December 5, 2022: Updates, more from NYC, etc.

Greetings dear readers! The holiday season is truly here. We put up our Christmas tree yesterday, got the lights on this morning, and will gradually put the ornaments on over the next day.

Tomorrow evening is my Quilt Bee holiday party and I’m putting the finishing touches on my gift for our Yankee Swap. (Can’t show it yet.) I’m practicing my accordion every day for my music group’s annual holiday party on Friday. I’m relishing and cherishing gathering with friends this year, especially after the horrors of Covid, even though I know we’re not totally out of the woods with this scourge yet. I hope all of you are enjoying the same.

In quiet moments I have been adding quilting stitches to Sweet Journeys. For this block so far, it’s “echo” stitching around the leaves and berries:

I’ve been making new hexagon stars for row #13 of the Hexagon Star quilt:

From the New York exhibits, today I’m sharing 2 more portraits of Elizabeth I and 2 more kimonos for your viewing pleasure. The detailed designs of the clothing Elizabeth wore are mind boggling! And the embroidery on a Japanese firefighter’s uniform?!

Another red and white kimono with waves – I really love the blue dots on this! They add so much extra interest!

My recent walks in the woods are full of views of decay and disintegration – in contrast to the bloom and growth of spring and summer. The textures of the wood and the colors of moss provide beauty in the stark landscape:

I’m currently reading:

I love Strout’s spare, but powerful writing and highly recommend the book! She’s written 3 others featuring Lucy, all excellent as well. I’m actually thinking of rereading all of them!

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

November Mini; Thanksgiving in New York!

Greetings dear readers! For this year’s Thanksgiving, Al and I traveled to Brooklyn to be with our son and his partner. Since that is a 5 hour drive away, we don’t get to see them much, so it was an especially wonderful time. We all pitched in to cook the holiday feast in their small apartment.

The weather was beautiful and every morning we walked 3 blocks to get to a longer promenade along the East River with this view:

Just a bit different from my normal daily walks to the pond, bog, wild Lamprey River, and the elk farm!😊

On Friday morning we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – one of my favorite places in NYC – and saw the special exhibit on the Tudors (esp. focused on Henry VIII and Elizabeth I) and the special exhibit on Kimonos. Both were fantastic exhibits for textile lovers!❤️ Here’s one piece from each exhibit and I have more for future posts!

The kimonos ranged from traditional to modern. This was a favorite:

I love the poem:

We had lunch at a favorite spot near Lincoln Center. I love ballet and The Nutcracker. Friday night was opening night, but had been sold out weeks before when we tried to get tickets. Al walked in to the ticket office before our lunch to see if anything was available for that night and we got tickets in the orchestra section 10 rows from the front that someone had just returned !!!! Absolutely beautiful and fantastic experience!!

I was in heaven! The NYC Ballet is the BEST and the staging is amazing. These 2 photos are from the web site, of course

I forgot to mention that we went to the iconic Russian Tea Room for dinner Wednesday evening – it’s a lovely space:

My guild has an annual friendship/holiday party every November and we do a gift exchange, preferably something hand made. I’m using the table runner I made for that as my November Mini:

It’s 28.5 inches long, 15 inches wide.

I foundation paper pieced the trees and staggered the setting.

I added a line of green hand embroidery to set the center off from the border:

I machine quilted it and used some fabrics on hand for the backing:

I took some hexagon stars to New York with me for some hand piecing in the early morning hours before anyone else was up and will save those for the next post.

Go to Wendy’s blog “The Constant Quilter” (link on right side) to see the Monthly Minis by other participants!

December is almost upon us! The winter solstice, the holidays, the end of 2023, my annual assessment of what I’ve done and where I want to go…..Wishing all my readers a peaceful and joyful month!

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

November 21, 2022: Hand piecing and quilting; Autumn segues to winter; Books

Greetings dear readers! Here in northern New England winter comes early. The landscape has shed most of its colors, dressing now and for months to come in more somber and subtle greens and browns. I’m reminded to switch, on my walks, from looking so closely at color to focusing more attention on shape, line, and form. The weather is more conducive to hunkering down in a comfortable chair and doing some hand work 😊.
On “Sweet Journeys” I’m trying to work in some little extra designs beyond the basic cross hatching. Here’s what I did with the second block:

And I did go back to the first block and fill in cross hatching in the center of the wreath:

This quilt has silk batting which is such a pleasure to hand quilt through!!

I’ve also been working on the hexagon star EPP project, adding (by hand, of course) connecting pieces for Row 12. This allows me to admire, again, how fussy cutting can create such fun designs!

I hope my enthusiasm for this project lasts a while before I send it back into hibernation!😊. Could I maybe finish it this time around?😊

On a recent morning the frost was lovely!

