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Sunday, June 24, 2007

My First Quilt: Jacqui VMS

My daughter, Amanda (or Mandy as she was then called) just sent me pictures of the very first quilt I made. I started getting interested in quilting in 1989 and fell in love with this quilt, so I jumped in with scissors and polyester fabrics and bravely got started! I hadn't even heard of rotary cutters! I used a lot of fabrics in the stars from clothing I had made for Amanda. It took me four years to complete this quilt and I tied it because I didn't dare actually quilt it. Meanwhile I took a class at Quilter's Supply in Hyde Park for a log cabin Quilt in a Day. I took the class just to see how you could put a quilt together in one day! That log cabin quilt was finished before this one, but this is technically my first quilt. What memories :-)

Jacqui VMS

Thanks Jacqui for that great story! You can visit Jacqui's blog here, where she makes all her quilts on antique treadle machines, and you can see her collection of machines here. If you would like to share the story of your first quilt, just email the details and a photo or two if you have them to lfqguild at

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dear Sun Bonnet Sue: Grandmother's Garden

Dear Sunbonnet Sue:
I have a question about quilting which I've been asking for awhile which either doesn't have a correct answer, or no one knows! I bought some partly finished hexagon blocks which are probably from the 1920's at an auction sale. There were enough pieces of fabric in the bag to finish a lot of blocks. I found sugar sack type fabric at our local thrift shop one day, which would set the the blocks nicely. I handpieced the rest of the top over a number of years and it's now waiting to go to a Mennonite group for handquilting, hopefully in the fall. But, my dilemma do I press this quilt? Which way do you press seams on a hexagon (grandmother's flower garden) quilt?

Here are three close up pictures of the quilt top. The quilt was not done with paper of the green/coloured 'flowers' were completed, some by sewing machine; others by hand! I continued doing it by hand figuring it was a nice small hand project to take along when I had some stitching time. I bought a plastic template with different sized hexagons on it, used that to trace the shapes on the white ( the coloured and green were all cut out using a cardboard template). I used the pencil line to sew along by hand.

Thanks so much!
Jacqui VMS

Dear Jacqui:
There are 2 methods that people use when making this quilt. English Paper piecing and the American method. Paper piecing requires the fabric to folded and basted to a paper hexagon templates and each piece is whip stitched together. When the templates are removed the seams stay open and flat.

But yours is done without paper piecing templates. I did a bit of research and a bit of experimentation and it would appear that it should be pressed in a spiral with the centre block flat. I think it would probably have been better to press each flower block before joining them together and then probably ironing them as you go, maybe row by row. How to press the newly joined pieces would be up to you. I don't think there is a hard and fast rule. I think it will be a fussy bit of ironing to do. Good luck :)

This photo shows the backs of a paper pieced flower (left) and the American method (right).

Here are a few links for more information on hexagon or Grandmother's Garden quilts:
Better Home and Garden, and Brandy's Video's for a video demonstration and I found a blog, Simply Quilted, that had a great photo of the back of a hexagon block, pressed in the spiral way.

If anyone out there has any thoughts on this subject please feel free to use the comment option at the bottom of this post to add your experiences or email me your comments and will post them myself.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Joan Reive

Joan Reive was our guest speaker for the 2007 Year End Banquet. Turning 77 this year, Joan is an example of living life to the fullest. Born in Edmonton and then growing up in Saskatchewan in what she called the 'dirty thirties', she was bitten by the artistic bug at an early age. She always wanted to go to art school but in those days, she had to settle for art by correspondence school, where she learned the basics. Her first job was as a telephone operator, too monotonous, she thought, better to join the air force and see the world! In life's little ironies, the air force sent her to Saskatoon to work as a teletype operator! But it was through the airforce that she met her husband in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba and subsequently had 5 children. After living on many airbases they were eventually sent to Trenton, Ontario, where living on a base and taking care of 5 children, made her realize her creative side was in need of nourishment. There she took many art classes, and soon she was working at a couple of area retirement homes as an activity director. There she arranged quilting activities with the residents. Soon her quilting and her art background merged into fibre art. At one point she belonged to 3 area guilds, taking as many workshops as possible as well as teaching a few of her own.

