July 18, 2017: 1. Self-induced stress 2. New England Quilt Museum pictures

Greetings!  I realized something recently – I have not been enjoying hand quilting “We Are Stardust.”  I enjoyed the quilting when I started it in early March, but for probably the last month it has seemed a chore.  I realized I was kind of tired of quilting Baptist Fans and outlining leaves and was even getting tired of looking at the same fabrics day after day.   Summer is a particularly difficult time to have such a large quilt on one’s lap while quilting.  With a deadline of early October for my guild’s annual show to finish the quilt, I’ve been feeling under pressure to keep going to get it done, even when I’m not in the mood for working on this quilt.   I can’t be the only quilter out there who experiences this and I’m sure these types of feelings are responsible for plenty of UFO’s out there!  Sometimes breaks from projects are needed – time away after which interest – that “spark” – returns and it’s then easier to make progress.

It finally occurred to me that my October deadline is completely self imposed and there is absolutely no reason that I have to stick to it!!!!  I decided that if I don’t finish the quilt in time for our show, that is perfectly OK!  I will be showing Spirit of Japan#3 and my 3 doll quilts and that’s enough!  “We Are Stardust” could wait for next year’s show.  It feels like a weight has been lifted.  There is no danger that this quilt won’t eventually be finished, but I can now take may time and quilt when it is more relaxing and joyful.  I don’t need to feel the process is “work” rather than play.  And now I can happily indulge in spending time on other projects I am currently more drawn to such as my silk quilt and my pastel quilt.  I started hand quilting the first of the 3 doll quilts.  I also am very close to getting out “Twinkle” and finishing the border and I may even start a new project!

Here’s a picture of Stardust when I finished the top last November:

In hindsight, it was very ambitious of me to think I could get this hand quilted by October.  The quilt is 91 inches by 91 inches – very large!  It usually takes me at least 9-12 months to hand quilt something this large.  Starting in March gave me only 7 months, 3 of those over the hot summer,  and Al and I are going to be away on vacation for much of September.  I’m not saying that all deadlines are bad (for some they are very motivating!)  or that we shouldn’t honor our commitments (to others, in particular) when we make them.   I just think we too often create stress for ourselves with unnecessary “artificial” deadlines.  it’s important to recognize when this happens and realize you have the power to eliminate that stress.  For the most part, quilting should be a joy not a chore!!

I recently went down to the New England Quilt Museum to meet with the curator Pam Weeks and look over the space in which my quilts are going to be exhibited starting in January.  I am pretty sure I mentioned this honor a while back!  The time is approaching to start planning which quilts I’m going to show, in what order, what I’m going to say about them, etc.  While there I took time to see the current exhibits and will now share some pictures with you.  The first pictures are of an exhibit of quilts by 2 sisters from the 19th century.  One is a fabulous Baltimore Album and there are a couple of excellent broderie perse quilts.  Each sister make a lone star – almost the same.  Click on the pics for closeups!

The main exhibit was winners (not all Best of Shows; some were winners in specific categories) from AQS shows over the years, starting back in the 1980’s when the show began in Paducah. Selected winners over the years illustrate changes in the quilting world.  This is a fabulous exhibit and is up until the end of this month  – well worth going to if you can!  I didn’t have time to linger since I was with family, but here are four of my favorites:

Debra Wagner’s fabulous “urns” quilt with wonderful early machine quilting:

Martha Skelton’s wonderful traditional New York Beauty with amazing hand quilting:

So happy to see Cheryl See’s hexagon masterpiece in person and love how she hand quilted and embellished it:

One of my Japanese quilting heroes and one of her most beautiful quilts!:

I have a few more Vermont Festival pictures and NEQM pictures to share in next few posts.

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

July 13, 2017: Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 4

Greetings!  One of the things I love about the Vermont Quilt Festival is that they always have a wonderful exhibit of antique quilts.  This year’s exhibit was excellent, as usual, and focused on stars.  I would love to reproduce a couple of these!  (click on pics to enlarge and see closeups)

I’m not usually a big fan of sampler quilts, but really liked this one, especially the colors:

 

This (below) was one of my favorites.  I’d love to make this one in reproduction fabrics, but probably with lots of different colors rather than the muted reds and browns of this one.  I could see hand piecing the lemoyne stars in each block as a long term hand-work project.  Not sure it’s on the top of my long list of quilts to make, though!

