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December 7, 2018: Designing a border; Houston Festival Pictures, Part 6

Greetings!  I’ve been working on designing a border for the winter quilt as I sew the blocks together.  It hasn’t been easy and I’m not sure I’m “there” yet!  First, I have decided to call this quilt “Winter Solstice.”  The icy blues and deep indigoes say “winter” to me and the main, center, portion of the quilt is all about the contrast between light and dark, day and night.

So many things to consider regarding the border!  Does it even need one?  A “modern” quilter might not add a border, but that’s not me.  I love borders and feel this quilt would benefit from one.   It’s just a bit too stark and plain for me without one and I need to express my own artistry here!  Expressing myself is a big element in every decision!!

How wide/narrow?  The proportion has to be right.  The blocks are 6 inches so a border in the 5-7 inch range would be about right if there is going to be a design on it, e.g. a vine.  Wider than that and it overwhelms the quilt and detracts from the center.  It could be narrower if is just a plain  piece of fabric with no added design but that option is probably too boring for me!

Pieced or appliqued or plain?  What color, what value?  Again, here’s where I hope the artist in me can do the right thing?  I like to experiment on my design wall with actual fabrics.  I do not use a computer program.  I sometimes draw on paper; this time I am not.  If appliqué – what?  A vine  (have I said I love vine borders and try to use them whenever I can :)?  Snowflakes?  The latter would be hard for me to appliqué and I don’t like fusing.

I looked at the borders on some of Shizuko Kurohara’s quilts – she specializes in 2 color indigo quilts and often has borders with several rows of different shades of strips.  Hope you can see this in the pics below (click on to enlarge):

But I don’t think this is what I want to do.  I saw this picture and liked the straight vine border and wondered if something like this would work:

I tried this:

Didn’t like it much so I jazzed it up a bit:

And didn’t like this at all!  Seeing this helped me realize that I want the center of the quilt to be the FOCUS.  I want the border to be more subtle – I don’t want the designs to compete and I want the center to be  what viewers see first.  I also realized that a light background with a darker design on it would directly compete with the center.  So next I tried a medium value background:

The background is not bad, but the leaves get lost on it.  If I go with much darker leaves, they will compete with the center.  So next I tried a darker background:

Then I started to realize that I didn’t really like the straight vine.  I tried seeing what a curved vine would look like:

Better!  But is the background maybe a bit too dark?  And maybe the vine stands out a bit too strongly on the dark background and competes with the central design?    At this point, I had to go fabric shopping because I only had a half yard of the dark fabric in the picture.  I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to  find a match.  I struck out in the first, closest, shop.  The next day I went to Quilted Threads in Henniker, NH, probably my favorite shop in the area.  The folks there were wonderful helping me look at all my options and I came home with a fabric that I think will work – though am still studying it on the design wall.

It’s unfortunate that my camera doesn’t seem to capture the richness of the shade of teal and you, dear reader, can’t really make a great judgement about this choice without seeing the true color!  But, here goes anyway!

I have added a mock up of a simple vine border (without and then with a sawtooth border on the outside):

The vine border in these colors is subtle – a “shadow” vine border, if you will.  I like the idea.  It doesn’t compete with the center of the quilt – the eye still goes there first – but – at least to my mind! – adds interesting detail.  I like to think the “shadow” vine is, in a sense, dormant, like many plants in winter, and waiting for its turn to come out in the spring.

The only thing I’m still not sure about is the “splotchiness” of the background border batik.  It actually is not as prominent in reality as it looks in these pictures.  I can’t yet make a final decision about whether that feature is OK.  Stay tuned!  And please feel free to comment if you have any thoughts about the border!!!!  I’d love to hear from you!!!

More quilts from Houston!!!  Both last year and this year, one of my favorite special exhibits was
“In The American Tradition” in which traditional quilts are exhibited. These are not necessarily new quilts but excellently done traditional quilts.  It was great to see Rachel Daisy’s fabulous “Whizz Bang” and be able to see all the details!  I’d seen pictures of this award winning quilt on line but it’s so much better in person!  Apparantly Rachel was at the show from Australia but, unfortunately, I didn’t see her.

