Sunday, December 30, 2012

First Snow -- three days late

Without a howl or whistle of the wind snow fell during the night, only a coupe of inches, if that.  A nice white blanket which would have been more appreciated on Christmas day.  But the clouds have no idea of what dy of the month it is.  This photo was outside my bedroom window when the sun had come up but was still mostly behind clouds.  This kind of snowfall is perfect -- a pretty blanket, but easy to brush off a car, causing no driving problems.  Winter is here.

Large parts of the country have massive amounts of snow.  We are lucky.  I actually stayed in and read the year end musings in the NYTimes. Pages of photographs of war, unrest pain in many parts of the world  during the past year.  And those, of course, only a hint at the actuality. Year end is a time for contemplation.

I have been trying to write a poem contrasting the hubbub inside Rachel' house with family all gathered and gifts galore, especially for the children, with my short (two blocks) walk home. I haven't managed to capture the inside part yet. But here is the second part:

White moon, rag-clad with cloud tatters
nesting in unwelcoming bare branches above
dense dark on sidewalk-less street.
 Still, cold air, quiet, no traffic,
alternate world at day's end,
enfolding walking woman on soft soled shoes.
Silent night, peaceful night, all is calm,
all is right.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Cole's Farmyard Animal Quilt

I've been I've been beavering way on this quilt of appliqued barnyard animals for Cole for Christmas.  Last Christmas his big brother, Finn, got  a similar quilt of big jungle cats.  I like these chickens and sheep, gesse and pigs and goats.  They are designed by Deborah Konchinsky.  I have a number of her applique patterns for animals and have used them for quilts for several years. She has, I think, a wonderful ability to catch the animals in a realistic way while always having a sense of humor about them.

In this case I decided to use only the  polka dot and stripped fabrics I had on hand -- except I had to purchase a new piece for the back.   The photos don't show the polka dots very well but the stripes are clearly bright and fun. I'm glad it's finished.  I have a handful of other projects to get busy working on. As of this afternoon this quilt is wrapped and under the family tree for him to open tomorrow.  At one, (his birthday was two weeks ago) he's not going to care about this quilt, of course. In a way it's really for his mother.  She remembers having quilts I made for her as a little girl.  Did I say that Cole is my second great-grandson?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Finsihing up, challenging myself

A new season has arrived (and the end of the world was never a likelihood).  It's finish up and get back to things already started.  I'm finishing up my great-grandson's farm animal quilt -- photo in a couple of days. It WILL be ready for Christmas, but barely. Maybe tomorrow afternoon, maybe Monday.  Then a picture. 

Then it's time to turn back to my take on this wonderful quilt which was made by a South African quilter (this is only a detail of a very much larger quilt) that I saw at the World Quilt Show August before last.  I and my daughter managed to embroider nearly twenty circular designs, each different for the other, last winter. I have one that needs only a half hour more work and then I'm back to trying to do at least one a week all through the winter. Maybe Rachel will have time to make a few more too. I don't know how big it can grow by the first of August when our guild has another show.  Embroidering circular designs is a meditational exercise, every one will be different.  I must end up with a number that can be put together in a square. The detail shows nine.  I think the original had well over 100.  It's a challenge.

Of cousre that's not all.  Two tops and their backs are in my sewing room waiting to be quilted. Then I want to do some BOMs for my guild and I want to make a two sided batik quilt for myself, using 5x5 charm squares of which I have many.  And then, and then ... the mind is always far ahead of the doing.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Same Only Different

Four jewel-toned blocks was the terms of a swap -- four each for two partners.  So I turned to my most used paper piecing book Carol Doak's Fifty Fabulous Stars.  The ones sent to each person did not have to be the same and, as  can be seen, are a bit different.  This was an opportunity to use some small pieces of fabric.  I very, very much enjoy using these designs.  But I really hate removing the paper when I'm finished. However they go into the mail in a couple of hours.  And I move on to other quilting projects. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fat Dragon

 This wall hanging is so long, about 5 foot, that to get a passable photo I had to take two.  (Apologies because the lower half was take from a bit further away than the top half)

