December 31, 2007

Fly Away Home

"Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home ..."

I began quilting more than twenty years ago, then gave it up. I held on to certain fabrics and tools the whole time, so last year when I began feeling the yearnings again, I pulled it all out and set up our second bedroom as a sewing/quilting room. It's a tiny room and fabric is bursting out of every seam - oozing out of the closets, burbling up from the plastic tubs under the cutting table, spilling over their containers and slopping down onto the floor. I love fabric. Almost every type of fabric and I can think of possibilities for almost every piece I see. And now I'm beginning to love embellishments - beads, ribbons, buttons - and threads! I recently picked up some lovely gold Gutterman metallic thread with the hope of incorporating it into something. I had heard horror stories of metallic thread continually breaking, or fraying and thought using it would just be a big hassle, but it was so shiny and sparkly - I had to try. I bought some metallic needles to use in my old sewing machine - a Bernina that my grandfather bought in '77. I carefully loaded the bobbin then threaded the metallic through all the loops and hooks and eyes and voila, it was ready. I put a trial piece of fabric under the foot and slowly began ... up and down went the needle slowly at first as I waited for that first indication of trouble ... faster ... and after two minutes I realized nothing bad was going to happen! It worked like a dream.

The latest piece on which I've used metal thread is a one "block" piece of double wedding ring using Cheryl Phillips and Linda Pysto's method outlined in their book, "Rings That Bind" . I first found out about the method through watching Kaye Wood online .

Back in the day I belonged to the York Heritage Quilters' Guild in Toronto , and I learned so much from attending workshops there. I took workshops by Mary Ellen Hopkins , her, "It's Okay if You Sit on my Quilt" series and that really got me quilting. The original book that I had was spiral bound and very user friendly. I lost track of that book over the years and repurchased it, but they have forgone the spiral binding and it makes the book a little trickier to have open to follow instructions. Having said that, I still feel it is an excellent book for everyone - beginners especially. Her instructions are clear and concise and there are many colour illustrations and block choices. Check it out.

I haven't a car now so getting out to guild meetings isn't too easy and lugging my sewing machine and bits & bobs to workshops is out of the question. There are no guilds in downtown Toronto - the YHQG meets in the north east, the Etobicoke Quilters' Guild meets, obviously, in Etobicoke - a good hour or more from where I live. I hear tell of a guild on the Danforth somewhere but haven't found a link to them. What I'd really like, is to start a guild right here in the heart of Toronto. I am close to the Art Gallery of Ontario , and the Textile Museum of Canada (check out their online gallery ) - what better place to have a guild?
So, I'm putting the word out: If you're interested in joining a guild that meets in downtown Toronto, a guild that focuses on Canadian artists, teachers, and quilt history, write me at

So I have come back to my quilting home - the house of fabric and tools, sewing machines and thread. A place that makes me happy and occasionally frustrated, but where I always learn - about fabric, thread, needles, machines, and especially, myself. In North American traditions quilting has been a vehicle for community strengthening and building, and I am thrilled that through the Internet, through blogs and websites, we are now able to enlarge our communities to include everyone in the plugged-in world. I hope what I offer here is of some use to you - something to make you laugh, or think, or try.

Until next time, keep your foot on the dogs.