Author Archives: gladiporsche

June 27, 2017: Vermont Quilt Festival, Part 1

Greetings!  Over the years, in spite of an occasional grumble about the judging, the Vermont Quilt Festival has been very good to me, with quite a few nice awards.  This year, Spirit of Japan #3 got a BLUE RIBBON!  It actually hung straighter than I thought it would, the hand quilting looked pretty good, and it was UNIQUE – I don’t think another quilt in the show used the Japanese indigo style fabrics and pieces of old kimonos that I used.  The only thing I didn’t like is that the quilt, especially the upper and lower borders, did not show very well against the black backdrop.  Nothing to be done about that!  (click on pics to enlarge!)

And here I am with Pat who is married to my cousin Victor and whom I hadn’t seen for many years!!  She contacted me because she and friends were driving up from Pennsylvania to the show so we met there – what fun!

And the highlight of the Festival for me was meeting Bobbie Korengold!  She found me through my blog a couple years ago and we’ve periodically corresponded.  She is from the DC area and this was her first visit to the Vermont Festival so we decided to meet “at the Best of Show quilt at noon” and have lunch together.  I had seen pictures of her latest quilt on the net and was thinking it was highly likely we’d be meeting at her own quilt!   Sure enough – her quilt, “Threads of Friendship” won Best of Show.  Before I show some pictures and talk about this quilt, let me say that it was delightful to meet and spend time with Bobbie  – she is the nicest person and so humble about her work!  And we were incredibly fortunate to run into Christine Wickert in the lunch area and have lunch with her too!  I met Christine last year at Vermont when she won Best of Show.   This year she won for best miniature quilt – I’ll have pictures of that one today too.  We were also joined by Pam Weeks, the curator of the New England Quilt Museum for lunch.  Whew – what a lunch full of quilt talk!  Pure heaven!

Without further ado, here are picture of Bobbie’s Best of Show quilt – WOW!   Absolutely click on these for enlargements/closeups!!:

I thought I had a few more pictures, but apparently not, unfortunately!  Here are what I love:

Visual impact – it is drop-dead gorgeous!!  It’s one of the most beautiful quilts I’ve ever seen.

Exquisite workmanship – superb applique, embroidery embellishment (with the thin silk threads given to her by her friend), trapunto, and hand quilting

Design – avoids the typical row-by-row block arrangement of the majority of album quilts, which is refreshing!

The ribbon is a touch of genius!

So much detail to see – could look at this quilt for hours!

Congratulations, Bobbie!  Best of Show was so deserved!!

I also want to show you Christine Wickert’s winning miniature quilt, which is also astounding – incredible workmanship!  Sorry I didn’t get better pictures, but the quilt was hanging low, well below eye level, and there was always a crowd around it making it hard to photograph!

I have a LOT more picture of quilts from the show to share over the next several posts, but this is all for today.  Here are my purchases from the show:

That’s right – not one single piece of fabric!!  This must be a first.  Honestly, I didn’t think the fabric selection at the show was very exciting or interesting – seemed to be mostly “same old” stuff.  It seemed like the vendors were trying to get rid of inventory, rather than introducing new.  And there was a serious dearth of reproduction fabric – not that I needed any more!  There seemed to be a lot of wool, which I’m not into.  I bought 2 spools of “Bottom Line” from Superior Threads which I use in my bobbin most of the time – medium brown and gray to go with lots of colors.  I bought one spool – med. gray – of the new 80 weight Aurifil thread to try for appliqué and EPP.  I tried it out on this block for the pastel quilt:

My initial assessment is that it is good – very similar to silk.  The thread melts into the fabric and doesn’t show.  It is less slippery than silk and perhaps handles a bit better, but the end curls easily tho not sure it tangles any more than other threads.  One blogger didn’t like this thread, saying it broke to easily, but I didn’t find this to be true for me, at least so far.  I think the jury is out on whether this is any better than silk.  It’s a better value – I think you get at least twice as much of the Aurifil 80 weight for the money.  I like it enough to consider buying a few more spools, but I am going to try doing a more serious comparison with silk first.

As for the new book – I would like to try some of Debra Kemball’s flowers in silk on silk for a pillow for my living room.  Not sure when that project will start given everything else I’m working on!

My 34 year old son lives in Brooklyn, NY so I don’t get to see him much.  He was a theater major in college and has written and given me poems in the past.  I recently challenged him to join me in writing daily haiku and he accepted!  We are texting each other our haikus each day.  This is so much fun and I am loving this way of connecting with him better and more often.  I have a “sewing” related haiku for this week, written the day after attending the festival:

I am a maker

Cloth, color, pattern, and stitch

Feed my searching soul

 

One more:

Time is a river

There’s no stepping out or back

Enjoy the currents

 

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

 

 

June 19, 2017: “Simple and subtle” embellishments; 5 years of blogging!

Greetings!  It’s hard for me to believe that it was 5 years ago this month that I started this blog.  I had been reading various blogs for some time and decided this was something I’d like to try, having no idea if I would like it enough to stick to it – obviously I have!  I have very much enjoyed getting to know other quilters through my blog and web site – people I would almost certainly never have gotten to know otherwise.  I have enjoyed sharing my thoughts and my creative processes.  It was weird at first, not having any idea if anyone was reading what I was writing.  That was before I knew there was a way to check how many views my posts were generating.  I seem to have a relatively small readership that has grown over the years and have gotten positive feedback from those who enjoy reading what I write and the pictures I post so I will continue!  My main hopes are that I have something worthwhile to say, work that is worth sharing, and that I don’t repeat myself too much!  To my regular readers – thank you for sticking with me!!

Because the silk quilt has been on my design wall for quite some time and I can’t ignore looking at it while I’m in the room, I have been thinking off and on for a while whether or not, and how, to embellish it to add interest.   That time arrived.  This is a star quilt.  I’ve been thinking about stars and galaxies.  I thought about spiral galaxies and the idea of embroidering spirals came to me.  I also thought about how intense/dense the embellishments should be and decided they should be simple and subtle – nothing too fancy to detract from the overall design.  I looked up spirals – symbolism and how to draw them.  Spirals are an ancient symbol with lots of different meanings – balance, progress, direction, centering, expansion, awareness, connection, journeying, development, etc.  There are lots of examples of spirals in nature too.  There are numerous types and different ways to draw them, including use of the “Fibonacci ratio.”  I decided to draw them freehand!!!  My spirals are the “logarithmic” type with the space between the lines increasing as they spiral out.

From a distance, you don’t notice the embellishments much (click on pics to enlarge):

But when you go closer you can see the spirals and also the little star rays in the centers of the actual stars:

Closer still:

I’m happy with the look so far.  I’m using one strand of DMC floss.  The spiral colors match the center circles but I’m going for contrast inside the stars.  I like the slightly wobbly look of the spirals done freehand – long live wabi sabi!!!  I have never used beads on a quilt, but am actually considering whether they might add further interest – stay tuned!  Of course, even this simple embroidery is going to take a while!

I made one more pastel quilt block:

Here are the 4 of them so far crowded into the little space left on my design wall:

I am taking a bit of a break from hand quilting “We Are Stardust” because of the recent heat wave we had – 3 days of 90+ temps early last week.  I knew I wouldn’t want a big quilt on my lap under those conditions!  Hopefully I can catch up soon.  Love the embroidery and appliqué hand work when it’s warmer.

Love watching my 2 hibiscus plants flower – buds that are ready open slowly over a few hours on one day:

My star quilt has inspired 3 of my recent haikus:

Endless galaxies

Dot the night sky if you look.

Who else is out there?

 

Spirals and clusters

With billions of hot, bright stars –

Profound mystery.

 

Moon viewing and star

Gazing put me in my place –

Microscopic speck!

 

I am very much looking forward to going to the Vermont Quilt Festival this Friday – yay!!  I haven’t been to a quilt show since my own guild’s show last October so am really excited.  I’m hoping my knee holds out as I will be standing and walking a lot, but realize I may have to rest more often and pace myself more.  I will be taking lots of pictures and will start posting them on my next blog post.

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

 

June 11, 2017: June is my favorite month!; Project updates and new adventures

Greetings!  For a long time June has been my favorite month.  Because I worked for 32 years in an academic setting (and was a student for many years before that!), this probably has something to do with June always having been a break from my hectic work schedule with lots of time off for relaxation.  Now that I’m retired and breaks from work are no longer relevant, I see that I still love June because of the weather and the vegetation.  My house size expands and I enjoy being on either our deck or screened porch (click on pics to enlarge):

and the rhododendrons are in full bloom:

I’m blessed!

I am on to “Phase 2” of the silk quilt!  this means that all the blocks are made and I am just starting to sew the pieces together:

I will sew the blocks together two by two and appliqué the circles between the two blocks:

I have a decision to make a this point.  If I want to add any embroidery embellishments, this is the time to add them before the two block pieces are sewn into bigger blocks which would be more cumbersome to hold while embroidering.  I have an idea for the embellishment and will try it and share next post!

