July 31, 2020: New Project!; Vacation!

Greetings!  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you probably know that I really enjoy the challenge of designing my own quilts and try to do so on a regular basis.  However, there are  sometimes patterns created by other talented quilt designers that really catch my eye and there are times when I just want to follow one rather than make one up.  For me, this is especially true for appliqué.  This is one of those “comfort seeking” rather than “challenge seeking” times.  I’ve loved this quilt since the first time I saw it years ago and thought I might make a version of it some day:

It finally occurred to me that this might be a good pattern for using those Tilda fabrics that have been haunting my thoughts since last summer!  I do plan to make some changes – of course :):)  I love that it has a combination of appliqué (lots!) and piecing (not difficult!).  These sprigs are the perfect, soothing, appliqué I need right now.

My first challenge was what to use for a background.  I tend to buy yardage for backgrounds and borders as needed so the only thing even remotely suitable already on hand was 5 yards of solid cream fabric which didn’t excite me.  The background choice is a BIG one as it strongly affects the overall look of the quilt.  I decided to cut small rectangular pieces of most of the Tilda fabrics I had then arranged these in random overlapping rows and then placed these on various pieces of fabrics I thought might be the right color and value.  I started with this cream with tiny blue dots – one of the Tilda fat quarters:

Not bad, but I wasn’t sure I wanted a light background and really wanted to see how darker fabrics would make the colors shine so I tried these grays and blacks:

I liked the medium grays A LOT.  They fit my mood of “stormy weather” these days because of the pandemic.  The blacks were too dark.  I also tried some other colors for backgrounds but none looked as good to me as the gray.  The background also needed to appear as a “tone on tone” because any pattern in the fabric would tend to overwhelm and hide the patterns in the Tilda fabrics.  I didn’t want to use a solid – “tone on tone” provides more interest, in my opinion.

So…I had no gray of the right color and sufficient amount in my collection and had to go shopping!  Online usually doesn’t work well when one is trying to find specific colors, tones, shades or values so I chanced a visit to the Portsmouth Fabric Company – my closest shop.  I wanted to take the fabric samples with me so I sewed the little rectangles together into strips and also took a strip of each of the 2 grays with me.  My hope was to find several gray fabrics of similar value and use a variety in the blocks.  The shop space is relatively small though packed with fabrics and I think I must have glanced at almost every one and found only ONE that was perfect color and value!  It’s a Jennifer Sampou fabric and you can see in the pics below it is very close to the Jinny Beyer pinecone fabric sample I took with me.  It’s really amazing how many different grays there are!

I bought 4 yards of it – enough to do all the sprigs appliqué blocks.  I will probably eventually use something else for the stars and borders.  In fact I have ideas about possibly substituting some house blocks for some of the star blocks and possibly doing a different border.  The center of the quilt is 72 inches square.  The border is 12 inches wide making the quilt 96 inches square – really big!!  I may narrow it.  We’ll see where this goes…..  Here’s a sneak preview of the first of the 40 appliqué sprigs:

I’m going back to needle turn appliqué (rather than prepared edge) with paper on top this time around.  Am so enjoying this simple appliqué and happy to be embarked upon a new project!  And happy to be finally using those Tilda fabrics!!!!!

Update on the Trio of Silk Minis project – I appliquéd lines of orange silk down the center of each border strip and embroidered a gold line on each side of the strips:

Next step is to layer the quilt sandwich and hand quilt.  I’m feeling kind of “meh” about this mini so far and hoping the hand quilting will add some interest.

Al and I have decided to “chance” a one week vacation for which we are leaving tomorrow.  We have rented a cabin on the East Penobscot Bay in Maine on Cape Rosier, about a 4 1/2 hour drive northeast from here.  We took our kids there many times when they were growing up but haven’t gone back for several years.  It’s a family run camp with 13 widely spaced out cabins right on the water with gorgeous views.  Social distancing will be easy and Maine has one of the lowest # cases of coronavirus in the country.  We will have kayaks and access to excellent places for interesting walks.  It will be wonderful to have a change of scene.  Of course I am taking some hand work with me, in addition to a few books to read.  Remember this project which has been “simmering” in the cupboard for months since last seen?:

English Paper Piecing always makes a good travel project.  I’m taking this and will keep adding the tan “background” diamonds to those top 3 rows so I can sew those rows together.   I’m also taking the EPP flowers to work on for the center of the “half square triangle” quilt:

Seen on recent walks:  Wild turkeys, “natural yard garden,” and ever-changing sky:

Will next post after vacation, but I might put some pictures up on Instagram while we’re away.  Hope you are all finding ways to enjoy the summer, which is flying by!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,  Gladi

 

July 25, 2020: A quilt and a top completed in the same week!

