Langley Quilters’ Guild Show: The Threads That Bind Us

Kudos to Langley Quilters’ Guild members! What a wonderful show you put on this year! There was so much inspiration to be had, and of course a goodly number of shopping opportunities, too! Oh, and raffle prizes galore to be won (not by me, sadly, not a one!).

I ran into a number of Seymour members at the show, and I think it’s fair to say we were a little stumped as to how to pick a favourite quilt and vote… there were so many amazing pieces of so many different styles, it really was impossible to choose just one. At the time of posting, there were no results on their website as yet, but I’m guessing if you keep a look out, you may see the winners posted in the near future.

For those who didn’t get there, here are some pics taken by myself and Linda D (thanks, Linda).

What you missed if you didn’t come to the clothesline bag workshop!

Many thanks to Suzanne P for hosting this one… what a fun day we had on May 9th! There was a lot of sewing prep for this class for those who chose to wrap their clothesline in fabric (and no prep for moi, because I left my clothesline unwrapped for a more beachy feel!), but after the initial demonstration, we were soon zig-zagging our way to some pretty nifty totes, storage baskets and purses. As always, each one was unique, depending on fabric and colour choices, and how the shape evolved during the making of each bag. By around 2pm many had finished the tote/bag body. Which in truth was great progress given the amount of chirping and chatting going on as always! Which is what sewing together is all about!

And at yesterday’s May meeting, many bags appeared, already in use! The winner of the Block of the Month was pulled from Marilyn C’s basket, Kathryn G will be using hers as a toy box, Anne W and Maureen O are using theirs as totes. Mine is not yet finished… it still needs handles. If anyone else has pics of their bags, please share and either Judy or I will add them to this post.

Update: Finished my bag, which turned out to be more purse-sized! Any more to share?!

Clothesline bag workshop - Penny N purse



Wonky Stars continued…

Following our Wednesday Workshop with Dougal Walker, Linda D and I were at a sewing day on Saturday and both of us continued working on our Wonky Stars! We were wondering if anyone else has been making progress? We’d love to see how you’re doing! Send pics of your progress to me, Penny N, and I’ll post them here, too.

Linda D has made more progress (May 10th)…

Workshops - wonky stars - Linda D more blocks

And from Judy S (May 7th)!

Workshops - Judy S stars

Wonky Stars Workshop

What a fun day we had on April 25th with Dougal Walker in the Wonky Stars Workshop! Wonky Stars - Dougal Walker QuiltIt was a full house and many thanks to Barb M, Les O and Glenna W for making it happen.

The morning was spent sewing itty-bitty scraps and bigger leftover bits together to form the improv centres of our stars – no rulers allowed! By early afternoon, when the points of the stars were added, everyone had something colourful and unique to show for all the sewing. Along the way, lessons were learned in value and tone, and how to use asymmetry to infuse movement into patchwork.

After lunch, we were also treated to a surprise trunk show by Dougal… many quilts made from scraps that otherwise might have been thrown out. A clear lesson that, in fact, the more seemingly useless scraps you have, the more exciting your quilts may become!

Sharing fabric in the community

We recently received a very generous donation of fabric from a lovely lady in North Vancouver. The quilting fabric will be used to make quilts for donation in the community (Community Quilts), but she was also trying to find a home for other types of fabric, including felt and velvet, buttons and craft supplies! With her permission, we were able to donate these to Lord Roberts school in downtown Vancouver, where a Grade 1 class put some of it to good use making hand puppets of their super heroes, which could be a real person or a fictional character. Their wonderfully creative teacher, Mrs Skibinski – also an avid quilter, by the way! – sent us some pics to show what her little Grade 1’s had come up with.


Inspired by Africa: How a BC quilter’s art went from West Coast to wild

When Pippa Moore, our January speaker, first left Canada to spend three years in Lesotho in Southern Africa, she took along a quilt she was working on. It was in blues, off-whites and muted forest green. Pippa Moore BC quilt 2

Things changed once she found herself entranced by the vibrant, saturated colours much loved by the African women she set out to support with a grassroots project aimed at teaching them to sew and provide for their families. These “widows and grannies” inspired her with their ability to find joy in seemingly ordinary things, even surrounded as they were by trying circumstances.

