ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Commission

I've been working with a couple who wish to commission a quilt for the entry-way/stairwell of their home. They are interested in a sunflower theme. Over the years I have taken hundreds (maybe even thousands) of photos of sunflowers all over the world, and I even have a bit of experience rendering sunflowers in quilts. Based on their preferences and size needs, I came up with the following design to inspire the work. 

The design will be a triptych. The centre panel will be 4 ft x 4 ft., and each side panel will be 2 ft x 4 ft.  I'm delighted that we agreed on a design and the commission agreement was signed yesterday.

I'm blocking some time in my calendar for this year and next to complete this work. The deadline I've given myself is April 30, 2019. In my commission agreement I asked that I be allowed to blog about the making of this work, with the promise that I will not reveal the names or location of the commissioners.

It is an honour to be trusted to create something that a couple will live with every day in their home. I look forward to the challenge. Feeling blessed today.

Monday, July 9, 2018

We've been having a heat wave here in my part of the world. It was so hot on Canada Day (July 1) that very few people showed up on Parliament Hill for Canada Day celebrations. I personally stayed in my air-conditioned house and was very productive. It cooled off for a bit on Friday, but now it is brutally hot and humid (it is the humidity that is the killer) again. I am dropping in with some news.

This week I am shipping Smoke & Mirrors 2 off to Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England. It will be exhibited in the Art Quilt category. No I will not be at the show in August. I wish I could be though. 

Cascade 1 and 2 were both accepted to the Fibre Content show at the Art Gallery of Burlington. The show runs September 6-16, 2018. More info at More info: http://fibrations.org/. I probably will not make it to that show either. It is right during Fibrefest, and after a day of teaching and two days of vending I am not sure I will feel like making the six hour drive to Burlington. However, I am pleased to have my work there.

The rain we experienced after the heat wave provided a wonderful opportunity to shoot raindrops on the hosta leaves. I really am thrilled with the HDR setting on my Samsung Smart phone. I have been able to take better raindrop photos with it than my Canon Rebel with macro lens. Now that might have something to do with my own inexperience with the latter.

Dyeing continues in earnest. I am committed to working away at 30 or 40 meters each week to avoid a last-minute panic prior to Fibrefest. I dont handle panics so well anymore ;-)

Janet Kivisto sent me a photo of this wall of quilts at the Trent Valley Quilters Guild Show in Brighton, Ontario. In Spring 2017 I taught an In Full Bloom workshop to this group, and I think this group gets a medal for most pieces finished in shortest time (I understand there were a few more in the show). These were made using my Peony and Sunkissed Poppy patterns, and in many cases students purchased my kit of hand-dyed fabrics too. 

On Canada Day Weekend I spent a good amount of time on this. Two years ago I picked up a Mussel shell on the beach in New Brunswick. I did not keep the shell, nor did I even take a photo. I am using my memory of the shell as a jumping off point to produce this work. It will be called Mussel Memory.

Because I am working with two colourways (purple to blue and yellow-gold to orange) I am ending up with blocks in two colourways.

I am working with a variety of block sizes. Small rectangular blocks and small square blocks are completed. I still have to sew and add larger rectangular blocks and larger square blocks. Then it will be hard to get to bed at night while I play with these babies on the design wall!!

I am madly prepping for my class on Flowers, Foliage and Trees at the Haliburton School of Art + Design, the week of July 23. It is not too late to join us. There are still three spaces left. However, I am heading up to Haliburton on July 14 to take a class on Travelling with a Sketchbook. Lots to prepare and think of for staying in a cottage for two weeks, while also taking and teaching classes.

Last, but certainly not least, the couple who are commissioning work for their home have agreed to a design and I am just waiting for the signed contract. I will be blogging about the making of this triptych as it comes together. What an honour to make a piece that will have impact when visitors step into their home, and that they will hopefully enjoy each day themselves. It is kinda cool to be doing some new things and some things I havent done in a while. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Almonte Fibrefest

It was really tempting to call this blog post "Thread Porn", but I was afraid it would be blocked somewhere out in cyberland. But that's the term I'd like to give to the following photo. This is a photo of part of my hand-dyed thread collection.

I'm pleased to share that I will be both teaching and vending at Almonte Fibrefest this year. On Friday, September 7 I will be teaching a class on Hand-dyed Threads, and on Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, I will be a vendor selling my hand-dyed fabrics and patterns and kits. No I don't sell the threads. They are a bit labour intensive for that, but oh so gratifying to produce.

The lighter weight ones can be used for machine stitching. Here's a sample of some  machine quilting.

 The heavier weight ones can be used for couching or bobbin drawing.

