Friday, 25 April 2014

Karen Thatcher

Karen Thatcher won second place at the National Juried Show in the Original Abstract Design Pictoral category last year, and she didn't get fully on our radar.  When she won an award in one of our member's challenge, someone did some digging and Ms. Thatcher got noticed.  We are so glad that we can bring this amazing CQA/ACC member to the forefront!

Karen Thatcher is a remarkable woman and after a traumatic brain injury where concentration, short term memory and organizational thinking were compromised, Karen needed a tool to move her injury forward.  That tool was quilting.  After some time the lessons learned at Brain Injury rehab helped Karen understand that solutions could easily be adapted to quilting needs.
Karen’s latest project is a series entitled “My BC”.

The “My BC” series by Karen Thatcher. 
I live in a small ski community where everyone plays outside.  Most of my friends participate in at least 4 sports, even at my age and you are more likely to find me on a hike than in a mall. So “My BC” quickly became how and where we play in BC.  I knew that my friends might not have been to my hiking trail but surely they would have been to one just like it.  My mantra quickly became “everyone recognizes this place.”

Biking BC

Working with silk for this series was a different challenge but after I contacted J. Pattison Group. (a large Canadian conglomerate), about 4000 ties were donated, from their employees
I received the ties and took a month to prepare them and then to categorize each into color and value. Some ties came with a Windsor knot still tied.  All were clean and some were never used.  Actually there was one tie that had a $350 price tag on it and it was still in its wrapper. Only two needed to be tossed out.  In order to use them the silk needed to be stripped from the tie stiffening fabric. This doesn't sound like much but it takes about 2 minutes per tie....add it up - 4000 ties.

Fishing in BC

 17 bulk paper boxes came over 3 or 4 months, and in some of the boxes also came other very beautiful things.  There were a dozen handmade silk shirts all new, which I matched with a beautiful tie and took to the local employment center.  My thought was that they were far too usable to be chopping up.  There were 3 or 4 handmade kimonos.  Again, far too expensive to destroy so I gave them to women with breast cancer. One woman gave her wedding dress.  There were two layers of beautiful fabric measuring at least 7 meters at the hem.   
I was recently standing next to one of my quilts at a gallery, and I overheard two people talking about the whereabouts of ‘Hiking BC’ and the two were convince it was local.  I can tell you that it is nowhere.  It is just a figment of my imagination, memory and a couple of pictures “smooshed” together.

Hiking BC

 All of the “My BC” quilts have the same history. Each quilt progressively builds on the last, hopefully adding to my technical skill base making each quilt better.
Because I am not a professionally trained artist and because of the brain injury my techniques might be a little unconventional and sometimes inconsistent.

All my quilts have an idea or theme, hiking, fishing, sailing and are started with a roll of brown paper and a fat black felt pen both found at the local $1 store.  
I usually have a bunch of inspirational photos around...stuff I like, places I've been and paintings either masters, magazines or locals.   I decide what kind of trees and where they should go...maybe a mountain behind.  If I've seen a picture I particularly liked, maybe the layout or color catches my attention I might use that information.
For the BC series I did not use any specific photos. Keep in mind my outcome is never the same as the original.  The original rough drawing is the size of the finished quilt and is much like a child's drawing.  All of the artistic bits are figured out as I work. My work table accommodates a 4'x7' and everything fits flat on that and I try for less than 44" width for obvious reasons. I work as large as I can and then cut back after the quilting is complete.

Ski BC

I attack the piece in two ways.  I often start with drawing a rough design on fusible batting and migrate color chunks right to the batting following the drawing lines. Sometimes I migrate chunks of color to precut pattern pieces. These pieces are cut from pellon and then transfered to regular batting. Usually this is determined solely on the piece and what supplies I have. Once the background is complete, I add the shapes, layering things farthest away to closest. Deciding to add or not to add is always the best part.  Most times the placement has less to do with the original plan but how the background worked out. I finish with whatever ever needs to be done, extra leaves, branches and even the occasional house might be added. Rarely is the finished piece similar to the original.  In ‘Fishing BC’ the original didn't have long grass or tree root.

Written by Karen Thatcher.  Edited by Barbara Spence.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

April Showers Bring May Flowers – Member Challenge

 Woohoo!  We have a new member challenge up!   This one is fun and full of happiness.  You just have to participate!

