Thursday, January 8, 2015


A year ago I was inspired by Victoria Findlay Wolf to choose a word that would be my guiding light for the year. You can read about it in last year's post. My banner hung in my studio all year and it really did help me stay on track with my goals,  so I am continuing the tradition with a new word for this year:

It was inspired by the last book I read in 2014: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Don't you love the cover? 
A great read if you have ever felt like you are spread too thin or just busier than you would like to be. Author Greg McKewon  shows us how to give more energy to fewer activities so that we can "have the satisfying experience of making significant progress in the things that matter most". It's about prioritizing, un-committing,eliminating, focusing and choosing. 
True to his philosophy, the book is simply written and easy to follow. I have taken the 3 steps delineated at the end of the book to set my priorities for the year. The steps are: 

1-State your Intent 
2-Identify obstacles that stand in the way of accomplishing #1
3-Remove the obstacle(s)

This way of being is also manifesting itself in my approach to quilting. Stay tuned...And Happy New Year! 
BTW, Sherri Lynn Wood also wrote a great post about her focus word for 2015. She shares how she plans to apply it everyday life and to her creative practice. Her blog is always a good read!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Quilting With Intention

That's my new motto. In a way, it always has been. Let me explain...

A couple of weeks ago, while browsing thru FB, I came across a page called "The Slow Stitching Movement"; something that was started by Mark Lipinski, who is a well-known personality in the quilting world.

It caught my attention at first because I thought it had something to do with handquilting. Lately, I've been finding myself craving more handstitching projects, so naturally I went on to explore.

Upon further exploration, I learned that stitching slowly is not what the movement is about at all. Rather, it is about making something that is meaningful. To find out more about what that means, you can hop on over to The Slow Stiching website.

I also discovered that Mark Lipinkski was offering a webinar about the Slow Stitching Movement, which I promptly registered for and listened to live last week. 
And I am so glad I did! So much of what Mark talks about in his webinar really resonated with me. Mostly because I already share his philosophy about purposeful making. Here are some key points that I came away with:

1-creating is about process, not product. Something I have always believed in. That is why I like to create improvisationally.

2-in a fast paced world, when we do or make something that is 'quick and easy', we lose excellence in our work and it. does. not. allow. us. to. grow. Don't be afraid to try something difficult; to learn a new skill!

3-The Slow Stitching Movement is about:

-being conscious of what you are doing
-practicing excellence
-and making soulful projects.

Earlier this year, Quilter's Connection Magazine published an interview with me in their Spring 2014 issue. One of the questions that I was asked was: 
What's in store for your future? 
Here is my answer:

"I want to explore the improvisational process with more depth. I want to push the envelope to see how I can translate complex ideas into a quilt design. I want my quilts to convey a message."

Quilting with Intention! 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Fill the Void

Here is the last quilt that I finished.  You can read about my process in this previous post. 

It was on exhibit last month at the CQQ Quilt Show in Montreal and just this past weekend at the Vermont Quilt Festival where it received a second place ribbon! 

Fill the Void

Quantum physics shows us that we are all connected in this great universe and that space is not space, but actually energy. 
All the thoughts, actions and energy we project into the universe are interconnected.

Whatever we do and whomever we meet becomes a part of us. 

Biggest quilt I've ever made
84.5 X 88.5
Machine pieced
Handquilted with Perle Cotton Thread #8
Invisible Binding
Modern improv interpretation of the traditional 'Double Wedding Ring' pattern
Fraught with meaning for me
A challenge to piece
A joy to quilt!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Quebec Quilt Show: Salon CQQ 2014

The Largest quilt show in Quebec took place this past weekend. The show, organized by the CQQ was, in my mind, a huge success. I first attended the show in 2008. As a birthday present to myself, I enrolled in 3 days of workshops and the world of quilting for me became so much more than sewing away in my basement. 

The amount of talent that is right here in my hometown of Montreal is mind blowing! 

Here are some highlights from this year's show:

1-I had 2 quilts on display! It was the first time I actually saw my quilts hanging in a show. 

"I Don't Wear Blue" has been on exhibit before. It traveled with the "Best of Quiltcon" travelling quilt show.  But I never saw it hanging in a show myself!  

It was a HUGE surprise to see my latest quilt right at the entrance to the show. It is the biggest quilt I have made to date and it is all hand quilted with Perle Cotton thread.

The stitches don't show up well in pics. Here is a close up.

2-Josee Carrier and I were interviewed by french morning show reporter, Hugo Lavoie. The lovely Florence (in green) joined in on the discussion. Florence who quilts and works at Courtepointe Claire, is a college student who is working towards getting a degree an art degree . She was a great asset to the interview as we tried to demystify the image of the quilter. The interviewer wanted us to convince him that quilting is not just for grandmas (his words) and that many works on display are very avant-guard and to be appreciated as works of art. I think we managed to convince him! you can listen to the podcast of the interview on the Radio Canada website. 