This was my other favorite that I’d like to reproduce.  I love the combination of piecing and appliqué of the center 4 stars and if I make it some day, I’d probably use that combo in all the stars:

 

Enjoy the pictures of other antique star quilts in the exhibit:

 

So much inspiration!  So many quilts to make!  So little time!

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

July 8, 2017: 1. Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 3 2. Project Updates

Greetings!  It’s been a busy week especially with the grandkids with us for a couple of days.  Nevertheless, I managed to get some sewing done.  I got tired of quilting Baptist fans on “We Are Stardust”, even though I’m almost done with them.  Instead, I spent some time on the border, outlining the vines and leaves.  I decided to quilt diagonal 45 degree lines as the border background behind the vines and leaves – simple and easy.  The Baptist fans have not been that easy because I am sewing through so many seams from the stars!  The border is much easier and should go pretty fast:

I am sewing the silk quilt together in 3 large horizontal sections, top, middle, and bottom.  I am doing the embroidery embellishments as I go.  I completed the top section!

Sorry the pictures are darker than I’d like.  I took them with my new i-phone and am experimenting with using it for pictures rather than using my usual camera.  I still have much to learn to get really good pictures with the phone.  Please click on the pics for enlargements so you can see the embellishments better.

I made 3 more blocks for the pastel quilt.  These are fun and relatively easy and feed my need to work in these softer colors for now.  I can also make them without stressing yet on how I’m going to use them in a larger composition.

And I finished the third doll quilt top!

I picked out the backings for the 3 doll quilts and will next layer and baste them.  Quilting must be done by October 12th on these and Stardust!

Here are some of the quilts from the Vermont Quilt Festival that I really liked:

Incredible piecing and fabric choices in this one.  The red upper ribbon was one of those “special awards” that I mentioned last post that never got defined.  I thought maybe best piecing but that was mentioned on another quilt.  Maybe best “traditional”?

Love this appliqué!  In fact, I used the same feather pattern, though reduced in size considerably, in my “Feathering My Nest” quilt.  I love the primarily red and green color choices on this one:

This was a wonderful Baltimore Album based on a Sue Garman pattern.  I’d seen this one in magazines and on-line but it was nice to see it in person and be able to examine it more closely.  What an incredible amount of work and so well done!:

Loved seeing Barb Vedder’s “Alice Payne” in person!!  I had admired it on her blog and it’s such a lovely classic with wonderful workmanship and design changes from the original to make it her own:

Christine Wickert not only won best mini for her fabulous appliqué based on Debra Kembrell designs, but had another beautifully executed quilt in the show with excellent appliqué and hand quilting:

I thought this was an excellent use of EPP and design adaptation of the typical Grandmother’s Flower Garden – really liked how the values change throughout.  I very much liked how she quilted it.  Once again, I don’t know what the special award was for.:

This quilt was entirely machine made and the colors, design, and workmanship were wonderful.  Lots of crystals, which I’m not sure you can see in my photos.  I think the award was for machine quilting on a home machine:

That’s all for today!  I have at least a few more posts worth of pictures from Vermont and then yesterday I went down to the New England Quilt Museum and have quite a few pictures from their current exhibit to share – so lots of pictures in upcoming posts!

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

 

June 30, 2017: Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 2

Greetings!  As promised, here are more quilts from the Vermont Quilt Festival.  One of my favorite quilts was the winner of the Best Hand Quilting Award.  Janet Atkins is a master hand quilter and was very deserving of this award.  Her quilt was not just gorgeously hand quilted, but beautiful overall in color and design.  Too bad the inspiration was the loss of another quilt.  I remember the quilt that was lost and it was incredible.  I can’t imagine how bad I would feel if one of my quilts was lost or stolen.  I breathed a great sigh of relief when my Spirit of Japan arrived home – delivered by FedEX – from Vermont this week.  Be sure to click on the pictures to see closeups of the fabulous quilting!