Greetings!  An unusual occurrence – I finished both a quilt and a quilt top within the past few days!   The binding is on “Spirit of Japan #6:  Enchanted Windows.”  I actually enjoy putting bindings on because it is exciting to finish a quilt and I enjoy the hand stitching.  I’m always amazed when I read about someone who pulls out a quilt to finish and it has been needing only a binding for months or even years!!!  I can’t wait that long when a finish is so close!  Click on pics below to enlarge:

Originally inspired by an antique quilt in the book “Unconventional and Unexpected”; I used mostly authentic Japanese fabrics that I collected over many years – some purchased in Japan and some vintage.  The original quilt did not have any sashing between the blocks.  I added that plus my own border design.  I also added some hand embroidery embellishment here and there:

The back – made from pieces of my Japanese fabrics.  I love making pieced backs with fabrics I’ve collected, esp.when the quilt is going to be machine quilted and I don’t have to worry about hand quilting through all the seams:

The border/binding:

A couple of closeups:

See my last post for more closeups of the quilting.  This quilt is going to be displayed over the back of the living room couch – at least for now.  (And it still needs a label!)  I’m really pleased with this quilt – a fine addition to my “Spirit of Japan” series!  Will there be a #7 in my future?….

Just this morning I put the last border on the “2020 Cancelled” top.  The first picture below is on my design wall which doesn’t get good lighting and makes the quilt look a bit too “yellow” or “golden” so I took the second picture on the floor of my screened porch and it is a better representation of the true color:

The idea for this quilt came to me when I saw all the “X’s” on my calendar because of corona virus cancellations and I started to think about all the losses and cancellations so many of us have experienced this year because of the virus and for other reasons.  These losses range from the serious – all the deaths due to the virus, the deaths of black people due to police brutality, the job losses because of the virus, the inability to see family and friends – to the mundane like cancelled hair appointments, cancelled book group meetings, etc.

I used mostly fabrics from the “Lancaster” and “Shelbyville” lines by Jo Morton and supplemented with some of my other reproductions fabrics.  I used the “X” or “cross” pattern from Sujata Shah’s book “Cultural Fusions” and added my own border design.  In the border the red fabric has little circles that represent the corona virus surrounding us, as do the circles in the corners:

I like how the geometric pattern of the quilt allows one to see different things – the “X’s”, background squares, a light criss-cross grid, and a dark criss-cross grid.  I’m pleased with how my border choice fits the quilt and how the “X’s” express my theme.  The flying geese are “time” – flying along and standing still at the same time – as time has felt distorted to many of us the past several months.

I’m extremely happy with how this quilt top came out and I plan to put an extensive list of 2020 losses and cancellations written out on a fabric label on the back of the quilt.  I really want to hand quilt this, but, as my quilt tops pile up, am trying to decide what’s realistically possible re hand quilting!

A second “driveway – yard” visit with family happened yesterday and this picture of me on one side of the fence and Ursula on the other says it all!!!   So good to see them, even this way.  Hand sanitizer was kept close by!  By the way, I’ve been having my hair colored for 28 years.  My last appointment was in January and I am now quite gray – not minding it as much as I thought I would and I’m liking my hair longer, too.  I know I’ll eventually get a cut, but I could be forever done with coloring….

Be kind, be grateful, stay well, and cherish each day,  Gladi

 

July 20, 2020: “Spirit of Japan #6: Enchanted Windows” home from the long-armer!

Greetings!  “Spirit of Japan #6:  Enchanted Windows” has been quilted and awaits binding which I will do within the next few days.  I am really excited because, even though it feels like I’ve been sewing and quilt-making up a storm the past several months, this will be my first “finish” of the year!!!  (click on pics to enlarge)

Long arm quilter, Martha Wilson, did a beautiful job with the quilting.  I brought her this book:

It’s a Dover publication and has over 200 pages and over 4000 different designs, for example:

I asked her to quilt different designs in each of the “windows” and told her to pick out what she liked and felt comfortable doing – didn’t need to be complicated!  She did a wonderful job choosing motifs.   Here are some samples:

She did straight line and in-the-ditch quilting on the borders and I picked the black patterned Japanese fabric on the right in the picture below for the binding (not turned or sewn yet!).  It’s the same as the red fabric in the border but a different color way:

I continued to work on the silk mini this week.  Here’s where I left it at the end of the last post:

I decided to change up the directions of some of the circles so they aren’t all facing the same way and decided the red sashing was too much.  Instead I put red circles at the intersections and added a fern stitch stretching out from each circle in 4 directions.  I outlined all the main circles in red silk embroidery thread.

I’m not done yet – am studying the border and thinking of adding some orange lines….  Also, eventually, the hand quilting will add some interesting textures, I hope.  For something I’m just making up as I go along and not trying to “overthink it”, I’m pleased with how it’s turning out.

How lucky I am that I live a half hour drive from the Northern Atlantic!  Al and I took our morning walk along the ocean yesterday in Rye, NH, starting out at 7:30 AM before it got too hot.  Really enjoy the water views:

I enjoy looking for special stones, but rarely take anything away.  Some beaches are better than others for stones and shells and this wasn’t a great one.  Also enjoy the seaside vegetation:

July is daylily and hydrangea time in northern New England and I see lots on my walks:

Also Queen Anne’s Lace:

This always reminds me of my childhood when we would pick these and put them in water with food coloring and watch the little flowerets turn colors!  Does anyone do that anymore?!

Be kind, be grateful, cherish each day, and stay well!   Gladi

July 14, 2020: Just playing!….2020’s Trio of Minis

Greetings!  Two days ago I faced the following choices of quilting activities:  Appliqué more leaves, flowers, and berries for “Time of Plenty”, tear off more foundation papers from the backs of 2 quilts,  make a backing for “Corona Zig Zag”, sew together the border or make a backing for “2020 Cancelled”, or work on hand quilting one of the 2 large quilts waiting for it.  Nothing appealed – I needed to do something different!   So I went ahead and started to cut into  those kimono silk fabrics – I just needed to play!!

I started by picking my favorites which turned out to be all blues, greens, and golds/oranges and then I supplemented with some Dupioni silks from my collection. I paired these up into fabrics for circles and backgrounds and chose randomly to put 3 inch circles on 5 inch backgrounds.  I stabilized the silks with a soft, thin “knit tricot fusible.”  This was cut in squares and ironed to the fabric, covered with a damp cloth:

Then I marked a circle and cut it out:

I made a freezer paper template – 3 layers – and, using sizing, ironed the edges over the circle:

I removed the template and put the circle on the background:

Then I hand appliquéd these down!

When I had 12, I realized I did not want to keep going, i.e. I realized this could make a fun mini!

Starting in 2013, every year I have made a “trio” of small quilts as a means of exploring patterns and making something that can be finished in a relatively short time since so many of my projects are years long!  Until last year I called them all my “Trio of Doll Quilts.”  Last year I named my group a “Trio of Modern Minis” and I explored the “tessellating whirligigs” pattern to see how changes in color and fabric placement would make a difference to the same pattern:

I realized it would be fun to make this year’s trio of minis all out of silk and this would be the first one!  My first problem was that I thought the circles were kind of “blah.”  So next I cut out the backs of the original circles and turned the edges under in the same way,  making smaller circles out of all those pieces:

I tried putting them in the centers of the circles but they all looked like targets -NOT the effect I was looking for!

I tried putting the smaller circles at the bottom of the larger circles – better, but still not sure I liked it that much:

I played some more.  First I made some smaller circles in shades of gold to further tone down the greens and blues and add some brighter color.  I then moved the smaller circles to the side.  Better!  But it still needed more “spark” so I added red sashing, and even tried little gold circles at intersections (all just mocked up to see how they’d look) – Better!  More interesting!  And I’m thinking of a red border:

2020 All Silk Mini #1 is well on the way!  I’m going to add red embroidery in the blocks too – will show you next time!   I’m now excited about using more of the beautiful silks I have in the next 2 minis.  Sometimes it’s fun to take a break and just play with your fabric and see what happens.  I’m looking forward to working on this some more, but I’m also now ready to get back to those other tasks….:):)

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,  Gladi

July 9, 2020: Construction challenges; Instagram!

