Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On-Line Class

Usually Wednesday is my messy day but this week I made my mess on Monday.

I dyed cotton fabric for my on-line course with Dijanne Cevaal.

rinsing with white vinegar and cold water

I have been cleaning up my basement and found a tie-dye kit from one of the kids. There was a little dye left so I used it on another piece of cotton.

I think I will try dying some silk. I am getting the hang of's not as scary as I thought.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Log Cabin Antique

I love log cabin quilts. I purchased this antique last week from Diane Shink's collection. She bought it at a garage sale in Westmount years ago.

log cabin from 4th quarter of 19th century

It is fairly used. The silks are mostly threads. It's made using a foundation which is preventing the batting from showing through the used strips of silk. I think it is beautiful.

I want to hang it at my house on the second floor landing. It is a wall area that is above a window and sees no sunlight, which would further damage the fibres. You would be able to enjoy it from the first floor and the second.

It would be far enough away not to notice the silk fabrics that are in threads and to highlight the furrows of light and dark. It has a great impact from far.

The back is cotton sateen and (shock) it is hand quilted!
Usually log cabin quilts are tied because of the many layers,
(seams and foundation).

The only thing is, it is very heavy and the weight will further damage the stitches. I'll sew two sleeves at the back, one at the top and one along the bottom. That way I will be able to flip it upside down every few months to relieve some stress on the stitches due to the weight pulling it down.

I will bring it to show my students when I talk about fabric values, lights and darks, and when I teach the log cabin block. They will find it inspiring!

Here is another log cabin (quilt published in one of Diane's books), circa 1900, unfinished, in much better shape but was not for sale. It was purchased in Nova Scotia by Diane.

The back, unfinished.
Notice it is machine pieced on foundation

The patchwork side

Friday, February 24, 2012


Are you a supporter of fibreQUARTERLY, an on-line textile magazine?

Joe Lewis is the editor. He has published an article written by McGill student, Christina Colizza, about "Tradition in Transition", the France exhibit (Volume 7 issue 4). He also mentions the story in his editorial.

Click here to read it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Going to a Good Home

I bought some beautiful quilts while in Montreal- antiques from appraiser Diane Shink's collection.

I teach the 9-patch block as a beginner project. At the end of the 6-week course I like to introduce the students to different ways they can set their blocks for future quilts.

the blue and white is a 9-patch block

The quilt was made in Quebec. It use to be red, white and blue but the red has faded into a lovely shade of pink. The construction is unusual. It is machine pieced and hand quilted but the back is a good quality (high thread count) bed sheet and the maker had some difficulty getting all the way through the layers with her needle and quilting thread.

The label is made out of a fancy handkerchief. Diane wrote the information
about the antique using a marker.
She machine embroidered her name and appliqued it on the back.
The smaller S. P. S. was made by the maker.
(just to the right of Diane's label)

I have put it in the guest room. Diane is happy her 'baby' is going to a good home.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


Friday my friend Diane Shink, (AQS) certified appraiser, teacher and quilter, and I went to Pointe √† Cailli√®re in Montreal to see the exhibit Colours of India.

The photography by Suzanne Held was superb!! She captured the colours so well.

The textiles were nice but the way they were displayed.... Look at these two turbans. They are block printed. Don't you think they could have had them pressed before exhibiting them? Shameful for a museum setting.

This embroidered, quilted, cotton-canvas carpet made in the second half of the 18th century shows evidence of not being stored properly. Notice the cross fold lines. there are other folds in the border

Diane and I were not impressed.

My husband is in India right now. I hope he can find me a nice piece of fabric.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Traditional Textiles

My daughter's friend, Caroline, is in Panama right now. She sent this picture of the molas from the Guna indigenous people.

It is done using reverse applique.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My New Singer

Well, it isn't really new. It was my grandfather's industrial machine.

It got some TLC (tender loving care) this week.