The fabric is an indigo, hand-stamped, batik which I purchased in Yunnan province in China a few years ago and have been thinking of quilting and using as a wall hanging.  It's story is this: I was traveling with only three other people (plus American and required Chinese guides) in Sichwan and Yunnan provinces. We visited a Miaow village; they are a tribal people, have attractive stone villages and live in beautiful rolling foothill of the eastern Himalayas. Although we were a very small group of tourists, our arrival triggered a serious feeding frenzy. We could barely look at the village and the people's costumes because venders were shoving things at us telling us prices. I saw an indigo dragon fabric and paused a moment go see how long it was.  The woman was asking a price as high as I would have to pay retail in the
US.  I said no thank you.  Eventually the venders realized we were there to listen to the village spokesman and to wander around the attractive village and countryside.

A couple of days later we were at a grotto that is a minor tourist site. We were the only tourists around, there were a couple of women with brassiers selling delicious smelling roasted sweet potatos and a few tables with items for sale. On one was this batik which I recognized as surely from the same workshop as the one I'd seen before. This time the vender's price was half that asked  by the Miaow woman. I bought it.

I machine quilted around the designs, added the navy border and added some quite narrow silver colored braiding. I can see that the stamps of designs along the sides are out of sync with one another near the top -- a "mistake" that makes me like the print more  than if it were perfect.  However, as I worked on it, I liked the scaly body of the dragon, felt his feet were too small and his head very much too small.  He looks like a fat worm with a little dragon head. I remember that some poem or epic from early English lit. called dragons "worms". And I think Tolkein calls his dragon, Smaug, in The Hobbit a worm.  Still this worm seem to have no menace, has no wings and seems a pussy-cat of a dragon although it is quite authentic as handwork from another country.  So I have mixed feelings about my personal Smaug.  I look forward, in a couple of weeks to seeing the movie of The Hobbit. For now my fat wormy dragon hangs in a space just the right size for it but I think his tenure is limited.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Quick little quilt

Rachel and some of her work colleagues have been collecting donations to purchase blankets fo go to a shelter for young homeless women in Venezuela. (Someone they know is volunteering there). It seems one of the 20 or so young women has an infant daughter.  Rachel asked if I could make a quilt for the baby so it, too, would have something warm. 

In half a dozen hours on Saturday and Sunday I stopped my quilting projects and quickly made this little pink scrap quilt and fused on some  butterflies.  Nothing fancy or cutsey, but I'm glad I recently collected a handful of pink scraps from  the free table at a guild meeting as I thought that my stash of pink was very limited. So, in a sense, this quilt is not only made by me but donated by some women who will never know that their generosity is warming a baby girl on another continent.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey today

What is this new thing of "brineing" the turkey?  For me "retired" means as little cooking as I can get away with and I don't keep up with the trends. But suddenly everyone I talk to, including Rachel, the family turkey cook today, is brineing the bird.  I'll find out 'round 'bout noon when I go to her house to lend a hand in the more familiar business of veggie prep.  THAT is something I still do quite a lot.

The older I get the more vegetables I eat.  My love of broccoli is a family joke. Turkey and chicken are on my menu far more than red meat.  But my preparations are always old-fashioned and simple these days.  Cooking for one can be almost an afterthought --if you give a little thought to grocery shopping.

We'll have a small gathering, which is just fine.  Being an early riser I always see the sunrise this time of year. The sun hit the horizon all golden but lifted itself up into a thin layer of clouds that are dissolving as I type.  I may have time to bundle myself up a bit and go for a quiet contemplative seaside walk ... isn't quiet contemplation one of the requisites today?  After three and a half years as a "wash ashore" here on Cape Cod, I like the shore I've washed up on.  It's geographically beautiful. I've found that stereotype of the cold, reserved New Englander doesn't seem to apply to the people my age that I've come to know, friendly, thoughtful, intelligent and, in fact, fun loving -- now there's a non-stereotypical adjective! -- that's the people I've met here.  I'm truly thankful I'm where I am, doing what I'm doing. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Quilts for Sandy Victims

I have been hoping I'd discover a way to give a coupe of quilts to New Yorkers who lost their homes in Hurricane Sandy.  Happily, yesterday an email from the Bayberry Guild told me that one of the members is driving to the city for Thanksgiving and will take quilts.  She knows of a police headquarters that is collecting donations and will distribute them. 

