September 21, 2018: Oh Canada, Part 2 – Quilting Connections (Anne Morrell Robinson!) and Music

Greetings!  Barbara Robson, a quilter from Mahone Bay, Canada who reads my blog saw that Al and I would be visiting Cape Breton and wrote to me recommending that we consider going to see Anne Morrell Robinson while there.  We took her up on it and I’m so glad we did!!  Anne is a well known quilt maker who creates all her own original designs and does a lot of her work by hand – a kindred spirit, for sure!!   She has made and sold hundreds of her quilts over the years.  She is known for making fabulous medallion style quilts.  Most people who go to Cape Breton stay on the famous Cabot Trail, but Anne’s place is quite isolated in a lovely valley in the center of the Cape.  The last 12 kilometers to her place was a gravel road!  Luckily we had beautiful weather to make the trek.  Here is her studio (the section of her home on your right) and home (click on pics to enlarge):

Here we are in her studio where she proceeded to show me many of her quilts in a “bed-turning” style:

Anne graciously allowed me to photograph several of her quilts to share with you.  Enjoy!!!

This is her award winning alphabet quilt about quilters – she wrote the verses that go with each illustration herself:

Here’s what’s on her design wall – I love her use of the phases of the moon!

And behind that design wall are shelves full of fabric!  Anne hand quilts on a large floor frame – I don’t think there are too many quilters left doing this!!!  Please go to Anne’s web site – where she has some wonderful pictures of her studio (they show her quilting frame and the overall beauty of the space) and better pictures of some of her quilts than I was able to take.  The visit to Anne’s studio was one of the highlights of the trip!!!  Thanks again, Anne!  I’m inspired to strongly consider making another medallion style quilt now!

After visiting the studio we still had time to see the western portion of the Cabot Trail.  We drove the entire trail on a visit in 2012 but it was a cool, mostly cloudy, and sometimes rainy day so it was wonderful to see the views this time on a beautiful day.  The coast reminded me a lot of Big Sur in California:

One of our overnights on Cape Breton was in Baddeck.  The harbor:

That night we went to a “ceilidh”, which is the celtic word for “gathering”.  Cape Breton is known for its music and almost every night in many places on Cape Breton there are musical gatherings featuring Celtic (Scottish, Irish, Gaelic, etc.) music.  The musicians are always terrific – so much fun!  There’s often dancing too, esp. step dancing.

Our next to the last stop on the trip was Mahone Bay, a loverly small town and a great place to visit, in and of itself, but we chose it mostly to spend time with our friends, Paul and Lee.   We had a truly wonderful time seeing them and their family.  The town is known for its picturesque 3 churches which are located side by side on the same street , facing the harbor, as you enter the town.  Lee happens to be the pastor of one of those churches and she invited Al to play the piano at her Sunday service!

Here are Al and I in the garden behind our inn, ready to go to church!

Paul and Lee had just moved so we stayed at an inn rather than with them.

The reason I tell you about the inn is because of an unexpected quilting connection!!!  One morning I sat in the parlor at the inn and found and read a copy of quilter Laurie Swim’s book on the infamous collision and explosion of 2 boats on the harbor at Halifax in 1917 which destroyed quite a bit of the city.  Her book is ostensibly for young people, is illustrated by her with some quilt art (Laurie is a well known art quilter who has a shop in nearby Lunenberg – unfortunately we were not able to make a visit to it).  It’s called “Hope and Survival:  A Story of the Halifax Explosion”  and it is a fabulous story!!!!  I loved it and am going to buy a copy of the book for my granddaughter for Christmas.  I highly recommend it for everyone!

As I finished reading the book, the inn keeper came out and I commented on how much I liked the book and told her that I’m a quilter.  She told me she’s a good friend of Valerie Hearder – well known for her landscape quilts!  I have one of Valerie’s books!   Then she brought out this art exhibit brochure from Judith Martin’s recent exhibit in Halifax:

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I am a huge fan of Judith Martin and I relish reading her blog regularly because she has a wonderful way with using words to talk about art and hand work and time.  I knew that she was having a major exhibit in Halifax in August and I was very sorry I was going to miss it because it didn’t coincide with the timing of our trip.  Turns out Judith, who lives far away in northern Ontario, stayed at the 3 Thistles Inn when she came to see her exhibit!!!!!  The inn keeper also told me that when she received the email from Judith asking for a reservation she was on Manitoulin Island in northern Ontario – Judith’s home – for the first time in her life.  What a coincidence!!!   In my talk at the opening of my NEQM exhibit in January, I quoted Judith Martin on the “psychic power” of cloth.  It just tickles me to think we both stayed at the same inn in Mahone Bay!