I’ve been to the Vermont quilt show every year for 20 years in a row – amazing!!  Over the years, I’ve identified some “regulars” – quilters who seem to have a quilt in the show pretty often, if not necessarily every year.  I look for quilts by these folks every time I go.  Here are those folks and their quilts:

Ann Feitelson – always has incredible design with fabulous use of relatively bright colors.  This year’s quilt was wonderful, as usual!  I love her work!:

Timna Tarr is another quilter who is excellent at using color.  She is a master at making great scrap quilts often using traditional blocks.  Isn’t this quilt fun?!:

You can see in the second picture above that there is a special ribbon on the quilt.  This was one of my criticisms of this year’s show – several quilts had ribbons stating “special award” but there was never anything indicating what the award was for!  In past years a slip of paper was put into the show booklet with this information – after the awards ceremony where awards were announced.  That wasn’t done this year and I never saw any sign or listing of these awards.

Hope Johnson is making a series of quilts based on “bees.”  I love the bright color combination she used in the “bee” quilt in this year’s show.  I believe that’s a “Judge’s Choice” ribbon on it:

Pat Delaney is a top notch quilt maker who has won awards for her quilts with excellent machine quilting and overall workmanship at the national level so I always enjoy seeing what she is up to.  This year’s quilt was lovely!  I enjoyed seeing the pastel colors since I’ve just started on a project with pastels.  She won a “best mixed techniques” award since the quilt showcases piecing, appliqué, embroidery, and quilting.

And this was Megan Farkas’ entry this year – an original design and something less complex than the incredible appliqué quilt she entered last year!  I love her use of color here.  The hand quilting on this one is amazingly good – tiny stitches on batiks!  I know how hard that is to do!   She won a Judge’s Choice!!  I don’t think her quilt was shown off as well as it might have been on the black background sheets:

I think that’s enough visual stimulation for this time!!  I have plenty more quilts to share in future posts to stay tuned.   By the way, I had a lot of nice compliments from the judges on their score cards this year – that info came with the quilt delivery.  I got high marks for visual impact. The liked my quilting stitches – which I had been worried about!  They liked my use of the fabrics and how I arranged them.  And for the first time in a very long time I did not have any points taken off for my binding!

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

June 27, 2017: Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 1

Greetings!  Over the years, in spite of an occasional grumble about the judging, the Vermont Quilt Festival has been very good to me, with quite a few nice awards.  This year, Spirit of Japan #3 got a BLUE RIBBON!  It actually hung straighter than I thought it would, the hand quilting looked pretty good, and it was UNIQUE – I don’t think another quilt in the show used the Japanese indigo style fabrics and pieces of old kimonos that I used.  The only thing I didn’t like is that the quilt, especially the upper and lower borders, did not show very well against the black backdrop.  Nothing to be done about that!  (click on pics to enlarge!)

And here I am with Pat who is married to my cousin Victor and whom I hadn’t seen for many years!!  She contacted me because she and friends were driving up from Pennsylvania to the show so we met there – what fun!

And the highlight of the Festival for me was meeting Bobbie Korengold!  She found me through my blog a couple years ago and we’ve periodically corresponded.  She is from the DC area and this was her first visit to the Vermont Festival so we decided to meet “at the Best of Show quilt at noon” and have lunch together.  I had seen pictures of her latest quilt on the net and was thinking it was highly likely we’d be meeting at her own quilt!   Sure enough – her quilt, “Threads of Friendship” won Best of Show.  Before I show some pictures and talk about this quilt, let me say that it was delightful to meet and spend time with Bobbie  – she is the nicest person and so humble about her work!  And we were incredibly fortunate to run into Christine Wickert in the lunch area and have lunch with her too!  I met Christine last year at Vermont when she won Best of Show.   This year she won for best miniature quilt – I’ll have pictures of that one today too.  We were also joined by Pam Weeks, the curator of the New England Quilt Museum for lunch.  Whew – what a lunch full of quilt talk!  Pure heaven!

Without further ado, here are picture of Bobbie’s Best of Show quilt – WOW!   Absolutely click on these for enlargements/closeups!!:

I thought I had a few more pictures, but apparently not, unfortunately!  Here are what I love:

Visual impact – it is drop-dead gorgeous!!  It’s one of the most beautiful quilts I’ve ever seen.

Exquisite workmanship – superb applique, embroidery embellishment (with the thin silk threads given to her by her friend), trapunto, and hand quilting

Design – avoids the typical row-by-row block arrangement of the majority of album quilts, which is refreshing!

The ribbon is a touch of genius!

So much detail to see – could look at this quilt for hours!