Greetings!  It seems much of what I’m currently working on day to day recently doesn’t make for an exciting blog post – appliquéing flowers, leaves, and berries to the corners of “Time of Plenty.” (Click on pics to enlarge)

I’m also removing foundation paper from the log cabin blocks of “Corona Zig Zag.”

There were over 3000 pieces in it and that means over 3000 pieces of paper to remove!!!!!  I don’t really mind, as I relax and listen to music or the nightly news as I do it and I don’t try to do it all at once but spread it out over several sessions since there is no deadline.

I’ve also been studying the Half Square Triangle/Panel medallion quilt to figure out what size to make the medallion center and how to make the HST’s fit around it.

When I first pulled this project out a few months ago, it was only hst’s – no panel.  I took a chance and started sewing blocks of 16 of these hst’s together to form 10 inch (not counting seam allowance) blocks  (each hst finishes 2 1/2 inches).  I thought it would be easier to play with positioning the larger size blocks instead of the individual hst’s.   But I knew that might limit my design options or that I might need to re-do some of these as the design developed!   And now I’m paying the price because 10 inch blocks around the medallion center are not enough, but 20 inches – 2 blocks – is too wide.  Above picture shows this with one block – 10 inches – around the center.

In the picture below, the upper lt. side has 2 block widths or 20 inches around the center – too wide in my opinion.  And, because the center medallion needs to finish at either 35 or 37 1/2 inches (must be a multiple of 2.5) if I have 2 ten inch blocks on each side, the width of the quilt would be 75 inches and adding a border would make the quilt really big – 90 plus inches wide and even longer vertically!:

I folded some of the blocks in half to see what a width of 6 hst’s (15 inches) would look like:

Better proportion I think!  This would make the width of the quilt center about 67 1/2 inches, plenty of room to add an outside border.  This means I will have to take some of the 10 inch blocks apart….But at least I now know where I’m going with this!  I think the first order of business is to finish the center so I have been making more hexagon flowers:

You may not remember that at Road to California, I bought 6 bags of silk kimono scraps:

I have been intermittently ironing these pieces:

Some of these are quite beautiful and, just like the Tilda fabrics, these are whispering “use me”…

Once I finish the “Time of Plenty” border corners I will have NO appliqué projects in the works so I am thinking of doing something simple with these silks, like appliquéing circles – I find appliquéing circles to be very relaxing and I’m not sure I’m looking for something complicated right now.  I so enjoyed Audrey’s “Circle 365” sew along a few years ago and made 3 circle quilts instead of one.   Even with a simple circle, there are lots of possible designs and variations.  I made a doll quilt, sewing circles over half square triangles in repro fabrics:

An improv “Spirit of Japan” quilt out of authentic Japanese fabrics:

And my “Summer Breeze” quilt:

So let’s see which –  the Tilda fabrics or the kimono silk scraps – get to me first!! :):)

I am now on Instagram!  I haven’t figured out yet how to put a link here for it, but if you go to instagram and type in gladiquilts I think that will get you there – if you are interested.   I got an instagram account months ago so that I could look at others’ instagram accounts – some former bloggers are now only on instagram.   I wasn’t at all sure I would post any of my own pictures on my own account.  And for a long time I didn’t.  I recently decided to try posting just to see if I could do it, and I can.  It remains to be seen how often and how much I will put there.  If you enjoy my blog, don’t worry – I have NO INTENTION AT ALL of discontinuing my blog.  I see instagram as a very different thing than a blog and I enjoy the longer narratives of blogs.

FINALLY – Earlier this week Al and I went to see our daughter and the grandkids, BUT we stayed in the driveway while they were in their back yard.  My daughter is still seeing Covid patients.  But we felt it was safe to at least say hello and see them in person this way – socially distancing – as a start to possibly visiting more in the future.  The yard is surrounded by a fence so Ursula couldn’t run into us.  So hard not to hug her!  She is running around like crazy and starting to say lots of words – 18 months old at the end of this month!  And the older grandkids are getting big too – in September Dmitri will be 16 and Sveta will be 13!  They love Ursula and she is so lucky to have them to play with her!

