Friday, 13 February 2015

The Peace Qult

My paternal grandmother, Lila Smith Simpson was a quilt maker. She made a Grandmothers Fan quilt for me when I was young.  In return I made this quilt to honor her.
During the second world war, most of Lila and George's sons turned of age to enlist in the army. My father, Carl enlisted in 1941 and went to Europe; first to Italy and then Holland. His brother Wilfred, (known as Bill and Willy)went to Europe and Great Britain. Ralph went to England and Frank went to Britain.
Walter joined the reserves and stayed in Canada.
All of the sons came home safely.
This quilt is made in flannel, wool that was cut from men's suit pants, and pieces of a few of my fathers ties.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Laura's quilt in Winter

 I just found two more pictures of my Laura Secord quilt. The top pic shows Brock's Monument at Queenston Heights Park through the branches of the tree.

The second picture was taken at the back door of the Laura Secord Home in Queenston.

Laura Secord-A life in Ordinary Times

Laura Secord; Life in Ordinary times

There was a Sherman legend circulating that hinted that our family was descended from Laura Secord. In 2012,when Niagara was celebrating the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, I decided to investigate this conjecture. As it turns out, there doesn't seem to be any biological relationship to the Secord family.
But, when I was investigating. I discovered that my daughter and Laura shared a birthday September 13. My daughter was born on the same day 199 years later. So, a new picture of Laura started to emerge. The Laura Secord of the ctv blurbs shows a young woman running through the swamps. As it turns out Laura was not really that young and possibly not that attractive. She was 37 years old on June 21 1813, when she made an historic walk from Queenston to Decew to warn the British soldiers of an American attack.
The previous autumn, Laura had gone to Queenston Heights, where General Brock had fallen in a fierce battle. She searched the battlefield to find her husband, James, who had been seriously wounded. She trundled him home with the help of a neighbour and nursed him all winter long.
At this time Laura and James had 5 children. the oldest, Mary  was 14 and the youngest, Appolinia was  three years old. She would have left these five children at home under their fathers care for at least two days. She followed a trail on a very hot humid day for 32 kilometers.
She, no doubt was a hero.
But I also wanted a picture of her life at the time. What did she do for the rest of that summer?  What happened when she got home? She probably, like all of the settlers in the area, spent the summer preparing for winter. There would have been a vegetable garden, possibly chickens in the yard-maybe a cow!! Legend has it that she took a cow with her on her sojourn-I don't think so. Anyone who has seen cows knows that a cow would have made her travels slower and harder. The cow pictures did not appear until much later when a cartoonist drew a picture of Laura pulling a cow through the wood. Someone trying to make light of her pleas for compensation from an ungrateful government.
I celebrate not only a courageous mission by a loyal citizen, but also the life of a woman of the times.
On the private or back of the quilt, I recorded Laura's history. Her birth date, death marriage to James  and shared the story of her walk. I also included a recipe (or receipt as it would have been known then) for crumpets. I named many of the native flowers that would have grown in her garden.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


When my third grandson came into the world, I decided that he needed a quilt to tell his story. I chose the Hawaiian method of quilting. It's called Splash. Three grandsons can make a big splash in anyone's life. The circular (sort of ) center part represents a puddle. There are four little boys holding hands surrounding the circle. The fourth child represents the grandbaby that we lost. I love their pointy heads-maybe all boys have point heads. There is an apple in each boys hand to say that they are the apple of Grandma's eye. A heart shows how much I love them and a small pine tree represents their Canadian home.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

I never made a Quilt for my Mother

I have been a fan of Kathleen Loomis for a long time. She teaches and creates award winning quilts using a very labour intensive method that she has named fine line piecing. She inserts a very thin strip a fabric into every seam. I made this quilt using her technique. I had the turquoise print fabric in my stash for a long time and decided that it was time to use it. I pieced and cut and pieced and cut and pieced and cut until I was so tired of it that I decided it was time to quit.
I call this quilt "I Never Made a Quilt for my Mother". It shows the long slow decline into Alzheimer's disease that my mother endured. the top section represents the beautiful vibrant woman who raised five children, was a loving wife and partner and was very creative.
The descent into forgetfulness and dementia was slow but steady. In the final stages she was lost to us.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Niagara Regional Fibre Art

In 2012 the Niagara Region celebrated the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. They decided to mark the occasion with a permanent fibre art display for the regional headquarters building. A group of local artists were enlisted to interpret photographs of landscapes in fibre.
I was thrilled to be one of these artists. the panel that I made in on the left.  The center panel is a rug hooking done by Ruth Emmerson and the panel on the right is a fibre panel by Greta Hilenbrand.
There are also seven other works of art hanging in the same hall.
They are available for viewing any time the regional headquarters are open. Mainly 9 to 5 but sometimes available during evening hours.
I urge you to see them up close and personal whenever you are in the St. Catharines area.

That's Italian

This is a quilt that I made to honour my husband's parents. I was about 15 years old when I met Mike. He was the seventh and last child in a big boisterous Italian family. He had four older sisters, an older brother and the ghost of a brother who died as an infant.  He invited me to his house for Sunday supper after a few dates. I really didn't know what to expect.
I think all of his sisters were there. His brother still lived there. Many grandchildren were  running uncontrolled through the house and an old widowed aunt wearing black told me with gestures that she was watching me.. (as it happens I have never seen the aunt in any colour other than black)
They served spaghetti and meatballs. Now I had eaten spaghetti before when my construction worker father had been laid off and there was a small budget for groceries. My mother would have never served it as Sunday meetthenewgirlfrienddinner that's for sure. Roast beef and mashed potatoes or maybe a chicken in a pot but not pasta.
Well I married him anyway and now feed the family Spaghetti and meatballs just like Grandma  used to do on Sunday.  My in-laws are gone now and we have lost a couple of the sisters, too. But I am so glad that I had them in my life.

P.S. Check out the tomatoes. Pincushions!!!


My friend Jo Vandermey  thesewinggeek did quite a few experiments with lutradur. she blogged about it last May on the and then we set it on fire blog site.  This was a picture that she took and printed onto lutradur.  I did some thread painting on top of the photo and got this. I did a few more and am really going to like doing it. I'll show you some more later.