August 22, 2017: World Quilt Show, Part 1; Pastel quilt update

Greetings!  I thoroughly enjoyed attending the Mancuso World Quilt Show in Manchester, NH this past Friday and have lots to share over the next several posts.  My overall impression of the show is that there were lots of interesting quilts to see, but fewer of what I would call “traditional” quilts than in past shows.  I usually love to see the Japanese quilts, but this year there were only 4!  If memory serves me, in past shows there were at least 8-10 of those.  I found most of the vendors uninteresting – not sure if this is “me” (because I already have what I need?) or if vendors are tiring of the work required to vend at these kinds of shows and opting out; maybe selling on-line instead??  I bought only a few fat quarters to add to the pastel collection, but I succumbed to buying 2 beautiful Quiltmania books – Di Ford’s second book and Margaret Mew’s new book.  Both of these books have many gorgeous projects using reproduction type fabrics, many in the medallion style.  Lots of inspiration!

Here is the winner of the Best Hand Quilting award for traditional quilts (click on pics for closeups):

The hand stitching on this was amazing!  Confession – while looking at the quilt, I did something I’m not supposed to do!  The quilt seemed so thin that it was almost translucent so I just had to touch it – I made sure no one was looking as I did it!  I am not sure I have ever felt a thinner quilt; it was almost as if there was no batting in it.  There probably is some sort of batting in it, but it’s definitely thinner than anything I’ve ever come across and no doubt helps in creating those tiny hand stitches.  I would love to know what she uses!!!

Now here is winner for “hand work” for innovative quilts.  This quilt was so much fun to look at!!

The winner of “Best of Country” for USA was Meghan Farkas’ gorgeous quilt, “Esfahan” which I last saw at the Vermont show last year.  This quilt is fabulous and was completely worthy of this award!  The appliqué work is amazing and the hand quilting just wonderful!

Another hand quilted masterpiece by one of my quilting idols, Linda Roy, was in the show.  The details were incredible!

Hard to believe it didn’t win any awards!  A hand quilted quilt that did win an award was Zena Thorpe”s colorful and beautiful creation which won second place in the “traditional” category:

One of my very favorite quilts in the show was the winner of the “Best of Country” award for New Zealand.  It doesn’t photograph that well because of the black background, but in reality the black background is very rich looking.  I just love how she used circles, silk fabrics, hand embroidered embellishment, hexagon and bead embellishments, hand quilting, and the circles in the borders.  This quilt is just stunning and, if I were one of the judges, I might have given it my “judge’s choice” – the quilt one would like to take home with them is how the award is usually described!!  (There were no “judges choice” awards in this show!)

Notice that I featured all hand quilted quilts from the show today!!!  Much more to share over time…

I decided to add stars to the hand appliquéd blocks for my pastel quilt and I cut the blocks down to size (they will finish at 6 inches):

Now I’m not sure if this will be in the “medallion” style as I was initially thinking….It matters not. What matters is that I”m having fun with it and I’m sure the final design will be something I like.

I helped my GD Sveta make a pillow when she and Dmitri visited us last week.  I gave her several ideas for designs, but she came up with the idea to do diagonal strips.  She drew out her own lines on a 16 inch square piece of freezer paper.  She picked out the fabrics on her own – of course she was drawn to my pile of pastel fabrics!  And then, after I cut the strips for her, she sewed them on the line, i.e. I taught her how to paper piece!  She did a great job and had fun with it!!

Here’s Dmitri, who is learning to play a song on the sax to accompany my husband on the piano (and that’s Sveta on guitar in the background!):

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

August 15, 2017: 1. Doll Quilts completed! 2. Silk quilt update 3. Maine Quilt Show pictures

Greetings!  I completed my third and final doll quilt for this year’s “Trio of Doll Quilts.”  This means I have everything completed that I am entering into this year’s annual Cocheco Quilters Guild show in October.  It feels good to be ready this far in advance!  I’m entering Spirit of Japan #3, which was in the Vermont Quilt Festival, and my trio of doll quilts.  I’m so glad I decided not to torture myself and try to get “Stardust” completed by October!!  I know, the show is 2 months away – but I will be away on vacation for much of September (going to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest!!!!) and have plenty going on right now in my non-quilting world to keep my busy.  Here are the doll quilts and a closer look at the final one (click on pics to enlarge):

I sewed the upper and middle sections of the silk quilt together and have been adding the appliquéd circles and the embroidery that goes across the center where the sections meet:

The lower third section has a lot of work to be done before I will be able to add it to this section and finish the top.  Then I’ll have to decide how to hand quilt it!!!  I must complete “Stardust” before I start another hand quilting project!

Here are pictures from the Main quilt show I attended a couple weeks ago.  First I must mention that I cannot share pictures with you of my favorite quilt in the show!  It’s Wendy Reed’s quilt from the Shenandoah Botanical Quilt on-line quilt along and makers were asked not to show their completed quilts until there can be a special showing of these together.  So I’ll have to hold off until that time, but it is gorgeous!!  You can get glimpses if you check out her blog, The Constant Quilter.  Wendy had a second marvelous quilt in the show and I can share that one with you!  You can see it won an award!

This was a lovely appliqué quilt:

This quilt won Best of Show.  It was lovely and nicely done, but “my” BOS would have gone to Wendy’s appliquéd botanical quilt:

This is a wonderful hexagon quilt!

I thought this was an especially well done “low volume” quilt and I liked the Baptist Fan quilting!

I really do love star quilts and here are 2 excellent basic traditional star quilts, both well done!

As someone who loved chemistry – that was the reason I ended up going to medical school! – I couldn’t help but enjoy this very original quilt!:

I’m going to the World Quilt Festival in Manchester, NH later this week and will take many pictures to share!

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

 

August 7, 2017: 1. Doll quilt #2 finished! 2. Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 6 (the last!)

Greetings!  While driving to the gym yesterday AM, I caught a brief snippet of the radio show “On Being” in which the moderator was interviewing Catherine Bateson, the daughter of the famous anthropologists, Margaret Mead and Gregory Bateson.  They were discussing religion and Ms. Bateson mentioned that her mother envisioned heaven as a place of “tireless creativity.”  I love that thought!!!  Meanwhile, I am envisioning my ideal retirement as a time of “tireless creativity!”

You know you have too much fabric when you:  find a large plastic tub full of purple fabrics that you had totally forgotten you had under a bed in the guest room!  (You also know you haven’t kept up with cleaning!!)  My sister in law is visiting from Washington DC later this week and that’s what we found while cleaning the guest bedroom.  I think I put it there about 4 years ago after the “Spring Sonata” quilt top was complete.  It had a lot of purple fabrics in it and purple isn’t my favorite color so that’s probably why I didn’t miss it!

I finished doll quilt #2 – “Inner City.”  It is hand quilted.   I’m happy with how it came out – this is the first doll quilt I’ve made with Japanese fabrics.  Some  day I’d like to explore other designs using this basic pattern:

I’ve completed 2 more blocks for the pastel quilt ( I cannot get an accurate picture of the green background with my camera!  It is a richer, soft green, not the “white-ish” background you seen the picture):

And have started hand quilting the third, and final, doll quilt:

Here is my last installment of pictures from the Vermont Quilt show.  I want to give a “shout out” to members of my own guild who exhibited at the show.  I’m proud of them for their good work and their willingness to share it at the show!!

Lorraine Hall (who for years did major volunteer work at the show and who graciously took our quilts up so we didn’t have to ship them!):

Jacque Thompson, who is the very capable chair of our Cocheco Guild’s annual show:

Carol Poitras – don’t you just love the title of this one!

This one is so interesting and colorful!

I’m including one more that isn’t from my guild just because it is a very lovely appliqué and is hand quilted!

I think that will be it for sharing Vermont pictures!  I know I missed getting pictures of some excellent quilts, but I didn’t want to have a camera in front of my face the whole time and tried to get the ones I like best.   Starting next post I’ll share some quilts from the Maine quilt show.  Also, I am hoping to get to the Macuso show in Manchester later this month and should have lots of pictures from that one.

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

 

 

 

August 2, 2017: 1. Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 5 2. Retirement – 1 year! 3. Family fun

Greetings!  I still haven’t finished sharing pictures of the Vermont Quilt Festival.  Here is Part 5 and there will be one last part 6 soon.  AND – I went to the Maine Quilt Festival last weekend so will begin showing quilts from that show soon!

Here’s a quilt at the Vermont show that I saw at the Maine show in 2016 – so good it warrants another showing!  The colors and quilting are exquisite!  (Click on pics to enlarge):

The embroidery on this next one was wonderful!  It won the award for best quilt depicting the special theme of “seasons” for this this year’s show:

The next quilt had excellent and interesting embellishments and won the award for this!!!  Amazing!

I liked the graphic nature of the stars, the use of retro 19th century prints, and the setting in the next one.  It was beautifully pieced:

Really enjoyed the basket design in this one and the appliqué was lovely:

Lovely applique in this one:

I can hardly believe that it’s been a year since I fully retired!  It was a year ago this past weekend that I made the decision and a year ago 8/4 that I handed in my resignation letter.  It has gone so fast!  I love the freedom of not having such a rigid, set schedule every day and the wonderful flexibility that allows me to mostly do what I want to when I want to do it.  Such a change from my working life!!!  I can tell I made the right decision because, after having devoted 45 years of my life to being a doctor and practicing medicine, I don’t miss it at all!  I am totally embracing the opportunity to be creative in ways other than scientific and administrative.  Quilt making allows me to explore color, pattern, design, and technique.  I play music (my accordion!) regularly, hoping to gradually improve, and I love playing music with my group of musical friends.  I am writing haikus – haven’t missed a day in over 2 months now!! – and am starting to explore/read poetry other than haikus and may try my hand at writing other types of poetry.  Before I decided to become a doctor, I had wanted to be a writer so I can now explore this side of me.   I try hard to exercise regularly.  I am never bored!!!!  I feel privileged to be able to afford to live like this, but I did work very very hard for a very long time so feel deserving as well!

I haven’t got a lot of sewing done since my last post because we’ve spent time with the grandkids:

And Al and I just spent a couple days on Cape Cod, visiting some of our favorite places.  The weather was perfect!!  We visited the Audubon Bird Sanctuary in Wellfleet:

and the Monomoy protected shore area in Chatham:

I absolutely love the blue hydrangeas on the Cape; they are everywhere!!!

We visited some of our favorite art galleries and had dinner at our favorite restaurant, Pisces, in South Harwich.  We spent a little time on the beach, too.  A perfect short getaway!!!

I’m working on another block for the pastel quilt:

and hand quilting the second doll quilt:

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

 

 

July 24, 2017: 1. Doll Quilts update 2. My sewing room 3. A couple more NEQM pictures

Greetings!  After I gave myself permission to stop quilting “Stardust” I moved on to hand quilting the first of this year’s Trio of Doll Quilts and now “Sunshine and Shadows” is complete! (Click on picture to enlarge!)

I challenged myself to use contrasting thread so the quilting could be seen.  It was tough quilting through all the seams in the center so my stitches aren’t as even as I would have liked, but I’m satisfied with it and with the cables on the borders:

I played with the idea of adding hexagons between the fussy cut hexagon “flowers” on this doll quilt and, after trying several options,  finally came up with the idea to use fussy cut hexagons from the border fabric.  Here’s the quilt without the added detail:

And here’s how the additions look (not sewn down yet):

I’m happy with the look!  I’m currently hand quilting the second doll quilt – picture next time! – and then will do this one last.

I made one more block for the pastel quilt:

Here are my 9 block so far all together (keep in mind they are 8 1/2 inches right now and will be cut down to 6 1/2 inches, 6 inches after being sewn together):

Not great color rerpro in the picture above.  My design wall has been taken up for a long time with the silk quilt so it’s hard to get a look at eye level at anything else!

We recently had good friends visit for an overnight and, as part of getting ready, I straightened up my sewing room.  I thought it might be nice to share pics, esp. for newer readers.  4 1/2 years ago I moved into this unused bedroom and redecorated it for use as my sewing room.  I had outgrown a smaller bedroom – in particular it didn’t have room for a design wall.  I could still use more space, but overall it suits me quite well.  Here’s what it looks like from the doorway – you can see the sewing table on the left and my combined cutting and ironing table on the right.  The furniture is Koala brand.

Turning to the right, you can now see my design wall:

The cutting and ironing spaces are not large, but they work well for me.  It is very rare that I wish they were larger.

Here’s the room looking in from the other way.  The door hides a closet that hides a lot of my quilting stuff:

And here is a view a bit more to the right, showing the sewing area better:

It’s not a huge room, but it works very well.  I’m a strong believer that a bedroom in most houses can make an excellent sewing room and most of us do not need larger studios.

Finally, today I am sharing 2 more quilts from the New England Quilt Museum current show – it ends in a week so get there if you can!

Noriko Masui is a quilt hero of mine.  I am amazed by the complexity of her designs and the fussy cutting she does is incredible.  Enjoy the pics of this quilt:

I’ve always loved Suzanne Marshall’s work – incredible appliqué and hand quilting!  My picture of her write-up came out blurry, but here’s the quilt and a couple closeups:

I still have Parts 5 and 6 of the Vermont Quilt Festival to share in the next couple posts so stay tuned!

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

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