Love the graphic power of this design and the colors, too:

I love everything about this next quilt – just a wonderful quilt in every way:

A great red, black and white quilt

I like the diamond shapes and the border; great fabric choices, too!

The next one is one of those “Wow” quilts:

This Cynthia Collier et. al. quilt was just gorgeous!!!!!  She is the queen of Broderie Perse!

Beautiful hand appliqué and machine quilting on this one:

I’m closing today with an ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL “Bird of Paradise” quilt.  I have thought about making this quilt many times, but always have that inner debate on whether to make something of my own design vs. using a pattern that already exists to make a version of something that many others have already made.  This one is worthy, though!   Haven’t done it yet, but still may some day…

Here’s what awaits me later today and tomorrow:

Decorating our Christmas tree!!!  The only part I don’t truly enjoy (but don’t mind) is getting the lights on.  Adding the ornaments is pure joy.  Hope you are enjoying the holiday season.

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


December 1, 2018: Houston Festival Pictures, Part 5

Greetings!  I read and look at quite a few blogs and am seeing a fair number of pictures of quilts from the Houston show that I missed.  This is easy to do because the show is so huge, but I make an effort to see as much as possible.  I know what happened this year.   I spent one full day – one of my precious 3 days + 2 hours at the preview – on the bus trip to the Texas quilt museum and to quilt shops in the area.  That really cut down on the hours I could look at the quilts, but I’m not sure my body could have handled standing and walking an extra whole day so I think I did the right thing.  But I regret not having seen ALL the quilts!!!

First piece I’m showing today is an art quilt that I liked.  In fact, I may want to do something like these circles as a way to use the big box of hand painted fabrics that were gifted to me in October.  I’ve been looking for inspiration and this inspires:

(click on pics to enlarge and enjoy the details!)

Some of the pictorial and landscape quilts were outstanding.

My pictures don’t do the colors of the quilt below justice:

I loved the subtle colors and the details in this next one!

This one was gorgeous!

This one is breathtakingly beautiful!  Wish I could have taken it home!

Love the trees In this one – amazing that this is all hand done!!! :

This reef scene was FABULOUS!  Wow!   I loved the different fabrics that were used for the fish!!!

Two more quilts from the French exhibit.  I absolutely adore everything about this wonderful medallion style quilt, including the “vine” borders, of course!

A medallion featuring baskets in the border; love the pink:

Here’s one from an exhibit on quilts made by Texans.  This is in my favorite “warm” colors, I love feathered stars, and the border is absolute perfection!!!!

I’ve been trying to design a border for the “winter” quilt and will post again soon about the process.

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




November 26, 2018: Houston Festival Pictures, Part 4

Greetings!  Thanksgiving was wonderful, full of great food, conversation, and games and noisy with the sounds of family and kids.  I loved it and am truly grateful, but am happy to be back to our usual peace and quiet!  Today I share with you pictures from 2 of my favorite special exhibits at the Houston Festival.

There was a wonderful exhibit of antique quilts from Britain.  Two quilts in particular had a strong emotional pull for me.  They were both EPP hexagon quilts and I truly felt connected to the women who made these.  As I looked at the fussy cut hexagons, I felt like I was standing right beside the maker, assessing and studying which areas would best create new designs when put together and experiencing that same sense of wonder at the new kaleidoscopic designs that emerged as those pieces were connected.  One of the quilts was made in 1810 – over 200 years ago!!!  And how similar that woman felt and I feel about our sewing in spite of the vast time difference, cultural changes, different tools, etc.!   (Click on pics to enlarge and see details!)

And this quilt, too, caused the same feelings:

I love medallion style quilts and this was a lovely one, combining piecing and appliqué, which I also like to do:

Another medallion with a lovely vine border and embroidered center:

Another great medallion with piecing and appliqué:

A totally incredible EPP quilt top!:

Just absolutely fabulous hand quilting on this one:

All hand done, beautiful and original appliqué work:

Hope you can see the gorgeous hand quilting on this one:

There was a special exhibit of French made quilts  – “Quilts de Legende” – in which each quilt was inspired by/a copy of an antique quilt.  Incredible exhibit!!!!  I’m showing 3 of the quilts today with more to come in a future post.   I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this first quilt – the appliqué is truly amazing!  I’d love to put reproducing this quilt on my “to do” list, but don’t know if I could finish it in my lifetime!  Does anyone know if a pattern exists for this?  I wouldn’t want to have to draft it!