There are so many charities I would like to give money to but money isn't readily available for such things. However, I seem unable to stop making quilts and certainly don't need all that I have stashed on closet shelves and under beds.  Some become bed size because I just can't stop making the squares -- like this strip pieced quilt I made last spring.  It's on it's way as of this morning, along with another that was made last winter.  Now there is a space under my bed where I was storing them in a zipped plastic bag that once had a purchased comforter in it.  I make it known to family and friends that I would be a happy recipient of any such bags that may come into their homes.  I have no reason to buy blankets and comforters and bed spreads since I always sleep under my quilts.  I'm glad a couple of other people will soon have these quilts. It's a small drop in the empty pail of what they need, but it's something I can do.

Monday, November 12, 2012

So beautiful a great-gramma has to brag

My pin-up of the month.  What more can a great-grandmother say?

Friday, November 09, 2012

Group quilt

Block exchanges (swaps) over the entire fall have finally added up to twenty 12x12 blocks almost all black and red, or just black ad white.  A bit of teal and a touch of yellow were included (actually in blocks I made as trials). So over the past week-end I put them together with three inch black stripping and this is what it looks like. 

I have pieced a back for it but haven't added batting and, of course, haven't quilted it.  The choice was to use black or red stripping. A year ago I did a similar sampler block quilt with red and liked it very much but I thought a change would be good.  The black is fine although it makes it seem a very serious quilt. 

With many other projects in the works, this will remain a UFO for some time, I think.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Three Quilts from the New England Quilt Show

 The New England Quilt Show has moved to Manchester, VT from Nashua where it formerly was.  This is a better venue and the show-- although somewhat crowded in the room they chose to use in the Raddison Convention Center (there is a much larger room that was not used -- I assume it was a matter of money).  However they had a room next door where all the venders were.  I found that a very good arrangement -- it was possible to concentrate on the show without being distracted by vender booths and the vender room was well arranged and easy to maneuver.

Most of the quilts -- no surprise -- were what I call contemporary traditional.  They were all well made, nearly all used the beautiful modern fabrics available, both batiks and the many lines for quilters.  They had a harmoniousness that only can be achieved by having a wide choice of fabrics. Many were traditional patterns, and variations thereof, often with applique to compliment piecing.  Usually with complex
 long-arm or home machine quilting, many with embellishments  -- all the tricks, the bells an whistles that are beloved of quilt magazine editors. And beloved of quilters also.  They were labor intensive and reason for the makers to be proud.

But there were few surprises, these three surprised me enough to pull out my camera and take photos. The tree was elegant in its simplicity--a breath of elegance among all the complexity (all of which was in the service of what many today think elegance means, but I disagree, obviously)

The two lower quits were made by women who were judges of the show.  The random stripes with the floating circles is also simple, it's more whimsical than elegant and made me smile.  It seems to me this is a woman who truly enjoys putting fabrics together and isn't hung up on the color wheel.
This fish has a blue ribbon on it as you can see.  If you look closely you'll also see three segments of scales made of tabs from pop-open soda cans. The eye is also part of a  metal tab. Again whimsical, but in this case whimsey applied to a quilt that required a lot of planning and sewing.  There are borders that cannot be seen in this photo which were also complex. 

I did not write down the names of the quilters as I should have done.  I wasn't thinking about blogging but simply about enjoying the few quilts that said to me this is someone with an artist's soul, not a person overly influenced by the pictures in the magazine.  I enjoyed the show but I was not inspired by it.  It's good to see excellent craftsmanship.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A time for quilting

Hurricane Sandy barely touched Cape Cod -- how lucky I am to have chosen this as a place to live!  What it did was give me a couple of days for serious quilting. This little color wash style mini quilt is a picture of a nice day at the beach -- you can see, sun in the sky, quiet water, sand with shells, even a little bit of marsh with a bit of beach roses.  This has been sent to a swap-bot partner.  I might sometime decided to make a bigger version,  I don't know.

