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! 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Improv Round Robin WorKshop

At a recent meet-up between the Montreal and Ottawa MQGs, I led an Improv Round-Robin Workshop. 
Participants were asked to bring a varied set of fabrics from their stash ranging in size from small scraps to full width pieces. 
I'd participated in 3 other improv round robins in the past (2 of which I led), but this was the first time that I had led and participated in one where we were required to create on the spot and within a set time limit. There were 6 rounds in all. The first couple of rounds lasted 15 min. and the time was gradually increased to 30min. in the final round. 

Below you can see the tops that were created (I am third from the left). What surprised me most about the tops was that, although we each worked mainly with fabrics from our own stash for each round, each of the tops is unique and made up of a very distinct color palette. 

This is the top that I came away with. 

Once home, I worked on the top some more to bring it to a larger size. 
You can see in the photo how I've outlined my starter block in blue and the top I left the workshop with in purple. 

 Each participant passed a label along with their tops, so that each person who worked on the quilt could sign it. I pieced my label into the back. 

All there is left to do is to quilt it.

This was a quick paced and very dynamic exercise that pushed people beyond their comfort zones. But, based on everyone's feedback, I think it was a time enjoyed by all. 
And we all have great souvenir of our first ever Mtl-Ott MQG meet-up! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Montreal-Ottawa Meet-up

For almost a year now, we at the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild have been anticipating a meet-up with the members of  Ottawa Modern Quilt Guild. On April 18th, it finally happened and what a day it was. Well worth the anticipation! 
Part of the program for the day was an ice breaker swap. Each member was asked to make either a pincushion or a mug rug to swap with someone from the other guild as a way to introduce each other. 

I made a tiny fabric box with an integrated pincushion and room for a thimble, 

and came away with this sweet mug rug made by Laura Pigot of Waffle Kisses. 

Here is a shot of all the swap items. you can see a full view of the mug rug i received.

We also had a show and tell of the challenge quilts we made. Members were asked to make a small 30X40in. quilt based on one of 5 modern quilt design principles.

don't have a full picture of my own challenge quilt, but it's the black and white one you see below.  I made one for the Minimalist category. You can see it in M.R. Charbonneau's post
Joanna's quilt: improv category.  Best use of a jelly roll I've ever seen!

Heather's quilt 

M.R.'s quilt 

Boom Clap by Laura Pigot: lots of amazing detail and fussy cutting in that quilt! 

April's quilt 

Melanie's Quilt: negative space 

Francine's quilt: negative space 

Louise's quilt: alternate gridwork 

Llynnda hiding behind  her first improv quilt

Josee's beautifully minimalist quilt 
The afternoon was spent on sewing. Some members chose to work on individual projects, while 6 of us participated in an improv round-robin workshop which I facilitated. Details will come at later post, but I will say it was intense and lots of fun! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Open Letter to the Members of Montreal Modern Quilt Guild

I was flipping through my 'guild binder' yesterday and came across the first agenda that I ever wrote for the guild and realized that we are coming up on the third anniversary of our very first meeting (March 18th, 2012)!

This led me to reflect on all that has happened since Josée and I decided to start the guild.

First and foremost, I have found a good friend in Josée. She is not only a reliable vice-president, organized, dedicated, and talented, she also gives so much of her time to the guild and she is a great person. Thank you Josée for your continued support as a colleague and for your friendship.

Being a part of this guild has allowed me to meet many other wonderful people and I feel privileged to be part of a community of people who are so willing to share and learn from one another. You share in your expertise through demos, you impart knowledge on others and you give your time so willingly to ensure that our guild runs smoothly.

This year especially, we have had so much assistance from members and that has helped make our meetings more enjoyable. Our executive committee members work hard to organize our finances, our membership, swaps, challenges, sew-ins, workshops and meet-ups. Thank you to Josée, Isabelle, Denise, Louise, Agnes and Michèle.
A big thank you also goes to Jill for organizing the volunteers for set-ups and for providing us with refreshments. Our meetings and our breaks have been so much more pleasurable thanks to of all the volunteers who have signed up to help.

We also have an official photographer this year. Thanks Stephanie for the great pics and for posting them online.

Joanna, our librarian has put together an extensive list of sewing and quilting related books that are available for members to borrow. Thank you kindly to those who are willing to share their books.

I am also grateful to all members who come to meetings to share their creations during the show and tell. I know that we all feel vulnerable sometimes when showing what we made. Quilts have a very personal meaning to their makers and when we share them we are exposing a part of ourselves and that takes a lot of courage. So I say thank you to all of you for sharing a part of yourselves.

Even outside of our meetings, people continue to provide encouragement to one another and to help spread the word about our guild and its members. Thank you especially to Stacy for posting on FB and your blog about the personal accomplishments of our members and for promoting the guild. You have also been so helpful in sourcing quilting products that our guild members have requested.

This is not only my first experience as the president of a guild; it is also the first time that I am a member of any guild. In the past three years, I have experienced a big learning curve! Mainly I have learned that nothing great is ever accomplished alone. I also realize that when a large group of people are involved in an endeavor, it is not only difficult but impossible for everyone to agree on everything.

As the president of the guild, I hope that I have always been available to listen to members’ grievances and comments about the goings on of the guild. My intention has always been to create an environment of mutual respect. Everyone is welcome to express their personal opinion on any matter during our meetings and through our online forum.

If ever you wish to address something privately, my email address is public and I am also available to speak to anyone after a meeting or sew-in.
We also put out an annual survey at the end of each year so people can also voice their opinions anonymously.

Finally I would like to say thank you to everyone for just showing up. Your presence makes our work worthwhile and I look forward to seeing you all every month.


Monday, February 23, 2015

In the news...

The past few days have been exciting for me. First off, my quilt "Fill the Void" won a third place ribbon at Quiltcon in the handwork category!

The organizers contacted me two days before the awards ceremony to let me know that I was to receive an award but did not say for what. When I submitted my quilt back in November (?) I did not request that my quilt be put in a specific category, but left it up to them. So i had no idea what category I had won for! 
I am so pleased that it was put in the handwork category. It was such an enormous pleasure to quilt this quilt. I really took my time with it,  spending lots of peaceful evening hours working on it. 

This quilt is very personal to me and I am more attached to it than any other quilt i have made. I faced many struggles in the making of it, and they were all worthwhile. (You can read about my process here). I am really looking forward to getting it back! 

In other news, Josee Carrier and I were featured in an article in the local newspaper thi spast weekend. The La Presse  article talks about the fresh new approaches that today's quilters are using to create quilts that are not at all like what our grandmothers made! 
Tamara Serrao, Montreal MQG member and designer for Michael Miller Fabrics also spoke in the article about the ever evolving fabric industry. 
It is great to see that modern quilting is getting some exposure here in Quebec! It's been a little slow to catch on, but I think we are making great strides.