Author Archives: Valerie

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!

Distractions

I have spent the first part of this morning making a list of things that I need to complete to enter into Quilts at the Creek, which is held July 28 & 29th. Some just need binding, others need quilting, so I certainly do not need to start anything new!

But when I started cleaning up my quilting area I found this box of 4″ squares and half square triangles in colours of blues, teals, and tans. I know these must be at least 7 years old, as it was in my early quilting days that I used these colours. And I have a still have a lot in this palette.

I promised myself I would just play with them for an hour- and I even set a timer.. two hours later I am putting the box away for another time, but I did make a dent in that project. One of the problems is that I did not put a sketch of what I wanted the quilt to look like, so I played with them for quite a while until I settled on simple diamonds on point. Hopefully seeing this post from time to time will remind me to finish it.

Right now I picture this as a nice picnic quilt… grass stains won’t show!

And done!

I finally found a layout which I was happy with, and finished this quilt this morning.. now I need to decide what to put on the back. Hopefully it gets completed in plenty of time for Quilts at the Creek!

The colour is not quite right in this photo – hard to take photos on a sunny day- the second is more the actual colours. But you’ll have to see it for yourself by coming to the show July 28 & 29th 2018!

in the works…

I started making some blocks last winter while snowbirding on Saint Simon’s Island (gorgeous place, I highly recommend it- just north of the Florida border). Then they got “filed away” when I got back. While doing a major clean up I re-discovered them, and have made a few more blocks. Here is what I have so far.. although I am not sure what the final arrangement will be! The blocks are not sewn together yet, hence the slightly off kilter look of some of them. Hmmm. this would make a nice “modern version of the block. Maybe I’ll make a few off-kilter blocks for the back?
I was at Country Clothesline / Fabric Spark with Shirley and Jane, doing a pop-up to promote our upcoming Quilts at the Creek quilt show and celebrate National Quilting Day yesterday.  Of course when you spend several hours in a quilt shop you cannot- no matter how hard you try!- be drawn to at least one fabric which you must have… this is what I was drawn to:

…and or course some coordinating fabric.
. I am posting this to remind me of this project and think about what I’d like to do with them. But first I MUST work on all those other projects I have in progress or have bought fabric for. Sigh!

A Quilt for Baby

My son and his wife had a baby last May- so exciting to be a grandparent! They had decided they wanted the sex of the baby to be a surprise, so I decided to make two quilts.

One is a soft floral done in a traditional hourglass design. The fabric colour choice started out being out of my comfort zone, but I knew that my DIL loved these soft florals- and check out the fabric used on the back. I have come to love these softer tones too, and they will be included in future quilts for sure! You can see it has already been used and loved, so surprise! I have a lovely granddaughter, Charlotte Rose.
The other quilt I made was in blues- lots of blues! This made using the tumbling block pattern, but modified for ease of sewing. The white blocks are actually two separate blocks, which allows you to sew the quilt together in rows.. easier to see in the close ups. I had been saving the circus fabric for a special place, and the back of this quilt was it. Perfect!