This was not made in the last couple of days.  I'm working on two bigger projects, a piece of indigo with a dragon on it that is becoming a wall hanging -- by the end of the week it will be done.  And a quilt for my youngest great-grandson that will be done, definitely, before  Christmas.  It's a gay collection of polka dots and stripes in primary colors to which various farm animal pictures will be added.  I've only just started and it's proving to be a lot of fun.  Other planned project await -- of course.  My mind is always full of things I'd like to make.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lull before the storm?

The so called monster storm is somewhere down in the New Jersey area right now but public officials here have been over reacting. Everything was cancelled today.  Storm days are like mini-vacations.  Or more like stepping out of time and existing inside a bubble of quiet and anticipation. 

I expected power outages all day long. Indeed the lights blinked a few times but came back on. This meant I had a whole day during which I caught up on some jobs and then spent most of the afternoon working on a wall hanging made from a piece of indigo printed cotton -- hand stamped, I was told but I wasn't sure I believed  it when I saw the same being offered fifty miles away another day.  This was in Southern China and the design is a dragon -- a rather worm-like dragon with lots of stylized insects and fish along the sides.  I did all the machine quilting I wanted on it and added some silver braid -- but must get another package.  I need some ivory colored bias binding and then I can finish it in a couple of hours.  I have just the place to hang it. 

The actual storm should either by-pass us (which I think it will do (although there has been plenty of wind) or hit tomorrow.  So I should have another day in this bubble. I have plenty of other projects to work on ... after all Christmas is coming and I have a second great-grandson who does not yet have his own quilt.  And much more.  If the electricity stays on.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Autumn Birds

 The challenge was to make a quilt that meant autumn to me.  I found this fabric of marsh birds.  They are not geese, I'm not quite sure what they are meant to be, but for me the fabric captures the feeling of autumn.  The film is over-exposed and the actual mini quilt (about 12x12) is darker.  There is hand quilting around the birds and within the grasses

These are my visitors.  I believe most of them have left.  There are only four here. Sometimes we've had as many as 35 on the lawn at the same time.  It is the season to fly south and the majority of them may be on their way.  I suppose they will run into the hurricane that is blowing up the East Coast.   My theory is that most go to the Chesapeake Bay area for the winter.  I hope they find safety to sit out the storm if they are between here and there.  Although they make a mess of the lawn with their leavings, I enjoy having them here.  I even enjoy their honking approaches and very much enjoy their sure-footed landings.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Guild Speaker

The speaker today at the Bayberry Quilters' Guild meeting was, "one of us" and I can't imagine what I did with my program, but I cannot find my program and so can't give her the credit she deserves.

She has been quilting a long time and has become very, very skillful .  She
enjoys using border prints and fussy cuting them to get new patterns in her work.  This is obvious in the quilt above that she calls "Nine Card Trick.  Her work is meticulous and has a professional patina as can be seen in these two examples.  The second is a bargello technique used for a long thing wall hanging -- or it could be a table runner.

The secret which bothers me somewhat is that she uses fabrics from specific lines so that she knows the blend beautifully.  Nothing wrong with that  and an excellent ploy, especially if the purpose is commercial.  I think the uninitiated are easily impressed with carefully graduated colors.  I must admit this, to me, is  like Hallmark cards with rhyming verses.  Too simple, too unsurprising, too pat.  Yet, the quilts were all very attractive.   A dilemma for the quilter. There are many lines of well matched fabrics.  If they speak to your sensibility, why not use them and take the confusion out of buying your fabrics? 

