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.


Our June Luncheon

Food, fabric, friends, fun.

Thinking of a few members who are enjoying Quilt Canada 2016 in Toronto.

Getting greener by recycling some of our luncheon debris.

Looking forward to fall workshops.

Sharing a laugh.  I heard something like this …

“The older brain is like a large library, with some of the books misfiled.”

Happy summer.



Dianne Stevenson – Caring for Quilts

IMG_0470_edited-1Dianne Stevenson came to our April meeting with her presentation “C.P.R. – Conservation, Preservation, and Restoration: Breathing New Life into Old Textiles.”  We learned how to care for old quilts and how to prevent damage to newer quilts.

Dianne referred to herself as “the curator of an extensive textile collection,” describing textiles as “threads bound together.”  She is a collector of antique quilts and quilt tops – and wouldn’t you love to see her collection of miniature irons?  When she began to acquire quilts, she had to learn how to look after them.

She told us that quilts can be damaged by things such as light, humidity, and the chemicals present in some older fabrics.  Colours can fade, fabric can break down, and quilts can become spotted and stained.  Old quilts may be soiled by contaminants from kerosene lanterns and woodstoves.

As a quilt restorer, Dianne has to decide if a damaged quilt can be repaired.  She talked about “wet cleaning” which should be done only by professionals, and using fusibles and tulle to repair areas.  Damaged fabric edges should be turned under, and new, carefully matched fabric used to replace the empty space.  The “chin edges” of quilts are particularly vulnerable to wear and tear, as are bindings.  A new binding should be placed over the old damaged one.  To protect the integrity of the quilt, old fabric should not be removed.

Dianne told us how to vacuum our quilts (no bristles against the fabric) and gave us detailed and valuable instructions about how to wash them.  Were you a fan of the “I Love Lucy” show way back when?  Apparently, Dianne sometimes reenacts the grape-stomping episode in her bathtub when washing a quilt!

We were given ideas for storing our quilts.

  • Linen closets are good.
  • Fold quilts in thirds and then again in thirds.
  • Rolling quilts is even better, and Dianne provided detailed instructions for how to do this in the most effective way.
  • Pillowcases work well for storing quilts; never store them in plastic bags.
  • Keep quilts from touching any unsealed wood on dowels, quilt stands, and blanket boxes.

Dianne’s lively talk illustrated how quilts can lead us to the stories of their makers and reveal something of the times in which they lived.  Lots of intriguing subjects popped up, such as tobacco silks, Mennonite cutter quilts, and the Mississippi Textile Museum, a National Historic Site in Ontario.

Dianne told us that, sometimes, when faced with a damaged quilt, it’s best to leave it alone, and enjoy it as it is.

Visit Dianne Stevenson’s website here.

Click on any image to open a gallery of photos.


Quilt Haiku

April is Poetry Month.  You can read more about it at  Here are the Haiku poems members wrote.  So many different views on quilting!

My quilt-y pleasures
Colours, textures, talks, and shows
Endless enjoyment
by Marilyn C

Do the colours work?
How about my quilting skills?
Cat on quilt – success!
by Judy S

Colour, texture, shape
Constant planning in my head
Cloth, fabric, cloth,  – MORE
by Anne W

fabric, fabric, mess
blue, green, red, flowers, strips, squares
my quilting room, fun
by Elaine A

Community Quilts
Covenant House is in need
We donated five
by Les O

Pouring rain, grey skies
What to do, a quilting day!
Cozy, warm, happy
by Irene T

Look, ponder, read
Pattern, fabric, thread, colour
Sew, quilt, bind, admire
by Connie W

Brr, Hmm, Stitch, Smooth – Snap
No bobbin thread, Tangled back
Hmm, Chocolate, Port
by Diane M

Stitch by gentle stitch
A quilt goes from heart to hand
Stitch by giving stitch
by Ronda C

Married to a Quilter

Pam C. found a funny speech online which was written by the husband of a quilter and delivered at Quilt Canada 2010.  It was posted recently on the blog of The Sewing Lawyer.  As Kay the blogger says, “It’s long but amusing, and so worth a read.”

Many of Allan’s stories about Gloria, her passion for quilting, and the “world-wide sub-culture” of quilters will strike a chord.  Though sometimes bemused, he seems to be rather enjoying her exploits and travels, and is obviously a good-natured and supportive partner.  His closing thoughts about his wife’s skills and creations are most wonderful.

And he is very funny!  You must read the parts about bringing a Featherweight sewing machine through airport security in Calgary and the visit to “a little quilting shop in the heart of Alberta farming country.”

Thanks, Pam, for sharing this.  Find Allan’s speech about quilting here.

A Tip on Clutterbusting

Rotating Desk OrganizerClutter – that haphazard assortment of things that somehow take over your space.  This internet tip gave me a new spin on quilting and sewing clutter.  Buy a rotating desk organizer at a stationery store and fill it with some of your most often used tools.  You can stuff a bit of batting into the bottom of compartments to protect the scissor points or to make them the right depth for some of your items.

Then you could try my own spin-off idea and get yourself a small turntable from a housewares department for more of your quilting items.

Rotating Desk Organizer and Turntable

Both the desk organizer and the turntable are themselves subject to clutter, of course.  I had to declutter both items and my sewing machine area in order to take photos for this post.