I’m closing this post with a quote from Judith that is in the little brochure pictured above:

“I use the aesthetics of simplicity, time, labour, and repetition in combination with the sense of touch.  My inner cloud of immensity and the rush of everyday life both become stitched into the fabrics in my lap over lengthy periods of time.”

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



September 19, 2018: Oh Canada!

Greetings!  We just returned late yesterday from our fantastic  vacation in Canada.  The weather was miraculously beautiful for every day but one – so lucky!!!  Since I am busy with laundry and other tasks of settling back in here at home and since very little quilting was done on the trip, today I’ll share pictures of Quebec City and Prince Edward Island and then share the rest of the trip in another post or two over the next few days.  One of those posts will be about an amazing quilter I met in Cape Breton!

Quebec City is beautiful!  I enjoyed refreshing my memory about the history of the city,  seeing the historical landmarks, enjoying the natural beauty of the city’s setting, and viewing the architecture.  We stayed on the 9th floor of the Hilton with an amazing view of the old town and the St. Lawrence river (click on pics to enlarge and better enjoy!):

At sunrise – notice the lit up old wall around the old town – Quebec is the oldest walled city in North America.  Hotel Frontenac is the tall building on the right.

I’m not taking the time to identify all the buildings in the next pictures, but I think you’ll enjoy seeing the interesting old architecture:

Hotel Frontenac and the boardwalk along the side of it:

A gate through the old wall:

A couple of the interesting streets:

A sculpture commemorating the importance of teachers:

I went to 2 museums.  The Museum of Civilization had some interesting historical exhibits and info.  I particularly liked the accordion and the quilt!!!

I was fortunate enough to be in Quebec when there was a wonderful exhibit  at the Art Museum of paintings by Berthe Morrisot, one of the few women impressionist painters in the late 19th century.  The exhibit was not only excellent for the paintings exhibited, but for the texts/stories that accompanied the exhibit which talked about her life and her art.  Here’s a tiny sample:

We had some good French food in the city, too!

We stayed on Prince Edward Island for 3 nights on the “second leg” of our trip and for 2 of those nights our friends from Mahone Bay, Paul and Lee, joined us.  The lone poor weather day of the trip occurred during this time, but we still enjoyed ourselves tremendously.  I did not capture the pastoral, bucolic beauty of the interior (non-coastal portion of PEI) because I didn’t want to ask Al to stop driving so I could get pics!!!  Lots of lovely “rolling” farm land with great light early and late in the day.  Here’s the lovely B&B in which we stayed on the northern central shore:

The historic church across the road:

The view to the water from the inn:

Our visit to Stanhope Beach:

Our visit to Cavendish Beach:

I think that’s enough pictures to absorb for one day!  Next post I’ll share our visits to Cape Breton and Mahone Bay and you’ll get a treat with pictures of quilts by Anne Morrell Robinson, quilter extraordinaire!!

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

September 3, 2018: Another trip!; “Time of Plenty” update; final pics from Vermont QF

Greetings!  The day after tomorrow we leave for Canada!  It’s a driving trip.  We will go to Quebec City first, then Prince Edward Island, then Cape Breton.  The last few days of the trip we drive southwest of Halifax to Mahone Bay to visit with our good friends Paul and Lee.  Finally we will end up in Yarmouth and take the ferry to Portland, Maine on September 18th and it’s an hour to home from there.

Al and I are great traveling companions and look forward to our last big trip of the year.  I look forward to sharing some pictures when we return.  Good thing we have the car because it’s hard to pack for all the possible weather conditions at this time of year in this part of Canada!

Meanwhile, I have been moving forward on “Time of Plenty.”  I still have a small bit to do with 2 of the Oak Leaf and Reel blocks, but am close to sewing the top together (click on pic to enlarge).

You may remember that I looked at  a yellow print as a possibility for the background for the Oak Leaf blocks and rejected it as too busy.   I cut some of the plain background yellow, which I did use in those blocks, and looked at it for the setting triangles, possibly with some oak leaves appliquéd on and didn’t like it, even after I experimented with some other potentially appliqué leaves and berries – too much for the setting triangle!  Just not right.  Also, I had to consider that I want to do a vine border.  So I cut some of the yellow print to try as setting triangles and I like it!  I cut out a couple leaves and may or may not add them:

You may also notice that I am looking at possibly alternating pink and yellow backgrounds in the setting triangles – haven’t decided yet!   I was looking at Margaret Mew’s blog the other day.  She showed a group of fabrics in which one stood out a bit as unusual and explained why she was using it.  I love what she said and am sharing it with you as I think it speaks to why I may go with these setting triangles:

“Because I think every quilt should have something that doesn’t quite fit…but you love it and that’s all that matters.  And because I don’t want to make the “obvious” fabric choices in my quilts…and may I be so bold as to say I don’t think you should make the obvious choices either. Please use the fabrics that give you joy and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.”

