October 19, 2016: Gorgeous fall foliage; blue star top completed!; Cocheco Guild Quilt Show pictures

Greetings!  Fall colors are at their peak right now in seacoast NH so Al and I took advantage of a beautiful day to go kayaking on the Lamprey River, which is just minutes from our house, this AM.  We are so lucky!  Enjoy these pictures (click on pics for enlargements):

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Notice the turtle!  When we got too close he slipped into the water.  We also saw a loon, but I wasn’t able to snap a picture.

I finished the blue star quilt top!:


I’m really happy with how it has turned out and will now move on to get signatures for the back and then have it quilted.  You probably won’t see this again until I’m putting the binding on.  Time frame will depend on when the machine quilting can be done as I will hire someone to do it.  Now I can focus on my own projects again.  I finished the leaves and berries for the 4th border of Stardust and now will attach the borders to the center of the quilt and plan the connecting vines for the corners.  This is going to require some time and concentration; it might be a good project for the quilt retreat I’m going on in 2 weeks.  Meanwhile, I’m working on another block for Sweet Journeys.  Right now it doesn’t look like much but you can see what I’m aiming for in the picture from one of Ellie’s books:


My guild – the Cocheco Quilters Guild – had their annual show this past weekend.  I’m always amazed at how good our show is!!  I helped all day with the setup – first time I’ve been able to do this! – and worked a few hours during the show as well.  I have quite a few pictures to show you over the next few posts.  I was awarded blue ribbons on Stella Nova and Many Moons:


Joyful Noise was in the show and got lots of compliments.  (I didn’t have it judged – not sure why I didn’t!)


My trio of doll quilts was in as well, but I forgot to download the pictures so will show those next time.

Today I’m sharing the 3 quilts that were awarded Judge’s Choice.  They were 3 of my favorite quilts in the show too!

I LOVED this orange spider web quilt and I think the big stitch quilting is perfect for it!


What fun this umbrella quilt is!  Great details, too – love the raindrop quilting and the buttons on the border!


I love the soft romantic look of this next quilt and the simple, but excellently done quilting seems just right for it:


Next post I will share with you the incredible hand work of guild member Rainy Stevens.  I was in charge of our “Meet the Quilters” annual exhibit at the show in which we highlight the work of 3 guild members.  Rainy agreed to be one of the exhibitors – she does truly extraordinary hand quilting and appliqué so stay tuned for that and other great work from the show!

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



October 12, 2016: “Delicious Autumn”; New England Quilt Museum show pictures; “Time”

Greetings!  I love this George Eliot quote:  “Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”  Not only is autumn in New England a visual delight, but it’s a feast for the other senses as well – the taste of apples, pumpkin, the smell of spices, cinnamon, the sounds of geese flying south, the rustling of leaves as they are blown along the ground…  Al and I took an overnight trip last week to northern Vermont and the foliage was spectacular! (Click on pictures to enlarge.)  The pictures don’t do the breathtaking beauty justice, but they’re the best I could do with my camera.


I always want to just rush to my drawers of red, orange, gold, and green fabrics and start making something in these colors at this time of year, but I’m too disciplined this year to do that!  However, making a community (charity) quilt  has been on my list of things to do so maybe I can make it in these colors and satisfy my craving that way….

I’m making great progress on the “blue star” special occasion quilt; the top is nearly put together.  Here it is on the design wall with some border strips tacked up beside the completed center.  As you can see, I went with sashing:





I should have the top all together by tomorrow!  My plan is to have folks sign well wishes on fabrics that I will incorporate into the backing of the quilt and then have it machine quilted.  I have to say that I am loving this quilt and it’s going to be hard to give it away!  I could make another set of stars for myself, but I doubt the border fabric is still available and I don’t have enough left for another quilt.  I bought it in Maine 4 years ago on our way back from our Nova Scotia vacation.  Not sure I really want to make this all over again anyway.  I just need to let go of it….. (and I’m sure I’ll be fine with that :):)