I love the simplicity of this next one and, of course, I love the vine border!!!  The pale pink color is very appealing.   And, of course, all made by hand!

And what a beautiful salmon colored star with lovely hand quilting accenting the spaces between the star points:

Enough show pictures for today; many more parts to come!

I’ll close with a brief update on the two projects I’ve been working on.  I have all 80 blocks made for the winter quilt and have only 6 left to add embroidery and circles to.  Soon I’ll be arranging the blocks and sewing them together and then I have to get serious about designing the border!  Here are the newest blocks using fabric I just bought in Houston (I especially love the checked fabric!):

And, finally, I am moving along on hand quilting Star Trek:  85 stars/galaxies to quilt, 23 done, 62 to go!!!!  If my life doesn’t get complicated, I might even be able to get one done a day, rather than just 4 per week and finish earlier than expected – we’ll see!  Life can be full of surprises!

Be kind, be grateful, and cherish each day…..

And today I’m adding – “be generous.”  Give what you can to those in need for any number of reasons!    Gladi



November 19, 2018: 1)Houston Festival Pictures, Part 3 2)Fussy cutting frenzy!

Greetings!  Without further ado, here are pictures of some of my favorite quilts from the “small pieced,” “large pieced,” and “hand quilting” categories from the “World of Beauty” competition at the Houston show, in addition to one of my very favorite quilts from the show – the first place winner in the mixed pieced and appliqué category.  Since arriving back at home, I’ve been “driven” (passionately drawn?) to make hexagon stars from some of the fabrics I bought in Texas so I’ll share those with you after the show pictures.  (Click on pics to enlarge!)

I LOVE this quilt!!! – first place in the “small, pieced” category.  The logs can’t be more than 1/8 inch.  I don’t know if this is any harder than making log cabins with 1/4 inch logs, which I have done in 2 doll quilts, but I want to try this.  I love the look of the tiny logs!  This quilt maker also won first place in the mini category with a quilt made from this technique – will share that another day.  I really love the colors in this quilt, too.

Karen Eckmeier won both second and third place awards in the “small, pieced” category – quite an accomplishment!!!   Love the leaves, flowers, and color use in this second place winner:

And here’s here third place winner – very different and very creative!

First place in the “large, pieced” category, beautifully machine quilted:

My favorite quilt in the “large, pieced” category was this one, which won an honorable mention. I LOVE the use of reproduction fabrics and all the variations of the different circles!  Lots of pictures here!

Another wonderful Japanese-made medallion in the “large, pieced” category – all hand done!!!:

This next quilt was a fascinating choice for the best hand quilting award!!!  They were clearly rewarding the hand quilting for its appropriateness to the overall theme of the quilt and for the evenness and execution of the “sashiko” style stitches and NOT for the tiny size of the stitches, which I think is so often what drives the award.   I think it’s good to reward those other elements of hand quilting too!  This quilt is very modern and sooooooo well done:

Second place for hand quilting – just absolutely GORGEOUS!!!   I have been following Andrea’s work for some time – she’s known for her hand quilting and for whole cloth and “strippy” quilts. Everything she does is fabulous and this one is no exception!  By the way, for most of the quilts, because of lines of tape in front of them holding folks back, I couldn’t get close enough for really good close up pictures that would feature the quilting stitches.

Third place in hand quilting – another WOW!

And here is one of my very favorite quilts in the show – the first place winner in the mixed pieced and appliquéd category.  This quilt was truly amazing!!!!!!!!  If my memory is correct, this quilt won Best of Show at this year’s Tokyo International Quilt Festival this past January.  I love everything about it!

Still many, many more quilts to share in future posts!

