Yorkshire Rose Quliters Guild of Toronto

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Highlights from the Retreat

The Quilt Retreat was a successful weekend of quilting, laughing with and learning from friends and enjoying the beauty of fall by the lake. 

Here are a few photos from Suzanne:

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Block of the Month - November - 54-40 or Fight!

Block of the Month – November 2016 – “54-40 or Fight!”

We had a great turnout for last month’s foundation-piecing workshop, and you are going to need to use your foundation-piecing skills for this month’s block too. The block has a little bit of strip piecing as well as foundation piecing. 

This month’s block is “54-40 or Fight! It’s a block outlining a time in history where the outcome might have meant a very different looking Canada than the one we know today.

54-40 or Fight!

In 1818, the United States established a joint claim with the United Kingdom on land along Canada’s west coast, known as British Canada. For some years, the parties worked together peacefully in this area. Joint management of the region worked until the mid-1840’s, at which point the parties set about to negotiate separation of the area.

In 1844, James Polk ran his US Presidential campaign on a platform of taking control of the disputed area in British Canada. His proposal was to seize the land or go to war with the UK.  His campaign slogan was, “Fifty-Four Forty or Fight!” Essentially, the US vision was to establish a territory from Oregon all the way up through to the 54th parallel at the southern tip of Alaska – a nice piece of real estate! 
Disputed Territory – Shows 49th and 54th parallels
Source: Matt Rosenberg, About.com

James Polk won the election and after he was inaugurated as President of the US, the negotiations continued. Eventually the parties settled the dispute and separated the US and British Canada territories at the 49th parallel, where it is today. The Treaty of Oregon dates to 1846 and is still in force today, setting out the details of the border on the west coast. 

If the agreement had not been settled in 1846, Vancouver might have been a US city! Or, we might have had a war between the UK and US on the west coast with an uncertain outcome. 

Such a great story for this block. I hope you’ll try making it.
How to Make The Block

This month’s block is a 9” block. I’ll be bringing sample versions of the block to show at the November guild meeting. 

Julie Baird from Generations Quilt Patterns has once again kindly allowed us to use the foundation-piecing pattern and online tutorial she developed for the 9” finished 54-40 or Fight block. Here’s a link so you can download your own instructions and foundations:


Monday, 14 November 2016

Sew and Share October Meeting

In October, we were able to see a great diversity of sewing skills from our members.

Inspired by the Annie Lennox song, Broken Glass, Julia was able to finish her quilt:

Suzanne designed this beautiful wall quilt, "It's Summer:"

Joyce has designed and made some fabulous fleece coats for some very lucky men:

Karen used the pattern Connect the Dots to make this lovely twin-ish (as she says) sized quilt:

Tella took a break from quilting to make the Necessary Clutch Wallet from Emmaline Bags by designer Janelle McKay:

Monday, 24 October 2016

Block of the Month – October 2016 – Economy

This month’s block is Economy, also known as “Square-in-a-Square” or “Diamond-in-a-Square.” It’s a popular old-time block and, with our theme of Canada’s 150th anniversary, it’s a fitting block to tell the story of Canada during the depression years. 

Canada During the Depression

From 1929 through about 1939, Canada was severely affected by the Great Depression along with many other economies around the world. With our dependence on trading raw materials and the large wheat belt in the Prairie Provinces, the global depression and crippling drought hit Canada hard. Gross domestic product went down about 42% and by 1933, 30% of the labour market was unemployed. In Windsor, up to 50% were unemployed and it was even worse in the Atlantic with up to 60% out of work. 

Unemployed men in soup kitchen line in Toronto – Archives of Canada

Families had to make do during the Great Depression and try to do more with much, much less.  Many young men and older teens left home and “rode the rails” trying to find work in more prosperous centres though few places were found for those desperate to feed themselves and their families. Depression thrift and scarcity didn’t dampen quilting during this time – creative quilters used feed sacks or leftovers from clothing construction to make quilts. New fabric for quilt-making may have been scarce but quilts from this era reflect a hopefulness for the future. 

Even as other world economies began to turn the corner from the depression in 1937 and 1938, Canada didn’t start back on track to improve the economy until 1939 when the focus on World War II galvanized the country’s industry and war efforts. 

Economy Block

This month’s block is a 6” block.   

It’s possible to piece the Economy block, but accurate results come from foundation-piecing this block.  Julie Baird from Generations Quilt Patterns has kindly allowed us to use the foundation piecing pattern she developed for the 6” finished Economy block.  Here’s a link so you can download your own foundation:

We had a short, members-teaching-members workshop on foundation paper piecing on October 15. Participants learned some basics of foundation piecing and were all able to complete one or two economy blocks. Here's some of their handiwork: