ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Commission Update

Over the past week I finished my patterns for the sunflower commission. It took considerable time to decide the order that the designs will be built in, and every part was numbered and lettered accordingly. Sections were colour-coded with hi-lighters and markers so I will know where petal ends and leaf begins. If you zoom in the photos you should be able to see this. Now I have a much more intimate knowledge and understanding of my design that will help when I am building it.

I also dyed a few more meters of fabric to fill in some gaps I saw in the group I dyed earlier. Here's the full collection now. If there are any additional hi-lights or shadows I need, I am sure I will find them in my stash.

In addition, the pattern was traced to the reverse side and colour-coded and numbered and lettered there. When I begin building I will need a pattern in reverse. Yes, I could have had the copy shop do a pattern in reverse, but I find that when an 8" x 8" design is enlarged to 4' x 4' the lines also enlarge and become quite thick and sloppy. I want a nice clean and sleek copy to work from.  

I had no idea how long it would take to complete this because I don't normally work this large and also don't normally do three pieces at once. The next four months will be spent building and quilting. I am going to begin with the large centre unit as it will be the star piece. Very excited about the scale! As you can see the patterns take up most of my studio. Together they are 8' x 4'. My studio is only 10' x 10'

I am absolutely delighted to be staying home for the winter and devoting myself to this commission. 

Now to take a break for my Christmas bakefest!  It begins with lots of butter and my vintage Sunbeam Mixmaster. I think it dates to the late 1950's when my mother got married, and she continued to use it until she went to long-term care around 1995 (she passed away due to complications of dementia just before Christmas 2000). When I cleaned out my parents home I took it with me. I still use it a few times a year. They don't make them like that anymore! First up is cranberry/walnut shortbread, to be followed by maple shortbread and chocolate shortbread. 

Mixing in the cranberries and walnuts.

Wishing you and yours a splendid and peaceful Christmas and holiday season.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Last Gigs of the Year

I've been dyeing fabric for the past couple of days, getting ready to construct the Sunflower commission. I will start building it this week, so my next blog post will report on progress. Tomorrow night (Monday, December 3) I am Shop of the Month at the Ottawa Valley Quilters' Guild's last meeting of 2018. Information about the meeting and a map to the location is available here.

Two weeks ago I delivered my last lectures and workshop of the year. First was a lecture for the Out of the Box Fibre Artists group here in Ottawa. It was lovely to attend one of their meetings and see a lot of people I haven't seen in a while, but to also meet a lot of new members. The next day I drove the two hours to Pembroke, Ontario, to give a lecture to the Pembroke Log Cabin Quilters, with a workshop following on Wednesday. 

Our lecture and workshop took place in the chapel of a former Convent, now known as the Carefor Centre. I really enjoyed the colour and light therapy from the stained glass windows. I don't think I've seen marble floors like this since I've been to the Vatican several years ago!

Outside our windows winter was brewing, the temperatures were dropping, and it was excruciatingly cold for November by the time I left at the end of the day.

My impression is that the class had a lot of fun working on Flip & Sew Curves. I've got two class photos. The second one includes me.

I really love Suzette's take on the technique. Can't wait to see it finished.

And, a photo of another finished work from the Northumberland Retreat in Nova Scotia at the end of October came in. This beauty is by Carolyn MacKay.

Stay tuned for updates on the commission.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

My Great Big Maritime Adventure

A few days ago I returned from my marathon 15 day trip to the Maritimes. After 15 days, driving more than 3,600 km across five provinces, sleeping in 11 different beds over 15 days, teaching for four groups, and eating countless lobster sandwiches, I am happy to be home. Winter is coming and hibernation has its lure.

On my first day I stopped off in one of my favorite cities in Canada, Quebec City. I had never visited on a late October day. I didn't have much time, but managed a walk around the old town, Chateau Frontenac and the Petit Champlain district (one of the oldest neighbourhoods in North America). It was all decked out for autumn and Halloween.

Painted mural across from my hotel.

I cashed in my Best Western, Aeroplan, and AirMiles points so that I could make the drive a bit more leisurely. The idea was to never have to drive more than six hours in a day. Well it took more like 8 hours to get to my next destination, Fredericton, New Brunswick, thanks to an early snow storm that dropped 10-15 cm of snow. The roads were very treacherous. I was also careful on this trip to get some down time between each booking.

My third night was spent in Antigonish, Nova Scotia so that I would only be an hour away from my first teaching destination at the Northumberland Quilters Retreat, held at Liscombe Lodge, Liscombe, Nova Scotia. Oh my goodness, just look at the view outside my bedroom!

My two-day Collage Tree workshop started after lunch on Friday, and finished after lunch on Sunday. After our Friday lunch, I found this view from my classroom. The sun had emerged!

We worked and ate, and ate and worked. At the end of the retreat, many of my students had finished their tree trunks. They now only need to thread paint them, prepare their background, machine quilt, and add the tree to the background. What a warm and welcoming group!

A couple of days later Claudia Fortune sent me this image of her finished piece. You know what? I like it better than my own piece! Didn't she do a fantastic job?

About a week later, Virginia Caul-Gallant sent a photo of her finished work. I think I like this one better than mine too!
I dyed a number of kits for students to choose from, but many also used their own fabric. For many years I've taught this class with students bringing their own fabric. The first time I offered kits was at my class in Spain this past March. I am finding more and more demand for kits.