Here are the details: 
Get Published! Show us puddles, umbrellas, spring blossoms – any image that means ‘spring time’ to you!

Join the fun with our current challenge. Your entry will get published either on our blog or in The Canadian Quilter magazine. Take a couple of hours and create a quilt based on the theme ‘April Showers Bring May Flowers’. You can use any embellishments you want.  Deadline to send a photo of your entry is June 24, 2014. Full challenge details in English. And in French.

Three great fabric prizes sponsored by Courtepoint Claire. Check out her website and Facebook:
English version of the website.
French version of the website.  

First Prize

Second Prize

 Third Prize

We had lots of fun with our previous member challenges. There were so many entries for ‘Winter Wonders’ they are presented for your viewing pleasure over several posts:

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Walk To Brock #7

We made it to Winnipeg!   Can we make it to St. Catharines in time for Quilt Canada?  Oh, we can't fail now, get stitching!

We got a huge inch infusion from guilds who were not reporting monthly and who thought we were ending our walk in March. They sent their inches in one, big lump sum. So here we are, in Winnipeg!  The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Canada’s oldest public gallery is home to the largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art. Like glitter? Visit the Royal Canadian Mint, where billions of Canadian coins are produced each year. But, best of all, it’s home to the Guess Who. Listen to my favourite here.

Notes from the guilds:
Timmins guild devotes one entire meeting to a mega Show and Tell where members bring in as many quilts as they wish. Stories range from hilarious, to touching, to awe inspiring, and often include lessons learned. This year the goal was to maximize their Walk to Brock contribution and members could bring a friend. Plenty of desserts and a theme cake capped off a fun evening. 

There was a grand total of 66 quilts, for a combined measurement of 11,822.5 inches. Since the guild meets every two weeks, the monthly total was an impressive 14,642.5 inches!

Paradise Village quilters in Bridgetown NS really love their Show and Tell and to help add more Brock inches many members bring pieces they hadn’t previously thought about showing.

REMINDER:  We extended the deadline for our walk to get to Brock to June 11/2014 – the opening day of Quilt Canada 2014. So keep ‘em coming!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Winter Wonderland - Member Challenge Part III

The last but certainly not the least of our amazing entries!
Thank you Fabricspot again, for sponsoring this challenge.  Check out their great lines of fabric and patterns.  

by Leanne Chahley
My quilt  is about 49" square. She is made from Essex Linen, Kona Cottons and Oakshott cottons which have a white warp thread making them muted.  The design is my own and is part of a series of quilts that I have been making which I call my cycles series.

by Geesje Baron
I free form cut and raw edged applied shapes of various elements to a scrap raw edge pieced background. I used a variety of white and off whites in a wide assortment of fabrics. Embellished with lace and beads. A frosted window pane was the inspiration of this quilt using my own photo.

What I Love About Winter
by Lynne McCulloch
It is based upon a drawing of mine that I created after a wintry drive in the area near Burlington.  The time is late afternoon and the view is looking along the shores of a small creek with a forested area in the background.  The medium with which I started is watercolour, enhanced by watercolour chalks, Angelina fibres and thread painting.  

by Valerie Tucker
Photo is of a snow ghost at the top of the Snow Ghost Chair at Big White, Kelowna, BC, where I spend winters downhill skiing.
Made from one of my photos printed on canvas by London Drugs.

by Stephanie Alcock

 I hand-cut paper stencils, laid them on marbled dark blue/black fabric, then sprayed over with fabric paint. The snowflakes are quilted with silver metallic thread, and there are scrolls/spirals free-motion quilted over the rest of the quilt. The snowflakes are embellished with a thin wash of opalescent, fine-glitter paint and pearl droplets.

Snow Day
by Cynthia Frenette
The design is my own, made of improvisation pieced scrappy circles with fused appliqué retro style snowflakes attached, and topped with hand stitching and  loads of sequins and sparkle, like glittery snow. 

