January 27, 2023: Winter Wonderland; “Renegades and Sparklers”

Greetings dear readers! Three snowstorms in the past week left us living in a winter wonderland. Usually the snow melts right off the trees in a matter of hours, but this time the first snow was wet and heavy and the temperatures plummeted, leaving the snow cemented to the branches. It was very beautiful.

But then the second storm came 2 days later and the weight of all that extra snow on the trees and branches started causing them to break and fall.

In the above photo you can see how the power lines are vulnerable to falling trees and branches. We lost power for 36 hours 🙁. There was quite a bit of damage everywhere in New Hampshire. A big branch came down and blocked the entrance to our front yard:

After the third storm I was able to take a walk through the neighborhood and see the damage. The next photo is a good representation of what I saw repeatedly, i.e. the stump on the right with the broken off top and the limbs lying on the ground:

Another example:

Of course, there are so many trees around here that once the brush is cleared away you hardly notice anything missing. A good example of how nature can be beautiful, but destructive at the same time. I took this photo on my walk – liked the lines the reflected trees made in the water and the “taupe” coloring of the scene 🙂:

I’ve been making excellent progress on my Japanese log cabin – up to 36 blocks! I’m removing basket blocks from the design wall as this encroaches 🙂:

I’m truly enjoying the process. I chain sew 4 blocks at a time. In preparation, I choose fabrics for several blocks, 5 lights and 5 darks for each one:

I cut the fabrics for each log in numerical order, per the card in the photo, and make little stacks:

And here are 4 blocks being sewn, all four “2’s” sewn on in one round, then pressed and trimmed, then all four “3’s”, etc. through #21. Then on to the next group of 4 blocks.

As I work, I’ve been thinking about and studying my fabric choices. Value/contrast is hugely important. I’ve been able to use some mid-value fabrics by surrounding them with appropriate lighter or darker fabrics. In each grouping I try to have a mix of different colors. But I’ve noticed that the log cabin design is very amenable to what I’ve come to call “renegades and sparklers.” These are fabrics that might initially seem to not fit in or feel out of place, but, once incorporated, add some zest to the overall appearance. In the photo below, the blue and white fabric would seem to be a “renegade” but actually looks fine next to those vintage darker fabrics next to it:

The striped fabric on the edge of this block is definitely a renegade. I can mitigate the effect by adding more pieces of it in other areas or I can move it to an edge to make it less noticeable. Or I can leave it there, especially if there are many other renegades and sparklers taking up attention!

The blue and white fabric in the next one is a renegade, but I think it will ultimately be OK; if not, it could become an orphan:

Examples of “sparklers” are the yellow fabric in the next photo and the gold fabric in the photo after that:

A couple more closeups:

Because I can’t really use my sewing room during power outages, I used that time this week to make progress on the border of Sweet Journeys:

Here’s the hoop I use – 14 inches square – and what’s in it right now (not the best color):

Happy stitching to you all!

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

19 thoughts on “January 27, 2023: Winter Wonderland; “Renegades and Sparklers”

  1. 107sophie January 27, 2023 / 5:17 pm

    fascinating to see the progression in your photos from the beauty of the initial storm to the destruction of the subsequent two but that last photo of the trees reflected in the water is simply gorgeous. Loving your nomenclature of renegades and sparklers! The renegades do look like they belong – I particularly liked the block with the ‘renegade’ blue and white. Sweet Journeys is progressing so beautifully – hand quilting time becomes the silver lining to a power outage!

    • gladiporsche January 30, 2023 / 9:50 pm

      Thanks for your positive feedback about the renegades and sparklers! I think if they are scattered throughout, they mostly tend to fit in. hand sewing during a power outage is an excellent way to make use of the time!

  2. acityquilter January 27, 2023 / 11:05 pm

    ha! renegades make it pop! lovely winter photos…i miss seeing the snow on those lovely majestic pines…glad you weathered all 3 storms nicely…

    • gladiporsche January 30, 2023 / 9:51 pm

      Thanks Grace. I love the snow – as long as my husband shovels it and I don’t have to drive in it😊.

  3. barbvedder January 28, 2023 / 1:19 pm

    The snow is so pretty! we’ve had so little over here and I miss it.
    Your LC is absolutely delicious – love the soft colors.

