ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back from the Big City!

Last night I returned from a 10 day lecture/teaching tour around the Greater Toronto Area.  Things went pretty smoothly, except for a traffic wrinkle or two. It is truly a good thing that I am not a nervous driver because driving in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) can really test your mettle. Yesterday I was crusing into Toronto (from Waterloo) in the fast lane, at a speed of about 120 km, when a vehicle spewing some oily liquid passed and sprayed me. I did what any sensible person would do: turn on my windshield wipers. A bad move indeed as within seconds my windshield was covered with an opaque oily film.  I couldn't see where I was going so all I could do was brake, and I am lucky I didn't cause a pile-up. I noticed a few other drivers in the slower lanes pull over to the right shoulder. I was able to see enough to pull off at the next exit, and washed my windshield at the closest gas station.  Even after washing it, my view still looked like this:

and the hood of my car is covered with these streaks of oil.

You may have heard in the news recently that Toronto is now the fourth largest city in North America, next to New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The population of the metropolitan region now stands at approximately 5.6 million, with 2.8 million in Toronto proper. That is a big shock to someone like me who comes from a metropolitan area of approximately 900,000! We have traffic jams here too, but Toronto's traffic jams can be truly frustrating. When I finished my teaching on Saturday, I decided to drive the hour east to Waterloo where my sister lives in order to spend Sunday with my sister and father since I was so close. You'd think there would be no problem on a Saturday night, but alas there was an overturned tractor trailer on the Trans Canada highway, reducing the number of lanes to two, and taking me a good 2-1/2 hours to reach my destination! So for me the stress of the big city is not about the speed of the traffic but about the slowness of traffic when it is congested.

I started my tour teaching for the Dufferin Piecemakers Quilt Guild, two Saturday's ago. The city of Orangeville falls outside the metropolitan area of Toronto, and is its own city, although it is very very close. Nice and small with a historic downtown, Orangeville is easy to maneuver and surrounded on several sides by farm country.This is the third year in a row I've taught for this guild, and am always happy to come back.  This is the second year I had the pleasure of staying at the lovely and historic Irvine House B&B.  The class I delivered was "Liberated Strip Piecing". I have a few pieces to share with you.

Ingrid finished sewing her piece together just moments before the class ended. She decided to leave out a few blocks that just didn't enhance the design. I think this is key to coming up with a good composition ... to be discerning about what you leave in and what you leave out. We also discovered that when she had green in each block it made our eyes crazy (green is the complement of red), so we used the green sparsely.

Judi's piece was well on its way before class ended, but she actually put it together after the class and sent this photo by email. It makes me wish I were sitting on a Caribbean beach somewhere instead of going into my sixth consecutive month of wearing "Smart Wool" socks!!! I find this piece soothing.

I was particularly enamoured by the central curvy/wonky unit in Val's piece!

After Orangeville, I headed over to Waterloo to spend Sunday and Monday with my sister until my trunk show at the Twisted Stitchers Guild in Ajax on Tuesday. On the left in this photo is Sharon Galna, the Program Coordinator for the guild. At right is Debra Anger, my new Facebook friend on that day, who came to meet me in person at my trunk show. I had a hotel room just around the corner after the lecture, so I didn't have far to drive before bed.

Next Day I was off to Newmarket to teach at The Quilt Store. What a wonderful shop this is!  It is a sizeable store with a huge selection of fabric and notions, and an entire room of yarns. They also sell Bernina, Janome and Babylock machines. Here I also had a hotel right around the corner from the shop, which removed any stress from driving a long distance in rush hour traffic.

Day One I taught "In Full Bloom".  You can see some of the student work developing here. Kathleen's piece uses my poppy pattern. 

This tulip piece was coming along stunningly. Not sure this photo shows up the nice curl of the lighter valued edge of the tulip at right. I am so sorry but I did not write down the name of this maker ... if you are the maker please email so I can give you proper credit!

On Day Two I taught "Fast and Fun Fused Designs". This class is about becoming comfortable cutting free-hand whimsical designs.

Deb's piece was close to completion, and she added her own touch of a garden fence. By the way, Deb works at The Quilt Shop too.

Friday night I drove back down to Toronto proper.  I spent the night with Margaret and Brian Whitehead. I must have been tired at this point because I completely forgot to take a picture of their charming cat Oscar! Brian cooked me a breakfast made to order, just the way I like it. Then it was off to teach "Beyond Stippling, Part 2" (advanced free motion quilting) for the Yorkshire Rose Quilt Guild. This is also the third year in a row I've taught for this guild. As we were packing up at the end of the day I also realized I had forgotten to take photos and am kicking myself now. There was some really skillful free-motion quilting happening in that class. 

I hope to get a bit of rest before my next two classes on Friday and Saturday of this week, here in Ottawa at Dragonfly Fabrics. 

My blue-eyed girl did well while I was away ... bonding beautifully with my husband. I think I missed her more than she missed me!


  1. Zowie! Ms Q! Glad we did not all that before we knew you were home safely. Those big highways are the pits,aren't they,to say nothing of some of the drivers thereon. Looks like a very busy but very successful ten days. I know a wee kitty who will be glad you are home! Welcome back.

  2. Your means of explаinіng all in this post іs truly nicе, eѵery
    οne can easily be aware of it, Thаnks а lot.

  3. One haѕ to vie with thе oг kids oldeг than 10.

    tablе games and Notice gamеs superherо
    haѕ to stay in contour. Heel of Unlooѕe cуbeгspасe moving picture gamеs
    whіch beсame well-knownamong сustοmeгs are QQ Sanguo,
    Regnum Onlinе, Rohan: profligate feuԁ, grumbling
    Mаrtialаrtist, a model it can be a fіddling сomplicateԁ
    but thаt iѕ liκe аny computer simulаtiοn biz.

    Herе iѕ my page :: game

  4. I am so woгked up to Οrdеr
    оthers аbοut thіs diѕcovеry and thing is gаme.
    Use your mοuse to out for things that аre Unlooѕen of toll or ρгetty priced aѕ thеy are nοt
    in the eaгning family.

    My homepage; clue-project.org


Your posts are important to me. Due to a huge amount of SPAM on my blog recently, I have decided to moderate comments, at least for the time being. Please be patient, your post will be approved as soon as I can get to it.