What I learned at Quilt Canada

For some reason, I wasn’t going to go at all, perhaps I thought it would be too traditional? But that was not true, there were a wide variety of quilts on display and many which defied being put into a box. I debated taking a workshop, but with only the Saturday available to me, I decided I wanted to see the show (and spent the workshop money on fabric instead, please tell me that was a good idea).

I took a lot of pictures of quilts which appealed to me, and there was everything from a traditional farmer’s wife to an art quilt of a black bear which was impressive. I don’t think I will ever make a quilt like that; I like the piecing and patterns in traditional and modern patchwork too much. I concentrated on the quilting; for some, I thought the quilting was too much, that it distracted from the piecing, in others, the quilting was what made the design whole and complete. So here are a few, I made sure to take a picture of the label, and I will add links to the maker’s website if applicable.

Out Standing in Her Barn

Wendy Anderson (from somewhere near Woodstock, Ontario) made this quilt; I liked how the alternate half square triangles framed the pieced blocks and gave the eye a place to rest, and the quilting accentuates each block without overpowering them.

Spring Bouquet is again a very traditional pattern by Debra McCracken, this time applique, but I love the detail in the quilting. From farther back all you see in the applique pattern, but the flowers, feathers, and other motifs add a delightful interest close up.

Spring Bouquet at Quilt Canada 2016

Although I love the quilting in Star Light, Star Bright, I thought it overwhelmed the rather delicate pieced blocks and vintage fabrics.

Star Light, Star Bright, Quilt Canada 2016

So let’s get to the point of this post, shall we? What I learned is that the quilting needs to be considered right from the initial design, that it is an essential element of the final product. I also learned that I love free motion quilting (wait, I knew that already). I don’t love quilts which have perfectly matched fabrics and look like they belong in a catalogue; the accidental imperfections of fabrics which don’t quite match make the quilt seem more personally creative. In music, we talk about creating tension, sometimes by dissonance, which is then resolved in the final chord, thus creating the total experience. And in quilting, as individual a craft that it is, much the same I need to create a masterpiece where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I will be linking to Sew Cute Tuesday with Blossom Heart Quilt.s



  1. This is really interesting! Love your analysis. I *very* quickly went through them with my kids and didn’t get a long time to concentrate properly. Looking back I’d love to have spent more time, and gotten some photos! Next year šŸ˜Š Oh, and yes, from my view – totally ok to spend the workshop $$ on fabric!!!

  2. I had music on my mind just before reading your post, and thought of an analogy. An instrumental soloist needs an accompanist, usually piano. The piano part can be quite complex, but it always supports the solo, never overshadows it.

    I don’t actually plan my quilting at the design stage, but I definitely design. I’d say my process is more like when doing a round robin: echo some but add something too.

  3. Thanks for your insightful comments. I had not given the combination that much thought before. Your analogy to music is right on. It all has to flow together, taking each part into consideration. Hope you found some good fabrics!

    1. Definitely enough fabric to keep me busy for another year or so šŸ™‚ I wish I had taken a few more pics of the quilts that I didn’t “like”. Because my tastes and abilities may change, and I might want to make more of an art quilt one day.

%d bloggers like this: