February 16, 2018: New doll quilt started!; A special finish; Japanese quilts at the New England Quilt Museum

Greetings!  I wasn’t sure I was going to make a “Trio of Doll Quilts” this year, but was inspired this week to start one –  so I guess I am!!  This one is made up of 3 1/2 inch “courthouse steps” variation of the log cabin squares.  The setting is going to be 3 blocks across and 4 down (I think) and I have 6 of the 12 blocks done.

Each block requires 5 different green and red fabrics and 5 pink and yellow fabrics in addition to the fussy cut center.  Each block has 21 pieces.

I’m using 60 different fabrics even though the blocks look very similar.

I love the secondary pinwheels that occur when the blocks are set up in opposite directions.  You can see them if you squint!

Since my last post I made another bunch of palm leaf blocks so that I now have enough to set them 6 across and 7 down:

I took a break to ponder the size and try to determine how big I want this to be.  I’ve decided it should be at least 8 blocks across and 10 down.  These are 6 inch blocks so that would be 48 inches X 60 inches without a border; bigger with, which is my plan.  Next step is to make the rest of the blocks to bring it to that size and then see what I think.  I am also studying the blocks to see what kind of embellishment(s) might work well – not sure yet.

I’m loving the textures of the indigos and backgrounds:

I’m amazed at the versatility of the palm leaf block pattern.  Look how I’ve used it in 2 other of my quilts and see how very different the block looks based on the colors used and the setting/placement of the blocks.  Both these quilts have 6 inch blocks just like the Winter quilt:

My first “finish” of the year is the quilt I made with my granddaughter!  I can’t believe it’s been waiting around for over a year for the quilting, but now is finally done.

Here’s the quilting done by long armer Linda Bevins, front and back:

I can’t wait to get a label on it and give it to Sveta!!!  She picked out all the fabrics from my stash.   I cut out the pieces.  She arranged them on the design wall; I pinned the pieces together.  She did all the sewing on my sewing machine!   I just finished putting on the binding.  We had a lot of fun together and I hope we get to do this again.

I was able to go back to the New England Quilt Museum a couple days ago with 2 of my friends. It was great to share my exhibit with them.  I also finally had a chance to really look at the wonderful Japanese quilts on exhibit.  I took pictures of 24 of the quilts and will share the first 4 with you today.  Click on the pics to enlarge and enjoy the details!!!

Here are my friends Van and Sarah standing beside my quilt, Myriad:

I think this quilt was my favorite of the Japanese quilts.  I just love everything about it.  I love that it features circles and a tree – both favorite symbols of mine – and the hand quilting is amazing:

Make sure you read the artist statement on this one – how she loves fabric!  This is gorgeous use of fabric!!:

I love how the quilting enhances the overall design on this one:

This is a beautiful traditional quilt with exquisite hand quilting and appliqué (and it’s hand pieced too!!!!):

 

Finally, isn’t this an absolutely gorgeous bouquet I got for Valentine’s Day?!!!!

My husband is the best!!!!

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

 

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February 10, 2018: “Winter” quilt progress and more

Greetings.  Since my last post, I have been very focused on making palm leaf blocks for the Winter quilt and loving the process.  I really do enjoy foundation piecing and machine work is a nice change of pace from the usual hand stitching I always have going,

Here is what I have so far – a full picture with several closeups of individual blocks so you can enjoy the fabrics (click on them to enlarge them):

 

I am really liking the bold graphic design with an emphasis on diagonal lines going in opposite directions that occurs with setting the blocks in straight rows and alternating the way the palm leaves point.  I will eventually play with different arrangements, but not sure I’ll find something  I like better than this!  I am also enjoying the subtle differences in the shades of blue and aqua and tan in the backgrounds and the different patterns in the indigos.  Having lots of different  dark and light fabrics adds a lot of interesting texture to the piece.  Besides the 18 different pieces of indigo in the fat quarter bundle that inspired this project, I found another dozen suitable indigos left over from another project that I can use to add even more variety.   And I’ve ordered several more light blues and aquas on line that should be coming soon.  I’m dreaming of a dark indigo border background with some sort of appliqué of the lighter blue and aqua fabrics…..And I’m pondering whether any embroidery embellishments on the main quilt would add interest or detract from the graphic power of the basic design….And I don’t know yet how large the quilt wil be….

