kept them from our monthly meetings. So attendance was a little low. Which is neither here nor there, merely a fact as the short, precious summer rushes by us. But we wanted to wring one last little bit of sun-filled goodness out of the final weekend before school starts and a different kind of business and routine settles upon us. And so, we had our last meeting of the summer in a bit of a different location.
One of our guild members invited us to visit her "up North", though really, it was just an hour outside of the city. Nature obliged us with a beautiful day of spectacular Summer weather. Hot and sunny and just about perfect. 
We started with a little lunch.

I meant to take pictures of all the lovely food that people brought, but was so excited to be eating that I forgot all about my camera and by the time I pulled it out all that was left was corn cobs and chicken bones! 

But I managed to get some pictures of dessert. A Lime Tart with a Graham Cracker and Ground Almond Crust topped with Meringue. (I used the recipe that can be found here. It was very easy)

And delicious!

After the eating, and a LOT of talking, we decided to get around to one of the regular meeting features: show-and-tell. Doris Lovadina-Lee showed us this lovely little wall-hanging. Its quite small; 12" x 16", and has been made by Doris for the Canadian Quilter's Association's themed show: It's Time for Colour. The 40 pieces in the show, all made by award winning quilters will travel across Canada from January 2015 to May 2015 and end up in Lethbridge Alberta in June 2015 for Quilt Canada. Along the way they will be shown in Ontario, B.C., Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. with more information on exact show locations to be announced later on the Canadian Quilt Association blog. The quilts in the show will all be available for sale at $200 each (plus tax). All proceeds from the show will be donated to the Children's Wish Foundation of Canada.
This is a beautiful piece with a little hidden surprise under the leaf. A little fabric Pupa! The piece is entitled "Chrysalis Awakening".

Andrea Vander Kooij, our host for the day, finished this mini quilt top. The other guild members suggested that she should make a dress out of it. 

Doris had some other exciting news. See this book? Look inside...

She is a contributor to it! Congrats Doris!

Once business was done, there was other relaxing fun to get to.Or perhaps the not-so-relaxing fun of riding the zip line across the pond, which both Rebecca and Sabrina were both brave enough to try. 

 But for the non dare devils among us, there was always drinks on the dock. 

I feel like this picture sums up the day. The sun sparkling on the water, a glass of wine, and a quilt. The quilt was made by Andrea, out of random reclaimed home-decor weight sample scraps. It was made about three years ago, but was brought to this meeting for the sole purpose of laying on a dock in the sunshine and risking both dirty feet and wine spills. It was a baby quilt at one time, so it was up the the challenge. 

We never ran out of things to talk about. 

And after a lovely day, we walked back up the lane-way to our cars, where most of us braved the traffic to drive back to the city. We decided that this should be an annual event, and maybe even be expanded to being a quilting retreat weekend. We'll keep you posted on potential dates for that next year. And perhaps with the arrival of fall and the return to our regular routines that we'll see lots of our members at next Month's meeting at the Workroom on September 28th.

June 22, 2014

May Meeting

What an interesting meeting we had in May. Sorry I've been so long in posting about it, but here it finally is. 

We started with a little show and tell. Rebecca brought in a quilt that she'd made for her son's bed. Since our tutorial was going to be about circles, this fit right in. It has the graphic simplicity that I've come to expect from quilts made by Rebecca, with such a great added punch of colour.

And here's the back, with just a hint of the exuberance from the front. Such a nice detail. 

And here is a lovely quilt by Katrina Kilroy, who you can see peeking over the top there. This is a pretty great stash buster. Katrina says she is working through her backlog of fabrics from the 80's and 90's, if I remember correctly. Such a great mix of the purples and greens. 

Here's Catherine Clarke, holding the adorable little reticule she made. ("Reticule" is old-tymie speak for "cute little bag") From upholstery samples if you can believe it! She says there is a tassel that she meant to attach to it, floating around her house somewhere. I know what she means. 

And here's a sneak peek at the results of our Sow's Ear Swap. Doris got on a roll and made this sweet bag. 

And here's the first block I made out of my Sow's Ear Swap fabric. Tune in next month for the rest of the finished bag and the items made by other guild members. 

After our show and tell was done, and the business had been dealt with, Doris started her tutorial. 
It was all about curves, as your remember from reading the last post on this blog. She showed us how to piece entire circles like the ones above…

 And how to sew a nice, even curved seam for these quarter block circles.

Here's the one I sewed. Not perfect, but its practically the first time I've sewn a curved seam, and thanks to Doris I am now not quite so scared of circles. I think there may be a Drunkard's Path in my future somewhere. 

