ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year Dawns

For Christmas 2012 we went south, like we do every year, to visit family.  I'm talking about Southern Ontario here ;-))  It did indeed feel like we had travelled south because we experienced a Green Christmas in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo.  That was a surprise given how much snow fell in Ottawa prior to Christmas. The snow arrived late on Boxing Day in Southern Ontario.  It arrived a second time with a vengeance in Ottawa.

My days leading up to Christmas were mired with technology problems.  All of a sudden my website updates weren't showing up anymore.  Thanks to a helpful on-line colleague I met in Houston, that problem got sorted out. 

I felt very fortunate this Christmas given what some of my friends are going through.  A good friend lost her 45 year old brother suddenly to heart failure just before Christmas.  Another friend learned her partner of 10 years has a very aggressive brain cancer, and underwent brain surgery just days before the holidays.  The prognosis is uncertain at this time.  At the retirement residence my 88 year old father lives in, we found the seniors under lock-down due to a virulent flu that was circulating.  We were only allowed in and out the back door with visits restricted to his room and no entry to common areas.  I am sure it was a quiet and lonely holiday for many seniors having to stay in their rooms and not enjoying the usual social festivities and visiting choirs.

I am thankful for being in seemingly good health at this time.  I'm delighted that my legs are feeling so much stronger and that I'm ending the year feeling much better than I started.  I've worked hard to strengthen my legs that hold up my bad knees and I'm pleased to say I'm 20 lbs lighter than when I started the year.  No big New Year's Resolutions for me, just continuing on the path of trying to live healthier.

When I opened my email on Christmas morning, I found my rejection letter for the Deux show I had entered earlier in the month (see blog post below).  Hmmm ... that means that SAQA volunteers were working day and night into Christmas getting this show juried.  While the results were to be sent on December 22, they were delayed until Christmas.  So some folks had a great present on Christmas, and others did not.  I've noticed a trend in shows responding late this past year ... wonder what that is all about?  In any case, even though Red Stool and Red Stool Macro won't be travelling to France in this SAQA show, they'll be travelling with me when I exhibit at the Quilt en Sud show in St. Jean de Luz, France, May 30 - June 2, 2013. 

While visiting with family, I spent a fair bit of time sitting around and stitching with those luscious hand-dyed threads I produced before Christmas.  This first photo is just a little sample of practice stitching using various stitches, colours and weights of thread.  I simply spray basted a light-weight batt to the back of the fabric to do the stitching, and will add a backing to cover the knots when I'm finished with the hand-stitching.
As with anything new, it is taking some practice to develop skill at hand-stitching.  I let the fabric here dictate a forest with lit skies.  I used a spider web type stitch motif to mimic stars or bursts of light.   It took an awfully long time to stitch the forest given this piece is only about 8" x 10"!!  Not sure yet how I'll finish the edges. Oh, and did I mention that I'm still in love with the scattered seed stitch (the one you see in the sky).
The above sample is basically a hand-stitched whole-cloth piece.  Ideally, in future I intend to use the stitching as an accent on a fused or pieced quilt, that will likely be predominantly machine quilted.
OK, is there anything more luscious than a few red french knots on a green background?  Poppies?  Perhaps.

Heading back from Kitchener-Waterloo a few days ago, we found the Trans Canada Highway a mess.  A trip that normally took 6 hours took 12!  Traffic was bumper to bumper heading into and out of Toronto, and again at Kingston and Brockville!  I took this photo from the car.  There were way too many cars in the ditch, and my knuckles were white at times.
Back home in Ottawa, we bundled up and took advantage of a beautiful day to take our cameras out to Mer Bleu Conservation Area.  
Meanwhile, I'm also working on new samples for my upcoming "Fast and Fun Fused Designs" class at The Quilt Store in Newmarket, Ontario, taking place on March 15. This is one of my older classes, but there seems to be renewed interest in it for 2013.  I'm teaching it at the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild on January 19.  They have all my existing samples, which is why I had to make new ones for Newmarket, and I decided it was time to update my samples anyway!  The point of this class is to give students skill and freedom cutting fused fabric free-hand.  Lots of fun!  These two samples are being quilted as we speak.
I've also carried out my annual closet cull today, something I do almost every New Year!
It is my sincere wish that you and yours experience a happy, healthy, and creative 2013!!


  1. Happy New Year, Elaine! Sorry to hear about 'Deux' but I'm sure your pieces will be appreciated in France. :-)

    1. Thanks Margaret. My pieces are not nearly as happy as me about going to France! Usually they get to travel without me so I'm thrilled!

  2. What delightful embroidery stitches on your beautiful hand-dyed fabric. Some of this is too pretty to cut up, and the stitching enhances the beautiful colors and free-form design. Glad your knees are better; congratulations on a healthier body! Happy 2013. I have had so many blessings in 2012 that I can hardly wait for this new year!

  3. Martha,
    I seldom have a problem cutting up my hand-dyed fabrics because I know there will always be more. None will be exactly the same but there will be other wonderful surprises come from the dye pot! I had a great 2012 too. We'll have to celebrate we two!


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