Wednesday, 31 July 2019

International Quilt Festival, 2019

I am pretty excited to have a quilt accepted into the International Quilt Festival in Houston.
Here's the first part of the letter I received ...

"Congratulation! Sapphire Celebration!

Dear Bill,
Congratulations! Your quilt 'I Wish I Had a River' has been selected for inclusion in the special exhibit 'Sapphire Celebration'. This year was a difficult year for the jurors because so many beautiful quilts were submitted."

Feeling proud.

Going Home

'Going Home ...'
64" x 84"
Hand guided free motion longarm quilting by Deanna Gaudaur
The fabric is all designed by my friend Victoria Findlay Wolfe
Her Neurals Line, which is much of this quilt is available in store or online Picton Fabric World
Designed and improv pieced while staying in our cabin overlooking the Huon Valley.

Artist Statement
Going home …
At the end of a day ... relaxing
From being away … welcoming
After leaving home … enveloping
To hang out with friends … enjoying
For holidays and celebrations … embracing
To Mom's cooking … appreciating
With new loves … adoring
To aging loved ones … cherishing
To parents who are failing … caring
For their final days … wishing
After they are gone … longing
When it has been emptied … remembering
Going home …

Rise Up

‘Rise Up: Celebrating the Women Who Teach, Inspire, Mentor, Motivate, and Encourage Me as a Quilt Maker’

Colourful fabric is Kathy Doughty’s Seeds and Stems Line. 
Background is Victoria Findlay Wolfe’s Neutrals Line, which I purchased from Geraldine Rorbeck at Picton Fabric World. 
And fabulously quilted by Deanna Gaudaur Of Quinte Studios.

Double Disappearing Nine Patch Variation

For Emmett and Hudson

Close friends, who are like family, recently had a beautiful baby boy, Emmett, enter their lives recently.  
I used my own pattern, For Baby and Me to make this quilt.  
The fabric is by a fabulous Australian designer and friend, Kathy Doughty.
I LOVE her sense of colour and play!

Emmett has a big sister, Hudson, who was already around when her dad joined the family, so she never did get a quilt from me!  
I didn't want her feeling left out, so I grabbed a bag of fabric left over from other projects and made this for her.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

"Be a Man": Reflections on Masculinity, Part One

“Be A Man": Reflections on Masculinity, Part One

Artist’s Statement

I hated high school Gym class, especially the change room. 
I remember the Jocks who paraded confidently around the room wearing only their jockstrap, flicking each other with towels. 
They knew how to ‘man up’.
Me, changing in the darkest corner I could find … not so much … and I was told so constantly.
For years, the jockstrap was a reminder of my fear that I’d never be a ‘man’.
Now, I understand the myth of ‘manning up’, and I know that I am ‘man enough’!
And the jockstrap has a new role in my community … not so much for sport, but rather for play. I’m comfortable with that.

I dyed all of the fabric for this quilt. 
The background construction is a Double Disappearing Nine Patch Variation.  
Along with the blue background, it includes colours from both the gay pride and the trans pride flags.

Quilted by Deanna Gaudaur, .

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

RECENT FINISH ... For Oliver

While we were away, another baby entered our circle ... Oliver.
This fabric is 50 Shades of Hay and the pattern is my own 'For Baby and Me'.
I LOVE how quilts puff up once they are washed!!

Quilted by Deanna Gaudaur,

RECENT FINISH ... Life's Better Because of Us: Reflections From a Misfit

This quilt is based on the tile pattern in the men's washroom at Vancouver International Airport.

It speaks to the notion that without all of us who don't quite fit ... the misfits ,,, life would be boring.
Imagine this quilt without the red and tan bits!
They represent us, the misfits, and they/we make it all interesting!

Quilted by Deanna Gaudaur,

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

BackPack Show ... at Quilt Canada

I made a video as an introduction to my BackPack Show at Quilt Canada.
I think that it is pretty cool.
The Music is called 'Grateful'.
It is by Nimo and from their 'Empty Hands' CD.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

Catching Up ... Part One

I'm so bad at keeping this blog up to date.  Facebook and Instagram I do OK with.  But this blog!!  I am going to work at it!

First off, here are the three quilts that I had juried into Quilt Canada ...

