Our October Meeting – Creating with Scraps

Our October meeting was a busy one, and quilting with scraps seemed to be a common theme.  There were lots of ideas for creating something new out of scraps and keeping us stitching over the winter.

Anne gave a presentation about making watercolour quilts.  She has a clever system for storing small squares of fabric that are easy to access whenever the creative urge strikes.  She cuts pieces from fabric left over from projects and stores them in foil pans, which stack nicely.  She “paints” her quilt on her design wall, taking her time with the creative process.

Diane introduced us to a new project called “Mystery Scrap-it.”  Part 1 started out with an unconventional way of cutting fabric into scraps.  As Diane says, “this mystery project is to free your mind from conventional patterns and to try new techniques, embellishments and stretch the imagination.”

Eleanor talked about Canada’s Biggest Quilt Bee, initiated by the Canadian Quilters’ Association for Quilt Canada and Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017.  Our guild will be making slab block quilts for Ronald McDonald House.  It was suggested that including some children’s fabric in these blocks would be a good idea.

CQA quilt bee
Eleanor’s slab blocks

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.


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.