Well, to each her own.  My work is far less perfect and also not strikingly successful or artistic.  But I love the challenges.  Sometimes I even learn something about color and print.  I took the top pictures because I've always loved the "card trick" pattern  - with four cards  - and I've never made one. I think the time is coming to make one, maybe, I'll l do some fussy cutting ... but I don't know.  It will depend on how I feel the day I get started.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Autumn Outdoors and In

A very cold evening about a week ago was the impetus to turn trees golden and, a few red -- and amount of autumn color I have not seen before here on the Cape since the last three autumns have been warm and trees didn't turn until well into November, although they had turned "off Cape". We are protected by the surrounding water. I'm enjoying a display of color every time I drive somewhere.
Many people in this apartment complex do some decorating just outside their doors for various seasons.  Marilyn who lives at the end of my hall is an enthusiastic decorator and must have a big closet full of seasonal items.  The "witch" is harmlessly captured but her legs and feet wouldn't fit into the chest -  nor her hat and broomstick. 

This is an "over 50" housing complex so we don't have children coming around trick or treating.  Frankly, I'm glad. I have a "grumpy old lady" attitude about kids and their greed for candy -- as if they didn't have more than enough candy normally.  The uptick in tacky junk to "decorate" with at all holidays is very distasteful to me and the Halloween stuff is among the worst.  Ugly skeletons, witches, spiders and spider webs, ghosts of various sorts ...  No thanks.  Real pumpkins mostly, I think, are products of local farmers so I don't mind that these people make a little money.  And I'm happy to see that a lot of Jack-o-lanterns are actually drawn on the pumpkin with markers or paint -- giving the "artist" the ability to be orginal and sometimes witty. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sleeping people

On my other blog, I was just writing about the article on sleep in today's NYTimes. Then I remembered that I have this quilt hanging in my bathroom. It was among my first attempts to make an art quilt. The nine photographs were transferred to fabric. The background fabric is from a sheet that says "sleep" all over it. I have always been touched by people who sleep in public, especially the homeless people who sleep on park benches. I included other photos of sleepers: there is a boy sleeping on a haystack-- he is in Sikkim--who reminded me of the nursery rhyme "Little Boy Blue, come blow your horn, the are in the meadow, the cows are in the corn. Where's the little boy who looks after the sleep? He's under a haystack, fast asleep." There is a woman on a street in Calcutta, and two of my grandchildren sprawled on a bed safely indoors. I love the man in the lower right corner, a city worker sleeping on Fifth Avenue at noon on the recently laid concrete oblivious to all the workers and shoppers and taxis within feet of him.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Same but Different

I made two different examples of this zig-zag block this week.  The top one will be used when I write up directions for making October's BOM for the Bayberry Quilt Guild.  The black and white one, with two different fabrics -- although the lighting makes it look like three -- was for a swap of black and white blocks.  I like the black and white one  and I think I'll make one more.  I haven't received the black and white block from that swap yet but when I do I will have a total of twenty 12.5x12.5 blocks -- not all of them black and white -- and will decide what to use as stripping, possibly a black-on-black fabric, or possibly another color and have a top made.  I may decide not to quit it but give it unquilted to a charity that is willing to receive tops and then do the quilting.   This would make me happy because I really don't enjoy the quilting step in larger quilts. And heaven knows I don't NEED more bed sized quits.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Big and the Small

I love these Tang Dynesty horses!  Seven or eight years ago I saw a large exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Tang Dynesty sculptured horsse, mostly in bronze, and many drawings from that period as well.  They were powerful and lifelike. 

Within a few weeks I received a package from a quilting friend who often purchased more of a fabric than she actually needed for a project and then, knowing she would not use it again, she sent me the remnants because she know I am basically a scrap quilter.  In the package were thirteen squares cut from the fabric you see here with the Tang horses and their handlers.  After a while I made this wall hanging which is one of three or four that I rotate above my piano.  It's obviously a nine-patch.  So I still had four squares which I put away and have not used until the past week when I was in a swap that called for a quiltie on an "oriental" theme.  Ah, a chance to share my Tang horses with someone else. So I made the little quiltie you see here and have sent it off.  And, while thinking about it, I took down the quilt that was over my piano and rehung the one you see above.  It's one of my favorites.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Big quilt done, smal one too

I'm having slow internet problems so no picture -- it takes too long and I'm not patient enough.  I finally finished the scrap strip quilt yesterday after thinking for three weeks, "just another day".  Did I occasionally mention that quilting always takes longer than you think?  Did I also mention how labor intensive quilting is?  Both true in spades. The quilt looks not very different from the picture a couple or three posts ago -- just more of the same.