Yesterday I drove to Lowell to see the current exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum.  It was well worth the drive!  The museum always has outstanding exhibits and they do a wonderful job of displaying the quilts and providing information.  This one was called “Confluence” and featured the work of a small group of quilters with the theme of water and our fragile environment.  Here are pictures of a representative sample of the works and I hope to show some more in another post.  Please click on pics to enlarge so you can enjoy the details:

This one had great surface design:


Loved the use of vintage silks in this artist’s work:


I really enjoyed this composition – great shapes and colors!



They had a few quilts from their own permanent collection in the show as well.  I loved the composition and the excellent hand quilting on this one by Carol Grotian.  Look at the tiny stitches!:


Love this composition by Sylvia Einstein:


And I very much liked this abstract composition:


I enjoyed reading about the struggles this artist had in making this quilt.  Note the trapunto turtle in the third picture:


I think you can see that it’s a great exhibit!  I have more pictures to share in another post.  However, I strongly urge any of you within driving distance of Lowell to try to see this show before it closes on the 16th of this month!  It’s well worth the trip!!

I liked a comment artist Judy Martin made on her 9/15 blog (Judy’s Journal) post  on the topic of time:  “Sometimes I ask myself, do I feel that time is LOST when I use so much of it to stitch?  Or, do I think that time is saved?  Answer:  When I am lucky enough to spend an entire day with stitching, I never feel that time has been lost.     Time is my main material.”

Since seeing that post about time, I read a New York Times front page book review of a new book just out by James Gleick called “Time Travel: A History.”  It sounds fascinating and is intellectually well done and challenging.  I also read commentary on the book on the “Brain Pickings” web site, a place I go to read for ideas on what books to read and for intellectual stimulation.  Here are some interesting observations Gleick makes:

“We feast on time as time feasts on us.”

“We go back and forth between being time’s master and its victim.  Time is ours to use, and then we are at its mercy.”

“The key to understanding time, Gleick suggests, lies in understanding memory – understanding the dialogue, often dissonant, between the experiencing self and the remembering self.”

“If we have only one universe – if the universe is all there is – then time murders possibility.  It erases the lives we might have had.”

“What is time?  Things change and time is how we keep track.”

I love the last one!  Now I think I shall go spend some time sewing!!!!!

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

October 3, 2016: Updates, a new course, and more from Maine Quilt Show

Greetings! I am making great progress on the special occasion quilt that I recently started. 25 of 42 blocks are done and 5 more almost done.  Here’s what I have along with some close ups:

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(Click on pictures for enlargements.)  I’m loving the teal and turquoise with touches of gold and want one of these for myself!  (Maybe someday…).  I’m trying to decide whether to add sashing; there will definitely be some sort of simple border.  And I’m having people sign fabric for the back of the quilt.

One of my readers asked about the book in which I found the pattern for the “grapes” quilt I talked about in the last post.  Here’s the book, the first page of the section on this quilt, and a picture of the pattern with it in some other colorways.   I’m intrigued by the blue on the black background, however if I ever do make this quilt it will definitely be in the red and green colors of the antique:




Here’s a picture of part of the original antique quilt, showing the red/green colors:


I’ve managed to appliqué a few more leaves and berries on “Stardust” but otherwise have spent all my quilting time on the blue starts since the last post.  Oh – almost forgot; I’ve been putting labels on my quilts for the Cocheco show which is October 15th and 16th.  I’m spending the day on the 14th helping to set up the show and am looking forward to it.  I’ll be posting pictures the week after!