Reflections of the Sydney Opera House

I love the Sydney Opera House.
And I love this iconic view of the sails of the Opera House.
To me, this view captures the grandeur of this building, as it reflects over Sydney Harbour, and into the hearts and minds of visitors from all corners of the world.
The ‘water’ is my own hand dyed indigo fabric.  The ‘sails’ are from fabric designed by Australian, Shauna Scicluna.  Jorn Utzon, the designer of the Opera House said that his design was inspired by the ‘simple act of peeling an orange’, so the orange fabric colour seemed perfect.

Surviving January

Resolutions. Plans.
But I’m stuck.
Starting. Starting again. And again. Until I can’t.
Fighting to stay happy; to see the Light; to know that I’m OK.
Always trying.
Using words to convince myself.
‘Life is good. Life is good!’
Until I believe that it is.
And I survive another January.

The Power of One

This quilt is about our power as one person to:
speak our truth, 
call out inappropriate behaviour, 
question what is wrong, 
start difficult conversations.  
It represents the notion that our one voice can inspire another, and another, and another ... until there is a chorus, and change can happen.

Saturday, 20 April 2019


Just look at these pictures and tell me that you don't see inspiration for quilts!  The lines.  The patterns. The colour.

Queen Victoria Building, Sydney

Opera House Outdoor Restaurants 
... above and below

National Museum of Australia 
... exterior above
... interior below

National Juried Show

Each year, the Canadian Quilters' Association, in conjunction with Quilt Canada, our national quilt show, holds a National Juried Show.

I've been a quiltmaker for the last five years and enter the show annually.  In my first year, 2015, I got a quilt juried into the show as a finalist.

In 2016 and 2017 I got 'rejection' letters.  Yes that really is what the heading on the email says!

In 2018, I had three quilts juried into the show as finalists, and won a third place for one of them.

This year, 2019, I again have three quilts juried into the show.  I got word of this while I was in Tasmania and I was so excited!!!

This year, they have asked that we not share our finalist quilts on social media and gave us this 'badge' to use instead. So ... here goes!

I've pasted it here three times, 'cause I'm pretty happy to have three finalists.  Although I had none in for two years, I'm still averaging seven quilts juried as finalists is five years.

Life is good!

Quiltmaking in Tasmania!

One of reasons for staying in one place for five weeks was so that Larry and I could tap into the amazing energy of the area!

It worked!

We travelled lots AND I still managed to get five quilt tops pretty much done in five weeks.
Larry, I'm sure averaged over 1000 photographs a week.
It was a wonderful stay!

The first quilt was a test of my own 'For Baby and Me' quilt pattern.  The pattern is dead-on and ready to be published!
It is a gift for Oliver.  Oliver is the son of the kid who used to work for me when I had my farm.  Hard for me to fathom how Matt grew old enough to have his second kid ... while I have stayed exactly as I was ... LOL

'For Oliver' ... finished photo to follow.

The next one was a test of another one of my patterns "It's a Slippery Slope'.  

I changed the colourway from the original white background and used a Canadian themed fabric line.  

As I worked with Canadian themed fabric, while basking in all that is wonderful about Tasmania this quilt took on new meaning to me.  It tells the story of just how easy it would be to slip into life in Tasmania.

There was a major flaw in the pattern, which I have fixed.  

It is with my quilter, Deanna Gaudaur, waiting to be quilted.

After TWO quilts where I followed a pattern, I needed to do something freer and more creative!

My friend Jan Ochi, who owns Wafu Works in Kingston Beach, Tasmania had lent me her sewing machine, and when I went to pick it up, I fell in love with these linen-like, textured Japanese prints in taupe, indigo and off white ... so I bought a bunch.

During our travels, I was amazed by the tile patterns that seemed to be everywhere and I kept taking pictures of them to use in my quilt making.  

The one below is a photo taken in a men's room, that I THOUGHT was empty but wasn't ... but that is another story. 

I decided that it would be a fabulous start to an improv quilt based on 2", 4", and 6" squares and rectangles. 

The quilt just grew on my design wall and the entire process was just so much fun!

Here is the finished quilt top.  I love the random bits of colour ... the misfit bits.

The quilt is called 'Life's Better Because of Us: Reflections From a Misfit'.

And it is!
Imagine a world without the odd, the different, the unusual, the misfits ... 

I'll post more on this quilt later.  It is totally finished and I really like it.

