January 18, 2019: New York City fun!

Greetings!  We had a wonderful 3 days in New York City.  We met our Canadian friends, Paul and Lee, who flew in from Nova Scotia.  We all stayed in midtown Manhattan at the Hotel Elysee, the site of the famous Monkey Bar:

We had 3 fabulous dinners and our son and his partner who live in Brooklyn joined us for the first one.  I forgot to get a picture!

We visited the Metropolitan Museum and saw some great art.  I was truly inspired!

A special exhibit on Armenian art:

And a special exhibit on “body adornment/jewelry”:

Also some miscellaneous sights walking between exhibits – Greek Vases and a Matisse, for example:

We saw an excellent play on Broadway – great acting!!!:

We browsed in The Strand bookstore in Greenwich Village – the largest bookstore in Manhattan.    I bought Becky Goldsmith’s new book on Bullseye Quilts there along with a small book on the concept of Wabi Sabi which should be interesting.

I went to MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) while others went shopping at Bloomingdales and other places.  While there I focused entirely on their permanent 1880-1940 exhibit:

Gaugin:

Cezanne – I love his use of contrasting rich warm and cool colors!!

Classic Rousseau with so many interesting details, including beautiful foliage!!:

With this viewing of this Van Gogh, I fell in love again with the blue/yellow/gold/orange colors:

They have a room with Monet’s waterlilies, similar to the one in France.  A place to meditate on color:

Picasso:

And Jackson Pollock – this particular Pollock feels Japanese to me:

Sunday morning before leaving Al and I took a walk:

St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

5th AVE:

Rockefeller Center:

A Swarovski studded Nutcracker going for $4500.00 at FAO Schwartz!

And we previously window shopped on Madison Avenue – love the gorgeous dinnerware and decorative plates!

I took some hexagon stars to work on just in case there was a bit of down time and got 3 of them sewn together:

The night we got back I got sick with some sort of virus and didn’t start to feel better till yesterday so not much sewing has been done.  I did start working on the sashing for the baby quilt yesterday and now have 2/3 of it done:

And I started hand quilting stars again:

I have a quilt dilemma!!!  A few blog posts ago I showed 2 “Bird of Paradise” or “Civil War Bride” quilts from the Houston show and mentioned that I would perhaps consider making this quilt one day.  I received an email from my friend and quilting idol Bobbie Korengold, who has made a fantastic version of this antique quilt, offering to send me a copy of her hand drafted pattern for the quilt!   She drafted her pattern from the original and called it The Lost Boy.  What an incredible gift I received last month!

A picture of her quilt – all hand done:

The first pattern (they’re all there including the border):

What’s my dilemma?  Do I start this one or do I join Barbara Brackman’s new quilt-along for this year which is an album style quilt honoring civil war nurses with nine 18 inch appliquéd album style blocks and and appliquéd border that can be added or not?  I’ve been wanting to start an appliqué project and I can’t start both, can I?:):)  I’ll let you know soon what I decide!

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

January 9, 2018: Projects update; Houston Festival Pictures, Part 9

Greetings!  I am really focusing on finishing the quilt for my new (coming in February!) granddaughter.  I appliquéd the last 2 blocks (click on pics to enlarge):

And cut border and corner strips and put everything up on the design wall so see how it would look (without the sashing):

I decided I will add a heart in each of the corners, fussy cut with a bunny in the center!

And I decided it needed a yellow strip to separate the center from the border:

I’ve started to add the sashing and there will be yellow squares at the intersections of the blocks:

It shouldn’t take me too long to get this together!!

Meanwhile, I finished making the basic dark background blocks for the border of Winter Solstice.  Only 10 of the 40 have the embellishments so the rest are in my pile of “handwork” to be done over time when I get a chance:

After all my struggles with border design for this quilt, I am very very happy with how this “reversed values” border came out!!!!!!

And I am making slow but steady progress hand quilting Star Trek.