Glacier Nights
by Deyanne Davies
The design for the quilt is from a "Sew Together" Pattern by Betty Oswell, Kamloops B.C.
It was a fun challenge to machine quilt something different in each of the design areas.  The McKenna Ryan fabric and beads give the feeling of a crisp, sparkling magical winter's night.

by Ruth Quinn
Copyright information-this is a piece originally made by Susan Brubaker Knapp but she has given me  permission to make my own copy. I love snowflakes.  Each one is so individualistic and unique that it amazes me.  It is thread sketched and bound with a zigzag stitch around the edges. 

by Carol Bowie
I live in Halfmoon Bay, BC on the west coast.  This 5.75" x
9.5" wall quilt is an original design from a photo taken by Michael Snook in

January 2014.  A female Annas hummingbird, wintering over.  She is puffed up
and tucked amidst bare branches to keep warm.  Painted background, couched
fabric & yarn on background, free motion stitched hummingbird (with a black
bead eye)

Winter Sunrise On The Lake
by Maggie Butterfield Dickinson
This winter landscape image, enlarged from one of my photographs, was dye painted on PFD fabric, cured and rinsed, sandwiched and thread painted with an assortment of cotton and polyester threads. I love the splashes of colour on a such a grey and cold winter morning. I learned this technique from Hollis Chatelain.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Winter Wonderland-Member Challenge Part II

Part II of III of our wonderful member challenge.  
Thanks to our great sponsor!

Check them out here for organic fabrics, free shipping and 200 bright solid colours, in stock.

by Lauren MacDonald
Which Way to Costa Rica?  This wall hanging was inspired by a mini-quilt in "Pretty Little Mini Quilts" (ISBN-10: 160059493X ISBN-13: 978-1600594939).  The toucan has been blown off-course to Northern Canada!  He's looking at the snowflakes all around wondering how to get back home!

by Rolanda Tovey
I'm sending this photo of my wallhanging, one of a series of seasonal patterns from "Seasonal Patchwork & Quilting" by Colette Wolff. I'm like the kitty in the window, I much prefer to be inside during the winter. I've named this "Winter waiting at the window".

by Heather Myers
I’ve had a scene in my mind for years after living in the North – winter meadows, covered in snow, rippled and tucked like a quilt.  Little animal footprints, stitching their way across the snow, nipping and tucking amongst the bushes and shadows.

by Janet Barker

I created this small wall hanging using a Christmas card for inspiration. I was taking a landscape course and wanted to tackle a small project so that it would actually get done. This is not exactly a landscape, but I was able to try out techniques taught in the course.  The background was graded using colourwash inks and then the cardinal and bird feeder were added using machine appliqué.  The tree branches were added using raw-edge appliqué.  Thread painting was used to complete the picture.  I then used netting and quilted loops to try to simulate the falling snow around the cardinal.

by Janet Ulan
The photo is provided by Pat Jackson who kindly gave her permission to do the wall hanging, she has seen the finished product and is extremely happy with the result. I took artistic license by omitting the fence.

by Terry Aske
Starry Winter Night 2 is an abstract view of bare trees silhouetted against a dark and cold starry winter sky and snowy landscape.  Techniques: fused raw-edge applique, folded-edge applique, free-motion quilting.

I really enjoyed the spontaneous free-style design and construction of this quilt.  Normally I would have drawn a design, enlarged it to full size, and traced that to freezer paper or fusible web.  Due to time constraints, I cut all the pieces free-hand and just placed them on the background where they looked good.  I fused the background and layered the quilt.  Then I added the tree trunks (most of them have an extra layer of batting for added dimension) and quilted it. 

by Jaynie Himsl
When I started to select fabric for this project, I thought I was going to make an abstract pink quilt. The contrast of black winter nights and brilliant sun-on-snow days is my only expanation for the direction my design took. The fuschia spiral is the only colour remaining from my original idea.  

by Beulah Caswell
February Thaw
This wallhanging was started in a workshop given by Leona Larsen of Saskatoon.  It was inspired by my own  photo of Troelsen Park taken February 2005 from our backyard gate.  The quilt includes applique, textural yarns, and Angelina fibres using commercial fabrics.  The free-motion embroidery is done with cotton and rayon threads.

by Brenda Macleod Raham
' Canadian Winter Weather'
I started hand stitching, then added stars to symbolize clear star nights. The hole indicates brief Chinook breaks from winter.

by Sylvia Courteau
Snowman Bright
Inspired by a Craft Sisters design, Simple Snowman, published on
Our bee had a "Snowman Day" and we each produced our own interpretation of this design by Craft Sisters.