When the retreat finished, I headed toward Halifax. The next day I visited Peggy's Cove. I've visited this beautiful site a few times, but I have never visited on a more beautiful day! It was warm, and I didn't even need a coat. It was sunny, and perhaps most amazing of all was that there were relatively few tourists. Such a beautiful and peaceful site!

I had a few days off before I needed to teach my next class in Prince Edward Island. My friend, Canadian Quilt Artist, Laurie Swim, invited me to stay at her house for a couple of nights. Here I am in front of my favorite quilt of Laurie's, "At The End of The Day". We had lots of chat time, I had lots of rest time. It was great to visit someone who understands that after teaching for two days that one might just sometimes want to be alone for quiet time. We also had a lunch one day with Valerie Hearder and Rose Lesage.

Before I left I had a private viewing of Laurie's Gallery in Lunenburg. At this time of year it is not open every day.

Laurie's public art project, "Hope and Survival", commemorating the Halifax Explosion, was home and on display during my visit.

Here is some of the close-up imagery in the quilt

and names of those who died in the explosion. You can read more about this quilt at this link.

This is Laurie's latest work, "Down to the Seas".

Next I headed to Summerside, Prince Edward Island, where I taught an In Full Bloom class to a group comprised of members of both the Northern Lights and Green Shores Quilters' Guilds. I was hosted by Libby Colwille, third from the left in the back room. Thank you for your hospitality Libby!

It rained a lot while I was on Prince Edward Island, and it was interesting to see it after all the tourists have gone home.

Next I headed to Port Elgin, New Brunswick, where I taught another Collage Tree class for the Spruce it Up Quilt Shop, owned by Lorette Bellefleur-Cole. This is Lorette in her lovely store in a country house.

Our workshop took place in the upstairs room of Bistro Le Chat Bleu restaurant in Baie Verte (fantastic food!). Just look at the view from our classroom. Yes it rained all day.

But the rain slowed down long enough to head out on the back deck for a class photo. A big thank you to everyone who helped me take my bins up and down the stairs. Those carts on wheels are great, until you get to a place with stairs. You have no idea how much your help is appreciated.

From there I headed across the province to Perth-Andover, New Brunswick, where I taugh another In Full Bloom class. I got so engrossed, or maybe I was tired, and I completely forgot to take photos at the class. A big thank you to the amazing Pat O'Brien who hosted me, and appears to have slaved over an oven all day before my arrival to put on a fantastic evening meal. Thanks to the Gorge Quilt Guild for your warm hospitality. I managed to snap a photo of the bridge across the Saint John River, that runs through this charming village.

I did the drive home across two days, stopping at Riviere-du-Loup the last night before heading home.

I made it!! Just a couple of lectures and one workshop to go in 2018 before I begin my hibernation to work on my commission and prepare for Quilt Canada 2019.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Maritime Trip Coming Up

It's October 22, and that means tomorrow I leave for a 15 day teaching trip to the Maritimes. Since I am visiting four groups and have lots of things to bring, and hope to enjoy a few days there as well, I decided to drive. I'm giving myself three days to get there so I will never have to drive more than 6 hours in any day. 

My first workshop will be Collage Tree at a two day retreat for the Northumberland Quilt Guild's retreat at Liscombe Lodge. From there I plan on driving to Lunenburg to visit my friend, Canadian Quilt Artist, Laurie Swim. Then I head to Prince Edward Island to teach an In Full Bloom class for the Northern Lights/Green Shores Quilters' Guilds. From there it is back to New Brunswick to teach a one day Collage Tree class at Spruce It Up Quilt Shop, and finally an In Full Bloom workshop for the Gorge Quilt Guild in Perth-Andover, NB.

Peekaboo is enjoying crawling on and into the bags as I am packing them.

I've done a lot more dyeing this past month because I needed floral kits for the In Full Bloom class and tree kits for the Collage Tree classes. When I ripped the fabric Wilma was there to help me.

Tree Kits. This photo shows backgrounds for three different options, and leaf options.

Barks fabrics in darks, mediums and lights.

 Floral kits.

My dyeing was made a bit stressful when my fabric wholesaler ran out of my favorite white cotton, and it continues to be back-ordered until today. I borrowed 57 meters from a friend, and then had to order another 75 yards of other cottons to finish my jobs. While the alternate cottons are nice, they in no way come close to the combed cotton lawn I purchase from TrendTex. I'm told the shipment is expected this coming week. It has been delayed a couple of times so I hope this is true. While I have put my dye pots away (I'm out of fabric and I need to work on the commission) until January, I am going to be needing lots of cotton to prepare for my booth at Quilt Canada Ottawa in June 2019.

I am pretty close to being finished creating the patterns for the triptych commission I am making. When I return I will have them enlarged and begin work. This is the design for the central panel.

copyright, Elaine Quehl, 2018

I had planned to dye more yardage for the sunflowers but since I am out of my favorite cotton I will wait until my return. I want to use the best quality cotton for this commission. Should the cotton be further delayed I will delve into my store and my own stash. For example, these bundles in my store would work well for the sunflowers themselves, and I have a lot of greens in my stash and my store.

The leaves here in the Ottawa Valley have been gorgeous this year. We've managed to get out and about on a few nice days to enjoy them.

I'm hoping there are lots of leaves left on the trees across Quebec and New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and even PEI. I'll post a full report of my trip upon my return, however, I will be doing more regular updates on Facebook. Please feel free to "friend" me there.