I have been away for a few weeks – visiting relatives in Canada and enjoying a holiday in Japan.
While in Canada, I had a few moments to do a little browsing in quilt shops. I am supposed to be on a self-imposed fabric diet, but I put a holiday clause into my diet, and I took advantage of this loophole. I am not a very good dieter.
Canadian quilt shops are not that different from shops here in Australia. However, it is still fun to explore each shop, chat to the friendly owners and staff, and take advantage of the slightly lower prices.
One of my purchases will seem odd to many outside Australia. I bought three rolls of freezer paper from a Canadian supermarket. Here in Australia, freezer paper is only available from specialist craft shops for almost $20 per small roll. I bought three large rolls for about $6 each: one for me and two to give to friends.
Wineberry Fabrics, Surrey, BC
We spent a few days in New Westminster, BC, visiting friends, Paul and Barb. While Paul and my husband checked out a local beer brewery, Barb and I sneaked out to Wineberry Fabrics in Surrey.
We were both intrigued by the glass pincushion stuffing they have for sale; it should give a pincushion a nice weight without introducing anything organic that might rot or attract hungry pets and pests.
I bought some music print (handy for neutral backgrounds, especially for bee blocks) and some novelty dog-print fabric to make a new park bag. My dog’s lead, poo bags, treats, ball, etc., live in a bag that I can easily grab when we go walking at the park. The old one is wearing thin in a few places, so it is time to make a replacement.
Wineberry Fabrics has a good range of traditional fabrics, cheerful flannels perfect for children’s quilts, novelty Canadian prints and seasonal prints for Christmas and Halloween.
Heart N’Sole Quilts, Grand Forks, BC
Heart N’Sole is run out of the front of a beautiful house in my husband’s home town, and the owners, Catherine and Rod, are really, really friendly (more on that later). They have a great range of patterns, books and bright, cheerful fabrics. This shop contained the greatest amount of temptation for me. Look out for them at Canadian craft shows as they often take their shop on the road.
I could not resist some Bonnie and Camille fabrics, a Joel Dewberry plaid, a green check (Gypsy Girl), and some more black and white background prints. I bought the Bonnie and Camille fabrics to use in the back of the hexagon cushion that I have been sewing as my travel project.
Cabas Quilting Cottage, Grand Forks, BC
This shop is also run from home, in a converted garage or shed to one side of the house. I have spotted deer on the front lawn on past visits. The shop is spacious and has heaps of stock, and it is the place to go if you like batiks and art quilts. The owner is an amazing art quilter and organises international and local teachers. I am not an art quilter and am not drawn to batiks, so I bought a cute matryoshka print, which represents Grand Forks’ Russian heritage.
If you happen to be an art quilter and are travelling in this part of British Columbia, the shop is well worth a visit.
Before I flew to Canada, I emailed Heart N’Sole quilts to ask about sit-and-sew days or classes that I could join while I was in town. My in-laws are elderly and need their naps, so I was thinking of things I could do to keep myself busy for a few hours. I received a lovely reply from Catherine, listing the groups in town. In response to my query about whether they would mind a stranger dropping in, Catherine replied, ‘I am sure they would enjoy a guest … after all, we’re quilters!’ This sentence just about sums up the friendliness and community spirit of seamstresses everywhere. They would have welcomed me to their retreat if I had stayed in town another week.
I planned to drop in, unannounced, but my mother-in-law knew one local quilter, Patti, and Patti very kindly offered to pick me up and introduce me to two groups. I had a great morning with Patti, and my hexagon travel project made everyone laugh as a few others in Grand Forks are also bitten by the hexagon bug. They particularly liked my hexagon travel kit, and a few noted the link to the Zen of Making’s pattern to make their own.
The Sunshine Quilters are currently organising a difficult panel challenge. Each person taking part randomly selects a paper bag containing a difficult panel. You do not know what the panel is until you open the paper bag. The challenge is to make something (anything) using the panel, but it must be quilted. They asked me to join in, and I selected the panel pictured below, which seemed an appropriate choice in Canada as it has a winter scene and North American animals. I now have until the start of December to make something out of this and send them a photo. I do not think I have ever bought a panel! Eek! What will I do? At the moment, I plan to make a few small things, each including snippets of the fabric.
If you are going to a strange town where you will have some free time, I encourage you to drop in on the local quilting group. It is great fun.
I packed a small hexagon project to take in my hand luggage and keep myself busy during the journey. I had more than 24 hours in aeroplanes on the way to Canada and lots of quiet time while there. My plane-safe scissors passed inspection at every security checkpoint. Hurrah!
Visiting Canada is mostly a chance to visit my husband’s family, so we do not do much sightseeing. We did have a gorgeous lunch on the patio at Lake Breeze on the Naramata Bench, where we also stopped at a handful of other wineries and bought some wine to drink during our stay and to give to friends. In the many years I have been visiting Canada, it is noticeable how markedly Canadian wine has improved.
After Canada, I went to Japan. I will have to write another post about all the craft-related shops I visited there. If you thought what I bought in Canada was naughty, just wait. I got a bit carried away in Japan! Thank goodness I had a big suitcase. A. Very. Big. Suitcase.