And here's one of Doris' own quilts that she brought along to show the different, unexpected ways you could use your cycles and quarter circle blocks. 

Emily brought in a nifty circle cutting tool that we tested. 

 And here's Doris showing us the last part of her tutorial, which was how to make Wonky Circle blocks. That was super interesting, and something I may have to try. Big thanks to Doris for hosting such a great meeting!

May 18, 2014

May 25th Meeting Tutorial - Curves with Doris

Hi! My Name is Doris Lovadina-Lee and I will be hosting the May meeting. I’ve been a member of the Toronto Modern Quilt Guild from its first year and always enjoy the discussions, ideas and beautiful quilts we share at our meetings. If there are any of you out there (members or not) that haven’t been recently, I encourage you to attend for a fun filled afternoon.

                                               Full Circles

Drunkard’s Path, Orange Peel, Double Wedding Ring, Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, Grandmother’s Fan these are just a few of the quilt blocks that are constructed using curved seams.  Circles and curves - these words seem to draw fear into the heart of a quilter. Fear no longer!

Wonky Circles

Come to our meeting on Sunday May 25th and I’ll demonstrate how to easily sew accurate curved blocks.  Quarter circles, complete circles and wonky circles all of these are constructed the same way. Bring in some fabric scraps, thread and you can try stitching some yourself.

Quarter Circles

Show and Share
Bring in your quilts that feature curves and circles to the show and share. If you have any patterns, featuring curves bring them in for advice and tips on construction. As usual bring in any problems, questions and ideas.

Sow’s Ear Challenge
Don’t forget to bring in your Sow’s Ear purse, if you had time to finish it this month. (You have until out June meeting to finish them if you need more time) I had fun making mine and am looking forward to seeing what you all created.

May 16, 2014

April Meeting

What a great meeting we had at the end of April. Lots of new faces to go along with the old familiar ones.

After dealing with the random bits of business and going around the table and doing introductions, we went on to Show and Tell of both finished items and works in progress. First up was Emily Beckett-Sward, who showed us a beautiful baby quilt that she had just finished.
If I remember the story correctly, she made this sweet simple little square pattern, was happy with it, and then decided that she wanted to try doing something a little more challenging. 
Yeah, I'm going to say that that got a little more challenging, pretty fast. 
Seriously though, gorgeous eh? I'm not sure if it was Emily herself who said it, or one of the other guild members (Debbie maybe?) but it was suggested that this should be called a "Mullet Quilt" as in "business in the front, party in the back". A pretty good description no matter who said it. Now all she has to do is bind it. 

Next up was Angela Wu, who brought in this little number.
It is a pattern that she made up herself, and I wish I had taken a better close-up because while the patchwork itself is gorgeous, what really impressed us was the quilting. 
There was lots of swirly, feathery goodness going on here, which you can only vaguely see in this image. Lots of amazing texture.

Katrina Kilroy was one of the new faces around the table. She'd brought this adorable baby quilt.

I love how bright and graphic it is. It is going to blow baby Emma's mind. 

And Jacquline Sava (of Soak fame) brought in this adorable little thing. Can you tell what it is?

 Here's a close up of it closed….
…and here it is opened up. Its a little ring pillow that she used for her wedding! What a great idea eh? I'm having a hard time remembering (because I waited, like three weeks to finally blog about it) but I believe that Katrina made it for her. 

Last up was Ysobela Hyett. 
She's right behind this quilt top, I promise you. And isn't it great. I love her fabric choices. The really bold, saturated colours of the little triangles contrasting with the lovely soft pinks of the background.

She also had this completed quilt top to show us.

She's making this one for a charity auction. Simple yet striking and so much fun.

And here's a picture of some of the fabrics that we will be using for our Sow's Ear Challenge. The swap process was really fun, with the surprise factor of what you would pull out of that bag being the point of it and all. I can't wait to see what people make!

April 20, 2014

Sow's Ear Challenge

Just wanted to post a good clear description of a challenge that I am planning for the meeting this month. I (Andrea Vander Kooij) will be hosting the April Meeting, and I want to have a Sow's Ear Swap/Challenge. I came up with the idea from looking at a lot of older quilts. I LOVE old quilts; their sense of design, the rhythm, the imperfections and inconsistencies which really show the evidence of the human hand in their making. One thing I noticed recently when looking at some old quilts was how much of the fabric was, well, kind of ugly. The Gees' Bend quilts are a good example.
This one is by Sally Bennett Jones, and was made in 1966. Left over bits of this and that, dress making scraps of every possible hue and theme, with colours that may have been popular once but are cherished no longer. But despite the not-very-nice raw materials, it has all been put them together to make a thing of great beauty. (if you are not already familiar with the Quilts of Gees Bend, you can find more about them here)

How different it is from our current quilt making methods, where we go to a gorgeous little shop and buy an assortment of beautiful fabrics and then make a quilt. How can it not be beautiful when we've started with the "best ingredients" as any good foodie these days would.

