August 18, 2019: Choosing a vacation project; more Maine show quilts

Greetings!  Exactly 2 weeks from today Al and I leave for a 2 week trip to the Pacific Northwest.  We fly to Seattle, rent a car, and spend time in the San Juan Islands, Vancouver, Victoria, the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park, and finish up with 3  days in Seattle.  In planning for the trip, what sewing project to bring is right up in there in priority with what clothes to bring!  Needless to say, I won’t be doing much sewing, but I Iike a little hand work in the wee morning and late evening hours and sometimes between excursions as well.  You never know when a hand sewing project will come in handy.  On last year’s vacation I got a lot of sewing done on a 5 hour ferry ride in weather that was too nasty to enjoy the scenery.

Option #1:  I could bring my first “Time of Plenty” border (see previous blog posts for better pictures!):

It has 16 flowers, 42 leaves, and 42 berries that need to be appliquéd – plenty to keep my busy!  The advantage is that this is all prepped and ready to go.  The disadvantage is that if I lose it or something happens to it, I don’t have enough of the red background fabric to make another (not at all sure I could get more) and I would also be losing a ton of work that has already gone into getting it this far!  Best not to chance it.

Option #2:  My hexie star project has been my travel take-along project for the last 2 years.  However, adding the connecting background pieces is not nearly as fun as making the stars and   I’ve been stalled on this project for a while.  Piecing each star leads to seeing a surprise kaleidoscope effect when done – so much fun!;

Piecing the background in – not so much fun.  The pieces and sections have not been well organized.  I decided to put what I have on the design wall and make some decisions.

I have 11 rows of stars; the rows alternate 11 and 10 stars.  4 of those rows still need connector pieces added.  Instead of making an entire large quilt of stars, I’ve decided I am going to make the stars the center of a medallion style quilt.  But I don’t want it to be square – what I currently have is essentially a square.  So…I need to more rows to make a rectangle of 13 horizontal rows.  Two more rows will require another 21 stars.  Do I want making these stars to be my vacation project?  I have the fabrics – had them set aside already:

But it would require me to not only cut out 147 pieces (21 stars x 7 pieces per star), but make sure they are placed properly for fussy cutting and then I’d have to iron down all the edges in the next 2 weeks.  A lot of work!  Not feeling like I want to do this at this time.  But at least I now have everything nicely organized (each row in a separate baggie), the fabrics picked out for the 21 new stars.   It is all ready for when I feel the urge to make progress on this and I know where I’m going with it!

Option #3:  Work on the Hospital Sketches border.  Yesterday I washed and ironed the gold background fabric and cut the 4 border strips out – decided to cut them 10 inches wide.  I picked a green fabric that I had enough of for the vine and made the vine for one border.  I decided to not have the vine go around the corners – will echo a design from one of the center blocks in the corners.  Today I have made some of the leaves and berries – prepared edge method.  Here’s what this looks like on my design wall right now.  You can also see I’m looking at putting in a narrow red inner border and a red sashing between the blocks:

Here’s the latest block I finished (gold color much truer in above pics).  Only 2 more to go!:

So I have decided to bring the first border for Hospital Sketches on vacation with me.  Stitching the leaves and berries with their already pre-turned edges should be relaxing and fun.  And it won’t take much more work to finish making all the pieces for this one border strip and basting them down.  If something happens to it, I should be able to easily get more of the gold fabric and the amount of work invested won’t be quite as much.  Not that I expect anything to happen!!!

Here are a few more quilts from the Maine quilt show for you to enjoy!  As always, click on any of the pics to enlarge and enjoy the details.

There was a wonderful display of Andrea Brokenshire’s stunningly beautiful flower quilts!!!  These are hand and thread painted:

Wonderful hand quilting on this one.  The stitches were dense enough to create a trapunto effect for her feathers:

A beautifully done Judy Niemeyer design:


Lovely appliqué and nice hand quilting, too:

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



August 12, 2019: Tessellating Whirligig # 3!: Basket Quilts from the NEQM exhibit

Greetings!  I approached designing my third “modern mini” – Tessellating Whirligig # 3 – by going to my stash and searching for an interesting fabric in a color that would inspire me.  It didn’t take too long!  It’s the print fabric you see in the pictures below – designed by Nancy Crow 15-20 years ago – in my stash a long time!   Once I chose that fabric and the solids to go with it, the construction was quick and easy.  The top is finished (click on pic to enlarge):

With this third one, I switched the location of the solids which had been in the “background” before.  The solids now appear more in the foreground.  I used 16 different green and blue fabrics, one for each whirligig, instead of using one background fabric throughout.  The print is the same throughout.  Here are all three tessellating whirligigs together and closer shots of each of the others so you can compare if you want to!