    • gladiporsche January 30, 2023 / 9:53 pm

      Thank you Barb. I am truly enjoying working with these muted and soft colors. My son in NYC tells me they haven’t had a flake of snow yet – so unusual!

  4. Kyle January 28, 2023 / 1:46 pm

    I hate to hear tree limbs cracking under the weight of snow. It’s such an eerie sound in the quiet after a snow storm. I agree your LC is so exciting yet peaceful with your fabric choices.

    • gladiporsche January 30, 2023 / 9:57 pm

      Thanks Kyle. You are so right about what I call the “thud” of tree limbs and large branches falling. The snow mutes the crash and it really is a distinctive sound. Of course, we’re always hoping something doesn’t land on the house!

  5. Carol in Texas January 28, 2023 / 5:51 pm

    Those winter pictures are gorgeous….but I am glad you were the one to take them! I love sitting in my warm house with our 50 degree outdoor temp and looking at them! I appreciate your analysis of the various strips in your log cabin blocks. I so love that pattern. Thank you for the photo of your hoop…..I like the square shape….my large one is round and I don’t think I’ve seen a square one. I hope you had a fireplace to keep you warm during the power outage!

    • gladiporsche January 30, 2023 / 10:02 pm

      Thanks Carol! I’m so happy that my husband is still able to do all the snow shoveling and snow blowing! We do have a fireplace, but also are lucky to have a generator that keeps us comfortable during outages. I bought that square hoop from Keepsake Quilting almost 30 years ago and it is still sturdy and in good condition, which is probably a good thing because I don’t think it’s available anymore.

  6. Nann January 28, 2023 / 6:14 pm

    We’ve been spared big snowstorms this season but the forecast is for very, very cold temperatures this week. I’d say one renegade or one sparkler per block is just right, especially when they are different rounds from block to block. (The idea being that they are not predictably repreated.)

    • gladiporsche January 30, 2023 / 10:06 pm

      Yes, the renegades and sparklers are random, which I think is good. I think we are dropping below zero here this weekend for the first time this winter – good for staying in and stitching! I’ve got The Whalebone Theater on reserve at the library on your recommendation. Stay warm!

  7. Elizabeth E. January 31, 2023 / 5:10 am

    The snow scenes are absolutely breathtaking in their beauty! When we lived in DC for a year, I was always out just after a snowstorm, taking photos of the snow, the trees, how muted in tone everything looked. To someone from Southern California, it was fascinating (but the cold soon drove me back inside).
    Likewise I found the description of renegades and sparklers fascinating. The idea of sparklers was introduced to me by Roberta Horton long ago, but renegades? Wonderful term for the fabrics that can liven up a quilt. I’m really loving your quilt progress and those blocks. It will be lovely when finished.
    Your hand-stitching is coming along so beautifully!

    • gladiporsche February 3, 2023 / 9:57 pm

      Thank you Elizabeth for reading and responding, especially with such praise and encouragement! Did Roberta use the term “sparklers”? Wonder if I subliminally absorbed the word in all my readings about quilts over the years?😊. I love the beauty of the snow and am grateful that, now that I’m retired, I don’t have to drive in it and that my husband is still able to do all the shoveling!

  8. Cynthia @ wabi sabi quilts February 1, 2023 / 3:13 am

    Love those wintery scenes. I love your renegades and sparklers terms. I use the same philosophy – otherwise quilts fall flat! I love encouraging new quilters to not be fussy about “matchy matchy”.

    • gladiporsche February 3, 2023 / 9:59 pm

      Thanks Cynthia! Totally agree about not “matching” fabrics too much. I love rummaging through my stash and finding unusual and unexpected combinations!

  9. Wendy Reed February 1, 2023 / 12:24 pm

    I am trying to slowly get back into blog reading. Yours is always my favorite. Your snow photos are gorgeous! We have had some interesting weather for sure. I love watching this log cabin grow. Love your explanation about the renegade fabric choices. It is stunning so far. And, I love the basket blocks on the design wall! Enjoy the day.

    • gladiporsche February 3, 2023 / 10:04 pm

      Thanks Wendy! Always good to hear from you and I hope you are doing well! I’m very much enjoying seeing more posts from you and happy to see you stitching away!😊

  10. marissthequilter February 2, 2023 / 5:32 pm

    You have certainly had some heavy weather!
    Your logcabin blocks are beautiful. You have obviously been having fun with those renegades and sparklers.
    Thank heavens for hand stitching during power failures

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