When I started the Winter project, the only foundation paper I had on hand was this:

It is vellum and works quite well, but in the past I haven’t liked it as much as (because harder to rip off) Carol Doak’s paper which has been my “go to” foundation for some time now:

So I went off to the nearest JoAnn’s to buy the Carol Doak product and at first didn’t see any.  What I saw was this June Taylor product:

I decided to buy a pack of it to try even though I also found a pack of the Carol Doak paper and bought that too.  I think I am now hooked on the June Taylor foundation sheets!!!  These are not really paper, but more like a soft interfacing with enough body to hold their shape and go through a printer and they are a real pleasure to work with.  I mentioned in a recent post how I am drawn to the TACTILE nature of making quilts and working with cloth.  From a TACTILE standpoint, the June Taylor sheets are so much nicer than paper!  And I did a trial and they rip off easily.  However, they are quite a bit more expensive.

The Carol Doak papers are 10 cents a sheet (100 for $10.00).  The Vellum papers are #30 for $10.00 so about 33 cents per sheet.  And the June Taylor foundation sheets were #50 for $14.99 so that comes out to 30 cents per sheet.  If money is an issue the Carol Doak papers are perfectly adequate.  My plan, however, is to get the June Taylor sheets whenever I can using this!:

The coupon makes them reasonably priced at about 15 cents a sheet!

I have almost completed the Lyre block:

I forgot to mention in the last post that the lyre is one of the hardest things I’ve appliquéd because it is all one piece.  The space between the strings had to be cut down the center and I barely had 1/8 inch of fabric to needle turn under – very difficult.  In fact, don’t look too close!!

Now I have to figure out the appliqué design for the big area in the center of this quilt – it’s not going to be easy!  Proportion is going to be very important since the block is 4X bigger than the others.

I found the most amazingly perfect backing fabric for my silk quilt, Star Trek.  It’s a digital print from Hoffman and is supposed to look like nebulae that one would see from the Hubble telescope:

This piece is not silk – I was worried about using silk for the backing because I felt it would need interfacing and I didn’t want to add yet another layer to quilt through.  I think the cotton backing will add some stability.  I do have a silk batting.

I mentioned in a previous post how much binding I’m going to be sewing the next few weeks – I made over 800 inches of binding for 4 quilts.  Then I went and volunteered to sew the binding down on my guild’s raffle quilt for this year and it is a behemoth at over 100 inches square!!!

It’s the “Amish with a Twist” pattern.  Sue Foster did a masterful job quilting it. Notice that there is piping at the edge of the binding too – a wonderful detail.  I think we are going to raise a lot of money for charity with this!!!

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

 

February 4, 2018: 1. New project! 2.Update on “Sweet Journeys” 3. More from Houston!

Greetings!  It was exactly a year ago that I was in the hospital in Thailand, one day post-op from my elbow surgery and dealing with a patellar fracture in my right knee as well.  The next 3 months were NOT fun.   So happy that all that is in the past!  The injuries have left me with some minor permanent changes, but nothing life changing.  I am less NIMBLE than I was before and that reminds me that I’m in the “young old age” phase of life.  I want to enjoy as much of life while I can and I am very lucky to be in relatively good health overall.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you may remember that I came home from the Houston Quilt Festival with a stack of indigo fat quarters:

Since then I have been periodically thinking about what to do with them.  I have been itching to start a foundation paper piecing project as I really enjoy that technique as a break from all the hand work I do.  And I haven’t had a foundation paper piecing project since piecing the silk quilt and that part was done several months ago.  The past couple weeks my focus on starting something with these – which will be “Spirit of Japan #5″ in the series – became serious.  I considered numerous possibilities.  Initially I was thinking something ” blue and white” but didn’t like the plain creamy white fabric I had – too plain!  Then I considered indigo and cheddar, but when I pulled some cheddar fabrics and looked at them with the indigo, I wasn’t thrilled – too many “creamy colored patterns” in the indigo pieces.  I though about pairing them with brightly colored Japanese fabrics, but thought I should try something different.   Then I pulled a creamy-taupe fabric from my stash and liked it with the indigo:

The fabric above has some gray-bluish hints in it that you might not be able to see well in the picture.  Then I decided I needed some very very light blues and teals and decided the quilt will be a “winter” quilt.  I love the seasons and have made autumn and spring quilts.  This could be my winter quilt!  I have supplemented the indigos and the taupe fabric with the following:

After VERY MUCH deliberation re what kind of foundation piecing pattern I want to use, I decided to start making palm leaf blocks – AGAIN!  I am so drawn to this block and now this will be my third quilt using it.  That means I have “criss crossing series” going!!!  i.e. my 5th Spirit of Japan and my third palm leaf quilt.

The pale background colors will be a departure for me since I often use lots of different colors in my quilts.  I don’t yet have an overall design – will make blocks and then play with them.  I’ve been influenced to try something different by this book:

The author talks about the Japanese cancept, “iki”, which is hard to translate into English, but relates to  “a matter of taste” and in Japan is associated with 3 color schemes – gray, taupe, and blue.  We’ve seen some of this in the taupe Japanese quilts of Yoko Saito.  You can see it also in the indigo/blue quilts of Shizuko Kuroha (and others!).  She shows some examples in the book:

So I am happily into a new project!  And I have a second new project in mind for the other group of fabrics I bought in Houston – more on that another time.

Meanwhile, I completed the basket block for “Sweet Journeys” and am working on the harp block:

Here’s the quilt on my design wall with the opening in the center (click to enlarge):

I have to decide whether to do one large block in the center or 4 more smaller blocks – am leaning to one large block and thinking about/looking at possibilities.

Recently Wendy (The Constant Quilter blog) asked her readers how many quilts they have going at a time.  I believe she has a list of 31 with 16 of them “active.”  Many folks have a couple dozen or more.  I think I am something of an abberation.  I now – having just added the indigo quilt discussed above – have 7 quilts going and THAT’S IT!!  This is pretty normal for me: 5-8 projects at once.  I tend to think very carefully before starting any project about whether it is going to be something I will be able to commit to for a long time – do I really like the fabrics, the design or design potential, the techniques, etc.  Then, when I start, I usually stick with it even if it takes years.  I like to have at least one quilt in the hand quilting stage, one being hand appliquéd, and one being machine pieced (foundation paper and/or not).  Now I have an EPP project going too.  I like the option of doing different techniques when I’m in the mood.

Today I’m sharing pictures from the Cherrywood Challenge special exhibit at the Houston show.  Wow!!!  The colors and quilts were simply wonderful!  Click on the pictures to enlarge them and enjoy the details:

And I’m still not done with pics from Houston!

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

 

 

 

January 28, 2018: 1. Silk quilt top completed!!; 2. Why I’m passionate about making quilts 3. More from Houston – Sue Garman plus a couple more hand quilted quilts

Greetings!  I started the silk quilt a little over a year ago and had to take a 3 month break after my injuries last winter when I couldn’t use the sewing machine.  Because of appliqué and embroidery – and working on other projects at the same time! -, this top has taken quite a while to complete, but it is finally done!  (click on pics to enlarge)

The pictures, unfortunately, don’t really capture how wonderful the silk looks in good lighting.  I’ll now have it machine basted and then will hand quilt it.  My goal is to have it done for the Cocheco show in October, but not sure how realistic that is…..

Meanwhile, I’ve been busy making over 800 inches of binding for 3 quilts that I’ll be getting back soon from the long-armer – my daughter’s quilt, my granddaughter’s quilt, and a charity baby quilt, plus another charity baby quilt.   February might be “binding month” for me!!

I’m making progress on the Sweet Journeys block (many leaves still to go!):

For my talk at the opening of my exhibit at the NEQM, I said that what keeps me quilting after 25 years is my PASSION for making quilts.  I love the process – something about making quilts “feeds my soul.”  When someone is passionate about something, one makes space and time for it in his/her life.  Then I went on to give 6 reasons why I’m passionate about making quilts.

