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Showing posts from 2012

Hand Quilted Whole Cloth

Seven years ago when my daughter and my son-in-law became engaged I started designing this quilt for them. Having just moved to Montpellier in the south of France, I was influenced by the quilts and linens I saw there, in particular by the lovely boutis quilts. At the time, my knowledge of boutis was quite limited, so I borrowed the look and some of the motifs used in boutis and adapted them to this whole cloth hand stitched quilt.

Five years ago, when they got married, the quilt was no where near being completed, but it was well on it's way. Four years ago, when my husband and I stopped spending winters in France, I moved the quilt to Vancouver. (The summers are much too hot where we live in France for lap quilting.)

Sadly since then, because other things always seem to take priority, I have spent very little time on the quilt. I love to hand quilt, and I tend to look at time spent quilting as a decadent pleasure, so often it gives way to something that seems more like work. (A…

Books: A Few of My Favourite Things!

Much of what I have learned about quilting and needlework in general, I have learned from books and magazines. Most books give specifics for the "how to", as well as issue patterns. There are many excellent books on the subject of needlework, many in my own library. Below are a few new books that I have recently acquired.

Within the last number of years, I have devoted much time to learning about the southern French needleart of boutis. Aside from describing the technique, I have also learned much about the rich heritage and tradition of this craft from books. Learning about the history of French needlework has made me understand the importance of the design of a quilt. With information that I have retrieved from books, I feel that it has added a new dimension and significance to the things that I make.

"Piecework" is one of the few magazines I subscribe to. Each issue has articles and stories describing the rich history of different types of needlework from around…

The Tristan Quilt at the V & A

On our recent visit to London, one of our first stops was at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Established in 1852 and named for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who were strong supporters of it's founding, the museum is a facility that is both educational and cultural, and open to everyone. It is here, in the "Medieval and Renaissance Gallery" that I finally saw the "Tristan Quilt", one of the earliest surviving quilts showing stuffed, corded whitework (known as "Boutis" in France).

Medieval needlework was often a medium for storytelling. It told of wars and conquests, heros and warriors, love won and love lost, etc. Myths and legends were recorded for future generations through the nimble fingers of the artisans. Through the intricately depicted figures stitched into the Tristan Quilt, this classic Norman legend follows Tristan into battle and tells the tale of love and deception between Tristan and Isolde.

The quilt has been traced to an atelier in …

Shop Windows

Finally back home on the Pacific coast of Canada, life is slowly returning to a comfortable rhythm and routine. With my project list before me, I am looking forward to a fall and winter of creating and producing as many things textile as I can. My "hirondelle" boutis piece is coming along (see my previous post) and I hope to begin the cording before long. Other projects, I will write about as they come up.

To get back to Vancouver from Montpellier, we took a long, round about route to Heathrow Airport in London, where we eventually caught our flight home. Our detour took us from Montpellier to northern Germany, Belgium and Calais,France, where we caught the Eurostar to London.

On this little tour of northern Europe, we spent some time in the Belgian cities of Antwerp and Bruges. Wandering through the medieval, winding streets of Antwerp and Bruges, our senses were constantly delighted. From the sweet, spicy scent of Speculoos cookies and gingerbread baking in the patisserie…

Hummingbird Boutis

This hummingbird is the first in a series of boutis pieces featuring birds that I am currently in the process of designing.

As with most of my quilting designs, the hummingbird has evolved in the construction process, and may change some more before the final stitch is sewn. The centre of the piece has already been stitched and I hope to get a lot more work done as we make our way back to Vancouver.

Tomorrow morning we lock up our little place in the sun and will spend a few weeks on the road touring northern Germany, Belgium and France before heading home. Train travel is a good place to do some stitching, so ever the optomist, I expect to get at least a little work done en route. I'll report when we are settled back in Vancouver, sometime towards the end of October.

Until then, enjoy the colours of autumn wherever you are, and Happy Thanksgiving to Canadians, where Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Monday, October 8. (Wish I were there. Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday).

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…

Amish Quilts in Ste.Marie-Aux-Mines, France

Tucked away in the picturesque Val d'Argent in Alsace France, Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines hosts the annual European Patchwork Meeting. As the name suggests, Ste. Marie-Aux-Mines was established as a mining town, however, it also had a thriving textile industry that was famous worldwide.  And it was in this unpretentious little town, hidden away in the valley of the Vosges Massif, led by Jacob Amman, that the Amish movement was born in 1693. In view of this history, this is the perfect place for a quilt show, which celebrates artistry with fabrics, and in particular, for an exhibition of Amish Quilts.

Throughout the town, a variety of buildings had been transformed into galleries for the week. Walking into town, towards the main venue, the first exhibit that we came upon was the Amish exhibit. Here, a church acted as "gallery", which seemed a very fitting venue for Amish quilts.

To attract and welcome guests, an Amish clothesline had been hung in the yard of the church. Referrin…