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"Pour L'Amour du Fil" (For the Love of Thread)

The language of thread and fibre is clearly an international language. Recently I had the pleasure of attending "Pour L'Amour du Fil" (For the Love of Thread), an international exhibition of quilts and needlework, held in Nantes, on the westwern coast of France, from April 27-30. Having only 2 days at the exposition, it was very difficult for me to choose which events and courses to partcipate in. There were so many excellent opportunities, but only limited time. After some deliberation, I chose to spend one day in a course learning about the traditional technique of "boutis" with Hubert Valeri, and the other day I chose to spend enjoying the gallery of quilts on display by some very talented quilters and needleworkers.

Among the quilters who had their work on display were the "Piece O' Cake" gals, Linda Jenkins and Becky Goldsmith. The room showcasing their work was energized with a brilliant vitality. Jan Patek was also there with her warm and cozy "Little House on the Prairie" exhibit, as were many other talented quilters from all parts of the world.

The show is sponsored by "Quiltmania", a vibrant French quilting magazine, that is now also being printed in English, and available in North America. (It's well worth looking for.) And the vendors came from all parts of the world as well, selling products for every possible quilting need. What Fun!


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Blocking and Squaring Boutis

The door of her cage has been opened. She is free to fly off and find her destiny.

After many months of hand stitching and then many more months of cording, my little "calibri" is ready to set off on her own. As this was my first attempt at designing so large a boutis piece, it has been a bit of a learning curve. All of the tight swirls, curls and circles are a great deal more difficult and time consuming to cord then are the longer more gentle channels. Maintaining an even tension is absolutely necessary throughout the process, so patience comes in very handy when doing the cording.

Once all of the stitching and cording is complete, the boutis must be washed and squared up. After it is soaked overnight in a basin of water with a mild detergent, it gets rinsed gently in several clear washes, then rolled in a towel to remove the excess water. 

The final step is the blocking process. There are a number of ways to block a boutis piece, but I have found that the easiest metho…

Amazing Applique by Yoko Saito

The quilt exposition in Nantes "Pour L'amour du Fil" was filled with a number of highlights. Certainly one of the more memorable experiences was seeing the works of Yoko Saito in person.
"Elegant" is the word that best describes Yoko Saito's quilts. Although her palette is neutral, the lights and darks play very well together to create a perfect balance to the quilt. To say that the applique is amazing is an understatement. The perfectly formed 1/4" circles and the tiny leaves and stems are inspirational. And of course, the hand quilting is perfect. For the final touch, she uses embroidery as adornment in much the same way that the perfect pair of earrings complete the look of the little black dress. The opportunity to see her quilts in person has been truly inspirational.

The photos in order:
- Yoko Saito in her booth on the floor of the show
- "Pointsettia" - by Yoko Saito
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Alsace Quilts

A quilt show is a great place to be inspired and to celebrate our craft with other artisans. Spread throughout the town of Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines, as well as 2 other nearby towns, this show did not disappoint in either way. There were many fantastic quilts to marvel at, and even more fantastic people to meet and share ideas with.

When at these shows, time is always at a premium, so I prioritized the exhibits that I hoped to see and did my best to get there. Here are a few of the highlights.

The first exhibit we saw were the Canadian quilts. Just as with the Amish quilts, a church acted as the gallery. Churches make great venues for displaying quilts.

Libby Lehman is very well known throughout the quilt world for her free motion machine quilting and threadwork. As she was the featured artist at this year's show, there was a large retrospective display of her quilts. I am more familiar with her current work, so it was quite a surprise to see her more traditional earlier work. It was a…