Monday, June 17, 2019

Quilt Canada in Ottawa

I'm thrilled that Quilt Canada was in Ottawa this year. I read somewhere that the last time it was here was in 2006 - so it was definitely due.

Quilt Canada

Quilt Canada is the Canadian Quilter's Association / Association Canadienne de la courtepointe's yearly show which includes a national juried show (NJS). This year the NJS included 150 wonderful quilts, predominantly from around Canada, as well as a few from other countries. Additionally, there were over 250 quilts in several concurrent quilt shows.

As with other shows, there were classes, demos and presentations on all kinds of quilting related topics. The vendor mall was also interesting, with companies and retailers from across Canada.

Wednesday, June 12

On the first day of the show, I avoided the crowds by going around 2 p.m. I knew that I would get overwhelmed by all of those amazing quilts so I did a relatively quick walk around all of the exhibited quilts and then attended a tour of the juried show for some one-on-one with these beauties.

Here are some of my favourite quilts from the National Juried Show.

Hummingbirds by Marilyn Farquhar
of Heidelberg, Ontario
Details of Hummingbirds by Marilyn Farquhar

Statistically Speaking by Christine Savoie of Point La Nim, New Brunswick

Trillium Song by Millie Cunning of Fergus Ontario
Won one of the Judge's Choice Awards
Cherry Blossom Time Triptych by Sandra Ward, Kenora, Ontario
Hand embroidered, hand quilted and hand appliquéd

An interesting trend seems to be the 3D art quilts. This was one of several in the show.
Etaim Ovis by Coreen Zerr of Nanaimo British Columbia
3D Bighorn sheep
This is just a small sample of the amazing quilts at the show. There is a link to the winners of the NJS in Related links below.

I have to include this beauty from one of the concurrent quilt shows, Crossing Oceans Textile Artists. It's by a wonderful local artist, national and international teacher, exhibitor and award winner Elaine Quehl.
Cavern 2 by Elaine Quehl as part of the
Crossing Oceans Textile Artists show
After spending some quality time with the quilts, I tackled the vendor's mall. I was very reasonable and only bought three books (at great prices) as well as some beautiful perle cotton for embroidering. I love perle cotton but it's very difficult to get interesting colours locally.

The picture I sent my daughter so she could pick one!
That evening I attended a talk by quilter David Taylor. It was very entertaining.

Thursday, June 14

On Thursday I worked on my last piece, Gaia's Garden, for our Summer Fibrations show. I ran into some technical difficulties but eventually overcame them. More about all the learning from this quilt soon.

One of Sharon's many samples
This one is a panel made by Northcott.
Friday, June 14

No sleeping in today! I took Sharon Blackmore's Designing with Straight Lines demo and lecture which began at 8:30 a.m. across the city. It was amazing! Sharon (helped by her daughter) is incredibly knowledgeable, approachable and had a really great presentation. I learned so much from her presentation and was sorry that I hadn't taken more of her classes.

I wish I had taken more pictures during the class, but here is a picture of one of her samplers. This isn't really from the Straight Lines demo and lecture class but I found out that you can buy this type of panel to practice your FMQ skills. This one is from Northcott but I'm sure that there must be other companies that offer panels that look like quilts.

After the class, I attended a very interesting lecture by Luana Rubin, the owner of She had a presentation of the several international quilt shows that she has attended this year. Here are some of the trends that she is seeing around the quilting world: hand-stitching, activist quilts, ruler and dense FMQ, 3D and off-the-edge quilts, silhouettes, as well as quilts using recycled and re-purposed objects. These trends have been around for a while, but it looks like they are becoming more main stream. If you want to see her amazing pictures of these quilt shows, see Related links below.

After the lecture, I took a last tour of the quilt shows and made a few final purchases. The Quilt Canada notebook was given to everyone who took a class.

In the image below you can see the booklet of all of the quilts in the National Juried Show. This is always one of my favourite purchases of the show.