I am moving along with the pastel appliqué blocks.  I added French Knots to the first block and do like the effect:

Here is the second block:

With the third block, I made the decision to not have all the backgrounds the same color so this one is on a yellow background.  That give me a better chance to use some green in the pieces.  The green turned out to be a little too light to show up so I outline stitched it to make it stand out more:

Here are the blocks together with the fabrics set out for the next two:

I’m happy with how it’s coming along!  It’s enjoyable to work with these colors right now.

I am embarking on 2 “new adventures” in my life.  I finally found a volunteer opportunity that I like.  I have started volunteering at a local thrift shop in which all the money – and I mean ALL – goes to worthy charities.  I’ve had 2 training sessions so far and look forward to doing this more.  I’ve already met people I like and hope to get to know a little more.  I like that I can volunteer any time with the frequency I wish – no absolutely set schedule.  Last year they gave over $60,000 dollars to charity so they do a good business!

My other new adventure is that I have decided to write a “Daily Haiku,”  i.e. one haiku every day.   Most of you probably know that a haiku is a poem of 3 lines with the first and third lines 5 syllables and the middle line 7 syllables.  You try to capture the essence or kernel of an idea within that framework. I started on June 1 and am enjoying the challenge!  I have seen quilting/textile blogs showing some quilters and textile artists doing daily art projects, but I’m not motivated to do any other daily textile projects than the longer term ones I’m already doing!  The idea of the daily activity is to do it quickly and improvisationally without too much laboring over whether it is “good”.  Some of my haiku will be good and some probably awful, but I like the format and the idea of the daily challenge.  And sometimes smaller projects like this can spark ideas for larger projects though that is not necessarily my intent here!  In my 11 days so far I have written about sewing twice and will share those with you:

I love stitching cloth.

My thread is the passing of

Time.  Marks left behind.

 

Quietly stitching

Outdoors with the birds and trees

Home surrounds me.  Peace.

 

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

 

 

June 5, 2017: Pastel quilt block #1 done; silk quilt progress

Greetings!  I completed the first little block for my pastel/spring colors quilt (click on it to enlarge):

The original quilt has little sequins in the centers of the petals, but I’m not a big fan of “bling” on quilts.  When my guild made a version of this for their raffle quilt in a country style, we put tiny buttons in the centers.  I may either leave those areas blank or put a few small French knots in there.  I’m loving working with these colors and am glad to see my camera got a better shot of the true green background color here.

I’ve been working on the silk stars and now you can get a better sense of the difference it makes to add the extra half row all around, i.e. how it makes the outer edges of the quilt full stars (as in the upper portion) versus half stars in the lower section I haven’t added onto yet:

The rest of my quilting time was spent hand quilting Stardust.

Because I am now doing some appliqué for the new pastel quilt, I’m starting to feel guilty about my 2 other neglected appliqué projects, Twinkle and Sweet Journeys.

What is stymieing me is trying to create original designs for the remaining Twinkle borders and blocks for Sweet Journeys.  I think I’m close on Twinkle, but may resort to using some classic, in the public domain, designs for Journeys so I can make some progress!

Meanwhile I’m enjoying the spring vegetation!  Rhododendrons are in full bloom in my yard and around the area and my shade garden in front of the house is filling in:

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

May 27, 2017: 1. Design ideas simmering 2. Orthopedic update

Greetings!  Ever since purchasing the new pastel fabrics, design ideas for a quilt made from them have been simmering in my mind.  I quickly decided that a “snowball” quilt would be too boring for me.  I looked through books and on Pinterest for ideas.  Finally I have made a decision!  I am making a medallion style quilt and for the center I am going to make either 16 or 25 blocks from Faye Anderson’s book “My Mother Taught Me To Sew.”

Faye based her quilt on an antique quilt from 1870 by Hannah Riddle (you can google her name and the word quilt and find pictures of it on Pinterest) and won a first place award for it at the  AQS Paducah show in 1988.  The blocks are 6 inches, simple, and combine appliqué with embroidery in a folk art style.  Here are some block examples:

After completing the center, I’ll add rows around it and let the quilt “speak to me” re what to do as I go.   Perhaps some flying geese, some orange peel blocks, half square or quarter square triangles, etc.    At least I now have something to start with!

I have a special fondness for Faye’s quilt because when I was co-chair of my guild’s raffle quilt many years ago we used this pattern to make our raffle quilt.  It was a challenge as the appliqué skills of guild members contributing blocks varied widely, but it came out beautiful, we sold a lot of tickets, and we made a lot of money for the guild to donate to charities.  And the winner of the quilt was one of our guild members!  I don’t have a picture to share, but we used “country” colors.  I think the blocks will look great in pastels.

