ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Newfoundland: Warm Hospitality, Good Food, and Interesting Weather

I blew into St. John's, Newfoundland along with the snowstorm on February 9. We were the last flight to make it in that night. Visibility was near 0 on the ride to Conception Bay where I would be staying with Regina McCarthy. I met Regina when I was lecturing and teaching at Quilters' Pleasure Weekend in Cornwall, Ontario last year, and ever since she has been trying to arrange my visit to Newfoundland. During my visit I was hosted by the Eastern Edge Quilters Guild and the Cabot Quilters Guild.

On Friday night I delivered a lecture and trunk show for both guilds. It was held at the Marine Institute of the Memorial University of Newfoundland. I'd say this is the most hi-tech lecture hall I've appeared at, and it came with a technician for the evening!

The quilts were are all spread out on the stage, and you can see members arriving for the meeting.

Here you can see Regina introducing me.

On Saturday and Sunday I taught for the Eastern Edge Quilters Guild. The topic for Day 1 was "In Full Bloom". This is a somewhat complex class and you can see that students only finish one or two petals in one day. I brought two bins of hand-dyed fabrics with me to Newfoundland. There was a pretty serious fabric frenzy the first day and about 3/4 of it was scooped up. I'd say 95% of the fabric I brought was sold by the time I left.

My hand-dyes are seriously depleted (this is a good thing!) after St. John's, Newfoundland and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories so I need to get dyeing before my Toronto tour in three weeks! I have figured out a way I can dye sitting down (my knee is still a big problem). The only problem is that when my husband put the bed sheets in the washer this morning the control panel started smoking. We either need a repair or a new washer. Hope that will be resolved this week!

By the end of my week in St. John's, Elsa had completed her tulip and I would say she did a fabulous job! That's Lorraine peeking out the left side of the photo.

Day 2's class was Liberated Strip Piecing. It is always so much fun to see students let go and cut and piece freely without rulers.

I was delighted to meet Karen Colbourne Martin and Judy Cooper, both well-known Canadian fibre artists, who came to my trunk show and classes. Here Karen contemplates her liberated design.

Another student, who was a bit shy about attention, was turning out a very interesting piece.

Since I tend to be a bit monochromatic in my colour schemes, I really enjoyed Jennifer's use of colour.

On Sunday night there was a catered dinner that guild members could attend. It was held at Joanne's home. I should mention here that Joanne is a medical doctor, and that there were several medical doctors and nurses in my classes, which somehow comforted me given the state of my knee. Regina's niece, who has a catering company, was responsible for this scrumptious meal of cod au gratin, chicken penne, lasagne, and several wonderful salads.
The chocolate cake Joanne baked was literally to die for! I felt a lot better eating it knowing that a doctor was promoting it!

When Regina booked me for this trip, she suggested that I take a day off between teaching for the two guilds. That proved to be a wise suggestion. So Monday I slept in and then went for a long lunch with Regina and Jennifer.

Here is Regina showing off her dish of cod tongues. I tasted them and they were really good!

I ordered cod on penne with a rose sauce. Yum!

After lunch Regina and Jennifer took me on a driving tour of the city of St. John's. I should say here that Regina is a very experienced and knowledgeable guide! She and her husband ran "McCarthy's Party", providing tours of Newfoundland and Labrador for 30 years. The company is now run by one of their sons. We started out at Signal Hill, which overlooks the City. St. John's is the oldest city in North America, being claimed as an English colony in 1583, although John Cabot is believed to have discovered it in 1497. Newfoundland and Labrador only joined Canada in 1949.

We drove through the old city, where colourful clapboard houses line the streets.

We made a stop at the Craft Council shop, where I purchased several pairs of socks hand-knit in Newfoundland.

After my tour, I was handed over to the Cabot Quilters Guild, where I stayed in the home of Brenda Lewis. Brenda took very good care of me (there's a picture of Brenda a little bit later in this post). Oh and I must mention that she lives in a rapidly growing town called "Paradise"!!

The next day I taught my Collage Tree class. Here is the class holding up their work at the close of the day. Most people do not finish building the tree trunk in one day.

On the last day I taught my Beyond Stippling, Part 1 class. We had wonderfully spacious classrooms for each class.

That night the Cabot Guild took me out for dinner. More fish and I was happy! From left to right: Brenda, Lorraine, Andrea, Marina, Elsa, Sharon and me. I breathed a sign of relief, as I made it through the week despite my knee problems! There were some painful moments when my knee locked, but sitting down seemed to unlock it. I'm still walking with a cane though.

What will I remember about Newfoundland? First and foremost the people! Their warmth, hospitality and helpfulness were truly outstanding and made my trip so much less stressful. A chair with wheels was provided for my workshops, I was driven door to door, and a complex network of quilters' husbands showed up at venues to transport my bags. I will also remember the wonderful food. I think I ate fish (halibut, steelhead trout and cod) nearly every day. Last but not least, I will remember the weather. Where else can one experience four seasons in one day? I experienced it all! A snow storm with whiteout conditions, freezing rain, gale winds and driving rain, fog, a little sunshine, and more freezing rain!

I returned to Ottawa Thursday night, and yesterday taught Part 6 of my Art Quilt Series at Dragonfly Fabrics here in Ottawa. I will be blogging about that in the next couple of days. I now have three weeks to spend in the studio, dye fabric, and take care of my knee before I head to Toronto.


  1. Wow, it sounds fabulous despite your knee!
    Now I really can't wait to head out east. Well, other than I get to see you again=) I will be in Halifax for the whole week, I accepted the Director at Large position on the CQA Board.

  2. Great post Elaine. You have been really busy. I love the pictures! I am in love with those bright coloured houses and if I lived in NL, I might do nothing but house qults!

  3. Elaine, I can't tell you happy I am to see the fantastic traveling you've been able to do as a result of following your art career dreams. Double win, in my eyes!

  4. What could be better than traveling, quilting, eating, and shopping? And you get to do them all and get paid for it. How great is that??

  5. Elaine...thanks for the great pictures of the workshop creativity and the landscape of the buildings...I travel vicariously with you on these journeys and really appreciate the in depth picture you paint for your readers.


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