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.


Hazel said...

Hi Sherri your not to far from me I'm in Hamilton and belong to most of the guilds in the city . Love your story of the thread like you I hesitated on using it but its fine as long as you don't go to fast .Enjoy your new blog

Sherri said...

Hi Hazel, and thanks! I read your blog today and love the wallets you're making - very nice.