Wednesday, January 3, 2018

One and 150 Canadian Women

I joined the 150 Canadian Women QAL at Next Step Quilting Designs shortly after she'd started, I think the third week in, so October, 2016. I stuck with this, at times being nine blocks behind (maybe more), and I am just so very very glad I did. I learned so much about these a-MAZING women, felt so in awe of their fortitude, intelligence, bravery, and both fearsome and fearless attitudes. I do not have the flimsy done quite yet, but here are the final six blocks.

Wait what? Yeah, I had the same thought when I read that. I made my 150, and I'll admit, I was wondering what we'd do, a 10X15 block layout? That would be 60X90 before borders, a bit of a long and narrow quilt size...put a few on the back? I certainly did not want to do that. Then when I downloaded and read the final quilt assembly instructions, I saw we were to make six extra blocks of our own choosing, or simply cut six 6.5" squares to fill in the spots because the layout was 12X13 which equals 156. Ahhh.

I knew immediately that one or two would be a maple leaf, Canada's main symbol. I knew I'd do it with my own way of constructing the block, which I did in my Freefall QAL. So I figured out the measurements to make it 6" finished, drafting the leaf point anew...wait. It was not 6" because the block is based on a 5X5 grid. So I did it at 5", simply sewing a 1" border on two sides with some of the Canada Sesquicentennial fabric by Northcott I accumulated over 2017, and I like the effect.

Two down. Four to go.

I'm reading a fantastic, eye-opening book, a gift from my mum a few years ago:

These two English women left Suffolk, England in 1832, emigrating to Upper Canada (Ontario) with their new husbands. They were both published authors in England, both husbands did not have great wealth, and thus they thought (and were wrongly convinced like so many others) that great prosperity could be theirs for the taking in Canada.

Charlotte Gray, the author, has done a wonderful job combining both Catharine Parr Traill's and Susanna Moodie's letters, their published works, and her own research into a book that reads well, and has made my eyes widen and my brain spin many many times. I've still got 90 pages to go. So many women struggled, my own grandmother among them, but 100 years later, trying to make a home, and survive in the Canadian wilderness. I've long had a profound respect for them all, since enamoured with and enthralled by the Laura and Mary Ingalls books as a young girl. I knew immediately that I would make Susanna and Catharine a log cabin block each. Susanna's is the red one with the text print in one of the light rounds. Hers has a pink maple leaf centre, a fabric scrap from Paintbrush Studio that I used in Windfall. Catharine's has a red maple leaf centre, more scraps of the same Windfall fabric, and pink rounds, flowers in one round each of pink and cream as a nod to her deep love of botany. The final cream round, a scrap of Amanda Jean's 'Good Neighbors' has a stitches motif as a nod to her fine abilities as a quilter. She was also a writer. Not only did they write and sew, but they also learned to milk cows and keep chickens and many other chores, had 16 I believe children between them, acted as midwife to neighbours, befriended Chippewa, fought cold, hunger, poverty, loneliness, depression, and all this, while lacking basic skills, having had servants in England. And yet they continued to write each day and published very successful books, both non-fiction and fiction. For which they saw little money. Perhaps because they were not born in Canada, they were omitted from Kat's 150 CA Women, but they are well-deserving of a block each in my books, pun intended. Besides, I know there are many more than 150 Fabulous CA Women of Note!

Florence MacLeod Harper

It took me a long time to find and decide upon a block for this incredible woman. In the end, I couldn't find one that aptly fitted her contributions, so I opened a magazine I got as a present earlier this year, Quilter's World, May, and spied this block, one of two in the quilt 'Radiance'. I like how your eye is thrown to the deepest red stripe and bounces around the four sides... and then you notice the square in a square in the centre, and then the corners. This block is for Florence MacLeod Harper, a Canadian journalist. In 1916 she hopped on a ship across the Pacific, then the trans-Siberian railroad, to get to Russia, where she was one of the first Western reporters to cover the Russian revolution. She has largely been forgotten, yet not only did she work as staff reporter for Leslie's Illustrated Weekly Newspaper based in New York, she also volunteered at the front lines as a surgical nurse during her 6 months there. You may find her memoir, Runaway Russia, now that British historians did. You can read an article about her that my mum sent me here. Thank you Mum!

Pioneer Women and the Me Too campaign
Isn't this a beauty? Lots of love for it on IG when I posted my final six blocks. This is also out of a magazine, Quilty Nov/Dec. 2017, and is called Woven Stars. It's a 12" I re-drafted it to finish at 6". I can see a whole other look here by making this just two colours, making a whirling star floating atop a four-pointed star... So this is my block to all the pioneer women, stars every one in my opinion, but it's also to the women who are speaking out against long-endured sexual harassment, now taking a stand and saying it has to stop. We are not chattels, possessions, 'beneath' men; we do not have to bow down, suffer indignities, feel inferior, be subjected to abuse, nor answer to any man. We are women, hear us roar!