And did I mention that I love scrap quilts?  Mine are what I call TRUE scrap quilts -- they are made from every kind of scrap that's come my way over a few years. Therefore my quilts aren't all in one color family, aren' t of one tonal family. They are some of this, some of that, prints, plains, stripes, dots, dyes, tone on tone, you name it.  And they are not all from my projects.  In swapping people have sent me strips and sometimes scraps. Some kinds of scraps are irresistible to me at the guild's "free table" so not all the fabrics in my scrap quilts have sentimental value and I don't necessarily know where they came from -- except the ones that I've used in major projects. Those I never forget. There's a motto, When life gives you scraps, make a quilt.  Mostly life does give us scraps. At least if you are interested in many things and not at all single minded about what you are involved with and what kind of people you meet.  It's all a scrap quilt and I love it. Right now the nights are a little too warm for this big quilt which is actually four layers instead of three since the scraps were sewn onto foundation pieces.  But soon I'm going to be sleeping under it and will have washed and put away my pastel summer quilt.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

World Quilt Show, more smiles

 This was one of the cleanly graphic quilts I liked very much.  It's called "Summertimes" by  Berkeley, California artist, Nancy Bardach.

I'm very distressed that none of these photos were copied on the blog as they are in my photo file where they were all cropped to get rid of the distracting hanging mechanisms.
The second photo is Barbara McKie's "Dandylions".  Much a I like her sense of humor in the squirrel quilt I printed a couple of days ago, I think the fun in this idea just didn't work out.  I fully understand the impulse that she had -- I might have a similar impulse. But upon seeing it I'd say to myself, Oops, just didn't work.

The last photo which I stepped far back to photograph is very neat when it's cropped.  The entire quilt is tiny squares, I think about 1.5 inches -- a graphic technique that has been much used, sometimes overused but in this case, I think it worked well.  The artist is from Australia, Ingrid Rudolph, and it's named, what else?  "Kangaroo"

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Favorite Quilt

Rachel and I went to the Mancusco World Quilt Show in Manchester, VT last weekend.  From past years we knew it's  a show so big it needs two days.  So this year we took two days and saw the hundreds of wonderful quilts -- a very good portion of them being art quilts.  The major country show was from Israel -- over 40 wonderful quilts from different quilters in that small country, most were art quilts and they were wonderful.  We loved most of the show and took our time since we, for a change, weren't hurrying to get back home at a reasonable hour.  I did not take very many photos because I usually feel too overwhelmed afterwards and always wish I had take this or that.

The quilt here is "The Squirrel's Speech" by Barbara McKie.  I fell totally in love with it. The various squirrels (and they are different ones) are photos, but their wonderful tails are thread painted.  As you see it follows the eating of the corn off the cob. Each squirrel seems to have an expression on it face. I discovered Barbara McKie at the time I discovered art quilting, in approximately 1981 at a show in the American Folk Art Museum in NYC.  At that time manipulating photos on fabric with a computer was just beginning and McKie was the first person whose work did that, as far as I knew.  I've watched her over the years and felt she was always a meticulous quilter, adventurously trying new things.  I did not always like her quilts but I always admired her perfectionist approach. 

Last year at the World Quilt Show she had two quilts, a bird and a little white dog, both mostly thread painted.  They were beautifully done, I admire them very much.  But this year I find something I have not seen in her work previously -- a sense of humor, a sense of play.  These squirrels and their "attitude" shows that.  I will print a second quilt of hers in the show another day along with a few other photos I took.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Started but not finished

A whole week of  cutting scraps into squares and strips and now a whole week of sewing 6" strip squares into 12" squares and setting them together with the blue stripping.  And it's not big enough.  So I will start making more six inch squares, 40 of them.  And then see what I think.  It will then be wide enough, but will it be long enough? Maybe not.