Here are pictures from 2 SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Association) exhibits at the Houston show.  I don’t make what are considered “art quilts” (I consider myself a traditional quilt artist), but I very much appreciate the artistic merit, beauty, and power of the best art quilts.  I enjoyed studying some of these quilts – design, use of color,  etc. – and I liked that there was hand quilting  and hand embellishment used in several.  Enjoy!

Al and I leave tomorrow for a short vacation to New York City – we’ll be home Sunday night.  Our good friends Paul and Lee from Canada (whom we visited in September) will be meeting us there and we plan to have a great time together dining out, going to a play on Broadway, museum going, etc.  We’ll also get to see our son and his partner who live in Brooklyn.  It’s going to be COLD, but we’ll dress warmly and enjoy ourselves!  I may have some pictures from NYC to share next week.

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

 

January 3, 2019: Shine light into the darkness!; Looking ahead…

Greetings!  I send warm wishes for a good year to all my readers!  Near the end of my last post I expressed concern for our current political situation and said I wasn’t sure what I could/would do.  Then I encountered this phrase:  “Shine light into the darkness.”  And I knew that was the answer.  And it fit perfectly with another quote that appeared on a blog I periodically read, a quote from Gandalf in the book, The Hobbit:

“Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found.  It is the small every day deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.  Small acts of kindness and love.”

If we all choose to “shine light” in this way, perhaps together we can make a real difference – I am optimistic!

Now to looking ahead to 2019 in quilting:

Priority #1: Finish the “pastel” quilt

I’ve been keeping a secret and am ready to share it because it is a major “event” for my 2019 – my daughter is having a baby in early February!  Needless to say, we are excited about having our third grandchild – it’s a girl.  This is why I need to prioritize finishing my pastel quilt.  I’ve decided it’s for the baby and is going to decorate a wall in her room.  Isn’t it great that I already had most of this done before I even knew a baby was coming!

This will be a 6X6 block layout.  My daughter helped with a final block arrangement when she was here over Thanksgiving and I’m adding a narrow peach colored sashing between the blocks plus a peach border.  I’ll probably have it machine quilted with a simple design – no time to hand quilt it!

Priority #2:  Finish hand quilting and binding “Star Trek”! (And then start hand quilting “Sweet Journeys”)

The plan is to enter Star Trek into the Vermont Quilt Festival in June and the Cocheco annual show in October.    I am making steady progress on the hand quilting – more than half the center is done – and  I’m liking the texture the quilting provides.  Since I always like to have a hand quilting project going, when I finish this, “Sweet Journeys” ) is next up and I should get started on it by summer:

Priority #3: Finish the “Winter Solstice” top

I am only 4 blocks short of finishing the basic border blocks, but then will need some time for adding the embroidery and circle embellishments.  It’s hard to believe that the quilt’s surface area was increased 50% with the border addition!  There are 80 light background blocks in the center and 40 dark background blocks around the perimeter.  I’ve done the embellishment on 10 of the 40 border blocks so there’s a ways to go.  I would eventually like to  hand quilt this one, but highly doubt I’ll get to that this year!

Priority #4:  Finish my grandson’s quilt

I spoke about this in the last post.  I hand pieced a number of LeMoyne star blocks in the early 2000’s and FINALLY pieced a top together this past summer.  I need to add a border, piece a back,  have this machine quilted, and then give it to my grandson who is 14 and needs a more grownup quilt to replace the “kid” one I made him 7 years ago.  Here’s the border fabric I need to add:

Priority #5:  sew together the center of “Time of Plenty” (setting triangles and sashing;  ? whether setting triangles will have appliquéd leaves) and plan and start making a border (appliqué??? – that’s what I want but you see how that worked out with Winter Solstice!!:))

Priority #6:  Make some progress with the Hexagon Stars project

This is a long term project with no “end” in sight at this point.  If I make some new stars and get a few of them sewn together, I’ll be content!

Priority #7:  Start NEW projects!