The pond was frozen yesterday, creating interesting surface patterns:

My tree viewing moves from studying leaves in the fall to admiring bark in the winter:

An interesting reflection on the river:

Two more books to recommend to readers who enjoy novels. “The Latecomer” is about triplets born after an IVF procedure. A fourth embryo was frozen in case the IVF failed. After they all enter college, the mother decides to have the 4th child (via surrogate mother) and the latter third of the book examines the impact of that decision on the family. Pretty crazy concept, but well written and interesting. I initially didn’t like any of the characters, but later that improved and I ended up liking the book. “Horse” goes back and forth in time between the 1850’s – focusing on a champion thoroughbred racing horse and his black trainer – and current day – focusing on 2 people “connected to” the horse in different ways. Really enjoyable story and writing! I also recommend almost anything Geraldine Brooks has written – have read most of her books.

We are off to NYC (Brooklyn) Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving with our son and his partner. I hope to visit a museum or two on Friday. I’ve never been in NYC on Black Friday so I hope it isn’t too crazy. For my USA readers, whatever way you are spending the holiday, I hope it is a peaceful one, filled with gratitude.

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

November 16, 2022: Back from Retreat!

Greetings dear readers! I had a truly wonderful time on my guild’s 3 day retreat. It was great to be surrounded by my quilting community and be a full fledged member of my quilting “tribe”. I had great “table mates” and there was a lot of laughing. So good for the soul! I was the early riser who had responsibility for opening the gym at 5:30 AM each day. Within 10 minutes there were usually 2-3 others joining me. I grabbed this photo one morning before any one else was there:

My major accomplishment – besides socializing!😊 – was getting the “Stormy Weather: Shine A Light” top completed! 28 months from start to finish – but of course it still needs to be quilted.

I made the 4 corner blocks:

A big task was trimming all 4 borders to exact size. With an appliqué border, I always cut too big to allow for shrinkage. Then all the parts had to be sewn together.

I think I need to hand quilt this, even though it may take a while to get to it as there are 2 others ahead of it in the hand quilting queue, not counting my current hand quilting project. Speaking of which, I did get some hand quilting done on Sweet Journeys at the retreat:

I will likely cross hatch at least the center of the heart wreath, but not sure yet about the outside area; might just leave that straight lines.

Another project I rescued from hibernation and took with me was Hexagon Stars, my EPP “long journey” project. 10 rows had been completed and I need either 13 or 15 rows total. I managed to get all the stars for row 11 made and sewn together and am making good progress on row 12:

And, finally, I completed 6 more basket blocks for Ursula’s quilt:

It was an incredibly productive 3 days in addition to being a lot of fun. The weather was amazing on Saturday- 72 degrees and sunny! We were located about one mile from the beach so I had a beautiful walk each day:

How wonderful to be able to see everyone’s works in progress and share advice and encouragement! Here’s a look at some of the things that folks were making:

This next one is in lovely shades of blue that I was unable to capture well with my camera:

Members of next year’s Raffle Quilt Committee were at the retreat and the top of 2023’s raffle quilt was revealed:

What could be better than houses, stars, and trees?!

Now it’s back to everyday life, in which I am full of gratitude for my many blessings.🥰

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

November 10, 2022: More Cocheco Show Quilt Photos and Off to a Retreat!

Greetings dear readers! Later today I leave for a 3 day retreat with about 40 other members of my guild. This is my first such gathering since the pandemic and I’m really looking forward to it. We’ll be meeting in Kennebunkport, ME, about an hour’s drive away. I’m bringing FIVE projects with me so I’ll have plenty to work on whatever mood I’m in 😊. I should have some fun photos to share next week. For today’s post, I’m sharing more photos from the Cocheco Show. Enjoy!

Happy quilting to all! I’m off to finish packing…..

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

November 4, 2022: A Visit With Rainy Stevens, Quilter Extraordinaire! and more…

Greetings dear readers! The hand work of my fellow Cocheco Quilters Guild member, Rainy Stevens, is extraordinary. I had a chance at this year’s show to ask her for some advice on how to quilt my “Sweet Journeys” and she invited me to her home to look through her extensive collection of stencils. At that visit I had a chance to see her amazing Baltimore Album quilt in progress – after years of work, she is finally doing the hand quilting. She’s happy to let me share some photos with you:

Her workmanship is exquisite! On the appliqué, she outlined every piece with a single layer of thread (regular, not embroidery) to make the pieces stand out more. Many single thread lines of vines look like they were inked on. Tiny French knots are made with several wrappings of single strands of thread. I’m in awe!! Take time to enjoy these photos and click on them to enlarge them further!