One sure lesson about quilting, everything takes longer than you think it will.  This is purely a utility quilt and an opportunity to use up many of my strips.  The quilt is as scrappy as they come.  And I've still got plenty of scraps to make it bigger; so bigger it will be. No complaints except I have several other quilts I'd like to get started on but if I start them and let this lapse, who knows when it will get done?  Better do one thing at a time.  (I'll have to remind myself of that somewhere down the line, I suppose when I stop taking my own good advice.)

Monday, August 06, 2012

Only I Know What I Accomplished

Phew!  I now have hundreds, ye, thousands, of fabric squares in various sizes all neatly arranged in baggies  according to size.  I also have a very fat baggie of Chinese coin pieces -- maybe enough for two quilts.  A big bag of strips, some long, some shorter, and some triangular little pieces for corners, for strip quilts blocks.  Also a big bag of miscellaneous triangles -- it's a mess, I admit, I just couldn't face triangles.  I have a wastebasket almost totally full of the cuttings that are going OUT, tomorrow morning.

What I do not have is bags of miscellaneous scraps of various sizes and shapes.  This is the accomplishment.

Another thing I have is a head full of possibilities -- but then, I will admit, my head is never empty of possibilities.  But one possibility is not sewing but to give way batches of these squares.  I have already set aside two small baggies to be given away, one of vintage 4" squares and one of 20 attractive 6" squares. 

To distract myself yesterday I laid out the 80 strip pieced blocks I have -- actually I discovered I had 81.  I like their bright craziness but I could see immediately that I need to make either 15 or 23 more blocks to make the quilt long enough.  I can do that, of course. I've got the strips in abundance and still plenty of white muslin for foundations.  So that's the immediate job and I hope it will be done, maybe this week.

With that big straightening job complete, I am into a second one, which is the living room.  A new sofa arrive three weeks ago; two days ago the old sofa and two chairs were taken away and the new sofa put where it belongs.  This means much else has to be moved -- the desk already migrated to its new place.  All this neatening and rearranging is not a metaphor, so far as I can see, for bigger and bolder changes in my life.  It's just a part of the usual  progression of mess, clean up and, probably mess again.   That includes a lot of books, too many books.  So WHY, yes, why did I buy six books at the library today?  It was not because they are being decommissioned (or whatever librarians do to their possessions) at three for a dollar.  I actually thought they were a dollar each.  They're books I won't find any place else, they promise to be very good reads.  And I didn't even take time to really look hard at the lower shelves.  The truth is I have never regretted spending money for books, all I regret is that I am a slow reader and will never keep up with my buying.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Bayberry Guild Quilt Show -part III

 A wonderful red and white quilt, too large to be a part of the challenge -- what a dramatic quilt to hang on one's wall.  What wonderful applique work in the tree and the animals.
 Another larger red and white that I found charming and the applique equally lovely as in the above.  I do very little applique and don't aspire to do more.  But I certainly admire this kind of work -- the quite traditional tree of life motif above and the airier, more whimsical design here show two approaches and results with the same technique.
 Only a few, maybe only three or four quilts in the show fit the definition of "modern quilts" which is becoming very mainstream today and is being featured in the old established quilters magazines.  Very often it is marked by a background that is plain white (or the fabric chosen may be white on white) and then bold design that is very, very simply. Usually the colors are clear and bright and the layout simple and strongly graphic.  All of those definitions fit this quilt which was a refreshingly simple graphic statement.  The method of making the striped squares is extremely simple.  Those sixteen different colored squares are bold and delightful. I find this sort of "modern quilting" very inspiring.
 I have long been a devotee of the star designs for paper piecing by Carol Doak.  This quilt uses only four different star designs but each is made with different color combinations.  I am a bit of a graphic addict so I stood and looked at this quilt a long time, looking at the great variety of color combinations and how they change the appearance of the pattern each time.  The white background and very narrow stripping between squares give this something of a "modern" feel although it is much, much fussier and more complex than most so called "modern" quilts.
A simple traditional quilt made of small squares and triangles with white background.  Another quilt I looked at a long time because I am currently sorting and cutting  years of stash scraps into various size squares.  I have plenty in pleasingly bold colors to make a quilt like this and I think I will do so.  I studied the construction for some time and took a detail  photo so I wouldn't forget the method of sewing.  Like many traditional quilts this had no focal point, the overall pattern is the reason it was made.  Bright at it is, the repetition makes it soothing and happy-making at the same time.
The blue ribbons on this quilt indicated that it was Best of Show and also Viewers Choice in the large bed size category.  The very traditional log cabin central portion is precisely done with "logs" of less than an inch and the setting is the most traditional of all I think.  What makes this quilt really special is the embroidered and appliqued border in which the quilter has designed and embroidered the local birds and animals that visit her yard and Cape Cod.  All kinds of birds, a great variety of animals.  It's a fascination to follow the design around the whole quilt and see such skill.