Be kind, be grateful, stay healthy, and cherish each day,  Gladi

 

 

July 3, 2020: Project Updates; books

Greetings!  Shortly after my last post I finished sewing the center of  “2020 Cancelled” together and finished making all the geese.

I didn’t have enough appropriate black  fabric for the border strips and binding so ordered some of this Jo Morton fabric from the Missori Star Company:

I’m putting the project away for a couple weeks at least until that fabric gets here.  I also still have to create the border corner blocks.   Once the top is finished I am thinking of a combination machine and hand quilting for it.  I am considering having a long-armer stitch in the ditch through all the X’s and in the border and then hand quilting hearts in the “on point squares (half dark and half light)” between all the X’s:

I spent the past few days working on the border corners of “Time of Plenty.”  The first step was to put the 4th border on, miter the corners, and then add the rest of the edge triangles.  Unfortunately one of the 4 corners did not come together like the other 3 so I had to decide if I could live with it that way.  The first picture shows the distance between the very corner triangles on 3 of the sides and the second photo shows the 4th corner:

That “different” corner was the top right corner of the quilt – a very visible spot – so I decided I could NOT live with it and re-did 5 triangles on each side so they overlap a bit more and fixed the corner so it looks like the others.  Definitely better!  Then I proceeded to connect the vine pieces and make and baste down the rest of the leaves, flowers, and berries for the final 3 corners:

I’m on the home stretch with the top!  I now have to appliqué all the corner pieces down and add the embroidery embellishment and then it will be ready for quilting.  This is definitely one for the hand quilting pile.  The question is going to be whether it leaps over 2 others that I’ve started to hand quilt and haven’t gotten very far on!

Do you have a favorite fabric that you are almost out of and wish you could find more of?  In the process of making the final leaves for the Time of Plenty corners, I realized I had only a miniscule amount  left of a fabric I love!  I love this shade of green with the red and it’s made it into several quilts to date.   It doesn’t even have a selvedge with info that might help me find more! Nothing to do but move on!

Once “2020 Cancelled” was off the design wall, the Dutch panel went back up and I tried a different fabric for the background behind the hexie flowers.  I have 3/4 yard of this fabric which would be enough and I won’t have to buy something if I use it.  At first I wasn’t sure if it was too busy, but I think it works. And then I found the Dutch border strip in my stash and think it looks good on the outer edge of the center medallion.  Everything you see in the pictures is loosely pinned in place:

I need to keep making hexie flowers and eventually I’ll have the challenge of fitting the HST blocks around the medallion center.  Maybe a hexie border on the outside would look good….though a lot of work to make so many more hexie flowers!  We’ll see….

I’m an avid reader and for whatever reason finding books to read that work for me during this pandemic hasn’t been easy.  My book group just read 3 novellas (Old Mortality and Noon Wine in addition to Pale Horse, Pale Rider) by Katherine Anne Porter and her writing is phenomenal!!!!!

If you’re looking for “literary” writing with exquisite phrases, descriptions, and use of language, these stories are wonderful.  I definitely want to read more of her stories even though the plots of the stories themselves can be depressing – PHPR takes place during the 1918 pandemic and Noon Wine has a murder and a suicide!  But the writing makes up for it!

If you are looking for something funny and uplifting my next book group book is this one and I’m enjoying the fact that it’s a light and easy read!:

I’m also reading “Big Magic” which is about creativity.  I’m enjoying it, but think I’m past most of the roadblocks to creativity that she talks about.  If you think your creativity is blocked it might be helpful for you.  My all time favorite book on creativity, though, is this Twyla Tharp book with lots of practical advice and exercises in it:

I’m spending as much time as I can this summer stitching or reading on our back deck, watching the sun filter through the trees and listening to the birds:

Hope you have a “happy place” where you can relax and enjoy life, a respite from the craziness of the pandemic and world events.

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,  Gladi

 

 

 

 

 

 

June 27, 2020: “Books that Inspire” Part 3

Greetings!  I was pretty sure when I posted this picture last week:

that I had seen this pattern before in one of my books.  Sure enough, when I looked into one of my earliest appliqué books by Laurene Sinema:

there it was!!

