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P.E.I. quilting group pushes boundaries using new and unusual modern techniques


Quilts can be much more than a warm comfort on a cold night.

Heather Jarmyn, president of the P.E.I. Modern Quilt Guild, says there’s something exciting and challenging about creating a modern “appliqué.”

She shared her enthusiasm during the unveiling of the new exhibit called Quilting Forward, held at the Eptek Art and Culture Centre on Sunday afternoon.

“These are improvisation pieces because the lines are not straight or perpendicular,” she said. 

Jarmyn motioned to a bright tapestry pegged against a beige wall. Then, taking a few steps back, she paused while the colours burst from their seams and into a three-dimensional life.

Countless scraps of fabric artistically stitched together, with the precision of a surgeon’s hand, make up the Summerside exhibit.

Janet Prentice, one of the 20 guild members, crafted an illusion pattern she titled "Labyrinth Walk".

“This took me three-weeks to make over the holiday season,” she said. “I spent several hours each day on it, but quilting absorbs you. You can be sitting at the sewing machine and the hours suddenly pass. So for me it’s a form of escapism.”

'Sensory experience'

Prentice admitted she enjoys visiting textile stores and browsing the forest of fabric in all colours and textures.

“It’s a whole sensory experience,” she said. “And in this group, everyone shares their advice. I’ve learned so many things, which is just phenomenal.”

But quilting is much more than meets the eye.

Jarmyn weaved her way around the room illuminating how the quilts are formed. Blocks are stitched seamlessly together. Fabric is carefully folded into shapes. There’s bright colours and empty spaces on the modern quilts, and some displays even have hidden messages or acronyms.

“At a December potluck meeting I provided interested guild members with lunch sacks filled with solid colours, including a piece of the Kona Regal (solid cotton) fabric with the condition that it had to be used. Quilters had to incorporate the fabric into their block or square (of a specific dimension) inspired by a nautical theme,” said Jarmyn. “In the top left-hand corner, a pattern translates to P.E.I.M.Q.G (P.E.I. Modern Quilters Guild). Another square contains the nautical flags that spell P.E.I. Each block has its own interpretation of the theme.”

The P.E.I. guild is one of 200 chapters that form the Modern Quilt Guild, which is comprised of more than 14,000 members in 39 countries.

Quilting Forward, which was put together by members Dawn Craigie and Janice Hume, wraps up at the Eptek Centre on Friday, May 10.

For more information on the P.E.I. guild visit,

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