I don’t know if I will make another “Trio of Doll Quilts.”   I like to keep things fresh and exciting by starting at least a couple new projects each year, even if they turn out to be “long journey” projects.  There are always SO MANY  to chose from!!!  There are SO MANY tempting online sew alongs, but it’s always a priority for me to try to design something myself.  That doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally use a pattern.  Perhaps the most tempting project that is not my own design is Barbara Brackman’s new online sew along honoring nurses of the Civil War and is all appliqué.  I worked very closely with nurses my entire career so I like the idea.  I’m thinking about doing it but may wait to see more of what the quilt looks like first.

I want to do something with the Dutch chintz reproductions, but have no strong ideas yet.  The designs in the fabrics are nice so I don’t think the pieces should be too small.  Baskets???  Sunflowers???:

I’d like to make something with the beautiful painted fabrics gifted to me by Lorayne Dodge.  Finishing the piecing of Winter Solstice will leave me looking for another paper piecing design.  A modern log cabin?????:

I’m still thinking about using my taupe fabric collection to make something inspired by the shells  collected this summer:

AND, believe it or not, I am considering starting another MAJOR long-journey appliqué project that I’ll tell you about in the next post!

Most important, I want to keep an open mind and allow myself the flexibility to take advantage of any opportunities to explore new techniques that could expand my skills and improve my art.  And I want to continue to enjoy fellow quilters and the quilting community throughout the year.  I may be going to a quilt camp some time in March!  And I’ve got my eye on a shibori dying class in my area in May.

I am looking forward to another year of blogging, mostly about quilt making and creativity.  In June it will be 7 years since I started – very hard to believe!!!!   I hope I can keep it interesting!   Many, many thanks to my readers for sticking with me and a special thanks to those who comment periodically – always welcome!  I’m open to constructive criticism which can be really helpful.

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

 

 

 

 

December 30, 2018: Looking back at 2018 -quite a year!!

Greetings!  I am a believer in periodically reviewing what I’ve been doing with my life (including my quilting!) and assessing what I want to do in the future.  The end of the year – a cycle of time based in the natural world – seems an appropriate time to do so.   Today’s post will look back (mostly on my quilting activities), the next one forward.  I’ve had a pretty amazing year!  The highlight of the year was my exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum – what an honor!  This is likely to be a once in a lifetime experience.  Many thanks again to curator Pam Weeks for this incredible opportunity!

There was a wonderful opening on January 20th at which I talked about why I’m passionate about quilting.  The exhibit was up for 3 1/2 months and I had a lot of great feedback.  I have to admit, though, that my house looked empty during that time and it was great to have the quilts back home afterward!  My friend Craig Werth went to the museum with me in April and videotaped me talking about the quilts.  It’s been edited over the past few months and I now have a one hour video of me talking about my quilts and my passion for making them and showing them in detail.  We just created a 7 minute “trailer” from the video and may have the link up on my web site soon.  I’ll keep you posted!

By the end of January I finished embroidering the border of Star Trek (the all silk quilt) and finished putting the top together.

I finally got started on hand quilting it this fall.  The delay was because I spent the spring and summer hand quilting Summer Breeze which won a blue ribbon at the Cocheco show in October:

In February I  started to make Winter Solstice, inspired by a stack of fat quarters of indigo fabrics bought at Houston, plus those already in my stash.  I opted for a monochromatic, “cool” color scheme – a bit unusual for me – but I love it.  I am nearing the end of piecing the border:

During the winter I made the two remaining regular blocks for Sweet Journeys and during spring drafted and made the medallion center.  By summer I had the top put together:

This quilt is now next up in the hand quilting queue, after I finish Star Trek.

In spring of 2017 I felt the need to use pastel colors and made 18 blocks – a mixture of pieced stars and appliqué blocks from Faye Anderson’s book My Mother Taught Me to Sew.  This spring I made 18 more blocks:

I put the project away after I had 36 blocks, thinking I would make more next spring again.  Well, recently I decided to stop at 36 blocks and I am giving this quilt away early in 2019 which means it is being moved way up in my priority list of quilts to work on.  I will explain all in an upcoming post!!!!