Congratulations, Bobbie!  Best of Show was so deserved!!

I also want to show you Christine Wickert’s winning miniature quilt, which is also astounding – incredible workmanship!  Sorry I didn’t get better pictures, but the quilt was hanging low, well below eye level, and there was always a crowd around it making it hard to photograph!

I have a LOT more picture of quilts from the show to share over the next several posts, but this is all for today.  Here are my purchases from the show:

That’s right – not one single piece of fabric!!  This must be a first.  Honestly, I didn’t think the fabric selection at the show was very exciting or interesting – seemed to be mostly “same old” stuff.  It seemed like the vendors were trying to get rid of inventory, rather than introducing new.  And there was a serious dearth of reproduction fabric – not that I needed any more!  There seemed to be a lot of wool, which I’m not into.  I bought 2 spools of “Bottom Line” from Superior Threads which I use in my bobbin most of the time – medium brown and gray to go with lots of colors.  I bought one spool – med. gray – of the new 80 weight Aurifil thread to try for appliqué and EPP.  I tried it out on this block for the pastel quilt:

My initial assessment is that it is good – very similar to silk.  The thread melts into the fabric and doesn’t show.  It is less slippery than silk and perhaps handles a bit better, but the end curls easily tho not sure it tangles any more than other threads.  One blogger didn’t like this thread, saying it broke to easily, but I didn’t find this to be true for me, at least so far.  I think the jury is out on whether this is any better than silk.  It’s a better value – I think you get at least twice as much of the Aurifil 80 weight for the money.  I like it enough to consider buying a few more spools, but I am going to try doing a more serious comparison with silk first.

As for the new book – I would like to try some of Debra Kemball’s flowers in silk on silk for a pillow for my living room.  Not sure when that project will start given everything else I’m working on!

My 34 year old son lives in Brooklyn, NY so I don’t get to see him much.  He was a theater major in college and has written and given me poems in the past.  I recently challenged him to join me in writing daily haiku and he accepted!  We are texting each other our haikus each day.  This is so much fun and I am loving this way of connecting with him better and more often.  I have a “sewing” related haiku for this week, written the day after attending the festival:

I am a maker

Cloth, color, pattern, and stitch

Feed my searching soul

 

One more:

Time is a river

There’s no stepping out or back

Enjoy the currents

 

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

 

 

June 19, 2017: “Simple and subtle” embellishments; 5 years of blogging!

Greetings!  It’s hard for me to believe that it was 5 years ago this month that I started this blog.  I had been reading various blogs for some time and decided this was something I’d like to try, having no idea if I would like it enough to stick to it – obviously I have!  I have very much enjoyed getting to know other quilters through my blog and web site – people I would almost certainly never have gotten to know otherwise.  I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts and my creative processes.  It was weird at first, not having any idea if anyone was reading what I was writing.  That was before I knew there was a way to check how many views my posts were generating.  I seem to have a relatively small readership that has grown over the years and have gotten positive feedback from those who enjoy reading what I write and the pictures I post so I will continue!  My main hopes are that I have something worthwhile to say, work that is worth sharing, and that I don’t repeat myself too much!  To my regular readers – thank you for sticking with me!!

Because the silk quilt has been on my design wall for quite some time and I can’t ignore looking at it while I’m in the room, I have been thinking off and on for a while whether or not, and how, to embellish it to add interest.   That time arrived.  This is a star quilt.  I’ve been thinking about stars and galaxies.  I thought about spiral galaxies and the idea of embroidering spirals came to me.  I also thought about how intense/dense the embellishments should be and decided they should be simple and subtle – nothing too fancy to detract from the overall design.  I looked up spirals – symbolism and how to draw them.  Spirals are an ancient symbol with lots of different meanings – balance, progress, direction, centering, expansion, awareness, connection, journeying, development, etc.  There are lots of examples of spirals in nature too.  There are numerous types and different ways to draw them, including use of the “Fibonacci ratio.”  I decided to draw them freehand!!!  My spirals are the “logarithmic” type with the space between the lines increasing as they spiral out.

