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.