The quilt in the book has a traditional light background and has an appliqué vine border, which, of course, I love!  The full pattern is in the pages following the picture so I could indeed make this quilt sometime if I want to.  I’ve never done a 4-block appliqué quilt so this might be a nice addition to my collection!  In any case, I don’t plan to start it any time soon as there are other designs calling me in a louder voice right now!

Laurene’s book is one of 2 appliqué books that really inspired me and got me started on my appliqué journey.  After making 4 bed sized all-pieced quilts I had an unexpected opportunity to take an appliqué class with Faye Labanaris who was teaching beginner Baltimore Album style blocks using Elly Sienkiewicz books.  In that class I learned how to make this block from this book:

I then proceeded to make more blocks using Elly’s great instructions in her series of Baltimore Beauties books – they are all wonderful and full of great block patterns.  Here are 3 I’ve used  and there are more:

I knew, though, that it would take me years to make a full size BA quilt (ended up taking me 17 years!!!!) so I looked for something smaller for my first entirely appliqué quilt and I found the pattern I wanted to try in Laurene’s book:

I loved the entire process of making this quilt!  Here’s mine:

It hung in my kitchen for about 15 years before finally being replaced by a newer quilt.  It’s still one of my favorites!

Laurene’s book if full of good advice and patterns for other wonderful appliqué quilts.  Here are a few of them.  I think the book is out of print and am not sure how available used copies are if you’re interested:

Meanwhile I’ve been making lots of geese for the border of “2020 Cancelled”:

And going on walks, enjoying the pastoral nature of my surroundings:

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,   Gladi

 

June 20, 2020: Barreling ahead with “2020 – Cancelled”; Books that inspire, Part 2

Greetings!  I continue to move forward rapidly with “2020 – Cancelled” –  almost like I’m on a fast moving train and can’t stop/get off until I reach my destination of a completed top!  I pulled out this book to look at border ideas:

This is an excellent book for those who enjoy foundation piecing.  I didn’t want too strong a design to detract from the quilt’s center.   Flying geese looked like a potentially good choice.  The pattern below features geese that vary in width:

I decided I’d prefer my geese all the same size and I like the second one from the top because it  leaves a decent amount of space between the “goose” and the quilt top (unlike the bottom one in which the “goose” goes all the way to the edge of the piece), the overall effect being like having an added border strip on both sides of the geese.  Next decision – what fabrics and values???   I pulled this fabric – a Jo Morton piece from several years ago and the red matches the newer fabrics.  I have 2 1/2 yards and In this case, I love that the circles remind me of the coronavirus!!!

I decided I prefer more, rather than less, red so used tan for the geese and red for the surrounding space, rather than vice-versa:

I also decided not to make the border scrappy, but to stick to these 2 main fabrics.  I started making these geese in units of 4 – these finish at 6 inches long, just like the blocks- easy for deciding how many to make – one for each block.  They didn’t look quite right directly up against the center blocks so I played with different colors and widths of strips to separate the geese from the center and decided black, about 5/8 inch wide, is best.  Here is what I have on the design wall at this point:

The top left 36 blocks are sewn together in groups of nine – I’m gradually working on sewing quilt center blocks together as I make the border blocks.  For each of the 4 corners of the borders I’m thinking of appliquéing a circle (? with spikes?) to represent the virus.   I’m happy with how it’s looking so far!  Lots of geese to make the next several days!…..

Part 2 of “Books that Inspire”:   500 beautiful traditional style quilts – how can you beat it?!!  I go back to this book over and over for inspiration and ideas and I swear each time I see  quilts that I hadn’t noticed before.  I was hard pressed to pick out the few favorites I’m sharing because this book is loaded!  Make sure you click on the pictures to see the wonderful details!

I LOVE the use of polka dots for the baskets, etc. and I love the curvy sashing with dots – I want to do that some time!  Beautiful colors, too.  What a great contemporary iteration of a Baltimore Album quilt!!

Absolutely love this one – a great example of a perfect folk-art style quilt.  I’m partial to dark backgrounds and it sets off the pink perfectly.  And of course I love the vine border!!!

This Japanese quilt artist, Shizuko Kuroha,  is phenomenal.  Her work usually is in darker colors, usually indigo.  This is one of her “lighter” works.  She is known for using imaginative variations of the log cabin block and for using antique Japanese fabrics (esp. indigoes).  This one reminds me of a forest and the subtle coloring is fabulous:

Heres’ the work of another wonderful Japanese quilter!  This quilt is PERFECT!!  The original design, the appliqué, the hand quilting, the overall construction – amazing!  And look at the trapunto birds and butterflies in the upper rt. corner in the second picture!