Excellent advice!!!!

You may also notice that I put up some more strips for the red sashing as I felt I needed more to see what it really might look like.  As I got more up there it started to look too strong.  These were strips to finish 3/4 inch so I cut some to see what it would look like with half inch strips.  Better, I think. Not as overwhelming.  I hope the difference can be seen in the pics below:

So things are moving along with this quilt!!!!

Today I’m sharing the last of the pics from the Vermont Quilt Festival – finally!!!!  This is the exhibit of some of the quilts from the most recent Quilt Con show – the best of “modern” quilts. I am not a huge fan of what are considered “modern” quilts, but, as with any arts and crafts, there is a range of quality from the “downright awful” to “accomplished masterpieces.”  I’m just not a big fan of the modern aesthetic in the same way that I’m not a big fan of abstract art.  I have to admit, though, that as I browsed through this year’s Quilt Con winners on the Modern Quilt Guild’s web site, I liked several of them – more so than it past years.  I don’t think I will ever truly love this style (never say never??), but some quilters are excellent at bringing out the best of the style.  Here are some of the quilts from their exhibit at Vermont.  I, of course, was especially drawn to the quilts with hand quilting!  Enjoy!

I have another book to recommend –  I just finished it and it’s excellent.   It’s contemporary fiction and deals with lots of current issues for women – power, relationships, work, etc.  Very well written and interesting throughout.

I’ll be back later this month after we return from Canada – autumn will be upon us!!!!!  I have my sewing kit packed – will work on the hexagon star project when I get a chance, but I don’t expect to get a lot done!

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


August 29, 2018: Another finish! – “It Takes A Village”; the “focus” issue; Judy Dales special exhibit at Vermont

Greetings!  My quilt, “It Takes A Village” is finished!!  I picked it up last week from Linda Bevins, the long arm quilter who did a really nice job with the custom quilting, and I finally got the binding on today.  I’m really pleased with how this quilt came out!  You may remember I made the center blocks several years ago and then put them away not knowing what to do with them.  I finally “rescued” them a couple years ago, decided on the overall design, and made the borders (click on pics for enlargement and closeups):

I wish I could have hand quilted it, but TIME is an issue and I decided I want to spend my upcoming hand quilting time on other projects.  If only I had another life!!….

I completed 2 more of the oak leaf and reel appliqué blocks for “Time of Plenty” while on our Cape Cod vacation, but I need to re-do something on one of them.  Here’s what’s on the design wall right now – only one blank space left in the center!:

One of the recently completed blocks:

The other one (I think you will see what I need to re-do!)

The center shape is way too pale!  Something has to really stand out as not right for me to re-do it and this does, unfortunately.  I will replace the center reel with a darker pink fabric.  It won’t be difficult because taking the too pale fabric off won’t disrupt the other appliqué.

I’m close to completing the top of my third and last doll quilt for this year:

I would have liked to put a vine border – dark brown vines and med. brown leaves – on this, but it has to be done by October 9th and there is way too much else going on in my life right now to add that to the list of things to do!!!  I also still have to quilt this and put sleeves on 2 quilts and labels on 5 quilts before our guild’s quilt show in mid October.  I’m toying with adding something to the corner blocks, but haven’t decided:

I traveled to Warwick, NY Monday and did a trunk show for their guild yesterday morning.  This was my first morning trunk show and it was great!  I’m a morning person so I really liked doing it when I feel most fresh and rested.  The guild was really welcoming and made me feel right at home and Al and I stayed at the beautiful home of one of the members – incredible hospitality!!!    I had lots of questions from guild members during the presentation and I’ve been thinking about one of them.  A member asked me how I manage to stay focused.  I interpreted her to mean how did I focus enough to get a lot done.  I answered that I sometimes don’t feel I focus well!  Since I have several projects going at once, I sometimes feel like I have quilter’s ADD and jump from one project to another!  Eventually things get done!  Thinking some more about this question since then I realize there are a couple other ways the question could be interpreted or answered.  I know that my passion for the quilt making process helps me to stay focused and to get a lot done.