The quilt show was, many said, the highest quality show yet put on by the Bayberry Quilters Guild.  I haven't seen that many of their shows but I have seen many shows and I enjoyed this one very much and truly admire their skill and artistic view and their creativity.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Bayberry Guild Quilt Show - part 2

 We'll start with fowl and fish.  At first glance it seems these are just pre-printed fowl.  Not so.  They are pieced with wonderful choices of fabric.  As always the showy roosters are lording it over the ladies at the bottom. The whole quilt is a delight.
 It's the fish that does it!  The yin-yang signs are beautifully done and pieced -- the guild had a speaker who taught this method. I'm too lazy to look up her name.  It's been applied excellently finally, she added the wonderful fish!

An art quilt, beautifully balanced; the crows amusingly cut out.  Love it.  Crows are my alarm, every morning they call to one another.  The number of caws in a row varies.  I'm sure it's a language this poor mono-ligual human being doesn't understand.  Late in the afternoon they sometimes come to the lawn outside and stalk about looking for either hor d'ouvers, or maybe dessert.
 Simplicity itself.  This quilt falls into the "modern" quilting genre, I believe, thanks to the white background.  These are all squares of Australian fabrics, beautifully set off with the shadow effect.  So easy and so dramatic
 The fan wasn't going to move  so I just had to take the picture.  This is a more traditional quilt that I photographed to  tell myself that I want to make one.  I've been cutting squares of scraps all week and I'm not done yet.  I've got plenty of square 3x3 and/or 4x4 that could become part of a quilt like this. That means lots of sewing but I am very powerfully attracted to simple dramatic  traditional-type quilts like this one.  Look at that border -- that's how to use up a LOT of scrap squares in a hurry -- well, not such a hurry, there's a LOT of piecing happening here.
 And this is my spiral quilt hanging in the show. A bit of the upper left border got cut off in the photo.  Now that it's all done, I can say, never again.  Ugh. 

Tomorrow I go back to the show for most of the afternoon. There are several  quilts I want to photograph, one New York Beauty is really a beauty with very subtle color choices.  I spent a lot of time looking at it yesterday when I was doing the "white gloves" thing. And there are many others -- another amazing red and white that has a special place.   You'll see.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Bayberry Quilt Show, part 1

 Here are half a dozen views of some 60 red and white quilts for the Bayberry challenge.  Since the huge red and white show in NYC by the American Folk Art Museum in spring 2010, other guilds have emphasized red and white quilts.  These designs are ones that drop the jaws of those ladies who made the quilts for the original show.  Theirs were stunning, these are extremely inventive.

I was charmed by this big cat and little bird -- plus flowers and the pieced boarder, and quilted border.
 This pear design was very eye catching.  Names of quilters are being withheld until after the viewer voting is counted.

There was a very good crowd for the show.  I will be curious which of many wonderful red and white quilts wins viewer's choice
This pair of little quilts -- all the quilts in the show were less than 100 inches total perimeter -- really caught my eye because they are the same four squares in each are the same but they have been put together differently so a different central pattern is formed.
A view of just a ten percent of the quilts.  I also liked the sea shell one a lot.  In fact, nearly all sixty charmed me.

I will post some of the 200 "regular" quilts tomorrow and more the day after. This was a first "walk through".  I will return to the quilt show on Saturday and have some free time, when not volunteering, to take more photos