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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Block of the Month – September 2016 – Canada Star

To celebrate, Canada’s 150th anniversary will be the theme for this year's Block of the Month. All year, we’ll be exploring Canada’s history and celebrating our pride in our nation. Join us in making some or all of the blocks that we will be sharing this year.  You could use the blocks to make your own Canada 150 quilt, or maybe you can try some of these blocks that are new to you.

Each month will also contain a bit of history, so you can learn about Canada as you quilt!


For September, the block is the Canada Star. Barbara Brackman* created a beautiful 9-patch variation in honour of Lucie Blackburn, an African-American woman who travelled across the Canada-US border in 1833 into the relative safety of Upper Canada (Ontario).

Slavery in Canada

During the early 1600s through the early 1800s, blacks lived as slaves in much of Canada, from BC to Nova Scotia. While slavery was abolished in Upper Canada in 1791, it wasn’t until August 1, 1834 (Emancipation Day – same day as Simcoe Day, the popular August long-weekend holiday) that the British Parliament passed a law abolishing slavery in all British North American colonies. Slavery continued to be legal in parts of the US until abolition in 1865.

Canada was a symbol of hope for many slaves hoping to make the dangerous journey to freedom. Canada was marked as the “North Star” on quilts that mapped routes to the “Promised Land.”

With help from abolitionists including Harriet Tubman, many black slaves sought refuge in Canada in the Underground Railroad Movement, between 1830 and 1865. By the time of the US Civil War, some 35,000 fugitives had found freedom in Canada. After abolition, many former slaves returned to the US while others, like Lucie Blackburn, built a life in Toronto and prospered.

The Canada Star Block

This month’s block is a pieced 12” block. There were samples shown in the September meeting. Please talk to Sherri if you would like to see them again.



You can read more about Lucie Blackburn’s story including her life in Toronto on Barbara’s blog, which also features this pretty block and instructions on construction (scroll down to the bottom):



* Barbara is a renowned quilt historian and amazing quilt-maker in her own right and has given permission for us to use her pretty block for this month’s program. You may have seen Barbara’s contributions in American Patchwork & Quilting – she provided a historical context for each of the blocks used in the latest issue of the magazine. She is also a prolific author of quilt books including from 2012, “Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Sampler: 50 Quilt Blocks with Stories from History”.   

Monday, 19 September 2016

Sew and Share September Meeting

Everyone has been busy this summer making some stunning quilts to share. Here's what was brought to this month's meeting.

Shirley used the pattern for placemats that was in this month's newsletter to make piles of placemats for outreach:


  Joyce made Canada Maple Leaf, a wall quilt or table topper, to celebrate Canada Day:





Sherri made a twin quilt, Turning Twenty by Martha Negley:




Bev shared her Block of the Month quilt from Karen Howes' patterns. This quilt survived singeing from a lamp accident, but fortunately, she could change up the two burned blocks!

Carole shared two lovely baby quilts using Beatrice Potter blocks. Here is one of them:

Debbie made "Kits 'n' Caboodle" by Cheri Leffler for her great nephew:

Debbie also shared "Spring Bouquet" by designer Pearl P. Pereira:




Jacqueline shared her Polar Bear wall quilt using the Deck of Cards block:




Karen shared a quilt her mother pieced and she quilted. It is the Four Plus One pattern from Hobby Horse:




Irene showed a baby quilt called Red Sails:




Gillian made a Sunshine Quilt:




Gillian also made a Birthday Banner:




 Mara made two kids quilts using a "U" pattern - one in pink and one in purple:

Carolyn shared Refreshing Grandmother's Garden, which she repaired. It was well-loved and quite a bit of work:




Tella shared her quilt, Celtic Sunshine which was a mystery quilt in 2013 by Bonnie Hunter. The back uses fabric with Grumpy. She calls it "Back-Off - I'm Grumpy" for her son.






Monday, 12 September 2016

Summer May Be Winding Down, but the Quilting Fun Is Just Beginning!

I hope you had a lovely summer.

I would complain about the heat we had, but it actually kept me inside and quilting! And I think the heat inspired others to stay in the cool a.c. of their sewing room. Joyce Forsyth was busy quilting to celebrate Canada day:




Did you finish any projects this summer?

Row by Row was also super encouraging for summer sewing projects. I went to visit family in Halifax and found a great sewing and quilting store where I picked up their pattern. Hopefully I'll be finished it soon to bring to Sew and Share!



Did you find any new quilt stores on your summer adventures?

Even if you didn't spend that much time in your sewing room, the exciting program for this year will get you inspired to sew. This Wednesday we will be hosting Brenda Miller of Among Brenda’s Quilts. She will be speaking about “Developing the Designer in You”. You can see some of her design creations on her website at http://www.amongbrendasquilts.com/

What do you want to create this year?