M. Lavoie photographing Josee's Almagam Quilt.

3-I was invited to teach a class!

My group of students was small but there was no lack of enthusiam! 

Improv Strip-Piecing by Isabelle Dupras.

 4- Two of my fellow teachers received ribbons for their gorgeous quilts!
Marina Segolavich (she also received a ribbon for this quilt in in Vermont last year).

AndrĂ©e Bergeron (she also received a ribbon for this quilt in in Vermont last year).

Finally, here are some of my favorite quilts from the show:

By Jocelyne Martel
by Solange Hudon

"Euphoria" by Deborah Kemball. There is no better title for this one. All hand appliqued and quilted.

Best of show by Micheline Caron. A.MA.ZING.

'Serenity' by fellow teacher, Dominique Ehrmann. She is famous for her 3-D quilts. This one took 500 hrs to make!

There she is sewing away in the woods on her solar powered sewing machine! 

The tradition is handed down to the next generation! On the left is a quilt made by 2 brothers, Laurent and Adrien. Looks freshly modern to me! On the right is a quilt made by Mayara, a student from  my summer camp sewing class of 2013.  All three kids received a ribbon for their great work! Amazing! 

Lastly, I noticed that there was a buzz going on about modern quilting. It has been a little slower here to catch on than in the US but people are talking about it! Several people approached me about joining the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild in the fall. All are welcome! We have some exciting things planned for next year!

Here are some modern quilts from the show that were made by our members:

(quilted by Karen Desparois)

Notice the ribbon! 

A big thank you goes to the organizers of the show! I have been so inspired! I have new ideas for quilts swirling in my head!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Batting seam tape

Claire of Courtepointe Claire gave me a new product to test. Batting seam tape is a fusible tape, similar to fusible interfacing, designed to join pieces of batting together. 
Which is great because I have a LOT of pieces of batting lying around.  Some even too small to make placemats. 

I've joined pieces of batting together in the past, but I did it with a zig zag stitch. 
The batting tape is so much easier! 

It just irons on.

I tested it out for a small project. 

The tape is supple enough to hand quilt through as well! 

Love It!
Here is the small project I used it for. My new thread catcher! 
The Batting Seam Tape and the pattern for the Thread Catcher will be for sale at the CQQ Quilt Show next week. You can also order them  at Courtepointe Claire's online shop.   

Two of quilts will also be on exhibit. 

Stop on by if your are in the Montreal area!

It's not too late to register for my Improv Strip Piecing class!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Process: Working past the self-doubt

Whenever I start a quilt, I always have an idea of where I want to go with it. But it's just that, an idea. A seed that's been planted in my mind and I let it simmer for awhile, and think about what I want it to look like, how i am going to approach it, and I start to gather my materials. Then, when I am ready and I know that can have an uninterrupted block of time, I begin to play around with the fabrics and the shapes I want to make. And as I start to put things together, it suddenly takes a turn in a direction I wasn't expecting. It either doesn't look like what I envisioned or the fabrics won't do what I want them to do. And will people 'get' what I am trying to say? That's when the self-doubt starts creeping in...

I started this quilt as part of the Mod/Trad challenge put out by the Montreal Modern Quilt Guild last year: take a traditional quilt block/pattern and make a modern interpretation of it. 
I drew my inspiration form the Traditional Double Wedding Ring Quilt. My intention was to put emphasis on the space inside the interlocking rings. 

I cut the 'wedges' free-hand and made an equal number of black and white ones.
And being that they were cut free-hand, they were not a uniform shape which presented me with the first challenge (and frustration) of how to assemble the quilt top.  Plus I realized that they would have to be assembled 'on point'. Not a huge challenge but still...

I played around with the arrangement quite a bit,

tried to balance out the white with the black

But as I moved things around, 

I discovered that the more white I removed

The more I felt drawn into the quilt

I was frustrated though, because I had wasted so much fabric to make the white pieces. Add to that the fact that the quilt was going to be lager than my design wall.

And this was the point when the self-doubt really set in. I was straying further from my initial plan but still wanting to see where this was going. A tug of war of sorts between being determined to make the initial plan work or following in the direction that I was now being taken into. 

Several times during the process,over the course of MANY days, I came close to giving up. 

And maybe about a year ago I would have. But what I've learned from experience as a quilter and a teacher is not to be discouraged if things are not perfect. That's what I tell my students. 'Don't let inexperience stop you from pushing forward. How else will you gain experience under your belt?'. 
So I pushed forward with this project. I had already come this far. No one needs to see it if it doesn't turn out. 
And that's another point too, isn't it? "No one needs to see it". Why do we always concern ourselves with that others will think? 
The lessons to be learned are to trust our own vision for what things should look like, trust in our abilities and our skills and never create for someone else but from a place that is true to our selves. 
"If you are willing to do something that might not work, you're closer to being an artist."  Seth Godin