I also had an “ah-ha” moment regarding the fabrics for this quilt.  I realized that I, indeed, have a lot of “florals” in my fabric collection, but they are almost all orientals.  Somehow, in my mind, I considered them different and never considered mixing them with my other fabrics.  In reality, many – esp. the ones that do not have any gold highlights – mix reasonably well with “regular” fabrics.  So, I was able to gather quite a few other fabrics to use with those I just bought.  I decided I want to feature the “spring” green color in the background and did not have anything suitable so went to Portsmouth Fabric Company where I found 2 light green fabrics:

I have major trouble capturing the color green correctly on my camera!  The light green in front is more spring green whereas the picture makes the background almost white.  The darker greens in the back are actually lighter!  Anyway – they are lovely and should go well with the pastels.  Here is the jumble of fabrics with the orientals added”

Here is what’s on the design wall now (click to enlarge):

I look at this whenever I’m in the sewing room and as I’ve come closer to finishing the stars for 6 blocks x 6 blocks size, I’ve been thinking about final size and what to do about a border.  I decided that I like the size though it’s going to shrink when all the seams are sewn together and thought about what I might do to bring the size back up a bit.   I wasn’t sure I liked the edge with “half stars.”   As you can see in the upper left corner, I decided to add half blocks which make the quilt a bit larger and also, by eliminating one star point in each section, makes full stars appear around the edges.

I like this effect and think I don’t need to add a border after this is done, though will wait to see what the entire quilt looks like when the center is together to make a final decision on that.

About 40 of the 56 hand quilted fans in Stardust are complete:

I saw the orthopedist on Tuesday.  He says my bones are healed but my full recovery is going to take 6-12 months (closer to 12 when you are older, like me!) because of the weakness of the muscles in the legs from all the inactivity while the bones were healing.  Sigh!  I have mild to moderate pain with steps and with kneeling down which should improve as my muscles get stronger.   This is not unusual at this point in the recovery.   My last PT appointment was Thursday and I now have a home exercise program to do daily and I am to swim and use the exercise bike at the gym regularly to strengthen my quads.  Even though I have a way to go, I’m grateful that I am so much better and able to do most of the things I need and want to do day to day.

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

May 21, 2017: In a Spring Mood – new project!

Greetings!  I love early spring (and here in northern New England “early” usually means May!) when the leaves first come out on the trees in that wonderful light spring green color and there are pops of pink and other pastel colored flowers in the landscape, all of which support the usual seasonal feelings of hope and renewal.  These feelings have been especially prominent for me as I inch closer to complete recovery from my injuries and escape from my confinement to the house during the winter when I was barely mobile.

Being surrounded by all this has been making me want to work with lighter colors in a quilt.  However, these are not the colors I usually work with and my stash is almost devoid of pastels.  When a friend invited me to go to Keepsake Quilting with her this past week, I knew it would be a great opportunity to get some pastel fabrics and to start a new quilt.  I could either use the quilt to drape over the couch on my screened porch – a la “cottage style” – or I could even just indulge in using these colors, enjoy the process, but then donate the quilt to charity – something I’d like to do more of.

Keepsake Quilting is one of the largest quilt shops in the nation and is only a 75 minute drive from where I live.  It’s the first shop I went to 24 years ago to buy fabric for my first quilt!  I try to get there a couple times a year.  My friend and I had a wonderful time shopping there in the morning and then having lunch before driving home.   Here’s what I bought:

A “layer cake” of 10 inch squares in light florals (click on pics to enlarge):

A package of 8 inch squares of lighter prints:

And several 1/3 yard cuts of pastels that I liked:

Here they are all together; don’t they look pretty!

Now the key is to start working with them right away – to take advantage of this spring mood –  and not put them away in a box!  Since the purchase, I have been looking at quilt patterns for inspiration.  This is going to be a simple quilt that shows off the colors and the fabrics and I am leaning toward using the “snowball” pattern in which the fabric is featured in squares and there are triangles in the corners of each square that become squares on point when the blocks are sewn together.  There’s not a lot of “value” change in the colors so any complicated pattern is not going to show up well unless I add in darker colors.  I could see doing that for the little squares on point between the blocks for some pops of color, but I don’t want darker colors to be more prominent.  Hopefully I will have started cutting by the time I next post!

Many years ago I made a quilt with floral fabrics – not my usual choice (orientals being the exception), but I fell in love with this particular fabric line – and I called it “Floral Diversion” because it was a “diversion” from the usual fabric palette that I like to use.