From a distance, you don’t notice the embellishments much (click on pics to enlarge):

But when you go closer you can see the spirals and also the little star rays in the centers of the actual stars:

Closer still:

I’m happy with the look so far.  I’m using one strand of DMC floss.  The spiral colors match the center circles but I’m going for contrast inside the stars.  I like the slightly wobbly look of the spirals done freehand – long live wabi sabi!!!  I have never used beads on a quilt, but am actually considering whether they might add further interest – stay tuned!  Of course, even this simple embroidery is going to take a while!

I made one more pastel quilt block:

Here are the 4 of them so far crowded into the little space left on my design wall:

I am taking a bit of a break from hand quilting “We Are Stardust” because of the recent heat wave we had – 3 days of 90+ temps early last week.  I knew I wouldn’t want a big quilt on my lap under those conditions!  Hopefully I can catch up soon.  Love the embroidery and appliqué hand work when it’s warmer.

Love watching my 2 hibiscus plants flower – buds that are ready open slowly over a few hours on one day:

My star quilt has inspired 3 of my recent haikus:

Endless galaxies

Dot the night sky if you look.

Who else is out there?

 

Spirals and clusters

With billions of hot, bright stars –

Profound mystery.

 

Moon viewing and star

Gazing put me in my place –

Microscopic speck!

 

I am very much looking forward to going to the Vermont Quilt Festival this Friday – yay!!  I haven’t been to a quilt show since my own guild’s show last October so am really excited.  I’m hoping my knee holds out as I will be standing and walking a lot, but realize I may have to rest more often and pace myself more.  I will be taking lots of pictures and will start posting them on my next blog post.

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

 

June 11, 2017: June is my favorite month!; Project updates and new adventures

Greetings!  For a long time June has been my favorite month.  Because I worked for 32 years in an academic setting (and was a student for many years before that!), this probably has something to do with June always having been a break from my hectic work schedule with lots of time off for relaxation.  Now that I’m retired and breaks from work are no longer relevant, I see that I still love June because of the weather and the vegetation.  My house size expands and I enjoy being on either our deck or screened porch (click on pics to enlarge):

and the rhododendrons are in full bloom:

I’m blessed!

I am on to “Phase 2” of the silk quilt!  this means that all the blocks are made and I am just starting to sew the pieces together:

I will sew the blocks together two by two and appliqué the circles between the two blocks:

I have a decision to make a this point.  If I want to add any embroidery embellishments, this is the time to add them before the two block pieces are sewn into bigger blocks which would be more cumbersome to hold while embroidering.  I have an idea for the embellishment and will try it and share next post!

I am moving along with the pastel appliqué blocks.  I added French Knots to the first block and do like the effect:

Here is the second block:

With the third block, I made the decision to not have all the backgrounds the same color so this one is on a yellow background.  That give me a better chance to use some green in the pieces.  The green turned out to be a little too light to show up so I outline stitched it to make it stand out more:

Here are the blocks together with the fabrics set out for the next two:

I’m happy with how it’s coming along!  It’s enjoyable to work with these colors right now.

I am embarking on 2 “new adventures” in my life.  I finally found a volunteer opportunity that I like.  I have started volunteering at a local thrift shop in which all the money – and I mean ALL – goes to worthy charities.  I’ve had 2 training sessions so far and look forward to doing this more.  I’ve already met people I like and hope to get to know a little more.  I like that I can volunteer any time with the frequency I wish – no absolutely set schedule.  Last year they gave over $60,000 dollars to charity so they do a good business!

My other new adventure is that I have decided to write a “Daily Haiku,”  i.e. one haiku every day.   Most of you probably know that a haiku is a poem of 3 lines with the first and third lines 5 syllables and the middle line 7 syllables.  You try to capture the essence or kernel of an idea within that framework. I started on June 1 and am enjoying the challenge!  I have seen quilting/textile blogs showing some quilters and textile artists doing daily art projects, but I’m not motivated to do any other daily textile projects than the longer term ones I’m already doing!  The idea of the daily activity is to do it quickly and improvisationally without too much laboring over whether it is “good”.  Some of my haiku will be good and some probably awful, but I like the format and the idea of the daily challenge.  And sometimes smaller projects like this can spark ideas for larger projects though that is not necessarily my intent here!  In my 11 days so far I have written about sewing twice and will share those with you:

I love stitching cloth.

My thread is the passing of

Time.  Marks left behind.

 

Quietly stitching

Outdoors with the birds and trees

Home surrounds me.  Peace.

 

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