ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, November 11, 2018

My Great Big Maritime Adventure

A few days ago I returned from my marathon 15 day trip to the Maritimes. After 15 days, driving more than 3,600 km across five provinces, sleeping in 11 different beds over 15 days, teaching for four groups, and eating countless lobster sandwiches, I am happy to be home. Winter is coming and hibernation has its lure.

On my first day I stopped off in one of my favorite cities in Canada, Quebec City. I had never visited on a late October day. I didn't have much time, but managed a walk around the old town, Chateau Frontenac and the Petit Champlain district (one of the oldest neighbourhoods in North America). It was all decked out for autumn and Halloween.

Painted mural across from my hotel.

I cashed in my Best Western, Aeroplan, and AirMiles points so that I could make the drive a bit more leisurely. The idea was to never have to drive more than six hours in a day. Well it took more like 8 hours to get to my next destination, Fredericton, New Brunswick, thanks to an early snow storm that dropped 10-15 cm of snow. The roads were very treacherous. I was also careful on this trip to get some down time between each booking.

My third night was spent in Antigonish, Nova Scotia so that I would only be an hour away from my first teaching destination at the Northumberland Quilters Retreat, held at Liscombe Lodge, Liscombe, Nova Scotia. Oh my goodness, just look at the view outside my bedroom!

My two-day Collage Tree workshop started after lunch on Friday, and finished after lunch on Sunday. After our Friday lunch, I found this view from my classroom. The sun had emerged!

We worked and ate, and ate and worked. At the end of the retreat, many of my students had finished their tree trunks. They now only need to thread paint them, prepare their background, machine quilt, and add the tree to the background. What a warm and welcoming group!

A couple of days later Claudia Fortune sent me this image of her finished piece. You know what? I like it better than my own piece! Didn't she do a fantastic job?

About a week later, Virginia Caul-Gallant sent a photo of her finished work. I think I like this one better than mine too!
I dyed a number of kits for students to choose from, but many also used their own fabric. For many years I've taught this class with students bringing their own fabric. The first time I offered kits was at my class in Spain this past March. I am finding more and more demand for kits.

When the retreat finished, I headed toward Halifax. The next day I visited Peggy's Cove. I've visited this beautiful site a few times, but I have never visited on a more beautiful day! It was warm, and I didn't even need a coat. It was sunny, and perhaps most amazing of all was that there were relatively few tourists. Such a beautiful and peaceful site!

I had a few days off before I needed to teach my next class in Prince Edward Island. My friend, Canadian Quilt Artist, Laurie Swim, invited me to stay at her house for a couple of nights. Here I am in front of my favorite quilt of Laurie's, "At The End of The Day". We had lots of chat time, I had lots of rest time. It was great to visit someone who understands that after teaching for two days that one might just sometimes want to be alone for quiet time. We also had a lunch one day with Valerie Hearder and Rose Lesage.

Before I left I had a private viewing of Laurie's Gallery in Lunenburg. At this time of year it is not open every day.

Laurie's public art project, "Hope and Survival", commemorating the Halifax Explosion, was home and on display during my visit.

Here is some of the close-up imagery in the quilt

and names of those who died in the explosion. You can read more about this quilt at this link.

This is Laurie's latest work, "Down to the Seas".

Next I headed to Summerside, Prince Edward Island, where I taught an In Full Bloom class to a group comprised of members of both the Northern Lights and Green Shores Quilters' Guilds. I was hosted by Libby Colwille, third from the left in the back room. Thank you for your hospitality Libby!

It rained a lot while I was on Prince Edward Island, and it was interesting to see it after all the tourists have gone home.

Next I headed to Port Elgin, New Brunswick, where I taught another Collage Tree class for the Spruce it Up Quilt Shop, owned by Lorette Bellefleur-Cole. This is Lorette in her lovely store in a country house.

Our workshop took place in the upstairs room of Bistro Le Chat Bleu restaurant in Baie Verte (fantastic food!). Just look at the view from our classroom. Yes it rained all day.

But the rain slowed down long enough to head out on the back deck for a class photo. A big thank you to everyone who helped me take my bins up and down the stairs. Those carts on wheels are great, until you get to a place with stairs. You have no idea how much your help is appreciated.

From there I headed across the province to Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, where I taugh another In Full Bloom class. I got so engrossed, or maybe I was tired, and I completely forgot to take photos at the class. A big thank you to the amazing Pat O'Brien who hosted me, and appears to have slaved over an oven all day before my arrival to put on a fantastic evening meal. Thanks to the Gorge Quilt Guild for your warm hospitality. I managed to snap a photo of the bridge across the Saint John River, that runs through this charming village.

I did the drive home across two days, stopping at Riviere-du-Loup the last night before heading home.

I made it!! Just a couple of lectures and one workshop to go in 2018 before I begin my hibernation to work on my commission and prepare for Quilt Canada 2019.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Maritime Trip Coming Up

It's October 22, and that means tomorrow I leave for a 15 day teaching trip to the Maritimes. Since I am visiting four groups and have lots of things to bring, and hope to enjoy a few days there as well, I decided to drive. I'm giving myself three days to get there so I will never have to drive more than 6 hours in any day. 