Fred from Shamrock Sewing Machines made a house call, got it into shape and gave me a lesson on how to use it!

I remember my grandfather using it when I hung out at his tailor shop on Saturday afternoons after ballet class.

I loved looking through the sample books.

I think the thing I will like the best on this machine is the bobbin winder.
(left side) The bobbin winds as the machine is sewing! How cool is that!
See the black mark on the left?
 It is where he use to hang his cigarette while he sewed.
 He use to forget it and it use to burn the wood. I remember that, too.

My grandmother will be so happy when I call and tell her I'm using it! I'll be seeing her this weekend in Montreal.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Happy Valentine's Day!

red thread in my studio
(photo by friend and quilter J.  Freeman)

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I signed up for a knitting class at the Purple Purl. The class took place at the art gallery next door. The sun poured in and the art around us was so inspirational.

Art work by Eva Koller Davis.
I learned so much from our teacher Glenna C.

Since we were doing a class about using two or more colours when knitting, she went over the colour wheel and some colour theory. As in quilting, people have trouble deciding what colours to pull together.

Student, Eva's, work at the side.
This is my sample.
Just as in quilting, one who really knows looks at the back of the work!
The teacher called us advanced. Woohoo!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Late Night in Toronto

I came home late from the guild meeting.

It is always nice seeing quilting friends,

and sharing what we have been up to in the past month.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Our Blue Quilts

Our little group, Ad Maiora (Canada), was able to get 4 quilts made for the Cayman Islands Hospital and the new Diabetes Education Centre at the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital.

Blue is the colour that represents diabetes. (Cayman Islands Diabetes Charitable Trust)

Gail will be putting on prairie points to finish the edges.

Love the labels, Grace!

On the way home, I stopped at the bluffs in the east end of Toronto to take this picture of Lake Ontario. I was thinking of the warm, blue Caribbean Sea surrounding the Caymans.

Without thinking, I put cotton batting in my quilt. I hope it won't be too warm!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Best Part

I love sewing on binding on a quilt by hand. (It's not the same as hand stitching. This is manageable. You can hold the fabric without getting all tangled up in it.)

I'm not sure why. It could be the steady rhythm and movement of the arm as it pulls the needle and thread through the layers or maybe the closeness that 'we' share as it lays on my lap.

That is when I start loving the quilt. I see it close up. I see all the fabrics I used. I pull off all the little threads. I feel its warmth.

It was dropped off at a friend's on the weekend. She will be taking it to the Cayman Islands as part of Ad Maiora Canada's contribution to the Cayman Islands Hospital and the new Diabetes Education Centre at the Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital. The children receiving the quilts will be between the ages of 7 and 10, newly diagnosed with diabetes.

I put a "Canadian" label on the back.
Judy Davidson did the gorgeous quilting on a long-arm machine.

Our sister group in Verona has also made some and they will be sending theirs soon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012


I always keep my eyes open for textures as I walk in the city.

I have been looking for letters in particular.

This morning after my breakfast date with my husband, I took a rubbing of one of the signs near our coffee place.

It is the first stage in preparing my piece of muslin.

The crayons and fabric fit nicely in my never know where you'll find something good to transfer.

I carry a container of crayons in a small lozenge case.

I have this metal box from when I lived in Vienna.

Notice the 82.00. It's in schillings, not dollars!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Toronto Public Library Community Quilt

The log cabin class took place yesterday at the TPL, Spadina branch. Fourteen people signed up.

Wonky log cabin block (Crooked on purpose!)

I gave a short history of the block- the uncertain history; Did the design come from the farmer's fields in Scotland and England or the mummified cats from the discovery of Egyptian artifacts around the time Napoleon conquered that country. It seems that pattern was around before the pioneer's log cabin.

Log cabin quilts were found in Europe in the 1820's and much later in North America.

They sewed...

and talked...

and laughed.

...a nice relaxed get-together... just like quilting was meant to be.