ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Packing for a Teaching Trip and Dyeing Up a Storm!

Tomorrow I'm flying to Halifax, Nova Scotia to teach and lecture for the Mahone Bay Quilters Guild and the Dartmouth Quilters Guild.  I am looking forward to seeing the ocean again, enjoying some legendary Nova Scotia hospitality, eating lobster and seafood, and connecting with quilters in the Maritimes. Today I'm just a little stressed though, trying to figure out how to fit it all in ... that is how to fit everything into my bags! I thought I'd share with you what it's like getting packed for a trip.

I need to take about 20 quilts. In order to be able to roll most of them on pool noodles (so they don't get folds) I purchased this super jumbo hockey bag at Canadian Tire two years ago. When full, this bag weights a ton. It is where my quilts, teaching supplies, and any hand-dyes I might bring will travel in.

Usually I fly Air Canada when I travel within Canada. However, after several experiences of booking a direct flight to Halifax, only to have Air Canada change my flight prior to travel and make me fly west to Toronto so I can catch a plane east to Halifax, I decided to give Porter Airlines a try this time. Their fares are quite reasonable. Now Air Canada has been wonderful about me bringing this over-sized and overweight bag, and only charging me an extra $20 each direction, so I'm hoping Porter will be equally reasonable.

After two years of using this bag, I just noticed this morning that it actually has the initials "EQ" on the side.  "EQ Extreme".  I thought that was kinda neat and kinda appropriate.

So the quilts are in the bag now, but I still need to fit in this bin of teaching supplies and notes for students.

The bag already weighs a ton and I haven't fit this bin of hand-dyes in yet. I can't take much, just a small selection of fat quarters and a few bundles.

Then there's my own suitcase with shoes, clothes and toiletries for six days. I've tried to pack light this time, but it's looking like a tight fit!

There's also my carry-on luggage that will hold my digital projector, netbook, camera, and a few small personal items.  Small planes often don't even allow you to bring this into the cabin, so often you have to check it in just outside the plane. Which always makes me a little nervous.

Now what coat am I going to take?? Will I need gloves?

In the past week I've tried to start planning ahead for fabric sales this coming Spring, especially given how much travelling I'm going to be doing. So here are the 55 meters of fabric I dyed in the past few days.  Lots of greens, green/blues, earthy tones of earth and sky, and autumns. You might wonder why I'm dying autumn colours when spring is finally rearing its head. It is simply because these colours are popular, a little more toned down and welcomed by those who don't like brights.,

Had to replenish my favorite colour, Chartreuse from Dharma Trading. Sad to say that with the recent patent expiry and the changes to mixed colours, chartreuse is not what it used to be either.  I still love it, but it is altered slightly, and I can probably tweak it to its old form by adding a bit of a bluer green to the mix.

I haven't ironed them yet, but here is one of my faves that I call "Spring Landscape". You will learn how to do fabrics like the ones below in my new Dye Another Day class.  It will be running at The Country Quilter in Richmond, Ontario on June 15; I'll be teaching it at my workshops in the Okanagan Valley, British Colunbia at Cherry Tree Quilts in October, as well as at the Quilt Canada Conference in St. Catherines in June 2014

Love the addition of an olive or moss green to turquoise.,

This is one of my top sellers! 

I threw a few earthy reds with a brown and got this. For my autumn colours I add just a little bit of brown to yellows, oranges and reds to get autumny versions. Each brown you try will give you a slightly different result.

Many autumn colours on one fabric.

I'd love to iron some of these fabrics and take them to Nova Scotia with me, but I'm running out of time and space! Maybe I'll just select a few favorites and fit those in.

Any packing tips??


  1. Oh, boy! I feel your pain! I am just home from teaching a class on mixed media. Guess how much stuff I had to cart to that? Thank heaven it was local. Didn't need to pack clothes! I'll be thinking of you Elaine. Are you taking a porter with you?

    1. A porter? What is that? No I just grab one of those luggage carts when I get to the airport. Everything is on wheels ... which is fine until you get to a venue where you have lots of stairs and no elevator ;-))

  2. I think you're doing a great job under the circumstances, Elaine! When I worked in the business world I'd go to conferences with a gal who had a single suitcase -- just for her shoes! I'm assuming you're wearing 1 pair and carrying another. I also assume that seeing as you're already great looking, you leave a lot of make-up paraphernalia at home. Book for the plane? Or handwork? Is it separate or in that bag you hope they don't check on small planes...? Just think...when instructors used all-paper hand-outs they had to send it on ahead and have copies made on site. Perhaps you could still do some of that? Or e-mail in advance to registered participants (assuming you know who they are)?

    Travelling mercies! I'm sure you'll have a great class!

    1. Um actually, I wore one pair of shoes and carried TWO. I wear no makeup except a little tinted moisturizer and lipstick. I didn't take any handwork, I read instead, since I rarely get time to do so. The book is in the bag with the digital projector and computer. Oh, and I take all my notes in paper format. I don't need the stress of trying to figure out where to go to get copies when I get there. I always feel better knowing they are done and ready to go. Thank heavens for wheels on luggage!


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