Monday, October 5, 2009

Contemplative Stitch

Everyone is so busy. There are stacks of WIPs waiting for more piecing, layering, quilting or binding. Kids need to get to school and activities, the dust keeps accumulating on the living room furniture and the cleaning fairy seems to have missed my bathroom last week. How do I cope? Well, I spend the day with Dianne (not this Dianne, but another double N Dianne). I think the second N stands for Nice, because they both sure are. My middle name is Diane - I wonder if my parents had an inkling of things to come and decided against doubling my N's. hehe.

Dianne Stevenson is a well-known traditional quilting teacher here in Vancouver and, I suspect, in her home province of Ontario as well. She's a 5th generation quilter, lucky gal! Extremely knowledgable on the history of Canadian Quilting, she embraces all things traditional and wonderful about quilting: the fellowship of a quilt frame surrounded by women, the care and beauty of a handmade stitch, the use of quality materials. All that, plus great sense of humour. Here she is post-lunch at last Friday's "Hand Quilting" workshop:

Mind the pointy end!

We spent a calm day learning the art of the contemplative hand-quilting stitch. It is not rocket science, but you could call it rocking science. I re-discovered the importance of good batting, quilt-top marking and proper basting. AND, most importantly, not to tighten the quilt sandwich in the hoop as if I was making a drum! Then, we moved on to the 'rocker' stitch:
Supporting the fabric with your middle finger of the underneath hand, gently poke the needle straight down until you feel it emerge on the underside of the quilt (now, this is really where you DO have to mind the pointy end). Then...


pressing down with your stitching-hand thumb to form a little fabric hill in front of your needle, 'rock' the needle back up to the top of the quilt, forming a stitch.
Here's another view:
You just can't make this happen with a taught quilt in the hoop. I didn't know that!! Thanks Dianne!! You ROCK. (edited to add: if you are interested in some very uniquely Canadian quilt designs, check out her website by clicking on her name above!)

The sunshine continues here, miraculously. My sister-in-law even had her scrappy bench pillows that I made her this summer out on the weekend.
bench pillows
I'm loving this summer extension which is rumoured to stay right through Canadian Thanksgiving next weekend. Oh! In case you were worried, T returned home from saw and axe camp with all digits in tact and a promotion to patrol leader (that means 2 stripes on his epaulets. Aw shucks, I'm so proud).

Back soon with the results of my "Stitched Images" workshop yesterday...


grandmarockton said...

these are Beautiful!

Ariel said...

Very cute! Love the quilted pillows and your machine stitched photo!