ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Changing Gears after Quilt Canada

You may be wondering why I haven't shared any photos of the quilts at Quilt Canada. I am not deliberately depriving you. There is no photography allowed at our National Juried Show, but catalogues were available for sale at the front desk, and will be mailed to all members of the Canadian Quilters Association with their Fall Magazine. You can, however, view the award winning quilts at this link. I literally had to beg to be allowed a photo with my quilt ;-)) Here I am.

It is a busy week here. I wrote up my Northcott pattern and am having it tested as we speak, so that shortly I will be stuffing 1,000 pattern packages to ship to Northcott to arrive by August 1. I am also working on more poppy sketches for my second line.

In the mean time, I have finally built the fifth work I plan to send for the Crossing Oceans group show on Nature. Our first appearance is at Patchwork Europe in September. The plan was that this piece would fit right into the middle of the quadriptych above (photo of my piece at Quilt Canada with the ribbon), making this a pentaptych. Yes I had to look that one up as I did not know the term for an art work made in five pieces. All of the five pieces are designed to either stand alone, or work together. I think they have more impact as a group. This final piece still needs to be quilted. That is on the agenda for early August.

I am off to celebrate my father's 90th birthday this week, and from there I am heading off to spend next week taking an art class. The instructor has agreed to let me work in fabric ... he is very enlightened! I spent considerable time this week prepping. I had a full 25 yard bolt of the Steam a Seam that was released last summer but then pulled from the market. Thank heavens they did pull it off the market, because I had a hard time pulling the paper off.  A little patience was needed and I am all set with about 80 colours of fused fabric. You can see the update on Steam a Seam here. Progress is being made and we can expect to see Steam a Seam making its way back on the market later this fall.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wineries and Orchards and Country Roads ...

These photos capture the essence of the countryside around Niagara-on-the-Lake. On my last day in the region I decided to photograph at wineries and orchards. At the tourist bureau I asked which the prettiest winery is. Colaneri Estate Winery was recommended to me. Gosh, I felt like I was in Italy that day. In fact the winery is owned by a family with Italian heritage, and they have built their vast estate to look like an aged Italian villa. Pretty indeed. 

There are acres and acres and acres of vineyards in the region.

On my drive along Nigara Parkway, I came across this lane with a canopy of trees. Outside was a sign that said "Gracewood". I took the risk and entered the lane. Only later did I do the research and found out that it is a 1819 Georgian home that has been converted into a Bed and Breakfast, with 26 acres of gardens and orchards. 

I'm told the cherries will be ripe in about two weeks.

I believe this is a rhododendron tree. It was tucked amid the trees, just kissed by a glow of sunlight.

An inspiring day for sure. One that was followed by good food and gelato.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Two Niagara's

The weather was perfect that first day, and when I arrived at Niagara-on-the-Lake I found this park beside Lake Ontario. I spent a good deal of time sitting/lying on the grass looking at the Lake :-)) Recuperating too!

Niagara-on-the-:Lake is a pretty tourist town, with lots of flowers,beautiful old buildings,

horse-drawn carriages, shops, galleries, and restaurants.

The next day I visited the other Niagara: Niagara Falls. The last time I saw the Falls was 30 years ago. Not being sure when I would be back again, I decided to visit on Monday morning, and spent an hour walking the walkway along the river. Here you see the Falls on the American side of the river.

The horseshoe falls are on the Canadian side. Both are still quite majestic. Too bad about the tourist trap that is the City of Niagara Falls when you turn around and look in the opposite direction. Even on a Monday, there were a lot of tourists visiting, making it difficult to find parking close by.

A lot of boats filled with raincoat clad tourists were inching toward the Falls.

Of course there were hostas here too, planted all along the walk-way along the river.

Once again that complementary colour scheme of purple and yellow-green.

After that it was back to Niagara-on-the-Lake again for gelato and dinner ;-)) My little budget hotel was on the edge of St. Catharines, and very very close to everything I wanted to see (always within 15 minutes).