I was so excited about the freedom of improv work in quilt making that I dug our my Victoria Findlay Wolfe fabric that I'd brought with me.  It's hard to find her fabric outside of the USA, but my friends at Picton Fabric World have her entire 'Neutrals' line.

I decided that I wanted to base the quilt on a wonky log cabin block with lots of 'negative space' background.  I kept cutting up the log cabins and mixing them up ... and adding more and more of the wonderful Neutrals line.

I wanted to tell the story of going home, and the ways the meaning of 'going home' changes in our life's

Here it is early on, growing on my makeshift design wall in Tasmania.   It is finished now ... and absolutely fabulous, but I'll save that for another post.

The final quilt that I worked on is another 'Surviving January' quilt.  I will be teaching this quilt at Keystone Quilts in Winnipeg, Manitoba in September ... so there needs to be a pattern!!

I'm doing this one with four charm packs of Kaffe Fassett fabrics in four colourways.  I still have some bugs to work out with the pattern and the class, so there is one more to make.  I'll do that one using four colourways of Kona Solids.

I'm sewing the last of this one together and will have it off to Deanna soon!

Wondering Where I Went ...

This is the third year in a row that we've spent time in Australia. 
 The first year we stayed five weeks and only spent a week in Tasmania.

The second year, we stayed in Australia for six weeks and spent three weeks in Tasmania.

This year, we spent February and March 'Down Under' with six of those weeks in Tasmania.

There is a pattern ... :-)


We spent five weeks this year staying in a beautiful wee cabin over looking the Huon Valley, near Cygnet.

The family who own the cabin have become friends and we feel absolutely at home in this space.

The views were stunning.


Above is a view of a sunset from our cabin.

Below is a view of the fog burning off of the valley below.


Down the road was what I'd consider to be a dream farm ... a beautiful Jersey cow, who shared her pasture with her calf, her yearling heifer, about six sheep, and a bunch of free range chickens.  All this on a small acreage that slope down to the Huon River.

Were it not for kids, grandkids, and good friends back home ... we'd have stayed in a heart beat!

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Surviving January

This quilt was just too much fun to make!
I used 5" squares purchased as a sample pack to highlight the colours in the Painter's Palette solids line.  I LOVE the hand of this fabric.
The black is Colorworks Black, by Northcott Fabrics. It also has a wonderful hand.

Here is the quilt as it grew on my design wall.

Then it went to my long arm quilter, Deanna Gaudaur, .
Her husband, Mike Gaudaur, photographed it for me.

Artist Statement:

Surviving January

Resolutions. Plans.
But I’m stuck.
Starting. Starting again. And again. Until I can’t.
Fighting to stay happy; to see the Light; to know that I’m OK.
Always trying.
Using words to convince myself.
‘Life is good. Life is good!’
Until I believe that it is.
And I survive another January.

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Exciting Things to Come ... Perhaps

On December 21, I was invited by our local Member of Parliament to bring my apology quilt to his office so that he could see it.
My husband, Larry Tayler came along to take pictures,

Here's what Mr Ellis had to say on his Facebook Page ...

"Today, I was honoured to meet with Bill Stearman to see his amazing piece of art. Bill hand-made this quilt showcasing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apology to the LGBTQ community. I was so moved to see the quilt and to hear the impact that this speech made on our community, country and around the globe. Thank you Bill, I am so glad I got to see this, it has truly left me speechless."

When my quilt is home from QuiltCon, and when we are home from Australia in early April, I want to show this quilt to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Ottawa.

Tuesday, 18 December 2018


Heather Grant <>

Mon 2018-12-17, 7:08 AM

Dear Bill,
Congratulations! Your entry, For the Oppression of LGBTG2 Communities, We Apologize (#1048), has been selected by our panel of jurors to be displayed at QuiltCon 2019! Additionally, your quilt (unless you selected "for exhibit only") will be eligible to win prizes and awards from our many sponsors.

On November 28, 2017, Prime Minister Trudeau delivered a public apology to LGBTQ2 Canadians.

He struggled to hold back tears as he spoke that day. I wept openly. 
That text is embedded in this quilt.
I can't read it without tears.
This quilt is a celebration of that speech. And a thank you.
It represents a defining moment for Canada. 
And for me. After a lifetime of feeling less than, of living in fear, of feeling out of place, I finally knew that I was valued, that I was safe and that I had a respected place in my country.