This piece exhibits masterful use of color with ombre effects perfectly placed.  I saw this piece in    person when it was Best of Show at Vermont several years ago and it was a “WOW” quilt – perfect color, applique, and lovely hand quilting.

I absolutely love the overall geometric design of this one – a basic “pine burr” pattern but made special because of all the added details – especially the darker pieces in the background creating a layered effect – and the spectacular piecing.  And the use of blues and checks/plaids is just wonderful, creating a “cool” mood:

Love how the next one looks like the night sky with nebulae (at least to me!) and what great colors!  I saved the pattern for this from one of the Quilters Newsletters – is one of these in my future????

Love the cheddar background and the folk-art style circles in this. I want to make this! (And I think I might have the pattern, or something very similar, in one of my older books…)  Oh dear, I need another lifetime!:

An example of a perfect (IMHO) contemporary version of a traditional red and green album style quilt – gorgeous!!!!!!

I have a love affair with the “palm leaf” block so am drawn to this interesting variation with 4 “leaves” instead of the usual 3 and long triangular strips on the edges of the blocks (can you see the individual block construction).  Those strips give the quilt tremendous “movement” when the blocks are put together vs. the “static” appearance of the usual palm leaf block.  Oh, no – I want to make one of these (or at least play with the block!) too!!!!

A couple days ago Al and I got up at 5 – the temp was 50 degrees and forecast to go to 90 by noon so we packed a picnic lunch and took off for the beach.  We are not normally “beach people” but are glad to have access on these kinds of hot days.  The beaches in NH and Maine finally opened.  NH has only 17 miles of coast so the beaches tend to be crowed.  Maine has “thousands” of miles of coast and it often isn’t too hard to find uncrowded beaches so we headed in that direction.

It was fabulous at a mild 70 degrees and not at all crowded.  Afterwards, we  went shopping at a place that sells unique hand crafted items (uncrowded and all wearing masks!) and I bought some new coffee mugs.  It was nice to have what felt like a “normal” day out, even as we remain very cautious.

I continue to ponder the issue of racial and social injustice, hoping we can finally make some truly significant, lasting, progress. I have a couple books on the subject picked out to read once I finish my book group book (we started meeting on Zoom!).  However,  I want to strongly recommend a book I read a few years ago.  It is fabulous – beautifully written and constructed – and about the Jim Crow era and the massive migration of African Americans in the early 20th century from the south to NY, the upper midwest and California.  3 families’ experiences are featured in detail.   It’s riveting, enlightening, and I highly highly recommend it!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,  Gladi

 

 

 

June 16, 2020: “2020 Cancelled” progress; Books that Inspire

Greetings!  I’m not sure a quilt top has ever come together as quickly for me as “2020 Cancelled”!  I have 99 blocks arranged 9 blocks across and 11 down (click on pics to enlarge):

After every group of 4 blocks I made, I spent time distributing the blocks on the design wall so there would be a pleasing arrangement of darks and lights and various colors and I think I am close to arranging them the way I want.  I wondered about how a narrow sashing between the blocks would look and looked at both black and red:

I decided “NO” to sashing – I think it breaks up the vision of layered lattices that the X’s create when they intersect and doesn’t really add anything interesting to the quilt.  Now I am on to thinking about a border!  I really want a border because I want the quilt to be a bit bigger.  I don’t want to re-use any of these Jo Morton fabrics to make more X blocks – right now there are no 2 blocks that are the same; more blocks would require repeats.  I’m looking at flying geese options – more next post!

For hand work, I have nearly completed the embroidery on the last border for Time of Plenty!  I have also been making hexagon flowers for the Half Square Triangles quilt:

This past week my son and his partner came from Brooklyn to visit us for 5 days – Covid testing was done and all negative!  It was quite wonderful having them here as we had not had company for 3 months!  This has made me realize how much I miss visiting with friends and family.

Now it has gone back to being too quiet around the house!  Al and I are continuing to be very cautious about risking exposure to the virus as it is uncertain what effect “opening up” is going to have.  Last week our quilt guild decided to cancel our annual October quilt show – the right decision in my opinion; things are too uncertain and risky.  I see that AQS cancelled the rest of their 2020 shows, but Houston is still on for now ….we’ll see….can’t imagine going….