First Day after the Conference

Sunday morning the Quilt Canada conference ended, and I was on my own to explore the Niagara Region for three days before heading home. I started my day with photographing this lovely sight before leaving Brock University. I thought these plants were lavender, but someone else corrected me, although I do not remember the name of these beautiful flowers. What a fantastic complementary colour scheme with the purple against the yellow-greens. Still lots of highlights and shadows around mid-morning.

I wanted to see quaint places, countryside, orchards and vineyards. I made my first stop at the village of Jordan for a little bit of shopping and lunch.

It is a lovely little village with a winery, boutiques and galleries, and lots of flowers and foliage. Of course I found some hosta leaves!

I drove through the country, in the direction of Niagara-on-the-Lake, stopping at this farm stand to photograph the fruits and vegetables and stock up on my first strawberries in season.

Then it was on to Niagara-on-the-Lake, which I ended up visiting each of the three days for gelato and good food. More coming up.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Four Days of Instruction at Quilt Canada

I taught four classes at Quilt Canada: two days of free-motion machine quilting, and two days of dyeing. I was quite pleased and surprised that all of my classes ran, and two of them were full with 20 students. 

To be quite frank, this was the most physically challenging teaching event of my career. Events took place at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. University campuses tend to be great sprawling communities unto themselves, so there is a lot of distance to walk. Add in the need to transport a lot of supplies, especially for a dyeing class, and the need to stand all day and walk to lunch and dinner, and all of this on hard concrete floors, and you have a recipe for aches and pains. I am happy I survived :-)) In fact, when the President of CQA, Judy Kelly, got up to speak at the Saturday night banquet she joked that she hadn't seen her ankles in some time (due to leg swelling). We are a mostly over-50 crowd, so I'm sure these types of venues are hard on all of us.

The first day's class was "Beyond Stippling With Confidence". We had a class of 20 and brand spanking new sewing machines from Janome :-)

Yvette brought her finished hosta duo piece from my Windsor class this past March.

Look who I found in class: Patti Carey, the VP of Northcott Fabrics!

These photos are from Day 2, "Beyond Stippling, Beyond Confidence". Adele is working on doodling her feathers here.

Feathers stitched by Patti.

All in all I have to say that these were the most skilled students I have ever taught free-motion to in my 11 years of teaching free-motion quilting. I think all they needed was a bit of confidence.

Day 3's class was "Introduction to Fabric Dyeing". We had 20 students again. Lots of supplies needed for this class. Between the two days of dyeing, I supplied about 160 meters of fabric, and 35 kits that included the supplies needed. The Local Organizing Committee for Quilt Canada was thoughtful in collecting all the pails, jugs, kitty litter trays, old towels, etc. to make life easier for students travelling to the conference. 

Look who showed up in this class! This is my friend Daphne Greig, who is also a national teacher, book author and pattern designer.

The fourth class was "Dye Another Day". I was so busy that day that I forgot entirely to take pictures. It was great fun too.  

Thank you to all the keen and eager students that registered for my classes. It was wonderful to meet so many interesting people from around the country.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Simply Hostas

A couple of weeks before heading off to Quilt Canada, I got an email from my friend Linda Stephen, who is the Program and Workshop Coordinator for the Lakeshore Quilt Guild in Port Hope. I met Linda when I was teaching and lecturing for her guild earlier this year. She asked if I would like to see a hosta garden near Cobourg, Ontario. Sure, says I, and let's do it when I am passing through to get to Quilt Canada. 

We were welcomed into Giboshihill Hostas and given a tour of the gardens by owners Kevin and Olga Elchuk. You will meet them later in this post. In the mean time, enjoy the light and shadow, the movement, curves and lines. 

On the left is my friend Linda, who is a fantastic cook and brought me some of her wonderful lavender shortbread. A big thank you to Olga and Kevin Elchuk, on the right, for welcoming us into their stunning garden and to Linda for arranging it!

It seems that Kevin and Olga have a few pets, including a chipmunk named "Fruitloops", who climbed Kevin's leg several times for a peanut. She even tried climbing my leg once too.

I also met their two bengal cats.

I was really pleased to find that Linda had finished her quilt from my workshop. It has a curved background from the "Free Form Curves" class, and appliqued tulips from the "Liberated Applique" class.