The question also might mean how do I manage to focus on my current projects and not get drawn into starting too many things and having a too many UFO’s.  I think the answer to that is that I carefully consider projects before I start them.  I remember some great advice about buying things.  Don’t buy on impulse.  When tempted to buy something, let the idea simmer for at least a few days, perhaps longer, and think about whether the purchase is something you really, really want.  Often the desire fades or disappears.  If it doesn’t over a period of time, then buying might be the right thing to do.   When I’m tempted to start a new project, I let the idea simmer for a period of time.  If the strong desire is still there after some period of time (you decide what’s an appropriate interval) then go ahead.  Often the desire fades or is replaced with something else.  This strategy results in me not starting too many things and having very, very few UFO’s!  It’s also helping me not buy too much fabric.

Judy Dales is a well known Vermont quilt maker who was honored with a special exhibit of her quilts at the Vermont Quilt Festival this year.  I’m sharing pics of several of her quilts.  Please take time to read the excellent descriptions.  Enjoy!!

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


August 24, 2018: Wonderful Cape Cod!; More Maine Quilt Show pictures

Greetings!  We had a wonderful week on Cape Cod with the grandkids.  So lucky to be a part of their lives on a regular basis!!  Activites included visiting different beaches, swimming, collecting shells and rocks, hiking in the Audobon bird sanctuary, biking, having the best ice cream cones, playing lots of games in the evenings,  browsing in the towns of Chatham and Wellfleet and at a great craft fair, and attending a baseball game (Cape Cod League Championship game!) – we just had an all around great time together.

Interesting patterns in the sand and lots of small different colored rocks at beautiful Monomoy beach:

Here’s the cottage we rented – a few minute walk to the beach:

The shells and rocks I collected:

I see a fan quilt in the scallops shells!!  I see it made with taupe fabrics – subtle grays, tans, pinks, and greens.  I’ve been waiting for years to be inspired to make something out of my collection of taupe fabrics and this could be it!!!!

I’ll post again soon with some updates on my own work, but today I’m sharing more from the Maine quilt show.  Susan Carlson had a special exhibit at the show.  Her work is stunning!!!  She uses numerous small pieces of fabrics, glued together(not fused), and then often covered with a netting like tulle to hold everything together, then quilted.  Her specialty is animals and her huge crocodile quilt is amazing!  Visit her web site for more if you are intrigued with these pictures (click on pics to enlarge):

Incredible use of Australian aboriginal style fabrics:

Totally amazing rhino!

A stork:

There was a special exhibit of quilts from the New England Quilt Museum made by 2 sisters.  I had seen these quilts at the museum when they were exhibited about 2 years ago, but it was great to see them again.  I posted some pics back then, but took some new ones and I think they are worth another look!!

These next 2 quilts are not exactly the same!  Enlarge to check them out!

A top only, but amazing broderie perse- enlarge to see the TINY stitches!

I take off on Monday to drive to Warwick, NY to do a trunk show for their guild on Tuesday morning – a 5 hour drive!!  When we get home (so glad Al is doing most of the driving!!) we have one week before we leave on a 2 week trip to Canada – Quebec City, Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, and Nova Scotia.  It’s going to be a very busy month and when it’s over it will be AUTUMN!  Hard to believe!!  I’ll post again as soon as I get back from the trunk show.  Enjoy these last days of summer!

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



August 10, 2018: Design decisions looming!; Maine Quilt Show, Part 3

Greetings!  I’m making good progress on “Time of Plenty” and pretty soon I will need to make some design decisions.  I have the 16 pieced blocks and 6 of the 9 appliquéd blocks completed.  Click on pics to enlarge.  I apologize for the not great lighting on my design wall.  I really need to invest in some good overhead lighting, but have been dragging my feet on doing so because it’s a significant expense and would involve hiring an electrician.  Some day…..  (Click on pics to enlarge):

The last 3 appliqué blocks are all prepped and ready for the appliqué and embroidery. I have them all in a sewing kit ready to take to the Cape on Saturday, though I’m not sure how much, if any, sewing will get done!!!  The focus for the week will be enjoying the grandkids!

When the appliqué blocks are complete, some design decisions will need to be made.  What should I do for the setting triangles around the edge:

I could use the same background fabric as in the other appliquéd blocks and appliqué some sort of oak leaf design on them.  Or I could use a printed fabric that contrasts significantly with the center blocks or one that blends with them.  Or I could use multiple fabrics.  Or if I appliqué something, they don’t all have to be the same.  Harmony and balance need to be major considerations.   I’m leaning toward the appliqué (more work!!), but may audition some things.  I do plan a border – possibly an appliqué vine – so I need to make sure the setting triangles aren’t going to clash.