  1. Making quilts gives me the opportunity to be creative and to express myself artistically.  Even though I work mostly within the traditional quilt style, I draft most of my own blocks and patterns and I love to play with color, pattern, and fabric, arranging those to try to create an original, unique, one-of-a-kind overall design.  I talked a bit about my quilt, Autumn Returns, as an example of how I used a traditional quilt block – pineapple variation of the log cabin – and made a “traditional” style quilt, but made it original and unique by my color placement in the center and additional of an original border.

2. The second reason I’m passionate about making quilts is its tactile nature – the medium.  I love touching and manipulating cloth, pinning it, cutting it, pressing it, etc.  I quoted well known and respected art quilter, Judith Martin:  “I believe that the intimacy we have with domestic textiles and the tactile nature of cloth has a psychic power.”  The first thing that happens to us when we are born is we are wrapped in cloth.  Cloth is warmth and comfort.  And then we are surrounded by cloth in various forms the rest of our lives.

3. The third reason I’m passionate about making quilts is closely related to the second,  I love using my hands.  I’m a maker and a doer.  When I was a child I spent hours drawing and cutting out paper dolls and clothes for them.  As a teenager, I made most of my own clothes, knitted, and did crewel embroidery for decorative pillows.  I used my hands all the time as a physician – examining patients, doing procedures, etc.  And with quilting, I love the hand quilting stitch, doing hand appliqué, and adding hand embroidered embellishments to my quilts.  Even though initially I wasn’t fond of hand piecing, I have come full circle and started to enjoy the English Paper piecing method of hand piecing the past couple years.  Hand stitching is meditative and relaxing for me.  I enjoy the calm it engenders and the quiet time for thinking.

4.  The fourth reason I’m passionate about making quilts is that I enjoy construction challenges. When one drafts one’s own patterns and blocks, one has to figure out how to make all the pieces fit together so that the result is not a lumpy mess!  I like those types of challenges.

5. The fifth reason I’m passionate about making quilts is the quilting community.  When I made my first quilt, I had no idea there was a quilt guild in the area.  I discovered and joined the Cocheco Quilters Guild in 1997 and it has been wonderful.  I’ve made lots of friends through the guild, learned so much from the programs and workshops, and had personal opportunities open up for me through my guild associations.  I also joined the DLM quilters – a smaller local “bee” – in 2000.  We meet monthly in members homes, share our projects, socialize, and go on retreats together.  I cherish the friendships I’ve made through being a member of this group.  And I joined the blogging quilting community 5 1/2 years ago and have made some wonderful connections through this blog!

6.  And last, but not least…..The sixth reason I’m passionate about making quilts is that, not only do I love the process, but I love the product!  I love that my quilts are functional!  I have quilts on all the beds in the house and my husband and I sleep under anywhere from 1-5 quilts at any given time.  They provide wonderful warmth!  We even sleep under award winning quilts!  I also love the functional decorative aspect of my quilts – we have quilts on many walls in the house for decoration and I never tire of looking at them.

I’m going to finish today’s post with pictures of a few of Sue Garman’s quilts from the Houston Festival.  I’m sure many of you know that she was a wonderful quilt maker and designer, and though I never had the pleasure of meeting her, was a wonderful person who passed away a year ago.  There was an exhibit of 75 of her quilts – she made more than 300!!!! – at the Houston Festival.  It was fabulous!  I believe her web site (google Sue Garman) has pictures of all the quilts that were in the show so you can go there for more.

Two more wonderful hand quilted quilts from the Houston show (I’m pretty sure I didn’t show these before!)

Jane Holihan has been one of my quilting “idols” since I first started.  She is an exquisite hand quilter and has been winning awards for her quilts for over 30 years.  The fact that this did not win a ribbon just goes to show how incredible the competition is at Houston:

Another incredible Japanese quilt:

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

 

 

January 21, 2018: My exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum

Greetings!  Yesterday was a very special day for me – the opening of my exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum.  What an incredible honor!  As I said in my talk, if anyone had told me when I was planning my first quilt 25 years ago, that I would one day have an exhibit of them in a museum, I would have been astonished!  It was incredible to see my quilts hanging all together with appropriate lighting and plenty of space.  I had a wonderful audience and enjoyed talking with folks afterward.

