... I'm just a guy who likes to make quilts ... and tell stories. Every day is an adventure as I try new things. Like the rest of life it seems, what can be done in quilt making is limited only by my imagination. What an incredibly exciting journey!
This blog continues on from my farm blog ... willowgardenshetlands.blogspot.ca ...
email ... firstname.lastname@example.org
Panic attacks seem to have become a thing for me ... tightness in my chest, a shortness of breath, and a general panic about … basically nothing. It seems they often accompany ADHD and Depression. Mine are rare, and I'm dealing with them. But they are real. This is what mine feel like.
ADHD Shifts (and yes, that IS the colour of negative space for me)
I have been blessed to live my life with ADHD. But this quilt actually speaks to 'Age Related ADHD' ... you know, when you go to the kitchen for something, and come back an hour later having made cookies, cleaned the stove, dried the dishes ... but without the coffee that you set out to get in the first place! Age Related ADHD is equally real, but much less of a blessing. 😊
In an industry where most of the end users are women, a disproportionate percentage of the folks at the top are men. This quilt is a tribute to a few of the many successful women who influence my quilting world. These include; American fabric designer, Victoria Findlay Wolfe; Australian fabric designer, Kathy Doughty; my long arm quilter, Deanna Gaudaur; and Geraldine Rorabeck, who ran Picton Fabric World on Main Street in Picton for 42 years.
We have a responsibility to act on social injustices. Trans folk are among the most 'at risk' individuals in our community. With your voice, that can change. Speak up for trans rights. Be inclusive of your trans neighbours. Challenge transphobia. Spread love with your smile. We all share the same world. We all have the same basic needs. And we all have the same basic rights!
I hated Gym class, especially the change room. Guys parading around wearing only jockstraps, flicking each other with towels. They knew how to 'man up'. Me, changing in the darkest corner, not so much. For years, the jockstrap represented my fear that I'd never be a man. Now, I understand the myth of manning up, and I am man enough! The jockstrap has a new role in my community for play rather than sport. And I'm comfortable with that.
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!
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."
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.
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: 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!