My first workshop will be Collage Tree at a two day retreat for the Northumberland Quilt Guild's retreat at Liscombe Lodge. From there I plan on driving to Lunenburg to visit my friend, Canadian Quilt Artist, Laurie Swim. Then I head to Prince Edward Island to teach an In Full Bloom class for the Northern Lights/Green Shores Quilters' Guilds. From there it is back to New Brunswick to teach a one day Collage Tree class at Spruce It Up Quilt Shop, and finally an In Full Bloom workshop for the Gorge Quilt Guild in Perth-Andover, NB.

Peekaboo is enjoying crawling on and into the bags as I am packing them.

I've done a lot more dyeing this past month because I needed floral kits for the In Full Bloom class and tree kits for the Collage Tree classes. When I ripped the fabric Wilma was there to help me.

Tree Kits. This photo shows backgrounds for three different options, and leaf options.

Barks fabrics in darks, mediums and lights.

 Floral kits.

My dyeing was made a bit stressful when my fabric wholesaler ran out of my favorite white cotton, and it continues to be back-ordered until today. I borrowed 57 meters from a friend, and then had to order another 75 yards of other cottons to finish my jobs. While the alternate cottons are nice, they in no way come close to the combed cotton lawn I purchase from TrendTex. I'm told the shipment is expected this coming week. It has been delayed a couple of times so I hope this is true. While I have put my dye pots away (I'm out of fabric and I need to work on the commission) until January, I am going to be needing lots of cotton to prepare for my booth at Quilt Canada Ottawa in June 2019.

I am pretty close to being finished creating the patterns for the triptych commission I am making. When I return I will have them enlarged and begin work. This is the design for the central panel.

copyright, Elaine Quehl, 2018

I had planned to dye more yardage for the sunflowers but since I am out of my favorite cotton I will wait until my return. I want to use the best quality cotton for this commission. Should the cotton be further delayed I will delve into my store and my own stash. For example, these bundles in my store would work well for the sunflowers themselves, and I have a lot of greens in my stash and my store.

The leaves here in the Ottawa Valley have been gorgeous this year. We've managed to get out and about on a few nice days to enjoy them.

I'm hoping there are lots of leaves left on the trees across Quebec and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and even PEI. I'll post a full report of my trip upon my return, however, I will be doing more regular updates on Facebook. Please feel free to "friend" me there.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Fibrefest Follow Up and Studio Clean up

Catching up on my blogging after a week of recovering and cleaning up from Fibrefest. After teaching a Hand-dyed Threads class, we set up my booth on Friday. I'm sharing a few photos before the crowds came. Yes, we had crowds! It was a successful weekend. Here's a view of my entire booth. I purchased some grid racks for the back so I could hang some work and samples of patterns made into quilts, along with patterns. There is a shelf along the back displaying the hand-dyed kits that go with the patterns.

In laying out my booth I decided to organize things in terms of colour. Right at the front I set up an autumn theme. I can't tell you how many people stopped just to pet the velvet!

I'd say the top sellers of the weekend were velvets and Textile Temptation packs. The visitors to Fibrefest are a more diverse crowd than just quilters and so I found it was the non-cottons that really attracted customers.

However, a lot of my past customers (many of them quilters) came out to purchase the cottons too.


Whew ... I was tired on Sunday night! Ended up taking Monday and Tuesday off. Standing and walking on those concrete floors all weekend caused a lot of leg, knee, and lower back pain. I was ever so glad I had a massage booked for Tuesday. 

In the past few days I did a major studio clean up. The tables are cleared to begin work on the sunflower commission next week. My sewing machines have been sent for servicing.

In cleaning up I even managed to excavate the chair in my studio, which has not been seen in two years ;-)

The fabrics that resided on the chair were put away so I can easily find them, in a cleaned out cabinet.

I straightened out the closet and moved some of the seldom-used teaching bins to the basement. Now I have a better idea where everything is, and some space to work in.

But of course I am back in the dye pots too. Trying to plan ahead for upcoming classes in the Maritimes at the end of October and early November. I'm not concerned if I dye too many kits because I need some for my booth at Quilt Canada next year. I just don't like to work in a last minute panic.

Looking forward to making some progress in the studio this week.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fibre Content Show, Art Gallery of Burlington

Today is the opening of the Fibre Content Show at the Art Gallery of Burlington in Burlington, Ontario. I am pleased that two of my works will be there: Cascade 1 and Cascade 2 below. The show will run until September 16.

The exhibition includes 90 art works by 60 artists from across Ontario, plus an interactive exhibit of samples for you to investigate and touch. Admission is free.

The official opening of the show is on Sunday, September 9 from 1 - 3 pm. at 1133 Lakeshore, Burlington, Ontario. The Art Gallery of Burlington is open from 9 am to 9 pm Monday through Friday and 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

New this year are Artist talks. Here is the schedule>

Sept 8:
10:30  Tracey Lawko lecture:  One Stitch at a Time
2 pm   Gunnel Hag lecture: Her Enduring Love of Surface Design
2 pm   Al Cote workshop: Playful Abstract Creations

Sept 15:
10:30  Mita Giacomini lecture: How I Do What I Do - When I Don’t Know What I’m Doing
2 pm   Pat Hertzberg lecture: Her Unique Use of Water Soluble Film
2 pm   Chandra Rice workshop: Eco Printing on Paper and Rust/ Tanning


I wish I could be there, but this weekend I'm fully committed to being a workshop instructor and vendor at Fibrefest Almonte. See my last blog post for information.

Later this month (September 29/30), my friends at Quiltco will be having a show of their work at the Glebe Community Centre in Ottawa celebrating their 25 years in existence.