Happy New Year! Ok not quite as new as it should be….

I’m not quite sure what the “rules” are about wishing you a Happy New Year but I have long been a member of the “better late than never” ( on most things) club. The new year has started off with the same old busy stuff the old one ended with… but we did have a great break in the middle of it all!

Ned and I had a very white Christmas! we headed north along with our friends Elizabeth Harris and Runner-bean to the Peace River area of BC to visit family for the holidays! It was a true winter wonderland in all sorts of ways.

on the road

Once we got out of the Vancouver area the roads were wide open and not many folk around! the drive was lovely with sunny skies and OK, a bit of snow on the road.

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There wasn’t much of a view out the back- it was a challenge to keep the windows clear of road gunk! but one of the dogs was usually awake and keeping an eye (or ear!) out for trouble.

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This is a stunningly beautiful part of the world! and I have hundreds (literally hundreds!) of images even after weeding out the bad ones. I know this trip is going to turn up in my work at some point , hopefully sooner rather than later. I can see why Elizabeth is so inspired by the landscape.

Here’s a few of my favorite shots…

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It was cold there!!

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Yup! it says minus 24 Celsius. Which turned out to be one of the warmer mornings…the coldest was minus 37 Celsius. But you know the old saying” it’s a dry cold!”

In the midst of the holiday celebrations Elizabeth taught a life drawing workshop and I got to hang out and  draw for 2 days.

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I had so much fun trying some new things and playing around with my drawing, something I need to do more of. I did my very best to sit quietly in the corner and not disrupt the class.

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I really enjoyed having the time to explore areas that I haven’t put the time into I would like. It was a treat to work on a few of the “details” that I tend to skip over when I am in a hurry, like hands and feet.

There are loads more images to share of my trip  and now that life has settled down a bit, my cold is almost over, the new roof is on the studio ( not as bad as it sounds, but bad enough)  I will post a few more images next week!

Bye for now, Catherine


Happy Holidays!

It’s looking a lot like Christmas around here! we’ve had an exciting weather week here in Vancouver- a few days of snow and even a bit of ice! To celebrate the season Ned put on his reindeer antlers and grudgingly agreed  to have his photo taken.

At the risk of being reported to the SPCA, the RSPCA or any other animal welfare society  we’ll show you the photo…


I know I know he looks less than happy, actually slightly less than sane in the image but he’s really  not a Grinch. We have put the antlers away, I’m not sure he appreciates “dressing up” for the holidays.

There are lots of smiling faces around here – I am a bit of a collector and I love all things Nutcracker. These fellows and a bunch of their friends are lined up along the mantle and their grins always make me smile!


Wishing you and yours a peaceful Happy Christmas and a Creative New Year,



thanks for coming!

Thanks everyone for braving the pouring rain and making it to the open house! I guess I should have called it an open studio since that where we were. I did promise some images and even though it feels like it was ages ago here they are.

It all looked so pretty and festive at the start of the day

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There were lots of goodies both to look at and to eat!

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It was a wonderful day but a bit tiring for almost everyone.

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Bye for now, Catherine


on the road again…

Well actually I was on the road but I am back home again after a whirlwind trip to Oliver BC, the wine capital of Canada! Oliver is a lovely little town about 5 hours east of Vancouver in the Okanagan Valley and yes, they grow wine there and apples, lots and lots of apples.

It was a gorgeous drive to Oliver last Sunday afternoon a rare sunny crisp afternoon with snow on the mountain tops and colour on the trees.

This time of year evening comes early when you are in the mountains and on a sunny day there are some amazing shadows.

I had a wonderful 3 days leading 2 different workshops with a  trunk show and talk one evening. Jim and Marilyn were perfect hosts and all the  members of the Double O Quilters Guild made me feel so welcome. The students created some wonderful work over the 3 days, exploring ideas and sampling techniques. I know there are some new quilts in the works and I am really looking forward to seeing some of the finished pieces.

There was lots to talk about and demonstrate!

After Tuesdays class I got a whirlwind tour of Oliver- first fruit and then wine. The fruit packing place was amazing, I have never seen so many apples and you’ll have to take my word for it the smell of the place is glorious.

These wonderful crates are full of apples and stacked in tall towers row upon row outside the building. Once you get inside the place is humming with apples being sorted, washed and packed, it’s a most amazing process and there are apples in every direction you look.


It really was a sea of apples. On the way out I spotted these striking palettes stacked around in the yard, I love the almost patchwork look of them and the colour as well.

After the apples there was a quick wine tour,  no pictures of that! Just this image of the amazing scenery down the valley with vineyards as far as you can see.

I did pick up a few bottles of wine, they were too good to resist, I also loaded the car with squash, yup all different types of squash. There were tons of them around, it appears that wine and fruit aren’t the only major crops in the area, squash are as well.

Sorry about the image quality but the roof high stacks of squash are worth seeing. Those crates on the ground are full  of them, each crate a different variety and there are all sorts. I gathered a collection of the most interesting looking ones and headed home- it’s time to get the soup pot warmed up.