In addition to vivid colours, her quilting moved towards more improvisational art, in the tradition of the Gee’s Bend quilters, and she relished the freedom of allowing the fabrics and subject matter to take her in new artistic directions to tell the stories of her African experiences. She likes to use saturated black solids alongside the African fabrics to give the eye “a place to rest”. The end result is arresting art quilts filled with layers of shape, pattern, movement and depth. Fabrics are gathered from many countries, including Egypt, Uganda and South Africa, and range from monochromatic mud cloth to indigo shweshwe.


Her talk gave fascinating insights into how each quilt came to be: for instance, in “There’s an Elephant in my Garden”, she enjoyed pitting the wildness of an elephant against vivid art deco foliage. “Rosetta’s Hope” shows an African women at work in her vegetable garden, made possible by an initiative that brought water to that community (her husband’s work was with this NGO).

Pippa and her husband continue to support the Bitengye Designers, as the group of women she taught to sew call themselves, in part by selling items they have made (some were on sale after our meeting). Proceeds also go to a Widows’ Garden project in Uganda.

More recently, she’s begun to incorporate found objects, such as pottery shards, beads, porcupine quills, shells and leaves into her smaller, newer pieces, all inspired by Africa. Her latest series will be on display in the summer, from July 21st – 28th, at the Ladysmith Waterfront Gallery on Vancouver Island.

You can see more of Pippa’s work and read more about her story on her website.

Wow – what a lovely lunch!

For those who didn’t manage to make it to our Christmas pot luck, boy did you miss out! We arrived to festively set tables, complete with beautiful runners and the prettiest centre pieces (thank you, Linda F); the latter were later won by one lucky member at each table. Apart from the fabulous food – and a dessert table that positively sagged under the yummiest home bakes – there were plenty of prizes and giveaways.

I will admit I was so busy enjoying myself that I clean neglected to write down winners’ names. Apologies. There were three door prizes and this time, I, who never win anything, won an interesting striped fabric of which I intend to make good use, thank you. There were also two prizes of fabric per table in a lively game of Pass-the-parcel, and three ladies were rewarded in the UFO challenge. The Secret Santa mug rugs were a joy for each of us to receive, it was so interesting to see how unique and sweet each was in and of itself. Moira sent us the pic of the mug rug she received on the left below and mine is on the right… we’re both thrilled! UPDATE: Judy has added a mug rug gallery on the Members Only area under “Our Year in Pictures”: snap your mug rug and send your pic to Judy to be added!

Thank you so  much Barb M and Les O who were the Christmas elves behind our fabulous party – the agenda, the activities and the prizes, with feedback from the executive, and help from various members. A big round of applause and many thanks to these hard working ladies!

The December meeting was held after lunch. Marilyn announced our next BOM, this time a star block, and the winner of the rather lovely Christmas tree blocks was picked from the hat (see previous post). Linda R was thanked for managing the Community Quilts portfolio over the past two years, a tough act to follow, for sure, given the number of quilts donated over this period and the absolute dedication she has given to the job. I will be handling Community Quilts for the next two years and would love to hear ideas and suggestions from members (email me).

The final  item was show and tell, which is the most popular and inspiring part of the meeting for many of us and there was quite the variety as always, including no-longer-UFOs thanks to the challenge! Moira arranged our group pic which can be viewed in the Members Only area of the web site.

A big thank-you to Judy for taking pictures for this blog post.

A very Merry Christmas and Season’s Greetings to all of you and yours,

Finding inspiration everywhere

Susan Jensen was the speaker at our November meeting, with a presentation of fabric art entitled “Nature’s Threadwork Landscapes”.

Susan finds her inspiration in nature, everywhere… in the smallest details – such as the tiny veins in yellow maple leaves – and in the largest vistas, such as the beautiful mountains that surround us. The thing, she says, is to really LOOK.

To bring her art to life, she finds her media in some truly odd things… like those bits of thread most of us banish to our thread catchers (who’da thunk?), pieces of unraveling piping and even cotton balls. She brought along a small selection of samples to illustrate her point, which is that almost anything can be used in unique and innovative ways when you’re creating a piece. I say “small”, because in truth, almost anything is fair game, and there are numerous products one can use, even good ole Dippity Do! There are no right or wrong ways, no rules. If you have to steal the tube from inside a roll of toilet paper to use as a paint brush, that’s OK, too (“Just don’t tell my husband,” she says).