It was a big year for “We Are Stardust”!  It won Best Bed Quilt at the Vermont Quilt Festival and Best of Show at the Cocheco Guild’s annual show:

I finally completed “It Takes A Village.”  I made the center blocks several years ago and finally completed the appliqué borders and made the decision to have Linda Bevins machine quilt it.  It won a blue ribbon at the Cocheco show:

I made another “Trio of Doll Quilts” (all hand quilted):

I started (in May) and made significant progress on “Time of Plenty” which has both pieced and appliquéd blocks.  I put this project on hold for a while because I wanted to work on Winter Solstice, but I should be getting back to it soon!

I made progress on my Hexagon Stars project – lots more stars made and some rows sewn together:

I made a baby quilt for donation:

I put together blocks made many years ago and found when I was cleaning – I’ll finish this and give it to my grandson, hopefully next year!

I did a MAJOR cleaning, purging, and re-organizing of my sewing room in the spring!!!!  It was a lot of work but completely worth every bit of time and energy spent.

I did 3 trunk shows, gave an EPP demonstration at the Cocheco show, and I served as workshop chair of my guild.

For inspiration I went to the Houston Quilt Festival, the Vermont Quilt Festival, and the Maine quilt show and visited New England Quilt Museum exhibits.  I posted a kazillion pictures over the year on my blog so readers could enjoy all the wonderful quilts being made by the quilting community.

And, of course, I have a rich life outside of quilting and enjoyed vacations with Al to Arizona and Canada:

and we had a wonderful week on Cape Cod with our grandkids, in addition to good times with them throughout the year.

I played my accordion regularly with and without my “Tutto Bene” band mates and enjoyed regular musical/social gatherings with friends.  I made some new friends through my volunteer work   I am so very grateful for family, good friends I can regularly spend time with, and relatively good health.   And the Red Sox won the World Series!

Of course there have been challenges – there always are!! – but they were not life threatening or life changing and we seemed to get through the personal ones this year without too much difficulty.  On the down side, I believe it’s been a very worrisome year in politics and am concerned with where things will be going in 2019 and beyond.  What can I do?  Not sure at this point, but am staying informed and hoping for the best.  I’m an optimist at heart.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and satisfying new year with moments of joy and delight – AND PLENTY OF QUILTING ENJOYMENT!!!!!

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

 

 

 

 

December 25, 2018: Merry Christmas!; Houston Festival Pictures, Part 8

Greetings!  I’m up early, it’s still very quiet, and I’m enjoying our Christmas tree in the dark when the lights and ornaments are most magical and best appreciated.  Before my son and husband arise and before my grandkids and their family arrive mid-day, I thought I’d squeeze in a post wishing you all a wonderful holiday.  I’m sharing pictures of some of my favorite ornaments and pictures from 3 of the special exhibits at the Houston Festival.

Our annual holiday party for our closest friends on the 21st was a feast of food and music:

My son is here from NYC and the rest of the family arrives later and will stay a couple of days.  After that, when all is quiet again,  I’ll be thinking and posting thoughts about looking back on 2018 and ahead to 2019.

Meanwhile, here are pictures from 3 of the special exhibits at Houston for your enjoyment.  As always, click on the pictures to enlarge them and enjoy the details!

There was an excellent exhibit of quilts by African American quilter Barbara McCraw:

Of course, I love the red background in this one!

Another beautiful album style quilt:

Lovely medallion style quilt – love the blue/brown colors!:

This album was really special as she created scenes and images that were really personal and special to her and her husband.  She’s black and her husband is white and they married when this was not common and not accepted by many.  Barbara’s husband was standing by the quilt and happily discussed the history of their marriage to viewers gathered around the quilt:

A group of quilter chose to recreate this original 1876 Centennial quilt and it was fun to see the original and all the different interpretaions.   I’m amazed that so many took on this significant challenge!   Today I’m showing the original and my favorite of the reproductions.  (I may show some more in another post later):

My favorite of the reproductions – love the combination of blue and cheddar!:

Here’s another special exhibit with participants recreating an antique quilt.  Today I’m showing only the original and my favorite of the reproductions (maybe more later!)  I wish I had had the time to participate in this sew-along.