I hope I’m not being boring but I wanted to share this most unusual image, it’s Ned- again! but this is something that isn’t seen often around here- he’s sleeping!

Bye for now, Catherine



go figure…

I have been life drawing for ages and have always enjoyed it,  I’m hoping working  in 2 dimensions might feel a bit simpler after this weekend! I attended an amazing Anatomical Sculpture workshop with  Santos Mignosa. The workshop is designed for artists who paint or draw the figure and want to know a bit more about what is under the skin.

We started the day with wire armature, a bag of sculptors clay and set to work with lots of guidance from Santos. I have never worked with clay before so I was a long way outside my comfort zone!

It’s amazing how many more mistakes you can make when working in 3 dimensions! There are so many things to consider posture, balance, proportions and then of course the muscle structure of the model.

Thanks to our  very patient model Guy who spent the entire day standing still, which is much more tiring than you would think!

At the end of the day we tore down the sculpture we had created! I must admit it took me a few minutes to gather the strength but it was a hugely liberating feeling. I made sure to take lots of images to record my progress and remind me of what we had done. What a great way to spend a rainy Sunday!

Thanks  for  all the lovely comments about Ned! “New Exceptional Dog” is a great version of his name… very clever, thanks Jennifer!  He has settled in well and is growing like a little weed, OK big weed.

In between dog walks- and there have been a lot of them -I brought these “mystery” squash and a few late tomatoes in from the garden. I know I should remember what I planted but this year I adopted these plants and other than some kind of squash I didn’t (and still don’t) know what kind they are. They are quite a lovely shape though….

Bye for now, Catherine

where has the month gone!

 September seems to have completely disappeared!

I’m quite sure life catches up with everyone from time to time but this last month seems to have evaporated completely. I was still in the UK when I last wrote and so much has happened since then this might be a lengthy post.

Before I left Edwina taught and indigo workshop and I got to tag along…oh, I had fun!


…and got some wonderful results. These lovely scarves took the indigo beautifully and I couldn’t resist taking some images once they were rinsed out and hanging on the line to dry. I love the shadows of the clothes pegs and washing lines showing through.


Just before coming home we managed a day out in Birmingham to see the sights and do a bit of shopping ( it feels like ages ago now- and I guess it was!) I have long been a fan of Edward Burne-Jones and the windows he designed for the Birmingham Cathedral are well worth a visit! they are stunning and the colours amazing.


We packed in a visit to the Cathedral, a turn around the African textile exhibition in the Gas Hall, lunch ,  a bit of shopping of course and some sightseeing. It’s probably old hat to the residents of Birmingham but I really enjoy wandering around their city. I love the contrast in the image below, the modern building rising out of the classic architecture.


The heavily shadowed building in the foreground is the outdoor market- or what was left of it by the end of the day. There were still a few bargains to be had- if you knew what any of these strange fruit (or are they veg?)  are and what to do with them.


Since getting home I have caught up on my sleep and gotten rid of the “airplane cold” I brought home and settled back into home life. Phase 3 of my renovation plan starts this week- the downstairs of the house is getting a face lift- nothing as major as the last round but enough to fill the house with dust!

I haven’t picked up a needle and thread in the past few weeks and I’m really missing it. I had a minor accident a few weeks ago and my right thumb has been immobilized. It’s amazing just how many things you need your right thumb for, even typing was tricky for awhile- especially when you are right handed.  I am just starting to get movement back now and am so looking forward to picking up some stitching- it’s been very annoying!

And just because I’m making excuses for not keeping my blog up to date- or even close to it! Here’s my latest distraction..Image

This is Ned, he is 4 months ( and a bit) old and keeping me on my toes. It’s great to have a dog around the house again and this one has me out walking a lot! He’s made himself right at home.


Bye for now, Catherine




2 down and one to go…

What a busy week! Life moves at great speed when I am here in the UK there is just so much to do. Festival, open studios and teaching are all happening on this trip and I am doing my best to keep up with the schedule and trying to catch up with friends old and new as well.

Edwina and I were at the Bramble Patch in Weedon last Thursday and Friday doing an open studio. We used the time there to work on pieces for the Orientation show, do a little indigo dyeing and have a great time catching up with the visitors.


We had the wet room of the shop and created a display of our work on the walls behind the work tables. Many thanks to Ann and the Bramble girls for their hospitality and to Mettler threads, Edwina’s and my generous sponsor, for the wonderful treats we handed out to visitors.

There was loads of room to spread out and get some work done! and of course all the supplies in the shop in case we needed anything- or thought we might need something. Edwina cooked up some magic and we had an indigo pot going outside , with visitors being invited to dunk a bit of something if they wanted to give it a try. Despite being August it was a cool day and I was shivering when I pulled my hands out of the pot even with rubber gloves on.


Indigo is an amazing process the colour changes during oxidation are truly amazing, I tried to catch the various changes in colour with my camera but….this is as close as I could get.


