Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Heather Stewart

The speaker at our Rouge Valley quilt guild meeting last night was Heather Stewart, who did her trunk show and gave us some extremely entertaining anecdotes about her quilting life.  She is a fantastic speaker, and gave us a good mix of laughter and tears.  Her story about a city slicker magazine editor, and a photo shoot involving a horse, goats and sheep, is one we'll all remember for a long time.  She also brought home the challenges faced by our military families, which made us all a little more appreciative of the sacrifices they make.

Presentations like Heather's reinforce my belief that the story behind a quilt is often as interesting and significant as the quilt itself.  Right now, I am having a difficult time thinking of any other craft that has quite that same quality.  Fine embroidery, especially ecclesiastical embroidery like Ruth O'Leary's St. Cuthbert's Banner, can impact many people, but it is in a different way than a quilt that is used in daily life.  As Heather said last night, it is the idea that a quilt can also be a "comforter" that is so appealing sometimes.

And on a completely different note, Heather also dropped a great tip about using a photo or painting you like as your inspiration for a colour scheme.  Starting with a photograph is an idea I've run across before, going all the way back to Kaffe Fassett's first book, Glorious Knitting.  But Heather added a very helpful expansion of the idea.  In addition to using the colours from the photo, you want to make sure they are in the same proportion as they are in the inspiration piece.  She says that the relative proportions of the colours are actually more significant than the colours themselves.  So if the photo you like is about 10% yellow, you want to keep the amount of yellow in your quilt to 10% as well.

I love this idea!  I have already been tearing photos I like from magazines, without being sure how to use them.  Now I know!  Trust me, my mind is turning.  ;)

So a big thank you to Heather for her great presentation.  If you have the chance to get her to speak at your guild, I highly recommend it!


  1. The colour concept IS a great one. I've just used a photo for a stitching outline - hadn't thought of the colour.

  2. Thanks for your kind words! It was a pleasure meeting you at the guild meeting. The Colour for Quilters workshop I did with your guild members today was such fun.


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