For some time I have been thinking that when I retire I would like to take a drawing course.  This could be fun and, at the very least, could help me improve my quilt making designs and improve how I look at and see artworks.  If I like it enough, it could even lead me to take more drawing courses or might even lead me to consider painting.  As a start, I decided that rather than sign up for a course that would require me to travel to actual classes, I would get the “Great Courses” “How to Draw” course which was available at a great discount:

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There are 6 DVD’s and 36 lessons covering all the basics of drawing – line, shape, volume, texture, composition, color, etc. etc.  I got my supplies, including a used easel off Craig’s List and have watched the first 4 lessons and started doing some of the exercises.  I’m enjoying it a lot!!  I’m going to take my time – the professor says this covers what a full year college course would cover so I see it taking many months.  It’s nice to be able to go at my own pace.  I’ll post an occasional update on how this is going.

Reading continues to be an important part of my days.

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I love well written history and the book on Magellan was wonderful and fascinating.   Lots of history of exploration and the spice trade in the 15th and 16th centuries, some coverage of politics in Spain and Portugal during that time, the trials and tribulations the sailors faced, etc.  All very well told.  I highly recommend it.   “Vertigo” by Sebald is not for everyone because it can be depressing but I find his prose mesmerizing.  A major theme is memory and how unreliable it is.  His writing is intellectually challenging and leads me to frequently look up things on the internet; this leads to a lot of new learning, which I love.   “The Road Back” is a classic from 1929 about the experience of soldiers returning from war, in this case German soldiers returning from WW1.  Their “universal” experiences mirror those of today’s returning soldiers and relate to issues that we all should be aware of.   Ultimately these kinds of books – to me, at least – are an indictment of war in general.  Finally, I’m just starting “The Hidden Lives of Trees” which promises to be fascinating – trees have ways to communicate with other trees and are much more complex life forms that we have given them credit for.  I’ve always loved trees so look forward to learning more!

There was a special exhibit at the Maine quilt show this summer in which unfinished quilts from the 30’s were machine quilted and finished.  This was a great idea for an exhibit and I hope you enjoy the pictures.  There happened to be 2 of one quilt top – Separated at Birth! – and 2 different quilters quilted them differently – it was fun to see how each interpreted using the space differently for the quilting.

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My favorite of these was “Mad for Plaid.”  I’ve used hexagons a couple of times in doll quits but have yet to tackle a large quilt of hexagons – someday!

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


September 27, 2016: “Taking stock” and a new project

Greetings!  Nearly 3/4 of the way into the year (where did it go?!), I decided to “take stock” and see where I am with my projects as I think about what to do over the next several weeks/months and whether to start anything new.

I have 6 projects that I am actively working on, albeit some of them have been in periods of hibernation!  One of the projects is the Baby Quilt #2. (#1 needs a label and then will be delivered – baby due in a week!)  The blocks are all made and all that needs to be done is to sew them together and quilt and bind it.  This baby isn’t due until January and I have a quilting retreat I’m attending in November at which I should be able to work on this.  The other 5 projects are longer term.

I took a break from appliquéing leaves and berries on the borders for “We Are Stardust,” but returned to this after finishing the latest “Sweet Journeys” block.  I am close to finishing the 4th border.  I have completed 257 of the 280 border leaves and 104 of the 120 berries!  Next step is to figure out the corners and how to connect the 4 borders.  This will be a challenge because the quilt is bigger than my design wall.  I should be getting to this within the next several weeks. When the border is done, the plan is to hand quilt this after the hand quilting of Spirit of Japan is done.

4th border:

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An older picture when 4th border leaves were not on yet:


My “Sweet Journeys” quilt will consist of either sixteen 12 1/2 inch appliquéd blocks or 12 blocks around the perimeter with a larger medallion – the size of 4 blocks – in the center.  I plan to add sashing, maybe even simple appliquéd sashing.   I have 9 blocks completed:


I will work on 3 more blocks for a total of 12 and take a long look before deciding whether to go with a medallion or 4 more blocks.  I hope to do this over the next 3 months or so.  This is eventually another hand quilting project – third in line!