Now don't get me wrong and think I am knocking designer fabrics. I adore the contemporary fabrics available to quilters now, and buy a lot of it as my embarrassingly large stash would prove. We are very  lucky in the sense that, when we decide to make a quilt there is no limit to the colours and patterns available to us.

But I've often found, as an artist, that I do my best work when there are some restrictions. I'll often limit myself to a certain medium or category of material and really enjoy the way that limiting my options makes me push my creativity in a direction it might not have gone otherwise.

Anyhow, all this babbling is to say that I wanted to challenge the other members of my guild to make something beautiful out of something ugly. Or at least ugly-ish. A silk purse out of a sow's ear as the saying goes. And also to take the control of fabric choice out of our own hands. I think it will also give us an interesting insight into the practical origins of quilting, when a scrappy quilt was literally made with, well, scraps.

So here's the plan. I'm inviting anyone who belongs to our guild and can attend the meeting next month to join in the challenge. Here's what you have to do:

1. Go to your local thrift store and buy three different things made of fabric. And you don't have to buy yardage per se. You can buy old sheets, pillowcases, curtains or tablecloths. You could buy clothing items like men's shirts or ladies skirts. Just keep a few criteria in mind. It should be a woven fabric, not a knit. (so no t-shirts or baby onesies etc.) Try to keep it cotton-ish. A lot of bed sheets are cotton-poly blends, but try to avoid silks, wool, crazy chemical blends fibres. Not that you couldn't make quilts out of those, but lets stick with easy to cut, easy to iron fabrics. And try to go a bit off the beaten path in terms of what they look like. The don't have to be hideously ugly (after all, that is very relative term) but try to choose at least one thing that is not too tasteful.

2. Then take those things home and wash them. I like to put my thrifted items, still in their plastic bag, into my freezer for 24 hours, and then wash them on warm/hot depending what I think the fibres/dyes can take, just to nuke any potential critters out of them. Just in case. Knock wood.

3. Bring those three items to our meeting next Sunday.

4. Then, we will throw all of them into a big ole' garbage bag and shake it up. And each of us will pull out three items, (without looking - grab bag style) and use those items to piece and quilt something. We will each be allowed one "do over" grab, in case we get something we truly hate/can't work with. And we will each be allowed to purchase (or use from our stash) one additional solid coloured, or mostly solid fabric. With those four fabrics we will make a pieced and quilted bag of some sort. Use whatever pattern you like or make it up as you go.

Sound good? I can't wait to see what people bring! This is going to be so much fun…..

April 18, 2014

March Meeting

Our March meeting was led by the ever able Rebecca Burnett. We dealt with a lot of little business matters and Rebecca led us in an interesting Zentangle workshop. Zentangle is a style of intuitive doodling, which was very fun and relaxing. Rebecca's idea was that it could be helpful in generating new ideas for quilting patterns.

We were very pleased to see a lot of new members and a few visitors as well.

There was lot of exciting show and tell at this meeting.
Valerie Prideaux brought in a beautiful little half-hexagon quilt top. I love the way the hexagons seem to float on the negative space.
 Valerie also brought in a finished quilt. I believe this pattern is called Courthouse Steps. 
Debbie De Santis brought in this lovely, simple little quilt. She'd purchase a cutting system (I can't remember which one) and this was her first quilt made using that new tool.
Rebecca brought in a top that she'd quilted, but not yet bound. From afar it has a lovely simple feel, with a lot of impact. 
But up close she's done some really intricate quilting. 
 One of our new members is Angela Wu. She's been working on this Dresden Plate and is nearly finished. 

Such lovely, fine stitching!

And our other new member, Michelle Woods brought in these two cushion covers that she'd completed recently. I love the colour combination with the grey solid and the vibrant, scrappy brights. 
Also, the hand quilting with colourful thread is a beautiful final touch.

 We had a visitor too. Heather Bennett-Chamberlain came spent the afternoon with us, as she plans to start a quilt guild in the Grimsby area, and wanted to see what our meetings are like.
She brought this sweet quilt for show and tell. 

 A simple, clean lined modern log cabin setting off a forest-creature themed feature fabric in the middle. Beautifully done.