Now I have to quilt them all!  One is layered and almost fully basted and  the backing fabrics  for the other 2 have been selected.  I don’t expect I’ll have any trouble finishing them by our October show.  These have been a lot of fun to make!!!  Because I enjoyed this so much, I am anticipating doing another set of “modern minis” again next year (instead of my reproduction doll quilts), and will probably choose a different design to explore.

Today I’m sharing pictures of some of the Basket Quilts that were exhibited at the New England Quilt Museum recently.  What a wonderful exhibit!  Loved it!  Making a basket quilt has long been on my “to do” list and there was lots of inspiration here.  Do take the time to read the stories behind the quilts if you can!

I especially loved the colors of this next one!!

A stunning whole cloth with trapunto!!!

I like the chrome yellow background on this one:

One of my absolute favorites!!!:

And it was displayed next to the original quilt!!  So fun to see them together!  (Hard to get a great picture of the whole original quilt as it was mounted on a board at an angle.)

Another quilt was displayed next to the original:

I haven’t shared a picture of Ursula for while.  She is nearing 6 1/2 months and is so much fun to play with now!  I especially love that look in her eyes in the first picture.

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

August 5, 2019: “Time of Plenty” – a vine border starts with a vine!; Silk quilts from the NEQM

Greetings!  After feverishly finishing 2 tops for my “trio of modern minis,” I seem to be taking a while to come up with a good idea for a third one.  As I mulled that over this week, I tackled the final  border design for “Time of Plenty.”  I had settled on the basic elements – flowers, leaves, berries, – and prepared many of the pieces, but I had to create the actual vine in order to really get going!

A vine can “undulate” evenly or unevenly depending on what the overall quilt design calls for.  This quilt is a bit more formal so needs, I think, an evenly undulating vine.  To get this I measured one side of the quilt (this one is square, making it easier!) and cut a piece of paper the width I might want the vine to undulate from one side to the other plus a little extra and the length of one side.  My side is 63 1/2 inches.  I use exam room paper from a big roll I have.  One could use freezer paper.  I cut a piece 63 1/2 inches long and folded the paper in half then in half again – I’ll have 4 equal sections when it’s done.  Then I drew an undulating line – see pic below and cut along the line:

It may take a little experimenting to get the the width of the undulation the way you want it.  I tried one before the above pic and it was too wide and deep so I drew it again and this time it was right.  After I unfold the paper I pin it to the fabric (you can iron it to the fabric if you use freezer paper!).  I made 2 because I wanted to make sure I could extend the vine around the corner:

Then I marked one side with a marker along the undulation and pinned the vine along the line ( leave excess vine that I can eventually extend around the corner after the pieces are joined):

I put the border back up against the quilt with just the vine pinned on one last time to make sure the undulations fell in the right places before sewing it down:

Once the vine was basted down I could proceed to start adding elements and figure out where everything would go:

After all pieces were pinned and I was happy with the placement of each piece (and after all templates were removed),  I basted every piece down with thread.  Some people glue or sew with pins, but I enjoy the process much more when everything is thread basted down.  Now I have many hours of blissful stitching to look forward to!!!   And I still have to prep pieces for the other 3 sides so I am going to be busy with this project for a long time!!!!!  By the way, I went back and forth about whether to make “skinny” vines for the flowers to attach to the main vine or to embroider those vines and am pretty sure I’m going to do the latter.

Here are more of the beautiful silk quilts from the exhibit at NEQM:

Christine Wickert’s gorgeous, all hand done, mini!!  This quilt is small and the workmanship is amazing!

The story Ruth was telling is rather long so I don’t include it here:

This next one was one of my favorite quilts in the exhibit – I love everything about it!

