ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Buckhorn & Area Quilters' Guild in the Kawartha Lakes

This past week I had a lovely little trip to visit the Buckhorn and Area Quilters' Guild in Buckhorn, Ontario, a small town in the Kawartha Lakes area of Ontario. My drive was undertaken in dreary weather, which made for great reflections on the lake.

We woke to some snow showers on Tuesday morning, the morning of the workshop. But just look at the beautiful view outside the window of our classroom at Lakehurst Hall.

Twenty students registered to make collage trees. We had a bright and very spacious classroom. Oh, and my hand-dyes were a hit!

I had a couple of quiet and restful evenings at my Bed and Breakfast (Shambhala Bed and Breakfast). Thank you to the Buckhorn Guild for providing this. I've had a lot of friends and acquaintances tell me that they could never stay in private homes while teaching. Despite meeting some great people and having some wonderful billets, unfortunately not all billets are suitable. Spending so many weeks of the year in strangers' homes is a challenge, and sometimes groups expect you to accept a billet 40 km away. Once a year would be no big deal, but in any given year I can have bookings with 15-20 groups. Fortunately a number of them do involve hotel rooms, which are a better option for me. No stairs to schlepp the luggage on, no icy sidewalks to negotiate, a standard of bed and pillow comfort, luggage racks, peace and quiet at the end of the day, and no one talking to me before I have my coffee. Because I'm a very independent person, the hardest trips for me to take are the ones where I am being housed in a home for several days without a car (when I'm flying). I have to depend on others for everything and that is hard for me. I am really pushing for hotel rooms for future bookings. 

The woods were just outside my room's patio door.

During breakfast I enjoyed watching the crowds of gold finches feeding outside the dining room window.

The next morning I gave my lecture, and was happy to see that one student had finished her tree! The trees are built on a muslin foundation, and now that it is finished, can be cut out and appliqued to a suitable background.

What a difference a day makes! The sun came out and the skies turned blue!

We are in the thick of spring teaching now, so this week I'm off to the Prairie Piecemakers Guild in Regina. I will be the featured speaker at their show and will teach a workshop the next day. But while I'm home for a few days, I am back in my dyeing dungeon. My husband is doing a really good job of helping with the ironing.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Haliburton School of Art + Design, Summer 2016

Dear Readers,

It is that time of year! Time to register in summer classes at the Haliburton School of Art + Design. Although registration began March 1, there are still a few spaces in my "Serendipity Strips and Curves" class, July 25-29. Registrations are going very well for my "Dyeing to Quilt" class, July 18-22, with just a couple of spaces left. Register soon to avoid disappointment. 

Dyeing to Quilt
Course Number: ARTS1812
Create one-of-a-kind cloth for your quilts while learning several methods of dyeing with Procion MX Fibre Reactive Dyes for natural fibres. You will be introduced to several ways of producing multi-coloured cottons, using both low-water immersion and parfait dyeing methods. Learn to wrap a pole and fold/clamp/stitch fabric to produce shibori-dyed cloth. Prepare and apply resists, such as flour paste and soy wax to create pattern on fabric. Mix thickened dyes to use with resists and to paint designs on your cotton. Learn how to use dyes safely and understand the chemical process involved to ensure your success and safety.

To see what we accomplished in previous classes, just follow all blog posts entitled Dyeing to Quilt, or Dye Happy.


Quilting - Serendipity Strips & Curves
Course Number: ARTS1657
Liberate yourself from the shackles of precision piecing and fly by the seat of your pants while producing original quilt designs using free-form strips and curves. You will be introduced to a different method of free-hand cutting and piecing each morning and shown a variety of options for using that method. The rest of the day will be available to cut, sew and work on your construction. Work from the previous day will be addressed for feedback and discussion on composition and design. There will be minimal measuring and little use of rulers!

To see what we accomplished in previous classes, just follow all blog posts entitled Serendipity Strips & Curves



This last beautiful quilt is made by my student Bev Cooper.

I hope to see you in Haliburton!!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Three Days in the Land of the Midnight Sun

Ah, the land of the midnight sun! The days in the Yukon are already getting longer, and will continue to do so until there are 24 hours of daylight at some point during the summer. This photo of the Yukon River was taken after dinner one night, and the light was still amazingly good. During my time there I could see the days getting slightly longer as my 10 days passed.

Remember that I hinted in my last blog post that I really went to the dogs in Whitehorse?I "Lucky" was the second dog I met. He is a part Pomeranian, part Corgi mix, and belongs to Maria, who invited me to stay with her and let her show me around the Yukon. Lucky is adorable, personable, and smart, and sat on my lap in the same way that my cat Peekaboo does in a Lazy Boy. If you put opera music on, he will sing opera. If you'd like to see that I have posted a one minute video on my Facebook page.

My workshops finished last Sunday, so on Monday morning Maria and I slept in. After 5 days of teaching I was exhausted, but apparently so were my students! We started our day with a visit to the Bear Paw Quilt Shop. It is a lovely shop and a Bernina dealer to boot. Second from left in this photo is Ruth, the owner, who attended all five days of my workshops for the Kluane Quilters' Guild.

The store is well-stocked and well worth a visit if you are in Whitehorse.

I had hoped to go dog sledding during my visit, but sledding tours wrapped up at the end of March. We did, however, visit Muktuk Adventures anyway.

I had no idea what to expect, but found A LOT of dogs there! The gentle, the old, and those with medical problems tended to wander freely.

The rest of the dogs each have their own doghouse with straw inside, and are chained near it. At first glance it may seem like not much of a life. However, I did observe that the dogs were socialized, friendly, and loved to be petted (the more dangerous ones are housed in large pens). The owner also takes each dog to a large fenced in field at least once every two days where they are able to run off leash. And boy do they ever run! I also made a one minute video of that and it is posted to my Facebook page.

The dogs that aren't chained tend to follow the owner around, and the ones that are chained seem to enjoy a belly rub!

On Tuesday we went on a road trip to Tagish and Carcross, in the Southern Lakes region, south of Whitehorse. We stopped at Marsh Lake to observe the Trumpeter Swans, who were stopping off there on their migration route to places further north.

Of course this red canoe caught my eye.

I had my mid zoom lens with me so was able to zoom in on the swans, although it would have been better if I had taken my full zoom lens. Some of these photos are a bit fuzzy.

It is always cute to see waterfowl tuck their head into the water, with their butts sticking in the air. Many species do this.

We stopped off at Emerald Lake, which appeared a beautiful aqua colour at this time of year.

When the ice is melted, the lake will actually be an emerald colour as in the photo below, where you can read an explanation for the colour.

The world's smallest desert is found at Carcross. It was once the bottom of a lake.

We stopped in the village of Carcross for coffee. Everywhere I went in the Yukon I was able to find good coffee. The buildings here that house shops and restaurants feature First Nations symbols of the Tlingit group.


On Monday and Wednesday we visited galleries, artist co-ops and shops. This one was clearly my favorite.

Look what I came home with. A beautiful wire sculpture of a gnarly tree. It is actually made by an artist in Manitoba but I am fine with that. It is now hanging on my studio door.

At a jewellry store I found this stunning silver raven pin, made by an artist from British Columbia.

We also enjoyed some time at Takhini Hot Springs on Wednesday afternoon. We soaked away all our aches and pains.

That night we enjoyed some beautiful views over the city.

I took a parting shot from the plane. I loved the Yukon and hope to return again one day.