ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Commission

I've been working with a couple who wish to commission a quilt for the entry-way/stairwell of their home. They are interested in a sunflower theme. Over the years I have taken hundreds (maybe even thousands) of photos of sunflowers all over the world, and I even have a bit of experience rendering sunflowers in quilts. Based on their preferences and size needs, I came up with the following design to inspire the work. 

The design will be a triptych. The centre panel will be 4 ft x 4 ft., and each side panel will be 2 ft x 4 ft.  I'm delighted that we agreed on a design and the commission agreement was signed yesterday.

I'm blocking some time in my calendar for this year and next to complete this work. The deadline I've given myself is April 30, 2019. In my commission agreement I asked that I be allowed to blog about the making of this work, with the promise that I will not reveal the names or location of the commissioners.

It is an honour to be trusted to create something that a couple will live with every day in their home. I look forward to the challenge. Feeling blessed today.

Monday, July 9, 2018

We've been having a heat wave here in my part of the world. It was so hot on Canada Day (July 1) that very few people showed up on Parliament Hill for Canada Day celebrations. I personally stayed in my air-conditioned house and was very productive. It cooled off for a bit on Friday, but now it is brutally hot and humid (it is the humidity that is the killer) again. I am dropping in with some news.

This week I am shipping Smoke & Mirrors 2 off to Festival of Quilts, Birmingham, England. It will be exhibited in the Art Quilt category. No I will not be at the show in August. I wish I could be though. 

Cascade 1 and 2 were both accepted to the Fibre Content show at the Art Gallery of Burlington. The show runs September 6-16, 2018. More info at More info: http://fibrations.org/. I probably will not make it to that show either. It is right during Fibrefest, and after a day of teaching and two days of vending I am not sure I will feel like making the six hour drive to Burlington. However, I am pleased to have my work there.

The rain we experienced after the heat wave provided a wonderful opportunity to shoot raindrops on the hosta leaves. I really am thrilled with the HDR setting on my Samsung Smart phone. I have been able to take better raindrop photos with it than my Canon Rebel with macro lens. Now that might have something to do with my own inexperience with the latter.

Dyeing continues in earnest. I am committed to working away at 30 or 40 meters each week to avoid a last-minute panic prior to Fibrefest. I dont handle panics so well anymore ;-)

Janet Kivisto sent me a photo of this wall of quilts at the Trent Valley Quilters Guild Show in Brighton, Ontario. In Spring 2017 I taught an In Full Bloom workshop to this group, and I think this group gets a medal for most pieces finished in shortest time (I understand there were a few more in the show). These were made using my Peony and Sunkissed Poppy patterns, and in many cases students purchased my kit of hand-dyed fabrics too. 

On Canada Day Weekend I spent a good amount of time on this. Two years ago I picked up a Mussel shell on the beach in New Brunswick. I did not keep the shell, nor did I even take a photo. I am using my memory of the shell as a jumping off point to produce this work. It will be called Mussel Memory.

Because I am working with two colourways (purple to blue and yellow-gold to orange) I am ending up with blocks in two colourways.

I am working with a variety of block sizes. Small rectangular blocks and small square blocks are completed. I still have to sew and add larger rectangular blocks and larger square blocks. Then it will be hard to get to bed at night while I play with these babies on the design wall!!

I am madly prepping for my class on Flowers, Foliage and Trees at the Haliburton School of Art + Design, the week of July 23. It is not too late to join us. There are still three spaces left. However, I am heading up to Haliburton on July 14 to take a class on Travelling with a Sketchbook. Lots to prepare and think of for staying in a cottage for two weeks, while also taking and teaching classes.

Last, but certainly not least, the couple who are commissioning work for their home have agreed to a design and I am just waiting for the signed contract. I will be blogging about the making of this triptych as it comes together. What an honour to make a piece that will have impact when visitors step into their home, and that they will hopefully enjoy each day themselves. It is kinda cool to be doing some new things and some things I havent done in a while. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Almonte Fibrefest

It was really tempting to call this blog post "Thread Porn", but I was afraid it would be blocked somewhere out in cyberland. But that's the term I'd like to give to the following photo. This is a photo of part of my hand-dyed thread collection.

I'm pleased to share that I will be both teaching and vending at Almonte Fibrefest this year. On Friday, September 7 I will be teaching a class on Hand-dyed Threads, and on Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9, I will be a vendor selling my hand-dyed fabrics and patterns and kits. No I don't sell the threads. They are a bit labour intensive for that, but oh so gratifying to produce.

The lighter weight ones can be used for machine stitching. Here's a sample of some  machine quilting.

 The heavier weight ones can be used for couching or bobbin drawing.

What I am really developing a love for is hand-stitched, hand-dyed threads. Here are a few small samples I have made.


I hope I'll see you at Fibrefest. Until then, you will probably find me dyeing up a storm!