This was a favorite as well:

Another beautiful silk quilt by Christine Wickert:

An amazing crazy quilt – click on pics to enjoy all the details.  Apparently I forgot to get a pic of the whole thing at once!

2 beautiful modern silk quilts – aren’t the colors stunning?!

Loved the colors and stitches on this modern one:

I have more silk quilts to share and more Maine show quilts to share and even a few more from Vermont, but I am closing today with one of my favorites of the basket quilts exhibited at NEQM.  And I have a lot more of the basket quilts to share as well so stay tuned!!!

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


July 31, 2019: Down the rabbit hole of “tessellating whirligigs”!; Maine quilt show pictures

Greetings!  Since my last post only 6 days ago, I finished the top of the first of my “Modern Minis,”  “Tessellating Whirligig #1” and am almost finished with the second one!!!  This is what happens when inspiration strikes! :  (click on pics for enlargements)

A few closeups:

I love how the gray background silk fabrics change color/value in different light.  Now, of course, it needs to be quilted and that should add more texture and interest.  While finishing this I was thinking about what to make for #2 in this series of 3.  I decided to stick with the same pattern and make it in entirely different colors.   The background is a fabulous black “shot” (warp and weft are different colors) fabric flecked with gold from the Essex Linen  line from Kaufmann.  It “reads” gray rather than black.   Unfortunately you can’t see the gold flecks in the pictures, but they add a lot of interest!  I used an Alexander Henry fabric that I have had in my collection for maybe 15 years! and I pretty much destroyed it! (though I hope to piece together enough for the back).  The pieces were mostly cut from the red/orange areas but I cut some to show a few black lines here and there and then appliquéd the black/red silk circles.  I chose a different shade of gold/orange silk for the thin strips in each 2 inch block per set of 4 blocks. 

I love how this came out and am already thinking of  ideas for “Tessellating Whirligig #3” – probably will again keep the same pattern and use very different fabrics.   Maybe some of my authentic Japanese fabrics….???  Maybe I will tweak the location of the narrow strip in each block……?

Not only did I go to the Maine quilt show on Saturday, but I went to the New England Quilt Museum on Friday to see their exhibit of silk quilts and basket quilts.  Everything was so much fun and inspiring!  I’m going to share some quilts from the Maine show and then one from the exhibit of silk quilts to whet your appetite.  Also I got to have lunch with my quilting friend Wendy (from The Constant Quilter) so that was wonderful and made the trip to Augusta doubly worthwhile!!

First place in the pictorial category:

I believe this was the top winner in the “traditional” category.  I loved the baskets and the vine border as well as the hand quilting:

There was a really nice exhibit of some of the best modern quilts from QuiltCon and I believe this quilt was the Best of Show there.  Modern quilts are generally not my cup of tea,  but I do really like some of them and I thought this one was excellent!

I really like Wendy’s use of a black background combined with a great selection of reproduction fabrics!

2 quilts in this exhibit of antique quilts really caught my eye:

Beautiful sampler!!

and beautiful starburst with appliqué:

Nice big stitching  and display of color transparency on this small quilt:

Loved this:

And finally here is one of my favorite quilts from the exhibit of silk quilts at NEQM.  I love the overall design and use of the pineapple variation of the log cabin and the hand embroidered border is amazing!!!:

Next post I will share many more quilts from the NEQM exhibits and the Maine show!

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

July 25, 2019: Just playing…..; More pics from the VQF

Greetings!  Let me start with a correction from my last post – the Best of Show quilt did not depict native iconography from the pacific northwest, rather from the Mayans in Central America.  Thank you to a blog reader for that information!!

For some time now I have been appliquéing triangles along the edges and making “parts” for the borders of “Time of Plenty.”  These flowers are labor intensive and involve making and appliquéing double circles for the centers and pressing over all the outer edges.