With cooler/cold weather coming, I will get back to hand quilting Spirit of Japan #3, which is about 1/4  to 1/3 done.  I’d hoped to have this ready for my guild’s annual show next month but other projects took up my time and then it got too hot over the summer!


The 4th project is the one I’m tentatively calling “Twinkle.”  I’ve pulled some shot cottons to audition for the border.  I think there will be a vine, some stars, and maybe some flowers – it will be appliquéd:



Right now “Twinkle” is “hibernating” as I work on the other projects above!

Another project that is “hibernating” is my designer Japanese circles project.


I have a container with a lot more circles and backgrounds cut but am envisioning the above pictured circles as the center of a medallion and am trying to decide on a design to outline the medallion before adding the other circles.


After assessing the above projects, I decided to go ahead and start making a “special occasion” quilt for a friend anyway!  I can’t reveal the occasion or the recipient because I know the recipient in the past has occasionally looked at my blog, though I don’t think it’s very often.  However, I think it will be OK to share the project.  Once it’s been given, I can reveal the occasion!  I’ve been missing making stars this year!  I decided to make stars for this person’s quilt – 6 inch blocks, 6 across and 7 down, thus I need 42.  I’ll add a simple border and maybe some sashing.  I chose teal and turquoise colors with a pale background, oriental style with some gold accents:


I have half the stars cut out and here are the first 2 (second one is truer color):


I think this project will go relatively quickly, but, of course, will delay progress on my others!

My guild recently had a book sale from our library – $1.00 per book!  I DO NOT need any more books!  However, I couldn’t resist buying one fairly old book with appliqué designs because it has the pattern for the central blocks in this quilt:


I saw – AND LOVED – this quilt at the Vermont Festival in 2015 and took several pictures thinking I might draft and make this some day.  Now I don’t need to draft the pattern for the center blocks!  And I should be able to easily adapt the pattern for the borders.  This quilt is definitely on my “to do” list but not until I finish Sweet Journeys!!!!!!!!  When Spirit of Japan is finished, I also want to start a new, challenging piecing project  and am mulling ideas – nothing definitive yet.  Making quilts is so satisfying and fun!!!!!

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


September 21, 2016: The joy of finishing

Greetings!  Seems like I have been focused very much on finishing things the past few weeks.  I’m sure the upcoming Cocheco Quilt Guild show is a major reason, but I am a “finisher” anyway. When I started making my first quilt 23 years ago, I thought I needed to hand piece it in order for it to be “authentic.”  I did not enjoy the process and put it away after 5 months, thinking I would never be a quilter.  Luckily a work colleague showed me how to machine piece my blocks and once the top was together I could proceed with teaching myself hand quilting which I enjoyed a lot.  The feeling of exhilaration I had when I finished that first quilt 2 months after starting to hand quilt it was amazing and is what really propelled my quilting avocation.  To this day, I thoroughly enjoy the satisfied feeling I have when finishing projects.  Over the past few weeks I’ve finished “Joyful Noise,” my “Trio of Doll Quilts,” and now the first of 2 baby quilts is 99% done – only 1/4th of the binding left to do! (click to enlarge pictures)


I pin basted the layers together:


Then machine quilted in the ditch with variegated thread around all of the blocks and triangles:


My machine quilting is mediocre at best but it’s the best I can do and I figure it is a baby quilt that should be used and is not an heirloom quilt!  I did hand quilt around the circles and blocks in the borders to add a more personal touch:


Here’s the back:


Now all that’s left after finishing that binding is a small label.  In fact, I need to set aside a day in the near future to make labels for 6 quilts!

I finished the next block for “Sweet Journeys” the start of which I showed in the last post.  Here is a close up and how it looks with the rest of the blocks:


I’ve picked out the next block I’m going to do – a simple basket of flowers from Ellie’s first book – will show a picture next time!