EEEEP! I made the first horizontal sashing and I am hap, hap, HAPPY!!! It just fits across the four styrofoam panels of my design wall... Let's take a closer peek at the cornerstones:
EEEP! again. This is more Canada 150 fabric this one, 'With Glowing Hearts', by Moda Fabrics, that I got at a sale at A Stitch in Time in Leamington, my LQS. I measured the maple leaves in this plaid-looking fabric to see if they actually were 1.5" unfinished as I thought...yesss! The girl cutting the fabric nearly choked when I told her what I was doing, needing 1" finished cornerstones, oh 156 or so of 'em.... I'm doing one sashing row with the leaves flipping this way and that, and then the next row will flip that-a-way and this, get it? No worries, I do. The lovely cream leaves fabric in the sashing and many of the blocks is an older, no, a vintage Benartex fabric called 'Nature Studies', fitting fabric for moi, n'est-ce pas?

The one Canadian woman in the title? Moi! I know I mentioned it in my last post, but just in case you missed it, I am one of the co-hosts of the 2018 New Quilt Bloggers Hop, the Canadian contingent, if you will.  I said I'd bring Tim Horton's to our virtual meetings. Ha.
Remember if you are a new quilt blogger, that is, your blog is less than 3 years old, and you'd love to join in with this group and meet other like-minded peeps, sign-ups open Feb. 1. More details in the coming weeks. I cannot tell you, no, wait, I eventually will, and I already touched on it in the previous post, how invaluable this hop was to me, and how it has changed my life, seriously, for the better.

Linking up
Sew Fresh Quilts
Quilt Fabrication


  1. You chose well for extra women to represent and came up with great blocks for them. And those cornerstones! As you said: Eeep! I'm afraid I fell off the wagon collecting the block patterns and bios about halfway through the year. Enjoy your stint as hostess :)

  2. I, too, joined the 150 Canadian Women QAL, sent some fabric swaps to BC, with our family to post in Kamloops or Kelowna, received lovely fabrics in return, but then injuries, life,and more intervened. My blocks are all sitting nicely in a container, mellowing with each month. Maybe this year will see them joined into a quilt, and along with the 150 women celebrated, it will also celebrate my blog friendships in Canada. OOPS, then I will need to do one for US too!!!How is your weather?? Another "stinking" hot 32C plus down here today.
    Your sashing is fantastic. Love those maple leaves.

  3. I like how you're joining the blocks. Can't wait to see it pieced together.

  4. This is one stunning quilt. I love the way you choose your blocks and especially that free fall made it in. The cornerstones are awesome. Just one great quilt!

  5. Hi Sandra,
    What a fabulous post! First of all 150 blocks!! Plus six, and very interesting and perfect blocks I might add. The maple leaves are great, and I really LOVE woven star. Your first two rows look fabulous, and those setting stones . . . just the perfect thing. I am so thrilled that the new blogger blog hop is starting again soon. I so wanted to do it last year but was too late to enroll. I look forward to hearing more about it, and definitely want to sign up! I cannot wait for that and to see your 156 blocks come together. ~smile~ Roseanne

  6. The additional blocks are a very inspired choice for your quilt, and the cornerstones are perfect! It will be fun to see it evolve into a finished flimsy for you. What an awesome quilt with lots of meaning.

  7. That's going to be an awesome quilt. Your blocks are looking great! Well, now I've gone to Amazon and ordered a copy of that book. Sounds very intriguing and the kind of thing I'd enjoy reading.

  8. Love those blocks, especially the woven star. Great colors, and the cornerstones! This is going to be a terrific quilt.

  9. Gorgeous!! Thanks for the book review as well. Reminded me of stories about my Great Grandmother. She was a midwife and road a white horse.

  10. Congratulations on your quilt progress! I've enjoyed your posts on remarkable Canadian women, they have reminded me of home! I've been living in the US for 19 years, but still consider myself a Canadian first. This last post has taken me on a nostalgic trip to Lakefield, the pretty little town on the Otonabee River, where I grew up. Both Catharine and Susanna had ties to my hometown, and Susanna Moodie lived there until her death. I used to pass various landmarks and historical markers from the family as I walked to school every day. Thanks for a trip down memory lane, what a small world we live in! I'll be sure to look up the book you mention.

  11. Love the extra blocks and stories of the great women to go with them and the cornerstone leaves. YES!

  12. Oh, those wee cornerstones! Be still my heart! They are perfect. This has been an amazing project from the get-go and you're getting down to the final stretch. Are you thinking you'll have it finished this winter? Because I think all those powerful Canadian women would be honored to know you were staying warm under a quilt made in their names.

  13. great blogcks , hope you'll don't get snowed under up there.

  14. This is going to be such a gorgeous quilt. Your cornerstones are brilliant!

  15. What a wonderful post! I love that you kept up with your 150 Women....I surely did not.
    I keep wondering what would be the best way to get back to it....three a week? I don't know :(

  16. This project is so special and your work is beautiful...such precsion! As Kathleen says, it is going to be a stunning quilt. I love it!
    Good luck with the Blog Hop too.

  17. I'm loving your 150 women quilt, particularly the blocks you've added. You've made it your own by including women that touched you. Can't wait to see your completed quilt. This will be a heirloom that comes with a beautiful story.

  18. Beautiful blocks and the cornerstones are perfect!

  19. Thank you for sharing the book and the inspired blocks. I'll have to see if my library carries this book, as it's always fascinating to read how North America was settled, especially from a women's point of view.

  20. Oh amazing stories and blocks. Love your work.


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