The above photos capture the true colors of the quilt better than the closeups below, which are too yellow, but show the details pretty well:

Rainy graciously allowed me to take photos of some of her other quilts that were displayed in her lovely home:

I brought home about 20 stencils and got started with one of them right away!

Thank you Rainy!

I completed my Library silent auction donation quilt, “Garden Joy” and delivered it yesterday. Hopefully it will raise a couple hundred dollars for them! I think the “curvy” quilting complements the sharp lines of the piecing.

The back – I wanted something calm to balance the wild front!😊

Autumn is moving away from its colorful phase and into “muted”. I was tempted to say “drab” but wanted to choose a more optimistic word!😊. The golds are still holding on for now!

This tree looks like it’s on fire!:

I was thrilled to learn at the Okan Arts blog this morning that there is a new, big quilt show in Japan happening in Yokohama. Looks like it’s a replacement for the defunct Tokyo International Quilt Festival. I do hope it’s a yearly event and I want to go!! I’ll be keeping my eyes open for potential tours next year that include it. Meanwhile the blog post includes many photos of extraordinary quilts from the show. If interested, go to okanarts.com to enjoy them. I highly recommend it!

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

October 31, 2022: October Mini – “Just After the Peak” ;(and more – quilt show photos and autumn)

Greetings dear readers! It’s a minor miracle that a mini got made this month, as it was an incredibly busy time for me. However, I was determined to make something, so I started early and had the piecing done before the quilt show consumed all my time and then was able to quilt the mini this weekend and finish it just under the wire😊.

It’s a 20 inch square table topper that I’m calling “Just After the Peak” because the colors are what we see here in New England just after the really bright reds and oranges fade. There are lots of yellows and golds, rusts, browns, and greens.

Because of the time constraints, I needed something easy and half square triangles fit the bill. The gold fabric is one of my favorites – very warm and rich. I searched and searched through my stash for a border and was really excited when I found a fat quarter of this paisley with just the right colors – just barely enough!!

I played with a few different arrangements of the HST’s, and decided I liked this one the best. It’s very simple, but has a classic elegance.


There was no time to hand quilt it, so I machine quilted a simple square grid. The backing is a lovely gold from the “Chalk and Charcoal” line by Jennifer Sampou:

The topper actually looks good set on top of the autumn table runner I already have on my dining room table:

But I am going to be tempted to use it as a holiday gift! We’ll see – if I can find the time to make some other things, I may be able to keep it 😊.

Here’s what autumn’s been looking like around here, past peak:

Here are 4 more quilts from the Cocheco Show for your enjoyment (with still more to come!). I love a wonky log cabin:

These little baskets are on my “way too long “ “to do” list 😊:

Check out the number of pieces in this quilt!!:

A lovely fall quilt! The swirly quilting is just right for it:

Be sure to go to Wendy’s blog – The Constant Quilter” (link on right side of this blog) – and see the links to all the other quilters making minis! Enjoy all the creativity!

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

October 28, 2022: Quilt Show Photos!

Greetings dear readers! What a crazy, busy week I had getting ready for and participating in our annual quilt show. I enjoyed it, though, and the show was wonderful. The 3 quilts I had judged all got blue ribbons 🙂. The demo I did on prepared edge appliqué went well. On today’s post I’m sharing 10 quilts that won awards. Enjoy the photos and enlarge them to appreciate the details.

Our Best of Show was a worthy winner – a lovely version of Edyta Sitar’s Patchwork Barn pattern with beautiful machine quilting:

There were 3 Viewer’s choice awards:

This was an especially wonderful Viewer’s Choice because of the meaning of the quilt to the maker and her daughter:

Viewers loved this version of the Raven pattern:

This quilt was one of the Judge’s Choice winners:

The edging design around the center is “prairie point “ style:

The entries to my guild’s Challenge contest – which I talked about in my 8/31/22 post – were all displayed and here are the 3 winners (including my own “Whirlwind”!).

And mine:

Our guild president gets to give a ribbon to her favorite quilt, so here’s this year’s President’s Choice:

I have several more quilts to share, but want to get the above posted now as it has taken me far too long to get these up! I will save the rest for the next few posts and close out this one with a few more autumn photos:

I love this “red” tree standing out at the pond:

I have a Japanese Maple tree that is late to turn red, but when it does, the color is brilliant and lasts for about a week:

I’ll be back in 3 days with my October mini – hope to get it done just under the wire this weekend!😊

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

October 17, 2022: More Autumn Beauty; Dominique Ehrmann sculpture

Greetings dear readers! I am gearing up for an intense week of quilting duties and activities starting tomorrow as my guild gets ready for and has our annual show this coming weekend. I’m helping out with quilt drop-offs, 2 days of judging (we’ve hired 3), a day of setup, and 2 days of the show itself! Meanwhile, the only things I’ve had time to work on myself are my October mini and hand quilting on Sweet Journeys:

I’m actually close to completing all the outlining and will soon need to make decisions about the background quilting. The easiest choice for me would be cross hatching. Whether I want to try for anything more elaborate will likely depend on the stress level in my life. Makings quilts can be a challenge and/or a comfort and the maker’s life influences the results – something I like to think about when viewing other work. For today’s post, I’m sharing more autumn photos – peak color was this past week and now I think we are slightly past 🙁 – and a fabulous textile sculpture I saw at NEQM last time I was there.