I’m still showing pictures from the shows I attended this summer!  At the AQS show in Syracuse there was a special exhibit of small quilts that were made to showcase the styles of various famous artists.  For each of the famous artists a quilt was made by a quilter from the USA, a quilter from France, and a quilter from Japan.  Following are pictures of many of the quilts.  For a few I didn’t get the famous artist’s name in the picture but I think they will be obvious.  I got most of the quilt makers’ comments either with the quilt or separately.  Enjoy!!  (Click to enlarge for details!)

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Thoughts on retirement so far:  I’m so loving not having to follow a rigid schedule every day!!  I’m enjoying my life and activities – quilting, reading, music, exercise – a lot!  I’m totally happy with my decision.  I’m glad to give up the pressure of having to be on my toes and vigilant and thinking medical thoughts all day long.  The main downsides I see are that the extent of one’s “relevance” diminishes (i.e. still mattering to family and friends but not to work colleagues and patients) and the aging body cannot be denied (though this latter is not dependent upon retirement).  Luckily I have no major medical issues, but I do have some dental problems I’m dealing with.   Retirement is allowing me to enjoy walks during the week in the beautiful part of New Hampshire in which I live.  Al and I took advantage of a gorgeous day recently to walk along the ocean:


Looking forward to the fall season!  Happy autumn to all!

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


September 13, 2016: “Sweet Journeys” progress; Trio of Doll Quilts completed

Greetings!  This computer has been in the shop for the past several days to have its operating system updated.  I am now trying to adjust to a number of changes so am hoping I can get a blog post together without too much trouble!  I’ll keep it simple today and keep my fingers crossed!

A few days ago I felt a strong need to move ahead on my Baltimore Album style quilt called “Sweet Journeys.”  The title was inspired by a piece of music I play and I thought it was a great phrase indicating that making each block of this type of quilt should and can be a “sweet journey.”  I’ve been stalled for a while.  The reason is that I was hoping to create and draft all my own original blocks inspired by album style antique quilts and I seem to be stuck without compelling ideas for new blocks.   After being in this “stuck” state for a while, I have decided to use already designed blocks to get me jump started.  It’s OK if my quilt is a combination of original and copied designs!  Below are pictures of my design wall with the 8 blocks I already have ( click on pictures for enlargements) (my Japanese circles are there too and I’m close to deciding to add a dogtooth border around this portion as the next step):

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I’m lucky to have a copy of Ellie S’s very first book so looked through it for ideas and decided to make this wreath block:

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Here’s the block so far:

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I fussy-cut fabrics to make the center of the flower using the 2 fabrics below and am very happy with how this came out!


I’ve also been busy making bags – my goal was to make 3 of them and I finished them all.  I totally fell in love with the Phillip Jacobs fabric I used in the tote below – aren’t the colors absolutely gorgeous!!

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I also made the purple bag below to donate to our guild’s penny sale at our show next month and then I finished up the Parisian one for myself:


By the way, my bags have “heft” because I fuse the fabrics to heavy muslin before sewing.

I completed the last doll quilt in this year’s “Trio of Doll Quilts” and now all I need are labels on these and they will be ready for next month’s Cocheco Quilt Guild show.   I’m happy with the “trio” but I may take a break from doll quilts and not do them next year; I may want to explore something else like more modern quilts using solid colors or make crib quilts or smaller amish style quilts.  Doing some trapunto is also something I want to try.   It’s nice to have so many options for creativity!


I think this covers the update and it looks like I’m OK with the new computer system except that I can’t figure out how to put a title on the pictures I move to my blog folder so I can identify them.  I’ll have to get my computer guru friend, Craig, to come over and help me some time soon!  I still have a lot more pictures from this summer’s quilt shows to share so stay tuned!