The original:

My favorite of the repros was the one by Wendy Reed – I totally love her bold and wonderful cheddar background – it just makes the whole quilt glow and the other colors shine – and her hand appliqué and quilting are excellent.  The quilt is made in her signature “pot holder” technique in which she quilts and binds each block separately before sewing the blocks together.  Magnificent!

Wishing everyone a joyful and peaceful holiday!

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

December 19, 2018: Houston Festival Pictures, Part 7; Winter Solstice border update

Greetings!  I sincerely hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season right now.   My house is decorated and I have a stack of Christmas CD’s to listen to.  Gifts are all taken care of.   I got my granddaughter, Svetlana, a sewing machine!  She’s 11 and it’s on her Christmas wish list so she is going to be really excited.  It’s a basic Brother and should be relatively easy to use even though it is computerized and has quite a few stitches, a walking foot, and other accessories that will allow her to do quite a bit for many years to come.  It’s not a toy.  I’m also giving her some other supplies – a cutting board, a small rotary cutter (to be used only with supervision!), a couple rulers, several threads, some pins and some fabric.  I was able to raid my own supples for most of this!  Both my son and my daughter and her family will be here for Christmas so things will get a little chaotic again early next week.  Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the relative calm, though we are having a party the day after tomorrow for a group of our friends so will be busy baking and cooking the next couple days.

I try to avoid too many family pictures on the blog, but here are the grandkids all dressed in black and ready for their middle school band concert last week.  Dmitri plays saxophone and Sveta the flute.  They have a dynamic band leader in their school so it was fun!

Meanwhile, I have made 18 of the Winter Solstice blocks with dark backgrounds and pinned them to the design wall – almost enough for both right and left sides (click on pic to enlarge):

I really am liking these for the border.  Of course, I have not added the embroidery and circle embellishments to each block yet and that will take a while.   Very soon I’ll need to decide if I am adding dark background blocks across the top and bottom – right now I think the answer is yes.   Dear readers, feel free to give me your opinion on this!  The alternative would be to add an additional row to top and bottom  of the light blocks with dark ones only on the ends.   Also, if you are noticing in the picture above a “whitish” line between the 6th and 7th rows, it’s because I haven’t sewn that last seam in the top, joining the top 6 rows to the bottom 4 rows to make it all one piece yet!

I still have a lot of pictures from Houston to share.  Here are several more quilts from the “In The American Tradition” exhibit.

I love oak leaf and reel blocks and fall colors and just love this classic quilt that combines appliqué and piecing:

A fabulous blue and white toile quilt with a lovely swag border:

Absolutely wonderful traditional quilt artistry in the next one.  Those princess feathers are not easy to appliqué!:

Barb Vedder’s simply wonderful appliqué tribute to her mother.  The color choices are spectacular and the lettering is perfect for the quilt!

A beautiful version of the Caswell Quilt by the queen of Broderie Perse, Cynthia Collier.  Another quilt I may want to make someday when I don’t feel like designing my own:

Another beautiful version of the Caswell quilt; love the border!:

One of these days I’m going to make a basket quilt.  This is a wonderful traditional version and I really like the background color:

Back to the quilt show competition.  This quilt is a WOW!!!!!  It won first place in mixed or other techniques (I think) and one could look at it for a long long time without seeing all the amazing details.  You will definitely want to click on  these pics to enjoy the details:

This next quilt was very striking!  It’s a painted surface with lots of pretty amazing quilting and beading.  It’s not really my cup of tea, but still an amazing quilt:

I really liked the stitching on this one.  It reminded me of something that would fit into my Spirit of Japan series:

Great example of the Cathedral Windows technique – something I’d like to try some day:

I’ve seen this woman’s work in many shows over the years, especially the World Quilt Shows put on by Mancuso company, and always like what she does.  She often used red and black with some sparks of other colors very effectively.   This may be one of her best:

Another wonderful Cathedral Windows design – I love that it is made of silk!!!!!!

I’m going back to the “In The American Tradition” exhibit for my last quilt today – another Bird of Paradise/Civil War Bride/Lost Boy quilt.  This one is wonderful in every way and hand appliquéd and quilted.  (I may be starting to make my version of this quilt sooner rather than later – will share that story soon.)

