October 12, 2018: An Amazing Gift!!!

Greetings!  I’ve been exceedingly busy the past week with getting ready for and giving a trunk show for my own guild, preparing for giving a demonstration at my guild’s show tomorrow, and getting quilts ready for the show.  I’m off within the next hour to spend most of today helping with the set-up of the show.  This is all not to mention other “life stuff” happening that kept me busy too – none of us are just quilt makers!!!  So I have accomplished little actual sewing since my last post – other than making quilt labels!!  After this weekend’s show I’ll have more time and willhave pictures of quilts from the show to share and will bring you up to date on my projects.

Today, though, I want to share with you an incredible gift I received.  When I got home from giving my trunk show at about 9:30 Tuesday evening there was a large package from UPS waiting for me in our driveway.  I knew I hadn’t ordered anything and neither had my husband.  I saw that it was a package from Lorayne Dodge, a quilter in my area who is now in her 90’s.  Our guild did a special exhibit of her quilts at our show a couple years ago and we got to talk with each other.  I love her quilts and she loves mine.  Most of her latter quilts are wall quilts using oriental and other interesting fabrics.  She sent me a HUGE bag of hand painted fabrics and some silks!!!!  She included a note saying she can no longer quilt and thought I would be a good person to give her stash of hand painted fabrics to!!!  WOW!  What an incredible gift!  Here are some pictures of the fabrics:

There are lots and lots of pieces of various sizes – surely many yards of fabric overall.  Lorayne’s generosity is beyond words!!!  I have already started to look through some of my Art Quilt books for ideas for what to do with these fabrics.  I’d like to start something soon and not let them sit for too long.

Gotta run for the show set-up!  Will try to post very soon again with some quilty thoughts I’ve been having about “stitching” and some pictures from the show.

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

October 3, 2018: New Autumn Project; “Star Trek” in the hoop!

Greetings!  Every day there is more color outside!  Autumn colors are my favorite.  13 years ago we did a major renovation of our house.  What was the family room became our dining room and we decorated it using my quilt “Keeping Autumn With Me” as the focal point. (Click on pics to enlarge.)

We had tiles made for the fireplace that used the Oak Leaf and Reel designs of the corner blocks in my quilt and the vine border idea:

We had a grate made for the fireplace with an oak leaf design:

I had curtains with vines and leaves made:

Ever since then I’ve had making a table runner for the table on my “to do” list and finally now is the time!  It’s going to be 18 inches wide and I think will go the 80 inch length of the table.  There will be 3 six inch wide strips running the length.  The two outer strips will be half square triangles in fall colors.  The center strip will have some sort of vine and leaf design which I haven’t yet created.  I’ll need 256 of the 2 inch half square triangles and have 40 made so far,  Here’s a ROUGH idea of how it will be laid out, but am not sure if the center strip will be a gold background as in the picture or something darker:

I also realize now that I have posted the above picture, I’ll probably turn the half square triangles on the right the other way ( the darker pieces abutting the center strip) for balance.  I’ll keep you posted as I work on it!

I FINALLY started to hand quilt “Star Trek”!!!  This will be my major hand quilting project for this fall and winter (and into spring??).  My goal is to have it ready for the 2019 Vermont Quilt Festival.  I have 2 stars and a few of the spiral galaxies quilted.  I decided to stick with mostly straight lines to emphasize and enhance the star shapes.  I am, however, quilting spirals between the spriral arms of the galaxies:

So far, I am quilting through the silk, the fusible interfacing, the silk batting, and the cotton backing with no trouble.   It feels about the same as when a top is cotton.  I am using Gutterman 100% silk thread in colors to match the backgrounds.  This is my favorite hand quilting thread as it glides easily through most fabric.  I’m pretty sure it’s 40 weight.  JoAnn’s carries some colors, but I order other colors I need at Red Rock Threads in Utah.  They have all the colors and are wonderful and prompt with orders.

This project:

is on hold for the moment while I enjoy working with autumn colors for the table runner, quilting Star Trek, and while I prepare for my EPP demo at the quilt show:

and while I get ready for my trunk show next week.  Even though I’ve done the trunk show enough times to be pretty comfortable with it  and to not need a ton of preparation, I still find it helps to go through the sequence of things a few times and to review certain parts during the week before just to make sure I remember everything.  Being well prepared is my recipe for being comfortable and confident with public speaking.

The word “sanctuary” has been in my mind recently.  A good friend who is a pastor recently did a sermon with that theme.  I’ve been thinking how my sewing room and, in a more abstract way, my sewing TIME, no matter where it’s done, has been a sanctuary for me.  Sanctuary – a place of refuge and safety,  This was especially true when I was working full time as a physician and administrator and faced numerous challenges every working day, but it’s still true today.  How wonderful to escape to a world of color, pattern, creation, and “doing” with my hands, to making something beautiful, to expressing myself artistically.  Quilting as my “sanctuary……

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


September 27, 2018: Bindings and Labels and Sleeves, Oh My!!

Greetings!  In the week since arriving back home from Canada I have been on a mission!  The mission is to get ready for the annual Cocheco Quilt Guild show which happens on October 13th and 14th.  I have 6 quilts in the show – my large bed quilt, “We Are Stardust,”  my 2 new smaller quilts, “Summer Breeze” and “It Takes a Village,” and this year’s Trio of Doll Quilts.  I needed to finish the hand quilting on the final doll quilt and add the binding:

I found the perfect stripe for the binding in my stash!

The quilting in the center was a simple cross hatch:

I made and attached a sleeve for Summer Breeze:

I was able to continue the oriental theme on the sleeve!

I made and attached a sleeve for “It Takes A Village”:

I love that the people continue the theme of the quilt!  I had this piece of fabric in my stash for a long time – bought with making something for my daughter in mind as she used to love umbrellas.  Maybe she’ll end up with this quilt!

And now I have 5 labels still to make!!!  “Stardust” is, of course, all set.

In addition to getting the quilts ready, I have to prepare a demonstration on English Paper Piecing for the show.  I’ve been reading and thinking about how to present the information in the most easily understood way and feel that I have a good handle on how it should go.   The demo is only supposed to be 15-20 minutes at most.   It is about the basics and I will only talk about hexagons, not other shapes.  I have used EPP on several doll quilts that I can bring for examples and I’ll need to make up some sample Grandmother’s Flower Garden blocks to demonstrate the sewing techniques.   I would like to prepare a list of resources to hand out.  And I have to make sure I have all the right supplies with me that day.

How is my current EPP project coming along?  I decided that even though I don’t have nearly enough hexagon stars made yet, I want to start sewing the stars I already have together.  I started this week and have some big chunks put together.  It’s coming along and I’m loving the look of the fussy cut stars!

On our Canada trip, I took a bag of stars to work on, but at the last minute threw in a stack of my winter indigo blocks that needed embroidery embellishment.  Good thing, because that’s what I felt like doing whenever I had some time for needlework (not much!!!).  I managed to get a dozen plain blocks embellished:

You may remember from previous posts, this:

to this:

I am very much noticing the shortening of our days – darkness not long after 6:00 PM, darkness lingering in the morning.  Cooler air.  Spots of red and orange and yellow in the trees.  Time passing.  My beautiful grandkids turning 14 and 11 this week.

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

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 – http://www.kingrossquilts.com 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