Since I returned home, I’ve been making EPP hexagon stars from fabrics I bought in Texas.  Here are some examples of fabrics and then the stars I made from them:

With this first one, I realized after I had made some pieces that the “white” background was going to be too light for this quilt so I tea-dyed  a piece of the fabric and re-did the pieces.  Don’t know if you can see that the completed star is a little darker:

For the next one, each stripe was different and I only had a fat quarter so I had to improvise and make 3 of each of 2 cuts and alternate them in the star:

And here are some stars that are not “prima donnas” like some of the others are:

I probably won’t post again until after Thanksgiving because family is descending on our house late Wednesday afternoon and staying until Saturday.  It’s going to be a bit chaotic, but I’m so grateful to be able to host.  Wishing all my US readers a wonderful Thanksgiving with loved ones!

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






November 15, 2018: Houston Festival Pictures, Part 2; Purchases in Houston

Greetings!  It’s been a bit of a whirlwind for me the past week.  Not only was there Houston, but yesterday I went to Walpole, MA, about 2 hours south of here, to do a trunk show for the Rhododendron Quilt Guild last evening.  What a wonderful, warm, and welcoming group!!!  Got to see Janet Elia (Janet Ann Creations blog) again – she belongs to this group in addition to the Silver City guild and was responsible for me getting to Houston last year.  Lots of fun!   Now I am finally settled back in at home and am not going anywhere for a while!!!

I’ve got more pictures to share.  Please be sure to click on the pictures to enlarge them and see the great details!!!  Last time I showed you the fabulous first place quilt in the “Hand Made” category.  Here’s the beautiful second place quilt from that group:

The third place quilt in the Handmade category – loved the green color and the hand quilting and embroidery were wonderful:

I really like this next quilt because it features an accordion player!!! (I’m still practicing and playing mine regularly!)

Another lovely entry in the Handmade category – I just love these hand made Japanese medallion quilts!!  I want to make one some day!

I’m now showing entries in the large appliqué category.  Loved the one below even though  not a prize winner:

This was a wonderful, lovely red, green, and white quilt!!  Margaret has won top prizes in big shows and the hand quilting, appliqué, and trapunto were great (no prize though!):

Even though this next one only won an honorable mention, it may have been my favorite in the category.  I just love the colors and overall design!!!

This was the second place winner in the large appliqué category – an amazing work and well deserving of an award!!!  Incredible details!!!

And finally the first place winner in the category –  a beautiful Baltimore Album style quilt with wonderful detail work!  I wish I could have gotten a little closer to be able to capture some of those details better:

That’s all the pictures of quilts for today – many more to come!

So what did I buy in Houston?  My guiding principles were to try to buy only what would be hard for me to find locally and to buy only what I really, truly think I’m going to use!  My number one goal was to buy the reproduction Dutch prints that I didn’t buy last year and then regretted not doing ever since!   These were from the Dutch Heritage booth – from Amsterdam – and I saw Petra Prins there!  I certainly can’t buy these locally!   I bought the box:

and supplemented with a yard of the lightest fabric and half yards of some of the colors:

I LOVE these fabrics and definitely want to design something to use them – hopefully not too long from now!

I love indigoes so checking out what was available was my second goal.  I found some new indigo designs that I didn’t already have at Kimonomono and bought 7 pieces that I can use for the last blocks of the winter quilt:

And I really splurged at Shibori Girl and bought a pack of Glennis’ hand dyed shibori pieces plus 3 pieces of antique indigoes:

These will be inspiration for Spirit of Japan #6!

The other fabric I was looking for was 19th century reproduction fabric that would be suitable for interesting fussy cutting.  I only found a few pieces at the show  – not much 19th century repro fabric at the show.  However, I found several excellent pieces at 2 of the shops at which we stopped on the Saturday bus trip:

I bought ONE book – I would have had to buy this on-line, otherwise.  I’d read great things about it and it is, indeed, excellent.  It’ not just about the EPP technique.  There’s well written history about stitching, the history of EPP, etc.  A book worth having!

