|My boys on Canada Day 2010 - We're normally in shorts and t-shirts, but that was an odd weather day - hot/cool/hot.|
The City of Ottawa has around 800,000 residents, but the National Capital Region (includes the suburbs and Gatineau across the river in Quebec) is more like 1.4 million. It's a beautiful city with a lot of green space, it's easy to navigate and the people are pretty darn nice, if I may say so.
There are two big quilt (200+ member) guilds here: Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild and the Common Thread Quilt Guild. I used to be a member of both (I just couldn't get enough!), but I started volunteering as a Beaver Leader for my son's Beaver Colony this past year so I couldn't make the Common Thread Guild meetings. :(
The home page of the OVQG has a slide show of some of our members' work and of our House Tour last fall that it worth checking out. Our guild did the house tour to raise money for Rogers House, a "home away from home" for children with life-limiting illnesses and their families who need to be near the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). The idea was radical; to have quilts shown in their natural habitat -- the home! We had five houses with five themes (Animals, Art, Children, Men, and Seasons). It was a lot of work and a lot of fun. More importantly, we raised ~$3,000 for Rogers House! My house hosted the Children's quilts - no surprise there -- so you'll see my house in the photos with the children's quilts.
Every Mother's Day weekend in May, there's a big quilt show here. The two biggest guilds alternate hosting it each year. The quilt show this past year was run by the Ottawa Valley Quilters Guild. Next year, it's the Common Thread Quilt Guild. Each year, I walk away from the show inspired anew. Also, did I mention the great vendors? Let's just say that I have a great Mother's Day each year! The show is also on during the Tulip Festival so there's a lot going on around the rest of the city too (millions of tulips, of course, but also concerts and other events). Have I convinced you to visit Ottawa in person yet?
There are also a number of smaller guilds and groups around too, like the Arnprior Quilters' Guild and the Richmond Area Quilters Guild. Most don't have sites though. One very cool group that does have a site is the Out of the Box Fibre Artists, whose members do stunning work. They've put some of their members' work on the site so click on a name and you'll see some examples of their work. There's some great eye candy on that site!
Now on to the blogs! Did you know that the Quilting Gallery Blog that has the Quilting Bloggers list is based in Ottawa? Yes, Michele Foster runs such a great site and a great blog of her own! I've just started following her blog, but so far I'm a big fan of her weekly themed quilt contests. What a great idea!
One of my favourite blogs is Elaine Quehl's blog. Not only do I find her work gorgeous (check out her foliage series - wow!), but I also find her posts about being an artist and the creative journey very thoughtful and interesting. I've taken a class with her too and it was eye opening. I learned how to piece freeform curves - love that Reflections technique. And her hand dyed fabrics, which are available for sale, are luscious (I don't use that word lightly!).
Cherry Tree Quilts - Barb Gillespie is a wonderful longarm machine quilter who recently moved to BC from Ottawa. We're sad to see her go! Even though it's summer and not a speck of snow to be seen here (in Ottawa anyway ;)), I had to share Barb's snow dyeing with you. Very cool! I'm going to have to try that sometime.
Other Ottawa-based blogs to check out:
- The Running Stitch - A great store and blog. I don't get there as often as I'd like because it's on the other side of the city from me (probably a good thing for our bank account), but it's where I bought the Kaffe Fassett fabric for Project Y and my fantabulous-bestest-ever-sewing-machine-in-the-world.
- Juanita Sauvé is also a member of the Out of the Box Fibre Artists. I've just recently found her blog, but am enjoying it immensely.
- Mad About Patchwork - yummy online quilt store and blog!
- The Saturday Quilter - I love the New York Beauty that she posted for last year's Bloggers' Quilt Festival.
Mary Pal is a wonderful friend of mine and does such beautiful work! You will be seeing her in the next series of Quilting Arts TV demonstrating her cheesecloth technique. Her portrait of Jane Goodall is one of my favourites. Poplars is another. Mary gave a fabulous 10BX class where we got to experiment with ten different fibre art processes using a leaf theme (paintstiks, seta colour, foil). It was so much fun and felt like it was a 'playdate' for grownups. I also took her Painstiks course -- again, I learned so much from her. She has so many tips and ideas that I always walk away very inspired.
Other great sites to check out:
- Aunt Beth's Quilt World
- C&M Textiles (some quilting fabric, but mostly home decor)
- The Country Quilter
- Dragonfly Fabrics
- Mad About Patchwork (online shop!)
- Rockland Textiles (some quilting fabric, but mostly home decor)
- Quilting Quarters
- Quilty Pleasures
- The Running Stitch (a wide variety of quilting fabrics, both modern and traditional)
- Sew for IT!
- Yarn Forward/Sew On
Thanks for coming by and I hoped you liked your virtual visit to Ottawa. If you liked this visit, check out my other trips Around the Quilting Blogosphere.
Now I've got to go get ready for the BBQ...
Happy Canada Day! Joyeuse Fête du Canada!