You can see the full quilt and some closeups on my web site.  I think this new pastel quilt will be “Floral Diversion” #2.  I’ll enjoy making it, but I doubt #3 will happen any time soon!

Meanwhile, I have added another row of 6 stars to the silk quilt (additional circles not added yet):

I appliqued the center of Sunshine and Shadows to a narrow red border (black border is next):

And I continue to hand quilt fans on Stardust; I have 37 of the 56 fans done.  Minutes spent on this here and there do add up over time.

In my non-quilting life, I performed on accordion with my group “Quatro Formaggi” in 2 benefit concerts, each featuring several acts,  over this weekend.  Our sets go about 15 minutes.  I have been practicing like crazy to get ready and my injured elbow is feeling it!  My knee is still not normal.  If it were not for my injuries, I think I’d already be cutting up my new fabric, but I have to pace myself.  Nevertheless, I’m grateful that I am moving around pretty easily with no brace.  The concerts were fun, but now I’m going to let my body rest a bit!

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

 

May 15, 2017: 1. Process! Process! Process! 2. The Social Media Usage Question

Greetings!  It may look like I don’t get a lot done between posts, but I have been busy with the “process” of creating my silk quilt.  Results don’t just magically appear.  As you quilters know, a lot goes into creating our finished pieces.  A great part of the enjoyment is the process itself.  If you don’t like the process, you are not going to be making quilts for any length of time.  Most of us dedicated quilters love fabric – both the tackle pleasure of handling it and the visual pleasure of looking at it.  We love figuring out what colors and patterns stimulate us, we love cutting the fabric and we love sewing the pieces together.

To make the blocks for my silk quilt, I made a color chart so that I could scatter the colors throughout without having the same colors next to each other:

As I make each section, I number the stars and then pull my silk fabrics and decided which ones will go in which spots:

After the decisions have been made, I pin the number and color to the fabric and also the number of pieces I needed to cut:

Then I use my freezer paper created template to cut the pieces and I then pin the info onto them to keep them straight (here are a few, not all):

I also cut out the dark blue background pieces:

I print and cut out the number of papers I need for the paper piecing:

I’m making the stars 4 at a time, so I number the paper pieces, figure out which colored pieces go where, write this on the paper and find the appropriately colored pieces:

And then finally I’ll sew these sections and create the stars!  It requires focus not to make a mistake since the pieces have to fit together just right, but I enjoy the challenge!  Here are the new stars added since my last post (click to enlarge and enjoy the fabric more!):

I decided that instead of adding circles inside the stars, I am going to add circles in the blue spaces between the stars.  I spent time this week making those circles using Karen Buckley’s circle templates which work beautifully!

And I pinned the circles into those spaces to see how they would all look and am very happy with this and will appliqué them one once I get some of the blocks sewn together (again, click to enlarge!):

I also spent time this week removing the paper from the backs of most of these blocks and ironing fusible interfacing to the backs to prevent fabric shredding.  One of the things I’ve learned from this project is that I should fuse very light interfacing to the back of my silk pieces BEFORE cutting and sewing.  The silk fabric shredding has been horrendous and the interfacing would stop that!  Two more rows of stars to go before deciding on final size!

Wendy at the blog “The Constant Quilter”  (an excellent blog – check it out if you aren’t already a reader!) asked her readers about their use of social media.  She expressed some concern that a lot of bloggers may be quitting or considering quitting blogging and moving to other ways to share such as Facebook, instagram, etc.  Technically I don’t have the means to directly respond on her blog, so thought I’d respond here.

I can hardly believe that I’ve been blogging for almost 5 years.  When I started I wasn’t sure I would last more than a few weeks, but I learned that I enjoy taking the time to write about what I’m doing and I enjoy being part of the quilt blogging community.  I’ve met some great people!!  I very much enjoy reading other blogs and start every day with about an hour of blog reading while I quietly enjoy my morning coffee.  I enjoy seeing the projects and hearing the stories about the projects.   I do not have a Facebook account, but my husband has one (on which he rarely posts) so that we can stay connected with a very few people we really care about, but otherwise much of what is there is a waste of time.  I rarely look at Facebook and I do not do instagram or twitter.  I have a Pinterest site so I can save ideas for inspiration, but I usually only look at it for a few minutes before bedtime when I’m too tired to read.  Time is precious and we need to be mindful of how we are spending it and making sure we don’t just fritter it away.  A lot of social media lends itself to “frittering.”  I’m lucky I’m not drawn to it.

I read through Wendy’s responses and am happy to say that a lot of her responders agree with me, i.e. that we like blogs because of the depth of the information and the stories.  We hope bloggers keep going!

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