Author Archives: Valerie

Odds and Ends

It has been raining all day, and somehow that makes me think of all the things I need to get done around the house. I have been working on that “To Do” list, and have recently finished a few of them.


This is a mini quilt I made to fit into my cat’s favourite basket… hope he likes it!


This is a handwarmer muff for my granddaughter who does not like to wear gloves or mittens when she is outside.. it is decorated with horses, her latest obsession. Hope she likes it – and uses it!


And finally, here  is a piece I made from a class I have been taking. The background fabric was tie dyed, stamped, and painted, the image was photo transferred. I have learned so many techniques, but mostly I have learned not to be afraid to try new things!


World of Threads

I went to see The World of Threads Festival in Oakville, Ontario yesterday, and all I can say is WOW!

From their notes: “We showcase contemporary fibre and textile art in all forms. Festival 2018 features 303 artworks by 65 artists from Canada, Denmark, England, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Russia and USA. Most of the artwork is for sale.”

“Something that’s different about World of Threads is that we let the art guide us. We don’t have predetermined curatorial ideas or impose our concepts on the artists. Eact festival is a blank slate. Shows develop entirely out of the submissions received. To find our thematic exhibitions we look for connections between thousands of artworks from around the world. Over time the shows emerge. We also choose the strongest bodies of work for solo shows.”

There are tons of photos on their web page, and here is a link to their brochure.

Here are some of my favourite pieces:

Forced to Flee

I recently saw a call for entries for a quilt show entitled Forced to Flee. Artists were encouraged to submit entries based on crises which force people to flee their homes for safety and survival. A few years ago I created a piece about Zaatari, a refugee camp in Jordan for Syrians escaping war in their homeland.

Zaatari refugee camp, Jordan

It was inspired by a series of aerial photographs taken over a period of 9 months, when the camp grew from zero (July 2012) to a population of about 145,000 (May 2013). It has since stabilized to 80,000 refugees, and has evolved into a semi-permanent home for these people, with a powerful solar power plant, shops, schools and more. Despite problems in the camp, Zaatari is a powerful testament to the resilience and entrepreneurship of the people living there.
When I thought about entering this piece, I felt it was incomplete, and needed a focal point. I decided to add two figures approaching the camp as refugees. Getting the size right was a problem! It felt a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears- I chose the middle one after trying them out on the quilt.

I am pretty happy with the result, and have submitted my application online. Fingers crossed!

Here is a detail from the quilt:

Techniques used: pieced, painted, raw edge applique

Blame it On My Sister

I spent a wonderful time visiting my sister recently, and that visit included a trip (OK, more than one trip!) to her local fabric store. There she bought some Christmas panels on sale- 6 identical panels- so she could make a “one-block wonder” quilt with it. I helped her cut the fabric, and cannot wait to see how it turns out.

I have always loved these quilts, but several things converged to generate this renewed interest. First, I saw that Maxine Rosenthal is bringing out a new book..yeah! It is titled “One-Block Wonders of the World: New Ideas, Design Advice, A Stunning Collection of Quilts”. Then I was browsing Pinterest (here is the link to my collection of pins on the subject) and saw the most stunning, inspiring quilts by Bruce Seeds. And of course seeing my sister pick out some terrific fabric and helping her cut it out reminded me how quick and easy they are to make, once you have the fabric.

Here are photos of the ones I have made and posted about over the years.

I have a stash of fabrics which I have purchased for just this purpose over the years, and this morning I was just itching to start one. It is SO exciting to see the fabric transformed, and wish I had been more religious in keeping a “before” photo of the fabric for each of them!

Today was the day! The fabric I chose has a large fabric repeat, but it sat for so long because I was concerned about the colours, and how they would look when cut up for this type of quilt. So I am still in my PJs and it is getting close to dinner time; I got quite a bit done-time to  put it away for another day. Here are images of the starting fabric (Field Study No. 1 by Anna Maria Horner), and what the sewn blocks look like on my design wall. I had to cut the rows at 3.25″ to maximize the fabric, and I have estimated the finished quilt – if sewn together as laid out right now- will only be  about 40″ square.  I would really rather have a larger quilt, so may wait and see if I can find a fabric with the same kind of colour way. Or not.

Found Treasures

Once a year I spend some time sorting through my fabrics- donate to my local guild, toss, and “use it up” piles. I often find stacks of blocks that I had made as part of a project, but later abandoned for a variety of reasons. I rearely get through all my boxes of fabric, but I made a good dent this year.. and look what I found!

These star blocks were made with templates I had purchased from Baycreek Quilting Templates. Because the blocks did not finish square, I was kind of stumped in how to use them. Today I sewed them together, and they form a very nice circle.. I think I will applique them onto a background fabric… to be determined!

Next was this  pile of blocks: I know they are from my very early quilting days, so maybe ten years old. Time to use them or lose them!

Well I don’t even remember cutting these! a huge pile of half-hexagons in a wonderful range of colours, all solids. Yummmm..


Next up was the centre block, with the fussy cut matryoshka dolls. I got busy and added several rounds to make it larger, but I think I will put it aside and think about what the next round in this medallion quilt should be.


Last but not least are these paper-pieced arcs. The first set were used to make the quilt pictured below… that quilt has been sold, so I may make another version of it sometime soon. And finally, I was just playing when I made the bottom set of arcs-I didn’t have any kind of plan for them, and I still don’t!

Happy quilting!