Look at this beautiful path I recently walked with a friend:

It’s an old rail-trail and goes for miles. Along the way there was a marsh:

And lots of lovely foliage:

On another walk close to home I captured these images:

We’ve gotten some rain and the bog is looking good:

I love how the sunlight makes the leaves look lit from within! Some oak leaves simply turn brown, but others become an orangy red:

It doesn’t happen often, but I love it when I see pink leaves:

Earlier this year the New England Quilt Museum had an exhibit of “sculptural” work by Dominique Ehrmann. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to the museum for the exhibit. However, the artist left one of her pieces at the museum, on loan for 2 years and it’s currently set up for viewing in their lobby. It’s incredible and really makes me sorry I missed the exhibit. Please enjoy these photos of the piece!! (Click to enlarge.). I should have taken a panoramic view, but didn’t think of it, so the first two photos together try to capture the scope of the piece and those are followed by closeups.

The clock works!!

Please try to get to the museum to see this amazing work and also to see the excellent exhibits they have!
Next time I post will likely be next week after the Cocheco Quilters Guild show and I should have some good photos to share! If you live anywhere nearby, the show is at the Rochester (NH) Community Center, October 22 and 23, 10-4 both days. It’s always good!😊

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

October 11, 2022: Beautiful Autumn!; Time traveling with books; Donation top finished

Greetings dear readers! Last Thursday Al and I drove north into the White Mountains of NH where peak foliage color was predicted. Oh my goodness, it was glorious!! It was an absolutely perfect day for the drive. For mile after mile, hour after hour, we were steeped in a golden glow of reds, oranges, peaches, corals, golden yellows, and greens topped with a deep blue sky. For many of the beautiful vistas and striking individual trees, there was no ability to pull over and stop for photos, but I did my best to grab a few to share with you:

And then the very next day I snapped the following photos on my walk within a mile of our house:

The beauty of autumn comes and goes so quickly. It is ephemeral, like so much in life, and I am trying to be mindful of its wonders every day while it lasts.

Many thanks to reader, Debbie, who, after reading my last post, identified the source of the paper patterns I used for some of the blocks in “Sweeet Journeys.” I was able to find used copies available on Amazon if anyone is interested! I’m tempted to get one myself, but I’m trying so hard not to buy new books!

Speaking of books, I have been doing some significant time-traveling in my recent reading. Well written, well plotted historical novels with nuanced characters are a favorite genre of mine. I’m currently on the last of these 4:

Great Circle is mostly the very complicated story of Marion who falls in love with airplanes as a girl in Montana in the 1920’s and ultimately circumnavigates the globe as a pilot, alternating with a story about Hadley, a Hollywood actress who plays Marion in a movie in current times. The Pull of the Stars is about a nurse midwife working in Dublin during the Flu pandemic and WW1 in 1918. The Invention of Wings is about a slave and her owner in the early 1800’s. The Wolves of Andover (currently retitled as The Traitor’s Wife) takes place in Massachusetts in 1673 and is based on the possibly true story of the escape of the man who beheaded Charles 1st during Oliver Cromwell’s time, though is just as much about the woman he meets and falls in love with here. It’s actually a prequel to Kent’s book “ The Heretic’s Daughter” involving the Salem witch trials. My book group read the latter several years ago and loved it. If you enjoy high quality historical fiction, I recommend all of these!

Most of my quilting the past few days involved a) finishing the quilt top for my donation quilt and sewing the back for it together b) starting to gather things I need to do an appliqué (prepared edge) demonstration at my guild’s (Cocheco) annual show October 22 and 23 and c)starting to prep for a talk and trunk show I’m doing for my local Active Retirement Association on the 27th. I’ll be talking to a group with many non-quilters for the first time, so need to keep that in mind and make adjustments to my usual presentation.
Here’s the quilt top:

It’s 50.5 inches square and could be gifted or used as a baby or lap quilt. I hope it fetches a decent amount of money for the library! Because I’m so busy this month, I’m having it quilted by one of my favorite long- armers. I did manage to make some progress hand quilting Sweet Journeys, too.

Hope you are getting/taking the time to enjoy the wonder of autumn along with the joys and comforts of sewing 🙂.

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