by Suzanne Labry
Canadian Quilters Host
Big Bee for 150th
When the Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867, it was not due to war or annexation. Rather, it was the result of Confederation—the measured, orderly, consensual joining together of of colonies and territories, a peaceful and fair-minded exercise that some say forms the basis for what has become the country’s national persona of good-humored, civilized reserve.
Six slab tops sent by a woman from Missouri for the the Big Quilt Bee being staged by the Canadian Quilters' Association/Association canadienne de la counterpointe (CAA/ACC) for Canada's 150th birthday celebration. Photo courtesy of Leslie Whitby.Today, ten provinces and three territories make up the country of Canada, which is the second largest in the world in terms of landmass. Canadian quilters from all parts of this great expanse are coming together in a big way to celebrate their country’s 150th birthday.
The Canadian Quilters’ Association/Association canadienne de la courtepointe (CQA/ACC) is staging what it hopes will be the largest quilting bee ever, to be held June 14-17, 2017 at Quilt Canada 2017 in Toronto, Ontario.
The group plans to have “sewing machines, longarms, mid-arms and an army of volunteers ready to work on quilt tops
and stacks of slabs made by hundreds
of Canadian quilters.” Their goal is to
make and donate 1,000 quilts for kids
at Ronald McDonald Houses Charities across Canada.
A slab is a type of quilt block that was popularized by modern quilters Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison in their book Sunday Morning Quilts, and is made by combining scraps of fabric of a similar color in a Crazy Quilt-like way. These blocks can be quickly made and then combined into a colorful quilt top.
Cheryl Arkison, who is Canadian, popularized the technique by making slab quilts in 2013 for Alberta families who lost all their possessions during the worst flooding in that province’s history. CQA/ACC obtained Cheryl’s permission to use slabs in making quilts for the Big Quilt Bee.
CQA/CAA is requesting that each slab block be made 12½ inches square. Additionally, each slab must contain at least one piece of the special lines of fabric that have been designed to commemorate Canada’s sesquicentennial. Several fabric companies have produced these Canada 150th fabrics, including 'Discover Canada' by JN Harper, Stonehenge 'OH CANADA' by Northcott, Trend-Tex Fabrics 'With Glowing Hearts' by Moda, and Cantik Batiks. The wide variety of designs gives quilters many options to choose from.
Leslie Whitby, president of CQA/CAA, has been involved in planning the Big Quilt Bee “from day one,” and is thrilled with the enthusiastic response the project has generated.
“There are 475 rooms in Ronald McDonald Houses throughout Canada and our goal is
to provide two quilts for each room. I feel certain that we will reach that goal, because
there has already been so much activity,” she says. “From British Columbia on the West Coast to Cape Breton on the East Coast to Inuvik in the North, quilters are making dozens
of tops and hundreds of slab blocks. We know of 50 tops that have been made by a single group of schoolkids. We’re even hearing from quilters in the U.S. and other countries. The other day a woman from Missouri sent six completed tops and a quilter in France sent some beautiful slabs.
Leslie Whitby, CAA/ACC President, shows a slab block she made for the Big Quilt Bee.
Photo courtesy of Leslie Whitby.
“At the Big Quilt Bee, there will be projects in various stages of completion for everyone to work on—creating slabs, sewing slab blocks together to make tops, and quilting and binding completed tops,” Leslie continues. “We have generous donations of backing fabrics, batting, and thread, so there will be plenty for volunteers to do. It has been so exciting to see the amazing variety and creativity in the slabs and tops that have already been sent in. I am so gratified by the generosity of quilters and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday!”
If you would like to participate, follow the link to:
http://www.canadianquilter.com/events/quilt-canada- 2017-quilting- bee.php for all