Lots of the visitors had a go and I think we may even have a few new quilters giving indigo a try for the first time. These pieces look a bit sad in this image they are looking much better now they are washed out and ironed. I just have to figure out the details, but there is a quilt in the works.


We did have a special visitor to the open studio days- he must have crept in during the night but appeared to like indigo just as much as we do. Just a little warning if you’re squeamish you might want to skip over  the next image!


I taught a one day workshop on Pen and Ink techniques on Wednesday at Ineke Berlins amazing studio Littleheath Barn. We spent the day sampling drawing techniques and exchanging  ideas. I was so impressed with the work the students created they take my basic technique and add their own ideas, each students work is just as individual as they are.


That’s Jenny, Jill  and Wendy gathered round to chat about their work at the end of the session, there was some lovely work created and such a productive day!


Just a few more finishing details to go on my pieces for the SiX and Friends Orientation exhibition opening next weekend and then back home to Vancouver,whew!

Back to stitching,

Bye for now, Catherine

one down, a few to go…

Festival of Quilts is finished for another year.

It does feel a bit odd to work so hard towards something and then have it go by in a blur… it seems as if I have just arrived in the UK and yet I’ve been here 10 days already. Festival was great fun, it’s a terrific time to catch up with old friends, make  new ones and see what the entire quilting world has been up to. OK, maybe not the entire quilting world but certainly a big part of it. The event is huge, there are new products introduced , a quilt show of staggering proportions and one of the best shopping opportunities of the year!

This year I was teaching an hour-long workshop each day which doesn’t sound much if you say it fast but it certainly took some time! I met lots of wonderful students, new and old.

Here’s a few images from around the Mettler stand…

I showed a “before” version of the stand in the last post and here’s what it looked like just before we opened.

some were more keen than others to get going!

one of the workshops…

and the amazing machine I was lucky enough to be demonstrating for the run of the show… thanks Bernina!


There were some amazing quilts at the show, far too many to show here but here’s a few favorites and I’ll post a few more in a day or two.

This lovely quilt was made by Hilary Beattie and took 3rd place in the Contemporary category. Hilary is a wonderful textile artist and a fellow member of SiX and Friends, congratulations Hilary!

This quilt was also in the contemporary category and was made by Rita Dijkstra-Hesselink from Holland, I felt like I was being watched every time I went by.

This lovely piece was made by Robbie LePoidevin and not only took second place in the Pictorial Quilts category but was also her final assessment piece for her City and Guilds qualification, congratulations on all fronts Robbie, its brilliant!

This absolutely stunning traditional quilt was the winner in that category. It is hand embroidered, hand applique and hand quilted. And best of all made by Canadian! Deborah Kemball of Quebec.

The workmanship is amazing!

This dramatic piece was made by Barbara Lynn Tubbe from the US and collected a second prize in the Art Quilt category.The quilt makes a really dramatic statement about the forest fires consuming the California Sierra.

One of the highlights for me was meeting Lis from Lancashire, she attended one of my workshops and then dropped by the stand the next day for a chat. It turns out she had made a bag using one of my designs! It was published about 2005 in British Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Here’s Lis with her version of Leap Frog and her wonderful bag.

Great to meet you Lis!

The organizers of  Festival very kindly donated  a gallery space to acknowledge the life and work of Marie Roper… Laura Kemshall has posted images on the SiX and Friends blog and her images say it all.

Edwina and I are off to the Bramble Patch for open studio days tomorrow and Friday. Drop by if you are in the neighborhood and see what we are up to!

Bye for now, Catherine





Greetings from Festival of Quilts!

Well here we are again. After a whirlwind  last few weeks it looks as if everything has come together. I am in England and looking forward to Festival of Quilts 2012!

The last 2 days have been wonderful, catching up with friends and of course getting ready for Festival. I am teaching a workshop a day so have been getting samples and kits ready for the students. I have screen printed one of my drawings onto fabric ( with the perfect shade of slime green) and the students will be experimenting with free motion stitching and a bit of text as well.

One of the best things about screen printing is how quick it is. After I  had all the student handouts and samples done I had an idea for a quilt or at least the beginnings of one. Edwina magically produced just the right piece of black fabric and I printed the panel below. I have the quilting ideas sorted out and plan to be working on it as part of our demonstration this weekend.

It has a way to go yet but I think it’s off to a great start.

We spent today setting up the stand and getting the displays and teaching area all in order. This year brings big changes ( even more changes!) for me. I am so pleased to be an endorsee of Mettler threads and this year I am on their stand at Festival, teaching and demonstrating some of my favorite techniques with my favorite threads. I am working alongside Edwina Mackinnon and we are both enjoying this new endeavor.

This is what it looked like when we started from this morning and it took the better part of the day to get things in order….

I didn’t take an image of the stand all dressed and ready to go, I ran out of steam by the end of the day and completely forgot.  But I am  planning  to take my camera to Festival every day and try to record a bit of whats going on so I can share the images.

If you’re coming to Festival and have a chance to drop by I would love to see you. Stand C-39 is where  I will be for the next 4 days!

Bye for now, Catherine