Very practical purchases - mostly thread and needles!

Amanda McCavour,
Toronto based textile artist
Saturday, June 15

On this last day of the show, I took a full day class with Amanda McCavour - Landscape Scarves with Machine Stitching. The class was mostly about using 2 different Sulky Solvy products to make scarves. Since I'm always hot and almost never wear scarves, I decided to make 4 panels using the different techniques that she showed us.

Amanda is an amazing teacher - interesting, enthusiastic, creative and always helpful. I really hope to take more classes with her in the future since she's in Toronto (a five hour drive but in Canada, that's not so far 😊)

I love the different effects that the water soluble products  allowed us to make. My first panel was supposed to be a landscape, but since I couldn't make up my mind, I ended up just layering the threads, floss, yarn, ribbon and then roving onto the Solvy product. I finishing it up with a layer of organza and Voila!.

My first panel is drying after removing
the water soluble Sulky products
After getting the hang of this technique, it was time to try something new and very scary for me - minimalism! In this panel, I just laid down some variegated fibres in straightish lines. I couldn't help myself, I just had to add a little bit of another type of yarn. This panel is all about using stitching to create the effects.

I separated the block in 6 sections and then used different sewing patterns to hold these in place. The top sections were sewn fairly tightly both horizontally and vertically. The middle sections were sewn vertically with some variations while the bottom section was only sewn horizontally. This should give me a very lacy panel with a lot of clear space.

Sewing in a much more structured fashion,
using minimal fibers.
If you're interested in the results of this experiment, you'll have to join me on Thursday, June 20 for Free Motion Mavericks linking party. I'll have at least three panels done by then 😊.

What I learned
  • I did get totally overwhelmed by all of this amazing art. I'm glad that I took the tour of the juried show since it helped focus my attention. 
  • As usual, I took mostly pictures of great quilt ideas and some stunning FMQ. These shows are both inspiring and intimidating. There are so many talented quilters and artists out there!
  • I'm so happy that I attended Sharon Blackmore's demo and lecture, and Amanda McCavour's class. I learned so much and met some great people.
  • As I was writing up this post and checking out Amanda's website, I realised that I had seen one of her instillation at the Textile Museum of Canada in 2016. Although I had no idea who had made it, I sure remember it! How's that for a very small world. 
Related links
Linking parties
I'll be linking up to many great linking parties this week. Come and see what everyone is making! Monday Making, Main Crush Monday, Design Wall Monday, Moving It Forward, Tuesday Colour Linky Party, What I Made Monday,  To-Do Tuesday (work on my panels), Free Motion Mavericks with Muv 😊, Midweek Makers, Let's Bee Social, Needle & Thread Thursday, Off The Wall Friday, Friday Foto Fun, Finished or Not Friday, Can I Get A Whoop Whoop?,


  1. I think you enjoyed yourself, and learned a bit too! Looks like a fun, interesting show!

    1. Hi Wendy, it was really great to be around all of those quilts. I'm also glad that I got to learn some practical skills and techniques.

  2. Hello Andrée,

    What an absorbing show! You were so fortunate being able to go on three separate days. Can't believe you consider making a five hour journey for classes!

    The hummingbird quilt is absolutely gorgeous.

    Love, Muv

    1. Hi Muv, it really was a great show and I'm glad that I was able to take advantage of it. Ironically I don't go across town to shop, but I would love to take the train down to Toronto - that's much more fun :-)

  3. Looks like you had a fun time - and with great quilts too!

  4. Thanks for the tour and sharing some of the amazing quilts. Looking forward to your newest experiments, as always :)

  5. I think that's the whole reason we quilters should try to take a class or two every so often: to step out of our comfort zone and try something new. Doesn't have to be totally new, maybe a new way of doing something old or really go all out and try something we've never done before. It's good for the brain! Lol! Great job on your classes and glad you had a great time!


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