ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Friday, March 30, 2012

Teacher on Wheels: My Travels to the Greater Toronto Area

Summer arrived in the Greater Toronto Area while I was there, and so did every other of the four seasons.  Crocuses and a heat wave are very unusual in March, but we experienced that and much more!  And yes, t'is true, since I started having knee problems at the end of January, I am now the official "Teacher on Wheels". I managed to deliver all my workshops over the past two weeks by doing so from an office chair on wheels. It is a great way to get around that doesn't require one to stand all day. But I am most definitely NOT amused that our conservative government just passed a bill to raise the age for receiving OAS (old age security) pension to the age of 67! I am really not sure my knees will last another 17 years! And they are definitely needed to travel and transport my quilts, teaching materials, and hand-dyed fabrics.

My 15 day trip included Toronto, Brampton, Cookstown, Orangeville, Gwillimbury, and Newmarket. In my mind I think of them all as being in the "Greater Toronto Area", although places like Orangeville and Cookstown, and even Gwillimbury, have a most decidedly country feeling to them, and are far north of the metropolitan area of Toronto. A country girl at heart, I was glad for a bit of a reprieve to these quieter places.

I began my trip on March 14 with a lecture for the Yorkshire Rose Quilt Guild on the east side of Toronto. Panic set in when I arrived and unpacked my digital projector, only to find there was no power cord or remote control in my bag. The last time I saw them was in Newfoundland, so I can only assume I left them behind. Fortunately I arrived nearly an hour early for the lecture so Carolyn was able to skip down the street to the Source, and found a power cord that fit my projector. What a relief, as I had 4 lectures to deliver on this trip! I was billetted that night at the lovely home of Anne McAllister (that's Anne at the left in front of podium).
The day after the lecture, my husband arrived in Toronto and we spent the next two days there, exploring Asian restaurants, visiting G&S Dye, and making a little trip to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Saturday I delivered my "Beyond Stippling, Part 1" free-motion machine quilting class to the Yorkshire Rose Guild. This photo was taken at the end of the day, after a couple of students had already snuck out.
I will be back visiting this guild in March 2013 to deliver my advanced free-motion class, "Beyond Stippling, Part 2". This will be the third year I've visited Yorkshire Rose Guild. Last year I taught my "In Full Bloom" class, and was pleased when Karen brought her almost-finished poppy to this year's class.
As you can see from from the centre shot, she is an experienced free-motion quilter!

Saturday night after the class I drove to Waterloo to spend a few days with my sister. At that point the temperatures started rising, we had a heat wave, and the crocuses were in full bloom!  By the end of the 15 day trip I had experienced nearly all of the four seasons!

Next I headed to Brampton to deliver a trunk show for the Brampton Quilters Guild. Oh I should mention that on the way to my trunk show I had the wonderful opportunity to meet my on-line friend Carolynn and her husband, Bruce, in Mississauga for lunch. I totally forgot to take my camera to lunch. I did capture a shot of the Brampton Quilters Guild a bit later.
That night I was billetted at the home of Cathy Willoughby, her husband and her three adorable felines. Below is Cathy (seated) selling my hand-dyed fabrics.
But you know the drill: I always feature the felines I meet in my travels. Here they are:
Tiki, who guards the microwave oven:
The seemingly laid-back Hunter:
and the always-up-to-something Harrison:

The next day I headed to Cookstown to teach at the Country Concessions Quilt Shop for two days.  Because we had about 18 students in each class, the workshops were held in the basement of the church across the street.  Country Concessions is a beautiful quilt shop with gorgeous fabric. You can see students starting to build their up-close florals in my "In Full Bloom" class.

That night I stayed at Gramma's House B&B in Alliston.  Gramma took great care of me!

Day 2's classes were "Free-Form Curves" and "Liberated Applique". Below free-hand cut curves are being pieced.

Kathleen finished her piecing and her liberated applique and was already starting to machine quilt her piece.

That night I headed to Orangeville where I stayed at the Irvine House B&B.  Another lovely B&B where I was spoiled by the owner, Helen.
Sunday morning it was off to teach "In Full Bloom" to the Dufferin Piecemakers in Orangeville.

That night I headed to Aurora, where I stayed with Joan Levert and her husband during my lectures with the Gwillimbury Quilt Guild and the Region of York Quilt Guild. Joan graciously opened her home for four nights, as there was a bit of a gap between the two bookings. She took very good care of me! The Gwillimbury Quilt Guild is a small guild of mostly-retired women who meet during the day. I could feel the relaxed and fun vibes of these women and they went into a bit of a frenzy shopping from my travelling store. Joan (my billet) is the one on the left facing the camera.

On my last night I gave a lecture to the Region of York Quilters Guild in Newmarket.

Thank you to everyone on this trip for your help transporting my quilts, hand-dyed fabrics and teaching materials. You made my trip so much less stressful knowing that there was help so that I wouldn't strain my knee. The good news is that my knee is doing better than it was when I left for Toronto on March 14. Let's hope it continues to improve!  See you in the Greater Toronto area next March (2013)!

I'm off to teach "Beyond Stippling, Part 1", free-motion machine quilting tomorrow at the Country Quilter in Richmond, Ontario and will be heading to Renfrew, Ontario to teach for two days on Wednesday and Thursday for the Renfrew Quilters Guild.


  1. Loved reading about your travel/teaching and was glad you said your knee seemed a little better. I imagine that sitting and rolling around you are doing is giving it a much-needed rest. As usual, I loved meeting the cats you met on this trip!
    Martha Ginn

  2. I enjoy reading about your teaching and travels Elaine. I read the blog about Yellowknife with keen interest. A long time ago I worked in Hay River and Pine Point NWT in between university semesters (late 60's, early 70's). I traveled to Yellowknife on occasion back then and have been there more recently too. I loved the north and still do. It is a privilege to see it and experience it. Do you have plans to return?

  3. Martha,
    I always love meeting felines on my trips! But nothing is better than coming home and seeing my own again :-)

  4. Barb, I agree with you that it is a privilege to see and experience the North! I am indeed planning a trip back to the Northwest Territories this coming September. We are going into a peak aurora year, and September is a good month for aurora viewing (won't freeze to death then either!). We found a good deal on flights and this time I plan to see more of the wilderness. It is unlike anyplace else I've been.

  5. Great pics of the cats, Elaine. You captured their personalities perfectly. Paul & enjoyed having you overnight.

  6. Hi Cathy,
    Thanks for your message! I've been meaning to write to you but haven't gotten there yet! When I got home I had a class to teach here and am now prepping to go to Renfrew to teach for two days. I will get there!!
    I was pleased with how the photos of your cats turned out too. If you'd like copies of them, just let me know and I can send higher resolution images.
    I enjoyed my stay with you and Paul, and thanks again for your hospitality!

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