I auditioned some red strips for sashing and immediately liked the effect so my plan is to add red sashing when I sew the blocks together.  I don’t have enough of the fabric I auditioned so will  eventually need to shop for something similar as I think this one is “out of print.”  I tried searching online and couldn’t find any.

I generally enjoy the challenge of making decisions as I go along and not having the quilt all planned out ahead of time.  This can be risky, but it’s when the opportunity to be creative arises.

Here are more quilts from the Maine show!  This was the first place winner in the Art Quilt category.  It’s by Pat LaPierre and is a true original as it has raised areas on it that are the words of America The Beautiful in Braille!!  The quilt is white because it’s for those who can’t see.  This was a Judge’s Choice winner as well.  It was beautifully made.

This was the first place winner in the “Modern” quilts category:

I really liked this next one which won an “honorable mention” in the appliqué category:

Another gorgeous quilt by Margaret Solomon Gunn won first place in the “Small Pieced” category:

The color choices, use of a print background, the white strips in the border, the fabric choices, including the polka dots in the center “geese” and the quilting – all of those elements combine to make this a wonderful rendition of a Judy Niemeyer pattern.  I’m sorry I didn’t catch what category the blue ribbon was for:

This won first place in the “Large pieced” category.  I saw this quilt at the Vermont show but didn’t get any closeups so I did this time!  Excellent piecing and machine quilting here.

Second place in the Large Pieced category:

Last one for today!  This was the first place winner in the “Mixed Techniques” category.  I loved the colors and the workmanship – all the beautiful embroidery! – in this one:

Al and I are off to South Chatham on Cape Cod tomorrow for a week with the grandkids.  I’ll post again soon after we return.

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




August 5, 2018: Doll quilts update; Maine Quilt Show, Part 2

Greetings!  The very first thing I have to do today is share the “fourth” quilt by Wendy Reed, which somehow never made it into my last post!  Her quilt from Audrey’s (Blog – Quilty Folk) “Quilty 365” online sew along was exhibited at the Maine show and it was wonderful!  Every circle and every background came from a different feed sack fabric.  Wendy told me she has been collecting feed sack fabrics since she was a child and has a large collection. After a year of appliquéing a circle a day, she went through withdrawal when it was done!   Love her “food related” title – “Crop Circles”!  Enjoy the variety!  (click on pics to enlarge):

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know for the past several years I’ve been making a “trio of doll quilts” each year (this is my 7th) as a way to explore quilt design or technique ideas without having to commit to a larger project.  I just finished hand quilting and binding doll quilt #2 for this year, “Courthouse Steps Log Cabin”.  I think it’s about 14″X18″.


I wasn’t sure I was going to get to a third doll quilt this year, but during a conversation with someone about quilts, I realized that in 25 years I had never made a quarter square triangle block!!!  This seemed amazing to me – such a basic shape!   So, I decided to make some for the third doll quilt.  I chose cheddar and brown/black as the color scheme.  The blocks finish 2 inches square.   Within 2 days I had the center of the quilt complete!

I have an idea for a border – stay tuned!  Finishing the hand quilting of the second doll quilt now means that the silk quilt moves to the top of the queue for hand quilting next!!!  I’m excited!!!!

The two top winners at the Maine quilt show were the 2 best quilts in the show, IMHO.  If I had been a judge, it would have been very hard to choose the best.  The top winner also got the award for best long arm machine quilting – Margaret Solomon Gunn, of course!!  Her work is amazing.  Her craftsmanship is impeccable, from design to flawless technique.  She’s from Maine so it’s only fitting that she won Best of Show.  Enjoy the details on this gorgeous quilt – WOW!:

The other BEST quilt in the show was this gorgeous quilt, “My Version of a Persian”, by Christine Wichert, made entirely by hand.  I had seen this quilt at other shows in the past (it’s won lots of awards!!), but was very happy to get another close up view.  Awards for best hand quilting, best use of color, best embellishment, and first place for appliqué!!!!!!!!  Another WOW!:

This next quilt got second place for appliqué and a Judge’s Choice ribbon.  I had seen it previously at Vermont, but enjoyed seeing it again as it is beautifully done:

I LOVED this next quilt which won third place for appliqué – gorgeous flowers and embellishments and I really like the black background and the gold vine border:

And here is “honorable mention” for appliqué – another rendition of Debra Kimball’s lovely designs:

I think that’s all I have for today, but there’s alot more to come.  Al and I are heading to Cape Cod (South Chatham) for a week in a rented cottage with our 10 and 13 y.o. grandkids starting this coming Saturday.  We are very much looking forward to spending concentrated time with them!    I think I’ll manage to get one more post in before we leave then will take a little break from blogging for about 10 days.

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