What I am really developing a love for is hand-stitched, hand-dyed threads. Here are a few small samples I have made.


I hope I'll see you at Fibrefest. Until then, you will probably find me dyeing up a storm!

Monday, June 4, 2018

A Couple of Shows and All Things Dyed

This past weekend was our annual National Juried Show and conference put on by the Canadian Quilters' Association. My hosta bud quilt, "Rise" was in the show this year, after several years of not entering due to not having any new show-worthy work. I have managed to enter a few shows this year because I made new work early in the year, in preparation for my show in Spain, and also because I'm carrying a bit lighter load of teaching these days. The show this year was held in Vancouver. Next year's will be here in Ottawa, where I live. If you click on the high-lighted links in the above text you can see all the award winners and more information about the show. Thank you to Tracy Brittain Loyek of Purple Katz Quilts, and many others who shared photos.

The quilt to my right is by Leslie Forbes of Osoyoos, BC. I think she has very successfully captured an Okanagan Valley feel with her vineyard quilt.

The quilt immediately to my left is by Millie Cumming of Fergus, Ontario.

While that show was happening, I was in Montreal teaching at Courtepoint Quebec's Salon 2018. This is Quebec's provincial show. Not all of my classes filled, but my Intro Dyeing class did. Montreal was in the midst of a heatwave when I arrived on Friday night, and everyone at the show looked wilted and HOT! Fortunately things cooled down a bit for my Saturday class.

Last week I decided to dye myself some new garments. I found a few dress blanks and scarf blanks in my basement that I had  purchased from Dharma Trading Company some time back. I'm pretty pleased with these two dresses. The one on left is short enough that it looks really nice with white leggings. I used elastic bands to bind various round objects in different sizes. I miscalculated a bit on the amount of dye powder and ended up with grey instead of black, but I am really starting to love grey in my wardrobe so I am happy with it. The dress on the right is in that currently popular colour that I would describe as gold? It was first dyed gold using a low water immersion method, and then wrapped on a pole and immersion dyed.

I tried the same circle idea on a velvet scarf. The dress to the right and the two scarves below were my first attempts this time around. While I love the indigo blue colour, I am not that thrilled with the way the circles fall on the dress to the right.

And while I was looking for simplicity for these scarves, one single circular motif on each end doesn't seem enough for me. Maybe because the contrast is so strong. I do love the colours though.

 The last couple of weeks I also got immersed in dyeing the palette for my garlic quilt. See my May 11, 2018 blog post for photos of the garlic that I find so inspiring. I am really happy with the palette I've produced in the left photo. In the photo to the right, the reddish colours near the back of the photo were also dyed for this project. The 3 fabrics furthest right are too pink, so they will go to my store. In the middle of this photo, and the one below, are the fabrics that I've pulled from my stash that may work in this quilt.

This month will be a quieter month for me. I am spending some days planning a commission proposal, and writing an article (more information on that later). I'm also having a bit of dental surgery and wanted that in a quiet month when I wouldn't need to talk too much ;-)

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Everything's Blooming & Major Website Update

A couple of days ago I headed out to the Canadian Tulip Festival, which takes place in Canada's capital city (my city!) every May. Although the tulips were beautiful, I found myself a little bored photographing them. Perhaps because I have photographed them many times before? So here are some requisite tulip photos..

I remembered that I had once seen magnolias blooming not too far away, at the Ottawa Arboretum, around this time of year. Much to my delight, I found five different varieties. I believe this is the first time I've found them in yellow.

Most were pink, either a deep fuchsia such as these

or a pale delicate pink such as these.

A pink-tinged white was also in bloom,

as well as an almost-pure white.

I did not find the green-tinged white that was the inspiration for this quilt, "Forgiveness", that I made in 2009. Looking at it now, there are things I would change and improve about it, but that is to be expected since it has been nine years since I made it.

This was the inspiration photo.

A bit further along down the road, the apple blossoms were in bloom. I already shared two photos in my last post. They have not peaked yet. At peak, they form a long row of pink down Prince of Wales Dr.

Next to autumn, this is my favorite time of year. Without winter, how would we ever appreciate the beauty of everything that is coming back to life?

I hope you are enjoying a beautiful day. It is a long weekend in Canada in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. While we have not been under British rule since 1867, we are still a Commonwealth country.

Yesterday was cloudy and rainy, so a perfect day to finish a substantial website update I'd been working on for a few days. Here it is! www.elainequehl.com
Most of the changes relate to my Gallery of Quilts, where I added five new galleries. I've included all the new works I've made over the last three years. You'll find that some galleries only have one or two quilts, but the fact that I felt they warrant a separate Gallery is because I am planning on adding more work in those series.