International Visitors

We spend a lot of time while we tour staying in homes of quilters.  Some of these people become friends, and that is what happened with the five women who have just visited us.

Mary and Dorothy are from Salem, OR. Jerrie Lou is Mary’s sister in Kelowna. Janet is Jerrie Lou’s sister-in-law from Des Moines, WA. Judy is from Blairgowrie, VIC, Australia. We have stayed with all of them over the years, and they decided to come and visit us for a change!

It was wonderful to spend three days with so many good friends. I was tour guide, showing them the “sights” in Victoria, including the Butchart Gardens!

Dorothy, Jerrie Lou and Mary at the Sunken Garden

Dorothy, Jerrie Lou and Mary at the Sunken Garden

I have never seen the Gardens so beautiful – July is the BEST time to see them.  I was taking lots of notes on things I want to plant in my garden sometime. 

The next day we all met at the Satin Moon Quilt Shop, my home shop, for some serious browsing.  They have so many great fabrics and patterns by local designers.  As we were paying for our purchases, Denise Gunn offered to show us how she makes bias binding.  We were not going to turn down a free demo!

I have avoided bias binding partly because of the hand cutting along lines at the end.  Denise showed us how to make it easily with her rotary cutter. First, cut a square of fabric about 20″.  Cut it in half diagonally, using the 45 degree line on your ruler. Sew those two pieces together so they make a parallelogram. Press the seam open.  Then – and here’s the trick – for a 2″ width of binding, cut the fabric strips 2″ apart, leaving an UNCUT 1/2″ on either end of the strip, so the fabric does not come apart.

Cutting part way through the fabric

Cutting part way through the fabric

Then fold the fabric over so the first strip lies adjacent to the second one down. Pin together. You will be sewing a straight grain seam, so you don’t have to worry about pulling it out of shape.

 When it is sewn, finger press the seam open. Cut the strips straight through the seam from one slash to the next. Ta Daaaa!

And now it's bias binding!

And now it's bias binding!

I’m going to try this on my next quilt.  Thanks, Denise!

We left the Satin Moon and walked to the Inner Harbour.  Our adventure of the afternoon was to take a one hour harbour tour in a Harbour Ferry.  These are very cute little oval-shaped boats that fit about 12 people. They ply the waters of Victoria Inner Harbour daily during the summer. On Sunday mornings, they even do a harbour ferry synchronized dance to music.  But we didn’t see that this time. Here we are just before we left on our trip.

Dorothy, Judy, Mary, Jerrie Lou and Jan on the Ferry.

Dorothy, Judy, Mary, Jerrie Lou and Jan on the Ferry.

We had a fun and informative skipper on the boat, who told us about the local First Nations tribe, the million dollar houseboats, the world famous fish & chips place at Fisherman’s Wharf, Marilyn Bell’s swim of the Strait of Juan de Fuca over to Port Angeles WA, and the real estate values of the condos we saw. We passed by a big luxury boat that was once owned by Winston Churchill, and where Jacqueline Kennedy first met Aristotle Onassis.  Very fun and informative.

The next day we caught the 8:35 ferry to Pender Island. My quilting group, the Spool Board quilters, were holding our first retreat at the cottage of Susan Purney-Mark (of Patchworks Studio fame).  We brought some handwork with us, but there wasn’t a lot of time for it. Pender Island has lots of artists living and working there, and Susan had planned for us to visit one of them:  a glass bead maker. Michelle Wilman of Blissmania wasn’t expecting 11 women to show up at her tiny shop, but she was able to show us all at the same time how she makes her exquisite beads.  It looked easy, but she has many years of experience.

We stopped off at her neighbour’s studio (2 painters), then headed back for a barbecue before catching the evening ferry.  It was a full day, and we were all exhausted by the end.

My International Visitors left the next day.  They are on their way up to Alaska eventually, in search of the Duck Neck Quilt at the museum in Skagway.  They will see it in person – far preferable to photos, which can’t catch the iridescence of the mallard feathers. I wish I could go with them!!!


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