Posted in quilting

Batik Mystery Quilt Finished!

front  IMG_0637I started this quilt an embarrassingly long time ago at a Guild mystery quilt workshop led by Arlene MacKenzie and Kelly English.  We were to bring a bunch of coordinating fat quarters plus one metre of another fabric.   I had enough batiks on hand that all I had to do was buy a metre of the dark green inner border and set aside a pile of other batik (mostly yardage).

Biggest challenge before the workshop?  Not cutting into the dark green for other projects.

The great thing about an Arlene and Kelly workshop is that they really give individual attention.  Even before we made the disappearing 9-patch in the centre medallion, Kelly was going round the tables, asking each of us  which of our fabrics we really wanted to show off and advising which ones to set aside for later blocks where larger pieces would be needed.

So everyone got to make a unique quilt, (except one enthusiastic over-achiever who went home and started a second mystery quilt using different fabrics in the week between the two classes)  and I don’t think anyone was left with the feeling they would have made vastly different design decisions than they did.

So, what do you think?  Have you done a mystery quilt and were you happy with it?  Would you do it again?


We are so blessed that Bib N’Tucker has the biggest batik selection in western Canada — and is poised to open in more spacious premises very soon.

The back is home to fabric that’s just too gorgeous to ever think of cutting, with a few batik leftovers making up the difference. IMG_0638This is a hand-dyed print from Africa which I bought from Pippa Moore of  Kitambaa

detail of the back

IMG_0639shows the African design with Zentangle-esque pattern elements, which has been overdyed with a low-immersion technique.  and showing Arlene’s beautiful long-arm quilting too.  This was too gorgeous to attempt to do on my home sewing machine.

Posted in Art, International, quilting

Grandmother to Grandmother Activism

Turning the Tide … One Ripple at a Time

is a fibre arts show at the Martin Bachelor Gallery

712 Cormorant St, Victoria

through March 10, Monday to Saturday 10 – 5.

More info from

The dozens of art quilts made by the North Island Quilters and Guest Artists in collaboration with the Glacier Grannies of the Comox Valley will be auctioned off at a Gala Dinner on March 12 (call 250 532-9038)

A gorgeous catalogue shows all of the quilts with comments explaining the issues which will be a permanent record of the show.  This is available for $30 from or call Gerry at 250 598-7785

Proceeds from the book will go to the Stephen Lewis Foundation, which assists African grandmothers, women, and children affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

On the back cover are quotes from women of the Kitambaa Sewing Project in Southern Uganda, started by Pippa Moore of Vancouver Island.  Reading  “I have been able to buy a door for my house” certainly put my life into perspective.

At our Quilt Guild we were privileged to be given a sneak peek of all the quilts, but seeing them properly hung was much better.  The volunteers from the Victoria Grannies who were staffing the gallery told me that earlier about 15 people were there at the same time, which for a commercial art gallery is really heavy traffic!

Posted in creativity, International, quilting

One Way to Nurture Creativity

… live in a completely different environment.

Jinny Beyer is famous in the quilting world for being the first person to design fabric specifically with quilters in mind.  When you go into a quilt store today it’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t have a wealth of gorgeous fabrics to drool over, but that’s thanks to this lady!

Jinny Beyer started quilting while living as a transplanted corporate wife in New Delhi, India. Older American ladies decided to make a quilt and she wanted to use the bright colours from the bazaars, while their concept was very traditional with lots of white background and tame calicoes from home. Of course back in the early 70s that’s what people had to quilt with.

Dena Crain is a quilter living in Kenya.  She teaches through Quilt University and has said that the colours of Africa and the wonderful African fabrics are a wonderful inspiration but on the other hand electricity is interrupted sometimes and you can’t just run out to a craft or fabric store every time you need something, plus some supplies are not available.

structured fab

Wanting a photo to illustrate this post but not wanting to be tacky, here’s a photo of a piece I made in her Structured Fabric class which I took some time ago (some time ago as in don’t ask, ahem!) .   As you can see it’s a process piece and not quite finished.

Pippa Moore of Kitambaa is perhaps combining both worlds.  She travels to Uganda to train women raising AIDS orphans to make quilted items for sale at a fair trade price, but is based in Canada.  Check out her blog here.  And if you get a chance to hear her presentation Travels with my Treadle about her project, drop everything and go.  At the Victoria Sewing Show they had put her into one of the smaller rooms, and all of her presentations filled up (no one else’s did, by the way.)

She’s on my blogroll too as a fellow Island dweller and member of the Fibre Art Network, a Western Canadian art quilt group.

And Lucy is a newer quilter living in challenging but exciting circumstances in Sudan, and reading her blog I can see the same pioneer spirit shining through!

For myself although I’ve traveled a lot and lived in different places I’m not sure that I would have the patience to deal with the inconveniences of living outside North America.   After a couple of days in England I’m often tied in knots over how difficult it is to get things done.  What do you think?  Let us know!