Hello Acadia: April Issue

Acadia Community Garden & Art Society 

Those of you who read this article regularly – and that’s all of you, I’m sure – may have noticed that we’re pretty keen about gardening. It’s true, we love to garden. We could likely talk about it day and night, month in and month out. But I’m going to tell you a secret: we like other forms of art too. It’s true! And now I’ve got to ask, are there any quilting fans out there?

I’ll be straight up with you. While I’ve enjoyed sewing since my junior high Home Economics class (is that still a thing?), I’ve only been quilting for a couple of years, and casually at that. Despite the relatively short length of time since my inception, I think it’s safe to say that I’m an addict. I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt, the mug, the spare room full of fabric, and still love everything about it.

Let’s use that zeal for good, shall we, and explore the awesomeness that is quilting. We’ll call it QUILTING 101.

First things first, never let anyone tell you that hand quilting is dead. Sure, quilting with your sewing machine is faster and much easier on the fingers, but there is real satisfaction in seeing your carefully placed stitches run through that gorgeous material. Other benefits include quilting in bed – let’s see someone do THAT with their sewing machine – or the warmth it provides when you’re quilting in your chair on a cold, snowy night. Remember that scene with Peter’s granny in Heidi? Brrr. Makes me wish I was quilting right now.

Secondly, styles vary wildly. As with any art or craft, people explore their creativity in any way they’re moved to. Some find solace in traditional patterns, others prefer a modern flair, while the next may unleash their mastery in high-realism art. A few of the more common types of quilting include:

  • Pieced or Patchwork: This is probably what you think of when someone says ‘quilt’. It’s a series of shapes sewn together, often in blocks, and usually with an obvious pattern. It could include triangles, squares, or any other shape, and could be made of pre-cuts, sampler-blocks, or based on a complex pattern. The options are endless.
  • Appliqué: In this style, cut shapes are stitched to a background fabric. They’re occasionally padded for added form.
  • Paper or English Paper Pieced: This precise style of quilting will appeal to those who want their seams to line up perfectly. Methods vary so do some experimenting with styles to see which method suits you best. Note that there’s often hand-stitching involved so if you’re short on patience, this may not be the style for you.
  • Art Quilts: These are unlikely to be found on anyone’s bed. Rather, art quilts aim to create an image or idea, much like a painting would, and are often wall-mounted. They often feature mixed media, perhaps paint or non-fabric fibres.

Finally, you’ve got to learn to bind the quilt properly. It’s a crying shame to spend so much time creating a masterpiece only to make a mess of the final stitches around the perimeter. Fortunately, you can get tutorials online or take a class at one of the local quilt shops. There are three within spitting distance so, no excuses.

We’ll be sure to continue this conversation on our social media channels and hope that you’ll share your art projects with us. We’d love to see what you’re working on.

If you’d like to get more involved and build a greater community for yourself, come on down to our AGM! You can find us Monday, April 10th, from 7:00-9:00 pm in the Community Room at the Macleod Trail Co-op located at 8818 Macleod Trail SE. Everyone is welcome and we’re always looking for new people to join the fun! Hope to see you there!

Joanne is a Master Gardener and Novice Quilter who lives in Acadia.

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