She turned some of her paintings into quilts. Her favourite spot for landscape painting was Bridgewater. Below, Cynthia and Joan pose a sample of one of her 'Bridgewater Quilts'.

Later, Joan became fascinated with colourwash, creating pictures from 2 inch squares. She made so many of these quilts, she ruined her hands from cutting out all those little pieces.

Joan continues to learn new techniques in fibre art and never stops taking workshops. She has experimented with pieced applique, crazy quilts, applique using tulle, to name a few. (To see a few more photos of Joan's work, I've posted the rest of the photos on flickr.) She recommends that all quilters take basic art courses in colour and design.

Joan is planning on attending Quilt Canada 2008 in St. John's, Newfoundland where she will be offering a workshop there. She is currently working on a book entitled The Quilted Landscape and is in the process of finding a publisher. The woman never stops! What an inspiration!

The London Freindship Quilters Guild would like to thank Joan Reive for sharing her life stories, showing us her amazing quilts, and inspiring us to think beyond the nine-patch!


Other business:
Don't forget quilters, that this blog will be hosting an on-line show and tell, called My First Quilt (see previous post below). Please email me photos and stories of your First Quilt and I will post them on the blog throughout the summer.

Also if you have any quilting problems or questions that need answering, just ask Sun Bonnet Sue and she will post the Q & A on the blog.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

June Banquet

The June Banquet will be held at the Best Western Stoneridge Inn in Lambeth, off of Colonel Talbot Rd (Hwy 4), just south of the 401. The doors open at 6PM and a cash bar will be open then. You must have a ticket to attend, which includes dinner, and Joan Reive is the guest speaker. As this is the final get together before next September, if you have any outstanding library books, please, please bring them with you to the dinner or arrange with Lynn D. to have them picked up.

The blog never stops...
As Editor of the blog, I hope everyone has enjoyed our efforts to bring the Guild into the 21st Century, it certainly has been our theme for the year! We have established a web page, email addresses, and a blog. Quilting is wonderful tradition, full of interesting stories, techniques and craftmanship, art, and history. It needs to be kept alive for future generations! Unfortunately, many of the traditional ways quilting was passed on, mother to daughter, guilds, women's auxillaries, fairs, church groups, home economics classes, and quilting bees, are becoming more rare; seen by some as "old-fashioned". Things like the decline in church attendance, the break down of the nuclear family, and the women's movement, the 2 income family, long distance moves, all contribute to the breakdown of the old ways of passing on these traditions.

Fortunately, the computer is not all bad! 'Surfing the net' can actually bring people from around the world together, making the world a smaller place. I have found a huge quilting community that uses the computer to pass on all these traditions. Group activities like fabric swaps, and block swaps take place with people from around the world! The exchange of information and inspiration can happen at break-neck speed with the internet. Our guild can use the computer world to our advantage, bring in new members and share ideas, skills, and stories. Having said that though, the local guild is still very relevant. It is where we meet our fellow quilters face to face and enjoy each other's company, see and touch real quilts, not just photos on the net! This is truly a friendship guild! We must be doing something right because our membership is growing!

After the dinner, we may not see each other until September, but the blog goes on! I will continue posting during the summer months, so please check in occasionally. I have had a request by a member for a Q&A about quilting concerns. I think the summer might be a good time to experiment with that. If you have a question about quilting, just email me (lfqguild at, and I will try to find you an answer and post it on the blog. After that anyone who cares to comment and offer their suggestions, please feel free to do so. There is often more than one answer to a problem. I will be calling this feature 'Dear Sun Bonnet Sue' so please put that in the subject on your email. I also plan on offering an on-line show and tell, called "My First Quilt", so dig out those photos and email me your photos and your stories about your first quilt! And finally, Linda G, will be offering a small challenge for September, the details of which she will post at a later date. We'll keep you quilty during the summer months too!

Enjoy your summer! See you in September!

Carol V.
Editor of Blog