Saturday, 27 July 2013

Summer Road Trip!

Hubby and I just got back from a 12 day road trip, new camper in tow. We drove from our home in southwestern Quebec through eastern and central Ontario to cottage country. We visited family, camped, hiked, cruised, duck and rabbit watched and discovered several terrific little quilt shops. It seems Ontarians (or is it Ontarioites?) are big on quilting! A happy discovery!

Heading west on the 401 our first stop was Presqu'ile Provincial Park,
right on Lake Ontario and 5 minutes from Brighton, Ontario.
Lake Ontario from Presqu'ile Provincial Park

Nice campground, beautiful scenery, and lo and behold, The Robbins Nest, a great little quilt store. And there I was in need of purple fabric. Coincidence? It really was. Not sure DH was buying it.
This shop is also participating in the annual 401 quilt run October 1 - 31st, hmmm. Another road trip? Who knows?

I found a few fat quarters of purple fabric that are perfect for my quilt guild summer challenge:

Next stop, Indian Lake Campground in Brampton, billed as the closest campground to downtown TO. It was close for sure and not exactly wilderness but it was very neat and clean. After cocktails with family, including Don the cat (who loved his new cat quilt) we had a wonderful dinner at the Mandarin Buffet (Oh boy, what a spread!) Then we relaxed and had a laugh or two at a local pub. We were even chauffeured to and from the campsite. How nice!

                                                    Don, the cat trying out his new cat quilt!

The next day we were off to Owen Sound to visit and do some camping with children (2 out of 5) and grandchildren (2 out of 5) I like to keep things even, LOL. And,  of course Molly, the cat! Musn't forget Molly!


What a fabulous area. Every time we went out we "bumped into" a quilt store.
Now don't get me wrong we saw some amazing scenery too.
Owen Sound is a beautiful town and the Bruce Peninsula is stunning.

                                         Rising of the Moon - Owen Sound

Flower Pot Island - Georgian Bay

And then there were the fabric shops!

First stop: The Fabric Center, a friendly shop in Owen Sound where I indulged my love of cat novelty fabric. After all,  I do use a lot making cat quilts for :

Next stop Wiarton, Ontario, home of Wiarton Willie, our country's famous groundhog! We went on a 3K hike in Wiarton, not my usual form of activity but very rewarding to see the ruins of a stone house, an incredible view from the lookout and an interesting local legend.

But best of all in Wiarton: Mothers Fabric, where I made another addition to my fabric stash. A bit more purple and another cat print:

Another day, off to Lion's Head for an afternoon at the beach and a stop at Greig's Fabric, a cute quilt shop and another purchase:

Back in Owen Sound the local Fabricland was a good source of fabric and supplies for a budding quilter. And I couldn't resist just a couple more pieces to add to my collection. Well everything still fit into the car at least!

We were reluctant to pack up and go before at least one more quilting session which resulted in a beautiful first quilting effort by my daughter! Isn't that a great start?
The weather cooperated on the way home so we took a little side trip to Saranac Lake, New York.
It's nice to be retired and able to do things spur of the moment. 
 Camp fire in Buck Pond State Park. You can almost here the crackle!

And what did we find there?......You guessed it, another quilt shop. Brand new, Piece by Piece Studio and Quilt Shop opened on July 1st this year. How lucky was that? And they had some nice prints and a great polka dot extra wide quilt back fabric on sale for 5.25/yard. Well I couldn't leave that behind now could I? I'll take 3 yards please!

Oops, I forgot the ducks and rabbits! We saw plenty of those as well. Even some that swam right up to us.

Ducks at Lion's Head
Canada Geese at Indian Lake Campground
Feeding the ducks at the beach - Lion's Head

Backyard rabbits in Owen Sound
We had a wonderful trip! It was great getting together with family we don't get to see very often and to share the quilting bug with them too! I sure hope it's catching!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Is it ever too hot to quilt?

How hot is too hot? It's been over 30C and humid for days. I have 2 cat quilts to quilt and bind and then there's the 376 inches of binding to hand sew onto a bed size quilt by Thursday.

We do have air conditioning, but, it's summer and in Canada summer doesn't last long. Before you know it it's a frigid -30C. Yikes, better enjoy the heat while it's here. So, it's a compromise: spend a couple of hours in the morning working on machine quilting the cat quilts, then outside to enjoy the sun with the family. Once evening arrives, on to hand sewing the binding while watching a little TV. Binding the cat quilts will wait for early tomorrow morning. No Idle time for quilters, and we love it that way!

In the meantime the flowers are loving the warm sun!

And Stella, she just loves the heat! The hotter the better!

So, I guess, for me, it's never too hot to quilt! How about you? How do you handle heat waves?

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Who taught you that?

Just throwing that out there. Who taught you to quilt, to sew, to bake, to paint or to knit? Are you self taught or did you take a course?

As we develop we learn our alphabet, how to tie our shoes, brush our teeth and colour in the lines. But how did we learn all those things we really get pleasure from?

I remember my Aunt Helen teaching me how to bake and ice a cake and Mom taught me practical things like how to paint a room or hang a curtain rod.

My quilt journey was probably inspired by my best friend Janet's Mom. I remember her basting quilts on the ping pong table in their basement over 50 years ago. I didn't really understand what she was doing but I was fascinated with the colours and filled with curiosity. We had a sewing machine in our home, I guess everyone did, but my Mom didn't sew. Nor did my grandmother although she darned socks, embroidered and knitted socks and mittens for everyone. I started trying to sew when I was about 8 making clothes for my dolls. By age 12 I was selling these doll clothes to Mom's friends and co-workers. When I hit high school there were Home Economics courses where I found out that I didn't know everything! They actually taught you to sew and to cook in those days with a full program lasting up to 4 years. During this time I developed quite nicely in my sewing skills.

Over the years I searched for a rewarding hobby. I tried knitting, crochet, macramé, stained glass and woodworking. All with minimal success. I yearned for an outlet for my creative side using a skill that I had.  I don't really remember the Aha moment but I think it was when I bought my first quilting magazine. I was hooked. Who taught me? I guess I mostly taught myself but I have to give credit Janet's Mom and to my own Mom for providing the inspiration!

Please tell me about your learning path. I'd love to hear your story. Who was your inspiration

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Vermont Quilt Show

The Vermont Quilt Show, held last weekend in Essex Junction, Vermont was awesome! Inspiring prize winning quilts and incredible antiques, a display of Dear Jane quilts and several challenge quilts. Challenge packets for next years show were on sale along with vendors selling everything from quilting machines to thimbles. There were demonstrations and courses and yummy fabric was everywhere.  I indulged my weakness for stash building thinly disguised as "I need fabric for a quilt for my massage therapist!"

I took some great photos but the pamphlet asks that they be published only with credit. Since I don't have details for all my photos, I'd just like to share this prize winner, my favourite, called Finally a Quilt for our Bed pieced and quilted by Kristin Brewer of Waterbury Center, VT:

Here is the official website for the 2013 exhibit and details for future shows:

They're also on Facebook:

And Twitter: @VTQuiltFestival

I know I'll be going back next year and who knows, maybe I'll exhibit!