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

 

 

 

December 13, 2018: “Winter Solstice” border solution (I think!!) – Seeking harmony and unity

Greetings!  Thanks again to those readers who responded to my request for feedback on my Winter Solstice border dilemma.  Some supported my idea of a “shadow” vine border, but one reader felt that the border leaves didn’t have any real relationship to the center design and another reader thought it didn’t need a border at all.  Those ideas did resonate with me.  The more I looked at the quilt the more I was getting a feeling that a vine border with leaves didn’t “go with” this quilt.  I then tried using a part of the block design instead of leaves :

I liked this better than all “leaves” and it felt like the border had a better relationship with the center, but as I studied these shapes I realized that these would be a nightmare to hand appliqué because of all the sharp points!!!! (I did not want to machine appliqué them.)  Also, when I added a strip of the dark fabric across the top of the quilt and starting down the other side, I really felt that the center became restricted and confined/boxed in by the dark fabric.  Not sure if you can see that in the pictures vs. the reality, but I really didn’t like all that darkness around the outside of the quilt center.  It hadn’t been as evident when I only had it up on the one side.  I felt it diminished the power of the center design:

I really hadn’t liked a vine with a lighter background as it competed with the center of the quilt for attention.  I decided to look at the “no border” option – just a half inch dark binding –  as well as a much narrower, one inch border.   What a 1/2 inch binding would look like:

One inch wide border across the top:

At first I liked the “no border” option with just the half inch darker binding around the outside, but the more I looked at it, the more it felt unfinished and missing something.  Sigh!!!!!

I was just about ready to put the whole project away for a few weeks to let it “simmer” when I had the idea of reversing the values in the blocks as a border.  In my mind’s eye, I liked it so tried it out and I think this is my solution!!!!  I like it a lot!!!  It “feels” right!

I have not yet added the embroidery embellishment or appliquéd the circles:

I haven’t decided if I am going to add the dark background blocks down only the right and left hand sides of the quilt or all the way around – will wait and study how the blocks look when I have enough made to play with my options.  I also now know that my final quilt will be twin bed size – 10 blocks across by 12 down – so no matter how I decide to add the dark background blocks, I will be busy making quite a few more blocks before the top is done.  This will still likely be less work than an appliqué border!!

Once I had these new blocks made, I realized that in my search for the right border, I have been searching for “harmony” and “unity” in the overall quilt.   These are important design principles!  One of the books I have that is really helpful with design is this one:

She discusses all the basic design principles:  Color, Value, Scale, Balance, and Unity (or harmony).  Intuitively, I knew my initial border ideas were not right – they didn’t ‘t “feel” right even though initially I wasn’t sure I could express exactly why.  A part of me wanted to force a vine border and I knew it wasn’t quite right.  It’s because it wasn’t harmonious with the central design.  My new border idea is in harmony with/unified with the center and yet creates an “edge” that I strongly feel the quilt needs.

A friend just lent me this book to read:

It’s about one woman’s fascination with Amish quilts and how this led her to a better understanding of what kind of life she wanted to live.  I’ve only just begun it, but here is a quote from her first encounter with Amish quilts:

“The relationship of the individual parts to the whole, the proportion, the way the inner and outer borders reacted with each other was a balancing act between tension and harmony.”  I love that last phrase!!!  I think it relates to Winter Solstice with its dark and light contrasts.

My other major project the past week has been making Christmas ornament gifts.  These are for my friends from the “music” part of my life so I don’t think they read this blog and it’s safe to show them!  I’m fussy cutting hexagons from Christmas fabric and making the ornaments double sided, leaving the paper templates in to provide stability.  These are all hand made and 4 are completed except for the hangers.

One side, then flipped to the other”

Some closeups:

My tree!

Some special ornaments:  Accordion and piano!

Hand made by friend:

The Nutcracker which my daughter danced in for many, many years:

Sewing related!!

Next time I will post more pictures from Houston!

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