The first thing I want to show you is “We Are Stardust.”  I’ve been waiting to get a picture of this quilt hanging at the show so you can really see it properly (click on pics to enlarge!):

I’m so happy with how this turned out!  I’ll be entering it into the Vermont Quilt Festival this year.

Now some shots of the space, early before many people arrived:

Now, during my talk:

Pam Weeks (curator – and friend!) introducing me (she talked first about the Japanese exhibit):

During my talk:

And now I am shamelessly going to show off  pictures of some (not all) of my quilts from the exhibit!

“Feathering My Nest”:

“Autumn Returns”:

“Imperfect Beauty”:

“Spring Sonata”:

“Oriental Meditation #1:  New Year’s Day”:

“Oriental Meditation #5:  Waterlily Dream”:

“Whig Rose”:

“Oriental Meditation #2:  Circle Visions”: (unfortunately the color is a bit washed out in this picture; in the quilt the colors are really vibrant!)

My Spirit of Japan series (#1,2, and 3):

Some of my doll quilts:

“Stella Nova”:

“Myriad”:

I really hope that if you are within driving distance you can make it to the exhibit before it goes down on April 30th!  I’m biased, of course, but I think it is worth the trip!  Also there is the wonderful exhibit of Japanese quilts to see.  I only had time for a quick walk-through and am planning to go back soon to see it in more depth and, of course, plan to take lots of pictures to share.  Here’s just a quick look at the gallery:

I have been making more of the diamond shapes for my EPP project and sewing them to the stars when I get a chance.j  I haven’t sewn any of the stars together yet as I’m still studying what the best way to do that should be:

I have picked out the fabrics I need for the appliqué block and drawn and cut out the templates in prep for needleturn:

My talk at Lowell lasted about 15 minutes.  The first half was about me and how I got into quilting.  The second half covered the 6 reasons I’m passionate about making quilts.  I will share the latter with you in my next post, coming soon!

Many thanks to all the readers of my blog for your support, encouragement, and kind words over the years!!

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

 

 

 

January 14, 2018: What I’m working on; Broderie Perse exhibit in the Houston show

Greetings!  My sewing machine is away for a week for its annual servicing/cleaning (though, shame on me, I think it’s been 2 years since the last time!).   That means I’m doing only hand work right now – no problem with that!

I’ve been making and sewing in the diamond shaped connector pieces for the hexagon star quilt.  At the Houston show, I purchased a plastic diamond template plus a pack of 75 pre-cut diamond shapes to use.  I started with them, but found them just a little bit too stiff for my liking.  I decided to make my own diamond shapes out of the freezer paper sheets I bought at the show, using my ARDCO template.  These are just a bit stiffer than regular freezer paper and are perfect!  I don’t mind cutting out the shapes – great “busy work” to do while watching football playoffs!  I need to make over 200!

I have most of the top couple of rows done, but haven’t sewn the stars together yet:

I am embroidering the last border for the silk quilt:

And I am getting the borders of “Twinkle” ready to be sewn to the top.  When I make an appliqué border, I cut the background fabric strips wider than needed to allow for some shrinkage during the appliqué process.  I baste the edges under to prevent fabric raveling if it is going to take a while to complete the appliqué.  Now I have to take all out!! – Another good job for watching football!!!

Remember this project???  I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I did any stitching on “Sweet Journeys”, my Baltimore album project!

One of my goals for 2017 was to finish this top and, of course, it never happened.  Now I am making it a goal for 2018.  I only need to make 2 more smaller blocks and the large center block.  I’ve decided on this as the next smaller size block:

It’s from Elly’s very first book.  I’ve started to make the basket – on separate fabric so the background doesn’t show through the bars:

I was at the New England Quilt Museum to help hang my quilts on the 6th.  Here’s my dining room table as I got the quilts ready for packing:

And here are a few shots of the room as we worked:

The opening reception is this coming Saturday and I don’t want to share more pictures until after that!

