Author Archives: Valerie

From Crayons to Quilts

With us in lockdown FOREVER it seems, I have only been able to visit my son and his family outside, masked and 6 feet away or via FaceTime. They have a 2 month old that I have not been able to hug yet.. sigh!

I have started a series of craft projects to share with my 3 year old granddaughter, which we mostly do online. This has been a fun adventure seeking out age-appropriate things that she might be interested in. What kinds of things have we done?

We did a few Christmas related projects for their tree: made brightly coloured paper chains to hang, we made candy canes by putting beads on pipe cleaners, also for their tree. We made small wreaths by gluing pompoms onto green felt circles.

We did some fingerprint painting, turning fingerprints into bugs, people, etc. I printed off a photo of the family onto a magnetic sheet, and cut it into jigsaw puzzle shapes (with another copy of the photo as a cheat sheet!). And since she has shown so much interest in learning to read I made a small “book” with index cards and rings to hold them together. I wrote some simple words on each page, and she used sticky foam alphabet letters to copy those words. She especially liked this one!

We’ve done a few outdoor activities too: I dyed ice cubes with food colouring to use as building blocks outside (flop!), and created an 4 foot high outdoor slide from snow. It started to melt away the next day, but we had a lot of fun making it and trying it out.

My favourite so far, though, has to be the colouring book I made. I went through my photos of the family, used an app on my iPad to trace simple outlines, printed them off, and stapled them into a book. And being a quilter, I kept looking at those images and decided I NEEDED to make a quilt or two from them.

The middle photo is called Mom’s Boots, and brings back fond memories. It is the one I have turned into a small wallhanging. The photo on the far right means a lot to me- it was taken at the final Quilts at the Creek in 2019, and will become a quilt one day.

Hopefully we will be able to meet up close and personal soon..before I run out of ideas!!

Are you ZOOMing?

Zoom lectures and workshops are a great way for quilters to hear from creative, talented people while in lockdown. We are all looking for things to keep our hand and our minds busy!

I got to thinking about which quilters I would like to hear from, and a conversation with Sandy Lindal started the ball rolling. We set up and have booked an exciting list of presenters. We’ll be adding them to the schedule when all the details are settled and contracts are signed. We had hundreds of attendees at our inaugural talk by Victoria Findlay Wolfe, and our upcoming presentation by David Owen Hastings has been sold out for a while. I encourage everyone to check the schedule often, and sign up for email alerts. Tell your friends too!

This is a labour of love on our part, but we are happy to do the work- we love being able to offer this to our quilting community. Who doesn’t love seeing quilts, hearing about quilts, ready to start another quilt?

We will be adding some workshops along with the lectures in future, so keep your eyes peeled. AND feel free to email us your dream list!

Re-Working a Quilt

As a part of the series of quilts I made for my tumbler talk (look under the Trunk Show tab), I created a large (90 x 90″) bed quilt with a big mix of colours. The blocks were from my stash created from making all my other tumbler quilts. The only rule I tried to follow was to put a darker block beside a lighter block. Here it is.. no binding on it, as I wasn’t totally in love with it. When I got it home from the quilter I decided it was too big, too dominant because of the bright colours. Sorry Sandy, this quilt went under the knife/ rotary cutter.

Here is what I got out of this quilt:

So happy I decided to do this- the whole is less than the sum of the parts in this project!

Resolution Time!

It started so innocently. I was happily cutting blocks for a future project, when I remembered that I had made some similar shaped blocks in the past- maybe I could incorporate those too! Well, I have been happily making tumbler quilts during lockdown, and have created a trunk show based on those quilts. So I have made hundreds (thousands??) of tumbler blocks, and anything else I had been working on had been put aside. Searching through my piles, I came across a disheartenedly large number of UFOs, some ALMOST finished. I know there are more lurking somewhere, too. (note: I haven’t yet found those blocks that started it all). SO time to move these projects along… and NO NEW PROJECTS until I have made a start on these.

Wish me luck… and good luck with your UFOs in 2021.

Re-Homing your Quilt Projects

When I signed up for this UFOvember, I was assigned the topic of re-homing. Well, since this is about UFOs, it is probably meant to be about re-homing those blocks that for some reason just sit there, staring back at you when you open a box to see just what is inside. But my story is about re-homing a quilt.

There are people who are interested in quilts, who just “get” them, and those who don’t. Working in a research lab, you are surrounded by intense people, who live and breathe science. Not many of them have the time or inclination to throw themselves into a time-consuming creative endeavour outside of science. So there were not many people who saw what I was up to outside the lab. One person who was interested, and loved what I was doing, approached me and asked if I would make her a quilt. I know from previous ventures that this can be a dangerous thing to do.. I much preferred selling someone something that was already made so there would be no surprises. She persisted. We talked about colours (bright), style (simple) and I researched patterns. I found a pattern online that was simple, and bright, and got the OK to proceed. I ordered the fabric, and got to work. I sent occasional photos to update my progress. All good. When it was all pieced, and ready to go to the quilter, I took a shot of it on my bed so she could see the final size and get an idea of what it would look like on her bed. Silence. One week of silence from someone who worked just down the hall from me. I was getting seriously nervous. Finally she came to visit, and told me she had changed her mind. My mind was racing.. she didn’t like it? But she had OKed the fabric, the pattern, the early photos! Maybe she was in a money crunch and couldn’t afford it? I asked if she would mind telling me why. “I’d rather not say.” was the reply. Things got frosty after that. The completed quilt sat in my house, and made me sad whenever I looked at it.

This is the quilt, which is the one I took with me to Black Creek Pioneer Village when I was pitching the idea of Quilts at the Creek. It was a big hit- the quilt and the show!

A year or two later, a girl that I had hired straight from school had a personal tragedy. This person was so bright, full of energy and enthusiasm, and became a real friend, despite a 30-year age gap. We later travelled to China together: almost 3 weeks sharing everything from a room to food to travel adventures solidified our friendship. When her 27 year-old brother died while completing a half-marathon she was devastated. When she returned to work I re-homed this bright, happy quilt to her. I like to picture her physically wrapping herself in a quilt given by someone who cares, and hope it helped her through the worst of times. The quilt had found its rightful home.

Here are the other blogs discussing this same topic… check them out!

November 25 – Jill Therriault –
November 26 – Cristina De Miranda –
November 27 – Kate Starcher –
November 28 – Valerie Prideaux –
November 29 – Kim Mastromartino –
November 30 – Natalia Knowlton –