I needed a break!!!!   I needed to play!!!  I am in and out of my local quilt shop – Portsmouth Fabric Company – regularly, as you can imagine!  They carry “Tilda” fabrics and display them in a tempting way so I have succumbed to collecting some of these.  They remind me of Liberty of London fabrics without the high cost!  (Click on pics to enlarge)


For weeks I have been mulling over ideas on what to do with these.  I’ve been wanting to work with silk again so I pulled out my tub of silks and found matches for each of the above fabrics:

I didn’t want to use the different silks for backgrounds so searched for background fabric.  First I looked at very pale lights:

and wasn’t thrilled so then I thought about the light gray dupioni silk I bought recently at the VQF:

Yes!!!  I thought this would highlight the other colors best.  Next challenge was what design to make that would best use this combination of fabrics and colors.  I looked at Pinterest, Instagram, Blogs, etc.  Lots of ideas percolated in my head.  Then I saw some “whirligig” or “windmill” blocks on an instagram post and it immediately grabbed my attention as a possibility for these fabrics.

I set out to draft/draw something similar, but, in order to get the solid silks in there, I added a narrow strip down the center:

I wanted the blocks to be 4 inches square so each of the 4 sections in the block would be 2 inches square.  All those 2 inch block sections are the same, they are just turned 90 degrees to make the full block.  And I realized at this point that this is a tessellating pattern meaning that the gray background blocks when all is sewn together would create their own whirligigs, just like the colored ones.

I proceeded to draft the 2 inch block.  It took a little trial and error to get my center lines exactly where I wanted them:

It might be fun, another time, to “improv” the colored silk strips and not have everything the same…..  In this case, however, I didn’t do that.  I started piecing:

After making the first 2 blocks without interfacing the silk, I couldn’t stand the shredding so went ahead and interfaced the gray silk – glad I did!

Here’s what the blocks look like set together:

During the process of making the blocks I was trying to decide whether this would be a “mini” or the center of a medallion style quilt!  I also was thinking that for the first time in 7 years I have not made a “trio of doll quilts” and time was running out for me to do that before our October show.  I decided that this is going to be a “mini” and I am going to consider doing a “trio of modern minis” for the show this year.  That means I need to get going with 2 more!

You can see how the gray shape tessellates better in this closeup:

And, guess what – of course I had to find some way to embellish and add circles at intersections for more interest so this is a mockup of what that might look like:

It should not take me too long to get this sewn together and I plan to hand quilt it. I have had a lot of fun playing and it has been just the break from my “big” project that I needed!

Meanwhile, I’ve completed  adding the triangles to 2 borders of “Time of Plenty” and now I need      to figure out exactly how the vine is going to go on so it “undulates” evenly and how it’s going to go around the corner (I will eventually miter the corners and add more triangles to the outside of the borders, of course):

When you create your own designs without a pattern, these are the kinds of challenges you face pretty regularly.  I was thinking today that this way of working suits me well and is consistent with how I worked my many years as a physician.  Every day was full of challenges that required problem solving on a regular basis.  I think it’s good for the brain and the soul.

Here are pictures from one of the special exhibits at the Vermont show.  I am sorry that they are not in any particular order.  I did not have time to join the quilter during her talk and walk through so didn’t get the full story of her development of this style, but I did enjoy her use of fabrics, her designs, and especially her incorporation of circles in her designs.  Enjoy!

I don’t have separate pictures of the cards for the next 4 so you will have to enlarge them to see those:

I am really looking forward to the Maine Quilt Show on Saturday and should have some pictures to share in my next post!

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



July 20, 2019: More Vermont Quilt Festival pictures; family time!

Greetings!  I haven’t accomplished much in the quilting realm this past week because the older grandkids came to stay with us for several days and we had alot of fun together:

We are lucky to have good friends with a nearby lake cottage at which we are welcome almost any time.   It was Sveta’s first time in a kayak and she learned right away.  Also first time for both kids on a paddle board.  Sveta and I went shopping for fabric and a  pattern for a sundress and got started making it – love teaching her to sew!!!!

Now that the kids are back home, I can get back to my projects.  And I can fill this blog post with more pictures from the Vermont Quilt Festival for your enjoyment.  Click on the pics to enjoy the details!

Here is the Best of Show.  It’s by Georgia Pierce of Seattle WA and uses images from the indigenous people from the area.  Unfortunately, I forgot to get a pic of the card with the story.  Although the quilt is done well and the applique is quite intricate and it’s “meaningful” in terms of its images, it did not “capture” me from an emotional standpoint – just a personal opinion/reaction.   There’s great diversity in artistic expression and not everything appeals to everyone.  However, it’s been a long time since I didn’t really love a BOS here.

The winner of the Governor’s Award – best quilt from a Vermont quilt maker – is this one from Hope Johnson:

Also forgot to get a closeup of the card – the title is “Kind of Blue.”  Another great quilt in her series featuring bees.

I liked the happy colors and the appliqué on this one:

Nice overall design and I like the medallion style:

The Judge’s Choice pick of Karen Stone, with a modern flair:

The winner of the “Best Modern” quilt:

I especially liked the quilting designs on this one – very appropriate for the theme of the quilt:

Nice interpretation of this pattern:

A lovely rendition of the “Lucy Boston”  EPP design with wonderful machine quilting by the “master” Margaret Solomon Gunn:

Winner of the best “Small Quilt”:

Winner for best Long Arm Quilting – Margaret Solomon Gunn (pieced and appliquéd by Marilyn Swenson) of course!!

Winner for best Domestic machine quilting – pretty amazing piecing too!

Completing  a “Dear Jane” quilt is always quite a feat and worthy of accolades for perseverance!!

I still have more to share from the show – a special exhibit and the teachers’ exhibit in future posts.  Meanwhile, I am getting excited about going to the Maine quilt show in one week and will have plenty of quilt pictures to share from it!

Stay cool!!!

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


July 13, 2019: VQF antique quilt pics; Hospital Sketches Block #6; strip pieced top complete!

Greetings!  I’m happy to share with you pictures of some of my favorite quilts from the exhibit of antique quilts at the VQF.  These were all quilts from New York state in the Sharon Waddell collection and I was lucky to be able to attend her walk through and discussion of  the exhibit which was entertaining and informative!  Two of the take-aways from her talk are that NY state antique quilts are known for their “tree” borders and appliquéd detail add-ons at the intersections of blocks.  It was fun spotting these things on some of the quilts.

Before I proceed to show the quilts, I want to say that this year I found the anique quilts more inspirational than the contest quilts.  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the contest, but overall the contest quilts didn’t make me as excited, make quilt ideas swirl in my mind, and make me as inspired to go home and make more quilts as the antique exhibit did.  This is not always the case.

My favorite quilt from the collection is this appliquéd one – WOW!!!  Please click on the pics and enjoy the enlarged closeups!

I loved everything about this quilt – the detailed appliqué, the colors, the quilting with trapunto accents – just classic!  I’d love to make this quilt but it would certainly be a “long journey” commitment.  I think the main reason I have held off recreating antique quilts that I love is that I  enjoy designing my own unique quilts and am not sure I want to make the time commitment to re-making what someone else already has.  Perhaps I can use this quilt as inspiration to come up with something like it but unique…..

My second favorite antique quilt – which I’d also love to make! – is this one:

The Oak Leaf and Reel is a favorite pattern of mine and this border is fantastic!  Can you imagine appliquéing all those tree branches with the skinny space between them?!!!!  I adore this indigo and cream color scheme, too.

The color scheme on the next one is wonderful and I love, love, love the border with the birds!  Another one that would be fun to make!!!!  And don ‘t forget the hand quilting on most of these antiques – it’s worth studying, too.

Another beautiful red/green/pink floral appliqué with birds!!

Three more delicious indigo and cream quilts with fabulous appliquéd borders!!  I especially like the third one:

And, the final one for today, with a striking, pieced rather than appliquéd border:

I got the borders sewn to my string pieced quilt!!!  Here are pictures in my screened porch – I didn’t want to take Time of Plenty off the design wall so this is the best I could do!!  I’m very happy with it!

Remember – here’s the original quilt from the “Unconventional and Unexpected” book that I chose as my inspiration:

My version:

I used 2 different outer border fabrics as I didn’t have enough of either for all 4 border strips but I actually like how they blend together.  I went with a gold narrow strip between the outer border and top.  I think this will go out for long arm quilting – not enough time to do it by hand as 3 other quilts are in line for that and they take me a long time!!!

One of the quilts that will go in the hand quilting queue is Hospital Sketches and here is block 6 which I just finished and a shot of all 6 blocks together so far (there will be 9):

We had a brief, but excellent, visit at the Hiram Blake Camp on East Penobscot Bay with our Canadian friends, Paul and Lee.  Here are some shots at their cabin on the water:

Ursula’s first day at the beach!!!!

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