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

September 3, 2016: “Joyful Noise” is done!; unsettling events in the quilt world; more AQS pictures

Greetings!  It’s always a wonderful feeling when a quilt is finished, especially when it has been a long term project.  I started Joyful Noise about 2 years ago and finished the top about a year ago.  It took a while to decide to have it machine quilted and that finally was done several weeks ago.  I worked diligently the past 2 weeks on completing the extra hand quilting it needed at the seam intersection points and yesterday finished putting the binding on.  (Click on pictures for enlargements and details.)

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And here’s the back:

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I’m very happy with how this came out!  Though I learned that I will think twice about making any quilt design that has 12 seams coming together in one place!!  In hindsight, I might have chosen to cover those areas with appliqued circles or another shape and cut out the bulky seam intersections to make the quilt texture smoother.  However that would have altered the design…   I made the sleeve yesterday and will get that sewn on in the next week or so.  I also made the sleeve for Many Moons and need to make labels for this, Joyful Noise, and all 3 doll quilts before my guild show next month.  These are the little details that make finishing quilts more time consuming!  And why am I basically almost ready for my October show already instead of scrambling the week before the show as usual?  Retirement!  Here are Al and I celebrating retirement on our deck with a lovely meal made by him:

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After completing Joyful Noise yesterday, I turned to the hand quilting on doll quilt #3.  I am focusing on seeing how well I can do the stitching.   With few seams to quilt through and a thin batting, I am having no trouble getting 11 stitches per inch pretty consistently:

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This week I took out a tote bag project that I cut out 2 years ago and never made; I decided to finish it finally and here it is sewn together.  It still needs the eyelets and string tie that will “close” the top of the bag but that requires a trip to JoAnn’s – will show the bag again when complete, but here’s what it looks like now. Isn’t that Paris fabric wonderful!!:

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Recently I’ve heard about some changes in the quilting world that are significant enough to seem somewhat unsettling, especially when taken together.  Probably most significant to me is the demise of Quilters Newsletter Magazine.  I’ve had a nonstop subscription to it since I started quilting in 1994 and for a while I collected older issues so that I have almost all of them from about 1980 on as well as many from the 1970’s as well.  I loved these magazines and looked forward to receiving them.  I even made the cover of the September 2004 issue and had a quilt patterned over 3 issues in 2007.  These were great honors for me!  I have to admit, however, that over the past few years the issues have been less and less inspiring.  I have to believe this is because of the internet.  I now can go to web sites and blogs for most of my quilting information and when I resubscribed to QNM earlier this year I thought twice about whether it would be worth it.  The other changes that have struck me are 1) the demise of the National Quilting Association about a year ago  2)  the decision by AQS to stop publishing books after this fall  3) the closing of quilt shops, most notably The City Quilter in NYC  and 4) the closing of the American Textile History Museum in Lowell, MA.

What does all of the above mean?  I think the impact may be more in the quilting business community that for those of us who just make quilts.   I think there is “survival of the fittest” occurring and perhaps the quilt business community grew too fast and is now “shaking out.”  Again, I think the access to information and shopping on the web is a huge reason.  I’ve also read that many of us dedicated quilters are aging and perhaps not enough younger folks are quilting.  I also know that I am doing more shopping from my own stash of fabrics and buying less – trying to use of up what I have as well as be discerning about how I’m spending my money now that I’m not working anymore.

In any case, I’m not particularly worried about quilting in general as I think there will always be a core of us who love the art and craft of quilting and will find ways to be creative and to connect with others no matter what is happening in the business sphere.

So here are some more wonderful quilts from the Syracuse AQS show to demonstrate that the art of quilting is still very alive and well!!!

I love “real” kaleidoscopes” as well as quilted ones.  I’ve loved these since Paula Nadelstern first started making them years ago and have always dreamed that some day maybe I will do one… This one is gorgeous!

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I’ve been intrigued with “tile” quilts and toyed with the idea of doing one some day.  This one uses my favorite oriental style fabrics and the machine quilting really highlights the designs:

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Another great quilt from Ann Horton:

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Here’s a cool quilt of fantastic flowers from Australia:

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