Today I’m sharing pictures of 5 quilts from the special exhibit at Houston of Broderie Perse quilts.  Please click on the pictures to enjoy the details!  Some day I might like to try this technique.

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

January 5, 2018: Thinking about the new year; project updates; Houston Festival pics, continued; My show at NEQM opens next week!!

Greetings!  Like most folks, I often use the beginning of a new year to think about my life, what’s important to me, and how I want to best use my time and talents.  I am reminded now of a comment by Catherine Bateson, the daughter of the famous archeologist, Margaret Mead, which I spoke about earlier this year.  She said her mother’s idea of the “ideal heaven” would be a place of endless creativity.  I want my retirement to be full of creativity.   For me, that means lots of quilt making (original designs mostly!), writing poetry, and playing music.   I’d even like to challenge myself to compose a tune or two – I used to compose pieces on the guitar and piano, when I played them,  but have not done so on the accordion.  And perhaps I’ll get back to my drawing course.

I’m also reminded of the 4 “guiding principles” I’ve been following the past several years:  enjoy, create, serve, and preserve.  During my career as a physician, the “service” aspect was front and center and it now seems OK to focus more on the “enjoy” and “create.”  Nevertheless, I’ll continue to volunteer regularly at the thrift shop.  I think our democracy is in some danger and in order to “preserve” it, I am trying to figure out how best to get involved – perhaps through helping out some way in the November elections.  I am getting more involved in my quilt guild – I volunteered to be in charge of workshops for this coming year.   I never have a problem with the “enjoy’ part!!!  Al and I are already planning a couple of trips.  We are looking forward to the evolving relationships we are developing with our grandchildren as they get older.  I enjoy reading.  We have terrific friends with whom we will continue to share activities, good conversation, music, etc.  We hope for continued good health.  The new year will be an adventure!

I finally had an empty design wall on which to pin the hexagon stars I have been working on intermittently over the past 4 months!  I’ve just been making “random” stars, without a plan for the quilt, though I have been trying to get an even mix of colors.  (click on pics for enlargements)

Now that I see these on the design wall, I think an overall hexagonal arrangement of the stars would make a good medallion center of a larger quilt.  Of course, I am dreaming of some sort of appliqué border.  I think I need to add another row of 5 stars on both the top and bottom to enlarge this a little – I think it needs more height.  Once I make 10 more stars and see now that looks, I will start to add the background pieces and sew all of this together.  I’m praying the pieces fit well together.

If you’ve been reading my blog for over a year, you may remember this top I finished in 2016.  I am finally going to have it basted and start to hand quilt it:

I finished the second donation baby quilt top:

Replacing the block in my daughter’s quilt (see last post) was easy, but I made an unexpected discovery when I did this – she HAND PIECED this quilt!  I had not remembered that at all and this fact makes it more special:

It’s now ready to send out for quilting!

I have several quilts to share with you from the Houston festival.  Here are a few from the SAQA exhibit of art quilts:

Love the intricate piecing on this one:

Love the use of color in this one, how the colors interact:

Love the use of hand quilting/stitching in this one:

Judith Martin’s blog is one of my favorites.  I love her commentary on art, time, and stitching.

I forget what exhibit this next quilt was in, but I was drawn to it because it is all made of silk and the colors are so vibrant!:

And speaking of “vibrant color” one of the wonderful special exhibits at Houston this year was an exhibit of works by Danny Amazonas from Taiwan.  His use of fabrics to create his art is astounding!  He uses tiny bits of fabric to create his images, but there is no actual “quilting” on his work.  The current issue of “American Quilter” has an article on him and his process.

Still much more from Houston to come!!!!!

Tomorrow I take my quilts to the New England Quilt Museum to be hung for the show!!!  It opens on the 10th and the opening reception is on the 20th at 11 AM.  Come if you can make it! If you can’t come to the opening reception, make sure you get to the museum to see the exhibit before April 29th.  Besides my exhibit, there’s also going to be a fantastic exhibit of prize winning Japanese quilts starting January 10th .  The NEQM in Lowell, MA is a wonderful resource and source of inspiration for quilters and everyone should take advantage of all they offer!  Go to their web site for details on directions, hours, upcoming exhibits, etc.

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