On Instagram I saw that some quilters were sharing videos in which they talked about “Books that Inspire” so I was inspired to write about this on my blog.  There are SO MANY!  Today I’m sharing only one and will feature others in future posts.  The book is one of my all time favorites and I leaf through it periodically, seeing something new each time:

It’s page after page of gorgeous quilts and I love the detailed descriptions by the makers.
Also love that most of the quilts feature old and repurposed Japanese fabrics and most are hand quilted!  Here’s a little “quilt show” of some of my favorites (please click on pics so you can enjoy the details and read the makers’ thoughts!):

Amazing hand stitching:

Probably my favorite:

Hope you are all hanging in there and finding some comfort and joy to get you through these challenging times!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,  Gladi

 

June 7, 2020: The “X” block project – “2020 – Cancelled”; Quiltmania

Greetings!  Since my last post it’s been full speed ahead on my “X” block project and it now has a tentative name – “2020 – Cancelled.”   I’ve started a list of what’s been cancelled and plan to list these on the quilt somewhere to be determined later.  The list will include the mundane, e.g. dental appointments, to the very serious, e.g. deaths, to the political, e.g. “truth.”

I’m loving the process of making this quilt.  It’s the exact opposite of the sunflower blocks which require precision sewing to avoid coming out a lumpy mess.  Sujita says it best in her book:  “Every cut is a freehand cut so there will be no matching seams and no consistent width of the wedges or points for this block.  This is the beauty of the process.  Enjoy every wonky line and mismatched point.  These enhance the personality of the quilt.”

4 blocks are made at a time, using 9 inch squares.  I find alternating lights and darks works well for good contrast.  My first step was to pair lights and darks in groups of 4.  Then I cut the 9 inch squares:

When I’m in the “cutting mood” I’ll cut several groups of 4 fabrics to have ready for sewing when I’m in the “sewing mood”:

With the 4 fabrics stacked a “freehand” cut is made through the middle.  At first I was afraid to do this too “freehand” and would draw lines where to cut, but I have finally gotten over the need to do this – yay!

Then  the top strip in the middle is moved to the bottom and  the middle and outer strips are sewn together – these are gentle curves that require no pinning and you don’t need to worry about accuracy too much because the blocks come out oversized and are eventually cut down:

Once these blocks are sewn,  a strip is cut freehand in the opposite direction,  the top middle strip is moved to the bottom, and the blocks sewn together again;

Cut down to 6.5 inches:

You get 4 different blocks from each group and it takes about 30-35 minutes of sewing.  Here’s an example of a 4 block group from 4 fabrics:

Here’s what I’ve got so far!  (click to enlarge)

I love the lattice type effect of the X’s.  If you squint at it or stare at it long enough, it looks like there are layers – the squares on the bottom and both a light and dark lattice overlying them.  At the moment I’m planning 9 blocks across and 11 down.  As each block finishes 6 inches, that would be 54 inches by 66 inches.  A six inch wide border (perhaps where the “list of cancellations” will be located) would make it 66 x 78 inches – twin bed size.  I think that’s where I’m heading.

Meanwhile the “Tilda” fabrics keep murmuring in the background.  For a long time I’ve had Jen Kingwell’s “Steam Punk” quilt on my list of designs to consider making and wondered if it might be right for the “Tilda” fabrics so I dug out the issue of Quiltmania magazine the pattern was in. What a memory! – glad I can still say that!  I was pretty sure it was in their special issue #100 and  I was right!

After studying the design and the fabrics, I pretty much decided I do NOT want to use the “Tilda” fabrics for this design.  I still want to make it someday, but with different fabrics.  What an incredible issue of Quiltmaina, though!!!  Not only was it filled with pictures of gorgeous quilts from around the world, but look at some of the patterns in the issue – a bonanza for appliqué enthusiasts!

From Minnick and Simpson:

From Dawn Heese:

Combination piecing and applique challenge:

Love the applique in this one!!!

I sincerely hope Quiltmania manages to stay in business.  I’ve been collecting their wonderful magazines for many, many years and have many of their books.  Keeping fingers crossed….

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day,  Gladi