September 21, 2016: The joy of finishing

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

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I pin basted the layers together:

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

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

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Here’s the back:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Here’s the block so far:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And here’s the back:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Another great quilt from Ann Horton:

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

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

 

August 27,2016: More pictures from AQS Syracuse show; updates

Greetings!  This past week would have been my return to work thus it was technically the first week of my retirement.  I went swimming with my grandkids on what would have been the first day!  Our weekly 2 days with them for the summer has just come to an end since they return to school next week.  I am thoroughly enjoying the leisurely pace of my days but feeling somewhat guilty – all my adult life I have been oriented toward being ultra “productive.”  It is going to take some time to let that go.  I always viewed my work as “service” and I want to find something to fill that void as well; probably some type of volunteer work, but I won’t rush into it and will take my time finding the right thing for me.

Meanwhile, I am making steady progress on the first baby quilt – the top is complete!

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I started piecing together some chunks of Kaffe fabrics for the back:

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I have to decide if I am going to machine quilt with a walking foot or send it out.  Since I have so much more time, I’m inclined to do the quilting myself on this one.

I am also hand quilting the points in the palm leaf blocks of “Joyful Noise” to supplement the machine quilting and make those areas lie flatter.”  This means quilting 2 V-shaped lines in each of those blocks – easy and this shouldn’t take very long:

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I recently saw the acronym WISP used to describe some quilts – “works in slow progress.”  I think this is a good one for me!  I’m not a fast quilt maker, usually preferring to make something more involved and challenging that takes a relatively long time.  But I do finish almost everything eventually!

Here are more wonderful quilts from the AQS Syracuse show.  Click on the pictures for enlargements and enjoy the details.

Here are two lovely traditional quilts, using reproduction fabrics, something you don’t see a lot of in the big national shows.  Each of these is machine quilted and pieced beautifully.  I showed pictures of the second one last year when it was at Vermont, but it deserves another look!:

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I like some abstract quilts.  This next one really “spoke” to me on some level and I loved it.  I especially liked that it is hand quilted.  That’s probably why it reminded me of Gwen Marston’s abstract quilts.

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Although the program for the AQS show listed all the contest quilts and stated where we are from and the techniques used to make the quilts, there was nothing about the quilt makers’ inspiration or feelings about the quilts which I found very disappointing.  For the above quilt I would have loved to know what inspired the name!!!

Here’s another non-traditional quilt that I liked a lot.  This one is machine quilted and from a distance it looks like there are tree branches.

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Margaret Solomon Gunn had her beautiful Bouquet Royale in the show.  Her construction, design, and machine quilting are flawless!  And a scalloped border with piping!

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The first place ribbon for long arm quilting went to this quilt which was covered in crystals.  This is not may favorite style, but her work was amazing:

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I thought the next quilt – a wall quilt – was fabulous.  What a great design and excellent execution of it:

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I enjoyed the beautiful colors in this wall quilt:

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Baltimore Album style quilts are not as popular as they used to be and it seems I’m seeing fewer of them in shows, but this one was one of the winners for machine quilting.  I remember seeing an article about Cheryl Kerestes 20+ years ago in Ladies Patchwork and Quilting magazine and loving her applique work.  I wish I’d taken a few more closeups of this:

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That’s it for today’s show pictures with still more to come!  After my last post, I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t given equal time to my grandson Dmitri whom I enjoy being with just as much as his sister.  During last week’s visit we had our musical friends Craig and Liz over for a musical evening.  Dmitri has been playing viola for 3 years.  We just got Sveta her first rented violin and she’ll start playing with the school this fall.  So much fun to play music together!!!

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Here are all of us except that my chair is empty and accordion not out yet!

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

August 22, 2016: Svetlana’s quilt; Pictures from “Portraits” exhibit at the AQS Syracuse show

Greetings!  My granddaughter, Sveta (short for Svetlana; she’s 8 – almost 9), and I have been gradually working on a quilt together for her this summer.   The top is almost done!  She picked out the fabric from my stash; I cut out the pieces.  She arranged the blocks to her liking; I pinned the blocks together.  She did all the sewing – good job with the 1/4 inch seams, especially the long ones!  I did the ironing.  She decided she wanted to add a border and picked out the fabric.  I cut the strips and she has sewn the top and bottom ones on.  We’ll finish the top when she comes for this week’s visit!

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I’m not much of a machine quilter though have quilted baby quilts with a walking foot.  Sveta and I will have to decide if I’m going to try quilting this or whether we are going to send it out.  It’s been wonderful fun doing this with her!

Meanwhile, I have been making circles for and appliqueing leaves on the 4th border for “We Are Stardust.”  I’m close to finishing!  Then I’ll have the challenge of figuring out how to do the corners and I may be adding some applique in the setting triangles of the top so it is still going to be some time until that top is done!

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I still have so much to share from the quilt shows!  Today I’m sharing pictures from the SAQA exhibit on People and Portraits at the Syracuse AQS show.  I don’t make this type of quilt but I admire those who do it well and this exhibit was excellent.  Click on pictures to enlarge them so you can enjoy the details!

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I’ve seen many of Carol Goddu’s almost 3 dimensional quilts over the years as she has exhibited at Vermont a lot.  The details are always amazing.

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The quilting detail in this next one was exceptional.  Love how she did the hair!:

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I think the next 2 by this Japanese artist  were my favorites.  The graphic design, the Jester-like figures, and the background details were amazing:

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And another amazing one by her:

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The next artist uses cheesecloth to create her portraits – incredible!

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The next one is humorous!

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Hair!!:

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Jenny Bowker is well known for her portraits of Middle Eastern men:

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Another humorous one called the Nine Muses.  I think you can see the name of the artist in  the first picture; I didn’t get a separate shot of it:

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And a lovely Mother and Child:

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I really admire these artists’ work!

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

August 18, 2016: Third doll quilt top done!; Maine quilt show photos

Greetings!  I finished the applique border on this year’s third doll quilt and am ready to move on to the hand quilting:

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I don’t think the corners need anything else, but I may crop the border width a bit so the proportions are in better balance.

Here’s the baby quilt on the design wall with the center all sewn together, but still waiting for the sashing strips to separate the border from the center:

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Here are some pictures from the Maine quilt show.  I still have  A LOT of pictures from the Syracuse AQS show, but want to show some of these first:

Maine’s best of show.  I love the colors; I’m a sucker for red, green, and yellow (click on pics for enlargements for details!):

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I loved that the next 2 quilts, from a Judy Neimeyer design, were displayed side by side so you could see how color choices and values and different quilting designs make a difference in how the quilt looks:

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The next quilt got an award for machine quilting – naturally, as it was done by Margaret Solomon Gunn who has won numerous national awards for her machine quilting.  I loved this quilt!  I especially enjoyed the “cool” color range – very soothing.  My favorite colors are usually in the “warm” range (red, yellow, orange, warm greens) but this quilt makes me want to make something in the cool color range.  I love the pine burr design and it has long been on my “to do” list.

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This next quilt was very creative!!!!  It has the outline of a kimono or Tori gate and uses oriental fabrics but is more 3 dimensional – something this maker, Pat LaPierre is known for.  Those are individual strips of red fabric with individual squares attached.  The black background is the curtain behind the quilt, not part of it.  Her quality of construction is excellent:

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I’ve always liked this tessellating pinwheel pattern and see myself making something like it some day:

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I liked the combination of piecing and applique in a “strippy” format in this next quilt:

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I’m going to close this post with several shots of a Lisa Bongean quilt.  She was a teacher at the Maine show this year and there was a small of exhibit of teacher quilts.  This is a beautiful Baltimore Album style quilt with wool applique but what makes it truly special is the wonderful embroidery on the wool.  Enjoy!!!!:

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

 

August 13, 2016: Conclusion of today’s earlier post! (More AQS pictures)

Greetings!  I had to cut short my post earlier today because I couldn’t download any more pictures.  It turned out that my “media library” was full.  I would have to either purchase more space (right now the amount of space my blog uses is free) or delete pictures to make more room.  I chose the latter, which took me a while to accomplish, and it looks like I should be OK for a while.

Here are the rest of the Ann Horton pictures (see my earlier post today for the full shot and please click for enlargements so you can enjoy the details!):

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This quilt was the third place winner in the machine quilting category.  Check out the great use of various machine stitches for embellishment:

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The next one is another amazing piece from the prolific Kathy McNeil whose pictorial quilts are phenomenal.  Check out the incredible details (and she didn’t even win a ribbon!):

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The use of color in this next one was excellent and the construction was fine, too:

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I’ll finish today’s group of pictures with 2 humorous ones.   Pauline Salzman has made a series of humorous dog quilts, all excellent!

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Love this chicken quilt by my fellow New Hampshire quilter, Lynne Tyler.  So clever!!!:

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If you are reading this and missed the beginning of this post from this AM, please scroll down and keep reading!

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