Susan also dyes her own fabric to use in her work, uses stamps to make prints and has a range of products to stabilise and manipulate fabric to achieve varying effects. But as she reminded us, in the end each piece is still a quilting project.

S Jensen piece 4 - Nov17

This meeting was also a General Meeting in which changes to the constitution were made, with unanimous approval. The minutes were sent to all members.

There was also a sign-up for our Christmas potluck in December… if you weren’t there, remember to bring something to share and also your Secret Santa Mug Rug! In keeping with the season, our Block of the Month is a tree block. Please bring your block(s) to the next meeting, too.

What you also missed, but can still sign up for, is another Bargello workshop on March 20th, 2018, and, if there’s enough interest, a second retreat in the Fall, since the Spring retreat has been booked up since this year’s retreat. Contact Moira if you are interested.

Linda has come to the end of her term leading the Community Quilts team, and we are looking for someone to take her place. Please consider this opportunity, which involves two sewing days a year, with plenty of help, to make quilts that can be donated to those in need. Contact Linda or Marianne if you’re up for the task!




Hints, tips and ideas galore!

October’s meeting was truly packed with good stuff. Right off the bat, as we signed in at the door, we each filled out a small form for December’s Secret Santa Mug Rug exchange, just names, favourite and least favourite colours were divulged. At the November meeting, those who have not yet drawn a recipient’s name will get the chance to do so, and instructions for the mug rugs will be disclosed… hope you’re all dreaming up designs already… my imagination’s running rampant!

Results of our first Block of the Month project were displayed for all to see. It’s always interesting to see the variety of fabrics picked by different quilters, and how the blocks come together. A name was picked out of the pumpkin and the “winner” gets to put the quilt together. BOM winner draw Oct17

As for the next one, well, Marilyn kept us guessing until later in the meeting to find out about it… read on to find out what it is! Let’s just say it’s a tad more complex than the envelope block!

Community Quilts had another wonderful month, giving away no less than six quilts. Many thanks to these ladies, who are making a difference one quilt at a time.

The Quilts of Valour team has a special request: they are asking for suggestions for their next project. Possibly something in bright colours? If you have any ideas, please contact Anne, Suzanne or Norine.

Linda passed along an invitation from Lions Gate Quilters’ Guild, who have space for our members to attend their COPS days (Creative Ongoing Process Session). These are social quilting days held from 9:30am to 4:00pm at Highlands United Church on Edgemont Boulevard in North Van. The next COPS days are on November 18th and December 9th. It costs $15, and please bring a plate of sweets or savouries to share. Contact the LGQG COPS Day co-ordinator to book your spot. Book sooner rather than later, because there is a cut-off time and the events will be cancelled if there is not enough interest.

If you’re like me, you like to see things demonstrated by a live person, not just a YouTube video. So how wonderful it was that this month we were treated to not one, but several “speakers” who shared some nifty tricks and ideas with us.

Glenna’s demo of how to make a Burrito pillowcase was a godsend! You’ll find an instruction sheet here.

Marilyn not only revealed our next Block of the Month, she also demonstrated the whole thing. This one’s called Migrating Geese.

Kory shared a great idea for those whose sewing machines have embroidery options for lettering.

The idea is to sew the “label” right into the binding, and the perfect example is one of the community quilts she had on hand. You can follow the online tutorial to which she refers.

A true labour of love is how I think of Linda’s Fidget Books, which are wonderful for patients with dementia, Alzheimers or other memory issues, or for kids. Using different textures, pockets, embellishments that can be opened, closed or simply moved, one creates a tactile experience that comforts. Some embellishments should be avoided, such as choking hazards (tiny objects and anything that can be broken off and swallowed), however, it’s a wonderful gift for a loved one… think: little secret pockets with rewards inside, fabric images, zippers, bangles, chenille, satin, velvet…

Cutting down on cutting is a good way to describe the Stripology “ruler” demonstrated by Les. As a bonus tip, she demonstrated a new-style rotary cutter with a horizontal handle and is easier on the wrist. Essentially, the ruler has slits in which to cut fabric in measured widths fairly quickly.

There are many ways to finish off one’s binding, and Sonia had another great method to share. This one uses the binding itself to measure where to cut.

Many thanks to Glenna, Marilyn, Kory, Les, Linda and Sonia for an inspiring gathering. Let’s do it again!