And few miscellaneous items – some high end embroidery thread, the paper I like for my EPP templates, 2 more spools of the 80 weight Aurifil that I’m liking for my EPP and a new needle threader;

I also bought this template:

It is supposed to be traced on a foundation (interfacing recommended, but I’m going to try it with the June Taylor fabric-like foundation which I can use in the printer to make copies) and 12 of them make this design:

Meeting folks and making connections is one of the benefits of attending a show like this.  I met Lori D from “Humble Quilts” briefly at the show – it was nice to make the connection since I have been reading her blog for a long time.    I kept my eyes open for Kyle of “Timeless Reflections” but didn’t see her – amazing we didn’t cross paths at the Dutch Heritage booth!!!  It was fun to spend time with folks from my own guild and get to know them better.

I can’t believe we are expecting our first snow tonight!!  I’m not ready!  But I don’t have a choice!  And Thanksgiving is next week.  2018 is almost over, time is flying….

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





November 12, 2018: Houston Quilt Festival pictures, Part 1

Greetings!  I just got home from Houston last night.  As expected, the festival was wonderful – filled with gorgeous quilts and plenty of vendors and lectures.  I didn’t take any classes, but I did spend one day on a bus trip that included the Texas Quilt Museum in the town of La Grange and stops at several local quilt shops.  Today I am going to share pictures of the top winning quilts, plus one of my favorites.  I wasn’t so good about capturing which category winning quilts were in but I’m not sure that info is critical to your enjoyment of the quilts.

BEST OF SHOW – WOW, this was a completely amazing quilt!  Not sure you will appreciate the intricate details in my pics.  Sherry Reynolds made this in honor of her mother and it took several years to complete.  The workmanship is astounding!  Click on pics to enlarge for details.

Somehow I didn’t get a shot of her description of making the quilt and I know why – there were too many people crowded around while I was there and I never got back to take a picture of it!

I absolutely loved this completely hand made quilt – just incredible!!!!:

Another one of my very favorite quilts – I wanted to take this one home with me!!  Of course I LOVED the vine border!!:

This one won the award for contemporary artistry:

One of the awards for thread artistry – beautifully done:

The artist is Andrea Brokenshire and I apparently didn’t get a picture of her description of the quilt.

An award for machine quilting – a gorgeous whole cloth quilt by a man (!) from Spain:

I forget what the exact award was for this a amazing portrait:

Another portrait winner:

Those were all the MAJOR prize winners.  I’m finishing up today with pictures of the first place winner in, I believe, the hand made category.  I LOVED this amazing quilt!!!!:

I took a lot of pictures so will be posting pictures from this show for a long time!  Next time I’ll show you my purchases and many more pictures!

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


November 6, 2018: “Star Trek” update; Off to Houston!

Greetings, friends!  I am in the midst of packing for Houston.  We will have to leave the house at about 3:45 AM tonight in order to get to the airport in Boston for my flight to Houston which leaves shortly after 7 AM.  I’ll have to try to take a nap tomorrow afternoon at the hotel so I can enjoy the preview tomorrow evening.  I’m excited!  And you can be sure I will be posting lots of pictures from the festival, but not until after I get home on the 11th.

Meanwhile, I’ve realized  I had better get cracking on the hand quilting of Star Trek.  I counted 85 total stars in the quilt and 84 “spiral galaxies.”  I’m  quilting each star shape 3 times, plus 4 parallel lines in each of the blue “strips along the star edges.  And, as you know,  each galaxy gets a spiral quilting line.  I have a dozen of the stars and galaxies done so have about 72 of each to go.  If I get 4 of each done per week, I will need 18 weeks from mid November to finish the quilt center by early April.  That will give me April and May to get the border done – all in time for the Vermont Festival in June.  This is how I often break my hand quilting down if there is a deadline – in small “chunks” over specified time periods.  This really helps me stay on track.   I think this should be very do-able!!!  And if the winter is tough and I’m stuck at home a lot, I may finish it well ahead of time! (probably wishful thinking!)

(Click on pics to enlarge)

And here is how the back is looking!

I hope to post some festival quilt pics next Monday or Tuesday after I’m back home!

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